7 January 2009 – The Mattar family

6 January 2012 | Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

“It would be great if someone could take me to the dessert and leave me there, that way I wouldn’t have to see people”

Mahmoud Mattar (Photo: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights)

At around 09:30 on 7 January 2009, Israeli forces targeted the al-Taqwa Mosque in the Sheikh Radwan district of Gaza City. The mosque was 150 metres from the home of Mahmoud Mattar, who was 14 at the time. Having run to the scene of the attack, Mahmoud was present when two further strikes hit the area, killing two 15 year old boys, including one of Mahmoud’s school friends. Mahmoud was thrown unconscious and suffered severe burns and shrapnel wounds. He has been left totally blind as a result.

Mahmoud tells of the changes in his life since the attack: “I used to go by myself to the sea. I was independent. Now I need someone to go with me everywhere I go. I go out maybe once every two or three months, I spend my days inside.” Mahmoud’s self awareness of his injuries means he is now afraid to go out and be amongst people. “I don’t want to go out due to the comments I get from children. Anytime I do I cover my face with my clothes and dark glasses”, says Mahmoud. “The glasses broke yesterday.”

His isolation has left him with a bleak outlook on life. “It would be great if someone could take me to the dessert and leave me there, that way I wouldn’t have to see people.”

The emotional and physical scars of 7 January 2009 have taken their toll on Mahmoud. Keeping his head lowered into his chest and pausing to catch his breath as a result of breathing problems related to transplanted bone matter in his nose, Mahmoud says he is not the young man who spoke with such optimism for the future, in spite of his injuries, three years ago. “When I was in Egypt for medical treatment and when I got back to Gaza everything was calm and people were so supportive of me. But things changed, people started fighting and it’s always noisy. The change you see is out of my hands.”

Mahmoud has been left anxious and short tempered. “I have become very nervous since the attack. If someone is kidding with me I will try to hit them with anything at hand,” says Mahmoud. His anger has resulted in problems in school, for which he was suspended for a year. “As a result of my rushed reaction to incidents there are problems between me and the teachers as well as other students.”

Mahmoud has also had to adapt to the new challenges he faces, including learning brail, which took him a year of dedicated study.  Mahmoud was in Grade 9 at the time of the attack three years ago, he is now in Grade 10.

Mahmoud’s anxiety complicates his family life with his parents and siblings as well as his school life. “Mahmoud is a good guy,” says his father Hani, “but he can be problematic, including being violent with me. But I understand, I am patient with him.” His mother Randa, 38 adds; “he can be very destructive, including taking his anger out physically on the home or his little brother.”

Speaking of the future, Mahmoud says: “before the attack I played lots of sport and I had wanted to be a PE teacher or to open a sports club. But all these hopes are destroyed. Now my only wish is to leave my formal education and focus on my religion and learn the Koran”.

Mahmoud hopes to eventually receive surgery to clear his breathing, as well as reconstructive plastic surgery, which he says has been promised to him by many charity organisations, all of whom have failed to deliver; “If I could get the surgery I would be more comfortable amongst people.”

Like any young man, he also has dreams to be married, but his parents say there is no room in the house for another young family.

Mahmoud is dismissive regarding the prospect of justice before Israeli courts. “I don’t expect the case to be successful. The Israeli’s are liars; they attack children and are careless in what they target.”

PCHR submitted a criminal complaint to the Israeli authorities on behalf of Mahmoud Mattar on 30 December 2009. To-date, no response has been received.


The series of narratives:

6 January 2009: Al-Dayah family
5 January 2009: Amal al-Samouni
4 January 2009: The Abdel Dayem family
3 January 2009: Motee’ and Isma’il as-Selawy
2 January 2009: Eyad al-Astal
1 January 2009: The Nasla family
31 December 2008: The Abu Areeda family
30 December 2008: The Hamdan family
29 December 2008: Balousha family
28 December 2008: The Abu Taima family
27 December 2008: The Al Ashi family

via 7 January 2009 – The Mattar family.

Chicago and Nabi Saleh Honor Gaza’s Children with Mass Balloon Release – must see video


Related: Never Cast Lead Again – Memorial


On the third anniversary of Gaza Invasion, Chicago and Nabi Saleh Honor Gaza’s Children with Mass Balloon Release

CHICAGO, IL (December 31, 2011) — Over two hundred people gathered to honor Gaza’s children with a mass release of balloons marking the third anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s brutal military invasion of Gaza. After marching from Millennium Park to Grant Park, participants released one balloon for each of the 344 children killed during the 22-day attack on Gaza from December 27, 2008 — January 18, 2009. In a parallel event, families in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh also gathered for a balloon release. In response, the Israeli army fired tear gas and mustard gas at those who participated in the action, including children, and arrested at least seven .

The Chicago event was organized by Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights (CMPR).”We organized this event to express our grief over deaths of these children and celebrate the resilience of the people of Gaza,” said CMPR member Ishan Chakrabarti. Tied to each balloon was a card with the name and age of each child killed in the Gaza Massacre. The balloons and ribbon were 100% biodegradable and the cards were made from Lotka paper embedded with flowerseeds. “Wherever they land, these cards will plant seeds in the ground that will bloom into beautiful flowers to pay tribute to the memory of each child,” said Chakrabarti.

At the event local community members performed selections from “The Gaza Monologues,” a collection of monologues written by Palestinian children who survived Israel’s assault. Immediately before releasing the balloons, participants also observed a moment of silence.

Prior to the Chicago commemoration, the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh gathered for a parallel balloon release. The Israeli army responded to the balloon release by firing tear gas and mustard gas at participants, including children. They arrested at least seven, including two internationals. Palestinian activist Amra Amra said that during the event, “Five year old Samer asked his mom if he would be a martyr like Mustafa Tamimi.” On December 9, 2011, Mustafa Tamimi was murdered when the Israeli army shot a tear gas canister at his face. Tamimi became the first person to die while participating in Nabi Saleh’s weekly nonviolent demonstrations against Israeli annexation of their land. During these demonstrations, the Israeli often uses tear gas, mustard gas, skunk spray, and violent arrests against the participants. Of Samer’s question, Amra said, “These are not normal questions children ask their parents! Yet it is normal questions for children living under occupation.”

Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights CMPR is a diverse, youth-led movement advocating for Palestinian human rights, civil rights and equality through citywide educational events, grassroots campaigns and creative, direct action.
 Many CMPR members are involved in other Chicagoland Palestinian solidarity organizations, including several chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine.




For who does not understand the need or concept of resistance of Palestine, recommended read: History of Resistance | The Eagle of Palestine


Israel is not looking for Peace


History of Israeli Genocide


Essential Read: The Promised Land ~ by Jad KhairAllah



.

ஜ۩۞۩ஜ

Martyred By Israeli Occupation Attacks

انّا للہ و انّا الیه راجعون

May Allah Subhana wa Ta’ ala grant the Shuhada Jannatul Firdaus, and ease it for their families, loved ones and anyone around them. Allahumma Ameen ya Rabbil Alameen. ‘ Inna Lillahi wa ‘ Inna ‘ Ilayhi Raji’un, Allahu Akbar

ஜ۩۞۩ஜ



* The list of shuhada does not display, the numerous victims of the zionist occupation which are undocumented by media. Nor it displays the victims of the “silent onslaught” due to restrictions of movement, ability to go to hospitals for treatment or life saving surgery, due to lack of medication because of the blockades and so on. For example: The Slow Motion Genocide by the Siege on Gaza only, killed 600 patients since Gaza got under Israeli Siege.

For an overview of All Israeli Massacres Palestinians go here

Neither does this list, display the avoidable mortality. A clear and statistical factual evidence, about the number of deaths due to indecent ruling by occupation forces. For even an occupier has obligations under International Laws, Geneva Convention and the Hague regulations, which it is neglecting. These circumstances, together with deliberate policies of the occupier to neglect and even deny every basic human right, severes avoidable mortality which is totally silenced by media or reporting organisations. While in the Holocaust, 1 on 6 Jewish people directly died of deliberate neglect, so if we believe the facts over 1 million due to avoidable mortality, neither should these same circumstances be ignores which are ongoing in Palestine. For this report displays a avoidable morality of at least 0,5 million Palestinians.

How many more dead corpses of Palestinians does the international community need to see in order to act? How many more cruelties and violations of Human Rights, Regulations and International Law will be needed to intervene so this ongoing warcrime is being stopped once and for all.





Gaza still suffers from Israel’s 22-day war Cast Lead – video


Gaza Under Attack - Timeline | In pictures Aug-Sept 2011 | Oct-Nov 2011 | Dec 2011


Ashraf Shannon, Press TV, Gaza

Almost three years have passed since Israel waged an all out war against the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Although the onslaught has faded from the headlines, its victims continue to suffer physically and psychologically.

In a three-week invasion, which started on December 27, 2008, nearly 1400 Gazans were killed and thousands of others injured.

About 21 thousand homes were destroyed by Israeli tanks and fighter jets. Israel claimed it went to war to stop the rocket fire from Gaza.

International activists had this to say about the situation in Gaza…..

Experts say children in particular suffered greatly from anxiety and depression after the Gaza War, known as Operation Cast Lead.

Human rights groups have often accused Israel of violating every single international convention governing the rules of war and the treatment of civilians.

Almost three years after Israel waged a war on Gaza victims say they are still traumatized by what Israeli forces put them through during 22 days of war.

Source and more at Gaza TV News




More info about the war can be found at Never Cast Lead Again

For who does not understand the need or concept of resistance of Palestine, recommended read: History of Resistance | The Eagle of Palestine


Israel is not looking for Peace


History of Israeli Genocide


Essential Read: The Promised Land ~ by Jad KhairAllah



.

ஜ۩۞۩ஜ

Martyred By Israeli Occupation Attacks

انّا للہ و انّا الیه راجعون

May Allah Subhana wa Ta’ ala grant the Shuhada Jannatul Firdaus, and ease it for their families, loved ones and anyone around them. Allahumma Ameen ya Rabbil Alameen. ‘ Inna Lillahi wa ‘ Inna ‘ Ilayhi Raji’un, Allahu Akbar

ஜ۩۞۩ஜ



* The list of shuhada does not display, the numerous victims of the zionist occupation which are undocumented by media. Nor it displays the victims of the “silent onslaught” due to restrictions of movement, ability to go to hospitals for treatment or life saving surgery, due to lack of medication because of the blockades and so on. For example: The Slow Motion Genocide by the Siege on Gaza only, killed 600 patients since Gaza got under Israeli Siege.

For an overview of All Israeli Massacres Palestinians go here

Neither does this list, display the avoidable mortality. A clear and statistical factual evidence, about the number of deaths due to indecent ruling by occupation forces. For even an occupier has obligations under International Laws, Geneva Convention and the Hague regulations, which it is neglecting. These circumstances, together with deliberate policies of the occupier to neglect and even deny every basic human right, severes avoidable mortality which is totally silenced by media or reporting organisations. While in the Holocaust, 1 on 6 Jewish people directly died of deliberate neglect, so if we believe the facts over 1 million due to avoidable mortality, neither should these same circumstances be ignores which are ongoing in Palestine. For this report displays a avoidable morality of at least 0,5 million Palestinians.

How many more dead corpses of Palestinians does the international community need to see in order to act? How many more cruelties and violations of Human Rights, Regulations and International Law will be needed to intervene so this ongoing warcrime is being stopped once and for all.





WHITE WASH WATCH | Goldstone’s Reconciderations on the Gaza Cast Lead Report

SPECIAL TOPIC

Current hasbara influenced media and kept backwards media outside the occupied terrritories almost are vomiting their propaganda for the next whitewash of Israel’s genocide on Gaza. Below this post continuous updates of (unbiased) news will be published.

