Thursday, May 15 marked Nakba Day, Yawm an-Nakba, “Day of Catastrophe”, the onset of the displacement of up to 800,000 Palestinians, at the time 67% of the population, followed by the destruction of over 500 villages since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, under the commitment agreed to by the then British Foreign Secretary, Lord Arthur Balfour, in November 1917.
This week: “Figures released by the Ramallah-based Central Bureau of Statistics … put the number of registered Palestinian refugees at 5.3 million. Those refugees live in 58 United Nations-run camps in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.” Tragedy on a scale near unimaginable – ongoing.
Hardly the day to plan another one. However, undaunted, Britain’s current Foreign Secretary, William Hague (“I have been a Conservative Friend of Israel since I was sixteen”) hosted a meeting of the “Friends of Syria” group (Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US) to continue plotting to further decimate another Middle East country and overthrow yet another sovereign head of State.
As increasingly chilling, verified images appear of “opposition” – read insurgent – atrocities in Syria: beheadings, behandings, crucifixions, summary executions and, of course, cannibalism, Hague announced that: “the Syrian opposition would have its diplomatic status in the UK upgraded”, according to the BBC.
The Foreign Secretary was clearly following in his master’s footsteps since last week the Obama regime granted diplomatic foreign mission status to the “Syrian National Coalition” offices in New York and Washington, with a welcome present of a further promised $27 million increase in “non-lethal assistance to rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad.” This brings the total US support for the above crimes to $287 million.
Strangely, two days before the London meeting, it was announced that Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni was awarded “special mission” temporary diplomatic status to visit London, “to protect her against arrest and potential prosecution for alleged breaches of international law, including war crimes” relating to Israel’s attack on Gaza in December 2008-January 2009.
In December 2009 Livni cancelled a visit to Britain after an arrest warrant was issued by a London Court. “The British government subsequently changed the law on universal jurisdiction … in connection with international war crimes … Previously, citizens could apply directly to a Judge for an arrest warrant.”
Currently, London lawyers Hickman Rose working with Gaza’s Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) had again been seeking a warrant for Livni’s arrest, Hickman Rose requesting that the Crown Prosecution Service advise the police to apprehend her: “for suspected war crimes and to liaise with the Attorney General to approve criminal charges.”
PCHR Director Raja Sourani commented of the Foreign Office’s stunt: “As lawyers for the victims of widespread suspected Israeli war crimes, PCHR is very concerned that these kind of political acts endorse the ‘rule of the jungle’ rather than the ‘rule of law.’” Indeed.
The Foreign Office is remarkably selective when it comes to alleged war criminals. Livni’s visit met “all the essential elements for a special mission, and for avoidance of any doubt on the matter, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has confirmed consent to the visit as a special mission”, they commented.
The reason for Livni’s visit was shrouded in secrecy. What is known that the evening of the “Friends of Syria” meeting, she was to address a fund- raising dinner for the Jewish National Fund at London’s luxury Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel ($725 a night current lowest available rate, no wonder funds are needed.) But all those Foreign Office diplomatic sleights of hand to enable something she could have done by video-link?
Well, here’s a thought. Two days before Ms Livni’s arrival in London aided by the Foreign Office’s diplomatic goal post displacements, Major General Amos Yadlin, former Deputy Commander of the Israeli Air Force, who headed military intelligence between 2006-2010 said that “ Israel should weigh launching a military strike at Syria if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons against his civilian population …”
Preferable, though, mooted the General, would be a NATO led action led by the US, with Turkey the key country, establishing a no fly zone over Syria “at the very minimum.” Libya revisited. There should also be “standoff strikes” by NATO aircraft at strategic government targets.
“If Israel discovers that Assad is using chemical weapons against his people in mass attacks, it should intervene militarily”, said the representative of a regime who has used chemical weapons – not alone white phosphorous but also depleted uranium, both a chemical and radioactive weapon – against the Palestinians. Ironically, the article is headed: “Israel should punish Assad for killing civilians”, an expertise Israel has honed with impunity over sixty-six years.
Right on cue, on May 13th, in the lead to the London Conference, Human Rights Watch produced a report of “strong evidence” that Syrian government forces were using chlorine bombs.
Coincidentally, the previous day a letter had been sent to Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, querying the organization’s seemingly extraordinarily partisan relationship with the US government.1
A flavour of the content is at paragraph 2:
For example, HRW’s Washington advocacy director, Tom Malinowski, previously served as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton and as a speechwriter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In 2013, he left HRW after being nominated as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights & Labor under John Kerry.
The letter was also signed by former UN Assistant Secretary General, Hans von Sponeck, current UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk and over one hundred scholars
John Kerry was, of course, also in London for the meeting, two days after he and President Obama had met with alleged former brothel owner Ahmed al-Jabra, who heads the “Syrian National Coalition”, in Washington. Jabra too had hopped on a ‘plane to London to attend the up-market plotting venue. A world away from the prison cell in Syria where he allegedly spent time for drug dealing.
Al-Akhbar has written regarding Ahmed al-Jabra of security records showing him:
“as a fugitive wanted for criminal offenses, including fraud, corruption, and even assassination plots that were not carried out. According to the source, records show that Riyadh handed over ‘the suspect Ahmad al-Jarba’ to Damascus in 2008, on charges of drug trafficking, in accordance with an extradition agreement between Saudi and Syrian security services … Jarba was tried and sentenced to a prison term at the time.”
“ … another entry involving Jarba, which the Qatari security services undoubtedly also have in their records. After the coup staged by the outgoing Emir of Qatar Hamad against his father Khalifa al-Thani, the latter’s Foreign Minister fled to Syria, where he became a vocal supporter for restoring the previous Emir. At the time, according to the records, Emir Hamad’s people asked Ahmad al-Jarba to assassinate the exiled Qatari Foreign Minister … Al-Jarba even received payment after accepting to carry out the mission, the source claimed.”2
Perhaps these most serious allegations regarding the man who now has upgraded diplomatic status in the US and UK have passed the State Department and Whitehall by. Whatever, they certainly seem to play fast and loose with awarding diplomatic credentials. In context, if the real reason for the action over Justice Minister Livni’s status change was not so she could attend the plotting against Syria – just over three weeks before the Syrian Presidential election on 3rd June, which President Assad is widely expected to win – it would be beyond astonishing.
Incidentally, at the Jewish National Fund cash-making bash, Livni told an illuminating tale:
“Recalling her family history, the minister also jokingly confided to the audience that as Justice Minister it was ‘embarrassing that my parents met while they were robbing a British money train to buy weapons to fight against the British army.’
“Ms Livni told her audience: ‘The first thing I want to emphasise is my parents were freedom fighters and not terrorists. I am not willing to accept any comparison with terrorists like Hamas who are looking for civilians to kill.’”
