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WikiLeaks: Israel Plans Total War on Lebanon, Gaza

1:06 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

In the interest of further squelching the shockingly disinformed contention that Wikileaks is somehow an Israeli cointelpro operation. From Juan Cole:

The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has summarized an Israeli military briefing by Israeli Chief of Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi of a US congressional delegation a little over a year ago and concludes that

The memo on the talks between Ashkenazi and [Congressman Ike] Skelton, as well as numerous other documents from the same period of time, 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.

Note: This war preparation is serious and specific, according to the paper, and clearly is not just a matter of vague contingency planning.

The paper says that US cables quote Ashkenazi telling the US congressmen, “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.”

The general’s plans are driven by fear of growing stockpiles of rockets in Hamas-controlled Gaza and in Hizbullah-controlled Southern Lebanon, the likely theaters of the planned major new war. Ashkenazi does not seem capable of considering that, given a number of Israeli invasions and occupations of those regions, the rockets may be primarily defensive. …

Note that my post does not ‘voice support’ for Hezbollah, since (amazingly) that is now illegal under U.S. ‘law’. From Glenn Greenwald (emphasis in original):

Amazingly, Fran Townsend [formerly a Bush administration war criminal, now a CNN bigwig], on CNN, hailed the Supreme Court’s decision in Humanitarian Law — the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the DOJ’s view that one can be guilty of “material support for terrorism” simply by talking to or advocating for a Terrorist group — and enthusiastically agreed when Wolf Blitzer said, while interviewing her: “If you’re thinking about even voicing support for a terrorist group, don’t do it because the government can come down hard on you and the Supreme Court said the government has every right to do so.” Yet “voicing support for a terrorist group” is exactly what Townsend is now doing — and it makes her a criminal under the very Supreme Court ruling that she so gleefully praised.

Instead, just a reminder that the U.S. supports the outlaw Israeli state with at least $3 billion a year in U.S. tax dollars, and otherwise see my old essay, Singling Out Israel in Berkeley: 5 Reasons. Finally, don’t forget to support boycotting, divesting from, and sanctioning Israel! It’s what its rulers fear most.

Send Barbara Boxer a human rights for Palestinians message

4:24 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

Barbara Boxer Gets Progressive Support Despite Checkered Record on Human Rights, International Law
Boxer takes the positions she does not because AIPAC forces her, but because she can get progressives to campaign for her, donate money to her, and vote for her anyway.
By Stephen Zunes
October 18, 2010

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Barbara Boxer shaking hands with Ariel Sharon

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"The army knows the kids are there to collect. They watch them every day and they know they have no weapons," said Mohammed Abu Rukbi, a fieldworker with DCI. "They usually fire warning shots but the kids don’t take much notice."

Mohammed Sobboh, 17, [ABOVE] was shot just above the knee on August 25 when he was 800 metres from the border, he said. The 12 people in his family have no other income and are not entitled to aid from the UN as they are not refugees.

Israeli soldiers shot dead a horse and a donkey used by Mohammed and his brothers to carry the rubble, he said.

Gaza teens brave IDF fire to collect salvaged building materials
In three months, soldiers shot and wounded 10 youths collecting building materials in expanded buffer zone.
By Amira Hass
October 10, 2010

In the course of three months this summer Israeli soldiers shot and wounded 10 Palestinian teenagers who collect building materials from demolished structures in the former Israeli settlements and the Erez industrial zone in the northern Gaza Strip, dozens or hundreds of meters from the border. Palestinians believe the shootings are aimed at keeping people away from these areas, but despite the great risk dozens of nearby residents, many of them minors, continue to come in order to collect bits of cement and gravel from inside the buildings that were destroyed by the Israel Defense Forces around the time of the 2005 disengagement, and sell them to contractors and factories in the Strip. …

Every day dozens of people come to the ruins of the industrial zone and the settlements, such as Elei Sinai, in wagons drawn by donkeys or horses. One of the teens, who was shot on August 25, told Defence for Children that in recent months soldiers also shot and killed one of the donkeys and three of the horses.