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.
~Adolph Hitler

Hasbara
Israel is using it’s hasbara (again) to make us and media believe, no warcrimes were committed during Operation “Cast Lead” on Gaza which took place from 27 December 2008 until 18 January 2009. The current status quo since Judge Goldstone reconsidered his earlier “findings” in the self investigation of Israel’s acts during the war on Gaza is the reason IOA recently even had the courage to call on the United Nations to withdraw the whole report.

With utmost shameless courage Israels Foreign Minister Lieberman from Moldavia, like Goldstone zionist himself stated it was no surprise for him Goldstone retracted his earlier statements, as for even Bibi and himself had exerted great efforts to achieve the same before… (even without us noticing of course)

Here the Hitler quote falls in place: “Make the Lie big, make it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it.”

In one line, the most catching description for the propaganda (in hebrew called Hasbara) of IOA, whitewashing every crime they commit or ever have been committing before. If this “tactic” does not work, everyone falls in state of denial again but never ever it has lead to a conviction of the zionist entity or the people ordering and forfilling the ongoing massacres on Palestinian people. The Nakba. 63 Year ethnic cleansing and IOA’s hasbara keeps the world stupid and backwards.

As soon as reports like Goldstone’s hit the media, and his remarks of “never mind…” hit some journalists using their own minds and opinion, IOA is twisting it’s behind like never before. Eternally victimized by their Holocaust, it seems it gives them the right to get away with every crime, oppression, assassination, expulsions, evictions, ethnic cleansing and plain massacres.

Zionist, have become, exactly and even worse like those, they once feared and hated themselves.

Needless to say this was not the first massacre since IOA announced it’s own statehood.
Click here for an overview of All Israeli Massacres on Palestinians.



Recapulating the Cast Lead Massacre
Over 1,400 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed during 22 days of Israeli shelling from sea, air and land. Palestinians in Gaza had nowhere to flee from Israel’s onslaught as the border has been closed for two years, with disastrous consequences for the 1.5 million in habitants of Gaza — the majority of them children and refugees.

In this time, IOA used indiscriminate force and violence, even made use of forbidden chemical weapons like white Phosphorus, DIME, depleted uranium and more. But still, IOA wants us to believe there was no crime committed at all. I regard this as an insult of our intelligence, but formost an magnum opus of denial of the crimes on Palestinians, the massacred and their loved ones who where left behind.

The ongoing Siege on Gaza already made it to the largest open air prison in the world, but the weapons used on the people of Gaza made it also the largest gas chamber in history. Even now – and probably long lasting and continuing – effects on all kinds of health, of born and even unborn life are horrendous. Birth defects, massive increase of diseases like cancer and more.

Not to be forgotten: The thousands of injured, handicapped, eye- arm- or legless Palestinian people who were mutilated for life…physically as well as mentally. The children, traumatized for life. But IOA committed no crime.

This is an appeal from occupiedpalestine, to use your common sense and mind to behold the facts and judge for yourself, for it is clear judge Goldstone and companions do not want you and us to believe the reality. And as long as IOA’s warcrimes stay unpunished, the zionist modus operandi of ethnic cleansing in any way possible will continue and increase. It not has been enough it has been to much already too long.

Palestine is not waiting to be the next to hear the world says again:Wir haben es nicht gewußt…

Resources

Video

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Goldstone’s Backtrack: Some points to remember

by Tom Pessah on April 2, 2011 | Mondoweiss

Justice Goldstone, author of the famous report on the 2009 attack on Gaza, published an op-ed today in which he seemed to be retracting some of his claims. He wrote that “while the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy”

This claim was immediately picked up by Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, who sees it as making it “clear that IDF is a moral army.”

It is important to respond to these claims for several reasons: because they are false and misleading, and because they serve to buttress many Israelis’ self-image of being morally superior to Palestinians, since all Israeli violence towards civilians is supposedly accidental. Portraying such attacks as accidental is also linked to seeing them as inevitable, and therefore justified – which means they can happen again.

Mondoweiss’ Adam Horowitz has already responded to this, but here are some more points to keep in mind in regard to the 2009 Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

1. They were very well documented by a variety of sources. Human Rights Watch wrote that “First, the repeated use of air-burst white phosphorus in populated areas until the last days of the operation reveals a pattern or policy of conduct rather than incidental or accidental usage. Second, the IDF was well aware of the effects of white phosphorus and the dangers it poses to civilians. Third, the IDF failed to use safer available alternatives for smokescreens.”

Breaking the Silence testimonies show that “Fire power was insane. We went in and the booms were just mad. The minute we got to our starting line, we simply began to fire at suspect places. You see a house, a window, shoot at the window. You don’t see a terrorist there? Fire at the window. In urban warfare, anyone is your enemy. No innocents.”

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and others, collected many testimonies of attacks on civilians. For example:

The al-Helu family had been told to evacuate their house in Zaytoun, eastern Gaza, but while they were attempting to flee, Israeli soldiers opened fire on them. Farah was shot in the stomach and bled to death two hours later

2. As Adam wrote:

The U.N. committee of independent experts (led by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis) which was charged with following the Israeli and Palestinian investigations following the Goldstone report [...] point to Israel’s unwillingness, and in fact inability, to investigate the policies of the Israeli military as the greatest fault of the Israeli investigation to this point… The experts’ report also addresses the structural reason the Israeli investigation has failed to look into military policy. Evidently the Israeli office responsible for investigating the question of crimes committed in Gaza is the same office that would be responsible for providing legal counsel to the Israeli military’s Chief of Staff and other military authorities. So basically, office that would accusing the military of committing crimes is the same one that would be defending them from the same charges.

As a result, few officers have been charged in relation to crimes committed. An internal IDF investigation found two officers responsible for dropping phosphorus bombs on civilians, and all they got was a little reprimand in their personal files.

On the other hand, an anti-war activist was given three months in jail for riding his bicycle too slowly at a protest.

