Category: International Human Rights

A No-Show, a Strike, and a Bitchslap

As predicted, some effects of last year’s historic vote in favor of Palestine attaining “observer status” at the UN are already bearing fruit. As i recall, the entire center and right all claimed that the landslide victory for Abbas and the people of Palestine “wouldn’t change a thing”. They were wrong in more ways than one.

 

First, as expected, Netanyahu immediately announced new building contracts in the settlement areas of the West Bank. i’m sure than this came as no surprise to anyone at all on either side of the wall. And, while nearly any Israeli Prime Minister would likely have done the same, Bibi’s obligatory, knee-jerk reaction of accelerating settlement-building was a risky bet: he was hoping that, as usual, the backlash would be limited to the bleeding hearts in Tel Aviv and Europe. He was wrong.

Adding insult to injury, perhaps still feeling empowered by his Fearmongering: Iran speech (complete with illustration) at the UN earlier this year, Netanyahu even had the nerve to no-show the United Nations’ periodic review on human rights. To be sure, this act of belligerence in and of itself was not extraordinary – after all, they’re only following our example of: being the lone veto at the UN; abysmally failing human rights on the international level; failing to adhere to international law; and even skirting World Court decisions.  Whether Netanyahu overplayed his hand, whether he couldn’t read the tea leaves correctly, or whether the recent UN bitchslap was simply longer in coming than some may have anticipated, his political instincts at this moment in time are none too sharp. Rather than appearing as a confident leader secure in his position, he comes off more as a man who’s teetering on cusp of his own undoing. It’s one thing to tell the whole world to fuck off – even your sponsor of patronage – when you have an ace up your sleeve; it’s another thing completely if you’re out of aces, out of tricks, and out of favor with the sitting US President.

Then, too, was the recent Israeli sacking of a purported Hezbollah convoy of arms just inside Syria, another miscalculation. According to recent press reports, “most analysts” agree that the strike was a “calculated risk” that Netanyahu took, against the lesser odds of a Syrian retaliation amid their own, obvious problems at the moment. Here, Bibi is only half-right. No, Damascus won’t likely do anything even half as foolish as say, lobbing a single cruise missile over the border. What Israel had better brace itself for is an old-school, class-A, bona fide “terror” strike, courtesy of either Hezbollah – or perhaps a revenge assassination or two on behalf of the Mukhbarat, Syria’s much-feared intelligence agency. Note the quotation marks around the word “terror”. In reality, it would in truth be an attack of retaliation, which, if proportional, normally falls within the legal bounds of international law. Silly distinctions. Anyways, what you, dear reader, would likely witness would be some CNN mock story that showed you one more instance of bad behavior on behalf of Assad – and they’d likely hold the story back for a week or two – so, by that time, most casual viewers and American voters would hardly remember the inciting incident – the Israeli strike on the alleged convoy.

 

Back to the recent UN bitchslap –

What can we make of this – is this merely another worthless UN finding, another toothless vindication? Or could it be something more?

As i’ve said elsewhere, in politics (and it’s always all politics), it’s all about timing, timing, timing. The Window of Opportunity. And if this window has ever been fatefully flung open for the Palestinians, it’s now. Strike while the iron’s hot. And of course, the incident of interest must be weighed against the backdrop of everything else that has recently led up to it. Given that Abbas is still fresh off his recent 138-9 victory at the UN; given the very serious, yet then-dismissed Goldstone Report; given the recent international wave of opposition that gained steam during the Mavi Marma Turkish flotilla incident; and given the recent shift in perception toward Israeli atrocities, even moderately evidenced in the mainstream media – in an underdog-upset-type of reversal, it almost seems as if nothing can stop Palestine’s momentum.

As for the finding – well, it’s no ruling; it’s not legally binding, of course. If would be more so, if it were issued by the Security Council – and it wouldn’t, because we just vetoed an otherwise-unanimous Security Council resolution condemning the settlements early in 2011. But it’s not toothless – it is my belief that it was designed to serve as a warning shot. This is the (rest of the) UN’s way of saying: “Look, we’ve tried to politely deal with this before, and this is our last warning. Maybe they (Palestine) will be successful at the ICC, and perhaps they won’t. But unless you want to tempt fate, now is the time to start dialing it back.” The ICC has already publicly stated that, in light of the recent and successful UN bid for “observer status”, they are now willing to reconsider Palestine’s demands for an investigation.