Most of the children tell of a father who is unemployed. Some were among the thousands of Gazans who worked in Israel up until 2006, when their work permits were revoked. The father of one of the teens was forced to close his store as a result of Israel’s ban on the entry of goods it did not define as "humanitarian" into the Strip. After the death, about two years ago, of a 14-year-old shooting victim identified as "N.," the teen dropped out of school to help support his family. That is the story of all these teens, dropping out and going out to work. They all said in their statements that they are afraid to go back to collecting gravel. Some have difficulty walking or carrying heavy loads as a result of their injuries.

Some of the teens sold vegetables in the streets of Gaza City, earning only about NIS 20 or NIS 30 per day, before hearing from neighbors or acquaintances that one could make NIS 40 or more from collecting gravel.

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Nine year old Amal and her twelve year old brother Mahmoud witnessed their father and brother being shot dead. Their house was also destroyed. Amal was injured and now lives with shrapnel embedded in her brain which leads to blinding headaches and visual impairment. She struggles with her homework and often finds it difficult to help her mother around the house. Amal says her wish is to become a doctor and help sick people.

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Omsyatte, whose home was destroyed by F16s during the 2008 military offensive.

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Nasser Abu Said outside the shrapnel-riddled home where his wife, Ne’ema, was killed by Israeli artillery.

Mother of five killed by Israeli artillery fire close to Gaza buffer zone
Three relatives also wounded in shelling on Gaza border, as family say no rockets were heard being fired before attack
Harriet Sherwood in Johar a-Deek
Friday 16 July 2010

…According to the woman’s husband, Nasser Abu Said, 37, the attack began without warning at about 8.30pm on Tuesday with two shells being fired as the family of 17 sat outside their house in the village of Johar a-Deek. Apart from Nasser and his 65-year-old father, the entire group was women and children.

"It was completely quiet, there were no rockets being fired or we wouldn’t have been sitting outside," he said, referring to Qassam missiles launched by militants into Israel.

His sister and his brother’s wife were injured by shrapnel. The family moved indoors and called an ambulance. "About 10 minutes later the ambulance called back to say the Israelis had refused them permission to come to the house," said Nasser.

His wife Ne’ema, 33, soon realised their youngest son, Jaber, was not among the children she was attempting to calm down, and was probably asleep on a mattress outside that he often shared with his grandfather.

As she went to fetch the toddler, another shell landed. "I called to my wife three times," said Nasser, who realised his father had also been badly injured in his leg and stomach. "I could hear small noises coming from her. I knew she was dying."

Via Palestinian co-ordinators, the IDF told the family that anyone going outside the house would be shot dead. Nasser began to tend to his injured father, knowing he could not reach his dying wife.

"I was holding myself in, especially in front of the children," he said. The children were crying hysterically and some had wet themselves, he added.

After two hours, an ambulance was allowed to reach the family. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), which investigated the incident, said Ne’ema and her wounded relatives were taken to al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al-Balah, where it was confirmed she had died from shrapnel wounds.

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) said it had identified a number of suspects close to the border. "An IDF force fired at the suspects and identified hitting them," it said. The incident was being investigated, it added, but declined to say why ambulances had not been allowed to reach the family. …

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29 December 2008: Palestinian children walk past a destroyed mosque and houses after they were hit by an Israeli missile strike that killed Jawaher Baalusha, 4, and her four sisters in the northern Gaza Strip.

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29 December 2008: A Palestinian man carries his wounded child to the treatment room of Kamal Adwan hospital following an Israeli missile strike in Beit Lahiya.

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1 January 2009: A Palestinian woman with two wounded members of her family in hospital following an Israeli missile strike in Beit Hanoun. Israel dropped a bomb on the home of a Hamas strongman, killing him along with two wives and four children in the first attack on the top leadership of Gaza’s rulers.

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5 January 2009: A Palestinian woman sits on the floor beside her baby wounded by an Israeli tank shell, at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. An Israeli tank shell killed three Palestinian children in their home in eastern Gaza City, medical officials said.

Gaza’s children suffer as conflict enters the classroom
The Israeli blockade and years of fighting have taken their toll on Gaza’s schools, where failure rates are rapidly rising
Rory McCarthy in Gaza City
Friday 16 May 2008

On this morning there was no electricity for the first four hours of school, there were no lights and staff had to use a whistle instead of the electric school bell. There was no running water, save what had been held in reserve in a spare tank at the bathroom. There was no bread for sale in the canteen because of shortages at the bakeries, even though many of the children rely on the small school shop to buy their breakfast. This, a result of the Israeli economic blockade of Gaza, was an ordinary day in extraordinary times.