3. The claim that there was no policy behind this stems from a poor understanding of civilian-military relations in Israel. The details of policy are often not set by the government, but they give army officers leeway to set these policies, and then don’t take any significant steps to punish them for causing human rights violations. For example, the 1982 invasion of Lebanon was supposed to end, according to the government’s decision, 40 kilometers north of the border. The army initiated a full invasion, and no one was ever reprimanded for this discrepancy. In 2000, some government ministers wanted to limit the use of force against Palestinian protestors at the beginning of the second Intifada, while the army shot an estimated million bullets (as can be seen in the excellent Israeli documentary “a Million Bullets in October,” available on Youtube). In 2006 the Chief of Staff asked the government for permission to attack Lebanese infrastructure and was refused (see Shelah’s and Limor’s book on that war)- but infrastructure was attacked nonetheless. And so it was in Gaza: as I mentioned an internal IDF investigation found two officers responsible for dropping phosphorus bombs on civilians, and all they got was a little reprimand in their personal files.

The background for such actions was ongoing incitement to attack civilians – Deputy Defense secretary Vilnai’s threat to bring a “Shoah” on Gaza or the hate leaflets distributed to soldiers entering the Strip – and many more examples.

4. It is true that the army is taking criticism of its actions more seriously than after the attack on Lebanon in 2006. This can only be explained as a direct result of international pressure, which hopefully could prevent some loss of civilian life in the future. In other words, instead of praising the army’s liberality, Goldstone should be praising the international community of activists for successfully putting pressure on the army to investigate its own actions..

5. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t believe the hype. Don’t believe the hype.

Tom Pessah is a graduate sociology student at UC Berkeley.

Source

 

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What the Goldstone op-ed doesn’t say

by Yaniv Reich on April 2, 2011 | Mondoweiss

 

Israel is “vindicated”, claims FM Lieberman about Richard Goldstone’s latest op-ed in the Washington Post, adding that “we knew the truth and we had no doubt it would eventually come out.” Netanyahu has gone so far as to demand the Goldstone report be retracted from the UN. Among all the celebrations and self-congratulatory pats on the back, it is worth pausing for a moment to ask: what exactly does Goldstone’s latest essay vindicate?

The answer seems much less clear than Israel’s unconditional supporters want to argue. The most charitable portions of his piece (to Israel) suggest that “if I [Goldstone] had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” This statement is so patently obvious as to be meaningless, particularly given Israel’s steadfast non-cooperation at the time of the investigation, but let’s assume Goldstone means this in a substantive way. He did publish this piece under a headline of “reconsidering the Goldstone report” after all.

What else is there in this op-ed that suggests a change from the original Goldstone report? The op-ed focuses on a very select group of three themes. The first point relates to the ongoing investigations into allegations of war crimes. Goldstone refers to the UN committee of independent experts’ report to support this argument, and he quotes that report to the effect that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.” The second key claim in Goldstone’s op-ed is confusing, but suggests that the ongoing investigations have proven that Israel did not attack civilians as a matter of intentional policy. How these conclusions have been reached before the investigations, which the Goldstone report called for as its primary recommendation, have been concluded is unclear. The third theme is that Hamas has not done any of the good things Israel has done: Hamas did deliberately target civilians, Hamas didn’t investigate anything, Hamas continues to be guilty of war crimes by firing rockets into civilian areas, and Goldstone admits he was maybe “unrealistic” and “mistaken” to believe Hamas would investigate itself.

I want to first highlight several general observations about what this op-ed does and doesn’t say. Then I will address these three themes in detail.

What the Goldstone Op-Ed Doesn’t Say

Limited to one of seven categories of possible war crimes

The Goldstone commission’s findings on deliberate attacks on civilians is one of at least seven broad findings (which comprise hundreds of specific incidents) that raise issues about Israel’s conduct. These other key findings include: (1) Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza, which constitutes a form of collective punishment and so violates the Fourth Geneva Conventions; (2) The political institutions and buildings of Gaza cannot be lawfully considered part of the “Hamas terrorist infrastructure” and so Israel’s attacks on them are unlawful; (3) Israel taking insufficient measures to protect the Palestinian civilian population; (4) “indiscriminate” attacks (as distinct from “deliberate” attacks) killed many civilians without any credible military rationale for those actions; (5) Israeli use of weapons, such as white phosphorous and flechette missiles, which, although not banned under current international law, were used in ways that do violate the laws of war; and (6) Israel’s deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure, including industrial plants, food production facilities, sewage treatment plants, and water installations; this destruction has no military justification (for example, Israel’s “wanton destruction” of Mr. Sameh Sawafeary’s chicken coops, killing all 31,000 chickens inside despite there being no military activity in the area) and could constitute a crime against humanity.

Goldstone’s op-ed pointedly excludes discussion of all of these very serious charges of possible war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, so it’s odd that FM Lieberman and his hasbara “excreta” (his word, not mine) think Israel is somehow absolved of all responsibility. One cannot avoid the impression that Israel’s unconditional supporters stillhaven’t actually read the report.

Overlooks key impacts of the report

One of the strangest omissions in the op-ed was the recognition that, assuming Israel is conducting investigations in good faith (again, more on that terrible assumption below), it was the Goldstone report that caused Israel to conduct these investigations. The best evidence this is the case was Israel’s absolute refusal to investigate anything except the credit card theft case, until, that is, it got worried that Israeli leaders might end up in the International Criminal Court. More evidence to support this argument can be found in Israel’s response to a conflict without a Goldstone kick in the rear: the 2006 Lebanon war. In that case, Israel constituted the whitewashing Winograd Commission, which didn’t even pretend to investigate the “the government policies and military strategies that failed to discriminate between the Lebanese civilian population and Hizbullah combatants and between civilian property and infrastructure and military targets”, as Amnesty International and other human rights organizations observed. Thus, without the Goldstone report, there is absolutely no reason to believe Israel would be conducting the investigations for which Goldstone is largely praising now.

Another important impact, which was a direct result of the report’s recommendations, was the policy changes, such as “new Israel Defense Forces procedures for protecting civilians in cases of urban warfare and limiting the use of white phosphorus in civilian areas.” I have argued elsewhere that these policy changes acknowledge implicitly that Israel had not been minimizing civilian casualties, as it argues so vociferously, or else there wouldn’t be any possible policy changes that could further minimize civilian harm. Either civilian casualties were being minimized before, in which case the policy changes are meaningless, or are minimized now (hypothetically, of course), in which case Israel wasn’t doing its utmost to protect civilians from harm before. It certainly can’t be both. Either way, these policy changes are directly related to the report, a point Goldstone’s op-ed also makes.

Validity of Specific Claims Made in Goldstone’s Op-Ed

The credibility of Israel’s investigations

Goldstone’s op-ed gives the strong impression that, despite the length of Israel’s military investigations being “frustrating”, Israel has “appropriate processes” in place. It is difficult to understand where this belief comes from, because it certainly does not appear in this form in McGowan Davis report he cites (McGowan Davis chairs the UN committee of independent experts monitoring implementation of the Goldstone report recommendations). That report paints are far less appealing picture of Israeli’s military investigations, noting, for example, that:

  1. “That Israel’s military justice system provides for mechanisms to ensure its independence”, but “the Committee further noted that notwithstanding the built-in structural guarantees to ensure the MAG’s [Military Advocate General's] independence, his dual responsibilities as legal advisor to the Chief of Staff and other military authorities, and his role as supervisor of criminal investigations within the military, raise concerns in the present context given allegations in the FFM report that those who designed, planned, ordered, and oversaw the operation in Gaza were complicit in international humanitarian law and international human rights law violations.”
  2. “The Committee does not have sufficient information to establish the current status of the on-going criminal investigations into the killings of Ateya and Ahmad Samouni, the attack on the Wa’el al-Samouni house and the shooting of Iyad Samouni.. . . As of 24 October 2010, according to media reports, no decision had been made as to whether or not the officer would stand trial.” This case is of course cited directly by Goldstone, yet his arguments are incompatible with the actual McGowan Davis report.
  3. “The Committee has discovered no information relating to four incidents referred to in the FFM [Goldstone] report: incident AD/02, incident AD/06, the attack on the Al-Quds hospital, and the attack on the Al-Wafa hospital. Nor has the Committee uncovered updated information concerning the status of the criminal investigations into the death of Mohammed Hajji and the shooting of Shahd Hajji and Ola Masood Arafat, and the shooting of Ibrahim Juha. Accordingly, the Committee remains unable to determine whether any investigation has been carried out in relation to those incidents.”
  4. “It is notable that the MAG himself, in his testimony to the Turkel Commission, pointed out that the military investigations system he heads is not a viable mechanism to investigate and assess high-level policy decisions. When questioned by commission members about his “dual hat” and whether his position at the apex of legal advisory and prosecutorial power can present a conflict of interest under certain circumstances, he stated that “the mechanism is calibrated for the inspection of individual incidents, complaints of war crimes in individual incidents (…). This is not a mechanism for policy. True, it is not suitable for this.” “
  5. “The Committee expressed strong reservations as to whether Israel’s investigations into allegations of misconduct were sufficiently prompt. In particular, the Committee expressed concern about the fact that unnecessary delays in carrying out such investigations may have resulted in evidence being lost or compromised, or have led to the type of conflicting testimony that characterizes the investigations into the killings of Majda and Raayya Hajaj, and the inconclusive findings reported with respect to the tragic deaths of Souad and Amal Abd Rabbo and the grave wounding of Samar Abd Rabbo and their grandmother Souad.”
  6. “The promptness of an investigation is closely linked to the notion of effectiveness. An effective investigation is one in which all the relevant evidence is identified and collected, is analyzed, and leads to conclusions establishing the cause of the alleged violation and identifying those responsible. In that respect, the Committee is concerned about the fact that the duration of the ongoing investigations into the allegations contained in the FFM report – over two years since the end of the Gaza operation – may seriously impair their effectiveness and, therefore, the prospects of achieving accountability and justice.”

These conclusions of the McGowan Davis report give a very different impression of mechanisms for accountability in Israel’s military justice system than one would understand from a casual reading of Goldstone’s latest op-ed. For additional, excellent analysis of these points, Adam Horowitz’s piece at Mondoweiss is a must-read.

Was it a deliberate policy of targeting Palestinian civilians?

If this op-ed “vindicates” anything, it seems to be about Israel deliberately targeting civilians as a matter of policy. The Goldstone report investigated 11 specific cases, which were concerning because civilians were killed “under circumstances in which the Israeli forces were in control of the area and had previously entered into contact with or at least observed the persons they subsequently attacked, so that they must have been aware of their civilian status.” After reviewing the details of these cases, which included not only the attack on the Samouni family (discussed in the op-ed) but also attacks on a mosque at prayer time and the shootings of civilians waving white flags, the report concludes:

“From the facts ascertained in the above cases, the Mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of willful killings and willfully causing great suffering to protected persons and as such give rise to individual criminal responsibility.” (Goldstone report, pp. 16)

This finding, of course, is precisely why the report recommends that Israel launch credible investigations into possible wrongdoing, which Goldstone claims Israel is now doing (more on this later). In that sense, Israel’s investigations confirm many of the key findings of the Goldstone report, a point I’ve raised previously.

The conclusion above, which is easily the strongest charge in the entire Goldstone report, has very little to do with Goldstone’s latest statement that “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.” The Goldstone commission and other human rights investigations have never said the IDF maintains a policy of deliberately targeting civilians. This is a red-herring; nobody seriously believes there is a high-level policy to murder civilians. The actual issue is that “these incidents indicate that the instructions given to the Israeli forces moving into Gaza provided for a low threshold for the use of lethal fire against the civilian population” (Goldstone report, pp. 16). This low threshold was an intentional policy, as has been confirmed by dozens of soldiers’ and officers’ statements. For example, many people have commented before about how the IDF “rewrote the rules of war for Gaza”, in particular by getting rid of “the longstanding principle of military conduct known as ‘means and intentions’—whereby a targeted suspect must have a weapon and show signs of intending to use it before being fired upon—as being applicable before calling in fire from drones and helicopters in Gaza last winter.” The intentional, deliberate policy was one of “literally zero risk to the soldiers”, an order that is inescapably related to the high civilian casualties among the Palestinians. For these reasons the main argument in Goldstone’s latest op-ed, which FM Lieberman erroneously believes “vindicates” Israel, is entirely besides the point.

Condemning Hamas

Hamas certainly, and unlawfully, does deliberately target civilians. This is not only grotesque but illegal, and Hamas military leaders should be referred to the International Criminal Court for this since Hamas’ political leadership has refused to investigate the matter themselves and hold those responsible for war crimes to account. But, of course, this was already well known by anybody who read the Goldstone report, which wrote:

“The Mission has further determined that these [8000 rocket] attacks [since 2001] constitute indiscriminate attacks upon the civilian population of southern Israel and that where there is no intended military target and the rockets and mortars are launched into a civilian population, they constitute a deliberate attack against a civilian population. These acts would constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity.”

One could have also reached the same level of awareness by reading any of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or other human rights organizations‘ press releases and reports. In this sense, there is absolutely nothing new about Hamas in Goldstone’s latest op-ed, yet some Israelis and Jewish groups seem surprised (see, e.g., AIPAC’s one of many tweets on the matter).

A Sad, Integrity-Damaging Turn

The first time I saw Judge Goldstone speak in person he was striking in his equanimity and unshakeable commitment to international law. Even in the face of hate-filled attacks by Jews in the audience, who compared his report to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, he handled himself with a level of firm principle that I imagined to be unmovable. The second time I saw him speak in public a year later, he seemed tired and worn down by the relentless attacks against him by those who chose to attack the messenger instead of deal with the message. It was nothing concrete that he said, but there was a withered tone in his voice and a sort of quiet resignation that his best intentions had been so vehemently manipulated—and misunderstood.

Goldstone’s latest op-ed is something else altogether. It does not challenge a single concrete finding in the entire report, and he has not conceded absolutely anything to his critics in that way. In fact, his findings under severe constraints have held up remarkably well with time. But the tone and timing of this current piece suggest that somehow the report should be “reconsidered”, that it was somehow wrong. Moreover, his comments seem to intentionally mislead about the content of the UN independent committee’s findings on due process in Israel. This is nothing more than a bone to Israel’s apologists, which is deeply misleading for all the reasons discussed here. I am afraid this is a sad, integrity-damaging turn for a man who had singlehandedly done so much to protect people from war crimes in Israel, Palestine, and elsewhere.

And he should have known better, that is, he should have known that this craven gesture to Israel would not allow his enemies to forgive him and welcome him back to the broader Jewish community. Already the enemies, sensing weakness, attack for the final kill attempt. Jeffrey Goldberg, with the tone of the intellectual gatekeeper he fashions for himself, makes it clear this doesn’t change the “blood libel.” The editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, David Horovitz, tells Goldstone “an apology is not good enough“. We can expect much, much more of such attacks.

Goldstone has done neither international law and accountability for war crimes—nor himself—any favors with this latest, depressing op-ed.

This post originally appeard on Yaniv Reich’s blog Hybrid States.

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Israel demands retraction of UN Gaza war criticism

Three siblings from the Al-Samouni family. Goldstone's report said Israeli forces "killed 23 members of the extended Al-Samouni family" in one day of its devastating Cast Lead offensive on the coastal enclave

April 3, 2011

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel on Sunday demanded the retraction of a United Nations report deeply critical of its deadly 2008-2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip after the main author expressed regret over the conclusions.

South African judge Richard Goldstone had faced down enormous criticism in Israel at the time, much of it targeting his own Jewish ancestry, over the report which accused both Israel and the Hamas rulers of Gaza of potential war crimes during the 22-day conflict.

But in a surprise about turn on Saturday, he said his conclusions would have been different if he had been aware of additional information now brought to his attention.

“If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document,” he wrote in a commentary piece in the Washington Post.

The report’s findings had set the tone for widespread international condemnation of the Israeli assault on Hamas-ruled Gaza in which more than 1,400 people lost their lives, the vast majority of them Palestinians.

Israeli officials said the United Nations now needed to set the record straight.

“This is an extremely important development and right now we are multiplying our efforts to get this report rescinded,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak told army radio on Sunday.

“I am going to give the issue my personal commitment,” Barak said, adding that he deeply regretted the “harm already done” by the Goldstone report.

He was echoing remarks made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late on Saturday.

“Goldstone himself has just confirmed what we all knew all along… I think our soldiers and army behaved according to the highest international standards,” the premier said during a brief televised address.

“We expect this farce to be rectified immediately.”

Netanyahu once again rejected the findings of the Goldstone Report, which came up with evidence of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity by both Israel and Hamas for targeting civilians.

The Israeli military did not deliberately target civilians during Operation Cast Lead, Netanyahu said, while Hamas fired at innocent civilians and did not conduct investigations.

The prime minister said the fact that long-time Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi — now facing an uprising in his country — was on the UN Human Rights Council that commissioned the report, made the findings especially dubious.

“There is no greater absurdity,” he said.

In his opinion piece in the Post, Goldstone said he now concurred with Netanyahu that the council had a “history of bias against Israel”.

“We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission,” Goldstone wrote.

A UN committee of independent experts that followed up on the Goldstone Report’s recommendations found that Israel “has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza.”

In contrast, Hamas leaders “have not conducted any investigations” into the rocket and mortar attacks against Israel that were its grounds for going to war.

Allegations of intentionality by Israel in turn were based on the death and wounding of civilians in situations where the UN fact-finding mission could not reach “any other reasonable conclusion,” Goldstone said.

He acknowledged that while some incidents were validated in cases involving individual soldiers, Israeli investigations found that “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.”

Goldstone recalled one of the most serious incidents his team investigated — without Israel’s cooperation due to its allegations that the investigators were biased — when Israeli shelling of a Gaza home killed 29 members of the Al-Samouni family.

He noted that Israel’s investigation into the incident found the attack was apparently due to an Israeli commander’s misinterpretation of a drone image and that an officer was under investigation for having ordered the shelling.

“I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes,” Goldstone wrote.

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Spread for the sake of the Martyrs of this genocide!

Israeli minister, media perpetuate lie about Goldstone’s Gaza report

Eli Yishai, Israel’s lethally incompetent Interior Minister, is outraged that Judge Richard Goldstone, who headed the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza war, has not condemned attacks on Israeli civilians. According to Ynet, Yishai sent a letter to Goldstone in which he “demanded of Goldstone to condemn the firing from Gaza as he did with IDF operations in the Gaza Strip.”

The idea that Goldstone did not condemn the firing of rockets from Gaza is one of the oft-repeated lies about his report. Look, the document is posted on the World Wide Web. It is pretty long, so let me spoil it for you. On page 32, it states, regarding the rockets and mortars fired from Gaza:

The Mission has further determined that these attacks constitute indiscriminate attacks upon the civilian population of southern Israel and that, where there is no intended military target and the rockets and mortars are launched into a civilian population, they constitute a deliberate attack against a civilian population. These acts would constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity. Given the seeming inability of the Palestinian armed groups to direct the rockets and mortars towards specific targets and given that the attacks have caused very little damage to Israeli military assets, the Mission finds that there is significant evidence to suggest that one of the primary purposes of the rocket and mortar attacks is to spread terror among the Israeli civilian population, a violation of international law.

… Noting that some of the Palestinian armed groups, among them Hamas, have publicly expressed their intention to target civilians in reprisal for the civilian fatalities in Gaza as a result of Israeli military operations, the Mission is of the view that reprisals against civilians in armed hostilities are contrary to international humanitarian law.

Goldstone, like everyone else, is not above criticism. But the accusation that he did not condemn attacks on Israeli civilians is an outrageous lie. By reporting these accusations, without pointing to their utter, demonstrable falseness, Israeli media is a collaborator in this libel (no, not a “blood libel”, but still, a pretty nasty libel).

Source.

Gaza Again Under Israeli Attacks

Due to increased violent and deadly Israeli attacks on Gaza below an overview of updates with related news which will be continuously updated.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

GAZA ATTACK March 22, 2011

Overview of Related News: http://wp.me/p16sn9-4BK
Live Updates P1: http://wp.me/p16sn9-4BE
Live Updates P2: http://wp.me/p16sn9-4D3
Live Updates P3: http://wp.me/p16sn9-4DQ

GAZA ATTACK March 21, 2011

Live Updates P1:http://wp.me/p16sn9-4yD
Live Updates P2:http://wp.me/p16sn9-4yK
Live Updates P3:http://wp.me/p16sn9-4yT
Live Updates P4:http://wp.me/p16sn9-4zc

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Confirmed Names of Martyrs

(List only displays the martyred since March 16, 2011 for a complete overview of this years shuhada go here)

Mohammed Jihad al-Halw, 11 years old, killed on March 22, 2011
Yasser Ahed al-Halw, 16 years old , killed on March 22, 2011
Yasser Hamed al-Halw, 50 years old, killed on March 22, 2011
Mohammed Saber Harara, 20 years old, killed on March 22, 2011
Adham Al-Hazareen, , killed on March 22, 2011
Sa’dy Halas, 23 years old , killed on March 22, 2011
Muhammad Atyeh Al-Harazeen, 27 years old, killed on March 22, 2011
Muhammad Abed, 31 years old, , killed on March 22, 2011
Mustapha Ahmad Sehwel, 5 years old, died 10 days after attack on on March 21, 2011
Imad Faraj Allah, 16 years old, died on March 20, 2011
Qasem Abu Eteiwi, 16 years old, died on March 20, 2011
Ghassan Fathi Abu Omar, 25, years old, died on March 16, 2011
Adnan Yousef Eshtewy, 23 years old, died on March 16, 2011

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ஜ۩۞۩ஜ

By Israeli Attacks March 2011 martyred Palestinians

انّا للہ و انّا الیه راجعون

May Allah Subhana wa Ta’ ala grant the Shuhada Jannatul Firdaus, and ease it for their families, loved ones and anyone around them. Allahumma Ameen ya Rabbil Alameen. ‘ Inna Lillahi wa ‘ Inna ‘ Ilayhi Raji’un, Allahu Akbar

ஜ۩۞۩ஜ

Hanukkah in March: Light a Candle for Gaza | Shalom Rav

 

Last December, on the third anniversary of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, Rabbi Alissa Wise and I submitted an article to the Washington Post in which we asked the public to mark this occasion by lighting a Hanukkah candle for Gaza. The piece was edited further and we were told that it would run in WaPo’s online “On Faith” section.

At the eleventh hour, one day before our piece was to run, we were asked to make some more substantive edits in ways that would have significantly altered the message of the article. Unlike the earlier changes, these weren’t editorial tweaks – they contained several all too familiar pro-Cast Lead talking points.

Alissa and I rejected the last minute demands, and offered even more links to substantiate our claims. In the meantime, Hanukkah came and went and ultimately the piece never ran.

Fast forward to last week: blogger Phil Weiss had learned about the whole sad story and wrote a short post about it on Mondoweiss. After reading it, I got in touch with him and gave him the full background. M’weiss posted the complete story today, complete with the text of WaPo’s censored version.

So click below to read the article that never saw the light of day. Not seasonally appropriate any more, but still sadly relevant.

Light a Candle for Gaza
By Rabbi Brant Rosen and Rabbi Alissa Wise

On the morning of December 27, 2008, the sixth day of Hanukkah, Israel initiated a massive military assault against Gaza with “Operation Cast Lead.” The name of the operation was a reference to a popular Hanukkah song written by the venerated Israeli poet Chaim Nachman Bialik: “My teacher gave a dreidel to me/A dreidel of cast lead.”

