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War Crimes and War Criminals: Who Will Be Held Accountable?

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | July 23, 2020

There is something unique about how the United States manipulates the “terrorism” label to avoid being accused of carrying out war crimes. When an indigenous militia or an armed insurgency like the Taliban in a country like Iraq or Afghanistan attacks American soldiers subsequent to a U.S. invasion which overthrew the country’s government, it is considered by Washington to be an act of “terrorism.” Terror attacks de facto permit a carte blanche response, allowing virtually anything as retaliation against the parties involved or countries that support them, including the assassination of foreign government officials. But for the attacker, whose perspective is quite different, the incident often could reasonably be described as legitimate resistance to a foreign occupier and much of the world might agree with that assessment.

So, it all comes down to definitions. The United States covers its version of reality through liberal use of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) which more-or-less gives a blanket approval to attack and kill “terrorists” anywhere at any time. And how does one become a terrorist? By being included on the U.S. government’s heavily politicized annual list of terrorist groups and material supporters of terrorism. That was the argument that was used by the United States when it killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in January, that his organization, the Qods Force, was on the “terrorist” lists maintained by State and the Treasury Department and he was therefore held to be guilty of any and all attacks on U.S. military carried out by Qods or by presumed Iranian surrogate militias.

The case made to justify killing Soleimani was considered deeply flawed at the time it took place. Because the United States says something is legal due to a law Congress has passed does not make it so, just as most of the world would consider the U.S. profile killings by drone in Afghanistan and elsewhere, based on nothing more than the assumption that someone on the ground might be a “terrorist,” to be little more than war crimes.

It has recently been revealed that the Trump Administration has issued a so-called “finding” to authorize the CIA to conduct more aggressive cyberattacks against infrastructure and other targets in countries that are considered to be unfriendly. The finding specifically named Iran, North Korea, China and Russia as approved targets and it is of particular interest because it basically left it up to the Agency to decide whom to attack and to what degree. As Washington is not at war with any of the countries named and is essentially seeking to damage their economies directly, the activity undertaken by CIA has constituted acts of war and, by widely accepted legal definition, attacks on countries that are not actually threatening are war crimes.

To counter the negative publicity about Trump Administration actions and to establish a possible casus belli, Washington has been floating numerous stories alleging Iranian, Russian and Chinese “aggression.” The ridiculous story about Russia paying Afghans bounties to kill American soldiers was quickly debunked, so the White House and the captive media are now alleging that Moscow hacker/spies are seeking to steal proprietary information dealing with the development of a coronavirus vaccine. The agitprop coming out of Washington to blame Russia for nearly everything notwithstanding, opinion polls suggest that most of the world considers Washington to be the primary source of global instability, rejecting the assertion by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the U.S. is a “force for good.”

So, it is reasonable to suggest that the United States has been guilty of many war crimes in the past twenty years and has only been shielded from the consequences due to its ability to control the message combined with its power in international fora and its unwillingness to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.

But the willingness of the international community to look the other way in support of the war crimes double standard appears to be changing. The ICC, which has had its investigators denied entry to the United States, has been investigating Israeli war crimes even as it also looks at developments in Afghanistan and Iraq involving U.S. forces. Trump’s ban on entry by ICC personnel includes their families even if they are American citizens and it also protects Israel in that ICC investigators looking into the possible war crimes committed by Israeli soldiers and officers as well as the relevant Jewish state’s government officials will also be sanctioned and denied entry into the U.S. In practical terms, the Trump Administration is declaring that Israeli and U.S. soldiers will be regarded as one and the same as they relate to dealings with the ICC, a conceit that is little known to the American public.

The Israelis have responded to the threat from the ICC by compiling a secret list of government officials and military officers who might be subject to ICC issued arrest warrants if they travel in Europe for war crimes committed in Lebanon and Syria as well as of crimes against humanity directed against Palestinians. The list reportedly includes between 200 and 300 names.

That Israel is making a list of people who might be vulnerable to accusations of having possibly committed war crimes is a de facto admission by the government that such crimes were in fact committed. The ICC will soon decide whether to move on the December request by ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to investigate both Israel and Hamas over suspicions of war crimes in Gaza and Jerusalem as well as on the occupied West Bank beginning in 2014. The investigation would include “crimes allegedly committed in relation to the use by members of the IDF of non-lethal and lethal means against persons participating in demonstrations beginning in March 2018 near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, which reportedly resulted in the killing of over 200 individuals, including over 40 children, and the wounding of thousands of others.”

Given the time frame, Israeli government officials and military officers would likely be the first to face scrutiny by investigators. According to Haaretz, the list would almost certainly include “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; former defense ministers Moshe Ya’alon, Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett; former Israel Defense Forces chiefs of staff Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, and current Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi; and the former and current heads of the Shin Bet security service, Yoram Cohen and Nadav Argaman, respectively.”

One wonders who would be included on a comparable list for the United States. There are a lot of lying politicians and sly generals to choose from. As both Israel and the United States do not recognize the authority of the ICC and will almost certainly refuse to participate in any fashion if the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity ever actually make it to the court, any discussion of lists are at this point merely travel advisories for war criminals. The United States will push back and will inter alia certainly attempt to discredit the court using whatever weapons are available, to include sanctions against the nations that support any investigation and trial.

One nevertheless has to hope that the court will persevere in its effort to expose the crimes that continue to be committed by the U.S. and Israel in both Palestine and Afghanistan. Embarrassing Washington and Jerusalem in a very visible and highly respected international forum might be the only way to change the direction of the two nations that more than any other insist that “might makes right.”

July 23, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli army sued for ‘dangerous’ levels of radiation

MEMO | July 23, 2020

The Israeli occupation army is being sued for exposing residents of a kibbutz to high levels of radiation in a lawsuit that serves to highlight the Zionist state’s discrimination against Palestinians. Farmers in the northern Negev who are said to have been unknowingly exposed to very strong radiation for six years and had their livelihood disrupted, are seeking approximately $1.3 million in compensation.

