Posts Tagged ‘Palestine’

‘Useless, useless, useless’: the Palestinian verdict on Tony Blair

December 17, 2012

Former Prime Minister’s role as representative of Middle East Quartet comes in for fiercest criticism

The Independent 
Dec 17, 2012 

Palestinian officials say Tony Blair shouldn’t take it personally, but he should pack up his desk at the Office of the Quartet Representative in Jerusalem and go home. They say his job, and the body he represents, are “useless, useless, useless”.

Mr Blair became the representative of the Middle East Quartet – the UN, EU, US and Russia – a few weeks after leaving Downing Street. Last week, he visited the region for what he said was the 90th time since being appointed in June 2007. He spends one week a month based in Jerusalem or globetrotting on behalf of the Quartet. His office is funded by the Quartet members and his 24-hour security detail is on secondment from Scotland Yard but he receives no direct salary.

After four years of renting 15 rooms at the American Colony Hotel for his full-time staff, Mr Blair put down more permanent roots in 2011 by renting the penthouse of a new office building in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem.

Tony Blair

But senior Palestinian officials and analysts told The Independent the move was unnecessary – his sojourn in the region should be cut short. “The Quartet has been useless, useless, useless,” Mohammed Shtayyeh, an aide to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said last week. He suggested that its constant need to reach internal consensus among its warring participants had rendered it ineffective.

“Always the statement of the Quartet really means nothing because it was always full of what they call constructive ambiguity that really took us to nowhere,” said Mr Shtayyeh, who had just ended a meeting with Mr Blair. “You need a mediator who is ready to engage and who is ready to say to the party who is destroying the peace process ‘You are responsible for it’,” he said.

Mr Shtayyeh is not alone. Last February, the Saban Centre for Middle East Policy at The Brookings Institution pronounced the body already dead in a report bluntly entitled The Middle East Quartet: A Post-Mortem.

“The Quartet has little to show for its decade-long involvement in the peace process. Israelis and Palestinians are no closer to resolving the conflict, and in the few instances in which political negotiations did take place, the Quartet’s role was usually relegated to that of a political bystander,” said the report. “Having spent most of the last three years in a state of near paralysis, and having failed to dissuade the Palestinians from seeking UN membership and recognition in September 2011, the Quartet has finally reached the limits of its utility.

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The End of Jewish Power

December 1, 2012

By Gilad Atzmon suffered a humiliating defeat at The UN yesterday. The nations of the world stood up and said NO to the Jewish state – NO to Israeli occupation, NO to Israeli human rights abuse, NO to Jewish racism. In effect, they stood up and confessed to serious Zio-fatigue.

Despite Jewish success in constantly reminding Europeans of their tormented past, Europe yesterday delivered itself of its guilt and Israel’s European allies such as Germany, France, Britain and Italy also delivered a clear messages to Israel – they are right out of patience. This is a very good news indeed.

But interestingly, this united opposition to Israel is not in response the Israeli strength. On the contrary, it is actually a reaction to Israeli weakness. In the last few months we have seen the complete and final eradication of the famed Israeli power of deterrence. For months, Israel gave the impression that it was ready and willing to attack Iran nuclear facilities, only to have to admit, even to itself, that it lacked both the means and guts to do so. Israel then launched a lethal attack on the people of Gaza. It called up 75.000 IDF reservists, only to find out that it didn’t have the stomach to face Palestinian resistance.

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Palestine Looks To Be Set For UN Recognition

November 28, 2012

By Colum Lynch

NEW YORK — The U.N. General Assembly is poised to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state” on Thursday, a move that will strengthen the Palestinians’ legal basis for pursuing possible war-crimes prosecutions against Israeli troops and set up a showdown with the United States and Israel.

Supporters hope the vote will provide a desperately needed political boost to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah party has been eclipsed in recent weeks by rival Hamas, the militant movement whose fortunes have risen with those of its Islamist allies in Egypt and elsewhere.

The Palestinians are expected to win the Thursday vote by an overwhelming margin, according to U.N. diplomats. To date, 132 countries have recognized the state of Palestine.

