The Palestinian Center for the Defense of Prisoners confirmed that the Israeli occupation forces committed war crimes in a deliberate and planned way during its aggression “Operation Cast Lead” against the Gaza Strip, which lastedabout 23 days. The IOF executed Palestinianswho were arrested from their houses in cold blood, either by shooting them directly by launching missiles and rockets at them. The Center reports that the testimonies of survivors of the assaulton Gaza confirmed the status of the executions of these “prisoners of war”, andthat the occupation forces violated the international treaties and conventions which clarify the rights of prisoners of armed conflicts. The testimonies confirm that the prisoners were executed a few kilometers away from their houses, and that there were among them children in some cases aged only months, women, and old men. According to Maisa’a Fawzi Al-Samouni, aged 19, a Palestinian from the Al-Zeitoun neighborhood, the soldiers took her together with her daughter, aged nine months, and about thirty other persons of the Al-Samouni family, to the house of one of her relatives, Wael Al-Samouni, aged 40. The house of Wael is made of concrete, it has about two hundred square meters. According to Maisa’a, “first we were 30 persons, and then we became about 70 persons in Wael’s house. We were forced to stay in this house until the following day without water or food”.
Maisa’a continues: “In the morning of the next day, at about sixth o’clock, the Israeli soldiers fired at people who tried to leave the house to bring their relatives some food, and after a while the Israeli tanks fired shells at the house where everybody was”. She added: “when the shell landed in the house, I threw myself on the ground over my daughter to protect her. Smoke and dust spread everywhere. I heard screams and crying, and when the smoke dissipated, I looked around me I saw that twenty to thirty people were dead, “martyrs” and about twenty wounded”.
Maisa’a was lightly injured, her daughter lost three of her fingers. Maisa’a lost her husband, his parents and seven members of her close family.
The International Committee of the Red Cross accused the Israeli army of denying their paramedics access to the Al-Zeitoun neighborhood. The ICRC stated that the Israeli army did not allow ambulances to reach many homes in the Al-Zeitoun neighborhood where Palestinian civilians were executed by the IOF. The ICRC further reported that their Paramedic teams rescued 18 injured persons in the Al- Zeitoun neighborhood and recovered 12 bodies from the rubble of a house. The ICRC considered that the Israeli delay in granting the paramedic team permission to arrive to the victims as unacceptable, they described the incident as “shocking”.
The United Nations has also said that the Israeli army killed in a bombing 30 among 110 Palestinian civilians were rounded up in another house in Gaza City. The UN’s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, called for an independent investigation of possible war crimes and violations of international human rights laws in Gaza and Israel. Navi Pillay also said that UN human rights monitors must be deployed in Israel as well as in Gaza and the West Bank to document violations and their perpetrators.
The United Nations Office for the humanitarian Activities Coordination stated that they collected certified testimonies which indicated that the Israeli soldiers, on the fourth of January 2009, had gathered about 110 Palestinians in one house in the Al-Zeitoun neighborhood (half of them children) and ordered them to stay at house, and after 24 hours they bombed the house several times – in a deliberate and intentional way – resulting the death of thirty people. The UN office added in the statement that surviving people who were able to walk a distance of two kilometers had arrived at the Salah Al-Din Street, where they were taken to hospitals in civilian cars. The youngest child among these survivor was five months. He died after he arrived the hospital. The UN statement described the incident as one of the most serious incidents since the start of the Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip in December 27, 2008.
:: Article nr. 51550 sent on 06-feb-2008 03:48 ECT
“Sending a soldier there to fight terrorists is justified, but why should I force him to endanger himself much more than that so that the terrorist’s neighbor isn’t killed? I don’t have an answer for that. From the standpoint of the state of Israel, the neighbor is much less important. I owe the soldier more. If it’s between the soldier and the terrorist’s neighbor, the priority is the soldier. Any country would do the same.” The decision regarding the magnitude of force used to protect the lives of the soldiers is up to the commander in the field. “The commander must be skilled in gauging the appropriate use of force,” Kasher said.”