Clearly this was a week of triumph for selective perception.
Meanwhile, double standards at all levels are the order of the days. Obama, Kerry and Hague repeat the same words: “(President) Assad has no place in Syria’s future” (will any one ever ask what business it is of theirs?) Syria’s election has been declared a “farce”, but that of the US imposed fascist Junta in Ukraine on 25th May is regarded by as a “vote crucial to finding a way out of the crisis and preventing the country from tearing apart further …”
“The US and its allies are working ‘to send a unified message to pro-Russian separatists …’” that interference will not be tolerated. Whilst in sovereign Syria they are giving ever escalating $millions and arms to up to 80 groups of foreign terrorists led by an alleged serial criminal to bloodily interfere at mass murderous level.
In all there is only one consistency: illegal interference in nation states and barely believable levels of double standards. Incidentally Mr al-Jarba refers to the coming “new Syria.” For anyone looking at the ruins of the US’ “new Iraq” and “new Libya”, that should be enough to send all banging on government doors, emailing, telephoning, demonstrating: “Never, ever again.”
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has been granted temporary diplomatic immunity for an upcoming visit to the United Kingdom, in order to protect her against arrest for her alleged war crimes, British media reported on Tuesday.
The British Foreign Office confirmed it had granted “special mission” status to Livni, The Guardian wrote, ahead of a planned meeting between the Israeli politician and Foreign Office ministers in London.
Livni’s office confirmed the news, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
The Gaza-based NGO Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and London law firm Hickman & Rose have been leading efforts to prosecute Israeli officials accused of breaching international law.
Livni had a key role in the 2008-2009 Israeli attack on Gaza, also known as Operation Cast Lead, in which more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed.
Raji Sourani, PCHR director, told The Guardian that he was very disappointed at the British government’s decision to grant immunity to Livni.
“The [British government’s] stated policy of ‘ending impunity for international crimes’ can only be properly pursued if the rule of law and due process is allowed to prevail, rather than Britain giving a safe haven to suspected war criminals, even for a few hours,” Sourani said.
He noted that a British judge had ruled in December 2009 that there was sufficient evidence to justify Livni’s arrest over her role in Operation Cast Lead.
The UK’s law on universal jurisdiction – which allows for foreign leaders to be arrested on British soil for breaches of international law – was changed in recent years to make approval from the Director of Public Prosecutions mandatory before an arrest warrant can be issued.
The change in legislation took place shortly after Livni canceled a visit in 2009 over fears of arrest. She has since been granted diplomatic immunity for an October 2011 visit to the UK.
In July 2013, Israel’s army chief, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz was also granted judicial immunity during a visit to the European country in order to discuss military cooperation. Gantz has been accused of involvement in the commission of war crimes, particularly in the November 2012 assault on the Gaza Strip, codenamed Operation Pillar of Defense.
Israel will surround the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas until he accepts the Israeli terms and recognises Israel as a Jewish state, Israel’s top negotiator, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said yesterday.
Livni told Israel’s Channel 10 that Israel will not release Palestinian prisoners who committed violent acts against Israeli citizens. “Israel will not release Palestinian prisoners with blood on their hands,” Livni said.
Livni claimed that several Arab countries have told Israel they will not transfer funds to Abbas pointing out that she had visited friendly Arab countries 11 times in the past 50 days.
“The city of Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Israel and the Arab and Islamic countries do not object to that,” Livni claimed.
By Gilad Atzmon • August 3, 2009
How many times have we heard about Islam, Muslims and Arabs being slammed for being reactionary on Gay Rights? How many times have we seen political lobbies mobilizing to address Gay Rights issues against Muslim and Arab states and institutions? Interestingly enough, it is actually in the Jewish state where Gays are murdered on the street. Two days ago in Tel Aviv, the Jewish metropolis that insists upon regarding itself as an international Gay capital proved to be a pretty dangerous place for people who happen to be homosexuals.
In fact, the attack on the Gay community in Tel Aviv should not take us by surprise. The Jewish state, in spite of its relentless effort to prove otherwise, is one of the least tolerant places on this planet. It is fuelled by hatred towards others and Otherness. Its politicians are defined particularly by their level of cruelty towards Palestinians.
As much as the Israelis do love to see themselves as being ‘tolerant and liberal’, they hate their neighbors and would implement the most murderous lethal tactics against them. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t take us by a complete surprise that in a country that pours white phosphorous on civilians and starves millions behind barbed wire, some people develop deadly inclinations.
The Jewish state is founded on negation. It hates everything that fails to be Jewish. It hates Arabs, it hates the Palestinians, it hates the Goyim, it hates criticism, it hates Islam, it hates the Pope, it hates Christianity. You name it, they hate it. As it happens, all it takes to hate Gays is for someone out there to think that Gay is not Jewish enough. And in fact it isn’t. It is as non-Jewish as much as democracy and tolerance are totally foreign to the spirit of Jewishness.
A list of prominent Israeli leaders rushed yesterday to promote the fake notion of Jewish tolerance. Amongst them was opposition leader Tzipi Livni who just eight month ago flattened Gaza directly over its inhabitants. “We need to give strength to the child who comes to his parents and says: ‘I am gay,’ or ‘I am a lesbian;’ said Livni. Seemingly, just eight months ago, the same Livni didn’t care much about the hundreds of children that were slaughtered in a criminal war she was enthusiastically pushing for. She appeared to not care much about the thousands of kids who were severely injured and broken for life.
Another Israeli prominent War Criminal, the man who introduced WMDs to the region is no other than President Shimon Peres. “The shocking murder in Tel Aviv last night,” he said, “is the kind of murder that an enlightened and cultured people cannot accept.” The man who prides himself as an enlightened and cultured Jewish ambassador is actually personally responsible for more Palestinian death and carnage than any other living politician.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one of the least tolerant leaders ever also had something to say about tolerance: “we are a democratic and tolerant country and we must respect every person as he is.” I can only wish the Israeli PM would find the courage to listen to his own words next time he evicts Palestinians from their soil and dwellings.
This is really the crux of the matter. Israel is only tolerant symbolically. It is engaged solely in pseudo manifestations of liberalism, it is a ‘kind of’ a democracy, it is ‘kind of’ an open society, it is ‘kind of’ a broadminded society. The more it praises itself for being tolerant and liberal, the more aggression is brewing within. The more open it pretends to be, the more murderous it becomes for real.
This may explain how it is that in such a ‘tolerant society’ 94% of the population supported the slaughter of the Palestinians in the last Israeli campaign in Gaza. This may explain also how it is that in a ‘tolerant’ society, sightseers flocked to the Gaza border to watch their army spreading death en masse.