The lawsuit states that the Israeli army installed the Iron Dome system, funded by the US government, on fields belonging to an unnamed kibbutz in 2012 without informing residents of the danger it posed to their health. Five years later, reported Ynet News, they were told that they could not approach the fields near the area, a site at which they had worked freely until then, due to the very strong radiation that the system emits.

“The defendant [Israeli army] only recently remembered to update the kibbutz about the very strong radiation the systems emits, and that it is therefore strictly forbidden to engage in any agriculture work in the surrounding area,” the lawsuit states. “It will become clear that danger of radiation in the field was unknown until the defendant’s notice.”

It’s also claimed that the farmers were never compensated for damage to their territory and from being barred from cultivating in the area in which the system was installed. The Defence Ministry is thought to have promised compensation for such damage, which the lawsuit claims has yet to be paid eight years later.

Highlighting the damage to the land, the lawsuit states that, “As of 2012, the defendant took over an area of approximately 10 dunams [2.5 acres] for the purpose of installing missile defence systems to protect from ballistics coming from the Gaza Strip.”

The Israeli army and Defence Ministry told Ynet that, “The lawsuit has not yet been received by the defence establishment. When it is, it will be examined and answered as usual in court.”

Concerns over the Iron Dome were raised last year. Around 30 Israeli soldiers, the majority of whom operated the system, were said to be battling cancer.

For Palestinian farmers, this case will further highlight the structural racism under which they have suffered for decades. The theft of their land in order to build Jewish settler-only roads and illegal settlements, for example, is carried out without any compensation or recourse to any form of legal redress.

July 23, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

An Israeli Charity Group is uprooting Palestinians not planting Trees

By Jonathan Cook | The National | July 22, 2020

The Jewish National Fund, established more than 100 years ago, is perhaps the most venerable of the international Zionist organisations. Its recent honorary patrons have included prime ministers, and it advises UN forums on forestry and conservation issues.

It is also recognised as a charity in dozens of western states. Generations of Jewish families, and others, have contributed to its fundraising programmes, learning as children to drop saved pennies into its trademark blue boxes to help plant a tree.

And yet its work over many decades has been driven by one main goal: to evict Palestinians from their homeland.

The JNF is a thriving relic of Europe’s colonial past, even if today it wears the garb of an environmental charity. As recent events show, ethnic cleansing is still what it excels at.

The organisation’s mission began before the state of Israel was even born. Under British protection, the JNF bought up tracts of fertile land in what was then historic Palestine. It typically used force to dispossess Palestinian sharecroppers whose families had worked the land for centuries.

But the JNF’s expulsion activities did not end in 1948, when Israel was established through a bloody war on the ruins of the Palestinians’ homeland – an event Palestinians call the Nakba, or catastrophe.

Israel hurriedly demolished more than 500 cleansed Palestinian villages, and the JNF was entrusted with the job of preventing some 750,000 refugees from returning. It did so by planting forests over both the ruined homes, making it impossible to rebuild them, and village lands to stop them being farmed.

These plantations were how the JNF earned its international reputation. Its forestry operations were lauded for stopping soil erosion, reclaiming land and now tackling the climate crisis.

But even this expertise was undeserved. Environmentalists say the dark canopies of trees it has planted in arid regions such as the Negev, in Israel’s south, absorb heat unlike the unforested, light-coloured soil. Short of water, the slow-growing trees capture little carbon. Native species of brush and animals, meanwhile, have been harmed.

These pine forests – the JNF has planted some 250 million trees – have also turned into a major fire hazard. Most years hundreds of fires break out after summer droughts exacerbated by climate change.

Early on, the vulnerability of the JNF’s saplings was used as a pretext to outlaw the herding of native black goats. Recently the goats, which clear undergrowth, had to be reintroduced to prevent the fires. But the goats’ slaughter had already served its purpose, forcing Bedouin Palestinians to abandon their pastoral way of life.

Despite surviving the Nakba, thousands of Bedouin in the Negev were covertly expelled to Egypt or the West Bank in Israel’s early years.

It would be wrong, however, to imagine that the JNF’s troubling role in these evictions was of only historical interest. The charity, Israel’s largest private land owner, is actively expelling Palestinians to this day.

In recent weeks, solidarity activists have been desperately trying to prevent the eviction of a Palestinian family, the Sumarins, from their home in occupied East Jerusalem to make way for Jewish settlers.

Last month the Sumarins lost a 30-year legal battle waged by the JNF, which secretly sold their home in the late 1980s by the Israeli state.

The family’s property was seized under a draconian 1950 law declaring Palestinian refugees of the Nakba “absent” so that they could not reclaim their land inside the new state of Israel.

The courts have decreed that the law can be applied in occupied Jerusalem too, in violation of international law. In the Sumarins’ case, it appears not to matter that the family was never actually “absent”. The JNF is permitted to evict the 18 family members next month. To add insult to injury, they will have to pay damages to the JNF.

A former US board member, Seth Morrison, resigned in protest in 2011 at the JNF’s role in such evictions, accusing it of working with extreme settler groups. Last year the JNF ousted a family in similar circumstances near Bethlehem. Days later settlers moved on to the land.

Ir Amim, an Israeli human rights group focusing on Jerusalem, warned that these cases create a dangerous legal precedent if Israel carries out its promise to annex West Bank territory. It could rapidly expand the number of Palestinians classified as “absentees”.

But the JNF never lost its love of the humble tree as the most effective – and veiled – tool of ethnic cleansing. And it is once again using forests as a weapon against the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian, survivors of the Nakba.

Earlier this year it unveiled its “Relocation Israel 2040” project. The plan is intended to “bring about an in-depth demographic change of an entire country” – what was once sinisterly called “Judaisation”. The aim is to attract 1.5 million Jews to Israel, especially to the Negev, over the next 20 years.

