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by CTuttle

Gaza Update: Delays, Deceit, and Death

4:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The Ceasefire was in fact extended for another 24 hrs… Palestinians, Israelis agree on extending Gaza cease-fire, continue talks

Egypt late Monday announced a 24-hour extension in talks between Israel and the Hamas militant group aimed at salvaging a long-term arrangement that would allow reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following a monthlong war that killed more than 2,000 people.

The announcement came just minutes before a temporary truce was set to expire at midnight, averting a resumption of the fighting that has caused devastating damage across Gaza and disrupted life throughout southern Israel.

‘Palestinians and Israelis agreed on extending the cease-fire by 24 hours to continue current negotiations,’ the Egyptian government said in a statement. Palestinian and Israeli officials confirmed they had accepted Egypt’s request for an extension.

A Palestinian negotiator said the sides had exchanged draft proposals for a long-term truce that were to be addressed during the 24-hour extension in talks. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

Today’s Haaretz revealed the explosive politics at play within Bibi’s rabid Cabinet…

Israeli official: Netanyahu tried to hide Egyptian cease-fire proposal from cabinet

Only when Lieberman brought copy to cabinet meeting did PM reluctantly admit its existence.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried last week to hide from cabinet ministers the draft of a cease-fire agreement drawn up by Egypt. A senior Israeli official said that during last Thursday evening’s cabinet meeting, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman confronted Netanyahu, showing him the copy of the Egyptian proposal that he, Lieberman, had received, and demanded an explanation.

The Israeli official said Lieberman surprised Netanyahu with this revelation. This was the first that the other cabinet ministers had heard that Israel had received a draft cease-fire agreement from the Egyptians, and they demanded copies of their own so they could review it.

A stormy atmosphere ensued and Netanyahu found himself on the defensive. The official said Netanyahu told the cabinet members that it was only a proposal, one of many that had been updated again and again in previous days.

‘I didn’t say ‘yes’ to this draft and for now we do not accept it,’ he told the ministers.

To be sure…

Tikun Olam’s Richard Silverstein wrote yesterday about even more Palace intrigue… Avigdor Lieberman Leaked Secret Gaza Military Briefing

Bless Bibi’s piteous heart… Israel lifts Gaza fishing ban as goodwill gesture for cease-fire

Meanwhile, from Ma’an… Touring the devastated industrial zones of Gaza

From the WaPo… Instagram photos from Gaza: A shift from a summer lull to war

Lest you thought the WaPo was getting soft on Gaza, the odious Richard Cohen, quickly quelled that notion… Israel is held to an impossible standard

Sorry, allow me to cleanse your palate, from Electronic Intifada… An open letter to Israel

In wrapping up, Don’t you just feel the Love…?

by CTuttle

Gaza Update: Bibi’s Worried, The Carnage Continues, and Global Protests

6:05 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As I noted in my last postIsrael fears UN investigation on its crimes in Gaza

…Israel Today quoted official Israeli politicians as saying that the UN commission of inquiry will be much more damning than the ‘Goldstone Commission’ report issued by a similar committee in the aftermath of the aggression on Gaza at the end of 2008, especially since the “Goldstone Commission” was a “fact-finding committee”, whilst the current committee is a ‘commission of inquiry.’

The newspaper considered the differences to be ‘extremely worrisome’ because the probe could refer its conclusions to the International Criminal Court and bring to trial the leadership in Israel on charges of committing war crimes, should the case reach such a conclusion.

The newspaper said that the Israeli government has formed a team to deal with the commission of inquiry, and the team will focus on facing legal and political campaigns as well as the international media immediately after the aggression on Gaza ends.

It seems that Israel will repeat its claims and arguments that the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip worked from within populated areas and used civilians as human shields, and that this lead to a large number of civilian deaths.

Haaretz reported today that the IDF puts together team to deflect war-crime allegations…

Legal work is being done ahead of possible international investigations like those that followed the 2009 Gaza offensive and the Mavi Marmara incident.

The Israel Defense Forces has established a team to collect evidence on the fighting with Hamas in Gaza in case the army is accused of war crimes. The IDF reiterated yesterday that Hamas had committed crimes, not Israel.

The team, headed by the chief of the IDF’s Planning Directorate, Maj. Gen. Nimrod Sheffer, includes officials from the Military Advocate General’s Office, Southern Command, the Gaza Division and the air force.

The team will collect evidence about Palestinian civilians used as human shields, particularly video documentation by the air force. The officials note a number of events in which Palestinian civilians have been harmed and it is not clear who was responsible. This includes firing on the Shati refugee camp and Shifa Hospital, a military source said.

The IDF also intends to discuss the air force’s target planning, which includes calculations of possible damage to surrounding buildings and sites during an air strike.