More worrying are warning signs of a broader disintegration of society, such as those seen in exam results. Last autumn, the UN, which runs some of the best schools in Gaza, noted a sharp increase in exam failures. The failure rate in Arabic between ages nine and 15 was between 34.9% and 61.1% . In maths at the same age the failure rate was even higher at more than 65% , peaking at around age 11 with an astonishing failure rate of 90%. That compares with a failure rate of just 10% at UN schools in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria.

"There’s been a big change. There’s no enjoyment in the children’s lives, no going out, no picnics. There’s a lot of pressure on them and I can feel it in the class," said al-Katib. "They don’t do their homework, they make any excuse – no electricity, or they were sick, or tired. They are less attentive in class than they used to be."

It is not hard to cast a protest vote for a U.S. Senate candidate who expresses your values on Israel and Palestine.

Israel/Palestine position of Green Party California U.S. Senate candidate, Duane Roberts:

Duane Supports… Ending all U.S. military and economic aid to the state of Israel and the right of self-determination for the Palestinian people, including the right of refugees to return.

Israel/Palestine position of Green Party Illinois U.S. Senate candidate, LeAlan Jones:

We should adopt the Israel-Palestine single-state solution and end apartheid in the Middle East. Nations should be based on our collective humanity, not our divisive religions. and we must take steps guarantee that no taxpayer money supports state-sponsored terrorism or assassination. This means no more investing in Israel bonds, Saudi Arabia or China.

Barney Frank: Israel is Mandela, Gaza is apartheid South Africa

11:53 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

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U.S. Senator Barney Frank equates Israel’s brutal embargo against the Gaza Strip with the 1980s U.S. sanctions against the South Africa apartheid regime. Can a member of Congress get any more down on his hands and knees toward a foreign power, one that seems to have just engaged in murder and piracy on the high seas, and this from a supposed liberal beacon in the U.S. Senate?

Barney Frank Compares Israel’s Gaza Blockade to Sanctions Against Apartheid
By Nathan Guttman
Published June 04, 2010

Israel’s blockade against Gaza is comparable to the sanctions levied by the U.S. Congress against the apartheid regime of South Africa in 1986, Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank told the Forward in an interview June 3.

Rebuffing critics who decry the effects of the Israeli blockade on the health and welfare of Gaza’s Palestinian residents, Frank said, “I remember that argument being used against our tough sanctions against the South African regime during apartheid. People said, ‘You’re hurting the South African black people,’ and Ronald Reagan vetoed the bill and we overrode his veto.

“A few years later,” Frank recalled, proudly, “I listened to Nelson Mandela in the Capitol thank us for helping maintain the sanctions because they were so effective.” . . .

And now Frank listens to Benjamin Netanyahu deny medicine and infant formula to the Gaza Strip and he hears Nelson Mandela in that? Here’s more obsequiosity from the leading ‘progressive’ in the U.S. Senate:

In his interview with the Forward, Frank also sought to clarify remarks the Boston Herald attributed to him in a June 2 article. The article stated that the congressman “had harsh words yesterday for the Israeli navy,” but a transcript of the interview that Frank provided offered no evidence of such remarks. . . .

“I never said anything critical of the Israeli navy,” Frank stressed in his interview with the Forward and in a statement he issued. The liberal lawmaker, who chairs the prestigious House Financial Services Committee, went to great lengths to emphasize he had not a critical word to say about Israel’s conduct in the flotilla incident.

Though no sane person knows exactly what went on on the boat — but you can get an inkling from Gaza flotilla activists were shot in head at close range — Frank is absolutely sure who is really responsible for all the deaths, and he’s sure it wasn’t the military guys blasting away with their assault weapons. And, oh, by the way, why do we need an independent, international investigation of the killings, Israel is the best in the world at investigating itself!

Frank said also that after learning the details of the flotilla event, it “became clear to me that the people killed weren’t innocent bystanders.” The responsibility, he added, rests on the shoulders of the organizers whose actions led to the use of force. . . .