As in Israel’s first years, forests will be vital to success. The JNF is preparing to plant trees on an area of 40 sq km belonging to Bedouin communities that survived earlier expulsions. Under the cover of environmentalism, many thousands of Bedouin could be deemed “trespassers”.

The Bedouin have been in legal dispute with the Israeli state for decades over ownership of their lands. This month in an interview with the Jerusalem Post newspaper, Daniel Atar, the JNF’s global head, urged Jews once again to drop money into its boxes. He warned that Jews could be dissuaded from coming to the Negev by its reputation for “agricultural crimes” – coded reference to Bedouin who have tried to hold on to their pastoral way of life.

Trees promise both to turn the semi-arid region greener and to clear “unsightly” Bedouin off their ancestral lands. Using the JNF’s original colonial language of “making the desert bloom”, Mr Atar said his organisation would make “the wilderness flourish”.

The Bedouin understand the fate likely to befall them. In a protest last month they carried banners: “No expulsions, no displacement.”

After all, Palestinians have suffered forced displacement at the JNF’s hands for more than a century, while watching it win plaudits from around the world for its work in improving the “environment”.

July 22, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

Calls for Google to put Palestine back on the map

MEMO | July 21, 2020

Pro-Palestine activists have launched an online campaign calling on Google and Apple to put Palestine back on their maps, accusing the internet giants of trying to erase Palestinian identity and changing facts to suit American and Israeli objectives.

“According to Google, Palestine does not exist,” a change.org petition with over one million signatories says.

“Whether intentionally or otherwise, Google is making itself complicit in the Israeli government’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine.”

Google has been replacing the names of Palestinian towns and villages with Israeli names, leading to fears that the search engine is normalising Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank in line with US President Donald Trump’s controversial ‘peace plan‘.

“The omission of Palestine is a grievous insult to the people of Palestine and undermines the efforts of the millions of people who are involved in the campaign to secure Palestinian independence and freedom from Israeli occupation and oppression,” the petition adds, calling on Google to “clearly designate and identify the Palestinian territories illegally occupied by Israel.”

July 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinians illegal and an affront to justice: UN expert

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

GENEVA (17 July 2020) – A UN human rights expert has called on Israel to immediately stop all actions amounting to collective punishment of the Palestinian people, with millions of innocent harmed daily and nothing achieved but deeper tensions and an atmosphere conducive to further violence.

“It is an affront to justice and the rule of law to see that such methods continue to be used in the 21st century and that Palestinians collectively continue to be punished for the actions of a few,” said Michael Lynk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967. “These practices entail serious violations against Palestinians including the right to life, freedom of movement, health, adequate shelter and adequate standard of living.”

In his report to the 44th session of the Human Rights Council, Lynk said Israel’s strategy to control the Palestinian population violates a foundational rule of virtually every modern legal system: Only the guilty can be punished for their acts, and only after a fair process. The innocent can never be made to be punished for the deeds of others.

“The extent of the devastating impact of Israel’s collective punishment policy can be most strikingly seen in its ongoing 13-year-old closure of Gaza, which now suffers from a completely collapsed economy, devastated infrastructure and a barely functioning social service system,” the Special Rapporteur said.

“While Israel’s justification for imposing the closure on Gaza was to contain Hamas and ensure Israel’s security, the actual impact of the closure has been the destruction of Gaza’s economy, causing immeasurable suffering to its two million inhabitants,” the Rapporteur said. “Collective punishment has been clearly forbidden under international humanitarian law through Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. No exceptions are permitted.”

The Special Rapporteur’s new report also criticised Israel’s continued policy to punitively demolish Palestinian homes. “Since 1967, Israel has destroyed more than 2,000 Palestinian homes, designed to punish Palestinian families for acts some of their members may have committed, but they themselves did not,” he said. “This practice is in clear violation of Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Lynk said it was disheartening that the demolition of Palestinian homes is still viewed by the Israeli political and legal leadership, including the Israeli High Court, as a permissible deterrent. “In fact, these demolitions only further contribute to an atmosphere of hate and vengeance, as the Israeli security leadership has itself acknowledged.”

July 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s list of compromised officials suggests their guilt of war crimes

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | July 21, 2020

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has adjourned without issuing its ruling on whether Israeli officials will be tried for war crimes against the Palestinian people since 2014, when Gaza was destroyed during “Operation Protective Edge”. With an extended timeframe until the ruling is due, Israel now has additional time to prepare for any eventual action taken by The Hague. It has apparently already drawn up a list of officials who might be liable to be prosecuted for war crimes.

According to Haaretz, the list contains the names of 200-300 Israeli officials, most probably including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Benny Gantz. The list has been drawn up in utmost secrecy, not least because, as Haaretz points out, “The court is likely to view a list of names as an official Israeli admission of these officials’ involvement in the incidents under investigation.” The existence of the list alone is likely to be viewed as such.

However, what needs to change at an international level is the endorsement of Israel’s security narrative. The ICC’s clear mention of war crimes, as opposed to alleged war crimes – the latter being a phrase which many human rights organisations have used and through which Israeli impunity has also been cultivated – should prompt a new reckoning of Israel’s standing and its state violence.

During that 2014 military offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza, the international community was quick to promote “Israel’s right to defend itself” even as Palestinian civilians were being slaughtered. So far, the UN has never considered Palestinians as anything other than a statistical detail supporting its purported humanitarian endeavours.

The fact of the matter is that Israel is a colonial entity, but this has been eliminated from international diplomatic discourse, to the detriment of the Palestinian people. Hence the discrepancies when speaking of Israel’s perpetual violations against the Palestinians; by refusing to include the colonial-settler context, the international community eliminates the foundations of what have now been described clearly as war crimes by the ICC.

The list itself suggests guilt, admitted more or less openly by the very fact of its compilation. While the criminal investigations are down to the competence of the ICC, it rests with the international community to see them through to their conclusion, rather than simply parroting Israel’s excuses for its violence. The planned annexation of the occupied West Bank is a case in point. Israeli officials are concerned that implementing the annexation plans will be detrimental to Israel, especially given that settlement expansion is being considered as the strongest evidence of war crimes. The international community, however, has still failed to unite against the possibility of additional war crimes being committed against the Palestinian people, and limited its response to repeated statements that annexation is against international law.