When Israel’s military actions ended on January 18, some 1,400 Palestinians had been killed. Among the dead were hundreds of unarmed civilians, including over 300 children.

Personal testimonies from the Palestinians who lived through Cast Lead in Gaza indicate the profoundly tragic consequences of Israel’s military assault. Here is one such account – excerpted from Amnesty International’s 2009 Report, “Operation Cast Lead: 22 Days of Death and Destruction”:

After Sabah’s house was shelled I ran over there. She was on fire and was holding her baby girl Shahed, who was completely burned. Her husband and some of the children were dead and others were burning. Ambulances could not come because the area was surrounded by the Israeli army.

We put some of the injured in a wagon tied to the tractor to take them to hospital. My nephew Muhammad (Sabah’s son) picked up his wife, Ghada, who was burning all over her body, and I took her little girl, Farah, who was also on fire. My nephew Muhammad-Hikmat drove the tractor and my son Matar and my nephews ‘Omar and ‘Ali also came with us and took the body of baby Shahed and two other bodies. Sabah and the other wounded were put into a car; other relatives were also leaving. We drove toward the nearest hospital, Kamal
‘Adwan hospital.

As we got near the school, on the way to al-‘Atatrah Square we saw Israeli soldiers and stopped, and suddenly, the soldiers shot at us. My son Matar and Muhammad- Hikmat were killed. The soldiers made us get out of the wagon. I ran away with ‘Ali and ‘Omar, who had also been shot and were injured. Muhammad, Ghada and Farah were allowed to go on but only on foot and the soldiers did not allow them to take the dead.

This Hanukkah, how will we Jews choose to commemorate a legacy such as this? Many of us will invariably retreat behind a veil of defensiveness, claiming Israel’s action was an appropriate, commensurate response to the threat posed by Hamas. Some of us might be troubled, but choose to look away from the hard and painful reality of this bloodshed. Still others may simply allow Gaza to become subsumed by the sheer volume of world crises that seem to call out for our attention.

This Hanukkah, however, we are asking the Jewish community to light a candle for Gaza.

After all, this is the season in which we rededicate our determination to create light amidst the darkness. And quite frankly, the time is long overdue for the American Jewish community to shine a light on the dark truth of “Operation Cast Lead.”

Indeed, we have been deeply complicit in keeping this truth away from the light of day. Two years later, Israel still refuses to conduct a credible, transparent and independent investigation of its actions in Gaza. The sole attempt at such a proper investigation, the Goldstone Report, was successfully blackballed and eventually quashed under a campaign spearheaded by the Israeli and the US governments – and largely supported by the American Jewish establishment.

This Hanukkah, we would also do well to shine a light on the larger context of the reality in Gaza. We cannot forget that Israel’s military assault occurred in the midst of a crushing blockade that Israel has imposed upon Gaza since January 2006.

As a result of this collective punishment:

- 80% of the Gazan population is dependent on international aid.

- 61% of the population is food insecure.

- The unemployment rate is approximately 39%, one of the highest in the world.

- Power outages usually last 4-6 hours a day and often longer.

- 60% of the population receives running water only once every 4 or 5 days, for 6-8 hours.

- 50 to 80 million liters of untreated or partially treated sewage are released into the sea every day.

- Approximately 90% of water supplied to Gaza residents is not suitable for drinking and is contaminated with salt and nitrates.

- 78% of homes with major damages from Operation Cast Lead have not been rebuilt.

Despite Israel’s claims to the contrary, its blockade remains very much in force. According to highly detailed research conducted by the Israeli NGO Gisha, Israel consistently lets through less than half of the required truckloads of essential goods mandated by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Just weeks ago, European Union foreign policy chief Lady Catherine Ashton, speaking on behalf of all EU foreign ministers commented, “At the present time, we think that what’s happened with Gaza is unsatisfactory, the volume of goods is not increasing as significantly as it needs to.”

The most tangible way we can light a candle for Gaza is to support those who refuse to allow this crisis to remain the darkness. The most courageous example: the movement of civilian flotillas that seek to break the blockade with symbolic humanitarian cargo. The most recent flotilla tragically gained international attention last May when the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara was seized by Israeli commandos in a raid that left eight unarmed Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American citizen dead. (A recent report on the assault by a UN fact-finding mission said Israeli soldiers used “lethal force” in a “widespread and arbitrary manner, which caused an unnecessarily large number of persons to be killed or seriously injured,” and “carried out extralegal, arbitrary and summary executions prohibited by international human rights law.”)

Despite this tragedy (or perhaps because of it), the flotilla movement is growing steadily. Here in the US, a group of peace activists is seeking to add the first American boat, “The Audacity of Hope,” which they intend to launch next spring as part of an international flotilla from over a dozen European, Asian and North American countries.

The US Boat to Gaza organizing statement asserts:

“The Audacity of Hope” will be a passenger ship with approximately 40-60 Americans on board including a 4-5 member crew and a small number of press and media professionals. We will not carry more than symbolic cargo: just as the students who sat in at Woolworth counters in the 1960s were not doing so because they wanted lunch, our voyage will be an act of civil disobedience and non-violent challenge to an illegal blockade rather than a mission to import humanitarian cargo. By the same token, one of our objectives will be to transport two Gazan graduate students who have been invited to visit and speak at a US university, but who have been prevented from leaving Gaza by the Israeli and Egyptian governments. Additionally, we plan to bring out Gazan products, which “Stand for Justice” is purchasing from a Gazan company.

For those who seek justice in Gaza, the courageous activists who are willing to put their own bodies on the line are immensely deserving of our support.

On Hanukkah, the festival that enshrines the ongoing human struggle for freedom, the season that seeks to shed light on the dark places of our world, it is time for us to stand in solidarity with all who are oppressed.

It is time for us to light a candle for Gaza.

Hanukkah in March: Light a Candle for Gaza | Shalom Rav.