Tag Archives: Israeli occupation

The BBC’s Shameful Film: “Children of the Gaza War”. Coverup of Israel’s Orchestrated Massacre

By John Hilley
Global Research, July 10, 2015
Zenpolitics, July 9, 2015

 

gaza-children-rubleA truly disgraceful piece of distortion from the BBC’s Lyse Doucet.

The title of this film is a clear hint of the propaganda to come, based, as ever, on the fatuous ‘two sides’ narrative. There was no ‘war’, only another orchestrated massacre, a campaign of civil terror, in order to maintain Israel’s wicked, illegal siege. From the first minute of this shoddy film, one just wants to urge Doucet: tell the truth, give the context!

Yes, children suffer and die, but why is this happening?

Why have so many Palestinians been murdered? Why have over 500 children been slaughtered?

Why are an entire population, notably the children, so deeply traumatised? Tell the truth, provide the context!

Israel is the aggressor force. Gaza is the key target. It lies in ruins. Yet, this truly despicable film affects to argue that Sderot is part of the same ‘war zone’.

Continual reference is made to Israel targeting populated areas from where, it’s claimed, Hamas were launching rockets, just part of the loaded message that Hamas are largely responsible for the carnage.

A key section of the film is given over to Hamas fighters, youth camp training and wielded weaponry. But there’s not a single frame of an Israeli soldier, or the mass military operation engaged in the attempted annihilation of Gaza’s people. There’s no questioning, either, of how Israel has socialised so much of its youth to hate and fear Palestinians.

Standing at a Hamas training camp, Doucet laments: “For the outside world it’s hard to comprehend why parents would put children in situations like this.” But there’s no exploration of how Israel as a militarist, occupying state has conditioned so much of its own population to join in the historic oppression and mass murder of Palestinians. Indeed, the word ‘occupation’ is never used.

At one point, Doucet sits with the smiling Gazan kids and asks one of them: ‘Why do you want to be a journalist?’ The child replies in lovely innocence: ‘So I can tell people what’s going on in wars like this one’. If only Doucet could aspire to that same basic aim. One might ask Doucet, in turn: Why do you want to be a stenographer rather than a journalist?

We see more pictures of Gaza’s ruins. Doucet says: “The donors promise a lot. But politics on all sides gets in the way.” This is the extent of her ‘explanation’ of the carnage Israel has caused, the devastation it’s unleashed, its refusal to help rebuild.

Doucet’s grating commentary, over inappropriately lilting music, continues, with affected questions on whether the hate and suspicion can ever be overcome.

A scene of more families coming to settle in Israel’s border locale raises not a word of comment on the nature of Israel’s land appropriation, historic displacement of people and enduring occupation. The indoctrination of Israeli children in defending this is never mentioned, nor is the stark privilege of Israeli kids against the appalling conditions and despair of the children in Gaza. Doucet just smiles and says nothing of the staggering disparities.

I hope the families that Doucet interviewed in Gaza get to see how they’ve been used and exploited in this shabby, deceitful film.

An end credit announces that both Israel and Hamas could be indicted for war crimes, and that: ‘In May and June there were more rounds of rockets fired from Gaza and Israeli airstrikes’, the clear inference, as throughout this deeply-loaded film, that Israel is always ‘responding’ to provocative weaponry.

This is one of the worst examples of ’two sides’ reportage ever shown. Israel couldn’t have hoped for a greater piece of mitigating hasbara. Doucet’s film is one of the most shameful pieces of ‘war journalism’ ever put out by the BBC.

She doesn’t lack human empathy for the suffering Palestinian kids, such as little Syed, still haunted by the murder of his brother and three cousins on Gaza’s beach. What she lacks, much more profoundly, is a sense of compassionate duty to say why these appalling things happened, and are still happening, to name the principal perpetrators, to be a witness for truth and justice.

Doucet’s film is an abuse of journalism, and, in its pretentious evasions, an abuse of Gaza’s suffering children.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b061vbdj/children-of-the-gaza-war

– See more at: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-bbcs-shameful-film-children-of-the-gaza-war-coverup-of-israels-orchestrated-massacre/5461466#sthash.N1r1o6OT.dpuf

If the ‘product’ is wrong, a rebrand won’t help Israel

By Jonathan Cook
July 07, 2015
Jonathan Cook: the Blog from Nazareth

 

War Propaganda: Western Media, Not Israeli HasbaraThe Israeli government believes it is locked in an epic struggle to save Israel from the growing movement calling for an international boycott. Benjamin Netanyahu warns that Israel must “rebrand” itself to avoid pariah status. Ordinary Israelis are therefore being conscripted into an army of spin doctors in a campaign termed “hasbara” – Hebrew for “public diplomacy” or, most literally, propaganda.

In the latest offensive, the education ministry has launched a compulsory hasbara course for students travelling abroad. All youth delegations are now required to learn how to justify Israel’s policies in the occupied territories to outsiders. According to officials, the students must challenge those who “seek to delegitimise Israel”.

It is yet more evidence that hasbara has become a national obsession in Israel – and that the line between support for one’s country and support for the subjugation of another people has been erased.

Some 85 per cent of Israelis say they are keen to become hasbara ambassadors. A hasbara ministry already targets the international media with good news, while cultural events abroad, from food fairs to Israeli entries at film festivals, are designed to prove that Israel has another side.

For years the Israeli government has relied on paid workers – and thousands of volunteers – to surf the net posting pro-Israel comments. At Israel’s international airport, Israeli holidaymakers are offered brochures explaining the importance of persuading those they meet that Israel is misunderstood.

And yet the latest hasbara drive is unlikely to reverse Israel’s slow slide into ignominy.

The hasbara industry’s chief flaw, as Israeli political scientist Neve Gordon observes, is its assumption that “the merchandise is fine, and only the packaging needs to be replaced”.

But rapid developments in information technology mean Israel has less control over manipulating its image than ever before. First it was 24-hour news, then the internet. Now, smartphones make every Palestinian a potential documentary-maker, ensuring that moments of cruelty and oppression are captured and available for anyone who cares to look.

Palestinians post online videos of their everyday abuse: from demolition of homes to stone-throwers being shot with live ammunition.