Israel has never, ever, heeded such statements. The possibility of ICC investigations, however, is exposing the fact that Israel knows it has committed war crimes and is preparing to shield the perpetrators from international prosecution. If the UN is truly concerned with safeguarding human rights, it should seize the opportunity to refrain from further endorsement and dissemination of Israel’s security and “self-defence” narrative, which itself violates international law. It should adopt a strong stance against Israel and its annexation plan, and stand by the ICC’s clear admission that colonial expansion is a war crime. The UN, however, cannot do so without taking into account its own complicity in maintaining Israel’s colonial violence, hence the absence of a consistent human rights narrative which would support a possible criminal investigation at an international level.

July 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Pro-Israel news outlets ran ‘deepfake’ op-eds in ‘new disinformation frontier’

MEMO | July 20, 2020

Pro-Israel news agencies have run “deepfake” op-eds, in what is said to be “a new disinformation frontier”. Details of the “hyper-realistic forgery” were uncovered by a Reuters report this week, which uncovered the mystery around the identity of Oliver Taylor.

Taylor has been writing for a number of well-known publications, including Israel National Newsthe Jerusalem Post, and the Times of Israel. However, his article in the US Jewish newspaper the Algemeiner, which accused a London based academic Mazen Masri and his wife, Palestinian rights campaigner Ryvka Barnard, of being “known terrorist sympathizers”, exposed his true identity.

Mystified by Taylor’s accusation, Masri and Barnard alerted Reuters to their suspicion over the anti-Palestinian writer. The senior lecturer in law said when he pulled up Taylor’s profile photo, he couldn’t put his finger on it, but he explained that something about the young man’s face “seemed off”.

It seems as though Masri had drawn the ire of Taylor over his work in late 2018 when the lecturer helped launch a lawsuit against the Israeli surveillance company NSO on behalf of alleged Mexican victims of the company’s phone hacking technology. The spyware company has been accused of being “deeply involved” in carrying out mobile phone hacks of 1,400 of its users.

Taylor’s identity was finally uncovered. Rather than being a real person, Taylor appears to be a “deepfake”, or a hyper-realistic forgery, created in part to criticise Mazen. Reuters interviewed six experts who conclude that it had the characteristics of forgery that would not be detectable to the naked eye.

In their report raising concerns over “the marriage of deepfakes and disinformation”, the Reuters report warned deepfakes like Taylor are “dangerous” because they undermined public discourse.

Taylor is just one of several deepfakes. Earlier this month, the Daily Beast, reported that 46 conservative news outlets, including some reporting on the Jewish community, were duped into publishing Middle East “hot takes” by 19 non-existent authors as part of a massive propaganda campaign that appears to have started in July 2019.

Only a few of the news outlets covering Israel are said to have removed articles that later turned out to be deepfakes.

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 3 Comments

Evidence That Israel Has Deliberately Targeted Civilians (2006-Present)

By Ifran Chowdhury · Unredacted · November 7, 2019

I have collected statements from Israeli politicians and soldiers, as well as from human rights organisations, UN officials and other credible mainstream sources, which prove that Israel has deliberately targeted civilians in Lebanon and Gaza. This is intended as an educational resource.

Lebanon War (2006)

Death toll: 1,000 Lebanese civilians killed

  • Just prior to the Israeli invasion, IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz threatened to “turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years” (i.e. to when it was in the midst of a destructive, brutal civil war) if Hezbollah did not free the soldiers that it had captured.
  • During the war, a senior officer in the Israeli Air Force told army radio that Halutz had ordered them to “destroy 10 multi-storey buildings in the Dahaya district (of Beirut) in response to every rocket fired on Haifa”.
  • Within the final 72 hours of the war – after the UN Security Council had already passed a ceasefire resolution – Israel dropped more than 4 million cluster submunitions on south Lebanon. Entire villages were made uninhabitable. In their report ‘Flooding South Lebanon’, Human Rights Watch stated the following: “Based on their personal observations, experts from Human Rights Watch and the UN have judged the level and density of post-conflict contamination in south Lebanon to be far worse than that found in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Kosovo following the use of cluster munitions in those countries”. HRW further stated: “It is inconceivable that Israel, which has used cluster weapons on many previous occasions, did not know that that its strikes would have a lasting humanitarian impact”.
  • A commander in the IDF told Haaretz: “What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs”.

Blockade Of Gaza (2007-Present)

Death toll: 1,000 Palestinian civilians killed

  • Dov Weisglass, advisor to then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, stated in 2006: “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger”.
  • Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated in 2008 after visiting Gaza: “Their whole civilisation has been destroyed, I’m not exaggerating”.
  • Also in 2008, Human Rights Watch called on the Israeli government “to immediately lift restrictions on the flow into Gaza of food, medicines, and other supplies essential for the well-being of the civilian population and to cease all measures that amount to collective punishment of the civilian population, including disruptions to the electricity supply and fuel cuts”.
  • Amnesty International stated in 2010: “As a form of collective punishment, Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza is a flagrant violation of international law”.
  • Also in 2010, the Israeli human rights organisation Gisha published a partial list of items that Israel had prohibited from entering Gaza; these included cumin, coriander, jam, chocolate, biscuits and sweets, potato chips, dried fruit, fresh meat, fabric (for clothing), musical instruments, size A4 paper, toys, cattle and chicks.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross stated in 2012: “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law”.
  • Sara Roy, Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University and specialist on Gaza’s economy, stated in 2016: “Innocent human beings, most of them young, are slowly being poisoned by the water they drink and likely by the soil in which they plant” [a reference to the fact that 97% of the water in Gaza is contaminated].
  • Robert Piper, UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, stated in 2017: “We talk about the unlivability of Gaza. When you’re down to two hours of power a day and you have 60 percent youth unemployment rates… that unlivability threshold has been passed quite a long time ago”.
  • Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated in 2018 that the people of Gaza “are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death”.

