War

Murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir

As is the practice and policy of Israel, following the confession from 3 out of 6 Israelis arrested over the murder of the Palestinian teen – I would like to ask the question:  Is Israel going to demolish their family homes, and of those who still remain as suspects?

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Iraq blocks Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

I’ve written my thoughts about the recent drama taking place in Iraq involving ISIS.  You can read there here and here.

The latest activity which has alarmed me about Iraq is the blocking of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube along with other social network sites.  Now, not so long ago – the world erupted with anger when Turkey played a similar move during protest which had gripped its capital.  At the time, the news, media around the world, engaged in a dangerous move to put pressure on Turkey to reverse the ban – including direct pressure from the White House.  In Iraq’s case, this has hardly been the media main news that hits our television sets.

You may question ‘well what is the big deal in that’, well considering how the west loves revolutions via social media, and directly Egypt and Arab Spring pops up in my mind – likewise the very point that no western country has taken the slightest interest in Iraq’s latest move does indeed worry me.

Iraq may well argue – it will help to halt ISIS advance, well that may well be the case, but I’m slightly surprised by the lame and lack of explanation by Iraq.  It would make more sense if Iraq used social media as a spying tool and used the intelligence to its advantage, but my main main worry at this moment is a Iraqi led and Western supported massacrer of villages and town including territories controlled by ISIS, bringing back memories of Fallujah and how America supporting and directed such atrocities.  US has a history of dropping bombs from above and expecting collateral damage, unfortunately this information only makes it way out to the world when the dust settles, by then, it becomes anyone’s guess who will investigate it and when the UN will agree to a full investigation.

So as it stand, I feel, from the information I have read online, that Iraqi government are setting the foundation for something dangerous.

Keep up with the information I say.

America and Axis of Evil to be Allies

There is no doubt in my mind that one referred to as Axis of Evil Iran will be, either direct or indirect, ally of America (and the west).  With growing concern with ISIS and their progress in Iraq – the tone of war towards Iran by America has calmed down.  This may seem like a wise choice by America, to let another dirty neighbor do the dirty work, but on the long run – what role will Iraq play in Shia controlled Iraq?  The problem with America is they simply can’t do a good job of anything.  Iraq is a oil producing nation and so naturally America (and the West) will remain engaged in its politics – but it far easier to control Iraq if a) it is divided and b) if security remains a problem between Shia, Sunni and Kurds – in other words, if they continue to fight themselves then they’ll have no energy or resources to pose a threat to US allies such as Israel.

Makes sense?

 

 

The dividing of Iraq is now in motion.

If I had put up this picture during the early stages of the Iraq war (2003/2004) – you would probably look at it and call it a ‘conspiracy’.  Yet today, this picture brings home the truth, painfully as it might be, that Iraq had been lined up to be divided into three separate states all along.

I have a a few reasons to believe that for Iraq, right now, this is the game being played:

1 – The language of the media has changed.  No longer are they using words such as ‘terrorism’ or ‘Al-Qaeda’ to describe parties in Iraq.

2- Words such as Sunni, Shia and Kurds is being used instead to describe the parties involved in this new conflict.

3- ISIS is a group no one has ever heard of.  In fact it took me a long time to find out what ISIS was short for, and to this group is suddenly making ‘military style’ strides inside Iraq and controlling territory, military hardware and well organized to take on US trained Iraqi military and government begins to sound alarm bells of who is behind them and what is their motive? As in the past, sectarian violence was the preferred method to harm the government.

3- The media such as BBC and their reports have started hinted of ISIS intention to control their occupied territory and making it their permanent state.

As the news unfolds, and ISIS continue to make ground – like always I expect the US and UK (along with their allies) to drag their feet.  It serves in the interest of the west, and more importantly, it makes Middle East more unstable thus easier to control by the west along with their assets.

So, I predict in the next few months, the US/UK begin to talk to ISIS and seek to understand their terms.  Their terms no doubt (as described in the picture above) will be to break a section away of Iraq to be governened and control by Sunni Muslims, leaving northern Iraq to be broken away for the Kurds and remaining part of the Shia Muslims.  US/UK will ensure this is the case and so the new map of Middle East will be born.