 

A new awareness has finally cast itself upon the world. While it’s still terribly difficult to imagine justice coming to Palestine, it’s now a scant possibility. A mustard seed. A glimmer. Injustice can thrive, it can breed, it can destroy, but it can’t live on forever. It can only fester for so long as it lies undetected.

Team Human Rights, 138; Team Apartheid, 9

 

i’ve had a blast tonight catching up on all the spin from the apologists and rabid Zionists from Team Apartheid; to be sure, it was all just as expected as it was sniveling and farcical.

“Oh, it won’t change anything on the ground (sniffle).”

“The only way for Palestine to achieve statehood is through direct negotiations with Israel (whimper).”

“This vote was merely symbolic (smacking gums).”

Here’s what redneck South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham had to say: “The biggest fear I have is that (if) the Palestinians achieve this status it won’t be very long before the Palestinians use the United Nations as a club against Israel.”

HA! Just priceless!

Or, how about that bitch, Hillary, lamenting that this historic, landslide vote was “unfortunate and counterproductive”?

i believe what she really meant was that it was unfortunate and counterproductive for the US and Israel. Perhaps this all wouldn’t have been quite so embarrassing if the US and Israel didn’t practically beg the world not to support the vote, in between the trash-talking and arm-twisting.

Too bad we haven’t yet seen the shot of Susan Rice’s bitchass storming out of the UN assembly hall – like she always does. i’m sure it will surface soon enough.

 

Journalists worldwide have already covered the gamut on the possible ramifications of the vote, including the childish, tyrannical, and likely chance that the US will pull more funds from the UN – just like they did after the UNESCO vote last year, or the equally as likely chance of Israel’s illegal transgression to withhold collected Palestinian taxes as well as international aid. i’m simply going to reiterate a couple of points that bear bringing home:

The latest smackdown of Gaza had nothing – nothing to do with grad rockets and they laughable “right of Israel to defend itself”. It had everything to do with intimidation and the classic strategy of tyrants, which is to divide and rule – in this case, Israel was desperately hoping against hope to sow more discord and faction between Fatah and Hamas. They failed, and they failed miserably. Lest we forget, none other than Haniyah himself has repeatedly said that, while he may not agree with a two-state solution or reconciliation with Fatah, if the Palestinian people support these things, he will support them as well. For, as any rational observer well knows, and despite western media appearances to the contrary, Hamas is a genuine political movement; while indeed, at times, Fatah has appeared to acquiesce to global opinion, and Hamas is more of “the peoples’ choice”, neither group is so at odds with the other so as to sabotage the movement with acrimony.

The most recent, gruesome, and brutal aerial invasion was designed to disrupt the Palestinian political structure, plain and simple; while Netanyahu knew damn well that he could not deter Hamas from their undying opposition, he was hedging a small wager that he just might be able to scare Abbas and Fatah back to the stacked and loaded “negotiation table”. Of course, this is the same table that produced the worthless Clinton Camp David Agreement as well as the Oslo Accords – neither of which has ended the brutal oppression, kidnappings, torture, and assassination; the perpetual invasions and bombings along with the foregone conclusion of massive civilian casualties; or the illegal control of movement and goods, the illegal settlements, the illegal occupation, or the illegal naval blockade, for the matter. This tired carrot-and-stick approach has run its sorry course. Palestine actually and erroneously tried playing their game for awhile – the corner suicide bombings virtually ceased; long periods without a single (retaliatory) grad rocket prevailed, and Fatah carried on with their tails between their legs, desperately and ignorantly hoping that things would change for the better. And what did they get in return?

More invasions, more bombings, more death and destruction, more dead women, children, and babies, less arable land, less water, and an exponential increase of encroaching settlement.

Some “negotiation”.

 

Will today’s historic vote have any immediate effect – other than withholding of mandated funds and aid? Probably not. On this, the Zionist Israelis, their US stooges, and the Diaspora apologists are all correct. However – they’re missing the point completely.

What they don’t fully understand or appreciate, as tyrants and superpowers, is the strategy of guerrilla warfare.

You don’t take a tyrant head-on when he’s carrying a club and you’re left with your fists – and you’re half his size. Or, for a more relevant analogy, you don’t take an IDF soldier head-on when he’s got an M-4 carbine and you have a rock – well, unless you have 20 other friends with rocks and adequate cover, anyway.

You lurk. You strike, then take cover. You come out at night. You exploit his weaknesses. You make him fight on your terms, not his. You fight asymmetrically.

