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Comment: Re: Tag, you're it! (Score 1) 167

1. Israel can prevent civilian deaths.

During the course of the past twelve days, Israeli air strikeshave killedover 1000Palestinians—mostly civilians.

Israelsaysthe deaths are a result of Hamas using ordinary Palestinians as human shields, and the gruesome toll has been met with a shrug.

It’s an issue thathas come upduring past operations in Gaza.

Back in 2009, during Operation Cast Lead, the president of the United Nations General Assembly Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann,condemnedIsrael for violating international law in Gaza by targeting civilians.

Brockmanncalledthe offensive “a war against a helpless defenceless and imprisoned people.”

“Theviolationsof international law inherent in the Gaza assault have been well documented,” he added, listing collective punishment, disproportionate military force [and]attacks on civilian targets, including homes, mosques, universities, schools.”

Israel doesn’t have to fire at the civilian targets, it’s a choice that they make. Hamas rockets are broadlyineffectiveanyway—given Israel’s comprehensive network of bomb shelters. Just three civilians in Israel have been killed so far.

Noting the Israeli military’s “long record of unlawful airstrikes with high civilian casualties”, Human Rights Watch Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitsoncommentedthat Israel “would never accept an argument that any Israeli home of an Israel Defense Force member would be a valid military target.”

IDF spokesperson Peter Lerner also couldn’t provide any evidence of houses being used to command in control rocket attacks, when directlyqueriedby reporters.

2. The three Israeli teenswere killed immediately after being kidnapped.

Investigative journalist Max Blumenthal recently revealed that the Israeli governmentknewthatthe three missing Israeli teens, whowere abductedin June from Hebron in the West Bank, were murdered almost as soon as they were kidnapped. However, this was not revealed to the public, and insteadthe search forthe missing teenagers unleashed to a brutal crackdown on the West Bank.

Blumenthal says that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used outrage around the kidnapping to whip up enough support to justify the aggressive military campaign that has ensued.

3. Gaza is basically an open-air prison.

The economic blockade of Gaza is a form of collective punishment which residents say is likelivingin a prison. Though the military checkpoints, strong IDF presence and high walls lend the Strip a prison aesthetic, the cruelest element of the “prison” is the lack of economic freedom imposed by Israel’s blockade.

Israelcontinuesto maintain complete control of itsborder crossingswith the Gaza Strip, and the air and sea space of the Gaza Strip – limiting the transfer of goods and people. Though they claim to have withdrawn their troops and that this leaves Gaza “not occupied,” they still maintain control over the tax system.

As a result of these restrictions, 68% of residents live on less than a dollarper day. In contrast, your average Israeli live oneighty fivetimes that.

Inside their prison, Palestinians can’t get access to adequate health care, to education or to employment because of the internal controls imposed by Israel. They need permits from the Israeli authorities to gain access to land and crops, to medical facilities, to schools and universities, and even to visit family andfriends.

4. The Iron Dome isn’t protecting Israel from rockets.

It’s a defense systemhailed as“a game changer”, and the Senatejust approved$351 million to support the military programme, designed to intercept rockets fired by Hamas into Israel.

No matter how much U.S. Senator Dick Durbingushes aboutthe defense system, it looks like the country’s missile defense system justisn’t very good.

Theodore Postol, a physicist andmissile-defense expertat the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,estimatesthe interception rate at just 5%. Working with Dr. Mordechai Shefer, formerly of the defence company Rafael, and another researcher, his team analyzed dozens of videos filmed during the “interceptions.”

Their verdict? most of the explosions which appear successful areactuallythe self-destruction of the Iron Dome’s own missiles.

Might want to pass along a note to U.S. taxpayers.

5. Israeli forces has killed over 1,500 Palestinian children since 2000.

It is a number that continues to climb, as Operation Protective Edge rages on.

Since 2000, approximately 1,500 Palestinian childrenhave been killedby Israeli security forces.That’s one child every three days for thirteen years. Within that same time period, Palestinians have killed132 Israeli children.

6.Hamas accepts two states based on the 1967 borders.