Let’s see how it pans out.

 

Israel army shoots 2 Lebanese after Israeli soldier killed

The facts remain unclear at this stage, but recent news on this matter seems to suggest Israel army have retaliated after one of their soldiers was killed hours earlier.

In the past, and I recall similar incidents and escalations in 2010, when Israel army crossed and infiltrated into Lebanon, and of course the exact details were never confirmed or denied but ignored by Israel – the usual “no comment” policy.

After reading a news articles, one interesting piece of information which draws my attention is:

Israeli army spokeswoman Lt. Libby Weiss said Israeli forces identified “suspicious movement” along the border just after midnight, and shot two members of Lebanon’s armed forces. The shooting occurred near where Cohen was killed, she said but had no details on the condition of the Lebanese. [source]

Don’t you find it strange that Israel in one paragraph echo confusion or a contradiction?  First “suspicious movement” is identified.  Shots are then fired, and then that suspicious movement becomes Lebanese Forces.  No exact location is specified and no direct link to indicate if the “suspicious movement” was indeed Lebanese Forces or just couple of cats playing near the border.

Despite the confusion and disinformation surrounding this recent incident, it will be interesting to see how both sides handle this.  We have seen how the situation can deteriorate between both sides in the past and are these recent events a trigger to descend the region into turmoil, again?

 

Rabbi Shalom Rav speaks out about Israeli crimes in Palestine-Gaza Strip

The following is what Rabbi Shalom Rav writes – I must admit, although simple language is used it is inspiring and heart warming.

Israel’s military assault on Gaza in 2008-09 represented an important turning point in my own relationship with Israel. I recall experiencing a new and previously unfamiliar feeling of anguish as Israel bombarded the people living in that tiny, besieged strip of land over and over, day after day after day. While I certainly felt a sense of tribal loyalty to the Israelis who withstood Qassam rocket fire from Gaza, I felt a newfound sense of concern and solidarity with Gazans who I believed were experiencing nothing short of oppression during this massive military onslaught.

And now it’s happening again. Only this time I don’t think the term “anguish” quite fits my mindset. Now it’s something much closer to rage.

It’s happening again. Once again 1.7 million people, mostly refugees, who have been living in what amounts to the world’s largest open air prison, are being subjected to a massive military assault at the hands of the world’s most militarized nation, using mostly US-made weapons. And our President is not only looking on – he is defending Israel’s war crimes by saying that Israel had a right to “self-defense in light of the barrage of rocket attacks being launched from Gaza against Israeli civilians.”

Let’s be clear: this tragedy didn’t start with the Qassams.  It didn’t start with the election of Hamas. And it didn’t start with the “instability” that followed Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza.

No, this is just the latest chapter of a much longer saga that began in 1947-48, when scores of Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their cities and villages in the coastal plain and lower Galilee and warehoused in a tiny strip of land on the edge of the Mediterranean. By all accounts, most were simply too overwhelmed to realize what was happening. Some tried to return to their homes and were killed on sight. Others resisted by staging raids in the newly declared state of Israel. Sometimes they succeeded, more often they did not. Either way, Israel decided early on that it would respond to each of these reprisals with a overwhelming military show of force.  And those reprisals and that show of force have essentially been ongoing until this very day.

I realize, of course, there is plenty of political subtext to this latest go-around.  I’ve read the timelines and have formed my own opinions on the latest “who started it?” debate. I’ve also read plenty of analyses by Israeli observers who believe that this was not a response to Qassam fire at all but was very much a “war of choice” waged by an Israeli administration looking to shore up political support in an election season.

I’ve also read a widely circulated article from Ha’aretz about Israel’s recent execution of Ahmed Jabari (the head of Hamas’ military wing). I learned that up until now, Jabari was “Israel’s subcontractor” for security in the Gaza Strip, that Israel has been literally funding Hamas through intermediaries in exchange for peace and quiet on their southern border, and that when Jabari failed to deliver of late, the decision came down to take him out. Another article, written by the Israeli who negotiated with Jabari for the release of Gilad Shalit, revealed that negotiations were still ongoing between Jabari and Israeli officials when Israel assassinated him with a drone strike.