The repellent duality between fake ‘tolerance’ and vile aggression is the outcome of an unauthentic Jewish fictitious national fantasy. A fantasy that is grounded in mimicking some Western ideologies that are totally foreign to Jewish ideology (religious and secular). Tolerance, democracy and liberalism are foreign to Jewish political precepts which are all racially orientated and supremacist to the bone.
For those who cannot see it yet, Zionist aggression is turning against itself. Israel is imploding.
“You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.”
Leviticus, Chapter 26, verses 7-9
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations… then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy.”
“…do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them… as the Lord your God has commanded you…”
Gilad Atzmon | January 8, 2009
There is not much doubt amongst Biblical scholars that the Hebrew Bible contains some highly charged non-ethical suggestions, some of which are no less than a call for a genocide. Biblical scholar Raymund Schwager has found in the Old Testament 600 passages of explicit violence, 1000 descriptive verses of God’s own violent actions of punishment, 100 passages where God expressly commands others to kill people. Apparently, violence is the most often mentioned activity in the Hebrew Bible.
As devastating as it may be, the Hebrew Bible saturation with violence and extermination of others may throw some light over the horrifying genocide conducted momentarily in Gaza by the Jewish state. In broad daylight, the IDF is using the most lethal methods against civilians as if their main objective is to ‘destroy’ the Gazans while showing ‘no mercy’ whatsoever.
Interestingly enough, Israel regards itself as a secular state. Ehud Barak is not exactly a qualified Rabbi and Tzipi Livni is not a Rabbi’s wife. Accordingly, we are entitled to assume that it isn’t actually Judaism per se that directly transforms Israeli politicians and military leaders into war criminals. Moreover, early Zionists believed that within a national home Jews would become ‘people like all other people’, i.e., civilised and ethical. In that very respect, Israeli reality is pretty peculiar. The Hebraic secular Jews may have managed to drop their God, most of them do not follow Judaic law, they are largely secular, and yet they collectively interpret their Jewish identity as a genocidal mission. They have successfully managed to transform the Bible from being a spiritual text into a bloodsoaked land registry. They are there, in Zion i.e., Palestine, to invade the land and to lock up, starve and destroy its indigenous habitants. Accordingly, it seems as if the artillery commanders and IAF pilots that erased northern Gaza two nights ago were following Deuteronomy 20:16 they indeed did “.. not leave alive anything that breathes.” And yet, one question is left open. Why should a secular commander follow Deuteronomy verses or any other Biblical text?
Some very few sporadic Jewish voices within the left are insisting upon telling us that Jewishness is not necessarily inherently murderous. I tend to believe them that they themselves consider their words as genuine and truthful. But then one may wonder, what is it that makes the Jewish state brutal with no comparison? The truth of the matter is actually pretty sad. As far as we can see, Zionism is the only secular ideological and political Jewish collective around and as it happens, it has proved once again this week that it is genocidal to the bone.
As far as genocide is concerned the difference between Judaism and Zionism can be illustrated as follows: while the Judaic Biblical context is soaked with genocidal references, usually in the name of God, within the Zionist context, Jews are killing Palestinians in the name of themselves i.e., the ‘Jewish people’. This is indeed the ultimate success of the Zionist revolution. It taught the Jews to believe in themselves. To believe in the Jewish state. ‘The Israeli’ is Israel’s God. Accordingly, the Israeli kills in the name of ‘his or her security’, in the name of ‘his or her democracy’. The Israelis destroy in the name of ‘their war against terror’ and in the name the ‘their America’. Seemingly, in the Jewish state, the Hebraic subject reverts to mass killing as soon as he finds a ‘name’ to associate with.
This doesn’t really leave us too much room for speculation. The Jewish state is the ultimate threat to humanity and our notion of humanism. Christianity, Islam and humanism came along with an attempt to amend Jewish tribal fundamentalism and to replace it with universal ethics. Enlightenment, liberalism and emancipation allowed Jews to redeem themselves from their ancient tribal supremacist traits. Since the mid 19th century, many Jews had been breaking out of their cultural and tribal chain. Tragically enough, Zionism managed to pull many Jews back in. Currently, Israel and Zionism are the only collective voice available for Jews.
The last twelve days of merciless offensive against the Palestinian civilian population does not leave any room for doubt. Israel is the gravest danger to world peace. Clearly the nations made a tragic mistake in 1947 giving a volatile racially orientated identity an opportunity to set itself into a national state. However, the nations’ duty now is to peacefully dismantle that state before it is too late. We must do it before the Jewish state and its forceful lobbies around the world manage to pull us all into a global war in the ‘name’ of one banal populist ideology or another (democracy, war against terror, cultural clash and so on). We have to wake up now before our one and only planet is transformed into a bursting boil of hatred.
File – moheet.com
The Israeli Government passed Sunday [June 9, 2013] the “Anti-Terror Bill”, authorizing harsher punishment against individuals suspected or convicted of aiding armed groups in the country, and anywhere in the world.
Several human rights groups in Israel and around the world voiced serious concerns regarding direct human rights violations, especially since this law strengthens and “legalizes” Administrative Detention orders confining hundreds, and even thousands, behind bars for extended periods without charges or trial.
The bill passed during a vote at the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation, headed by Israeli Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni.
It not only targets those “convicted of terror attacks”, but also those who express support, emphasize and “incite terror activities” in addition to those believed to be engaged in preparations to carrying out violent acts.
Part of the penalties that this bill proposed include sentencing individuals for a life term without the possibility of parole, and allows the Police, the Security Services and all related agencies to confine “suspects” up to 30 days without granting them the right to any legal representation.
The passed bill also allows Israel to seize property of armed groups and individuals, in addition to preventing them from traveling abroad when there are no arrest warrants against them.
Israeli daily Haaretz has reported that the new legislation, would replace the “national state of emergency regulations” that Israel enforced after its establishment in the historic land of Palestine in 1948. Those regulations affect civil, security and economic issues.
The law particularly targets Palestinians and the indigenous Arab population in Israel, as those facing charges of “security or criminal violations”, whether in civil or military courts, would be facing very harsh sentences.
Head of the Meretz opposition party, Zahava Gal-On, said that Israel is denying human rights under the guise of combating terror.
She said that the emergency law applied in the country since the British occupation of Palestine, “cannot just be replaced with legislation that is anti-democratic”.
Also, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) slammed the bill, described it as anti-democratic, and warned that its provisions could turn legal organizations and law-abiding persons into terrorists just because they are suspected of aiding or practicing terror.
The Arabs48 news website reported that, under the new law, persons who even express support for groups labeled by Israel as “hostile” or “terrorist” could be imprisoned up to three years. It also considers financial support to these organizations as an “act of terror”.
Arabs48 added that the new bill increases the years of life-terms from 30 to 40 years.
It stated that the Israeli Prosecutors Office said that Price Tag attacks have not been labeled as acts of terror, as the Office believes that boosting intelligence activity and adequate training to police officers dealing with those attacks could put an end to those attacks.