No, really. The infamous1982 Charterwas effectivelyupdated in 2006 following Hamas victory in legislative elections andacknowledgedthat Hamas would accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 border.

In 2006 Ismail Haniyeh wrote a letter to President Bush saying, “We are so concerned about stability and security in the area that we don’t mind having a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders and offering a truce for many years.”

Hamas is showing more than a little humility: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu himself saidhe would never accept a Palestinian state.

7. Hamas has been provoked by Israel

If we are to believe right-wing rhetoric and Fox News, Hamas is provoking Israel’s mighty military campaign in Gaza.

House Speaker John Boehner condemned Hamas recently for “aggressive, unprovoked acts ofviolenceagainst Israel.”

Congressman Eric Cantor concurs: “Hamas’ outrageous and unprovoked war against Israel mustend.”

Although Hamas tactics are abhorrent, their actions are predictable and have been provoked.

Israel does not allow Gaza to have a port or airport, nor is it allowed to export most of what it produces. Palestinians cannot work about a third of their own land, reserved by Israel as a security buffer.

A cruel economic blockade ensures thatten percent of Palestinian children in Gaza under five have had their growth stunted by malnutrition. In 2010, Save The Children foundthat two thirds of Palestinian infants and one third of mothers were affected by anemia.

As British Prime Minister David Cameronsaidin 2010, “Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain aprison camp.He added “People in Gaza are living under constant attacks and pressure in an open-air prison.”

It’s not a moral endorsement of prison riots, but prison guards will tell you: riots happen.

8. Unity between Hamas andFatah is a good thing.

Back in June, a joint government between feuding Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah was sworn in.

While the U.S.cited concernsover the involvement of militant group Hamas, it said that it would be prepared to work with the new government.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuwould not recognizethe new government, because of the inclusion of Hamas. The leader called it a “step backwards.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham greeted the news with disgust:

“This is a provocative act by the Palestinian Authority which runs counter to serious peace negotiations with Israel. It clearly demonstrates the Palestinians have little fear or respect for the Obama Administration.”

Perhaps Bibi should have a chat with his friend Tony Blair. As Prime Minister, he architected the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.

“The Troubles”— as the violent thirty-year conflict in Northern Irelandis known—claimed the lives of 650 civilians, mainly at the hands of the terrorists in the The Irish Republican Army. But they eventually entered into politics, and that is a goodthing. When terrorist groups choose to talk instead, it is a sign of moving forward.Netanyahu just hasn’t been prepared to admit it yet.

9. Israel isn’t a strategic asset.

Just underhalfof Americans regard Israel as an ally.

Republican Senator Trent Franks is one of her most eloquent supporters, pledging what he“our arsenal of freedom”to defend “our most precious ally on earth.” Knitting the friendship bracelet, he’s alsosaid“Israel is here to stay forever.”

In Spring 1948, standing in the Oval Office, U.S, Secretary of State George Marshall gave his counsel to President Truman, regarding whether to recognize the recently created state of Israel. His view was that backing the Jewish state would harm relations with the wider Muslim world, thereby jeopardizing American access to oil in the region. He also warned of a wider destablising effect.

Truman rejected the advice, but Marshall showed remarkable prescience. According to Pew Research Center in 2013, ninety percent of Jewish Israelis have afavorableopinion of the U.S., but only forty two percent of Israel’s Palestinian citizensfeel the same.

With Muslims elsewhere in the Middle East, America’s reputation is equallyputrid.

Eventually, a despicable band of terrorists, led by Osama Bin Laden, took offence to America’s support for Israel (amongst other grievances). These terrorists have committed themselves (often literally) to killing Americans.

After successful attacks on U.S. Embassies, warships and civilian targets, nearly three thousand Americans died on one day, when Al Qaeda took down the World Trade Center. So is Israel a strategic asset to the American people, or more aliability?

Comment: "Velvet Glove?" - Israel Murders Babies (Score 1) 167

Zionism == Fascist Genocide
"Children killed in their sleep by Israel"

Israeli military fire hit a United Nations-run school in Gaza today, killing at least 20 people and injuring an estimated 90 people. The school under attack, called the Abu Hussein girls’ elementary school, is located in the densely-populated Jabaliya refugee camp.