“I think that the great majority of nations will vote with us because there is a global consensus on the two-state solution,” said Riyad Mansour, the Palestinians’ U.N. representative, adding that 60 states have agreed to co-
sponsor the resolution.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said his country would back the Palestinian quest, telling the French Parliament on Tuesday that Paris would support a resolution recognizing Palestine as an observer state, the same status accorded to the Vatican.

The vote is likely to roil U.N. diplomatic waters and highlight a rift in Europe over Palestinian statehood. It is also likely to provoke a diplomatic backlash from Israel and concern in Washington.

“We fear Abbas is heading for a dangerous Pyrrhic victory,” said a senior European diplomat, speaking on the condition of anonymity as per diplomatic protocol. “If the Palestinians believe it will push the Israelis into a negotiation, we don’t believe that. It might backfire for Abbas.”

The Obama administration has struggled to balance its support for Palestinian statehood and its endorsement of the Palestinian Authority’s position as the legitimate Palestinian leader while opposing the push for U.N. recognition. U.S. officials say a negotiated settlement with Israel is the only way to establish a Palestinian state.

Read more at Washington Post

Arafat Body Exhumed, Qatar Obsessed With Israel Trace

November 27, 2012

The remains of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have been reburied – after being exhumed earlier on Tuesday. An international team of forensic experts have taken tissue samples from the remains – hoping to clear doubts over the cause of his death in 2004.


November 25, 2012

21st Century Wire news analyst Patrick Henningsen appears live on RT to discuss Israel’s current herding and slaughter of the region’s indigenous Palestinian people, a grave situation which has been allowed to continue – and even promoted by governments in Washington DC and London – all under the false guise of Israeli ‘defense’. They also discuss how the western public opinion is beginning to shift away from Israel’s outdated cruel apartheid policy and in favour of the Palestinian’s own “right to exist”…



November 20, 2012

Peter Sterry
21st Century Wire

Geopolitics and ethnic cleansing is often a staged affair. The current show of force by Israel, lording over a million and a half residents trapped in their Palestinian poverty cesspit, is no different. 

Not a week went by after the US election before Israel got the green light from Washington to go for the jugular in Gaza. Indeed, 21st Century Wire predicted before the US election that tensions would flair up and the White House would once again return shoulder to shoulder with Tel Aviv – once the US candidates had finished with America’s favourite Punch ‘n Judy puppet show cum national high school election.

To make matters even worse, Israel never managed to squeeze a peace table into their 2012 gov’t budget, again.

Hamas are apparently at it again, firing their industrial sized Roman Candles across the border, as the Israelis – in proportionate fashion, have naturally retaliated with F16 air strikes and a ground invasion that will likely transform Gaza from being the pile of rubble it is today, into a pile of dust tomorrow. Meanwhile, the US media is plastered with diatribes about Israelis having to endure the horror of having “only 15 seconds to get into an air raid shelter”. There is something very staged about these rocket attacks from Hamas – time will hopefully flush out the full truth, perhaps Israel still has its links into Hamas – an organisation which was actually started by Israel in 1976 (that’s a fact, look it up).

On the surface of the current slaughter in Palestine  aside from the usual sadistic beating administered by Israel’s IDF onto the Jewish state’s indigenous Arab captives, it’s still not totally clear what Tel Aviv will achieve other than a bit of nationalistic, albeit racist blood sport, once their impressive pillar of smoke clears.

What is the real end game for this exercise? With all eyes on Gaza, this would be an ideal time for Israel to secure some additional land in the form of some new security zone, or ‘buffer zone’.

Chief on this list of course, are new illegal settlements, dotted along the various regions, including Gaza land lost by Jewish settlers in 2005. Settlements will increase – that’s almost a given. But what else?

Look for Israel to go for some territory – possibly in the much sought after Golan Heights region in Syria – currently a softer than normal target.

South Lebanon is probably off the menu at present, as Hezbollah is too strong and too well organised for Israel to have another go. 2006 presumably did not go so well for the IDF, a bit of an embarrassment on the ground, Israeli soldiers aren’t what they used to be. As we speak, there’s at least 100,000 would-be Israeli soldiers who are laying low, growing their dreads in places like Goa, Chang Mai in Thailand, Sumatra, Costa Rica, Ibiza, Belize and Notting Hill Gate, all hoping to avoid doing their military service at this rather inconvenient moment. Until those conscripts resurface from all of the full moon parties, send in the Druze!

