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Palestine | International

Israeli Atrocity on Gaza Civilians
by juan cole (reposted)
Monday Jan 21st, 2008 7:33 AM
From a Sunday, January 20, 2008 entry on Informed Comment, Juan Cole's blog

Israeli Atrocity on Gaza Civilians

It is a perfect time for the Israeli government to commit a war crime on the miserable civilians of the Gaza Strip. The US primary season has created a news blackout on US television about foreign news (apparently the public of the world's sole superpower is not estimated by corporate news executives to be able to handle more than one story). So most Americans will never even know that the Israelis have cut off fuel to Gaza's power plant, depriving tens of thousands of people of electricity.

I sympathize with Israeli civilians who have been subjected to illegal bombardment by Hamas. (That bombardment has not recently resulted in loss of life, but it is traumatizing, especially for children.) But one has to ask whether the Olmert government has behaved toward Gazans in such a way as to try to achieve peace. (The unilateral withdrawal of colonists has been followed by frequent bombardments and incursions and arrests, political meddling and a placing of the whole Strip in a kind of geo-penitentiary.) Israeli deployment of excessive force in recent weeks has resulted in dozens of deaths in Gaza. Even if military action were justified, it is only legitimate for the Israelis to punish Hamas fighters doing the firing, and big bombs should not be dropped near civilian apartment buildings. Don't they, like, have SWAT teams?

Just a reminder that electricity is life and death for some people. The low is 48 degrees F. tonight; it is cold without electricity. And another reminder that the children of Gaza, who I suspect are 2/3s of the population, haven't done anything wrong, to be punished by this blockade:


' Health Ministry official Dr. Moaiya Hassanain warned that the fuel cutoff would cause a health catastrophe. "We have the choice to either cut electricity on babies in the maternity ward or heart surgery patients or stop operating rooms," he said.'


Here is what wikipedia has to say about the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. Note that "protected persons" are just non-combatants, i.e. innocent civilians such as children, women and unarmed or injured men:

' Article 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

Pillage is prohibited.

Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.

Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions collective punishments are a war crime. Article 33 states: "No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed," and "collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."

By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World Wars I and II. In the First World War, Germans executed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity. In World War II, Nazis carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance. Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that took place there. The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary to the conventions states that parties to a conflict often would resort to "intimidatory measures to terrorize the population" in hopes of preventing hostile acts, but such practices "strike at guilty and innocent alike. They are opposed to all principles based on humanity and justice."

Additional Protocol II of 1977 explicitly forbids collective punishment. . . '


Wikipedia is just the common sense of the blogosphere. The Geneva Conventions were intended to avoid a repeat of the atrocities of WW II.

The Israelis are going to have to live in the midst of the Palestinian people for the rest of the century. The Palestinians are not going away. The Israelis cannot wish them away or intimidate them into accepting statelessness, dire poverty, foreign domination and a condition analogous to slavery.

Moreover, Israel itself requires, in order to flourish, extensive economic and other relations with the outside world. If it is going to behave like this, the outside world will become less and less willing to have those relations. The Israeli Right is their country's own worst enemy.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Becky Johnson
Monday Jan 21st, 2008 8:38 AM
JUAN COLE WRITES: "....so most Americans will never even know that the Israelis have cut off fuel to Gaza's power plant, depriving tens of thousands of people of electricity."

BECKY: One reason is that its just not true. HAMAS cut off the power and then staged a propaganda event with women and children holding candles and protesting. Israel has NOT cut power to Gaza despite the fact that rockets rain on the workers at the power plant in Ashkelon endangering them as they PROVIDE electricity to a government that has vowed to destroy them.

Not only did Juan Cole jump the gun on this one. So did the LA Times.

see: http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/45884734/critiques/new/Lights_On,_Nobody_Home.asp
by Israel is a Crime
Monday Jan 21st, 2008 9:03 AM
The collective punishment is a crime. And let's don't forget that!

There is no legitimization for collective punishment of civilians. These are steps that even the army admitted have no chance of stopping the kassam shootings on Sderot, and that it is clear to all that their target is simply revenge.
by (by Latuff)
Monday Jan 21st, 2008 9:10 AM

Copyleft artwork by Brazilian cartoonist Latuff, on behalf of the brave Palestinian people and their struggle against U.S. backed IsraHell's state terrorism.

DEATH AND DARKNESS IN GAZA, PEOPLE ARE DYING, HELP US!

A humanitarian crisis is underway as the Gaza Strip's only power plant began to shut down on Sunday, and the tiny coastal territory entered its third full day without shipments of vital food and fuel supplies due to Israel's punitive sanctions.