The daily Israel Hayom, which first reported on the establishment of the team Friday, said officials from government ministries would also be on board, including the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry.

Legal work is being done ahead of possible international investigations like the ones that followed Israel’s January 2009 ground offensive in Gaza and the 2010 commando raid on the Gaza-bound ship the Mavi Marmara. The new team will also present findings on the conduct of Hamas during the fighting in Gaza over the past three and a half weeks.

Sheffer’s work will run simultaneously with probes coordinated by Maj. Gen. Noam Tibon, who is heading a General Staff panel tasked with clarifying cases in which the IDF harmed noncombatants.

Reflecting back on the ‘Cast Lead’ debacle, Wikileaks, had released this Tel Aviv cable…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

The ‘Incremental’ Genocide in Gaza

5:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

When a prominent Israeli pens an OpEd entitled: When Genocide is Permissable(text), let’s take a gander at the actual Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

Article 1
The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.

Article 2
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article 3
The following acts shall be punishable:

(a) Genocide;
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide.

Article 4
Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3 shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.

Starting with Art. 2(a) Killing members of the groupGaza death toll surpasses that of Cast Lead as count hits 1,437

Pretty self-explanatory…!

Now, lets look at Art 2 (c & d) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part and, (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.

From Haaretz… Siege of Gaza

by CTuttle

Operations Brother’s Keeper & Protective Edge

6:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Jeff Halper wrote this excellent post at Mondoweiss…

Israel’s message to the Palestinians: Submit, leave or die

The Kerry initiative may have ended with a whimper instead of a bang, but its impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was significant and fundamental nonetheless. The end of the political process, futile as it may have been, triggered the collapse of the status quo as we have known it for the past 47 years. It set in motion a series of events that will confront us with two stark alternatives regarding Israel and Palestine: either the permanent warehousing of an entire population or the emergence of a single democratic state.

Both the blatantly disproportionate response to the kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli boys and, as I write, the all-out air strikes on Gaza, have been cast by Israel as military operations: Operations Brothers’ Keeper and Operation Protective Edge. Neither had anything to do with the operations’ purported triggers, the search for the boys or rocket fire from Gaza. Palestinian cities supposedly enjoying extra-territorial status were invaded in Operation Brothers’ Keeper, more than 2000 homes were ransacked, some 700 people arrested. Who knows as yet the devastation wrought on Gaza – 100 dead in more than 1,100 air attacks so far, mostly civilians according to reports; deafening around-the-clock bombing of communities by American-supplied F-15 and artillery from the ground and sea that amounts to collective torture; Israel’s Foreign Minister calling for cutting off all electricity and water amidst threats to completely obliterate Gaza’s infrastructure; and the prospect of almost two million people being permanently imprisoned, reduced to bare existence just this side of starvation. {…}

Operations Brothers’ Keeper and Protective Edge represent the imposition of a regime of warehousing, of outright imprisonment of an entire people. The seemingly blind and atavistic destruction and hatred unleashed on the Palestinians over the past few weeks is not merely yet another “round of violence” in an interminable struggle. It is the declaration of a new political reality. The message is clear, unilateral and final: This country has been Judaized: it is now the Land of Israel in the process of being incorporated into the state of Israel. You Arabs (or “Palestinians” as you call yourselves) are not a people and have no national rights, certainly to our exclusively Jewish country. You are not a “side” to a “conflict.” Once and for all we must disabuse you of the notion that we are actually negotiating with you. We never have and never will. You are nothing but inmates in prison cells, and we hereby declare through our military and political actions that you have three options before you: You can submit as inmates are required to you, in which case we will allow you to remain in your enclave-cells. You can leave, as hundreds of thousands have done before you. Or, if you choose to resist, you will die.

As Tikun Olam’s Richard Silverstein just reported…

Israeli Invasion to Begin in “Coming Hours”

In a recent post, I published a State Department notice it was evacuating U.S. citizens from Gaza. The message asked those wishing to leave to provide necessary contact information by the morning of July 11th (yesterday). I predicted that meant an Israeli invasion would happen the next day (July 12th) or the following one. True to form, Israel Radio aired this announcement minutes ago:

A senior military source says that the IDF will mount a significant military operation in the coming hours, after the [civilian] population is cleared from areas from which rockets are fired, mainly in northern Gaza. Residents [to be cleared] will receive announcements, SMS messages, media bulletins and leaflets. According to the military source, this type of operation is accepted under international law. Israel did the same in the past in Lebanon and that experience proves a population may be cleared from an area exploited for the purposes of acts of terror.