06/02/2009 The International Coalition against Impunity, HOKOK, said in a statement that on Monday, February 9, 2009, it representatives president May Khansa and the Spanish lawyers Adnan Ezzeddine, Juan Ramon Marcos Coloma and Enrique Lopez Rodriguez will present a new complaint before the International Criminal Court at The Hague including a detailed lawful study of 144 pages and many documents that show the terrorism of Israel and its partners through the crimes committed against the people of Gaza. The study, according to the statement, is prepared by Khansa with the cooperation of the other attorneys of the organization and the Professor Al-Sayed Abu El-Kheir.
“This complaint will be added to the two previous complaints registered under the reference number: OTP-CR-4425/08. This new complaint added as defendants: the United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs “David Miliband”, the Secretary of State for Defense “Jhon Hutton”, the director of Apache engineering at Boeing John Schibler, the IOF Colonel (Reserve) Geva Rapp, the former head of the Israeli Military Intelligence General Aharon Zeevi, the Head of the DCL Office Colonel Amnon Cohen, the former Israeli military governor of Hebron Colonel Barch Nagar, ‘IDF’ officer Fuad Halhal, Colonel Noam Tivon, and General Dov “Fufi” Sedaka,” the statement said.
HOKOK (ICAI), said that it is confident that the prosecutor of the ICC, conforming to information given to the organization, has started the investigation in the complaint it filed and he will be committed to arrest the defendants, especially that the United Kingdom is one of the 108 States Parties that ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
“The organization insists to pursue the Zionists and all the conspirators and prosecute them,” the statement concluded.
No…. not the International Court of Law in the Hague where Israel’s war criminals will one day stand trial…. this court is one where basketball is played.
It’s reports such as this one that shows there is hope! Hopefully soon!!
Jews and Palestinians unite in basketball ‘peace league’
By Steve Klein
Scores of teenage boys Thursday – Israeli and Palestinian – helped kick off the second season of the Jerusalem Peace Basketball League, a joint initiative of the Jerusalem municipality and PeacePlayers International – Middle East. The league is comprised of six integrated teams of Arab and Jewish youth, who participate in the Twinned Basketball Clubs program, and four other teams from across Jerusalem and a West Bank town.
The league is actually in its second incarnation, according to Michael Cherubin, the organization’s operations manager and co-director of the league. The first, he explained Thursday, ran about six years before falling apart in the early days of the Al-Aqsa Intifada.
Cherubin noted that the involvement of Americans helped to bring this league to fruition in a city entrenched in the heart of the conflict. He said the Jerusalem municipality, which ran the first league, “thought it was a dead idea, but they were happy to financially support it as soon as they understood it was possible.” The league draws from youth who have been playing basketball with PeacePlayers since 2006, practicing twice a week in their communities and twice a month with their twin club. “They were getting older and lacked a competitive league structure,” said Cherubin, who came from the U.S. after studying for a master’s degree in peace and conflict resolution at the American University. Cherubin says the league works because the kids “have been playing together for years.” The neutral, American nature of the organization made it easier for Palestinians to not feel guilty about participating in such a league, he noted. After building the connections in recent years, Cherubin said, the league became an easy sell. “Instead of making a cold call to someone, I could say: ‘You know me, you trust me. We want to start this league. What do you think?’” Cherubin feels lucky to have a hand in helping the youths strengthen their bonds, especially after the recent fighting.
Still, because of the sensitivity of the ongoing conflict, the names of individual players or even the neighborhoods are not widely publicized to preempt a possible backlash against the efforts of these brave children. Source
Ahmad Hijazi, The Electronic Intifada, 5 February 2009
With the failure of the previous Arab peace initiative it’s time to create a new agreement beginning with Israel completely returning the land it occupied in 1967. (Mamoun Wazwaz/MaanImages) The Arab peace initiative, adopted by the Arab League at its 2002 summit in Beirut, misses fundamental ingredients that would make the blood of vitality flow through its weak veins.