And when all else fails – you garner as much media coverage and fight for as much global sympathy as you can. For, as we all know, all wars are political, and, conversely, all politics really is – is war without arms.

You’d think that by now, Israel would learn; that they’d do everything they could not to further inflame the ever-growing global outrage and disgust. You’d think that, in today’s age of the 24-hour newscast, the internet, Twitter, and the like, they would avoid civilian casualties at all costs, that they would only resort to force when absolutely necessary – actually adhering to the false premise of “their right to defend themselves”.

And this, dear reader, belies one of the top two most arrogant nations on the face of the planet.

(The other one is the one that’s supplying those pesky fighter-bombers, military technology, and massive handouts.)

Every time that Israel flagrantly bombs Gaza, they lose international support; every time an image of a dead Palestinian child actually makes it to CNN, they lose international support; and every time they flagrantly violate international law, they lose international support.

This was clearly demonstrated today in spades. Israel was trumped, they were undone, and they were humiliated on the world stage.

THIS is the change.

 

The facade has fallen, the curtain lifted, the veneer stripped away.

The only ones who still don’t get it are the US and Israel. The rest of the world is no longer fooled. And this is a far cry from only a decade ago. Just think –

With a few more bombings and another invasion or two –

1) Where will their standing be in another decade?

2) Could they find themselves isolated internationally – not only in spirit, as they are now, but actually in practice?

3) Might they possibly lose the little credibility they have left in the world?

4) Is it possible – that they may even lose the unequivocal support of the US – say, if Netanyahu’s relationship with the next couple US presidents is anything like that of his with Obama? And if they keep up their official policy of apartheid?

The answers: question one: in the shitter; question two: likely; question three: likely; question four: they may already be there.

 

“What’s the change?”

THIS IS THE CHANGE.

 

So, to all the naysayers, the apologists, and the merely ignorant – spin the ramifications all you want, just as i have done so myself –

You still can’t spin 138-9.

 

Losers.

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The Common Thread: Cast Lead, July 17th, and Pillar of Defense

 

If the small handful of Israel-Palestine watchers noticed, i didn’t post anything on the recent bus bombing.

i didn’t post it for a reason – i knew immediately it reeked like a rotten egg.

We will likely never be told who the real culprits were.

But if you are simply willing to take Israel’s statements on the incident at face value –

With no physical or forensic evidence –

You’re either an apologist or you’re an idiot, or perhaps both.

 

Anyone who knows the first thing about terrorism is that all explosives leave residual traces that reveal the chemical makeup of the detonated device. Think about it – how could anything blow up that did not leave this “fingerprint”? This holds true if the detonated explosive is somewhat complex or rare, such as nanothermite, or if it is very simple and straightforward, such as an easy-to-make compound of sulfur and aluminum. As for all of the favored compounds: RDX, PETN, Semtex (RDX+PETN), TNT, or the classic ANFO, or “fertilizer bomb” – all leave a telltale “fingerprint” that is very easy for forensic analysts of explosives to discern.

Let me pause here and make the point that if you’re not even aware of these most common explosives, you certainly have no business pointing a finger in anyone’s direction at all, in this case nor in any other.

The point is that this easily-obtainable forensic evidence has yet to surface. Even if it did surface – and if this was not a run-of-the-mill false flag operation on behalf of Shin Bet –

Just as in a nearly identical incident in last August 2011 –

What is even more likely of this type of attack, again, if genuinely from the outside, was perpetrated by Islamic Jihad (Brotherhood extremist) ruffians from Sinai.

 

Oh yes – it is also in accordance with international law that retaliation to violent attack, insofar as it is proportional, is not only legal, but it is just. The tired and farcical notion of “Israel’s right to defend itself”, in the land called Reality, really applies to Palestine, not Israel. But hey, you tell me –

Is it proportional that Israel bombs entire cities full of civilians due to a stray grad rocket that falls in the desert?

Or is it proportional that an entity (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, whoever) lobbies a poor, unguided rocket at Israel in retaliation for massive kidnappings, political assassinations, the starving of its people, the bombing of its cities and massive killing of its civilian population, or the indiscriminate spraying of white phosphorus over what is essentially a restricted, militarily-occupied, open-air prison?

 

Neither Hamas, nor any other group, be it a resistance movement, a fundamentalist  political offshoot, or a genuine terrorist group, has perpetrated a genuine market street-style suicide bombing on a crowded Israeli street in so many years, most authoritative terrorism experts nearly consider it to be a thing of the past. Hamas all but ended their terrorist campaign in 2003; there were two isolated, retaliatory events since, one in 2004, and one in 2005. Since 2006 – when Hamas was democratically elected by the Palestinian people as a political group, they have not taken credit for a single attack.