To be clear, the news item announces a “significant [new] military operation.” I’ve interpreted this (reasonably I think) as the expected ground invasion. You often have to interpret such statements from Israeli military-intelligence sources using previous experience and understanding of sub-text. A lot is communicated through hints and coded language. AP has also confirmed the IDF was clearing northern Gaza in preparation for “stepping up its offensive.” {…}

This is the moment so many of us have expected and dreaded. It is the crossing of the Rubicon. From here, Israel crosses over from a massive, punishing air assault to outright invasion. The Obama administration and United Nations, which have stood by thus far impotently, must rouse themselves from moral torpor and act decisively. Of course, they will wait until the killing becomes even more senseless than it already is. If they act at all.

Here is the latest ineffectual pap from the State Department on the crisis: Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Roundup: Barrel Bombs, Bunker Busters And Scud Busters

7:42 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

You know what’s lost amongst all this mass hysteria over Assad’s Scuds and WMDs, is the rank hypocrisy of our own misguided bombings…! Does anybody realize the sheer depths of depravity we’d sunk to, in Fallujah, as one sordid example of our ‘Shock and Awe’ in Irak…? Truly… Why Remember Iraq?

Now, to add insult to injury… After Deadly Siege in Gaza, US to Restock Israeli Munitions

… The DoD notified Congress on Monday of the $647 million deal with Israel to restock the Israel Air Force (IAF) with munitions used in the over one thousand bombings conducted during the “Operation Pillar of Defense” on Gaza last month. Congress is expected to approve the deal this week.

The DoD said the deal includes roughly 7,000 Joint Attack Munitions kits, and 10,000 bombs of various kinds, mostly bunker-buster bombs, including 1,725 BLU-109 bunker-buster bombs, and 3,450 GBU-39 bunker-buster bombs.

In addition to the large amount of civilian casualties, the assault on Gaza also destroyed roughly 8,000 buildings and roughly $1.2 billion in infrastructural damage, according to Palestinian officials.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Israeli officials announced Wednesday that it will now withhold needed tax revenues from the Palestinian administration in the West Bank for at least four months in retaliation for the Palestinians’ bid for observer status at the UN this month. The December funds transfer was already withheld…

To be sure… Palestine calls for end to Israeli blockade of Gaza…

…The international community needs to take “action to remove the tremendous obstacles the occupying power is placing on the ground, ” with lives of more than 1.6 million Palestinians being affected, according to Mansour.

The Israeli government “regrettably continues to impose trade restrictions making the Palestinian economy dependent on the Israeli economy,” said the Palestinian ambassador.

At this time, according to him, Palestine is “unable to access the international marketplace, Palestinians are forced to trade with Israel, the occupying power, which makes the State of Palestine the number one importer of Israeli products.”

Consequently, “this high dependence deprives the Palestinian economy of more competitive sources of imports and markets for exports, and heightens its vulnerability to the Israeli business cycle,” said Mansour.

Mansour noted that the limited economic freedom has posed ” another immense impediment to achieving sustainable Palestinian economic growth” because Palestinian entrepreneurs have limited access to competitive international markets, especially for exporting agricultural goods.

According to the envoy, these circumstances have created a desperate need for “economic and humanitarian assistance by the international community” which is “crucial, but not enough.”

“If the international community truly aspires to witness the two-State solution materialize and observe a sustained economic growth trajectory and development for the Palestinian people, it must compel the occupying power to end all of its illegal measures and actions and finally terminate its military occupation,” said Mansour. “The international community must step up its responsibility and put pressure on Israel to abide by its legal obligations under international law, humanitarian law and human rights law.”

C’mon now, seriously…? 3,450 GBU-39 bunker-buster bombs…? Wtf, over…?

Incidently… Israel special forces conducting cross-border operations in Syria…!

Moving on… US Providing Training to Syrian Rebels in Jordan…!

Apparently, the Syrian ‘doom and gloom’ is settling in all over, even in Moscow…

Syrian opposition victory possible, but at an absolutely unacceptable price – Moscow

…”One must look the facts in the face … the regime and government in Syria is losing control of more and more territory,” state-run RIA quoted the envoy, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, as saying. “Unfortunately, the victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out.” {…}

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov warned Thursday of emerging terrorist hotbeds that had been sprouting throughout Syria and the Sinai Peninsula.

“Al-Qaeda extremists constitute a large part of the armed opposition forces,” he said, adding Syrian militants could and actually had already been seizing arms stockpiles…

Seriously, Beware the Ides of March…!

…The propaganda preparation of the American people for another military adventure is now approaching a climax. US recognition of the rebel coalition sets the stage for legal intervention.

Shall we start a war “pool” as to the date? pl

*gah*

by CTuttle

What Ceasefire…?

7:50 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

So, today, our SoS arrived in Jerusalem…

Clinton vows work on Gaza truce “in days ahead”

… “In the days ahead the United States will work with our partners here in Israel and across the region toward an outcome that bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Jerusalem.

Clinton spoke after Hamas said an Egyptian-brokered truce deal that it had expected to be in place by Tuesday night was delayed because Israel has not responded to proposals…

“If there is a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem with diplomatic means, we prefer that,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said alongside Clinton, who will travel to Cairo on Wednesday.

But if not, I’m sure you understand that Israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people.

In fact, Madame Hillary, further expounded…

…”The American commitment to Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering,” Clinton said at a brief press appearance with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the two entered closed-door talks.

“That is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation” in the Palestinian territory, said Clinton, who welcomed Egyptian mediation efforts.

Clinton was speaking only moments into a regional tour that will also take her on Wednesday to the West Bank city of Ramallah and on to Cairo for talks with Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi.

Her arrival in Jerusalem coincided with furious speculation that a Gaza truce announcement by the two sides was in the works and could come as early as Tuesday night…

About that Egyptian-brokered truce, it’s seems that Hamas said Gaza truce was agreed to; but Israel, Egypt say no deal yet…! Funny how it wasn’t due to Hamas’ unwillingness… Indeed, it was quite the opposite…

…According to Izat a-Rishk, a spokesperson for the Hamas terror government, there would be no cease-fire until Wednesday at the earliest, because Israel had rejected Hamas’ conditions for a cease-fire.

“All possibilities are open, and our people are ready for all possibilities,” he said, referring to the still-possible Israeli land invasion of Gaza. Tens of thousands of IDF soldiers are reportedly poised to enter Gaza, to carry out objectives on the ground.

As talk of the cease-fire faded, the IDF increased its hammering of Gaza terror sites. In one raid Tuesday night, IDF planes caused significant damage to the main Hamas government building in Gaza City.

Between 9 and 11 PM Tuesday, the IDF carried out more than 50 bombing forays on targets in Gaza. Twenty terrorists were injured. Over 100 targets were destroyed on Tuesday, bringing the total number of targets the IDF destroyed in the six full days of Operation Pillar of Defense to about 1,500. Half of Tuesday’s raids were on terrorists preparing to fire missiles at Israel, with the balance hitting smuggling tunnels, arms factories, and rocket-launching sites and equipment…

To be sure…Israel delays truce, escalates attacks…! From MSNBC even…Ceasefire postponed, dependent on Israel’s response…

Now, hot on the heels of Regev’s little melee on Al Jazeera… Al Jazeera Host Clashes With Israeli Spokesman, Charges Israel With Targeting Journalists… Of which, Edward Teller, had covered brilliantly earlier… When are Journalists legitimate Military Targets?

Well, today… Israeli Airstrikes Kill 3 Palestinian Journalists… In their own cars…! But, wait, it gets ever better…

Report: IDF strikes Gaza building housing AFP offices

The IAF has struck a building that houses the AFP news agency’s Gaza office. A photographer working for AFP said that three Israeli missiles have hit offices located two floors above the agency’s headquarters. The IDF confirmed the strike, saying the facilities were used by Hamas intelligence operatives…

Wtf, over…?

Meanwhile the Arabs just aren’t buying the Hasbara Spin…

Netanyahu’s game plan

The Israeli attack on Gaza seems to be more of an attempt to draw lines and affect the emerging Middle East following the Arab Spring than just retaliating against Hamas.
In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to engage into a bigger military operation could be seen as sending a message to the newly re-elected President Barak Obama, a test to Egypt’s President Muhammad Mursi and the emerging Islamist forces in the region and on the top of that to serve his narrow political agenda now that an earlier elections have already been called… {…}

Israel apparently was not keen in providing that breathing time. Rather it wants to send a clear message that it is not only part and parcel of the Middle East, but given its military edge and international connections, it is a serious player that could not and should not be sidelined in any talk about a new Middle East.
The message goes in fact even to Israel’s main military, economic and political bankroller, the United States. It is no secret that Netanyahu has been banking on electing Mitt Romney instead, but results ended in a different way bringing Obama back again to the Oval Office. Instead of waiting to be reprimanded by Obama, a military operation will easily shift the discussion from the personal to the more solid partnership between the two states.
Already Obama was quick to raise the issue of the right of Israel in defending itself, but the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will resurface and focus on earlier commitments by Obama to further the two states solutions now that he is supposedly free from re-election strings that have characterized his first term in the Oval Office.

In fact with the quick sands moving in the Middle East, the Obama administration is facing a more complicated region that calls into question the old well established relationships.

The Israeli operation in Gaza sends the clear message that it alone knows best how to deal with the Arabs through excessive militarism that have succeeded in the past in forcing military and secular regimes to come to terms with the reality and recognize Israel. The same could be applied now with the rising Islamists and all Washington needs to do is to continue its unwavering support, leaving the rest to Tel Aviv

All the while… Gaza death toll climbs to 130…

*gah*

by CTuttle

Operation ‘Pillar of Defense’: Cast Lead 2

3:34 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Reuters is reporting…

Israel hammers Hamas in Gaza offensive

* Israel says major operation may last days

…Israel launched a major offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza on Wednesday, killing the military commander of Hamas in an air strike and threatening an invasion of the enclave that the Islamist group vowed would “open the gates of hell”.

The onslaught shattered hopes that a truce mediated on Tuesday by Egypt could pull the two sides back from the brink of war after five days of escalating Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli strikes at militant targets.

Operation “Pillar of Defence” began with a surgical strike on a car carrying the commander of the military wing of Hamas, the Iranian-armed Islamist movement which controls Gaza and dominates a score of smaller armed groups.

Within minutes of the death of Ahmed Al-Jaabari, big explosions shook Gaza as the Israeli air force struck at selected targets just before sundown, blasting plumes of smoke and debris high above the crowded city.

Panicking civilians ran for cover and the death toll mounted quickly. Ten people including three children were killed, the health ministry said, and about 40 were wounded. Also among the dead were an 11-month-old baby and a woman pregnant with twins.

Army tanks shelled border areas of Gaza in south and the Israeli navy shelled a Hamas security position from the sea… {…}

OBAMA BRIEFED

Israeli President Shimon Peres briefed U.S. President Barack Obama on the operation, Peres’s office said. He told Obama that Jaabari was a “mass-murderer” and his killing was Israel’s response to Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza.

“Israel is not interested in stoking the flames, but for the past five days there has been constant missile fire at Israel and mothers and children cannot sleep quietly at night,” said Peres, who visited the border town of Sderot earlier…

You can cut the rank hypocrisy of Peres’ words with a butter knife…!

As Tikun Olam’s Richard Silverstein posits…

…It is, of course, no accident that Israeli elections will be held in two months. Israeli prime ministers routinely use wars to bolster their popularity. Menachem Begin attacked the Osirak reactor shortly before elections, which he subsequently won. Aluf Benn offers (Hebrew) a long list of such political opportunism including Operation Grapes of Wrath (1996) and Operation Cast Lead just before the 2009 elections. Bibi, being a master of political tactics (but not strategy, since he has none) wanted to leave no stone unturned in his march to victory in January.

As happened numerous times in the past, including after the Eilat terror attack, when Israel lied in ascribing blame for the attack on Gaza and murdered 30 in revenge strikes, terror in Gaza is not the issue. Gaza is a useful tool or canvas on which Israeli generals and politicians embellish their careers. It’s the utmost in cynicism, but alas all too common in the debased society Israel has become… {…}

It must be said clearly, Jabari’s assassination is not an act of defense or even a response to past terror attacks against it. It is a blatant act of provocation and an act of terror in itself. It is akin to the 2003 assassination of Saleh Shehadeh and will, in the end, cause the deaths of more Israelis and Gazans than that ghastly massacre. These are war crimes and must eventually be held accountable as such.

Israel knows that by murdering Jabari they’ve not dented Hamas’ military capability. Another Jabari will arise who will out-Jabari Jabari just as Nasrallah outdid Abbas Musawi, who Israel assassinated. Bibi needs Hamas. He needs an eternal enemy. It’s what makes him strong. He and the Likud are the political equivalent of Dracula. Just as Jefferson said the Tree of Liberty needed to be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants, the ultranationalists cynically need to drink the blood of dead Palestinians (or Iranians or Lebanese) in order to guarantee their political reign. This is ghoulish. It is insane. Israeli policy is insane.

Not satisfied with pursuing war as a political objective to dominate the Palestinians, the IDF has invoked the Torah in calling this operation Pillar of Cloud (as in “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way”). No, I’m sorry. God doesn’t walk with killers. My God doesn’t want blood, either Jewish or Palestinian. My God is not an anti-jihadi. He doesn’t hate Muslims or Arabs. Bibi, do not debase my holy texts. Do not exploit them in your attempt to provoke religious wars. I’d prefer calling this new campaign Pillar of White Phosphorus, myself

Amen, Richard…!

Now, +972 Mag’s Dimi Reider, differs from Richard, in that Ehud Barak is pushing the illegal invasion…

Politicians line up behind Israeli assault on Gaza

…My own hunch, and that of several Israeli observers, is that Barak is the prime mover behind this recent escalation. His has been a consistent voice for stronger Israeli military action in previous rounds of escalation in Gaza, and he stands more to gain from a large-scale military operation. Netanyahu is winning the elections with one hand tied behind his back; Barak and his splinter Independence Party, by contrast, have barely been scratching the electoral barrier. Appearing as a decisive, wily and sophisticated military mind next to a wallowing Netanyahu can only do Barak that much good, and Israeli Twitterati have already replaced “Pillar of Defense” the cringe-inducing, Freud-evoking codename for the operation with “Independence War.”