Last week, Zaki Sabah, 56, a cake vendor in Jerusalem’s Old City, starred in one such video. Bystanders filmed him being savagely beaten by Israeli police on a busy road. Denied a permit for years by the occupation authorities, Sabah has been repeatedly fined and jailed.

Meanwhile, another video exposed Israel’s deceitful account of its supposedly peaceful interception of a boat trying to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. As more than a dozen passengers were held captive over the weekend, footage was smuggled out showing that Israeli commandos had electrocuted some of them with tasers.

Troubling imagery is not restricted to the occupied territories. Film of the charred interior of a historic church next to the Sea of Galilee highlighted last month the latest hate crime by Jewish extremists against Israel’s large Palestinian minority.

The futility of trying to stem the tide of evidence damning Israel on media old and new was exemplified last week by Moshe Yaalon, the defence minister.

“There is no humanitarian distress in Gaza,” he averred, while the media illustrated reports of his speech with pictures of mountains of rubble and children still homeless a year after Israel’s assault on the enclave.

Mr Yaalon’s sophistry may placate Israel’s supporters but the rest of us are more often incensed by such insults to our intelligence.

The hasbara offensive is doomed for another reason.

With the Palestinians’ case substantiated by evidence, rather than Israel’s, the evangelists of hasbara have only one recourse: to blame the messenger. Critics of Israel, it is implied, are either inveterate dupes or unabashed anti-semites. Either they have been deceived by the Israel-haters, or they are haters themselves.

As the hasbara industry moves into overdrive, such slurs are becoming common – including against those Israel needs to cultivate as allies.

Judith Nir Mozes, the wife of interior minister Silvan Shalom, himself a Netanyahu confidant, possibly reflected high-level thinking in Israel when she tweeted last month a racist “joke” about President Barack Obama. “Do u know what Obama Coffee is? Black and weak,” she wrote, ridiculing the leader of Israel’s most important ally.

Similarly, the Israeli foreign ministry mocked foreign journalists, even though they are hasbara’s target audience.

In a short animated video, a naive reporter is shown claiming that the people of Gaza simply want peace as militants fire rockets just behind him. Next the reporter misidentified Hamas’s tunnelling as the “first Palestinian subway system”. The video ends with a warning: “Open your eyes, terror rules Gaza.” The video has since been removed.

Michael Oren, Israel’s recently departed ambassador to the US, has joined the fray too, castigating American Jewish journalists as “self-haters”.

Hasbara’s cartoon version of reality is not only unconvincing but, in alienating friends as much as foes, self-defeating. Mr Netanyahu may hope to repackage Israel, but his product – continuing oppression of Palestinians – is one few can be persuaded to buy.

High-Seas Piracy: Israel’s Latest Bandit Act. “Gaza: the World’s Largest Open-air Prison”

By Stephen Lendman
July 01, 2015
Global Research

 

Israel se desvela a ojos del mundo por medio de su pirateríaPrevious articles discussed Israel’s seizure of the Swedish vessel Marianne Ship to Gaza carrying humanitarian aid despite Israel’s hollow denial. 

Israel wants Gazans trapped indefinitely in the world’s largest open-air prison deprived of essentials for well-being – suffocated under a policy of slow-motion genocide.

Israeli commandos lawlessly seized the Marianne in international waters. Netanyahu saying it was done lawfully is one of a litany of Big Lies he claimed about the incident – a bandit act like so many others Israel commits endlessly.

A June 29 Ship to Gaza press release said “the ‘Marianne’ contacted the Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) and informed us that three boats of the Israeli navy had surrounded her in international waters, while sailing approximately 100NM from Gaza coast.”

“After that we lost contact with the ‘Marianne’ and at 05:11AM (Gaza time) the IDF announced that they had visited and searched Marianne. They had captured the boat and detained all on board ‘in international waters’ as they admitted themselves.”

“The only positive content in the IDF announcement was that they still recognize that there is a naval blockade of Gaza, despite Netanyahu’s government recent denial that one exists.”

We have no reason to believe that Marianne’s capture was ‘uneventful’ (as Israel claims), because the last time the IDF said something like that, in 2012″ activists on board the Estelle were savagely tasered and beaten with clubs.

In 2010, nine Mavi Marmara participants were murdered in cold blood, another died later from injuries sustained. They were designated in advance for assassination.

Israel’s so-called “no tolerance” policy assures collective punishment against 1.8 million Gazans – victimized by rogue state ruthlessness.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) “condemn(ed) in the strongest terms the Israeli Navy’s interception and seizure of the first vessel of Freedom Flotilla III taking it to Ashdod seaport in Israel.

“PCHR believes that this attack is aimed to impose the conspiracy of international silence towards crimes committed by Israel against the Gaza Strip’s population, including the illegal closure that has been imposed for the ninth consecutive year.”

“The act of piracy committed by Israeli occupation forces against solidarity activists who came to the Gaza Strip, unarmed but with their moral strength, is another attempt to silence the voices of the free people of the world who wished to send a message to the whole world that the total siege imposed the Gaza Strip is inhuman, illegal, a man-made disaster and a part of an ongoing war crime against Palestinian civilians.”

Israel’s summer 2014 aggression left much of Gaza in ruins – not rebuilt because Israel blocks most construction and other supplies from getting in. It holds the entire population hostage to its ruthlessness – high crimes demanding accountability not gotten.

Monday evening, Israel’s Population, Immigration, and Borders Authority said it detained 16 foreign nationals for questioning. Deportation would follow.

Hamas condemned the “kidnapping” of activists on board, explaining Marianne “succeeded in showing the crime of blockade.”

Flotilla organizers said “(w)e once again call on the government of Israel to finally lift the blockade of Gaza. Our destination remains the conscience of humanity.”

They vowed to use “passive resistance,” not violence when lawlessly boarded. Israel operates by different standards. Brutality is standard practice.

Reports indicate its commandos tasered activists on board. It’s not know so far if they were beaten or otherwise abused. We’ll know more when they’re able to speak freely.

So far, they’re held incommunicado except for former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, Palestinian MK Basel Ghattas and European parliamentarian Ana Miranda – released in Ashdod.

RT International correspondent Nadya Kevorkova was on board the Marianne. Ghattas said she was OK and would be released Tuesday. He confirmed Israeli commandos attacked some activists. Slight injuries were sustained. Swedish participants were singled out for abuse.