After long years of Arab marketing, repetition and explanations (often very boring), we are still at the starting line. Large segments of Arab public opinion view the initiative with suspicion and doubt, and the Israelis — for reasons beyond my comprehension — want to avoid it as much as possible.
The initiative’s creators have already mourned its demise (or at least they keep threatening to mourn it). Sadly, the great compromises the Arabs offered did nothing to end the conflict, which cannot be ended without treating its root causes. How ironic that an initiative full of compromise was thrown back in our faces to intensify our humiliation.
So it is time to withdraw the Arab Peace initiative — indeed it is a duty to do so — and put forward a new one that starts something like this:
The Arab peoples and nations — even though they understand the suffering of the Jewish people, and express their sincere wish to humanely find a peaceful solution — will not agree to a solution that compromises their own rights and interests and negates the suffering caused by the conflict.
No true Arab peace initiative could avoid including the following:
1. All land occupied in 1967 has to be returned completely, and this is not something to be compromised, and not tied to an equivalent Arab giveaway. Jerusalem can be discussed separately after full agreement of the Arab nations about it.
2. Every displaced individual (whether outside or inside the occupied land) has the full right to return. This is not limited to the land of 1967, and the rightful original land owners have the right to get their land back completely. The mechanisms for executing this can be negotiated and discussed as long it doesn’t compromise the right of any Palestinian, unless he or she positively agrees to exchange this right. The solution can be within one or two states, but the Palestinian state shouldn’t be necessarily limited to the land of 1967. The demographic balance is not a concern for the Arab peoples to worry about.
3. There must be international tribunals to try all those accused of planning, inciting and executing ethnic cleansing (according to the UN definition the forced displacement of people is ethnic cleansing), war crimes, crimes against humanity and other crimes carried out by the Zionist movement. These tribunals should have the full cooperation of international human rights bodies.
4. Israel must compensate for the human casualties (killed, wounded and homeless), economic losses (direct and indirect), social and other losses that its establishment and behavior brought to all the countries and peoples of the region. If Israel cannot do this then the countries that gave it unlimited support must themselves pay for the damage their support to Israel caused others.
5. The region has to be free of weapons of mass destruction and Israel must give up such weapons. If Israel refuses, then another solution is that no limits or restrictions will be placed on any other nation’s efforts to develop such weapons.
6. Arab recognition of Israel, not “full normalization,” is what Arab countries can offer after the aforementioned rights are fully restored by Israel. The Arab nations are not obligated to give Israel any preferential treatment that contradicts their own interests.
As Professor As’ad AbuKhalil has previously pointed out, recognizing Israel implies acceptance and legitimation of Zionist crimes. It is therefore very important that before any such recognition is granted, Israel admits, apologizes and compensates for all those crimes. Needless to say, true peace with the existence of Zionism (as a racist ideology based on hate and legitimization of killing and theft) is logically impossible.
The 2002 Arab peace initiative has demonstrated yet again what we knew about the mechanisms of negotiation that fail to utilize the full potential of the Arab peoples. Any undervaluation of the rights of the people, and misuse of their potential is a danger that threatens their very future.
It is up to all active powers — political, social, legal and economic — in the Arab world to understand this threat and to redraw their plans in a manner that secures the interests of future generations.
Ahmad Hijazi is Lebanese writer and researcher on the Arab-Israeli struggle and the effects of media and international opinion on shaping it.
Eva Bartlett writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Lebanon, 5 February 2009
Abu Qusay buried under the rubble. (Source unknown)
“This is at the beginning, when they started digging survivors and bodies out of the rubble,” Abu Qusay said, referring to a photo of himself buried up to his shoulders in rubble, his face bloodied. Just a few weeks after being buried alive by the bombing which attacked the building he was in, only a mere scar at his left eyebrow hinted at the ordeal.
Abu Qusay is in his 30s, is the father of six kids between the ages of four and 15, and has worked as a policeman and security guard for 14 years. When the late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat was alive, Abu Qusay was a bodyguard for wife Suha Arafat.