The Israeli Government Legal Advisor stated that, legally, there is nothing stopping the government from describing and declaring Price Tag attacks as acts of terror.
In an Editorial Published on June 9, Haaretz said that the core of this bill has serious and extremely wide definitions for a terrorist organization, or terrorist acts, and added that once an organization, including a charity group, is labeled as a terrorist group, the moral base and all legal measures are destroyed.
The tears shed by assorted media at the news of David Miliband’s departure from British politics for a new life in New York had me reaching once again for the sick-bag.
“British politics will be a poorer place without David,” said brother Ed, leader of the Labour Party.
Will it? I’m pleased to see Peter Oborne’s straight-talking piece in The Telegraph putting Miliband D in his place.
“We are, after all, talking about someone who was at best a minor politician, no towering colossus,” writes Oborne. “After Labour’s 1997 election victory he was the poster boy of a new ruling elite which seized control of the commanding heights of British politics. Anti-democratic, financially greedy and morally corrupt, this new political class has done the most enormous damage. Since David Miliband was its standard-bearer, his political career explains a great deal about what has gone wrong with British public life, about why politicians are no longer liked or trusted, and about how political parties have come to be viewed with contempt.”
Oborne makes the point that Miliband set the pattern so many others, including his brother Ed, have followed. “Obsessed by politics at university, he has never had even the faintest connection with the real world. From life in think tanks he became a Labour Party researcher and special adviser, before being parachuted into the north-eastern constituency of South Shields as an MP.”
Miliband wrote Labour’s vacuous 1997 and 2001 election manifestos and was at the heart of the Labour machine when it generated the now notorious falsehoods over Iraq. Oborne also notes the irony of Miliband’s new job heading a humanitarian organisation “when the government of which he was such a loyal member created so many of the world’s disasters”.
We are reminded that Miliband was inexperienced and had no idea how the world worked, so was out of his depth when promoted to the Foreign Office. “During his short, undistinguished career, Mr Miliband has done grave damage to British politics. He is part of the new governing élite which is sucking the heart out of our representative democracy while enriching itself in the process… David Miliband has belittled our politics and he will not be missed.”
And having gone, many will be praying the Miliband brat won’t be back.
He will be forever remembered as the British foreign secretary who shamelessly apologized to Israel’s gangsters for the risk they ran of being arrested if they set foot in London. Back in 2009 Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni and retired general Doron Almog, cancelled engagements in London for fear of ‘having their collar felt’. Israel complained bitterly and Miliband promised Lieberman that UK laws relating to ‘universal jurisdiction’ would be changed. He asked Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Justice Minister Jack Straw for urgent action.
When the general election ousted him from the Foreign Office, Miliband’s groveling promise was eagerly taken up by his replacement, William Hague, another fanatical ‘friend of Israel’, who declared that a situation where politicians like Mrs Livni could be threatened with arrest in the UK was “completely unacceptable… We have agreed in the coalition about putting it right, we will put it right through legislation… and I phoned Mrs Livni amongst others to tell her about that and received a very warm welcome for our proposals.”
Never mind that the arrest warrants were issued to answer well-founded criminal charges. Never mind that under ‘universal jurisdiction’ all states that are party to the Geneva Conventions are under a binding obligation to seek out those suspected of having committed grave breaches of the Conventions and bring them, regardless of nationality, to justice. And never mind that there should be no hiding place for those suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Human rights activists resorted to private arrest warrants because the government was in the habit of shirking its duty under the Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention and dragged its feet until the birds had flown.
Bringing a private prosecution for a criminal offence is an ancient right in common law and, in the words of Lord Wilberforce, “a valuable constitutional safeguard against inertia or partiality on the part of the authority.” Lord Diplock, another respected Lord of Appeal, called it “a useful safeguard against capricious, corrupt or biased failure or refusal of those authorities to prosecute offenders against the criminal law”.
And the beauty of the private warrant was that it could be issued speedily.
The servile Miliband’s action disgusted those who will never forget that Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former foreign minister, was largely responsible for the terror that brought death and destruction to Gaza’s civilians during the blitzkrieg known as Operation Cast Lead. Showing no remorse, and with the blood of 1,400 dead Gazans (including 320 children and 109 women) on her hands and thousands more horribly maimed, Livni’s office issued a statement saying she was proud of it. Speaking later at a conference at Tel Aviv’s Institute for Security Studies, she said: “I would today take the same decisions.”
Any British government minister who brings this degree of obsequiousness to his job and is prepared to undermine our justice system in order to make the UK a safe haven for the likes of her, deserves to be judged harshly.
Miliband is also remembered for not having the guts to visit Gaza, or even Iran, while in office. Yet he managed to reach Gaza in 2011 with Save the Children. “I had not been able to visit while in government for security reasons,” he said in an article in The Guardian. What nonsense. The only danger would have been from an air-strike by his psychopathic friends in Tel Aviv or a Mossad assassin. Those risks go with the job. You can’t be an effective foreign secretary wrapped in cotton wool.
He said the purpose of his eventual trip to Gaza was “to get a sense of life… to get a glimpse, albeit brief, of life for the people”. A pity he didn’t do that earlier instead of wielding his ministerial power in ignorance
While David Miliband headed up foreign policy it was frankly embarrassing to be British. What magical transformation has this pipsqueak recently undergone to make him the ideal candidate to run an organization like the International Rescue Committee? With the likes of Madeleine Albright, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, and Henry Kissinger on board, you might wonder about the IRC’s presence in vulnerable countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
No-one is about to forget Albright’s infamous remark about the human misery caused by the intervention and mayhem in Iraq, that “the price is worth it”.
– Stuart Littlewood’s book Radio Free Palestine, with Foreword by Jeff Halper, can now be read on the internet by visiting http://www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk.
Some days the Newspaper of Record says a lot–not always in ways you might expect.
Today (3/21/13) a story by Mark Landler and Rick Gladstone about allegations of chemical weapons in Syria includes something you see often–anonymous government sources. That can often be a bad thing; but today it’s pretty useful:
Two senior Israeli officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak, said that Israel was sure that chemicals were used, but did not have details about what type of weapons were used, where they came from, when they were deployed, or by whom.
A third senior official, also refusing to be identified, said, “It is possible that chemical weapons were used, or some concoction of chemical substances,” but he said he had not “seen clear confirmation.”
Why is this helpful? Because other Israeli officials, speaking publicly and for attribution, pretended to be more certain. From the very same Times piece:
Two senior ministers in Israel’s new cabinet said publicly on Wednesday that chemical weapons had been used, and several government officials said in interviews that Israel had credible evidence of an attack. The ministers, Tzipi Livni and Yuval Steinetz, were among those who met with Mr. Obama here on the first day of his trip.