Operation Cast Lead (2008-9)

Death toll: 1,200 Palestinian civilians killed

  • During the operation, then Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni stated: “Hamas now understands that when you fire on its citizens it responds by going wild – and this is a good thing”.
  • The day after the operation ended, Livni stated: “Israel demonstrated real hooliganism during the course of the recent operation, which I demanded”.
  • Many testimonies from Israeli soldiers collected by the NGO Breaking The Silence reveal that they deliberately targeted civilians. One soldier stated: “You felt like a child playing around with a magnifying glass, burning up ants”.
  • Another soldier stated: “If you’re not sure, kill. Fire power was insane… You see a house, a window, shoot at the window. You don’t see a terrorist there? Fire at the window. It was real urban warfare. This is the difference between urban warfare and a limited confrontation. In urban warfare, anyone is your enemy. No innocents”.
  • Another soldier stated: “The amount of destruction there was incredible. You drive around those neighborhoods, and can’t identify a thing. Not one stone left standing over another. You see plenty of fields, hothouses, orchards, everything devastated. Totally ruined. It’s terrible. It’s surreal”.
  • Another soldier stated: “Let’s say that the general approach was ‘we’re going off to war’ and I can swear I heard our brigade commander at least once, when sitting with us during maneuvers for a combatants’ talk around the campfire at Tze’elim at night – he happened to join us and we asked him what was going on in Gaza and what was to be expected, stuff like that, and he went so far as to say this was war and in war as in war, no consideration of civilians was to be taken. You shoot anyone you see. I’m paraphrasing here, not literally quoting, but the gist of the matter was very clear”.
  • Another soldier stated: “In short, what shocked me was a talk we had with the commander of ***, he’s a colonel, and he gave our whole battalion a talk. The tone of it was really, first of all he started out with something like “Unfortunately we’re a democracy, so we can’t demolish Gaza to the extent that we’d really like.” Perhaps he didn’t actually say “unfortunately,” but he repeated, twice, that “the fact that we’re a democracy works against us, for the army cannot act as aggressively as it would like.” Then he said once again that we’re going into this operation aggressively, without… Usually in such talks the army, the commanders mention the lives of civilians and showing consideration to civilians. Here he didn’t even mention this. Just the brutality, go in there brutally… He said, “In case of any doubt, take down houses. You don’t need confirmation for anything, if you want’”.

Operation Protective Edge (2014)

Death toll: 1,500 Palestinian civilians killed

  • Many testimonies from Israeli soldiers collected by the NGO Breaking The Silence reveal that they deliberately targeted civilians. One soldier stated: “The instructions are to shoot right away. Whoever you spot – be they armed or unarmed, no matter what. The instructions are very clear. Any person you run into, that you see with your eyes – shoot to kill. It’s an explicit instruction”.
  • Another soldier stated: “Me personally, deep inside I mean, I was a bit bothered, but after three weeks in Gaza, during which you’re shooting at anything that moves – and also at what isn’t moving, crazy amounts – you aren’t anymore really… The good and the bad get a bit mixed up, and your morals get a bit lost and you sort of lose it, and it also becomes a bit like a computer game, totally cool and real”.
  • Another soldier stated: “I remember that the level of destruction looked insane to me. It looked like a movie set, it didn’t look real. Houses with crumbled balconies, animals everywhere, lots of dead chickens and lots of other dead animals. Every house had a hole in the wall or a balcony spilling off of it, no trace left of any streets at all. I knew there used to be a street there once, but there was no trace of it left to see”.
  • Another soldier stated: “We fired ridiculous amounts of fire, lots of it, and relatively speaking our fire was nothing. We had spike missiles (guided antitank missiles) and artillery, and there were three tanks with us at all times – and another two D9s (armored bulldozers). I don’t know how they pulled it off, the D9 operators didn’t rest for a second. Nonstop, as if they were playing in a sandbox. Driving back and forth, back and forth, razing another house, another street. And at some point there was no trace left of that street. It was hard to imagine there even used to be a street there at all. It was like a sandbox, everything turned upside down. And they didn’t stop moving. Day and night, 24/7, they went back and forth, gathering up mounds, making embankments, flattening house after house”.
  • Another soldier stated: “There weren’t really any rules of engagement, it was more protocols. The idea was, if you spot something – shoot. They told us: “There aren’t supposed to be any civilians there. If you spot someone, shoot.” Whether it posed a threat or not wasn’t a question, and that makes sense to me. If you shoot someone in Gaza it’s cool, no big deal”.
  • Another soldier stated: “When we first entered [the Gaza Strip] there was this ethos about Hamas – we were certain that the moment we went in our tanks would all be up in flames. But after 48 hours during which no one shoots at you and they’re like ghosts, unseen, their presence unfelt – except once in a while the sound of one shot fired over the course of an entire day – you come to realize the situation is under control. And that’s when my difficulty there started, because the formal rules of engagement – I don’t know if for all soldiers – were, “Anything still there is as good as dead. Anything you see moving in the neighborhoods you’re in is not supposed to be there. The [Palestinian] civilians know they are not supposed to be there. Therefore whoever you see there, you kill… Anything you see in the neighborhoods you’re in, anything within a reasonable distance, say between zero and 200 meters – is dead on the spot. No authorization needed’”.
  • Another soldier stated: “There were no rules of engagement. If you see anyone in that area, that person is a terrorist”.