In recent times, since the election of Hamas, he has continued in his role as security guard, these days accompanying VIPs as well as being the manager of security for international guests.
It was in this capacity that I met Abu Qusay and Hamza, a police officer who looked after internationals who came to Gaza on the Free Gaza Movement boats. Hamza was killed during the first attacks on 27 December 2008.
In one of Gaza’s coastal hotel cafes, Mediterranean seascape in the background and F-16 flying overhead, Abu Qusay related his story. He is a survivor of the first attacks, during which an estimated 60 Israeli warplanes simultaneously targeted approximately 100 police stations, police training academies, civil and governmental offices and other security-related posts throughout the Gaza Strip.
“We had a meeting at the presidential compound. There were about 15 of us and we’d entered the third floor meeting room shortly after 11am. I was sitting two seats away from the manager at the head of the table, with a friend in between us and the other attendees spread around the table. The manager was speaking when the first strikes hit.”
An F-16 flew low overhead, growling loudly. Abu Qusay stiffened, stopped speaking suddenly, resuming after a pause.
“The explosion itself was strange, unlike other bomb blasts. I felt an immense air pressure which pushed me to the ground. Then I heard the explosion of the buildings nearby. It was such a foreign sensation, I didn’t know what was going on.”
“I tried to open my eyes and found that I couldn’t. The air was thick with dust which blinded me. I felt something running down my face. I tried many times to open my eyes but the dust stung them so much that it was impossible for a while. Finally, I was able to keep them open but I still couldn’t see anything. Just a small hole of light. It seemed like I was facing a wall with a tiny break in it. I felt someone’s foot at my head and told the person to get their shoe away from my face. I was still disoriented, still had no idea what had happened. I tried to push the shoe away but found that my arms were pinned behind me, as if handcuffed. There was still liquid streaming down my face and I realized it was blood.
“I began to hear the screaming and moaning of people around me. Then I heard a woman’s voice, which I recognized as one of my colleagues. Then Hamza’s voice, telling us to be patient.
“I felt the crushing weight moving off of me and then realized I was being pulled out from what had been burying me: concrete blocks and the rubble of our building. I realized that the third floor room where we had been meeting was now on the ground floor. Three floors brought down to ground level.
“I woke up at al-Shifa hospital, realized I’d passed out at the bomb site. Around me, all around me, all I could see were bodies. Corpses and wounded were scattered on the floor of the emergency room. There were so many, too many for the beds. People with legs and arms amputated. People with hideous open wounds. It was surreal: I had been in a meeting, then was buried under rubble, then was surrounded by so much death. I couldn’t grasp it, couldn’t understand what had happened.
“I forgot myself, I lost myself. I forgot my pain when I saw a child who had been at a school near the Montada. His head was pierced with wounds. I got up, was walking around looking at everyone. I was absorbed by it. Doctors and others were telling me to sit down, stay put. Where are you going, you’re injured? they asked.
“Living in Gaza, we expect anything from Israel. Any attacks. We’ve lived through so many invasions and bombings. But I couldn’t believe this, couldn’t believe the scale of what they had done. And I didn’t even know about the other areas of Gaza at the time.”
More F-16s growled above as Abu Qusay continued his story.
“I used to drive ambulances. I’d learned how because I believe its important to broaden my skills, and I’m always trying to do so. But in all my days of driving ambulances, I’d never seen injuries and dead as horrific as what I saw that day. So many amputations, decapitations even.
“And I keep remembering that child, the one from the school nearby. Were there fighters in the school when Israel bombed nearby? What had that child done? What had any of us working for the government done? Could this ever happen to policemen in America, Canada or England? How can these criminals who would bomb in areas where there are civilians, children coming from school, who kill animals and uproot trees not be recognized as terrorists? They’ve committed massacres against us.”