Israeli officials provided no proof of their assertions but appeared more confident that chemical weapons had been used.
Ms. Livni, the new Israeli justice minister, said in an interview with CNN, “It’s clear for us here in Israel that it’s being used,” adding, “This, I believe, should be on the table in the discussions.”
Mr. Steinetz, the minister for strategic affairs, said on Israel’s Army Radio, “It’s apparently clear that chemical weapons have been used against civilians by the rebels or the government.”
So is the Times, in its own way, telling us not to trust the officials speaking on the record? That’s certainly one way to read the piece.
Elsewhere in the paper we learn that part of Barack Obama’s visit to Israel includes a look at the country’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system, which is funded by the U.S. government. In one story, by Mark Landler and Jodi Rudoren, we read this:
Mr. Obama was driven across the tarmac to inspect a battery of the Iron Dome air-defense system. The system, built by Israeli companies but financed by the United States, is credited with intercepting more than 400 rockets fired from Gaza at Israeli towns….
Israeli officials say that Iron Dome has been a huge success, intercepting 86 percent of the 521 incoming rockets it engaged in the Gaza conflict. Some American missile-defense experts have questioned that figure, putting the hit rate at closer to 10 percent.
So they either knock down almost every rocket, or almost none. That’s pretty unhelpful; but the Times has another piece that actually digs into the evidence (“Weapons Experts Raise Doubts About Israel’s Antimissile System”). According to this account, “a growing chorus of weapons experts in the United States and in Israel…suggest that Iron Dome destroyed no more than 40 percent of incoming warheads and perhaps far fewer.”
One former Pentagon official says there’s no system that is 90 percent effective. And the article, by William Broad, includes this:
Theodore A. Postol, a physicist at M.I.T. who helped reveal the Patriot antimissile failures of 1991, analyzed the new videos and found that Iron Dome repeatedly failed to hit its targets head-on. He concluded that the many dives, loops and curls of the interceptors resulted in diverse angles of attack that made it nearly impossible to destroy enemy warheads.
“It’s very hard to see how it could be more than 5 or 10 percent,” Dr. Postol said.
Mordechai Shefer, an Israeli rocket scientist formerly with Rafael, Iron Dome’s maker, studied nearly two dozen videos and, in a paper last month, concluded that the kill rate was zero.
Reading all of that, it’s hard to imagine anyone could really believe the Israeli claims about Iron Dome’s success rate.
So if you want to get a handle on Iron Dome, ignore the story on page 10 and pay attention to the story on page 11. And if you’re trying to figure out which Israeli officials to trust on the Syria chemical weapons story, the unnamed sources seem to be the ones who are more forthright about what they know.
That’s a lot to ask of readers, isn’t it?
Ignore the hype. It’s four more years of settlement growth
NAZARETH — Israeli and Palestinian officials have been in Washington laying the ground for President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel and the West Bank, scheduled for next month and the first since he took office four years ago.
Topping the agenda, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said, will be efforts to restart the long-stalled peace process. Last week Palestinian officials said they had urged the White House to arrive with a diplomatic plan.
The US president began his first term on a different footing, ignoring Israel and heading instead to Cairo where he made a speech committing the US to a new era in relations with the Arab world. Little came of the promise.
Now he apparently intends to start his second term — as Netanyahu resumes office too, following last month’s elections — with an effort to engage with Israel and the Palestinians that is almost as certain to prove an exercise in futility.
The prospect of reviving the peace track between Israel and the Palestinians is not one that is appetising for either Obama or Netanyahu. Both are bruised from locking horns over a settlement freeze — the key plank of the US president’s efforts — during his first term.
But equally, it seems, the price of continuing inaction is high too. The Palestinians have repeatedly embarrassed Obama at the United Nations, not least by isolating the US in November as it opposed an upgrade in the Palestinians’ observer status. Inertia also looks risky given the growing unrest in the West Bank over hunger-striking prisoners.
Ahead lie potentially even bigger headaches, including the doomsday scenario — from Israel and Washington’s perspective — that the Palestinians approach the International Criminal Court to demand Israel be investigated for war crimes.
The perennial optimists have been searching for signs that Obama is readier this time to get tough. Neither of the president’s recent major appointments — John Kerry as secretary of state and Chuck Hagel, nominated as defence secretary — has been welcomed in Israel.
US determination has been buoyed, it is argued, by what is seen as a tide change in Israeli public opinion, highlighted by the surprise electoral success of centrist Yair Lapid and relatively poor showing by Netanyahu’s Likud party.
Netanyahu’s officials sense similar motives, complaining that Obama’s visit so soon after the election is direct “interference” in coalition-building. The centrists, they fear, will be able to extract concessions from Netanyahu, who will not wish to greet the US president as head of an extremist government.
Israeli officials, meanwhile, look eager to mend fences: they have hopefully codenamed the visit “Unbreakable Alliance” and announced an intention to award Obama Israel’s highest honour, the presidential medal.
The more hopeful scenarios, however, overlook the obstacles to a diplomatic solution posed both by Israel’s domestic politics and by the Palestinians’ inability to withstand Israeli bullying.
Not least, they ignore the fact that Netanyahu’s Knesset faction is the most right-wing in Likud’s history. He cannot advance a peace formula — assuming he wanted to — without tearing apart his party.
Equally, there is nothing in Lapid’s record to indicate he is willing to push for meaningful compromises on Palestinian statehood. On this issue, he occupies the traditional ground of Likud, before it moved further right. A recent poll found half his supporters called themselves right-wing.
Last week Netanyahu signed a coalition pact with another supposed centrist, Tzipi Livni, a former Likud leader who now heads a small faction called Hatnuah. The goal, as one Likud official cynically put it, was to use Livni to “whitewash the Netanyahu government in the world’s eyes”.
In other words, Netanyahu hopes a Livni or a Lapid will buy him breathing space as he entrenches the settlements and pushes Palestinians out of large areas of the West Bank under cover of what the Israeli newspaper Haaretz termed a “booby-trapped diplomatic process”.
What of the Palestinians? Will they not be able to mount an effective challenge to Israeli intransigence, given an apparent renewed US interest in diplomacy?
Here is the rub. Netanyahu already has a stranglehold on the politics of his potential peace partners. He can easily manipulate the fortunes of the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on the two biggest tests he faces: the “peace process” overseen by the international community, and reconciliation talks with the rival Palestinian faction Hamas.
The latest talks between Hamas and Fatah broke down in Cairo this month, even though unity, in the view of most Palestinians, is a precondition of their seeking viable statehood. The talks’ failure followed the “arrest” by Israel of 25 Hamas leaders in the West Bank, seizures that Palestinian human rights groups and Hamas warned were intended to disrupt reconciliation.