Since then, Israel has made a few claims over the years, as to be expected – yet the proof, or claim of credit, is always absent.

No proof? No forensic analysis? No credit taken?

 

Duhhh…

Which way did he go…

 

At least the US officials offered the gesture of goodwill after the OKC bombing to offer an investigation and give us a chemical culprit.

Though, it must be said that ANFO was a horrible and pathetic excuse of an offering. Not only would a Ryder van with a few tanks of the stuff be grossly insufficient to nearly level such a massive structure as the Murrah Building, but even an entire tractor trailer full from top to bottom likely wouldn’t be enough – and even then, the “terrorist” would have to actually mix the ingredients within an hour or so of the execution. Given that, even in the case of the Ryder van scenario, this would be far too great a task for one or even two men, this begs credulity and flies in the face of chemistry and human ability. But, i digress – this is certainly way over your head.

The point is, US officials, at the least, gave us a mockery of an investigation. Not that knowledgeable analysts were fooled.

While i’m on the subject of false flag operations and explosives –

 

Don’t you think it odd that, in the show trial of September Morning, all of the evidence was hauled out of “Ground Zero”?

Did you ever  stop to scratch your head at the fact that not only was the evidence removed – a criminal act, to be sure, but, moreover –

That US officials were so intent on removing the evidence that they employed our armed forces to guard the entire crime scene until the last truck full of debris and wildly bent h-beams were carted off – to be sold as scrap metal or otherwise disposed of?

Again, this was removing evidence from a crime scene.

Nothing to hide, i’m sure.

“Nothing to see here, people. Hey, you! Get back from that gate! Put that camera away before i break it over your face!”

In the most mundane and routine homicide investigations – of brown-skinned people in the inner cities, people that most Americans could give two shits about –

They still perform better investigations. They still analyze bullet casings, gunpowder residue, blood, fibers, etcetera.

And yet, in “terrorism cases” ranging from the recent bus bombing in Tel Aviv, to September Morning –

No evidence was availed and no credit was taken.

Mind you –

The intellect required to arrive at rational conclusions regarding these false-flag operations is not immense. It’s not rocket science.

All you have to do is to actually perform this curious and rare act called “thinking”.

Eh, and a little research won’t kill you, either.

 

On the recent false flag operation in Tel Aviv –

Did you ever notice the timing of Israeli acts of aggression, the bombing campaigns, or invasions directed toward Palestinian territories?

i’ll help.

Just in the past year alone – let me explain the correlation of political events and acts of aggression. For, as we all know, war rarely occurs without politics.

 

Q: When did Cast Lead occur?

A: Right before Barack Obama took office.

Operation: Cast Lead, one of Israel’s most brutal campaigns, one in which between 1,200 and 1,300 Palestinians were killed – with civilians accounting for at least 844 of these death casualties, of these, 281 being children. Around 200 were killed and another 700 wounded in the first few days alone. This war on Palestine only lasted three weeks. That’s approximately 400 killed per week. Cast Lead was also the first verified case of Israel using chemical weapons – showers of white phosphorus, raining down on densely populated civilian areas like roman candles – against the defenseless open-air prison, though earlier use may likely have occurred.

 

In the summer of 2011, Israeli air strikes against the territories accelerated yet again. The reason? Funny you should ask.

It was another bus bombing – nearly identical to the one that happened this November. As with the most recent incident, last year’s bombing led to no investigation, produced no forensic evidence, and all Israel had to do was to simply wag their finger and proclaim that “Hamas did it.” In less sensational news about Israel, government officials actually admitted  that they had no clear evidence that could implicate Hamas. The incident occurred in southern Israel – and the enemy fire was reported to have come from Sinai. Ha’aretz reported that IDF forces killed five of the attackers, and Egyptian officials reported that they killed two others; however, the IDF also estimated that between 15-20 terrorists participated in the attack. Not that any of this mattered. Meanwhile, Egyptian officials had discovered a bombmaking outfit on their own soil, and a handful of grad rockets were reportedly fired upon southern Israel, as well – from Sinai. So, if this is all true, what we are left with is Egyptian aggression directed towards Israel, who then takes it out on the relatively defenseless population of Gaza. If this is all true.