The Gaza Strip's power plant has completely shut down on Sunday because it no longer has the fuel needed to keep running. One of the plant's two electricity-generating turbines had already shut down by noon.

This will drastically reduce output to 25 or 30 megawatts, down from the 65 megawatts the plant produces under normal conditions. By Sunday evening the plant will shut down completely, leaving large swaths of the Gaza Strip in darkness.

Omar Kittaneh, the head of the Palestine Energy Authority in Ramallah, confirmed that by tonight, the one remaining operating turbine will be powered down, and the Gaza power plant will no longer be generating any electricity at all.

“We have asked the Israeli government to reverse its decision and to supply fuel to operate the power plant”, Dr. Kittaneh said. “We have talked to the Israeli humanitarian coordination in their Ministry of Energy [National Infrastructure]. We say this is totally Israel’s responsibility, and that reducing the fuel supplies until the plant had to shut down will affect not only the electrical system but the water supply, and the entire infrastructure in Gaza – everything.”

After months of increasingly harsh sanctions, Israel imposed a total closure on the Strip's border crossings, even preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid. The Israeli government says the closure is punishment for an ongoing barrage of Palestinian homemade projectiles fired from the Gaza Strip.

"Famine"

180 fuel stations have shut down after Gaza residents to buy gas for cooking.

A Palestinian economist Hasan Abu Ramadan said the current humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip will be deepened by the blockade on fuel and food supplies. He warned that Gaza Strip could go from a situation of deep poverty to all out famine, disease, and malnutrition.

Abu Ramadan said that more than 80% of the Strip's 1.5 million residents have been surviving with the help of food aid from international organizations such as UNRWA for Palestinian refugees.

International condemnation

Most international actors in the region believe there already is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, including the UN's Emergency Relief Coordinator, the Undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs John Holmes, who said at a press conference at UNHQ in New York on Friday that "This kind of action against the people in Gaza cannot be justified, even by those rocket attacks".

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed particular concern, in a statement issued later on Friday through his spokesperson, about the "decision by Israel to close the crossing points in between Gaza and Israel used for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Such action cuts off the population from much-needed fuel supplies used to pump water and generate electricity to homes and hospitals".

The UN Human Rights Council's Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied territories, John Dugard, also issued a much sharper statement on Friday, saying that Israel must have foreseen the loss of life and injury to many nearby civilians when it targeted the Ministry of Interior building in Gaza City.

This, and the killings of other Palestinians during the week, plus the closures, "raise very serious questions about Israel's respect for international law and its Commitment to the peace process", Dugard said. He said it violates the strict prohibition on collective punishment contained in the Fourth Geneva Convention, and one of the basic principles of international humanitarian law: that military action must distinguish between military targets and civilian targets.

Source:

Maan

http://www.freegaza.ps/

freegaza.ps [at] gmail.com
by break the silence
Monday Jan 21st, 2008 11:09 AM
Today a man who came to work in peace, to help realize the dream of an egalitarian socialist society, or perhaps just to have a new experience, was murdered by Arab snipers. His death was hardly noticed, it seems.

A few years ago Rachel Corrie came to Israel to defend terrorists from "Zionist aggressors." She was killed by accident while trying to stop a bulldozer from destroying a building used for smuggling or terror attacks. Her death was trumpeted all over the world as an example of Zionist mentality. We know who she is and what she looked like and why she claimed to have come to Israel. We knew all about her views of the oppressive and evil Zionists.

Today's victim was a righteous victim. He was murdered while planting potato seeds on a communal farm insider Israel. Carlos Chavez was not a reactionary imperialist warmonger illegal settler messianic fanatic - just a man growing food in a communal farm. For whatever reasons, he was planting potato seeds, not seeds of hatred.

For idealistic or frivolous or random reasons, Carlos Chavez came here to help us and be with us, and he paid for it with his life. It is wrong perhaps to ape the path of exploitation of his death for incitement and demonification as Rachel Corrie's "supporters" did. Perhaps there should be no demonstrations about Carlos, and perhaps there should not be any plays about Carlos. Perhaps Carlos was just a fellow looking for an interesting way to spend a few months of his life. Perhaps that is not as praiseworthy as the ideal of helping terrorists. But at least, we should honor our friend who came in peace and died in our war.

I do not know enough about Carlos Chavez from Quito Ecuador to tell you much about him, because the media do not tell us much - why he came, who he was, or what he was like. Most journals did not bother to show a picture of him, and the one that appears in Jerusalem Post is a bad joke.

Here is what we know of his story:
Ecuadorian volunteer Carlos Chavez, 21, was killed when a Palestinian sniper fired from the border area into Israel.

Chavez had been working in a potato field near the kibbutz border fence, Ein Hashlosha's security chief said. He was hit in the back and taken by his friends to the kibbutz infirmary.

A Magen David Adom ambulance arrived on the scene shortly after, but paramedics were unable to resuscitate him...

Yochai Kopler, a potato grower who worked with Chavez, said "sniper and mortar fire opened up. We didn't have luck this time, as we did the other times. Every day they shoot at us, and we run away like rabbits."

"It's tough for us to receive news like this," said Annie Rotman, who is responsible for the kibbutz's volunteers.

She said that Chavez came to the kibbutz two months ago. "Only yesterday, we spoke with him, laughed with him."

"Everyone here is afraid," she said. "The volunteers do the work, and when there is shooting, they go into hysteria. We are finding it difficult to digest what has happened."

David Lanos, 19, also a volunteer on the kibbutz, said the sniper fire came as they were preparing to plant potato seeds. "I told him, 'Sit down, they're shooting at us.' We managed to hide behind a car. When he stood up to get into it, he was hit in the back."

Lanos then told Chavez not to go to sleep. "He answered 'I'm not able,' and then I lost him."

Rest in peace, dear friend. I am sorry that I haven't a fancy bouquet to offer in your memory, only a few daisies I found in the path.

Ami

by Becky Johnson
( becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com ) Monday Jan 21st, 2008 1:25 PM
ISRAEL IS A CRIME WRITES: "The collective punishment is a crime. And let's don't forget that!
There is no legitimization for collective punishment of civilians. These are steps that even the army admitted have no chance of stopping the kassam shootings on Sderot, and that it is clear to all that their target is simply revenge."

BECKY: First, it was HAMAS who cut the power to the Gaza powerplant, NOT Israel.
Second, Israel has ALWAYS allowed humanitarian aid such as food, fuel oil, medicine, and diapers into GAZA despite constant attacks. HAMAS is just staging a propaganda ploy here and as usual, you guys are eating it up with a spoon.

The rockets fired both by Hamas and by terrorists groups Hamas allows to function, are aimed AT civilians, constitute a war crime, and are collectively punishing Israelis. To not ALSO condemn the rocket attacks means that you are guilty of a DOUBLE-STANDARD which is one of the marks of an ANTI-SEMITE.

Finally, are you really suggesting Israel do NOTHING about the daily rocket attacks?
by NOT A RIGHT WING PRO-ISRAEL PROPAGANDIST
Tuesday Jan 22nd, 2008 11:03 PM
Becky Johnson has a history of pro-Israel fanaticism and aligning herself with right wing whack jobs...
by NOT A RIGHT WING PRO-ISRAEL PROPAGANDIST
Tuesday Jan 22nd, 2008 11:14 PM
Get the truth
Try this for something you don't get in the right wing mainstream pro-war pro-israel media:
http://www.ifamericansknew.org/
by An ad hominim is not a rebuttal
Wednesday Jan 23rd, 2008 7:21 AM
Becky Johnson's progressive credentials are impecible. Try disputing what she says, rather than resorting to ad hominims
by RIGHT WING ZIONIST CAUGHT IN LIE
Wednesday Jan 23rd, 2008 12:44 PM
HERE IS BECKY'S GOOD FRIEND AND CO-CONSPIRATOR.

Lee Kaplan, Dafka Exposed

By Will Wallace


Santa Cruz Community Television is offering up more than the usual community dish. Recently, Club Cruz, a locally produced television show, has been used as a platform for virtual infomercials for an extremist group with a record of harassing peace advocates.

The show, produced by Santa Cruz resident Becky Johnson, has featured on several occasions a man named Lee Kaplan, self-proclaimed founder and director of the extreme Zionist group, Dafka. During the episodes, Kaplan dominated the half-hour shows with inaccuracies about the Palestinian peace movement, negative stereotypes about Arabs and Islam, and potentially slanderous statements about widely respected groups such as Santa Cruz's Resource Center for Nonviolence and Berkely's MidEast Children's Alliance and individuals involved with them. Intermittently throughout the show, addresses of Kaplan's websites appeared across the screen and Kaplan invited viewers to visit the websites; he also promoted a book that was for sale on one of the websites. Each episode also featured a disgruntled Arab guest who shared negative opinions about Palestinians and Arabs from a presumed "insider's" perspective. (One questions the authenticity of such guests, however, since Kaplan brags on his website about disguising himself and passing himself off as an Arab at various peaceful gatherings.)