Great March of Return (2018-Present)

Death toll: 214 Palestinian civilians killed

  • The UN Human Rights Council released a report in February 2019 which concluded that Israeli snipers intentionally shot children, health workers, journalists and disabled people.
  • In that same report, the UN Human Rights Council described numerous cases wherein civilians were intentionally shot by Israeli snipers. For example: “Ibrahim Abu Shaar (17): On 30 March, Israeli forces shot Ibrahim, a candy seller from Rafah, in the back of the head as he walked away, approximately 100 m from the separation fence, after he and his companion threw stones at Israeli soldiers. He died almost instantly”.
  • Another example: “Wisal Sheikh-Khalil (14): On 14 May, Israeli forces shot Wisal from the Maghazi refugee camp in the head when she was approximately 100 m from the separation fence, after she had approached it several times to hang a Palestinian flag there. She died instantly”.
  • Another example: “Yasser Abu Naja (11): On 29 June, Israeli forces killed Yasser from Khan Younis with a shot to the head as he was hiding with two friends behind a bin, approximately 200 m from the separation fence. The children had been chanting national slogans at Israeli forces”.
  • Another example: “Razan Najar (20): On 1 June, an Israeli sniper bullet hit Razan, of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society and who at the time was wearing a white paramedic vest and standing with other volunteer paramedics approximately 110 m from the separation fence, in the chest at the Khuzaa site, east of Khan Younis. She died in hospital”.
  • After dozens of civilians were killed by Israeli snipers, the IDF’s official Twitter account posted this statement: “Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed”.
  • In April 2018, then Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated: “You have to understand, there are no innocent people in the Gaza Strip”.

July 19, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 7 Comments

Is Israel Uniquely Evil?

Many Palestinians in the camp lost their small businesses amid a dire economic crisis. Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud
By Irfan Chowdhury | Palestine Chronicle | July 18, 2020

Recently, political journalist Sunny Hundal tweeted in relation to the left’s alleged obsession with Israel:

“In isolation, Israel does a lot of bad things re: human rights.

Is it uniquely bad? Is it worse than others?

Not even close. So if you’re obsessed by actions of Jews, don’t be surprised if people suspect your motives.”

Similar sentiments have been expressed by LBC radio host Maajid Nawaz, who has declared that Israel is “the constant what-about excuse used by everyone who doesn’t want to address some real grave, serious issues in the Middle East but constantly wants to point fingers instead at the Middle East’s only secular, democratic and yes, very imperfect, country”.

Likewise, former Labour MP Ian Austin recently wrote an article for Express & Star in which he asserts that “many people on the left have become obsessed with Israel. This tiny country – the world’s only Jewish state and the Middle East’s only democracy – seems to attract more criticism than all the world’s other controversies combined… Of course, Israel’s not perfect. What country is? But where else in the Middle East would you find free and fair elections, a free and vibrant media; a robust and independent judiciary and strong trade unions?”

As a factual matter, it is untrue that the left is single-mindedly focused on Israel; when I was on the committee of my university’s Socialist Students Society a few years ago, we had meetings on the Israel-Palestine conflict, the economic crisis in Venezuela, protests in Iran, Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, Bolsonaro’s election in Brazil, gun violence in the US and the prospect of reforming the EU, among other international issues.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is one of the most important left-wing figures in British political history, has been a life-long champion of the rights of not only Palestinians, but also Kurds, Western Saharans, West Papuans, hagossians, and numerous other oppressed peoples. Nevertheless, even if it were true that the left does focus on Israel more than other countries, this would not be unjustified because, contrary to the claims of the aforementioned commentators, there are certain respects in which Israel’s human rights violations are uniquely severe in the international arena.

For example, Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is the longest-running military occupation in modern history. It has been ongoing now for 53 years and has been characterized by systematic and egregious human rights violations such as home demolitions, torture, night raids, abduction and imprisonment of children, harassment at checkpoints, the killing of civilians, destruction of agriculture, and daily humiliation at the hands of soldiers and settlers (all of this is documented in great detail by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem).

All military occupations are brutal and vicious; to have to endure one that is also predicated on deliberate displacement and dispossession for 53 years is simply unimaginable for most people. In the case of Gaza, the occupation has been compounded by an illegal siege that has been ongoing now for 13 years; in 2015, then UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl described Israel’s siege of Gaza as the “longest in history” and “a very extreme form [of] illegal collective punishment.”

The siege prevents anyone from leaving Gaza, apart from in exceptional cases; for example, sick children are sometimes allowed to receive medical treatment in the West Bank, but their parents aren’t allowed to accompany them – even when it means that the children are forced to die alone (as in the case of 5-year-old Aisha alLoulou). Anyone who tries to fish beyond the contaminated coastal waters of Gaza gets either shot at or kidnapped by the Israeli navy, and anyone who crosses the barbed-wire fence into Israel runs the risk of being murdered by the IDF (as in the case of 17-year-old Emad Khalil Ibrahim Shahin, who crossed over in 2018 and was returned to his family one year later in a body bag).

As a result of the siege, 97% of the water in Gaza is now unfit for human consumption; according to Sara Roy, Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Centre for Middle East Studies, this means that “Innocent human beings, most of them young, are slowly being poisoned by the water they drink and likely by the soil in which they plant”.

Thus, Israel has been carrying out the longest-running military occupation in modern history and the longest-running siege in modern history. These two facts alone render Israel unique in terms of the scope of its brutality and criminality.

There are other respects in which Israel stands out from other countries in its use of terror and violence; for example, it is one of the most aggressive countries in the world, having waged wars of aggression against Lebanon in 1978, 1982, 1993, 1996 and 2006, and against Gaza in 2004, 2006, 2008/9, 2012 and 2014, killing huge numbers of civilians in the process (all while issuing threats and carrying out various covert attacks against Iran, which are all in violation of the UN Charter).

Furthermore, according to Amnesty International, Israel is “the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts that lack fundamental fair rights and guarantees” (the military courts have a 99% conviction rate).

Children are routinely abused during interrogations (the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has reported that “Palestinian children arrested by [Israeli] military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture”), and in the overwhelming majority of cases, their parents are excluded from the entire ‘judicial’ process. It is worth noting that all of these human rights violations are directly enabled and facilitated by both the US and the UK.