Ghattas explained even though Marianne was seized, activists achieved their goal of “attract(ing) attention of the world toward the issue of the illegal siege and toward the illegal blockade over Gaza.”

Crew members left video messages prior to seizure. Marianne’s captain Joel Opperdoes said “(i)f you see this video, this means that we are under attack in international waters by Israeli Air Defense Forces.” Other messages were similar.

After weeks of reports about Freedom Flotilla III’ mission, The New York Times addressed it for the first time Monday – highlighting Israel regarding these “action(s) as highly provocative,” failing to explain lawless collective punishment against 1.8 million largely defenseless people for political, not security reasons.

Gazans remain trapped in rubble – “ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished,” as Franklin Roosevelt said about one-third of Americans during the 1930s Great Depression.

His solution was expanded social services. Israel’s is continued collective punishment and naked aggression at its discretion.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Today I Saw a Weeping Palestinian Man Holding a Plastic Bag of Meat: It Was His Son

By Brian Eno
Global Research, June 25, 2015
Stop the War Coalition, June 22, 2015

 

gaza_brian_eno_letter_460.jpg

Brian Eno speaking at the National Demonstration for Gaza, London, 26/07/14

Brian Eno’s letter to America: WHY? I just don’t get it

This article was originally published on 3 August 2014. Brian Eno is an artist, musical innovator, record producer for artists ranging from David Bowie to U2 and Coldplay. He has been a consistent supporter of Stop the War Coalition since it was first founded.

Dear All of You,

I sense I’m breaking an unspoken rule with this letter, but I can’t keep quiet any more.

Today I saw a picture of a weeping Palestinian man holding a plastic carrier bag of meat. It was his son. He’d been shredded (the hospital’s word) by an Israeli missile attack – apparently using their fab new weapon, flechette bombs. You probably know what those are – hundreds of small steel darts packed around explosive which tear the flesh off humans. The boy was Mohammed Khalaf al-Nawasra. He was 4 years old.

I suddenly found myself thinking that it could have been one of my kids in that bag, and that thought upset me more than anything has for a long time.

Then I read that the UN had said that Israel might be guilty of war crimes in Gaza, and they wanted to launch a commission into that. America won’t sign up to it.

What is going on in America? I know from my own experience how slanted your news is, and how little you get to hear about the other side of this story. But – for Christ’s sake! – it’s not that hard to find out. Why does America continue its blind support of this one-sided exercise in ethnic cleansing? WHY? I just don’t get it. I really hate to think its just the power of AIPAC… for if that’s the case, then your government really is fundamentally corrupt. No, I don’t think that’s the reason… but I have no idea what it could be.

The America I know and like is compassionate, broadminded, creative, eclectic, tolerant and generous. You, my close American friends, symbolise those things for me. But which America is backing this horrible one-sided colonialist war? I can’t work it out: I know you’re not the only people like you, so how come all those voices aren’t heard or registered?

How come it isn’t your spirit that most of the world now thinks of when it hears the word ‘America’? How bad does it look when the one country which more than any other grounds its identity in notions of Liberty and Democracy then goes and puts its money exactly where its mouth isn’t and supports a ragingly racist theocracy?

I was in Israel last year with Mary. Her sister works for UNWRA in Jerusalem. Showing us round were a Palestinian – Shadi, who is her sister’s husband and a professional guide – and Oren Jacobovitch, an Israeli Jew, an ex-major from the IDF who left the service under a cloud for refusing to beat up Palestinians. Between the two of them we got to see some harrowing things – Palestinian houses hemmed in by wire mesh and boards to prevent settlers throwing shit and piss and used sanitary towels at the inhabitants; Palestinian kids on their way to school being beaten by Israeli kids with baseball bats to parental applause and laughter; a whole village evicted and living in caves while three settler families moved onto their land; an Israeli settlement on top of a hill diverting its sewage directly down onto Palestinian farmland below; The Wall; the checkpoints… and all the endless daily humiliations. I kept thinking, “Do Americans really condone this? Do they really think this is OK? Or do they just not know about it?”.

As for the Peace Process: Israel wants the Process but not the Peace. While ‘the process’ is going on the settlers continue grabbing land and building their settlements… and then when the Palestinians finally erupt with their pathetic fireworks they get hammered and shredded with state-of-the-art missiles and depleted uranium shells because Israel ‘has a right to defend itself’ ( whereas Palestine clearly doesn’t). And the settler militias are always happy to lend a fist or rip up someone’s olive grove while the army looks the other way.

By the way, most of them are not ethnic Israelis – they’re ‘right of return’ Jews from Russia and Ukraine and Moravia and South Africa and Brooklyn who came to Israel recently with the notion that they had an inviolable (God-given!) right to the land, and that ‘Arab’ equates with ‘vermin’ – straightforward old-school racism delivered with the same arrogant, shameless swagger that the good ole boys of Louisiana used to affect. That is the culture our taxes are defending. It’s like sending money to the Klan.

But beyond this, what really troubles me is the bigger picture. Like it or not, in the eyes of most of the world, America represents ‘The West’. So it is The West  that is seen as supporting this war, despite all our high-handed talk about morality and democracy. I fear that all the civilisational achievements of The Enlightenment and Western Culture are being discredited – to the great glee of the mad Mullahs – by this flagrant hypocrisy. The war has no moral justification that I can see  – but it doesn’t even have any pragmatic value either. It doesn’t make Kissingerian ‘Realpolitik’ sense; it just makes us look bad.

I’m sorry to burden you all with this. I know you’re busy and in varying degrees allergic to politics, but this is beyond politics. It’s us squandering the civilisational capital that we’ve built over generations. None of the questions in this letter are rhetorical: I really don’t get it and I wish that I did.

By Definition, An Aggressor Cannot Act in Defense

By Robert Barsocchini
June 18, 2015
Washington’s Blog

 

The statement that Israel has the right to defend itself against Palestine is similar to the statement that if, say, the US annexed, occupied, and started building illegal settlements in Cuba (the parts the US isn’t already illegally occupying and using as a torture camp, Guantanamo), then the US would have the right to “defend” itself against Cubans acting in retaliation to US aggression.