Getting closer to the truth – this was also upon the looming Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN – one that obviously failed, though of course, Palestine would indeed become a member of UNESCO. Naturally, the result of this, aside from further acts of Israeli belligerence and petulance, was their withholding of internationally-mandated relief, withholding of the very taxes that they routinely collect from Palestine, as well as the United States’ defunding of millions of dollars to UNESCO, almost causing it to fold altogether.

The irony, of course, is that the US is always urging democracy upon Palestine instead of resorting to violent measures. Yet, when they make any concrete move for diplomacy – aside from “talks”, which is simply doublespeak for getting fucked under the table and out of view of the international community – the US, just like its counterpart, acts with petulance and defiance. Defunding UNESCO – really? What’s next? Hey, maybe if we see one more inner city school shooting, the US will respond by actually feeding the city youth ketchup and relish for lunch – just like Reagan suggested!

Collective punishment – Israel and the United States’ weapon of choice.

“What’s this, a lone, retaliatory grad rocket fired by Hamas (or Islamic Jihad)? Fuck THAT! Time for another 100 Palestinian civilians to kiss their brown asses goodbye!”

What is terribly convenient, however – for Netanyahu, that is – is that all of these attacks, whether actual or not, or in some combination thereof – came right on the heels of Israel’s largest civil demonstrations in history. At least 500,000 Israelis stormed Tel Aviv and other cities en masse, in protest over many socioeconomic issues, with the lack of affordable housing taking center stage; this domestic uprising became known as the July 17th Movement. Many Israelis with 4-year degrees, and still more with even graduate degrees, could not find affordable housing; those that actually were able to afford housing in the cities at all were left with nothing at the end of the month. Despite the glaring contrast with their Arab minority, those in the territories being evicted upon encroaching settlements (with no compensation) and the poverty-stricken majority living in Palestine in general, it was a genuine peoples’ movement – one that immediately set its sights on Netanyahu. All of a sudden, the masses were chanting, “Mubarak, Assad, Bibi Netanyahu!”, and demanding the Israeli Prime Minister’s immediate resignation.

What was Netanyahu’s response? Aside from token gestures and empty promises?

He sent hordes of American-made F-16s to bomb the shit out of innocent Palestinian civilians. The bombing was so intense that many feared, just as in the most recent example of November 2012, that (another) invasion of Gaza was imminent.

 

As for the most recent Israeli bombing spree of Gaza this November, the modus operandi  could not be more clear. In similar fashion to Cast Lead in 2008-2009, Bibi’s trying desperately to show Obama that he will wear the pants in their relationship (though it has become pretty clear that this is not the case). He is shaking his rattle in his dismay at the recent US presidential election results. He is facing another election; while it is nearly certain that he will keep his throne, it is very peculiar that his newly-acquired running mate and longtime thug, Ehud Barak, has suddenly dropped out of not only Bibi’s circle, but politics altogether. Furthermore, Netanyahu is, as he has been since the July 17th Movement, still facing a restless populace, a contracting economy, and even a minor exodus, all due to his fundamentalist, war-crazed tenure. And yet, as stated on this blog countless times, the biggest reason for the current smackdown of Gaza could not be clearer –

It’s the UN vote, stupid.

Every analyst, despite their political leanings, nationality, or their bias toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – has given Palestine very favorable odds regarding the upcoming “observer status” bid. Even France has indicated its support.

And as noted, among other minor perks, the real kick in Israel’s ass is that Palestine would then be able to lodge formal  charges of war crimes and other crimes against humanity against Israel, in a very visible and international forum.

Of course, any charges against Israel would ultimately be vetoed by the US. Yet, observer status would take Palestine one step closer toward one of its primary objectives, that of legitimacy. While this would of course not make it impossible for the US to deny the atrocities against Palestine, it would make it harder, and increase transparency – something that desperately needs to be leveled against a nation with some very transparent motives.

Timing, timing, timing…

 

Just to review, kids:

US election = bombing of Palestine

Israeli election = bombing of Palestine

Massive social unrest in Israel = bombing of Palestine

Democratic Palestinian vote = bombing of Palestine

Palestinian push for international legitimacy = bombing of Palestine

 

Any questions?

 

.

 

Two great videos:

http://www.thedailyshow.com//watch/mon-january-5-2009/strip-maul

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=7182

 

One great article:

http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20090119.htm

 

What’s this, then? Grad rockets from – Sinai?