Meanwhile, Israel has repeatedly undermined Abbas’s rule, and kept his PA close to collapse, by turning on and off one of its major sources of income — tax monies Israel regularly collects on behalf of the Palestinians and is supposed to pass on.
As a result, Abbas is trapped between various pressures impossible to reconcile: the need to keep Israel happy, to maintain legitimacy with his own people and to foster a shared political agenda with other Palestinian factions.
The sticks that Israel wields force Abbas to keep the door open to negotiations even as most Palestinians recognise their utter pointlessness. Likewise, his constant need to appease Israel and the US serves only to widen differences with Hamas.
The Palestinians are stuck in a political and diplomatic cul-de-sac, unable to move forward either with the development of their national struggle or with talks on viable statehood. Whatever Obama’s intentions, the reality is that this will be another four years of diplomatic failure.
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. He won this year’s Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism.
The correct path to statehood is through implementation of international law and UN resolutions and the approval of the international community.
By Stuart Littlewood | Salem-News | December 14, 2012
(LONDON) – Britain’s prime minister David Cameron has again shown why he should stand down from British politics.
In a speech to Conservative Friends of Israel at a lunch the other day he said – and not for the first time – things that are deeply disturbing to people who expect him to put British interests first. He again compromised himself and this country with ridiculous pledges of support for a foreign military power whose behaviour is beyond the Pale and an affront to human decency. Here are some of his remarks…
“I am a passionate friend of Israel – and that’s the way it’s going to stay.”
In that case you shouldn’t be in British politics, Mr Cameron. You have fallen foul of the Seven Principles of Public Life, especially the principle of ‘Integrity’ which says quite simply: “Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.”
“We promised to stand up for Israel and in Government that’s exactly what we’ve done. We said it was ridiculous that Israeli officials felt unable to visit Britain because of the malicious and unfounded use of arrest warrants so we changed the law to end it.”
Unfounded? Tzipi Livni, for example, was responsible for launching the pre-meditated blitzkrieg four years ago which caused the deaths of 1,400 defenceless Gazans (including 320 children and 109 women), horribly maimed thousands more and caused immense devastation to essential infrastructure and services. She showed no remorse. Livni’s office issued a statement saying she was proud of Operation Cast Lead, and speaking later at a conference at Tel Aviv’s Institute for Security Studies, she said: “I would today take the same decisions.”
“We said we’d resist calls for boycotts on Israel and yes – we are going to keep on working with Israel, doing business with Israel, trading with Israel.”
Even though Israel is in continual breach of EU-Israel Agreement rules and forcibly prevents its neighbours, the Palestinians, from doing business and trade with the outside world…
“To me it is clear what needs to happen… We need the Palestinians to understand there is only one path to statehood, and that is through negotiations with Israel. We made that clear with that UN vote a couple of weeks ago.”
Wrong. The correct path to statehood is through implementation of international law and UN resolutions and the approval of the international community. Only when the illegal occupation is ended and the right of self-determination is restored can meaningful talks begin.
“We said that Britain could not support a resolution that set back the prospects for peace and that did not commit the Palestinians to return to negotiations without preconditions. Well: they did not provide the assurances that we asked for. So… we did not vote for it.”
Pure blackmail. Bullying Palestinians into resuming failed and discredited talks to bargain with the thief for the return of their lands and property when it is still being stolen with impunity, is utterly immoral. There can be no peace under occupation. And nobody ‘negotiates’ with a gun to their head, nor should they be expected to.
“And I have made something else clear that needs to be made clear to the Palestinians. Britain will never tolerate the obscenity of a football tournament named after a suicide bomber who killed 20 Israelis in a restaurant. We will not tolerate incitement to terrorism.”
This is about Wafa Idris. It has become a favourite rant and Cameron was banging on about it a couple of months earlier at another top Jewish gathering. According to The Jerusalem Post (September 2011) a Fatah-affiliated youth centre in the Ama’ari refugee camp near Ramallah named a sports event after female suicide bomber Wafa Idris, a 28 year-old paramedic who had been shot several times by Israeli rubber bullets during her work for the Red Crescent. Relatives said she was angry at seeing children shot and killed by the IDF in Ramallah. Idris was the first Palestinian woman to carry out a suicide bombing. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a subsidiary of Abbas’s Fatah (who are Cameron’s friends in Occupied Palestine), claimed responsibility for the bomb attack although her family said she was not known to be an activist with any Palestinian militant group.
Cameron, before opening his mouth, might have asked what led her to do it. Wafa Idris was born in the Ama’ari refugee camp. Set up by the Red Cross in 1949 it provided tents to refugees from Jaffa, Ramla and Lydda, towns allocated for an Arab state in the UN Partition but subjected to a bloody programme of ethnic cleansing in 1948.
In Lydda the Israelis massacred 426 men, women, and children. 176 of them were slaughtered in the town’s main mosque (See the lurid details here). Out of the 19,000 people who called Lydda home, only 1,052 were allowed to stay. The remainder were forced to walk into exile in the scalding July heat leaving a trail of bodies – men, women and children – along the way.
The slaughter in Lydda was led by a certain Moshe Dayan. The event was witnessed by two American newspapermen who reported that “practically everything in their way died. Riddled corpses lay by the roadside.” They saw “the corpses of Arab men, women and even children strewn about in the wake of the ruthlessly brilliant charge” (emphasis Aletho News ). This appalling war crime didn’t prevent Dayan becoming a great hero in Israel, and later defence minister and foreign minister.
Today Tel Aviv University has a Moshe Dayan Centre named after the war criminal, but I haven’t heard Cameron complain about that. Likewise the Menachem Begin Centre in West Jerusalem is named after the terrorist leader responsible for the bomb attack in 1946 on the British mandate government based in the King David Hotel, killing 91. Has Agent Cameron anything to say about that?
Back to the Ama’ari refugee camp, now run by the UNRWA, where Wafa Idris was obliged to live in squalor as a result of Israel’s criminal land-grab and forcible eviction of her parents from Ramla. At Ama’ari 10,500 people are squeezed into less than 1 square kilometre in dreadful conditions.
However the camp’s football team has won the Palestine football championship several times and qualified to represent Palestine in regional and international competitions.
The Arab media were lavish in their praise for Idris, the “courageous Palestinian girl”, and as a result she became a heroic symbol of Palestinian womanhood in their struggle to throw off the occupation. If it’s OK for Israel to name major institutions after its famous terrorists what right has Cameron to get upset when Palestinian football team similarly commemorates one of theirs?
“So, in Gaza too, Hamas need to know that they must renounce violence and they will not be allowed to dictate the way forward in the peace process.”
Does Cameron have the balls to tell Israel it too must renounce violence? Hamas, in case he has forgotten, is the legitimate democratic authority. He may not like it but he should respect it and work with them, like the good democratic he claims to be.