Be that as it may, Netanyahu has signed up for this offensive and it now bears his name as surely as Cast Lead bears those of Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni. In the short term, his gamble might well conclude without political damage (the damage to the lives of Israeli and Gazan residents is clearly of comparatively little consequence to either him or his defense minister, otherwise the deescalation would have been allowed to take its course, as it has throughout Netanyahu’s tenure). In the optimal scenario, Hamas will not escalate the conflagration further, and will not fire the long-range missiles in its arsenal to Tel Aviv and its suburbs, both because an Israeli strike took out much of said arsenal immediately after Jabari was slain, and because this would blow the violence dials sky-high and require an Israeli response at least as forceful as the 2008-2009 Cast Lead operation. After a few exchanges, Egyptians will oblige once again with a ceasefire and Netanyahu and Barak will have brought their electoral chances up a notch…

Now, just when you thought the rank hypocrisy couldn’t get any ranker…

US welcomes reelection to Human Rights Council

Hillary Clinton pledges US support to combat panel’s anti-Israel activity; UN ambassador says HRC delivered “real results.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed America’s reelection to the UN Human Rights Council on Monday and pledged that the country would continue to combat the panel’s anti-Israel activity.

“Much hard work remains to be done,” Clinton said in a statement, “especially ending the council’s disproportionate and biased focus on Israel.”

The US has come under criticism from some in the Jewish community for participating in a group that routinely censures Israel while ignoring many of the most pressing human rights problems in the world, some being committed by countries with representatives on the council.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice welcomed Washington’s reelection, saying that the Human Rights Council “has delivered real results” since the US first joined it in 2010 after running for a seat on it a year before. She cited council action on Syria as a positive example of its work.

However, she also criticized the council’s “excessive and unbalanced focus on Israel.” Advocates of America’s participation, however, say the situation would be worse without a US presence, and that the US has been behind important initiatives challenging Iran’s human rights record and other initiatives

God help us all…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Ehud Barak: “the difference between us and the U.S. is the perspective on timetables.”

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The Defense Minister was in Berlin yesterday…

Israel, U.S. disagree on Iran timetable

…Barak said that 2012 is a “highly important” year for a possible strike and speculated that the timeframe for a “surgical intervention” — a precision hit on Iranian targets — is not a matter of weeks, but it is not a matter of years either.

Iran denies it is trying to develop nuclear weapons, and insists its nuclear program is meant for peaceful uses such as generating electricity and producing medical isotopes.

Barak said Israel and the U.S. agree on preventing Iran from building nuclear weapons, but that “the difference between us and the U.S. is the perspective on timetables.”

“America has more abilities than Israel,” Barak said. “You can think of a time when Israel would be very limited in its ability to act.”

Why was he there ya might ask…?

…Ehud Barak’s office said the minister signed the contract Wednesday in Berlin at a ceremony held at the Israeli ambassador’s home.

Germany’s Parliament approved the purchase in November and agreed to pay some €135 million ($180 million) of the costs — about 1/3 of the submarine’s price.

Israel already has three Dolphin submarines from Germany — one half-funded and two entirely funded by Berlin — and two more are currently under construction.

Barack said in a statement the submarine will “substantially increase the capabilities and the strength of … Israel in the face of ever-increasing challenges.”

Here’s another Minister…‘If you want to shoot – shoot’: Israeli minister on Iran strike…

Ain’t this cool… ? Iran’s UN Mission complains of harassment by US…

Now, Richard Silverstein penned another must-read…

Terror and the Murder of the Good

…There can never be justification for killing children, whether those children are French Jews or Palestinian Muslims. If we want the world to believe in the justice of our cause, whether it be Israel or Palestine, we have to denounce the murder of both.

That’s why the pro-Israel supporters who are clucking about this latest round of Islamist terror are dead wrong. They are hypocrites because they only care about children with Jewish blood in their veins. You never heard any of them cry for the two Palestinian children killed in Israelis attacks against Gaza. Nor did they cry anything but crocodile tears, if that, for the 300 children killed during Cast Lead.

The EU’s foreign minister, Catherine Ashton Taylor unleashed “fury” in Israel with her apt analogy (though much less forcefully made than I have) between the child terror deaths in Gaza, Toulouse, Norway and elsewhere. She said:

…When we think of what happened in Toulouse today, when we remember what happened in Norway a year ago, when we know what is happening in Syria, when we see what is happening in Gaza and in different parts of the world — we remember young people and children who lose their lives.”

Israelis of course refuse to concede that the children they kill in Gaza are killed in anything other than a pure and just cause. Listen to this rhetorical flatulence from Netanyahu:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier that he was “infuriated” by what he called “the comparison between a deliberate massacre of children and the defensive, surgical actions” of the Israeli military that he said were “intended to hit terrorists who use children as a human shield.”

Calling an attack that kills children “defensive” and “surgical” seems to absolve it or any of the moral considerations that enter into other acts of war and terror which kill children. The fact that the children killed in Gaza were NOT being used as human shields by any militants is also deliberately obfuscated by the pro-Israelists. Will no Israeli leader ever cry for any child he kills? Of course not. He’s too busy orchestrating the hasbara to mute the moral opprobrium of his next attack…

Speaking of Toulouse… Toolooz…?

Meanwhile, Bibi’s pissed at the UN, not just the EU… UN body to probe Israeli settlements…

So naturally… Netanyahu says UN rights council ‘hypocritical’…

…”This council has an automatic majority hostile to Israel and is hypocritical,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying in a statement released by his office.

The Israeli premier added that the UN Human Rights Council “should be ashamed of itself.”

The 47-member council approved earlier a resolution ordering a first probe into how Israeli settlements may be infringing on the rights of the Palestinian people.

Thirty-six members voted in favour while 10 abstained. Only the United States voted against it…

And hot off the press…

…A source in the Prime Minister’s Office said that Israel would not cooperate with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s probe of Israel’s West Bank settlement policies.

The source described that investigation as biased, adding that Israel did not want to give it legitimacy.

In summing up, Philip Giraldi, wrote a must read too…

The No-Fault March to War

…Under the current “progressive” administration in Washington, accountability has taken several steps backward. CIA torturers are not responsible for what they did, soldiers who massacre foreign civilians are protected or slapped on the wrist if they are punished at all, American citizens are assassinated, and drones kill suspects living in countries with which we are not at war. Recently, the president declared that he can take control of “all national resources” in case of an emergency, a sweeping dismissal of the right to property guaranteed by the Constitution. And if anyone challenges any of these abuses in court, the proceedings will be stopped by the government’s declaration of state-secrets privilege….

All the while… Today in Gaza…

*gah*

by CTuttle

Israeli Air Strikes Test Gaza Truce

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I wonder how Paul Jay would’ve reacted had he been in Gaza…!

Now, I’d like to hone in some of what Phyllis Bennis was talking about just prior to the Quake. As the Israeli writer, Uri Avnery, had recently warned about in an article entitled: ‘How Godly Are Thy Tents?’

FIRST OF all, a warning.

Tent cities are springing up all over Israel. A social protest movement is gathering momentum. At some point in the near future, it may endanger the right-wing government.

At that point, there will be a temptation – perhaps an irresistible temptation – to “warm up the borders”. To start a nice little war. Call on the youth of Israel, the same young people now manning (and womanning) the tents, to go and defend the fatherland.

Nothing easier than that. A small provocation, a platoon crossing the border “to prevent the launching of a rocket”, a fire fight, a salvo of rockets – and lo and behold, a war. End of protest.

Hamas’ Az-Zahhar is right in pointing out the Eilat attack was ‘used as pretext to attack Gaza’

…He said all factions agreed to the ceasefire while retaining the right to respond to Israeli attacks.

“Hamas is not a police officer who protects Israeli interests,” he said, explaining that Hamas sought a truce based on deterring Israel rather than cooperating with it or yielding to its demands.

Az-Zahhar denied claims that some factions were actually fronts for Hamas under different names.

“What illusionary groups have Hamas made up?” he asked.

“All the factions operating in Gaza are real and have their supporters and their military wings. They were called by Egypt to attend national occasions such as the reconciliation agreement, so can we claim that Egypt is dealing with made up factions?”

“Israel started its aggression on Islamic Jihad’s activists brutally killing members of the Qureiqi family. The Islamic Jihad’s military wing responded. Is the Islamic Jihad made up by Hamas, or it is a real faction?”

Today, Al Jazeera had reported…

Israeli air strikes test Gaza truce

Three Palestinians killed, amid calls from Hamas for the international community to intervene.

Israel has launched several attacks on Gaza, killing three Palestinians and wounding several others, prompting Hamas to allege that the attacks violated an unofficial two-day-long truce.

Medics in Gaza said an Israeli air strike on Wednesday evening killed 20-year-old Mohammad Moqat. He was a member of the Palestinian resistance group Islamic Jihad.

The latest air strike came after Palestinian fighters lobbed several rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel in retaliation for an earlier Israeli air strike in the border city of Rafah.

An earlier air raid during the day targeted a vehicle, killing Ismael al-Ismar, 34, an Islamic Jihad leader.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the strike, saying it had targeted “an activist linked to Islamic Jihad who was implicated in attempted terrorist actions in the Sinai”…

Isn’t it interesting that all the various ‘factions’ do fess up to their own ‘rocket’ attacks, yet, none have stepped up for the Eilat attack…!

Here’s another sobering analysis… Another Attack on Gaza: ‘Retaliation’ or Genocide?