Yes, the wonky side of me has been avidly reading all these analyses. And while I do believe they provide an important counterbalance to the mythic statements by Israel’s Foreign Ministry and the US State Department, the more I read the cynical political subtext for this war, the sicker I get. No, this isn’t about Qassams, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s about elections either. It’s really just the most recent chapter in a much longer litany of injustice – the latest attempt by Israel bring the Palestinian to their knees through the sheer force of their formidable military might.

Of all the analyses I’ve yet read, one of the very few that truly seemed to grasp this truth came from Yousef Munayyer, of The Jerusalem Fund/Palestine Center:

The problem Gaza presents for Israel is that it won’t go away—though Israel would love it if it would. It is a constant reminder of the depopulation of Palestine in 1948, the folly of the 1967 occupation, and the many massacres which have happened since them. It also places the Israelis in an uncomfortable position because it presents a problem (in the form of projectiles) which cannot be solved by force…

Israel has tried assassinating Palestinian leaders for decades but the resistance persists. Israel launched a devastating and brutal war on Gaza from 2008 to 2009 killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, but the resistance persists.

Why, then, would Israel choose to revert to a failed strategy that will undoubtedly only escalate the situation? Because it is far easier for politicians to lie to voters, vilify their adversaries, and tell them ‘we will hit them hard’ than to come clean and say instead, ‘we’ve failed and there is no military solution to this problem.’

Like last time, I know many in the Jewish community will say it is unseemly of me to criticize Israel this way while Israelis live in fear of Qassam fire out of Gaza. I know there are those who believe that by writing these words, I’m turning my back on my own people in their time of need. But I know in my heart that my outrage at Israel’s actions goes hand in hand with compassion for Israelis – particularly those who know that their leaders’ devotion to the sword is leading them into the abyss.

Additionally, as I wrote under tragically similar circumstances in 2009:

I believe Israel’s response to Hamas’ missile attacks have been disproportionate and outrageous. I believe their actions only further endanger the security of  Israelis while inflicting collective punishment and a severe humanitarian crisis upon Gazans. Indeed, just as I cannot understand what it must be like to be a citizen of Sderot, I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like to be a Gazan citizen at the moment, living under constant air attack, with no running water or electricity and dwindling food, as hospitals fill up with wounded and corpses lie rotting in the streets because relief workers are unable to reach them.

When will we be ready to accept that this is not a “balanced” conflict or even a “war” by any reasonable definition – and it never was.  When will we face the painful truth that this is not a story about one side versus the other but about one side oppressing the other?  Frankly, all the well-meaning liberal comments about “praying for peace on both sides” and leave me cold. Worse, I find them insidious because they simply serve to support the myth that this is a conflict between two equal parties. It is not. And peace will not come until we admit this – until we admit that there is an essential injustice at the heart of this tragedy and that try as it might, Israel will never be able to make it go away through the sheer force of its increasingly massive military might.

Beyond the rage, I’m heartened that this time around there is a growing community of conscience that is speaking out publicly and in no uncertain terms to protest Israel’s latest outrage in Gaza. I am so deeply grateful for my friends and colleagues at Jewish Voice for Peace, who is alone in the Jewish world in condemning this latest assault.  I urge you to read JVP’s courageous statement, which I know gives voice to increasing numbers of Jews and non-Jews, young and old, religious and secular, who are coming together through the courage of their convictions.

At this point in my posts I would typically write “click here” to lend your voice to some kind of collective statement.  I’m going resist that temptation and urge you instead to take to the streets.

I’ll see you there.

Israel Considers Any Palestinian Infrastructure That Can Be Connected to Hamas to Be ‘Terrorist’

While it is unlikely that the escalating violence in Gaza will be placed into proper context by United States media, who report on it in the context of Israel’s blockade and occupation of Palestinian land, it is also just as unlikely that there will be any meaningful coverage on how Israel justifies bombing civilian infrastructure in Gaza.

