so far news from the aipac (american israel public affairs committee) conference is as banal as can be. it’s the same old propaganda. you can probably just replay past speeches, just change a few names here and there, but insert the same words. mondoweiss has been tweeting and blogging about it, but here is the most interesting part of what they tweeted in the screen shot below:
the things that seem to be new are the increased fear they have of boycott, divestment, and sanctions in the united states as can be seen in the tweets above. and this is great news! but it seems as though there are those–like shimon peres–who fail to mention palestinians altogether and see iran as the proverbial obstacle to peace.
what i think is the bigger piece of news today is the release of the united nations report on israeli terrorist war crimes in the gaza strip. here is rory mccarthy and ed pilkington’s report on this investigation’s findings:
A United Nations inquiry today accused the Israeli military of “negligence or recklessness” in its conduct of the January war in Gaza and said the organisation should press claims for reparations for deaths and damage.
The first investigation into the three-week war by anyone other than human rights researchers and journalists held the Israeli government responsible in seven separate cases in which UN property was damaged and UN staff and other civilians were hurt or killed.
However, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, rejected the report’s call for a full and impartial investigation into the war, and refused to publish the complete 184-page report. Only Ban’s own summary of the report (pdf) has been released.
Israel rejected the inquiry’s findings, even before the summary was released, as “tendentious” and “patently biased”.
The board of inquiry, led by Ian Martin, a Briton who is a former head of Amnesty International and a former UN special envoy to East Timor and Nepal, had limited scope, looking only at cases of death, injury or damage involving UN property and staff. But its conclusions amount to a major challenge to Israel.
It found the Israeli military’s actions “involved varying degrees of negligence or recklessness”, and that the military took “inadequate” precautions towards UN premises. It said the deaths of civilians should be investigated under the rules of international humanitarian law.
The UN should take action “to seek accountability and pursue claims to secure reparation or reimbursement” for UN expenses and payments over deaths or injury to UN staff and damage to UN property where the responsibility lay with Israel, Hamas or any other party, the report added. In total, more than $11m worth of damage was caused to UN premises.
The inquiry looked in detail at nine incidents, in which several Palestinians died. It found the Israeli military responsible in seven cases where it had “breached the inviolability” of the UN. In one other case, Palestinian militants, probably from Hamas, were held responsible; in a final case, responsibility was unclear.
The report summary will now go to the UN security council. In a later press conference , Ban confirmed that he would be seeking no further official inquiry into the Gaza events. But he did say he would be looking for reparations from Israel on a “case-by-case” basis.
The secretary general was asked whether his decision not to publish the full report amounted to a watering down of the inquiry’s findings. He categorically denied the suggestion: the inquiry was independent, and he was powerless to edit its conclusions.
Israel’s foreign ministry said the Israeli military had already investigated its own conduct during the war and “proved beyond doubt” that it had not fired intentionally at UN buildings. It dismissed the UN inquiry.
“The state of Israel rejects the criticism in the committee’s summary report and determines that in both spirit and language the report is tendentious, patently biased and ignores the facts presented to the committee,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
It said the inquiry had “preferred the claims of Hamas, a murderous terror organisation, and by doing so has misled the world”.
The most serious incident investigated took place on 6 January, near a UN boys’ preparatory school in Jabaliya that was being used as a shelter for hundreds of Palestinians who had fled their homes to escape the fighting. The Israeli military had fired several 120mm mortar rounds in the “immediate vicinity” of the school, killing between 30 and 40 Palestinians, the inquiry found.
Although Israel at the time said Hamas had fired mortars from within the school, the inquiry found this as not true: there had been no firing from within the compound and there were no explosives in the school.