Despite calls to launch an international investigation into Israel’s actions, Frank said he believed that Israel could investigate itself without fear of prejudice. “The Israeli government, Israeli courts, have the best record I know of a country’s judiciary showing independence.”

What a one-party state the U.S. is on this and everything else military or economic. It should be a crime, especially for real progressives or real leftists, to pretend that isn’t the case.

And in case you think Frank is unusually subservient toward Israel, you’d be wrong. (Unusually craven, yes, but that’s more a matter of style.) Like the Forward says below, it’s wall-to-wall ‘Israel can do no wrong’ in the U.S. Congress:

One of the few voices in Congress calling for a change in United States policy is Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison. . . .

In a statement he issued following the flotilla incident, Ellison urged President Obama and the international community to lead an effort to end the blockade. “This event is the result of the ongoing, counterproductive blockade on Gaza,” he said. “The blockade punishes ordinary citizens, and strengthens Hamas’s control over commerce.”

But Ellison’s is a lone voice on this issue. Statements by Democratic and Republican lawmakers, who heard the news from Gaza during their Memorial Day recess, showed almost wall-to-wall support for the Israeli position and urged the continuation of the blockade.

“The naval blockade and the closure of access points into Israel from Gaza are entirely justified, legal and necessary to preserve Israeli lives and to minimize the smuggling of more and more powerful arms into Gaza to be used against Israeli civilians,” said New York Democrat Gary Ackerman, who chairs the House subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.

What to do about this one-party state?

Finally, by the way, in case you think Frank redeems himself as a leftie as chair of the Senate Finance Committee, read Ralph Nader:

The banks did not want a consumer right of action against companies violating standards for their mortgages, credit and debit cards, or payday and installment loans. Barney said sure!

The banks want a weak oversight panel consisting of their toady regulators, who failed repeatedly and miserably in the past decade to stave off the collapse of Wall Street and its economically lethal consequences for workers and consumers. Barney said sure!

The banks want their buddies in Congress to drop the standard of reasonableness by which the new consumer protection agency can go after wildly gouging fees and deceptive practices, such as the check overdraft racket that rakes in $40 billion for the banks. Barney said, sure, sure!

Okay, that was from back in late 2009, but do we think anything has really changed since then? He’s owned by those who give him money, as are nearly all of ‘our’ representatives.

Human Rights Watch against _real_ ship attack inquiry?

2:43 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

Does Human Rights Watch take orders directly from the U.S. Department of State, or is it that the two bodies’ shared excess of empathy for Israel makes them just seem to be in lock step? Specifically, why does HRW not call for an independent international investigation of Israeli piracy in international waters and its massacre of civilians on the Mavi Marmara? Why call for Israel to investigate itself when they _know_ an Israeli investigation will be bullshit? HRW admits the last in the final sentence blockquoted below:

Israel: Full, Impartial Investigation of Flotilla Killings Essential
May 31, 2010
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director.

(New York) – Israel should promptly conduct a credible and impartial investigation into the deaths of at least 10 activists after Israeli security forces boarded ships that were part of an “aid flotilla” to Gaza, Human Rights Watch said today. . . .

“A prompt, credible, and impartial investigation is absolutely essential to determine whether the lethal force used by Israeli commandos was necessary to protect lives and whether it could have been avoided,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Given Israel’s poor track record of investigating unlawful killings by its armed forces, the international community should closely monitor any inquiry to ensure it meets basic international standards and that any wrongdoers are brought to justice.”

And yet HRW doesn’t ask for an independent international investigation, which is exactly the U.S. government’s position:

Israel should lead investigation into attack on Gaza flotilla, says US
Turkey’s demands for international inquiry blocked at meeting of United Nations security council
Chris McGreal in Washington guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 1 June 2010 19.16 BST

The United States has blocked demands at the UN security council for an international inquiry into Israel’s assault on the Turkish ship carrying aid to Gaza that left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.

A compromise statement instead calls for an impartial investigation which Washington indicated could be carried out by Israel.

Turkey pressed for the security council to launch an investigation similar to Richard Goldstone’s inquiry into last year’s fighting in Gaza which prompted protests from Israel when it concluded that Israel and Hamas were probably guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. . . .