Israel decimated the Gaza City office of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who was elected in the legislative elections in 2006 but later dismissed by President Mahmoud Abbas. He has continued to exercise authority and is a head of state yet, if one saw the headline at the New York Times they would not see a headline explaining how a Gaza Prime Minister’s office was bombed. They would see one that read, “Israel Destroys Hamas Prime Minister’s Office.”

The Times reported spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mark Regev, stated, “Government buildings had been targeted because Hamas ‘makes no distinction between its terrorist military machine and the government structure…We have seen Hamas consistently using so-called civilian facilities for the purposes of hiding their terrorist military machine, including weapons.”

Under this concept, it is hard to see how Israel would not be able to justify hitting any part of Gaza and killing any person inside or nearby that infrastructure. Saturday morning, according to Haaretz, Israel’s air force targeted Gaza’s police headquarters, other government buildings and a mosque in Rafah. It also is impossible to see how a cease-fire can be brokered if Israel is going to destroy the offices of political leaders elected in disputed or undisputed Palestinian elections. 

The United Nations’ fact-finding mission in 2009, after the Gaza conflict that year that left over 1400 Palestinians dead, did not accept Israel’s concept of Hamas “supporting infrastructure.” The mission found it “particularly worrying” as it “appeared to transform civilians and civilian objects into legitimate targets.” This made it possible for Israeli political and military leaders to make it seem like in order to respond to Hamas it had to carry out “disproportionate destruction” and create “maximum disruption in the lives of many people as a legitimate means to achieve not only military but also political goals.”

The mission determined Israeli armed forces had launched “numerous attacks against buildings and persons of the Gaza authorities.”

…As far as attacks on buildings are concerned, the Mission examined the Israeli strikes against the Palestinian Legislative Council building and the Gaza main prison…Both buildings were destroyed and can no longer be used. Statements by Israeli Government and armed forces representatives justified the attacks arguing that political and administrative institutions in Gaza are part of the “Hamas terrorist infrastructure”. The Mission rejects this position. It finds that there is no evidence that the Legislative Council building and the Gaza main prison made an effective contribution to military action. On the information available to it, the Mission finds that the attacks on these buildings constituted deliberate attacks on civilian objects in violation of the rule of customary international humanitarian law whereby attacks must be strictly limited to military objectives… [emphasis added]

This indicated Israel had committed a “grave breach of extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”

It believed four years ago that it was acceptable to strike the office of Ismail Haniyeh. This was a statement the government made claiming it did not need to distinguish between military and civilian targets:

…While Hamas operates ministries and is in charge of a variety of administrative and traditionally governmental functions in the Gaza Strip, it still remains a terrorist organization. Many of the ostensibly civilian elements of its regime are in reality active components of its terrorist and military efforts. Indeed, Hamas does not separate its civilian and military activities in the manner in which a legitimate government might. Instead, Hamas uses apparatuses under its control, including quasi-governmental institutions, to promote its terrorist activity… 

Because Israel considers the democratically elected Hamas to be a “terrorist organization,” Gaza technically has little in the way of structures for administrative or traditional government functions that could not be characterized in some way as part of Hamas’ “terrorist organization.” And so, that is why it is not a war crime to Israel to hit an office where he met Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil the day before.

The United States, which provides $150 million in military aid or more each year to Israel, has no problem with this concept justifying the targeting of civilian infrastructure. Deputy national security adviser for strategic communication for US President Barack Obama stated, according to Haaretz, “The Israelis are going to make decisions about their own military tactics and operations. What we want is the same thing the Israelis want, which is an end to the rocket fire coming out of Gaza. We wouldn’t comment on specific targeting choices by the Israelis other than to say that we of course always underscore the importance of avoiding civilian casualties. But the Israelis again will make judgments about their military operations.”

The mention of “civilian casualties” is a token gesture to a Palestinian people the US is willing allow Israel to continue to subject to a blockade in Gaza and policies of apartheid.

Moreover, Haaretz has reported that Interior Minister Eli Yishai said on Israel’s operation in Gaza: “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for forty years.” It is hard not to interpret that as a commitment to further devastate Gaza to force it to submit even more to Israeli dominion.

[source]