The United Nations Relief Works and Agency (UNRWA), the group that serves Palestinian refugees, issued a stern statement placing the blame for the attack on the Israeli army.

“Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced,” said UNRWA Secretary General Pierre Krähenbühl. “We have visited the site and gathered evidence. We have analysed fragments, examined craters and other damage. Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school, in which 3,300 people had sought refuge.”

Krähenbühl added that the Israeli attack violated international law, and that UNRWA had informed Israel of the location of the school 17 times. The Palestinians who were sheltering there had been told by the Israeli military to flee their Gaza neighborhoods, only to be hit by Israeli shells at the place they thought would be safe. An estimated 240,000 displaced Palestinians are being sheltered in UNRWA facilities.

Israeli army spokespeople claim that Palestinian fighters fired from near the school–a claim they have frequently made when confronted by their attacks on civilians.

It was the second time in two weeks that an attack on a UN school caused deaths. Israel denies it hit the UN school in Beit Hanoun it bombarded last week, though Gaza-based journalists like The Daily Beast’s Jesse Rosenfeld have cast doubt on those claims, writing that the evidence appears to indicate Israeli fire hitting the area. The attack killed 16 people. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said last week that three other UNRWA installations had been fired on by Israel, injuring five Palestinians in one incident.

UNRWA has also had to contend with Palestinian rockets being stored in schools that were abandoned. But there is no evidence that the schools hit by Israeli fire have rockets in them.

The attack on the UNRWA school in Jabaliya came after another night of heavy Israeli bombardment. The Gaza Ministry of Health said that over 70 Palestinians were killed since midnight. That brings the death toll to well over 1,200 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians.

Israel declared what it called a “humanitarian window” for four hours today–but also said it would continue to operate militarily in areas where soldiers were already firing. Hamas called it a declaration meant for the media and did not halt its fire. Israeli shells killed at least five Palestinians during the “humanitarian window, Ma’an News Agency reported. And another Israeli attack on a market in the Gaza neighborhood of Shuja’iyeh killed at least 15 people.

Comment: Israel Uses Palestinians as Human Shields (Score 1) 167

Survivors of massacre in Khuza’a say Israeli forces used Palestinians as human shields

Khuza’a is a village in the very eastern part of Khan Younis adjacent to the border fencein the southern Gaza strip. Its farmers have faced death almost on a daily basis in the past 7 years as Israeli gunfire has become the norm along the buffer zone between Gaza and Israel.

Following the Shuja’iyehmassacre, Israeli forces invaded Khuza’a withaerial strikes targeting any moving object. Survivors recall with horror thatseemingly heavy random tank fire led to the killing of dozens, injuring dozens others.

Over 150 of its residents were arrested by Israeli forces. Most of them were released, others are still in detention. Rescue calls were made live on the local radio stations, as many residents were besieged in their homes, unable to leave. Those who managed to leave came under fire as they were fleeing.

Ayman Abu Toaimah, 32, a resident of Khuza’arecalls,“As Israeli invading troops advanced to the village they besieged it and used residents as human shields. When the Israeli army arrested people and then released some of them, they were told they are free to go back to the village, but as they were fleeing they came under fire and some of them shot dead. These people were used as human shields.”

Abu Saleem, 56, a resident of Khuza’aechoedAbu Toaimah,“Israelis claim that Hamas is using us as human shields– how? This is a lie, we do not see fighters in the streets. It’s them, the Israelis who used us as human shields in Khuza’a and Shuja’iyeh. They turned our houses into military posts, terrified residents in the houses. They attacked innocent civilians with their bombs, and missiles, they attacked chicken farms, they burned our crops, they have no mercy.”

What happened in Khuza’a was a massacre. Civilians were killed in their homes and while they were fleeing. Even ambulances were not immune. Paramedics report that Israeli forces stopped ambulances that were trying to reach casualties and tried to arrest a number of wounded. Ambulances came under fire despite the coordination by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Scenes of dead bodies scattered in the streets reminiscent ofthe Sabra and Shatila massacre that took place in two Palestinian refugee camps in 1982 have begun to leak out of the village.