Ron Holman, Programming Director at Community Television, said that even though some people may disagree with statements Kaplan makes, he is able to appear on their channels via their rules which set up the community stations as resource centers for the public as opposed to a television network model. Holman noted that an individual's speech could be limited if he was inciting violence.

Though Kaplan didn't directly call for violence in the episodes, a little fact checking showed that groups he is associated with have been busy hijacking and illegally intruding on peaceful meetings, harassing peace activists and making at least one death threat.

- October 5, 2003. After participating in a debate at UC Berkeley on Middle East relations, activist Allison Weir received a death threat from an individual identifying himself with Dafka.

-December 3, 2003. DAFKA follows and harasses traveling peace exhibition, Wheels of Justice; coordinates harassment campaign via internet site.

-June 5, 2004. Progressive Jewish Bay Area Peace Demonstration Harassed by Anti-Palestinian Groups.

-November 19, 2004. Code Pink Hayward meeting at local church hijacked by hate groups Dafka and Protest Warrior; verbal abuse and physical intimidation used against female peace activists.

In his website, http://www.dafka.org, Kaplan describes himself as chief editor, "investigative journalist, news bureau head, businessman and political activist." In other media, however, he is listed with other titles, including "Contributing Editor" for David Horowitz's http://www.frontpagemag.com website and West Coast Coordinator" of Students for Academic Freedom. A post by someone identifying himself as Lee Kaplan on santacruzindymedia.org stated "I do make a living doing research about the Middle East and am a professional journalist. People do drop a dime to read me....I have appeared internationally on radio as a commentator." However, an extensive and exhaustive search yielded no information that could confirm Kaplan's location, background, education, research and type of business. In addition, there no evidence was found that he had been published in print, as he insinuated.

Kaplan appears to be involved in a network of pro-militancy, pro-Israeli international public relations agents who advocate, among other things, for Israel to seize all lands held 2000 years ago and mandatory military or civil service for all residents of Israel . He's also busy generating propaganda for a consortium of conservative websites with the aim of discrediting peace groups, activists, librarians and academics; recruiting college students in the Bay Area and Santa Cruz for his anti-Palestinian Peace Movement and academic censorship groups; and shaping U.S. policy on education through SAF and its associated groups.


What Does All of This Mean?


On a website found in Dafka's Links section, Bernard Shapiro, head of the "Freeman Center for Strategic Studies," describes a scheme for a worldwide public relations campaign with the ultimate aim of protecting the over six billion dollars Israel annually receives from the United States.

"I think it is time to take a second look at my concept but expand it to include radio, magazines, cable television (cable will accept this type of commercial) and newspapers. The ads should range from the very soft evocative travel type to some hard hitting but subtle political messages. Pretend that Israel is a corporation with a vast market in the United States. Receipts from that market top $6 Billion Dollars ( including US economic and military aid, UJA, Israel Bonds, JNF, plus all the other campaigns from Yeshivas to the Technion). What would you spend to protect a market of that magnitude? One half of one percent would equal $30 million. You can run for president with thirty million dollars. In a wild fantasy, lets say we have that much money. And let's say we hire a talented creative ad man to develop a multi-faceted, multi-media, and multi-year campaign to win the hearts and minds of the American people."

Kaplan is a regular contributor to the Freeman website.

Like the "frontpagemag" operation, Students for Academic Freedom is one of several organizations under the leadership umbrella of David Horowitz . SAF doesn't actually promote "freedom" as much as encouraging students to turn in their teachers for saying things they don't like or giving them grades they don't want. If this seems eerily similar to approaches used by fascist campaigns throughout the world, that's because it is. This website includes organizing tools, blank complaint forms for students to pass out and an "Academic Bill of Rights," which amounts to a plan for academic censorship. It also has a "National and State Legislation" section (on the left scroll-down menu) and files on teachers nationwide they deem to be "too liberal." The homepage even includes an insult aimed the target audience --- a graphic of the "hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, speak-no-evil" monkeys, traditionally a representation of people who want to ignore reality.

Kaplan has not been content to simply recruit for members in our community; he has also used his platform to attack local politicians and activists who advocate for peace. Scott Kennedy, outgoing Santa Cruz mayor who signed the trailblazing City of Santa Cruz's proclamation against the Iraq War, is one person Kaplan targeted for attacks on his website. Referring to the Resource Center for Nonviolence and Kennedy, Kaplan writes,

"..the ultimate in gall is that Scott likes to invoke the teachings of non-violence and tolerance of Martin Luther King. Would that Dr. King was still alive, he'd probably abandon non-violence for a moment and chuck ol' Scott upside the head. ....It is high time the Santa Cruz community recognize the hypocrisy of a center that is really a mouthpiece for Arab anti-Semitism and violence against Jews in the Middle East. Scott is an elected City Councilman there. When his term is up, I'm sure the majority of people who reside in Santa Cruz will turn him out. Perhaps this commentary can inform enough of them to do so."