It held Israel responsible for the attack and said the deaths of civilians should be “assessed in accordance with … international humanitarian law.” It also called for a formal acknowledgement from Israel that its allegations about Palestinian militants being present in the school were untrue.
what has been most disturbing in all of this is the predictable response of ban ki-moon who says that this is just a report and won’t be legally binding in any way. if you want to see ban in his on tool-like self you can watch it on palestine video’s blog as i don’t have the stomach to post it. al jazeera’s ghida fakhry interviewed moustafa barghouti on the findings and on ban’s lame-ass tool of a response to it:
[UPDATE]: here is nick spicer’s report on al jazeera that gives us a little dose of reality on the situation:
and just in case you think that the savagery of gaza is over imagine what palestinian medical patients who survived that savagery who need medical care have to go through when they are faced with the choice between collaboration with the zionist enemy or no medical treatment:
Israel’s intelligence services are increasingly pressuring Palestinian patients from Gaza to spy and inform on other Palestinians if they want to enter Israel for medical treatment, a report released on Monday by an Israeli rights organization said.
Data and 30 testimonies collected by Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I) and presented at the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva, indicates a rise in the number of Palestinian patients interrogated and forced to provide information, usually at the Erez border crossing into Israel.
According to PHR-I, Israel’s General Security Service (GSS, known as Shabak) interrogated minors; photographed patients against their will; harassed, accused, cursed and intimidated patients during interrogations.
Patients that did not cooperate were returned to Gaza without receiving a permit to exit for medical treatment, the report said.
Between January 2008 and March 2009, at least 438 patients have been summoned for GSS interrogations at Erez Crossing, as a precondition for a review of their applications to access medical treatment outside the Strip.
The data points to an increase in the ratio of the number of interrogations to the total number of applications submitted to the authorities at Erez Crossing: from 1.45% in January 2008 to 17% in January 2009.
The following is one of the testimonies that was submitted to the UN committee:
“R., a 17-year-old cancer patient who is being treated at Sheba Medical Center in Israel, arrived at the Erez Crossing after having been informed by PHR-Israel that her departure, accompanied by her mother, had been approved. When they reached the crossing point at 9 a.m they were told to sit and wait in the departure hall. At around 11.30 three GSS men in civilian dress came over and asked R. to follow them for interrogation.
“Despite the girl’s tears and pleading, one of the GSS men threatened that if she did not accompany him, he would send her back to Gaza. R. was separated from her mother and taken for interrogation. All this time, her mother was locked in the adjacent room and told to wait for her daughter.
“The interrogation lasted an hour, and in its course, the girl’s cell phone was taken, she was questioned about her uncle and her father, their place of employment etc. On conclusion of the interrogation, the girl was taken back to her mother, and at the end of the day, around 17.00 she was permitted to leave for Israel
“R. … who was interrogated on 29.1.09. Testimony submitted to PHR-Israel on the same day. The patient suffers from a malignant tumor on the leg and is being treated at Shiba Medical Center in Israel.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel is one of at least eight organizations that have submitted testimony to the Committee Against Torture, which this week is reviewing Israel’s record. This year the UN is examining Israel as well as Chad, Chile, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Philippines as part of periodic reviews that it does of all nations.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s spokesperson, Mark Regev responded to the Physicians for Human Rights report saying, in remarks quoted by the Jerusalem Post, “There are unfortunately countless examples of people who have asked to come into Israel for medical reasons, and who have been exploited by terrorists,” Regev said.
of course war crimes and ethnic cleansing are business as usual in the rest of palestine as well. first is the news that the “loyalty oath” policy of avigdor lieberman is becoming a reality as a means of ethnically cleansing palestinians from 1948 historic palestine:
Ynet has learned that the four are Arabs from northern Israel, who left the country in the 1970s and were involved in activities on behalf of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and other terror groups.
According to Israeli suspicions, the men were involved in the recruiting and training of terrorists. The four sought to return to Israel through Jordan and asked for passports. One of them even asked to bring his children along.
Yaakov Ganot, head of the National Immigration Authority, asked Minister Yishai to look into the possibility of revoking the four men’s citizenship. According to the information presented by Ganot, the four left Israel many years ago and resided in countries defined by law as enemy states, including Lebanon and Tunisia.
israeli terrorist colonists destroyed palestinian trees and land, in other words their livelihood yesterday:
Sinjil’s Mayor Imad Abdullah Masalmeh explained that the settlers cut the trees owned by the sick father of four disabled children, Shawqi Hussein Ghafari.