Abu Ali Qudail a resident of Khuza’a said: “When the ICRC told us that ambulances are waiting usat the entrance of the village from the western side, about 1,000 people rushed to leave their homes, some of which were used as a hideout for Israeli forces. As people were leaving they were surprised that the ambulances were not there, and as we were waiting tank shells rained down on our heads.”

Many people were killed, many others injured. Survivors say they could not help the wounded, many were still under the rubble, homes were destroyed and the smell of smoke and bombs was everywhere.

Abu Ali Qudail continued: “I was watching members of my family dying in front of me, some of them were torn to pieces. Rami, Ibrahim, Alia, Haj Abed died..we had to leave them behind, as soon as we reached one of the Khan Younis schools we entered it to seek shelter but it was very crowded with people who fled their homes. It’s hard to see people dying and you do not know what to do. One of my relatives’ homes were struck while they were inside.”

As the all-out Israeli assault on Gaza entered its 19th day, John Kerry announced from Cairo that he proposed a one week ceasefire, but Israel’s PM Netanyahu refused the offer and only agreed to a 12-hour lull.

Ma’an News reports on one family thatfled Khuza’a andwas then killed by an Israeli missile strike in Khan Younis as the ceasefire went into effect:

Minutes before a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire went into effect in Gaza on Saturday morning, an Israeli airstrike left at least 20 members of a Palestinian family dead in Khan Younis refugee camp.

The al-Najjar family had fled their homes in Khuzaa, just east of Khan Younis, earlier in the day after Israeli artillery shelling there killed dozens, and they were hoping to find shelter somewhere further from the border.

Their refuge in Khan Younis, however, turned out to be anything but, as missiles fired from Israeli warplanes just before 8 a.m. completely leveled the four-story building they were sleeping in.

The airstrike killed eleven children, four women, and five men from the family, according to Palestinian medical sources.

The killing of the al-Najjar family brought the death toll in Gaza since the beginning of hostilities 18 days ago to 940.

Following the attack on the UN school in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza in which 17 people were killed and over 200 injured, 29of the UN Human Rights Council’s 47 members voted in favor of creating a commission of inquiry to look at possible war crimes committed by Israel. Only the United States voted against the resolution, while 17 states abstained, 10 of them European.

The vote was taken after Navi Pillay, the UN’s human rights commissioner, said “there seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes.”

Comment: IDF Uses Palestinians as Human Shields (Score 1) 812

by Jeremiah Cornelius (#47571129) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Survivors of massacre in Khuza’a say Israeli forces used Palestinians as human shields

Khuza’a is a village in the very eastern part of Khan Younis adjacent to the border fencein the southern Gaza strip. Its farmers have faced death almost on a daily basis in the past 7 years as Israeli gunfire has become the norm along the buffer zone between Gaza and Israel.

Following the Shuja’iyehmassacre, Israeli forces invaded Khuza’a withaerial strikes targeting any moving object. Survivors recall with horror thatseemingly heavy random tank fire led to the killing of dozens, injuring dozens others.

Over 150 of its residents were arrested by Israeli forces. Most of them were released, others are still in detention. Rescue calls were made live on the local radio stations, as many residents were besieged in their homes, unable to leave. Those who managed to leave came under fire as they were fleeing.

Ayman Abu Toaimah, 32, a resident of Khuza’arecalls,“As Israeli invading troops advanced to the village they besieged it and used residents as human shields. When the Israeli army arrested people and then released some of them, they were told they are free to go back to the village, but as they were fleeing they came under fire and some of them shot dead. These people were used as human shields.”

Abu Saleem, 56, a resident of Khuza’aechoedAbu Toaimah,“Israelis claim that Hamas is using us as human shields– how? This is a lie, we do not see fighters in the streets. It’s them, the Israelis who used us as human shields in Khuza’a and Shuja’iyeh. They turned our houses into military posts, terrified residents in the houses. They attacked innocent civilians with their bombs, and missiles, they attacked chicken farms, they burned our crops, they have no mercy.”