But in hours of diplomatic wrangling, the US blocked the move and instead forced a statement that called for "a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards". The US representative at the security council discussions, Alejandro Wolff, indicated that Washington would be satisfied with Israel investigating itself when he called for it to undertake a credible investigation.

The Israeli government is certain to launch its own inquiry in part as a response to domestic criticism that its forces were ill-prepared for the resistance they met on the ship. But any self-inquiry is likely to be met with the same scepticism beyond Israel’s borders that met its investigations into last year’s Gaza war and its 2006 invasion of Lebanon which criticised aspects of the handling of the operations but did not challenge the underlying claim that they were essential for Israel’s security. . . .

And it is not just the ‘not serious’ Israeli attitude toward really investigating possible law of war violations committed during the Gaza invasion. Robert Fisk notes three additional incidences of Israeli international outlawery just since January, toward all of which the Israeli attitude is ‘screw you, we’ll do whatever we want’:

*Goldstone report, November 2009

Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 with the declared aim of halting rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the three-week conflict along with 13 Israelis. The South African jurist Richard Goldstone’s report into the conflict found both Israel and the Hamas movement that controls the Strip guilty of war crimes, but focused more on Israel. Israel refused to co-operate with Goldstone and described his report as distorted and biased.

* The al-Mabhouh assassination, January-May 2010

Britain and Australia expelled Israeli diplomats after concluding that Israel had forged British and Australian passports used by assassins to kill a Hamas commander in Dubai. Israel has neither confirmed or denied a role in the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in his hotel room in January. Britain said such misuse of British passports was "intolerable". Australia said it was not the behaviour of "a nation with whom we have had such a close, friendly and supportive relationship".

*Settlements row, March 2010

Israel announces plans, during visit by US Vice-President Joe Biden, to build 1,600 homes for Jews in an area of the West Bank annexed by Israel. The announcement triggers unusually harsh criticism from the United States. Washington said it damaged its efforts to revive the Middle East peace process. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the project was an insult. Netanyahu said he was blindsided by planning bureaucrats and apologised to Biden. Today’s meeting with Barack Obama at the White House, called off by Mr Netanyahu so he could return home to deal with the flotilla crisis, was supposed to be another part of the fence-mending between the two allies.

*Nuclear secrecy, May 2010

Israel, widely assumed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, has faced renewed calls to sign a global treaty barring the spread of atomic weapons. Signatories of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) last week called for a conference in 2012 to discuss banning weapons of mass destruction throughout the Middle East. The declaration was adopted by all 189 parties to the NPT, including the US. It urged Israel to sign the NPT and put its nuclear facilities under UN safeguards.

More on the peace ship massacre:

Israelis opened fire before boarding Gaza flotilla, say released activists
First eyewitness accounts of raid contradict version put out by Israeli officials
Dorian Jones in Istanbul and Helena Smith guardian.co.uk,
Tuesday 1 June 2010 14.12 BST

. . . Arriving at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport with her one-year-old baby, Turkish activist Nilufer Cetin said Israeli troops opened fire before boarding the Turkish-flagged ferry Mavi Marmara, which was the scene of the worst clashes and all the fatalities. Israeli officials have said that the use of armed force began when its boarding party was attacked.

"It was extremely bad and very tough clashes took place. The Mavi Marmara is filled with blood," said Cetin, whose husband is the Mavi Marmara’s chief engineer.

She told reporters that she and her child hid in the bathroom of their cabin during the confrontation. "The operation started immediately with firing. First it was warning shots, but when the Mavi Marmara wouldn’t stop these warnings turned into an attack," she said.

"There were sound and smoke bombs and later they used gas bombs. Following the bombings they started to come on board from helicopters." . . .

"It was like war. They had guns, Taser weapons, some type of teargas and other weaponry, compared to two-and-a-half wooden sticks we had between us. To talk of self-defence is ridiculous." — Annette Groth, party of The Left (Die Linke) German MP, who was aboard the Mavi Marmara.

More on Israel’s ‘screw you’ just don’t get it attitude about what it has done:

‘Next time we’ll use more force’
By YAAKOV KATZ, AP AND JPOST.COM STAFF
06/01/2010 13:41

Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. . . .