Abu Qusay is obviously among the lucky, having survived the bombing with limbs intact. Like so many Palestinians in Gaza, though, he lost a number of friends in the attacks. I try to imagine how it would be to lose more than one friend, say 10, or more than one family member, say seven, or like the Samouni family, 48. It’s impossible to imagine.
Eva Bartlett is a Canadian human rights advocate and freelancer who spent eight months in 2007 living in West Bank communities and four months in Cairo and at the Rafah crossing. She is currently based in the Gaza Strip after having arrived with the third Free Gaza Movement boat in November. She has been working with the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza, accompanying ambulances while witnessing and documenting the ongoing Israeli air strikes and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.
The latest public opinion survey in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has shown a dramatic rise in Hamas’ popularity among Palestinians, with a significant decline in Fatah’s public standing.
Moreover, the poll showed that a majority of Palestinians believed that the advent of the Obama administration in the U.S. wouldn’t make a big difference with regard to American efforts to resolve the Palestinian issue.
According to the poll, Turkey, Venezuela and Iran as well as Hezbullah are the most popular regional forces among Palestinians.
The results of the latest poll, conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC) from 29-31 January, showed that nearly 48 % of respondents believed that Hamas came out of the Israeli blitz against Gaza victorious. Nearly 10 per cent opined that Israel won the war, while over a third of respondents, 37.4% said that neither side achieved victory.
The poll, surveying a random sample of 1,198 respondents, found a dramatic rise in the popularity of Hamas, especially in the West Bank.
In contrast, the popularity of the Fatah movement suffered a significant decline, especially in the West Bank.
When asked if general Palestinian elections were held today, 28.6% of respondents said they would vote for Hamas. Fatah’s standing declined from 34% last April to 27.9 in this poll.
According to the latest poll, trust in Hamas rose from 16.6% last November to 27.7 % in this poll. In contrast, the percentage of those who said they trusted Fatah fell down from 31.3% to 26%.
According to a press release by the JMCC, the rise in Hamas’ popularity occurred mainly in the West Bank, which is controlled by the Western Backed Palestinian Authority.
Similarly, the percentage of those who said they trusted Ismael Haniya, the Prime Minister of the Gaza-based Palestinian government, increased from 12.8% last October to 21.1 in this poll.Trust in PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas went down from 15.5% last October to 13.4 in this poll.
The poll showed that the percentage of those opining that the performance of the American-backed government of Salam Fayad is better than that of the Gaza-based government declined significantly from 36%last April to 26.9% in this poll.
However, those who believed that the performance of the Fayad government is worse than that of the Haniya’s government rose substantially from 29.1 to 40% per cent.
The latest poll also found that support for military resistance against the Israeli occupation rose from 49.5% last April to 53.5% in this poll.
Moreover, the poll showed a rise in the percentage of Palestinians opposed to peace talks with Israel.
Turkey, Venezuela and several other political and other entities have also become more popular among Palestinians, according to the latest poll.
Turkey received the highest point of 89.6 %, followed by Venezuela (80.6 %) .
The International Committee of the Red Cross received a satisfaction mark of(79. followed by UNRWA (78.6 %).
Qatar received a satisfaction mark of 68.3%,Hezbullah 66.9 %, the Muslim Brotherhood movement 57.6 % and Iran 55.9%.
The US received the satisfaction of only 2.8 of respondents, Britain, 10.4%, Germany 14.4 % France was the western country that received the satisfaction of the highest percentage of respondents, at 21.5 per cent.
Egypt and Jordan received 35.1% and 41.7 % respectively.
Finally, when asked which entity you would prefer to assume the task of reconstruction in the Gaza Strip, respondents gave the following answers: A majority of 30.6% said they prefer an international mechanism under UN supervision to assume this task.The second choice was for a Palestinian national unity government to oversee the reconstruction. More than 23% said they preferred the government of Hamas to do the job, while a minority of 13.7 % said they prefer the Palestinian Authority to assume the task.
The decline in Fatah’s popularity can be attributed to the widespread public dissatisfaction with the Ramallah regime’s lukewarm stance during the war.
Many Palestinians had the impression that at least some of the PA and PLO leaders adopted a “conspiratorial stance” during the Israeli invasion of Gaza.
Some PA officials had reportedly made remarks voicing the hope that Israeli would destroy the Hamas government in Gaza.
Some PLO leaders, such as Yasser Abed Rabbo, reportedly criticized Israel for ending the war too soon without “finishing off Hamas.”
Another important reason for Fatah’s dwindling popularity seems to have to do with the widespread suppression by PA security forces of public descent during the war.
PA security agencies prevented and in many instances violently suppressed pro-Hamas protests during the war.
Dozens of Palestinians, mainly Hamas sympathizers, have also been arrested by the PA security apparatusin the West Bank.
The latest opinion poll is not going to be a good news for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas has been calling for early presidential and legislative elections in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip inEthnic Cleansing, Fath, Genocide, Hamas, Jewish state, Ramallah
According to US government propaganda, terrorist cells are spread throughout America, making it necessary for the government to spy on all to Americans and violate most other constitutional protections. Among President Bush’s last words as he left office was the warning that America would soon be struck again by Muslim terrorists.
If America were infected with terrorists, we would not need the government to tell us. We would know it from events. As there are no events, the US government substitutes warnings in order to keep alive the fear that causes the public to accept pointless wars, the infringement of civil liberty, national ID cards, and inconveniences and harassments when they fly.
The most obvious indication that there are no terrorist cells is that not a single neocon has been assassinated.
I do not approve of assassinations, and am ashamed of my country’s government for engaging in political assassination. The US and Israel have set a very bad example for al Qaeda to follow.
The US deals with al Qaeda and Taliban by assassinating their leaders, and Israel deals with Hamas by assassinating its leaders. It is reasonable to assume that al Qaeda would deal with the instigators and leaders of America’s wars in the Middle East in the same way.
Today every al Qaeda member is aware of the complicity of neoconservatives in the death and devastation inflicted on Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Gaza. Moreover, neocons are highly visible and are soft targets compared to Hamas and Hezbollah leaders. Neocons have been identified in the media for years, and as everyone knows, multiple listings of their names are available online.
Neocons do not have Secret Service protection. Dreadful to contemplate, but it would be child’s play for al Qaeda to assassinate any and every neocon. Yet, neocons move around freely, a good indication that the US does not have a terrorist problem.
If, as neocons constantly allege, terrorists can smuggle nuclear weapons or dirty bombs into the US with which to wreak havoc upon our cities, terrorists can acquire weapons with which to assassinate any neocon or former government official.
Yet, the neocons, who are the Americans most hated by Muslims, remain unscathed.
The “war on terror” is a hoax that fronts for American control of oil pipelines, the profits of the military-security complex, the assault on civil liberty by fomenters of a police state, and Israel’s territorial expansion.
There were no al Qaeda in Iraq until the Americans brought them there by invading and overthrowing Saddam Hussein, who kept al Qaeda out of Iraq.
The Taliban is not a terrorist organization, but a movement attempting to unify Afghanistan under Muslim law. The only Americans threatened by the Taliban are the Americans Bush sent to Afghanistan to kill Taliban and to impose a puppet state on the Afghan people.
* Hamas is the democratically elected government of Palestine, or what little remains of Palestine after Israel’s illegal annexations. Hamas is a terrorist organization in the same sense that the Israeli government and the US government are terrorist organizations. In an effort to bring Hamas under Israeli hegemony, Israel employs terror bombing and assassinations against Palestinians. Hamas replies to the Israeli terror with homemade and ineffectual rockets.
* Hezbollah represents the Shi’ites of southern Lebanon, another area in the Middle East that Israel seeks for its territorial expansion.
* The US brands Hamas and Hezbollah “terrorist organizations” for no other reason than the US is on Israel’s side of the conflict. There is no objective basis for the US Department of State’s”finding” that Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist organizations. It is merely a propagandistic declaration.