“Last month, when rockets rained down on Israel, we were unequivocal about the right of Israelis to live free from attack by terrorist groups on their border.”
When Gaza suffers air strikes on a daily basis, how unequivocal is Cameron about the right of Palestinians to live free from attack by the terrorist state occupying their lands?
“I’ve never had to run for cover as the air-raids sound overhead. I’ve never had to give gas masks to my children. I do understand that for the Israeli people, uncertainty isn’t such a great thing. It means instability. Anxiety. Fear.”
If he goes to Gaza he can experience fear and anxiety in abundance under Israeli air raids. I vividly remember as a kid being bombed by the Nazis every night in London – and not with garden-shed whizz-bangs. I remember German bombers flying at rooftop height down our street to avoid the anti-aircraft guns. At least they didn’t use white phosphorus like the Israelis.
Cameron’s hyper-partisan, head-over-heels friendship – no, obsession – with Israel is allowed to steer nearly every aspect of Britain’s foreign policy. What drives this? You need look no further than The Jewish Chronicle which in 2006 reported on the backers bankrolling David Cameron’s bid for power and provided a fascinating insight into how the pro-Israel lobby infiltrates government and destroys the principles of integrity and accountability so vital to public life.
When Cameron became Conservative leader he proclaimed:
“The belief I have in Israel is indestructible – and you need to know that if I become Prime Minister, Israel has a friend who will never turn his back on Israel.”
Agent Cameron is very careful not to let the words ‘justice’ and ‘law’ pass his lips in connection with Israel’s illegal occupation of the Holy Land. And he and his foreign secretary, Hague, will put on a wonderful show of hand-wringing, deploring and urging whenever Israel commits atrocities, but they never condemn the racist regime or use any obvious levers like suspension of trade or other sanctions.
On the contrary, they shamelessly find ways of rewarding the Israeli regime’s crimes against humanity, making us complicit with its racist ambitions.
© Stuart Littlewood 2012
- A letter to David Cameron (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- The cowardice at the heart of our relationship with Israel (telegraph.co.uk)
In life, some phenomena cannot be explained by ordinary logic or technical language, let alone official discourses. How did Gaza manage to fight back with such ferocity and undying vigor in quelling the latest Israeli war despite years of a bloody siege and one-sided war in 2008-9? It simply cannot be explained by the outmoded language of today’s media analysts. Notwithstanding, a new reality is about to emerge.
During the 2008-09 ‘Operation Cast Lead,’ Israel killed over 1,400 Palestinians and wounded over 5,000 others. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. Most victims were civilians as is always the case in such wars of ‘self-defense’. A United Nations investigation published in September 2009 concluded there is “evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity.”
Back then there was no shortage of indictments and condemnations, as will surely emerge from its latest 8-day war on Gaza. Many spoke of how the tide of public opinion is turning against Israel, how the self-declared Jewish State was losing its command over an ever-skewed narrative of David vs. Goliath, of how the US will no longer be able to shield Israel against the profound anguish of millions of besieged people imploring the world for help and solidarity.
Much of this was in fact true, but equally true was that Israel succeeded in dragging Gaza and the rest of Palestine back to the same status quo – despite the heinous crimes committed four years ago -that preceded the war. Former Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, told journalists on January 12, 2009 that her country was deliberately ‘going wild’ in Gaza to “restore … Israel’s deterrence. Hamas now understands that when you fire on its citizens it responds by going wild – and this is a good thing.”
It certainly was good enough for the United States, but also for many European powers who giddily wined and dined with Livni in Brussels, shortly after the war, as if thousands of people had not been killed and wounded or that whole families hadn’t just perished for no fault of their own and as if a whole nation was not still in mourning for its lost children, men and women.
It is not that Israel was particularly crafty in restoring its standing among official western circles in the last four years, thus giving it the needed confidence to assault Gaza once more. The fact is that Israel never lost that standing to begin with. These very powers (starting with Washington and London) never ceased backing Israel with the latest killing technology, bolstering Israel’s economy despite their own economic woes and of course, supporting Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’ at every available opportunity.
The 22-day war on Gaza of 2008-09 was in actuality a continuation of another long war, which is difficult to demarcate by specific dates and times. Palestinians in Gaza (as in the rest of the occupied territories) have been dying at rates that decelerate and accelerate depending on the political mood in Tel Aviv. In 2008, embattled Kadima party officials sought war to boost their rating among a war and security-obsessed public. In 2012, national elections in Israel are upon us once more. In both cases, Palestinian blood had to be exacted in that same bloody game of Israeli politics. And all rising stars in Israeli politics needed to be there to impress the ever-approving public.
When “more than 90 percent of Israeli Jews support Gaza war” (Haaretz, Nov 19), it becomes less shocking to read Gilad Sharon (son of former Israeli Prime Minister and repeatedly accused war criminal Ariel Sharon) writing in the Jerusalem Post: “There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire … We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.”
Yet what was thought of as another hunting season of Gaza’s civilians and fighters alike didn’t turn out as desired. ‘Operation Pillar of Cloud’ was meant to present Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Ehud Barak with ample opportunities so that they may wave their fingers in threatening gestures and score as many political points as they could before international pressure mount. Instead, it ended up being a political debacle of historic proportions.
Israel’s trial balloons were downed by hundreds of Palestinian rockets that reached as far as northern Tel Aviv and even west Jerusalem. What was meant to break the resistance, so that Palestinians may never dare complain of occupation, of Israel-imposed political isolation and suffocating siege, along with Israel’s ‘deterrence’ wars, resulted in a new strange reality that sent Israelis everywhere seeking shelter. When sirens blared, Israel came to a halt as Israelis experienced bloody glimpses of what Palestinians experience too often. 167 Palestinians were killed and over a thousand wounded. 6 Israelis were killed, including a soldier who died from his wounds after a ceasefire was achieved through Egypt on Nov 21. But it was not the amount of spilled blood that made this war different, for the ratio of horrific deaths remains tilted. It was different because of the nature of the message that Hamas and other resistance factions delivered. Even starved and besieged Gazans are capable of fighting back after six long years of a hermetic blockade that forced them to dig hundreds of tunnels seeking salvation through neighboring Egypt.
In Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority, with little credibility to begin with, became more irrelevant than ever before. Mahmoud Abbas tried to impose himself as a party in the conflict by speaking of a popular but peaceful resistance in a televised speech. He conveniently explained the Israeli war as an attempt to coerce him not to seek the UN vote on a non-member state status for Palestine. And as Israeli leaders struggled to understand the new variable in their unfair war equation with the Palestinians, Arab officials poured into Gaza signaling that this time around things would be different. The Americans took notice too. Just as the US media spoke of a shift in US foreign policy focus to East and Southeast Asia, the alarming nature of the new war forced Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to rush to Israel to offer its support and solidarity. European leaders did the same. The lines were being demarcated once more. This time Gaza was a dividing point of regional and international politics, its resistance being the main factor behind a seismic shift.