The latest round of atrocities unleashed upon Palestinians proves yet again that the Israeli government is a homicidal opportunist. Instantly, the problem of mass demonstrations deploring increased cost of living and other economic issues plaguing the Jewish State was solved by rallying Israelis behind the one issue they all seem to have in common: the singular desire to annihilate Palestinians.

If that assessment seems harsh, or unfair to Israeli peace activists, it certainly rings true of broader Israeli society. Joseph Dana, a Tel Aviv-based writer and journalist spoke with Aljazeera regarding the protests, which according to him, were mute regarding the Israeli occupation of Palestine. “The sad reality is that if Israelis discuss Palestinian rights and specifically the rights of Palestinians under Israeli occupation, they very quickly lose public support,” he stated…

*gah*

by CTuttle

Dubious Evidence And Illicit Munitions

5:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I’m always delighted when the Real News asks the very same questions and follows the very same sources as I do…!

As +972′s intrepid Yossi Gurvitz fleshes out the story…

Evidence undermines gov’t’s claim that terrorists were Gazans

The Minister of Defense and the Prime Minister claim the terrorist attack last week came from Gaza. They have yet to provide any proof – and the evidence looks dubious…

…However, Israel has never supplied any proof that the attack has indeed originated in the Gaza Strip. The PRC have denied involvement in the attack. An Israeli propaganda apparatus, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, also claimed (Hebrew) the PRC was behind the attacks, but had to tautologically write “no terror organizations has publicly claimed responsibility for the attack and the Popular Resistance Committee has denied any involvement. However, the Israeli prime minister and other Israeli officials have pointed to the Popular Resistance Committee as the organization who carried out the attack. So, according to the ITIC, the fact that Netanyahu said something is proof enough, even if the other side completely denies it…

To add insult to injury, it seems Bibi’s up to his same old tricks…!

Here are images from local Gaza TV, the night of 19 August 2011. It seems we’re seeing the continued use of illegal and/or experimental weapons, as he had used in Cast Lead(WP, DU, etc…) “I’ve never seen shrapnel wounds like this before.”

It should be heavily emphasized that Hamas and all the myriad Gaza organizations have agreed to a Ceasefire…

Hamas: Gaza Militants Agree to Ceasefire

Through a deal brokered by Egypt, Hamas agreed to Israel’s demands that Palestinians cease fire first.

Gaza militants agreed to a ceasefire with Israel, a Hamas official said Sunday, three days of violence from all sides. The Hamas official said militants in Gaza have agreed the truce would go into effect Sunday evening, in accordance with the deal brokered by Egypt.

Egyptian officials said Israel would agree to halt strikes only if the Palestinians stopped the rocket fire first. A spokesman for Israel’s government would not comment, and it was not clear if the cease-fire would take effect or hold…

Btw, the Egyptians are mighty pissed off at Bibi’s recent response to this tragic affair…

Egypt Says Israeli Response to Deaths Insufficient

Crowds of Egyptians protested at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo after Israel expressed regret over the killing of five Egyptian security personnel. Egypt condemned Israel in a statement after a second cabinet crisis meeting Saturday.

“Egyptian blood is not cheap and the government will not accept that Egyptian blood gets shed for nothing,” state news agency MENA quoted a cabinet statement as saying.The Israeli promise to work with Egypt to investigate the killings is “positive in appearance but does not fit with the weight of the incident and the state of Egyptians’ outrage from the Israeli actions’, MENA added.

I do think that Bibi might actually be getting a clue, after long last…

Israeli ministers vote for restraint as Gaza truce holds

‘Israel won’t be dragged into places it doesn’t want to be,’ says Benjamin Netanyahu’s aide.

The cabinet voted yesterday to refrain from any action that could lead to an escalation in the south and to cooperate indirectly with the truce Hamas declared on Sunday. So far, the truce has largely held, although three rockets did hit southern Israel from the Gaza Strip yesterday…

…What emerged most clearly from Netanyahu’s and Barak’s statements to the cabinet was that Israel lacks the international legitimacy needed for a large-scale operation in Gaza. The diplomatic crisis with Egypt further constrains Israel’s freedom of action.

“The prime minister thinks it would be wrong to race into a total war in Gaza right now,” one of Netanyahu’s advisors said. “We are preparing to respond if the fire continues, but Israel will not be dragged into places it doesn’t want to be.”

Several Netanyahu aides detailed the constraints on Israeli military action, most of which are diplomatic.

“There’s a sensitive situation in the Middle East, which is one big boiling pot; there’s the international arena; there’s the Palestinian move in the Untied Nations in September,” when the Palestinians hope to obtain UN recognition as a state, one advisor enumerated. “We have to pick our way carefully.”

No sh*t, Sherlock…!

Sadly… Barak: Enemies Will Be ‘Decapitated’… He won’t rule out a Gaza ground invasion…!

*gah*