The settlers also cut down olive trees owned by Ali Hussein Fuqaha, Adib Ali Fuqaha, Hussein Farhan Dar Khalil, and the family of Muhammad Yousef Khalil.
The mayor explained that this village is frequently attacked by settlers, pointing that five settlements and outposts encircle the community.
He added that the municipality formed a committee to defend the land from settlers and the expansion of settlements. He said large swaths of the town are threatened with confiscation as a result of settlement expansion.
He appealed for the Palestinian Authority and rights-related organizations to support the farmers and put a stop to such practices.
and americans are getting in on the ethnic cleansing of palestine action, too! it seems that they have decided to occupy a stolen palestinian home to set up its “american corner” in akka:
On April 1, 2009, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv opened the newest, and possibly most beautiful, American Corner in the world. This Corner is housed in the newly restored medieval structure at the A-Saraya, and is perhaps the first of the hundreds of American Corners in the world to be located in a UNESCO World Heritage site. On hand for the gala opening were U.S. Ambassador James B. Cunnigham, Akko Mayor Shimon Lankri, and over 150 community leaders, educators, and business people from Akko and surrounding areas. Peter Yarrow of the American folk group “Peter, Paul, and Mary” and Israeli music legend David Broza headlined the gala opening.
if you’re wondering why this is a unesco heritage site it is because it predates the zionist colonization of akka. this medieval structure is a palestinian one, though of course they fail to mention this.
the american colonists can fool themselves about the stolen palestinian space they are occupying just as much as those who believe that the mayor of al quds is actually creating some green space when he is stealing land, bulldozing palestinian homes, and covering it up with a park (sound familiar? read ilan pappe’s the ethnic cleansing of palestine if you don’t recognize this pattern.):
Jerusalem municipal Mayor Nir Barkat revealed his “master plan” for the city on Monday, which includes the ominous pledge for the “Development of eastern Jerusalem,” where most of the Palestinian population lives.
Also of concern to Palestinian residents is his intention to create five new metropolitan parks, particularly given the current demolition orders on nearly 100 Palestinian homes in the Silwan neighborhood of the city to make way for the construction of green space.
Equally distressing is the issue of Israeli “Conservation and preservation of historic buildings,” since this often means the judization of Islamic or ancient historic sites.
In his explanation of “Developing Eastern Jerusalem,” Barakat said “An additional 13,550 housing units will be made available for construction for the residents of eastern Jerusalem,” which means the expansion of illegal East Jerusalem Israeli settlements. These settlements will be constructed on the land Palestinians will establish their capital city on under the Road Map and Arab Peace Initiative.
The mayor said he intended to build most of the new housing in the Palestinian A-Tur neighborhood (1,500 units), the Palestinian Beit Hanina- Shuafat neighborhoods (2,500 units), Tel Adesa (2,000 units), Jabel Mukabar (2,500 units), and the eastern Jerusalem city center (750 units). These areas house the highest number of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem.
Barakat outlined his plans for the revitalization of tourism in Jerusalem, saying efforts would be concentrated on the Old City, again an area of high-concentration Palestinian homes.
According to reports, “The plan affixes the borders of the historical city to include the neighborhoods and buildings built until 1948,” which will annex even more Palestinian land.
and, of course, the kidnapping of palestinians continues, including university faculty and students as in the latest political prisoners from birzeit university:
The union said in a statement that PA forces seized mathematics Lecturer Maher Nour from his home in Ramallah. The two students were not named.
in addition, 40 palestinian children are among the kidnapped political prisoners just for the month of april alone:
The PA ministry of prisoners and ex-prisoners’ affairs in Gaza has accused Tuesday the Israeli occupation authorities of kidnapping 345 Palestinian citizens, including 40 minors during the past month of April.
but, yes, ban keep on being a tool of the west. i honestly don’t know how you can sleep at night knowing what you let these terrorists get away with. you must have no soul.