Many in Israel tried to distort the facts by explaining that a ceasefire for Hamas would be good for Israel as it would bring “quiet” to border communities. Thus the Israeli objectives were achieved in a roundabout sort of way. Haaretz military correspondent Amos Harel labored to soften the blow by saying “The art of measuring the level of deterrence power is far from an exact science. Nobody expected that failed actions against Hezbollah in 2006 would lead to six-and-a-half years of quiet (which for the time being persists) on the Lebanon border”.
However, Israel’s intentions were not exactly about achieving peace and tranquility. For decades, Israel’s sought to have complete monopoly over violence, thus the right to punish, deter, intervene, occupy and ‘teach lessons’ to whomever it wanted, whenever it wanted. Its recent targeting of Sudan, its past strikes against Iraq, Tunisia, Syria, appalling wars in Lebanon, and constant threats against Iran are all cases in point.
Certainly, something big has changed. Not that Palestinians managed to narrow the imbalance of power, but that they succeeded in imposing their resistance as a factor in Israel’s ‘security’ equation that was exclusively determined by Israel.
Despite their heavy losses, thousands of Palestinians danced with joy throughout the Gaza Strip. They knelt and prayed among the rebels, thanking God for their ‘victory’. Masked armed men were crowded by jubilant Gazans cheering for resistance. Israel and its benefactors began assigning blame by pointing the finger mostly at Iran. But their words drowned in the echoes of Palestinian chants. All parties know that something fundamental has been altered, although the battle is anything but over. A war of a different kind is about to begin.
Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) has been providing vital help to vulnerable Palestinian communities ever since the Sabra and Shatila massacre 30 years ago.
Eyebrows therefore shot up when MAP announced that former foreign secretary David Miliband will be speaking at its Annual Gala Fundraising Dinner tomorrow (Thursday) held in the posh Sheraton Park Lane Hotel.
It seems he’ll be talking about his visit to the West Bank and Gaza.
Miliband will be forever remembered as the British foreign secretary who shamelessly groveled to Israel’s gangsters for forgiveness for their running the risk of arrest if they set foot in London.
And he’ll be remembered for not having the guts to go visit Gaza, or even Iran while in office.
Back in 2009 Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni and retired general Doron Almog, cancelled engagements in London for fear of being arrested. Israel complained bitterly
Miliband actually apologized to Livni and Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman for the arrest warrant issued against Livni. He promised Lieberman to begin working immediately to change the UK laws relating to ‘universal jurisdiction’. He asked Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Justice Minister Jack Straw to find an urgent solution.
But the general election overtook him. Miliband’s groveling promise was echoed by his replacement, William Hague, who announced: “We have had good discussions with Israeli ministers on Universal Jurisdiction where the last government left us with an appalling situation where a politician like Mrs. Livni could be threatened with arrest on coming to the UK…”
He said it was “completely unacceptable… We have agreed in the coalition about putting it right, we will put it right through legislation… later this year and I phoned Mrs. Livni amongst others to tell her about that and received a very warm welcome for our proposals”.
Never mind that British law was operating perfectly properly. The warrants were issued to answer well-founded charges. Under universal jurisdiction all states that are party to the Geneva Conventions are under a binding obligation to seek out those suspected of having committed grave breaches of the Conventions and bring them, regardless of nationality, to justice. There should be no hiding place for those suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Applications could be made to a court for private arrest warrants, and this had been happening because the government itself was in the habit of shirking its duty under the Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention and dragging its feet until the bird has flown.
The beauty of the private warrant is that it can be issued speedily.
Bringing a private prosecution for a criminal offence is an ancient right in common law and, in the words of Lord Wilberforce, “a valuable constitutional safeguard against inertia or partiality on the part of the authority.”
Lord Diplock, another respected Lord of Appeal, called it “a useful safeguard against capricious, corrupt or biased failure or refusal of those authorities to prosecute offenders against the criminal law”.
Who can forget that Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former foreign minister, was largely responsible for the terror that brought unspeakable death and destruction to Gaza’s civilians during the blitzkrieg known as Operation Cast Lead?
Showing no remorse and with the blood of 1,400 dead Gazans (including 320 children and 109 women) on her hands, and thousands more horribly maimed, Livni’s office issued a statement saying she was proud of Operation Cast Lead. And speaking later at a conference at Tel Aviv’s Institute for Security Studies, she said: “I would today take the same decisions.”
In a sane world no British government minister would undermine our justice system in order to make the UK a safe haven for the likes of her.
Yet Miliband’s successor Hague said: “We cannot have a position where Israeli politicians feel they cannot visit this country. The situation is unsatisfactory [and] indefensible. It is absolutely my intention to act speedily.”
He even tried to make Livni’s monstrous crimes look good by claiming, as reported on the Conservative Friends of Israel website, that “the immediate trigger for this crisis [the war on Gaza] was the barrage of hundreds of rocket attacks against Israel on the expiry of the ceasefire or truce.” It is well known that the ceasefire didn’t expire. It was deliberately breached by an Israeli raid into Gaza that killed several Palestinians with the intention of provoking a response that would re-ignite the violence and provide an excuse to launch Operation Cast Lead, which the Israelis had been preparing for months.
As for Avigdor Lieberman, he lives in an illegal squat on stolen Palestinian land and is a wanted criminal on that score alone.
Livni bleated: “It’s about the entire State of Israel and our ability to go on working together against common threats.”
Common threats? The threats Israel faces are caused by its racist expansion, land theft, general lawlessness and hateful attitude towards its neighbors, not to mention the nuclear menace Israel itself poses to others in the region and the Islamic world generally. To suggest we have anything in common with the Tel Aviv regime is absurd.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office butted in with this arrogant statement: “We will not agree to a situation in which [former prime minister] Ehud Olmert, [Defense Minister] Ehud Barak and [opposition leader and former foreign minister] Tzipi Livni will be summoned to the bench. We utterly reject the absurdity that is happening in Britain.”
Miliband never went to Gaza when he should have done. But he managed to visit Gaza with Save the Children. “I had not been able to visit while in government for security reasons,” he said in an article in The Guardian.
Bollox. Hamas were honor-bound to take good care of him. The only danger would have been an Israeli air-strike or a Mossad assassin. But those risks go with the job. You can’t be an effective foreign secretary wrapped in cotton wool.
With David Miliband heading up foreign policy it was frankly embarrassing to be British. What sort of transformation has the groveler undergone that makes him now worthy of an invitation to MAP? Has he become a new White Knight championing the Palestinian underdog against the evil occupier?
I hope so. But I’ll believe it when I actually see evidence that this particular leopard’s spots have well and truly changed.
- David Miliband Earns £116 a Minute (order-order.com)