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/officials-hamas-ordered-grad-attack-on-israel-at-request-of-muslim-brotherhood-1.436787

 

By the way, i didn’t mention this in the main text, but the above article is just hilarious. IDF claimed something to the effect of: “The grad rockets came from Sinai on the order of Hamas – at the behest of the Muslim Brotherhood. This is just precious. Reminds me of Pakistan’s runaround on the US: “The attackers were radical Afghani militiamen, working for US-backed “al-Qaeda”, but they’re hiding in Waziristan.” Whatever. Those who ardently track the intelligence agencies and their Frankenstein creations know who’s puppeteering who. Furthermore – the last time i checked, Hamas is not located in the Sinai.

Collective punishment’s a motherfucker.

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International Law on the Conduct of Hostilities: Overview

 

International law on the conduct of hostilities regulates and limits the methods and means of warfare used by parties to an armed conflict. It aims to strike a balance between legitimate military action and the humanitarian objective of reducing human suffering, particularly among civilians.

 

Limits on the way wars are waged have existed for centuries. It was often a matter of unwritten understandings on how to behave, sometimes a reciprocal recognition of the reality of potential retaliation if certain limits were overstepped. On occasions, common humanity limited the impact of war.

Efforts by the international community to introduce effective legal limits on the conduct of war began seriously in the 19th century. Through a series of treaties such as the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, and the growth of customary law, there is now an extensive body of law regulating the conduct of hostilities.

The general principles are enshrined in the Hague Convention of 1907 and the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977. But there are a series of other treaties covering specific issues, particularly in the field of weapons. In 2005 the ICRC published a major study on the extensive body of customary international humanitarian law, which is binding on all States.

The central principle of distinction runs through all the law relating to the conduct of hostilities. Indiscriminate military action is prohibited. All sides in a conflict must distinguish between legitimate military targets on the one hand and civilians and civilian objects on the other.

Deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime. All sides must take measures to separate as far as possible military targets from population centres.  While it is accepted that civilian casualties may be sustained in situations where military targets are attacked, both sides are required to take whatever measures possible to minimize injury and death among civilians, and damage to civilian objects. If an attack is expected to cause “collateral civilian damages” that are excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated, it must be cancelled or suspended.

IHL forbids the terrorizing of civilian population and the destruction of their means of survival by attacks on crops, water supplies, medical facilities, housing and non-military transport. Hostage taking and the use of human shields are likewise prohibited.

The methods and means used in military action must be proportionate to the military objective. Tactics or the excessive use of power or force that cause unnecessary death or destruction among civilians is prohibited. So too are methods and means that cause unnecessary suffering to enemy combatants.

The wounded and sick and those no longer taking part in hostilities must be respected. Medical facilities and personnel must not be  attacked. All parties to a conflict must respect the use of the protective emblems enshrined in the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, namely the red cross, the red crescent and the red crystal.

Limits on the conduct of hostilities under IHL also cover cultural property and the environment. Targeting cultural property or using it for military purposes is prohibited. Military action must not unnecessarily destroy the natural environment or create environmental problems for the future. Special references are also made to naval and air warfare and the role of civil defence during armed conflict.

Regulations pertaining to the choice of weapons clearly constitute a major part of the law on the conduct of hostilities. Under IHL, this choice is not unlimited. In addition to the principles of distinction and proportionality, IHL has outlawed specific types of weapons through a series of international treaties, in particular biological and chemical weapons, blinding laser weapons and anti-personnel landmines. Most recently, in 2008 the Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted.

 

Reproduced in accord with Fair Use law; please visit the International Committee of the Red Cross at:

http://www.icrc.org/eng/war-and-law/index.jsp

A “Democracy” Attacks Democracy – Back To The Ol’ Media Blackout!

Originally posted at https://www.facebook.com/FilterThis on November 19, 2012

 

The Usual Israeli Propaganda:

“The Israeli military said the strikes targeted Hamas communications equipment on the buildings’ rooftops and accused the group of using journalists as ‘human shields’.” (CBS News)

 

Back Here, in the Land Called Reality…

“Around 15 reporters and photographers wearing vests with the word ‘TV Press’ were on the building’s roof at the time, covering the Israeli air strikes.” (Reporters Without Borders)

 

List of international news organizations reporting either wounded journalists and/or destroyed offices:

– Press TV (Iran)

– RT News (Russia)

– Al Aqsa TV (Palestine)

– SAFA TV (Palestine)

– Ma’an (Israel, Palestine)

– Al Quds TV (Lebanon)

– ARD (Germany)

– Sky News Arabia (UAE)

– Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia)

– Reuters (US) (whoops!)