The best acquisition for Israel however – within the Hegelian dialect realm of problem, reaction, solution, would be to steal a chunk of the Sinai in Egypt along the Palestinian Gaza border. It’s a perfect opportunity to rewrite the aging agreement with Egypt, particularly if escalation goes overboard in Gaza, and especially if the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt are blamed for trafficking weapons and fighters over Egypt’s Sinai border through a series of dreaded “terror tunnels”. A perfect storm as they say.

It will be interesting to see what Israel manages to achieve in terms of hard assets, after all the Palestinian bodies are counted and all the tired rhetoric about ‘Israel’s right to defend itself’ is finished splashing through the usual western media and political channels.

“We must defend ourselves – and we need to appropriate a bit more land to do it!”

We sincerely hope that this (below) isn’t their road map to peace…

It may seem like a pipe dream to some, but their are extremist elements within the Israeli establishment who are working to realise a ‘Greater Israel’

 RELATED: Racist Israeli Rabbi Calls For Genocide and Extermination of Palestinians

Firm Ground? Thirty Six Hour Ultimatum To Hamas Leaked By Israeli Minister

November 19, 2012

Israel’s Finance Minister told IDF radio the time left before Israel escalates its attacks can be measured in “hours, not days.” Israel is said to have issued a 36-hour ultimatum demanding that Hamas stops firing rockets at Israeli territory.

A Film from Harry Fear in Palestine: ‘Martyred in Gaza’

November 14, 2012

“Most of the shelling targeted young people, women and the elderly and the Israeli enemy is erratically targeting civilians.”

Over Armistice weekend Israeli forces killed 6 Palestinians and injured around 40 in three sets of attacks on the Gaza Strip.

In the Jabalia area, 20-year-old Mohammed Obeid was killed.

In the Shejiea area, Israel killed a 15-year-old, 16-year-old and two 20-year-olds; in the attack it also injured dozens of women and children who were attending a funeral parade.

In the Al-Karama area, Israel killed a 20-year-old Islamic Jihad resistance fighter.

“They keep on killing , injuring and destroying our Palestinian people. It is our right and our duty as Palestinians to fight for our rights and to defend ourselves.”


Turkey Starts its Own Nuremberg Trials Against Israel

November 7, 2012

Editor’s Note: If it was the other way around, Israel would just go and get them.

“In absentia” trials against four senior IDF officers

On November 6, 2012, Turkey announced that a court in Istanbul will try in absentia four ex-Israeli military commanders over the IDF Freedom Flotilla raid in 2010.

The Mavi Marmara was trying to break the blockade of Gaza and bring humanitarian aid to the refugees there. Nine Turkish activists were killed by Israeli naval commandos (Shayetet 13), who had boarded the ship. The event caused a sharp deterioration in the relations between Turkey and Israel, which until then had been close allies. At the beginning of May 2012, Turkey’s Justice Ministry Sadullah Ergin finished his probe on the affair and requested information from the country’s Foreign Ministry on several IDF soldiers; a fact reported by the Turkish Today’s Zaman. On May 24, it was made public that criminal charges had been laid by Turkey against four IDF officers, demanding life sentences. Among the indictments were “inciting murder through cruelty or torture” (see Criminal Charges Placed against IDF General Ashkenazi).

Cheers! Admiral Eliezer Marom | Criminal Charges

The accusations target the IDF upper echelon. The list is led by former IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi; the others are the ex-naval chief Admiral Eliezer Marom, the former head of military intelligence Major General Amos Yadlin, and the former head of the air force Major General Avishai Lev. Over 500 people will give testimony during the trials, most of them passengers who were aboard during the event. There is no question about the events; all the facts are acknowledged also by the IDF and the UN; both published reports on the violent event. The UN inquiry said that Israel’s decision to board the ship and the use of substantial force was “excessive and unreasonable.” Yet, considering the videos of the event, the UN asessment looks unreasonably soft towards Israel. Heavily armed commando soldiers attacked and killed people armed with little more than improvised sticks. Moreover, on June 13, 2012, Israel State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss published his report on the Israeli government’s behavior in the event. Prime Minister Netanyahu turned out to be rather clumsy and incompetent to the extent of causing an unnecessary disaster. In the words of the comptroller: “The decision making process regarding the dealings with the Turkish flotilla led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and under his responsibility was found to include essential and significant flaws” (see Netanyahu Found Guilty by State Comptroller). One could expect Turkey to make use of the Israeli reports and place charges also against Mr. Netanyahu. However, this is not posible. On February 15, 2002, the International Court of Justice halted a Belgian attempt to try Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in Lebanon in 1982 when he was Israel’s Minister of Defense, ruling that serving ministers are protected from prosecution. Thus, Turkey chose to center its efforts on the responsible IDF officers.