With this veiled threat by Kaplan, one is left to wonder whether or not his remarks about Kennedy had any influence on his recent defeat in the City Council race.

The Dafka website, which roughly translated means, "In your face!" in Hebrew, has an editorial voice much like Kaplan's and Horowitz's other projects. They vociferously attack any organization or individual that dares question the United States' and Israel's policies. Kaplan and Horowitz prefer to use semantic attacks against those they seek to silence with meaningless phrases meant to squelch all forms of discussion. An example of such a phrase is "stand with Israel." Although the phrase conjures up a strong images of loyalty, what does it really mean? It insinuates, much like the phrase "support our troops," that if someone doesn't go along with what the author is advocating, then he somehow does not "stand with Israel," or does not "support our troops." Whenever someone challenges something Kaplan or Horowitz says, their stock reply is "Anti-Semitism!" This couldn't be more ridiculous since they save their most vicious attacks for other Jews involved in the peace process and for Arabs, who are also by definition a Semitic people.

Lee Kaplan, like anyone else, has his right to free speech. What seems to be less clear, especially in the way Community Television is run, is how people are accountable for what they broadcast. As it stands now, only a producer can allow people access to past episodes of Club Cruz. One has to question if that makes an entity responsible for the content of their broadcasts, especially when, in the case of former mayor Scott Kennedy, Club Cruz broadcasts occur during City Council meetings.

Clearly, Lee Kaplan and his associates have an agenda: attack and discredit any entity that might lead to a slowing of money flowing into Israel. Judging by their slick websites and the many public relations experts employed, it is also a well-funded one. When community budgets are being slashed and local resources are drying up, how fair is it to allow a non-Santa Cruz County resident to broadcast his infomercials for free at the community's expense? Under the current structure of Community T.V., Becky Johnson, producer of Club Cruz, is the only person accountable to the public for the content of the show. She is listed under Dafka's website as a member and UCSC coordinator for Dafka; her email is listed as becky_johnson [at] sbcglobal.net. An alternative email address she listed on the Santa Cruz Indymedia site is becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com.

In many of the websites associated with Kaplan, supporters are urged to inundate public officials, regulatory agencies and the media with their messages. Perhaps all those people Kaplan has been attacking really do have something to learn from him.
by Becky Johnson
( becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com ) Thursday Jan 24th, 2008 9:23 AM
SO YOU HAVE JUST LIBELED LEE KAPLAN AND MYSELF .....AGAIN.

RIGHT WING ZIONIST CAUGHT IN LIE WROTE: "....October 5, 2003. After participating in a debate at UC Berkeley on Middle East relations, activist Allison Weir received a death threat from an individual identifying himself with Dafka."

BECKY: This is false. Weir DID receive a death threat on her phone, but it was not from Lee Kaplan or Dafka. The original article published on Dec 19, 2004 contained this libelous comment. Will Wallace was forced to print A RETRACTION on January 31, 2005.

Here is Will Wallace's retraction: http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/01/309629.shtml

HERE IS WHAT HE SAID:
"In the interest of fairness and accuracy, I retract the statements referring to Kaplan's associated groups as "making at least one death threat" and the portion of the the next paragraph which states "from an individual identifying himself with Dafka." This information was taken from a San Francisco Bay Guardian article (linked in the original article) and has since proven to be incorrect."

BECKY: So Will Wallace says it is not "fair" or "accurate" to say Kaplan or Dafka had anything to do with the death threat. BTW, the day AFTER the retraction was printed, someone posted a death threat (a real one!!) against Lee Kaplan and myself on the SC Indymedia site.

Why did you choose to post the unrevised article since both are available on the net?
I think readers can realize that the reason is that the revised article doesn't really show any abuse at all. The Death threat allegation in the first article was the only really serious charge and it proved to be false.

SHame on you for trying to libel us again here!!
by NOT A RIGHT WING PRO-ISRAEL PROPAGANDIST
Thursday Jan 24th, 2008 9:50 AM
Yes, the tiny part of that article about the death threat was retracted, but nothing else. Your STRONG association with just this right wing basket case in particular says it all. That fully debunks Tia's false claim of your 'impeccable progressive credentials" and also will serve to let others know who you are. Your being in bed with whackos like Kaplan will cause many to ignore your desperate (albeit usually unread) attempts to propagandize on indymedia sites everywhere....
Good day child,