 

ON TOP OF THE USUAL Israeli laundry list of illegal acts, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, such as (but not limited to): the routine targeting and killing of civilians, constant, mass-kidnapping, political assassinations, the settlements and their ultra-violent residents, restriction of movement, restriction on goods, restriction of life-sustaining commodities – such as water, the use of chemical weapons – again, against civilians…

They’re back to targeting – intentionally – the international media.

The targeting and attacking of not only civilians – old people, women, and children – is heinous enough. Not that it’s any worse, but the targeting of the international press is a sordid, blasphemous, and hypocritical affair of its own. Both are war crimes, in gross violation of the Geneva Accord and other mandates of international law. Yet, the irony, i certainly hope, is not lost on you…

For the most powerful nation in the world – as well as the most powerful proxy in the Near East – to call themselves “democracies” is a most callous, offensive, and warped joke, to be sure.

But to add insult to injury and to go ’round the world speaking so loftily of this so-called “democracy”, to make such “democratic” demands of a free press upon other nations wishing to join the international markets and security organizations, and to chide nations such as China and Russia for their own lack of free speech – is a preposterous, farcical, and cynical notion. “Do as we say – but not as we do.” Or, as Noam likes to say:

“Democracy’s fine for us – just not for you.”

Honestly, what do you think US and Israeli leaders are thinking? That by attacking the international news outlets and their journalists that their war crimes will forever go unnoticed?

Then again – judging by most Americans’ handle on international news – this media blackout may, in truth, simply be unnecessary.

Most of you will believe whatever the fuck they tell you, anyway.

 

 

11/18/12: Reporters Without Borders Condemns Air Strikes On News Media In Gaza City:

http://en.rsf.org/palestinian-terr-rwb-condemns-air-strikes-on-news-18-11-2012,43690.html

 

11/18/12: Russian TV office destroyed in Israeli attack on Gaza. Press TV:

http://www.presstv.com/detail/2012/11/18/273063/russian-tv-office-hit-in-gaza-attack/

 

4/9/03: US bombs Al-Jazeera center in Baghdad. World Socialist Web Site:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/apr2003/jaz-a09.shtml

 

11/13/01: Al-Jazeera Kabul offices hit in US raid. BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1653887.stm

Richard Falk on International Law and Israel’s Illegal Occupation and Settlements

 

It recently dawned on me that when discussing the illegality of Israel’s 45-year-long military occupation of Palestine, some of you probably have no clue as to which binding resolutions are being referring to, or even that there are any legally binding resolutions on the books at all. Perhaps some of you thought that like-minded analysts of the matzvah are simply making it up.

This neverending, brutal, military occupation of apartheid is illegal as hell. Just the same as are the political assassinations, withholding of international aid, targeting of civilians and journalists, use of chemical weaponry, undeclared nuclear weapons of mass destruction, routine kidnapping, torture, and indefinite detention…all illegal. The very few Hamas or Hezbollah “terrorist” attacks, in comparison – or more accurately, in contrast – don’t hold a candle – neither in scope nor duration – to these heinous crimes which are standard operating procedure of the Israeli government. The last time i checked, occasionally striking back at a bully in retaliation, so long as it is not disproportionate to the crime, is not  illegal under international laws of war or occupation. As for the real  “terrorists”, we can always look to our own definition of the word (United States Code, ch. 18, sec. 2331):

 

(1) the term “international terrorism” means activities that—

(A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;

(B) appear to be intended—

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping

 

Two of the most well-known and flagrantly ignored articles that Israel is in flat and outright violation of – Geneva Convention Article 53, and UN Security Council Resolution 242. Commenting on Israel’s multiple policies of human rights infringement, former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights and Princeton University’s Alfred G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice, Richard Falk:

 

Jean Allain: Considering the plight of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation, you stated that Israel’s legal arguments fall short of “satisfying the test of persuasiveness” and that Israeli settlements are “flagrant violations” of applicable law. Could you maybe work through first of all what are the fundamental precepts of humanitarian law that would hold in Palestine?

Richard Falk: Essentially, the conditions governing belligerent occupation, for one thing, would require that Israel accept the Geneva Convention’s framework. One of the cardinal provisions in that framework, Article 53, does not allow for population transfers, and that’s very fundamental to the nature of a legitimate argument. Also, the underlying problem of the occupation is that it was carried out in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for withdrawal. The persistence and the refusal to heed those resolutions created an underlying condition of illegality to the occupation.

But the establishment of the settlements and armed settlements in an occupied territory, combined with the imposition of collective punishment of the Palestinian inhabitants, demolition of houses, prolonged detention, and torture under conditions of detention, almost acknowledgement of torture as a practice for eliciting information, creates a long litany of flagrant violations, both of international humanitarian and human rights law, based on the fundamental protection of human rights.

 

From an introduction:

“Aware of the type of criticism that would be leveled against those who examined Israeli acts from the perspective of those that they affect, and not from the statist model, Falk has embarked upon a number of studies related to Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In a 1988 symposium on Palestinian refugees, Falk pointed to the fact that Palestinians suffer a number of calamities, “most basic of all, of the hostile and brutally sustained occupation of their own homeland.” Falk considers in detail the extent of the violations in the occupied territories and concludes: “Israel is predominantly and flagrantly in violation of the most fundamental humanitarian standards of international law,” and that Israel’s legal arguments fall short of “satisfying tests of persuasiveness.” He argues that the number and prolonged nature of such violations goes beyond incurring the responsibility of the state for illegal acts and suggests “the appropriateness of supplementing the language of illegality with the language of criminality.” In this manner, he notes that those responsible for such policies in Gaza and the West Bank should be held criminally liable for their actions.

In a panel discussion held the same year, Falk turned his attention to Israeli settlements on the West Bank and concludes that they represent “a massive, continuing violation of the laws of war.” Falk considers briefly attempts by certain international lawyers to challenge the “overwhelming consensus of experts and governments” who support the view that the settlements “flagrantly” violate applicable international law. As he notes, such arguments “are so strained and artificial in character as to hardly be worth detailed refutation.” He then goes on to consider attempts by Israel to establish facts on the ground, disregarding the rights of the local inhabitants, and thus reinforcing “the impression of the impotence of international law.” Falk then considers the manner in which international law can play a role in the peace process. He notes that law may clarify the content of a “reasonable and fair solution” based on the right of the civilian population to “retain the social integrity of their territory once occupation is ended.” Further, he adds that international law requires the removal of the settlements, and thus “embodies an indispensable substantive precondition of an acceptable peace process.” He argues that while full compensation to the settlement activities may be used as a “bargaining chip” during negotiations, it should not stand in the way of the “most vital claim”: the end of the Israeli occupation.

Falk’s expertise on the occupied territories was recognized by the United Nations in 2000 when he was asked by the Commission on Human Rights to participate in an inquiry examining the violation of human rights law in the occupied territories as a result of the Al Asqa Intifada. In a section entitled “Clarifying the Context: Illusion and Reality,” the Commission pointed out that the “commitment to objectivity does not imply a posture of ‘neutrality’ with respect to addressing the merits of the controversies concerning alleged violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Judgments can and must be made.” As such, the Commission, headed by John Dugard and comprising Falk and Kamal Hossain, concluded in March 2001 that it was “incontestable that the Israeli Security Forces (the Israeli Defense Forces and the Israeli Police Force) have used excessive and disproportionate force from the outset of the second intifada, whether their conduct is measured by: the standards of international humanitarian applicable to armed conflict, the codes of conduct applicable to policing in situations no amounting to armed conflict, or, by the open-fire regulations binding upon members of the Israeli Security Forces.” The report of the Commission highlights the Israeli policy of targeting specific individuals for political assassinations, the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, and the deprivation of economic and social rights as a result of collective punishments.

When speaking in a personal capacity about the findings of the Commission, Falk said that “you only need to have a 20 percent open mind in order to reach these conclusions that are critical of Israel on the main issues of international law and human rights.” Falk notes that the frustration of the Palestinian people derives from two sources: the first is the oppression at the hands of the Israelis that permeates the totality of everyday life. The second is a response to a leadership that is perceived as having, for all intents and purposes, abandoned the Palestinian cause. While Israelis saw the 2000 Camp David Agreement as a major concession, the Palestinians, as Falk points out, saw it as “a bad bargain.” It failed in fundamental respects to deal with the creation of a viable sovereign Palestine, failed to deal with the refugee issue, failed to share rights to Jerusalem on an equal basis, failed to address the threat or irritant of persistent settlements.” At its most basic level, the first intifada appears to have been a manifestation of the popular will to fight oppression as well as a demand from its leadership that the struggle bear fruit.”

 

Richard Falk is the Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University. He is also a New York-raised (assimilationist) Jew.

 

Allain, J (ed.) (2003). Unlocking the Middle East: the writings of Richard Falk. New York; Olive Branch Press