Nuremberg Trials

Gabi Ashkenazi | Criminal Charges against former IDF Chief of Staff

“In absentia” is Latin for “in the absence;” a phrase which refers to a trial at which the defendant is not physically present. Turkey decided to conduct the trials in such a fashion because the four officers are in Israel and there is no chance the latter will allow them to be present at the event. Such trials are widely considered as violations since the defendant cannot answer the charges. This explains the rapid Israeli reaction; on the same day the trials were announced, the Israeli embassy in Ankara called them a “unilateral political act with no judicial credibility.” One could almost be tricked to support the Israeli position on this, but then one remembers two classes of events in which Israel clearly supported trials in absentia. Despite preceding Israel, the latter obviously accepts the process known as the Nuremberg Trials. These were a series of military tribunals, held by World War II Allied forces, of prominent Nazi Germany leaders. They were held in the city of Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany, in 1945–46. One of the defendants, Martin Bormann, was tried in absentia, and sentenced to death; he had been the successor to Hess as Nazi Party Secretary. His body was found only in 1972; it is claimed that he died in 1945. An indirect testimony of the Israeli acceptance of the Nuremberg Trials is that Israel conducted similarly problematic trials. The Nazis and Nazi Collaborators Punishment Law (Hok Le’Asiat Din BaNatzim) from August 1, 1950, legalizes the execution of Nazis. Between 1950 and 1961, this law was used to prosecute 29 Jewish Holocaust survivors alleged to have been Nazi collaborators. The first and only time it was used to execute a person was in the Adolf Eichmann case. He was illegally kidnapped by Mossad from Argentina in 1960 and two years later was hanged.

What makes this a special event from a legal point of view is that this law is a retroactive and extraterritorial law since the State of Israel didn’t exist during WWII. Moreover, the alleged crimes were neither committed in Israel nor against Israeli citizens. An ex post facto law (Latin for “after the fact”), or retroactive law, is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of actions committed prior to the enactment of the law. Such laws are expressly forbidden by the United States Constitution, though some countries accept them. They cannot be accepted as fair practice, regardless of the justifications used for their approval. Simply, how can one protect oneself against a law that has not been legislated? Years later, it was used to harass Ivan Demjanjuk (see Western Psikhushka Killed Demjanjuk).

Major General Amos Yadlin | Criminal Charges

This is enough to render worthless Israel’s protest against the trials in Turkey. Yet, there is another issue. A topic which is often reported by Israeli media and that has never been denied by Israel, is its endless appetite for extrajudicial executions. I expanded on that in Scary Sicarii: Israeli Extrajudicial Executions, but the pattern is clear. A person is declared “undesirable” by the military establishment, it is specifically targeted, and assassinated. No trial is held, no chance is given to the victim to defend himself. Similarly distressing, are detentions held without legal process, since Israel claims that its officials possess precognition powers. They can detain someone on the grounds that he is about to commit a crime (see Minority Report: IDF arrests Palestinian prisoner released in Shalit swap). These cases show that Israel does not recognize the rule of law. It is a lawless, savage society. The victims of the Freedom Flotilla raid cannot find justice. The performance of similar crimes in the future cannot be deterred. In this context the Turkish reaction can be understood, despite being based on a problematic legal principle. Israel’s Nuremberg Trials are about to begin.


Gaza-Bound Ship: ‘Attacked by Israel forces’

October 23, 2012

Mikael Löfgren, media coordinator spokesman for the Estelle, spoke to Al Jazeera from Stockholm, Sweden.