These are all examples of how, in many ways, Israel is uniquely evil. The easiest way for Israel to stop being singled out for criticism – whether real or imagined – would be for it to stop singling itself out with its appalling human rights record.

– Irfan Chowdhury is a freelance writer who has previously been published in openDemocracy, The Iranian, Mondoweiss, Peace News and Hastings In Focus. He also runs a blog, where he mostly writes about British foreign policy, the Israel-Palestine conflict and civil liberties: https://irfanchowdhury98.com/

July 18, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Bari We Hardly Knew You

Bari Weiss bids The New York Times farewell

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | July 17, 2020

This week’s resignation of neoconservative journalist Bari Weiss from the position of staff editor and contributor on the opinion page at The New York Times provoked considerable discussion both for and against her. Her resignation letter, which was quickly made public, depicts her as a brave non-conformist, a “conservative” among liberals (though she describes herself as a “centrist”), and someone who was willing to write stories that others at the Times would not touch. She was particularly critical of the dominant progressive “group think” at the management levels of the newspaper which created a “hostile environment” that did not tolerate any alternative viewpoints on breaking stories.

The resignation came shortly after the “scandal” at the newspaper that had led to the firing of opinion page chief editor James Bennet in June. Bennet was forced to walk the plank after a piece by Senator Tom Cotton appeared that advocated using military force to put down the unrest that is sweeping America’s cities. “Using military force” is apparently equivalent to “shooting demonstrators” in New York Times-speak, so when Bennett admitted that he had not even read the op-ed, he had to go for approving a piece that “did not meet the Times’ standards.”

Admittedly, Weiss makes some shrewd points about the state of journalism in the United States and how it has become a sounding board for what is appearing on Twitter. To her credit, she has been openly critical of the so-called “cancel culture” which seeks to restrict the free exchange of information and ideas,  but she is also very selective about her own record. She claims that she was derided as a “Nazi, a bigot and a racist” because she questioned the reporting on issues like BLM and was not “inclusive” enough. But while she rightly decries what she describes as the tribalism of the corporate mainstream media, she does so without recognizing that she too has her own particular tribal allegiance. She makes a point of implying that she was the victim of anti-Semitism, accused of “writing about Jews again,” without any recognition that she herself has been a strident hardline apologist for Israel and for Jews in general in a journalism world that has been over-populated by mostly liberal Jews for many years.

Bari Weiss’s letter included an overwrought description of Pulitzer Prize winning black writer Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, as “a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati,” suggesting that she does indeed nurture an agenda focused on Jewish-related issues. Glenn Greenwald recalls how she, in 2012, speaking before a conference of the American Zionist Movement, stated that she had dedicated herself to the “connection between advocacy journalism and Zionism.” Greenwald has also documented how she, starting when she was a sophomore at Columbia, was in the forefront of efforts to silence all criticism of Israel, particularly that which was allegedly coming from professors of Arab background. He observes that her objective was no less than “trying to suppress criticisms of Israel from college campuses… Anyone remotely familiar with the wars over the Middle East Studies Department at Columbia University, in which Weiss played a starring role, knows that her claim here — that the campaign was just a benign attempt to protect students’ rights — is utterly false. The campaign was designed to ruin the careers of Arab professors by equating their criticisms of Israel with racism, anti-Semitism, and bullying, and its central demand was that those professors (some of whom lacked tenure) be disciplined for their transgressions… That the campaign against these Arab professors was about suppressing criticisms of Israel and intimidating and punishing professors who voiced such criticisms was barely hidden. The New York Civil Liberties Union — historically reluctant to involve itself in disputes involving Israel — strongly condemned the campaign against these Arab professors at Columbia that Weiss helped to lead.”

Given all the pressure from Weiss and her associates, as well as threats from prominent Jewish donors to the college, the university investigated the charges. It found that “… for several years, after pieces appeared in the tabloid press blasting the department as anti-Israel, many non-students, clearly hostile and with ideological agendas, had been attending classes in the [Middle East Studies] department, interrupting lectures with hostile asides and inhibiting classroom debate.” All the professors were cleared of the charges leveled against them and the report concluded that they had been the victims and not the perpetrators of an organized harassment campaign.

Weiss, the epicenter of the campaign of vilification and academic censorship, was furious at the exoneration of the instructors and both held a press conference to denounce the findings while also organizing demonstrations by Jewish students. She complained that the issue of “large scale intimidation of pro-Israel students” had not been addressed.

Weiss was hired by The Times in 2017 around the same time that the much better-known Jerusalem Post and Wall Street Journal alumnus Bret Stephens was also brought on board. Both she and Stephens are unflinching in their support of Israel and they joined a Times staff that was hardly anti-Israeli. The Times for long has been something like an uncritical sounding board for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but recently, it has indeed allowed some pieces by Tom Friedman and others that are critical of the Israeli plan to annex much of the Palestinian West Bank. But the arguments are always framed around the premise that the move would be “bad for Israel,” leaving the Palestinian victims on the sidelines as hapless observers of the deliberations.

In retrospect, it is difficult to understand what the stink over Bari Weiss is all about, apart from the fact that she is clearly engaging in self-promotion to get another job. A quick perusal of the list of her undistinguished NYT articles does indeed suggest that roughly half of what she wrote was either about Israel or Jews. As an editor, she commissioned interviews and op-eds by people that she may have considered either “centrist” or “conservative,” but, again, she, and they, hardly had much impact. Whatever her “new perspective” was perceived to be by NYT management when she was hired is somewhat elusive.

Sure, the print media in the United States is run largely by progressives and is subject to groupthink on most issues, but that has been the case since before Weiss arrived and will continue to be so long after she is gone. And she won’t have to worry about pleasing her key constituency. Bret Stephens can continue to beat the drum for Israel at The New York Times in her absence.

Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was the CIA Chief of Base for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and was one of the first Americans to enter Afghanistan in December 2001. Phil is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group that seeks to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values and interests.