* Americans and Israelis do not call their bombings of civilians terror. What Americans and Israelis call terror is the response of oppressed people who are stateless because their countries are ruled by puppets loyal to the oppressors. These people, dispossessed of their own countries, have no State Departments, Defense Departments, seats in the United Nations, or voices in the mainstream media. They can submit to foreign hegemony or resist by the limited means available to them.
* The fact that Israel and the United States carry on endless propaganda to prevent this fundamental truth from being realized indicates that it is Israel and the US that are in the wrong and the Palestinians, Lebanese, Iraqis, and Afghans who are being wronged.
* The retired American generals who serve as war propagandists for Fox “News” are forever claiming that Iran arms the Iraqi and Afghan insurgents and Hamas. But where are the arms? To deal with American tanks, insurgents have to construct homemade explosive devices out of artillery shells. After six years of conflict the insurgents still have no weapon against the American helicopter gunships. Contrast this *”arming”* with the weaponry the US supplied to the Afghans three decades ago when they were fighting to drive out the Soviets.
* The films of Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza show large numbers of Gazans fleeing from Israeli bombs or digging out the dead and maimed, and none of these people are armed. A person would think that by now every Palestinian would be armed, every man, woman, and child. Yet, all the films of the Israeli attack show an unarmed population. Hamas has to construct homemade rockets that are little more than a sign of defiance. If Hamas were armed by Iran, Israel’s assault on Gaza would have cost Israel its helicopter gunships, its tanks, and hundreds of lives of its soldiers.
* Hamas is a small organization armed with small caliber rifles incapable of penetrating body armor. Hamas is unable to stop small bands of Israeli settlers from descending on West Bank Palestinian villages, driving out the Palestinians, and appropriating their land.
* The great mystery is: why after 60 years of oppression are the Palestinians still an unarmed people? Clearly, the Muslim countries are complicit with Israel and the US in keeping the Palestinians unarmed.
* The unsupported assertion that Iran supplies sophisticated arms to the Palestinians is like the unsupported assertion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. These assertions are propagandistic justifications for killing Arab civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure in order to secure US and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during US President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution: An Insider’s Account of Policymaking in Washington http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067485621X/103-9747828-0329461;
The following statement was issued on 30 January 2009:
In view of the recent three-week premeditated campaign of bombing of the population of Gaza and its infrastructure by the State of Israel which came after a crippling, illegal two-year siege, we, 14 member organizations of SKOP, the Maltese national platform of development non-governmental organizations, call for a suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement. Freezing the upgrade of its relations with the State of Israel to make it a privileged partner, as the EU has done so far, is simply not enough. If the EU is truly committed to the pursuit of a just peace it must also act in a way that clearly dissociates it from war crimes, while helping to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Like Palestinian, Israeli and other international human rights activists in various parts of the world, we are convinced that the only way to stop this spiral of violence and injustice in non-violent ways is to pressure the State of Israel to respect its moral and legal obligations as set out by various UN resolutions, which include the UN-sanctioned rights of the Palestinian refugees, particularly in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 194.
The merciless bombing campaign against the occupied people of Palestine highlights once again the need for the state of Israel to respect the resolutions passed by the United Nations which demand a full and unconditional withdrawal from the lands it occupied illegally in 1967. This also means that, in agreement with the people of Gaza, the state of Israel must lift its debilitating blockade immediately. There can be no just peace in Israel and the Palestinian territories it has occupied, if the State of Israel continues to flout international law and violate the human rights of an occupied people. The occupation has created a spiral of violence that has left its toll on thousands of Palestinians and also on Israeli civilians.
We also request all organizations and people of good will in Malta to pressure the Maltese government, Members of European Parliament and prospective MEPs, and the various authorities within the EU to show their true commitment towards a just peace in Palestine by avoiding products and services (like tourism) provided by companies implicated in the occupation and human rights violations, and to choose services and goods, like fair trade products, provided by communities in occupied Palestine.