Everyone aside from blind fundamentalists and/or the hopelessly corrupt would laugh at the notion that in such a situation, US action against resistant Cubans would be “defense”.  Likewise, the world laughs at the idea that Israel can “defend” itself against the vastly more outgunned Palestinians resisting Israeli aggression.

International law reflects the common sense dynamics of this situation, which any child could easily understand and naturally grasp.
Georgetown International Law professor Noura Erakat explains the relevant rules:

…where an occupation already is in place, the right to initiate militarized force in response to an armed attack, as opposed to police force to restore order, is not a remedy available to the occupying state.

the right of self-defense in international law is, by definition since 1967, not available to Israel with respect to its dealings with real or perceived threats emanating from the West Bank and Gaza Strip population.

An occupying power cannot justify military force as self-defense in territory for which it is responsible as the occupant.

However, people-groups exploiting weaker groups try to deny elementary common sense and rewrite rules to defend what they are doing, and/or make themselves feel better about their awful acts.  For example, the Spanish inquisition made little rules for itself regarding its torture subjects, such as that they were not supposed to bleed.  Thus, the Inquisition, instead of say using thumbscrews (a Euro favorite), would burn people alive, as this, they ludicrously argued, did not make people bleed and thus made the Inquisition perpetrators moral and law-abiding, at least in their warped and self-serving minds.  (Also, they would make people bleed through various torture methods, anyway, and just ignore their own rules.)

Naturally, this is what Israel, the US, and all corrupt, nasty power-centers do.  Erakat explains how Israel plays these games with International Law:

[Israel tries to get around International Law by saying it does] not occupy [the Palestinian territories] within the meaning of international law. The UN Security Council, the International Court of Justice, the UN General Assembly, as well as the Israeli High Court of Justice have roundly rejected the Israeli government’s position. 

In its 2012 session, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination described current conditions following decades of occupation and attendant repression as tantamount to Apartheid.

[The International Court of Justice rules that “Article 51 of the Charter [the right to self defense] has no relevance” to Israel’s assaults and massacres against the territories it illegally occupies and colonizes.]

…Israel is distorting/reinterpreting international law to justify its use of militarized force in order to protect its colonial authority…

In doing this, Israel:

…forces the people of the Gaza Strip to face one of the most powerful militaries in the world without the benefit either of its own military, or of any realistic means to acquire the means todefend itself.

If Israel were concerned about small matters like honor, it would help or allow Gazans to acquire guided weapons for self-defense.  However, the Israeli state prefers to use its civilian population as a human shield (a tactic constantly used by Israel) to absorb the few unguided rockets that make it into populated Israeli areas, rather than have guided rockets hit designated Israeli military installations, which are enmeshed throughout Israeli civilian society.

Erakat concludes that, since the Israeli state’s behavior is an “affront to the international humanitarian legal order”, “the onus to resist this shift and to preserve protection for civilians rests upon the shoulders of citizens, organizations, and mass movements who can influence their governments enforce international law. There is no alternative to political mobilization to shape state behavior.”

… 

The next question is whether the Palestinians have the right to use arms to resist illegal Israeli occupation, annexation, settlement, and aggression.

If we return to our US-occupying-Cuba metaphor, the common sense/fairness answer is obviously yes, of course.  And again, the only reason many US citizens do not answer yes immediately to the question of whether Palestinians are allowed to use force to defend themselves against Israel’s armed aggression is that US citizens utterly lack exposure to information representative of common sense and world opinion.  What they are exposed to represents opinion and “reporting” heavily biased in favor of the US-backed aggressors, in ways that range from obvious to subtle and subconscious, from natural ethnocentrism to intentional insidiousness.

But again, international law, when we look at it, represents the common-sense interpretation of the situation at which any child would arrive.

Middle East scholars LeVine and Hajjar explain that Palestinians are not prohibited:

…from taking up arms to resist occupation.

Additional Protocol I established people’s right to use armed force to resist foreign occupation as well as colonial domination and to fight against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination. This Protocol was promulgated for the purpose of injecting IHL standards into asymmetric wars (between states and non-state groups).

Israel has refused to sign this Protocol (as has the US) and does not recognise the right of non-state groups to fight for those specified causes, even if they were to abide by the laws of war. Nevertheless, the lawfulness of the use of armed force is not contingent on the status of the adversaries but rather on whether those who fight do so in accordance with the principles of IHL (International Humanitarian Law) enumerated above [and, as Dr. Norman Finkelstein and others note, on whether a group under attack has the option or ability to retaliate within the technical bounds of IHL – ie, do Palestinians have guided, and thus legal, projectiles to use as a deterrent?  They do not.  Do they therefore lack the right to retaliate in the most effective ways they can?].

Further, as I have noted, the mostly symbolic and ineffective Palestinian projectile attacks – which have killed about 30 people in their entire history – are not only launched under illegal Israeli occupation, but also mainly “in retaliation for prior indiscriminate Israeli killings of Gazan civilians“, doubling both the illegality of Israeli action and the right to self defense of the Palestinians.

Examples of Israeli double-war crimes (occupation combined with further military assault/aggression) that have elicited defensive retaliation from Palestine include:

…the November 5 [2012] killing of a 23-year-old mentally disabled man who strayed too close to the border fence, and at least one boy killed while playing football five days later. Two other Palestinians who rushed to the latter scene to help the victims were themselves immediately killed by three more shells fired by Israeli forces [in 2012, and similar attacks by the Israeli occupier in 2014 that spurred retaliatory rocket firing, as Israel concedes.]

[In 2012, for example, Israeli] attacks prompted a retaliatory strike by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which launched an anti-tank missile at an army jeep near the border, wounding four soldiers. That attack by a group not under the operational control of Hamas in turn triggered the targeting of Jabari and the all-out assault on Gaza by Israel.

The second factor that undercuts the self-defence rationale is that Jabari was involved in negotiating an Egyptian-brokered comprehensive, long-term cease-fire with Israel when he was assassinated. In a November 17 New York Times op-ed, Israeli academic Gershon Baskin (who was a mediator in these negotiations) declared that Jabari had been given a near-final version of the agreement hours before he was killed.

the immediate causes of the most violent wave of rocket fire were precisely the indiscriminate killings of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces and the assassination of the official who was engaged in negotiations to permanently curtail such rocket attacks. Moreover, Israeli officials had to know and anticipate that killing Jabari would precipitate a violent Palestinian response, raising serious questions about their moral and political responsibility for the ensuing violence.

The circumstances noted above are exactly similar to Israel’s 2014 massacre in Israeli-occupied Gaza, which began with Israeli killings of Gazans, including killing children on video, against the background of an imminent agreement between Hamas and the West Bank leadership, with US and EU approval.  This enraged Israel due to the prospect of another “Palestinian peace offensive”, which might mitigate Israel’s ability to continue illegally colonizing territory outside its legal and internationally recognized borders.

Indeed, Israel’s assaults on occupied refugee camps such as Gaza, “must be judged against a reality which, although vehemently rejected by Israeli officials … enjoys an overwhelming international consensus: Namely, that the entirety of the territories captured by Israel in 1967 remain occupied according to international law.”

The professors sum up:

Put simply, an occupying state has no legal right to wage a full-scale military war against an occupied population. Rather, the occupying state is legally obligated to protect the rights and prioritise the interests of this population, something Israel has manifestly not done in any part of the Occupied Territories.

The occupying power has rights, too, including the right to maintain order and to take steps to ensure for its own security. But in a context of occupation, these options are limited to police actions and at most use of small arms to address an immediate threat, not full-scale war.

Israel practices “continual deployment of large-scale, indiscriminate force against people and space of Gaza – and, equally important, the West Bank as well…”

These acts constitute “not merely the context for war crimes but for crimes against humanity and, because of their clearly aggressive nature, a crime against peace.”

Like all aggressive criminal actors, Israel would prefer to meet no resistance, and thus naturally insists that the Palestinians do not have “any right to use force, even in self-defence”.  Such desperate claims give “important insight into how Israel interprets the law to project the legality of policies and practices it wishes to pursue.”

Recognized as the most important and authoritative moral voice on the issue of resistance to tyranny, Mahatma Gandhi spoke specifically on the issue of Israeli tyranny against Palestine, and said,

[Israelis] can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs … nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.

@_DirtyTruths

Author focuses on international force dynamics and writes professionally for the film industry.

Also see: The Hateful Likud [Israeli ruling organization] Charter Calls for the Destruction of Any Palestine State

Israel’s Race to Economic and Moral Bankruptcy

By Jonathan Cook
June 17, 2015
Jonathan Cook’s Blog

 

israel-drapeauTwo recent reports suggest that Israel could face catastrophic consequences if it fails to end the mistreatment of Palestinians under its rule, whether in the occupied territories or in Israel itself.

The Rand Corporation’s research shows that Israel could lose $250 billion over the next decade if it fails to make peace with the Palestinians and violence escalates. Ending the occupation, on the other hand, could bring a dividend of more than $120 billion to the nation’s coffers.

Meanwhile, the Israeli finance ministry predicts an even more dismal future unless Israel reinvents itself. It is likely to be bankrupt within a few decades, the finance ministry report says, because of the rapid growth of two groups who are not productive.

By 2059, half the population will be either ultra-Orthodox Jews, who prefer prayer to work, or members of Israel’s Palestinian minority, most of whom are failed by their separate education system and then excluded from much of the economy.

Both reports should be generating a tidal wave of concern in Israel but have caused barely a ripple. The status quo – of occupation and endemic racism – still seems preferable to most Israelis.

The explanation requires a much deeper analysis than either the Rand Corporation or Israel’s finance ministry appears capable of.

The finance ministry report points out that with a growing population not properly prepared for a modern, global economy, the tax burden is falling increasingly heavily on a shrinking middle class.

The fear is that this will rapidly create a vicious cycle. Wealthier Israelis tend to have second passports. Overwhelmed by the need to make up the revenue shortfall, they will leave, plunging Israel into irreversible debt.

Despite this doomsday scenario, Israel seems far from ready to undertake the urgent restructuring needed to salvage its economy. Zionism, Israel’s official ideology, is predicated on core principles of ethnic separation, Judaisation of territory and Hebrew labour. It has always depended on the marginalisation at best, exclusion at worst, of non-Jews.

Any effort to dismantle the scaffolding of a Jewish state would create a political crisis. Reforms may happen, but they are likely to take place too slowly and incrementally to make much difference.

The Rand report also raises the alarm. It notes that both peoples would benefit from peace, though the incentive is stronger for Palestinians. Integration into the Middle East would see average wages rise by only 5 per cent for Israelis, compared to 36 per cent for Palestinians.

But, while its economists may have found it easy to quantify the benefits of ending the occupation, it is much harder to assess the costs in shekels and dollars.

Over the past six decades, an economic elite has emerged in Israel whose prestige, power and wealth depends on the occupation. Career military officers earn large salaries and retire in their early forties on generous pensions. Nowadays many of these officers live in the settlements.

The army top brass are the ultimate pressure group and will not release their grip on the occupied territories without a fight, one they are well placed to win.

Backing them will be those in the hi-tech sector who have become the engine of the Israeli economy. Many are former soldiers who realised the occupied territories were the ideal laboratory for developing and testing military hardware and software.

Israel’s excellence in weaponry, surveillance systems, containment strategies, biometric data collection, crowd control, and psychological warfare are all marketable. Israeli know-how has become indispensible to the global appetite for “homeland security”.

That expertise was on show this month at a Tel Aviv armaments expo that attracted thousands of security officials from around the world, drawn by the selling point that the systems on offer were “combat proven”.

To end the occupation would be to sacrifice all this and revert to the status of a tiny anonymous state with no resources or notable exports.

And finally the settlers are among the most ideologically committed and entitled sector of Israel’s population. Were they moved out, they would bring their group cohesion and profound resentments back into Israel.

No Israeli leader wants to unleash a civil war that could rip apart the already-fragile sense of unity among the Jewish population.

The reality is that most Israelis’ perception of their national interests, both as a Jewish state and as military superpower, are intimately tied to a permanent occupation and the exclusion of Israel’s Palestinian minority from true citizenship.

If there is a conclusion to be drawn from these two reports it may be a pessimistic one.

Israel’s internal economy is likely to grow gradually weaker, as the ultra-Orthodox and Palestinian labour forces are under-utilised. As a result, the focus of Israel’s economic interests and activity is likely to shift even more towards the occupied territories.

Far from Israelis rethinking their oppressive policies towards the Palestinians, the ideological blinkers imposed by Zionism could push them to pursue the benefits of the occupation even more aggressively.

If the watching world really wants peace, economic wishful thinking will not suffice. It is past the time simply for carrots. Sticks are needed too.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website iswww.jonathan-cook.net.

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

No Magna Carta in Israel

Provisions of Magna Carta Observed in Britain and in the Constitution of the United States – But Not in Israel

By Anthony Bellchambers
June 16, 2015
Global Research

 

The New McCarthyism in Israel: Human Rights Groups Face CrackdownIn Israel, the rights of an indigenous population that now numbers over five million, have been trampled on by successive right-wing governments over the past decades who have ignored the freedom of the individual.

Governments that have been, and are, determined to ethically-cleanse the region of its now dispossessed population that has been in unbroken occupation of the land for over a millennium – during all of which period, there was only ever a minority Jewish presence.

The land of Palestine has been, for over a thousand unbroken years, an Arab Muslim land that has been farmed and settled by farmers and smallholders in comparative peace. Until 1947, when a minority new United Nations decided by just 33 votes to 13, with 10 abstentions, to forcibly impose an Israeli state in the middle of the Muslim Middle East against vehement opposition from all those states affected.

But the U.S. Zionist-controlled congress of America was insistent. From that time until now, immigrants to Israel from Europe and America have steadily stripped the indigenous people of their water supplies, their olive groves, their villages and houses and often their lives. The manifesto of the Likud Charter requires the forcible possession of all of former Palestine, from the River to the Sea. They will, of course, never succeed.

Magna Carta has had a profound effect on the democratic countries of the free world. Only Israel amongst the claimed democratic states has made a mockery of the rights and provisions of this seminal agreement that protects the human and civil rights of the individual.

Whilst the world remains blind and silent, in accordance with the instructions of the international lobbyist/agents who control the centres of political and economic power in London, Washington, Paris and Berlin – more than 380,000 illegal Israeli settlers have expropriated the lands of the indigenous Arab backed by an Israeli government that is the only remaining colonial power in the whole of Africa and the Middle East.

Yet, the Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, appears to be a welcome guest at the tables of power in the capitals of the world. One can only speculate on what is on offer that is so much more valuable than freedom, justice and human life – all those essential rights encapsulated within the most important document in the history of mankind that protects individual prerogatives from the power of the state i.e. Magna Carta.

U.N. Spurns Palestinian Children. Ban Ki-moon Decides Not to Include Israel in the List of Violators of Children’s Rights

By Global Research News
Global Research, June 9, 2015
Hemaya Center for Human Rights

 

Palestine_ChildrenBan Ki-moon’s decision not to include Israel on the list of violators of children’s rights twists the knife in the heart of every Palestinian parent, making it very clear that in the eyes of the United Nations, Palestinian children’s lives don’t count.

When a military with the most sophisticated and accurate weaponry on the planet can kill more than 500 children in cold blood with complete impunity, as Israel’s absence from the list shows, it reveals more than just the complete disregard for Palestinian lives that has become so commonplace in the halls of power. It also makes it abundantly clear that the UN, the single most important international organisation charged with protecting the lives of the most vulnerable, is failing spectacularly.

Children are the lifeblood of the future. How can any world citizen look at the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Palestinian child death toll from the 2014 Israeli aggression, and this decision, and not be appalled?

At best it reflects the paucity of  responsible leadership evident in the UN under Ban Ki-moon’s secretaryship, which has seen public faith in the international organisation reach an an all-time low.

At worst it underlines the gross politicisation of an organisation purporting to uphold the rights of ALL humans – and failing.

The only way Ban Ki-moon’s decision – if not his entire leadership in relation to the Palestinian issue – can be called a success is if the intention is to ‘grow’ a generation of increasingly angry cynics with no respect for the abject hypocrisy emanating from Geneva and New York.

Hemaya expresses its utmost disappointment in the attitude to Palestinian children that the decision represents, and calls on human rights bodies and concerned citizens everywhere to roundly reject it by supporting and valuing those Palestinian children who survived, and who continue to suffer under illegal occupation, repression and siege.

Copyright Hemaya Center for Human Rights 2015

U.S. Politicians Attempt to Sabotage BDS Anti-Occupation Campaign against Israel

By Bryce White
June 08, 2015
Global Research

 

In a recent national movement, U.S. state and federal politicians are attempting to stop an international pro-Palestinian divestment campaign from gaining momentum. The campaign, called Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS), hopes to inflict an economic cost on Israel for its continued occupation and the associated harm to Palestinians. Rather than defending what is ostensibly a peaceful country, the effort to “boycott the boycotters” once again draws attention to the moral bankruptcy of many of Israel’s leaders and their allies in the United States, and does nothing to bring peace to the two populations.

In a first step, South Carolina recently became the first state in the U.S. to enact legislation with the goal of fighting the BDS campaign. Under the legislation, all public entities in the state are prohibited from doing business with anyone who supports a boycott of any of the state’s trading partners. [1] A total of nineteen other states now hope to follow in South Carolina’s footsteps and enact similar legislation.

As supporters of BDS point out, however, the actions of U.S. politicians to counter the movement merely exposes their anxiety about its potential. As the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad H. Mansour, has said, “No matter what [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu says by trying to divert discussion to attack this group, that cannot cover the fact that his government is involved in illegal activities in the occupied territories, especially in settlements. It cannot be defended, including by legislators in the United States of America.” [1]

Indeed, it is increasingly difficult to defend a country that is continually implicated in serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law [2], and whose presence within the Palestinian territories is officially recognized by the majority of the international community—including the International Court of Justice [3]—as a military occupation.

The U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, acknowledges that BDS and similar campaigns thrive most easily in the current environment of hostility and stagnation in the peace process. “Negotiations,” he says, “have always been the most effective tool to defeat all of these efforts….If there are no negotiations now, and most of the world does not believe that there will be any time soon, how can we still, first of all, fight against boycotts and sanctions and delegitimization, and how can we preserve the two-state solution as a realistic option?” [4]

Leaders of the BDS campaign compare it to the divestment campaign used in the case of South Africa during the era of apartheid. Many believe that the effort contributed to the ultimate breakdown of that system, and has the same potential in the case of Israel’s occupation.

Interestingly, in a 1999 study, Ivo Welch and C. Paul Wazzan showed that divestment in South Africa had no substantial impact on banks’ and corporations’ valuations, but still had the important effect of raising awareness. “The sanctions,” they said, “may have been effective in raising the public moral standards or public awareness of South African repression, but it appears that financial markets managed to avoid the brunt of the sanctions.” [5] Nelson Mandela, however, has said that divestment was a crucial factor in ending apartheid. [6] Divestment’s true value lies in its ability to reflect, and also generate, public opposition to systematic injustices. In this sense, divestment in South Africa was successful and may now prove useful in the case of Israel.

While divestment itself, and the BDS campaign, may not be the ultimate answer in effecting an about-face in Israel-Palestinian relations, its increasing prominence can serve as part of a broader strategy forcing a reexamination of the issues at play. Sooner rather than later, relations between the two sides are going to come to a head and require a concrete resolution, and actions such as BDS make an eventual peaceful compromise more likely than a replay of large-scale conflict as was witnessed last year.

Bryce White is an independent geopolitical analyst and student of political science residing in San Diego, and writes at warandbryce.wordpress.com.

Notes

[1] Gladstone, Rick. “Israel’s Allies in U.S. Challenge Boycott.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 05 June 2015. Web. 07 June 2015.Gladstone, Rick. “Israel’s Allies in U.S. Challenge Boycott.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 05 June 2015. Web. 07 June 2015.
[2] “World Report 2013: Israel/Palestine.” Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch, n.d. Web. 07 June 2015.
[3] “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” International Court of Justice. International Court of Justice, n.d. Web. 07 June 2015.
[4] “US Envoy Shapiro: Difficult to Fight Boycott of Israel While Peace Process Frozen.” The Jerusalem Post. Jpost Inc., 4 June 2015. Web. 07 June 2015.
[5] Hendey, Eric. “Does Divestment Work?” Harvard University Institute of Politics. The President and Fellows of Harvard College, n.d. Web. 07 June 2015.
[6] Simmons, Adele. “Outside Opinion: Skeptics Were Wrong; South Africa Divestment Worked.” Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune, 15 Dec. 2013. Web.07 June 2015.

Israel’s War Crimes Record: Killing and Maiming Children in Armed Conflicts

A Criminal Offender at Large, UN Listing or Not

By Eva Bartlett
June 8, 2015
RT June 5, 2015

 

al-monitor wounded gazan children in hospitalReports have come out that the UN was considering adding Israel to the list of “grave violations against children in armed conflict.” As detailed below, Israeli army and Israel’s state policies are systematically violent against Palestinian children.

A recent Independent article noted that [Special Envoy for Children and Armed Conflict Leila]

“Zerrougui’s draft report cited IDF attacks on schools and hospitals during the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip…”

Even though the UN has historically not taken strong action against any of Israel’s war crimes over the decades, let alone those specifically against Palestinian children, Israel has reportedly exerted pressure to be de-listed from the draft list, with seeming success.

The Independent wrote,

“UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, however, is said to be leaning towards not including Israel in the list, amid what several diplomatic sources anonymously said was intense lobbying from Israel.”

Apparently, Israel thinks such call for its joining the list is “a heinous and hypocritical attempt to besmirch the image of Israel and it is doomed to fail,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon reportedly said.

In fact, the UN should have listed Israel from at least 2009 when, as the UN website notes“the Security Council decided to also list armed forces and groups who kill and maim children, commit sexual violence against children, and attack schools and hospitals.”

Does Israel violate the six areas detailed?

Five out of six, most definitely:

– Killing or maiming of children; [See below]

– Sexual violence against children; [The Israeli army routinely threatens and enacts sexual abuse of Palestinian children]

– Attacks against schools or hospitals; [The Israeli army routinely fires ammunition and tear gas at Palestinian schools; it has repeatedly bombed schools and hospitals in Gaza]

– Abduction of children; [See below]

– Denial of humanitarian access for children. [Israel’s blockade on Gaza strangles the medical sector; Israel routinely denies exit to Palestinians ( including children) for medical care outside of Gaza; the illegal wall Israel has constructed throughout much of the West Bank prevents Palestinians (including children) from accessing medical care.] [see also: Al Mezan Releases Factsheet on Gazan Children’s Access to Medical Care]

– Recruitment or use of children by armed forces and groups; [This is the one point which strictly speaking doesn’t apply. However, the Israeli army has used Palestinian children as human shields]

Members of the Israeli army themselves have admitted various crimes. A Breaking the Silence report“Children and Youth – Soldiers’ Testimonies 2005-2011” noted: “This booklet reveals how physical violence is often exerted against children, whether in response to accusations of stone-throwing or, more often, arbitrarily.” Further testimonies following the the July/August 2014 war on Gaza highlight the brutality meted out on Palestinians (including children).

Killing or maiming of children

Having between November 2008 and March 2013 lived a cumulative three years in the Gaza Strip, including during two Israeli waged massacres of Palestinians in Gaza, I present three (of too many) cases of Israel targeting children, of which I have personal knowledge. On January 4, 2009, Shahed Abu Halima lay cradled in her mother’s arms, the family terrorized like Palestinians all over Gaza by incessant Israeli bombing. Their area, al-Atatra, west of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, was particularly hard-hit, and had been invaded by Israeli tanks.

Of the two shells that hit baby Shahed’s home, at least one was white phosphorous, raining clumps of the chemical weapon down on the family. The flames which enveloped Shahed’s body were not extinguishable, nor could her mother Sabah see through the smoke and flames to reach the infant. Shahed’s dog-eaten, charred corpse was only found days later when Palestinian medics were finally allowed to enter the area. [see:Next Time It Will Hurt More]

Also on January 4, 2009, Shireen Abu Helou continued nursing her dying baby, Farah (“joy” in Arabic), in a futile effort to bring the infant comfort while her family took cover from Israeli fire behind a bulldozed dirt mound in the Zeitoun district just south of Gaza City (infamous for the herding of entire families from the Samouni clan into one building and repeatedly bombing it; infamous for the point blank shootings of individuals, including 4-year-old Ahmed shot dead after crying about his father’s execution). One-year-old Farah did not survive the Israeli sniper’s bullet to her abdomen, her intestines falling out as she bled to death over the course of a few hours. [see: They Killed Me Three Times] On November 21, 2012, a 14-year-old boy asked his father for 10 shekels, to go to the small store up the road to buy food for his siblings who hadn’t eaten anything but bread for the past five days of Israeli bombing. The bombing had not quite stopped, but Nader Abu Mghaseeb believed he was safe, a ceasefire due to be enforced in just under two hours. He was incorrect. Minutes after the precision drone strike hit Nader, his father rushed out to find the dying, tangled mass of flesh that had been his son. In Deir al-Balah’s al-Aqsa hospital, I saw the teen’s mangled corpse brought in.

His stunned father stood outside trying to comprehend that Israeli-fired, precision drone technology had obliterated his clearly unarmed 14-year-old son. [see: Killing before the Calm: “Israeli” Attacks on Palestinian Civilians Escalated before Cease-fire] Two years and many Palestinian child martyrs and maimings later, during the July/August 2014 Israeli massacre of Gaza, four small boys ran for their lives across an empty Gaza beach as the Israeli navy chased them with shelling, eventually hitting their prey. The shelling of the Bakr boys, aged nine to 11, was recorded by a number of Palestinian and foreign journalists camped out at the nearby Deira hotel, many of whom broke down at witnessing this savagery.

Of the July/August Israeli massacre of Gaza, Defense for Children International-Palestine’s (DCI-Palestine) April 16, 2015 report noted: “DCIP independently verified the deaths of 547 Palestinian children among the killed in Gaza, 535 of them as a direct result of Israeli attacks. Nearly 68 percent of the children killed by Israeli forces were 12 years old or younger. Those who survived these attacks will continue to pay the price for many years. More than 1,000 children suffered injuries that rendered them permanently disabled, according to OCHA.”

The assault on Palestinian children is, of course, not merely limited to its times of bombing Gaza. Almost daily in Gaza’s border regions and on the sea, children are machine-gunned and shelled by the genocidal bully of the region, under the pretext of “security.” Having witnessed this on countless occasions, myself under fire with the brave farmers, I can say one hundred percent affirmatively that they posed no security threat to the well-armed Israeli army (nor navy). In the rest of occupied Palestine, whether during the criminal routine Israeli army invasions and lock-downs of West Bank and Jerusalem areas, or during demonstrations against the illegal Wall stealing yet more Palestinian land, or merely randomly,

Palestinian children are targeted by Israeli live ammunition, tear gas canisters, and hands-on brutality, not only by the so-called “most morale army” but also the unspoken of proxy soldiers: those vile, racist, illegal Jewish colonists who (claiming God’s approval) abuse Palestinians of all ages, without consequences. Early in the morning of July 2, 2014, Mohammed Abu Khdeir went missing while going to mosque for morning prayers in occupied Jerusalem. His slight body was found a few hours later charred and beaten. Before his Jewish colonist tormentors poured gas down his throat and lit him alive, they beat he the 16 year old with a blunt object to his head. The autopsy report “showed soot in the victim’s lungs and respiratory tract, indicating he was alive and breathing while he was being burnt.”

The systematic brutality of Israel’s colonists and Israeli soldiers against Palestinians is met with virtually no reprimand by Israel. On their “Settler violence: Lack of accountability,” rights group B’Tselem noted in 2011 (updated January 2013):

“When Israelis harm Palestinians, the authorities implement an undeclared policy of forgiveness, compromise, and leniency in punishment. Israeli security forces have done little to prevent settler violence or to arrest offenders. Many acts of violence have never been investigated; in other cases, investigations have been drawn out and resulted in no action being taken against anyone.”

In November 2013, Palestinian rights group Al Haq issued a new report (“Institutionalised Impunity: Israel’s Failure to Combat Settler Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”) and noted: “According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the number of settler attacks resulting in Palestinian casualties and property damage increased by over 144 percent in 2011, compared to 2009. In 2013, the report of the United Nations International Fact-Finding Mission on Settlements highlighted the failure of the Israeli authorities to enforce the law by investigating such incidents and taking measures against their perpetrators. The Fact-Finding Mission came to the “clear conclusion that there is institutionalised discrimination against the Palestinian people when it comes to addressing violence. Acts of settler violence are intended, organised, and publicly represented to influence the political decisions of Israeli State authorities.” Throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem, Jewish colonists routinely run over Palestinian children. Two examples include an October 2014 hit and run near Ramallah of two 5 year old Palestinian girls, one of whom—Inas Shawkat Khalil—died from her injuries.

Child abduction and imprisonment

According to Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association’s April 2015 update, 182 Palestinian children are imprisoned by Israel, including 26 under the age of 16. They note that“8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested since 2000.” DCI-Palestine notes: “Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts that lack basic and fundamental fair trial guarantees. Interrogations tend to be coercive, including a variety of verbal abuse, threats and physical violence that ultimately result in a confession.”

They further note that most Israeli-imprisoned Palestinian children are nabbed in the middle of the night, something youths from Resistance villages like Bil’in are well-familiar with. Bil’in, known for its popular demonstrations against the illegal, land-grabbing Wall, has lost many a martyr, including children to Israel’s brutal attempts at stifling dissent (On that note: to all the media that leapt on the false, “Bashar is killing unarmed protesters band-wagon,” Israel is actually doing so). That the UN is even considering not including Israel on the list speaks further volumes to the uselessness of this institution, a body that serves only to put the odd band-aid on the seeping Palestinian wound and to endorse criminal bombings of sovereign nations. In any case, Israel need not worry that anyone is trying to “besmirch” its reputation.

It has proven quite adept at doing that all on its own. Every blown-off Palestinian child’s head, every Palestinian child behind Israeli bars, every Mohammed Abu Khdair tortured and killed by Jewish colonists, and every colonists’ intentional running over of Palestinian children “besmirches” what is left of the racist, genocidal state’s reputation, with or without UN recognition.