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

Group that raises money for Israeli soldiers got $2-5 million federal loan

FIDF gala at Waldorf Astoria in New York City (Jewish Post )
By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | July 16, 2020

An organization that holds opulent galas to raise money for foreign soldiers, received a forgivable federal loan of somewhere between $2 million to $5 million, while numerous American mom-and-pop businesses applied in vain for the coronavirus relief program.

The group, Friends of the IDF (FIDF), holds glittering extravaganzas around the U.S. that raise tens of millions of dollars for Israeli soldiers.

These are held despite the fact that numerous organizations have documented massive human rights violations by Israeli forces (see video below). The U.S. gives Israel over $10 million per day in military aid.

Last year’s FIDF fundraiser in Manhattan raised $37 million, one of 20 chapters around the country. A 2018 gala in Beverly Hills raised $60 million and a 2017 gala raised over $53 million. Its annual chair, billionaire dual citizen Haim Saban, is a major Clinton donor. (video below)

Celebrities like Barbra Streisand, Larry King, Sylvester Stallone, Robert de Niro, and Arnold Schwarzenegger have helped raise money at the events. Among the donors are Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Sandra Spielberg, and philanthropist Tad Taube. FIDF has over $238 million in net assets.

Small businesses & U.S. veterans go without

Many small businesses around the country have been unable to obtain the coronavirus assistance loans.

One U.S. emergency grant program is already out of money, while nearly half of all small businesses worry that they won’t be able to carry on due to the shutdowns.

The loan program accessed by FIDF, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), has been accused of favoritism, as some billionaires received loans while struggling small businesses went bankrupt.

Donations to FIDF are tax-deductible, which means they remove thousands of dollars (perhaps far more) from the U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, 40 thousand U.S. veterans are homeless on any given night, and veterans hospitals are often underfunded.

Numerous other organizations that support Israel also received large grants, many in the $1million+ range.

~1,000 pro-Israel groups received millions of dollars in loans

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reports:

“More than 1,000 Jewish organizations received federal coronavirus relief loans totaling approximately $540 million to $1.3 billion.”

The vast majority of the organizations, perhaps all, support Israel.

Among the those receiving the forgivable (don’t have to be paid back) loans are the Zionist Organization of America (net assets $38 million), Israeli American Council ($32 million assets), Israel Emergency Alliance (gross receipts $17 million), ADL (gross receipts $80 million), and Jewish National Fund (net assets $445 million), and Israel on Campus Coalition ($5 million net asssets). (Financial information from GuideStar.)

FIDF Gala

Israeli soldiers’ actions:

See the full 8-minute video here.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Video | , , , , | 2 Comments

Inconclusive investigations and psychological trauma cultivate Israel’s impunity

Palestinian protesters hold banners to show solidarity with the martyr Iyad Hallaq a disabled Palestinian man who was shot dead by Israeli police in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on 2 June 2020 [Abedalrahman Hassan/ApaImages]

Protesters hold banners in solidarity with the martyr Iyad Hallaq an autistic Palestinian man shot dead by Israeli police in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on 2 June 2020 [Abedalrahman Hassan/ApaImages]
By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | July 16, 2020

In May, Israeli security forces killed Eyad Al-Hallaq, a 32-year-old Palestinian man with special needs, on suspicion that he had a weapon. He was on his way to the special school in Jerusalem which he attended, when he was chased by Israeli security forces, cornered and shot, despite being accompanied by his teacher who repeatedly called out to the aggressors that he was autistic. No weapon was discovered on Hallaq after this unwarranted extrajudicial killing.

Less than two months after Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz issued a perfunctory, patronising apology in which he stated, “I am sure this subject will be investigated swiftly and conclusions will be reached,” recent reports attest to how rapidly Israel invokes its own impunity to cover up its crimes.

Eyad Al-Hallaq was killed in a heavily securitised area in Jerusalem’s Old City; security cameras monitoring the indigenous population are everywhere. However, Israel’s Justice Ministry has confirmed that there is no CCTV footage of the killing. It went on to assert that, despite the presence of cameras where the shooting took place, the cameras “were not connected at the relevant time and didn’t document” the incident.

This lacks even a shard of credibility, yet it is not unusual in Israel, which goes to great lengths to safeguard its own institutions and uniformed criminals from scrutiny and prosecution. The Hallaq family is now left with no recourse for justice, because Israel has created its own travesty of justice that is concerned solely with manufacturing impunity for those responsible for the 32-year-old’s death. The investigation is close to reaching a conclusion, according to a Haaretz report, and there is no doubt that the bereaved family will be left to face a multitude of questions on its own, with the additional psychological trauma of knowing that the exact circumstances of their son’s murder are unresolved and the perpetrators still roam free. In Israel’s typical style, it will be an inconclusive end to a concluded investigation. The family’s lawyer, meanwhile, is requesting an in-depth investigation because there is a “very strong suspicion” that the police are concealing evidence in this case.

This is not the first time that Israel has refused to release evidence that would provide both context and corroboration. A case that springs to mind is that of Ibrahim Abu Thurayyah, a double amputee killed by a shot to the head in December 2017 during the Great Return March protests in the Gaza Strip. Israeli investigations concluded there was no evidence that one of its snipers had directly targeted Thurayyah while he was in his wheelchair.

Concealing evidence is a clear indication of culpability. For Israel, however, the practice is dissociative and is reflective of how colonial violence against Palestinians sustains itself. There is no need to deny culpability if action is taken to prevent any discussion of the crime. Indeed, in this case it is easier for Israeli government officials to exploit the victim and the grieving family, since the evidence of the events leading up to Eyad Al-Hallaq’s killing has been eliminated.

For the Hallaq family, as it was for other families whose relatives have been murdered by Israeli occupation forces, the killing and subsequent cover-up is a personal rupture. Politically, Israel is replicating the impunity generated since the Nakba on a different scale, relying upon separate episodes of inflicted trauma to prevent a collective Palestinian narrative from emerging as a unified front against its colonial violence.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment