TEL AVIV, Israel — The Israeli military denied Thursday that it had hinted it had received clearance from the United States, before it used a bomb to assassinate a suspected Palestinian militant in Gaza City the previous day.
Lieutenant-Colonel Avital Leibovich, who briefed reporters on the assassination Wednesday night, said her remarks were not meant as a hint that Israel had given Washington advance notice of the hit.
“I didn’t hint in any way,” she told the German press agency DPA, clarifying that instead, she had spoken of a general cooperation and information sharing with the US as well as with other allied armies.
“In general there is cooperation with the US and with other armies,” Leibovich said, but emphasized she did not know whether such information-sharing had taken place prior to the targeted killing of Mohamed Al-Nemnem.
Al-Nemnem, a senior member of the radical Army of Islam group, died when his car exploded outside western Gaza City’s police headquarters around noon Wednesday.
Israel said he was involved in planning an attack against Israeli and American targets in the Sinai peninsula and was targeted because he was a “ticking bomb.”
Briefing reporters on the targeted killing Wednesday, Leibovich said: “Without getting specifically into more details, I can tell you there is very good cooperation between us and the Americans.
“We have an ongoing relationship with the Americans as well as with other forces and from time to time we pass on information.”
Speech by historian David Irving about his book “Churchill’s War”
The following press release was issued by Adalah-NY on 3 November 2010:
Africa Israel, the flagship company of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, announced this week that it is no longer involved in Israeli settlement projects and that it has no plans for future settlement activities. Africa Israel subsequently denied that this was a political decision. However, in the last few years numerous organizations, firms, governments and celebrities have exerted pressure and severed their relationships with Leviev and his companies over their involvement in settlement construction and other human rights abuses, in response to a boycott campaign initiated by Adalah-NY.
Israel’s Coalition of Women for Peace disclosed on Monday that in an official letter to the Coalition, Africa Israel stated “Neither the company nor any of its subsidiaries and/or other companies controlled by the company are presently involved in or has any plans for future involvement in development, construction or building of real estate in settlements in the West Bank.” In follow-up articles in the Israeli media on Monday, Africa Israel said that the statement was “a description of the business today” and that “Africa Israel builds for all the public in Israel, and does not deal in politics or any other policy.”
Ethan Heitner from Adalah-NY explained, “Following years of settlement construction, and pro-settlement statements and activities by Lev Leviev, the public announcement by Africa Israel that it has no plans to build Israeli settlements is clearly a result of pressure from the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. This provides concrete evidence of the way in which the BDS movement can change companies’ behavior. But Africa Israel can’t speak out of both sides of its mouth and expect a clean bill of health. Africa Israel must unambiguously renounce settlement activity, and all other involvement in violations of Palestinian rights. And Lev Leviev needs to end his involvement in settlement construction through other companies like Leader Management and Development, as well as his support for human rights abuses in the diamond industry in countries like Angola and Namibia.”
Adalah-NY began a campaign to boycott the companies of Lev Leviev in November 2007 which has since gained support from allies around the world. As a result, the Norwegian, Swedish and Dutch governments have divested from Africa Israel, as have a number of major international investment firms. The British government, UNICEF, Oxfam and CARE have all severed ties with Leviev, and major celebrities have quietly disassociated themselves from him.
From 2000-2008, Danya Cebus, the construction subsidiary of Africa Israel, built homes in the settlements of Har Homa, Maale Adumim (two different projects), Adam and Mattityahu East on the land of the West Bank village of Bilin. In late December 2009, Africa Israel sold Anglo-Saxon Real Estate, a company that sold settlement homes. Another Leviev-owned company, Leader Management and Development, still owns and operates the expanding settlement of Zufim, built on the land of the West Bank village of Jayyous. In what is now Tel Aviv, Danya Cebus has supported Israeli efforts to erase Palestinian claims and heritage, by building projects on top of the remains of Palestinian villages like Sheikh Muwanis and Sumail that were ethnically cleansed by Israel in 1948. Leviev has also been a donor to two Israeli groups — the Land Redemption Fund and the Bukhara Community Trust — both of which have been involved in expanding Israeli settlements. Leviev has also been rumored to donate to Elad which is taking over the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.
As recently as 2008 Leviev expressed strong support for Israel’s continued takeover of Palestinian land. In a March 2008 interview in Haaretz daily, reporter Anshel Pfeffer asked Leviev, “Do you have a problem with building in the territories?” Leviev responded, “Not if the State of Israel grants permits legally.” According to an English translation of the same Haaretz interview published in The Jewish Chronicle, Leviev explained, “For me, Israel, Jerusalem and Haifa are all the same. … So are the Golan Heights. As far as I’m concerned, all of Eretz Israel is holy. To decide the future of Jerusalem? It belongs to the Jewish people. What is there to decide? Jerusalem is not a topic for discussion.”
Modeled on the worldwide campaign against apartheid-era South Africa, the movement for BDS against Israel, which was called for in response to Israel’s many violations of Palestinian rights, has grown and achieved significant successes, particularly following Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip in 2009, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians.
Today marks the fifteenth anniversary of when former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli extremist for Rabin’s signing of the Oslo Accords with Yasir Arafat. With the anniversary comes the obligatory mourning of Rabin as a “man of peace,” as the Israeli leader who, had he survived, might have been the one who brought lasting peace to Israel and Palestine.
While that’s the conventional wisdom of Rabin, it’s based on a total erasure of his sordid role in the Israeli military establishment as well as a fundamental misreading of what the Oslo accords were intended to do. The only way that wisdom holds is if you shut out Palestinian views of Rabin, which is what happens in U.S. media and political discourse.
Former President Bill Clinton’s Op-Ed in today’s New York Times is emblematic of the narrative about Rabin in the United States. Clinton says Rabin had a “vision for freedom, tolerance, cooperation, security and peace”; that had he lived, “I am confident a new era of enduring partnership and economic prosperity would have emerged”; and that the “the cause for which Yitzhak Rabin gave his life” was “building a shared future in which our common humanity is more important than our interesting differences.”
The reality of Rabin is that he was a key player in the expulsion of tens of thousands of Palestinians during the 1947-49 war that led to Israel’s founding, which Palestinians refer to as al-Nakba, or the Catastrophe. During the First Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, Rabin infamously gave orders to “break the bones” of Palestinians participating in the uprising against the then-twenty year old Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. And the Oslo accords were never really about peace; it was a successful attempt to “subcontract” the occupation out to the newly formed Palestinian Authority, as Israeli professor Neve Gordon puts it in his excellent book Israel’s Occupation.
Israel’s ‘peace’ axioms were re-articulated during the days of Yitzhak Rabin, the same Yitzhak Rabin who, as a young officer, had taken an active part in the 1948 cleansing but who had now been elected as prime minister on a platform that promised the resumption of the peace effort. Rabin’s death – he was assassinated by one of his own people on 4 November 1995 came too soon for anyone to assess how much he had really changed from his 1948 days: as recently as 1987, as minister of defence, he had ordered his troops to break the bones of Palestinians who confronted his tanks with stones in the first Intifada; he had deported hundreds of Palestinians as prime minister prior to the Oslo Agreement, and he had pushed for the 1994 Oslo B agreement that effectively caged the Palestinians in the West Bank into several Bantustans.
Ha’aretz columnist Amira Hass gave voice to what Palestinians think of Rabin in this article:
Before the handshake on the White House lawn, before the Nobel Prize and before the murder, when Palestinians were asked about Rabin, this is what they remember: One thinks of his hands, scarred by soldiers’ beatings; another remembers a friend who flitted between life and death in the hospital for 12 days, after he was beaten by soldiers who caught him drawing a slogan on a wall during a curfew. Yet another remembers the Al-Amari refugee camp; during the first intifada, all its young men were hopping on crutches or were in casts because they had thrown stones at soldiers, who in turn chased after them and carried out Rabin’s order.
As for the goals of the Oslo accords, here’s what Gordon writes:
The Oslo process was, to a large extent, the result of Israel’s failure to crush the intifada, and Israel’s major goal in the process was to find a way of managing the Palestinian population while continuing to hold on to their land. As Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, and several others pointed out from the outset, Oslo was not an instrument of decolonization but rather a framework that changed the means of Israel’s control in order to perpetuate the occupation. It constituted a move from direct military rule over the Palestinians in the OT to a more indirect or neocolonial form of domination.
Let’s save the lauding of Rabin as a “man of peace” for someone who is really working towards peace and justice in Israel and Palestine.
Farooque Ahmed, a naturalized US citizen, born in Pakistan, living in Virginia, has been arrested for allegedly plotting attacks on Washington D.C. area metro stations. But the people he interacted with, that he believed were Al Qaeda members, were working for the FBI. Independent Journalist Petra Bartosiewicz, explains if this is entrapment.
Israel on Wednesday said it would reduce cooperation with the United Nations’ cultural watchdog after the body classified Bilal Mosque or Masjid Al-Ibrahimi (called by Jews as Rachel’s Tomb) in the West Bank as a mosque.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Israel would not cooperate with UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – in administering five protected sites in Palestinian territory as a dispute that has escalated in recent weeks came to a head.
The ancient Mosque, which lies between Jerusalem and the nearby Palestinian city of Bethlehem, is traditionally regarded as the burial place of a biblical matriarch and is holy to Christians, Muslims and Jews.
Speaking with journalists in occupied Jerusalem, Ayalon blamed the Palestinians for influencing the UN to side against Israel. “This is another attempt at de-legitimization by the Palestinian Authority,” he said.
Ayalon’s spokeswoman said that Israel would cut off relations with UNESCO altogether – but shortly after said that the announcement had been made in error and retracted the statement.
UNESCO had become a “rubber stamp” for the Palestinian government of President Mahmoud Abbas, Ayalon added: “Decisions like this take us farther away from peace and understanding between our two nations.”
Israel’s boycott follows an angry statement last week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemning UNESCO’s ruling on the ‘tomb’.
“The attempt to detach the people of Israel from its heritage is absurd,” the statement said. “If the places where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish nation are buried, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Leah and Rachel some 4,000 years ago are not part of the Jewish heritage then what is?”
In its biannual session which ended last week, UNESCO adopted five proposals initiated by Arab member states regarding Jewish and Muslim holy sites.
UNESCO’s board voted 44 to one, with 12 abstentions, to reaffirm that the site was “an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territories and that any unilateral action by the Israeli authorities is to be considered a violation of international law”.
In his visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories this week, British Foreign Secretary William Hague reported being ‘ambushed’ by Israeli officials who cancelled a high-level security briefing with Hague in response to a British threat to arrest an Israeli official for war crimes.
Hague said he resented this move by Israel, since the British coalition government had already agreed to change the ‘universal jurisdiction law’ which allows for the prosecution of foreign citizens who have engaged in crimes against humanity.
Israeli officials have faced increasing threats of arrest by a variety of countries which use the universal jurisdiction law. According to Amnesty International, the law of universal jurisdiction is a requirement for all states who are signatories to the Convention against Torture and the Inter-American Convention, which states that whenever a person suspected of torture is found in their territory, they must submit the case to their prosecuting authorities for the purposes of prosecution, or to extradite that person.
Most recently, Israeli Cabinet Minister Dan Meridor had to cancel a trip to England November 1st after British intelligence officials warned him that he could face an arrest warrant upon entry into the UK.
Meridor is just the latest in a string of Israeli officials who have been cited for potential war crimes, including former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, former Israeli defence minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, former Defense chief-of-staff Moshe Ya’alon, former air force chief Dan Halutz, and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni, among others. Most were cited for the ongoing Israeli military occupation of Palestine, and attacks against Palestinians, while Ariel Sharon was cited for his role in the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Lebanon in 1982.
The British Foreign Secretary’s trip to the region this week was also criticized by Israeli officials due to the Secretary’s decision to meet with Palestinians who recently lost their homes to violent Israeli settler takeovers in East Jerusalem.