Hair-curling demo in support of flotilla raid outside Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv
by Philip Weiss on June 1, 2010

Wow. What has Israel become? . . .

[Check out the video]

(Citizens of Indonesia, Lebanon, and Qatar are ‘nationals of enemy states’?)

Red Cross visits wounded nationals of enemy states
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
06/01/2010 19:06

Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross for Israel and Gaza went on Tuesday to hospitals where foreign civilians from countries without diplomatic relations with Israel who were injured in the Marmara ship conflict are being treated. . . .

The Jerusalem Post learned from hospital sources that those visited include people from Lebanon, Indonesia and Qatar.

If you’re in New York:

RALLY AGAINST THE ISRAELI ATTACKS ON THE GAZA FLOTILLA- PART 2!
Date: Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Time: 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Location: Israeli Consulate
Street: 42nd street & 2nd Ave
City/Town: Manhattan, NY

NO 2 IDF Chief, YES 2 Gaza & Corrie, Today 5pm NYC

12:47 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

(Details on where, when, why of march/protest at bottom of diary)

Hundreds set to turn out for anti-Israel Defense Forces demo in NY
Protesters plan to march outside Waldorf Astoria, where Friends of the IDF will host dinner for IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi
By E.B. Solomont
Jerusalem Post
March 9, 2010

. . . The protest is being sponsored by a broad coalition of about 25 left-wing groups, including American Jews for a Just Peace, Codepink, Gaza Freedom March and Jewish Voice for Peace. Organized by Jews Say No!, the protest was endorsed by the Israeli groups Coalition of Women for Peace and BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS From Within.

“We think it’s inappropriate for an American organization to be feting the Israeli army, when the Israeli army is implicated in violations of international law,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, director of Jewish Voice for Peace. She said Operation Cast Lead opened up people’s eyes to the role that the Israeli army plays. The Goldstone Report also made people consider the notion that the IDF is fallible, she added.

“Definitely, it has opened up a big conversation in the Jewish community,” she said, observing that in the past year more Jews have begun “questioning the idea that Israel is always right.”

Okay, I admit, the actual Jerusalem Post headline was "Hundreds set to turn out for anti-Israel demo in NY." I.e., equating support for Israel with support for its the criminal actions of its military, like labeling an anti-Iraq war protest an anti-U.S. protest. But, okay, par for the Jerusualem Post course, and we move on. . . . to more important positive news out of Israel/Palestine from a basic humanitarian perspective. Note btw the efforts by Israel to avoid a fair verdict:

Israeli Defense Ministry goes on trial for Corrie death
March 9, 2010
Ma’an News

Jerusalem – On Wednesday, the Israeli Defense Ministry will go on trial as a court hears a case filed by the parents of an American woman run down by an Israeli military bulldozer in Gaza, in March 2003.

A civil suit seeks to hold Israeli forces responsible for the death of Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old activist who was crushed to death as she protested a Palestinian home from demolition in the Gaza Strip.

"We claim that her assassination was intentional," or, at the very least, that the army is guilty of "huge negligence," Hussein Abu Hussein, the attorney who filed the petition on behalf of Corrie’s parents, commented.

Abu Hussein cites the state’s acknowledgment of the fact that Corrie and other members of the International Solidarity Movement—a Palestinian-led peace organization that advocates non-violent means of resistance to the Israeli occupation—were demonstrating in the area for several hours before Corrie was struck by the bulldozer. He also points out that Corrie was wearing a fluorescent orange vest to increase her visibility.

At the time of her death, the Israeli military response was that the driver of the machine did not see Corrie.

"If you see people, you should stop and think of all the needed steps not to harm [them]. Instead of stopping the D9, which weighs 64 tons, they continued. And due to that, [Corrie] was killed," Abu Hussein said.

Four of Corrie’s fellow activists who witnessed her death were initially denied entry into Israel where they were asked to testify at the trial, but US pressure reportedly changed the Israeli position. A US citizen and three UK nationals will now be able to speak at the trial, which is expected to last two weeks.

Israel will not issue an entry permit to Dr Ahmed Abu Nakira, the Gazan physician who saw Corrie after she was injured and declared her dead. The state rejected the request for his entry on the grounds that there is no coordination between Israel and Gaza, due to the Israeli blockade that began after Hamas rose to power in 2007.

"It’s an obstacle to justice," Abu Hussein said. "On the one side, [Israel] won’t give permission [for Dr Abu Nakira] to come; on the other they won’t allow him to testify by videoconference, which is used daily by courts everywhere in the modern world."

More from the Corrie family, Cindy and Craig, here:

Call to Action: Corrie Trial in Israel, March 10-24, 2009

Friends,

As many of you know, a civil lawsuit in the case of our daughter Rachel Corrie is scheduled for trial in the Haifa District Court beginning March 10, 2010. A human rights observer and activist, Rachel, 23, tried nonviolently to offer protection for a Palestinian family whose home was threatened with demolition by the Israeli military. On March 16, 2003, she was crushed to death by an Israel Defense Force (IDF) Caterpillar D9R bulldozer in Rafah, Gaza.

The lawsuit is one piece of our family’s seven-year effort to pursue justice for our daughter and sister. We hope this trial will illustrate the need for accountability for thousands of lives lost, or indelibly injured, by occupation—in a besieged and beleaguered Gaza and throughout Palestine/Israel; bring attention to the assault on nonviolent human rights activists (Palestinian, Israeli, and international); and underscore the fact that so many Palestinian families, harmed as deeply as ours, cannot access Israeli courts.

In order to deliver these interconnected messages as effectively as possible, we are asking for large-scale participation in the trial itself as well as in the events surrounding it. We hope you will join us for all or some of the events listed below and help us to put the call out to others. . . .

Craig and Cindy Corrie

Their PDF press release is here: Family Seeks Accountability Seven Years After An Israeli Military Bulldozer Crushed Their 23 Year Old Daughter To Death

Okay, let’s give you the details on today’s protest/march:

PROTEST THE ANNUAL FUNDRAISING DINNER OF THE FRIENDS OF THE ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES & KEYNOTE IDF CHIEF OF STAFF GABI ASHKENAZI

WHEN: Tuesday, March 9, 2010, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: New York City, 53rd St and Lexington Ave. Signs and procession route provided. (The dinner is at the Waldorf Astoria)

WHAT: The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, a registered 501-(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that provides support and services to members of Israel’s national army, will be holding a $1,000 a plate fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria, New York City. The keynote speaker will be Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, IDF Chief of General Staff, who was responsible for the prosecution of last year’s Operation Cast Lead against the people of Gaza. At the same time as the dinner, a broad coalition of local groups will stage a mobile protest outside the hotel to highlight the crimes committed by the IDF during Operation Cast Lead as well as Israel’s ongoing illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip.

WHY:

NO TO THE IDF’s BRUTALITY!

NO TO THE OCCUPATION AND SIEGE OF GAZA!

YES TO THE GOLDSTONE REPORT!

YES TO JUSTICE FOR THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE!

Please wear black if you can. We will provide dynamic signs!

Co-sponsored by Jews Say No!, Adalah-NY, Gaza Freedom March, Judson Church, Women In Black Union Square, Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism, Codepink, Brooklyn For Peace, Women of a Certain Age, Center for Immigrant Families, Wespac, Middle East Crisis Response, Regeneración Childcare NYC, National Lawyers Guild-NY Chapter, Post Road, American Jews for a Just Peace, Jewish Voice For Peace, Woodstock Veterans For Peace, A.R.T. (Activist Response Team), Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA, Progressive Democrats of America, NYC Anti-War Coalition, and New York Collective of Radical Educators

Endorsed by Coalition of Women for Peace, and BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS From Within

Finally, other news you may not have seen about the ongoing injustice in Palestine/Israel. Yup, consider it semi-official, it’s apartheid:

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine on March 3rd concluded the EU should sanction Israel until violations stop, ruling in Barcelona, Spain on six questions concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The jurists were assembled from around the world and issued their conclusions, among them stipulating that Israel practices a form of apartheid. The Tribunal’s judgements are not judicially binding but are meant to examine the complicity of the European Union in perpetuating what the Tribunal called Israel’s "policy of war, occupation, and colonization for 60 years."