What happened in Khuza’a was a massacre. Civilians were killed in their homes and while they were fleeing. Even ambulances were not immune. Paramedics report that Israeli forces stopped ambulances that were trying to reach casualties and tried to arrest a number of wounded. Ambulances came under fire despite the coordination by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Scenes of dead bodies scattered in the streets reminiscent ofthe Sabra and Shatila massacre that took place in two Palestinian refugee camps in 1982 have begun to leak out of the village.

Abu Ali Qudail a resident of Khuza’a said: “When the ICRC told us that ambulances are waiting usat the entrance of the village from the western side, about 1,000 people rushed to leave their homes, some of which were used as a hideout for Israeli forces. As people were leaving they were surprised that the ambulances were not there, and as we were waiting tank shells rained down on our heads.”

Many people were killed, many others injured. Survivors say they could not help the wounded, many were still under the rubble, homes were destroyed and the smell of smoke and bombs was everywhere.

Abu Ali Qudail continued: “I was watching members of my family dying in front of me, some of them were torn to pieces. Rami, Ibrahim, Alia, Haj Abed died..we had to leave them behind, as soon as we reached one of the Khan Younis schools we entered it to seek shelter but it was very crowded with people who fled their homes. It’s hard to see people dying and you do not know what to do. One of my relatives’ homes were struck while they were inside.”

As the all-out Israeli assault on Gaza entered its 19th day, John Kerry announced from Cairo that he proposed a one week ceasefire, but Israel’s PM Netanyahu refused the offer and only agreed to a 12-hour lull.

Ma’an News reports on one family thatfled Khuza’a andwas then killed by an Israeli missile strike in Khan Younis as the ceasefire went into effect:

Minutes before a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire went into effect in Gaza on Saturday morning, an Israeli airstrike left at least 20 members of a Palestinian family dead in Khan Younis refugee camp.

The al-Najjar family had fled their homes in Khuzaa, just east of Khan Younis, earlier in the day after Israeli artillery shelling there killed dozens, and they were hoping to find shelter somewhere further from the border.

Their refuge in Khan Younis, however, turned out to be anything but, as missiles fired from Israeli warplanes just before 8 a.m. completely leveled the four-story building they were sleeping in.

The airstrike killed eleven children, four women, and five men from the family, according to Palestinian medical sources.

The killing of the al-Najjar family brought the death toll in Gaza since the beginning of hostilities 18 days ago to 940.

Following the attack on the UN school in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza in which 17 people were killed and over 200 injured, 29of the UN Human Rights Council’s 47 members voted in favor of creating a commission of inquiry to look at possible war crimes committed by Israel. Only the United States voted against the resolution, while 17 states abstained, 10 of them European.

The vote was taken after Navi Pillay, the UN’s human rights commissioner, said “there seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes.”

Comment: Re:Don't let the facts get in your way (Score 0) 812

by Jeremiah Cornelius (#47562731) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

So. You are able to regurgitate the Israeli propaganda that was fed to the world's press organizations, 40 years ago - building the myth of the ruthless Palestinian and the incomparable IDF.

But the BBC - that revolutionary hotbed of anti-Israeli sentiment - had this to report, confirming what Victor Ostrovsky and others had intimated for many years:

But newly released documents contain a claim that the 1976 rescue of hostages, kidnapped on an Air France flight and held in Entebbe in Uganda, was not all it seemed.

A UK government file on the crisis, released from the National Archives, contains a claim that Israel itself was behind the hijacking.

An unnamed contact from the Euro-Arab Parliamentary Association told a British diplomat in Paris that the Israeli Secret Service, the Shin Bet, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) collaborated to seize the plane.

The flight was seized shortly after it took off from Athens and was flown to Entebbe, where 98 people were held hostage, many of them Israeli citizens.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6710289.stm

Comment: Re:Five Israeli Talking Points on Gaza - Debunked (Score 0, Troll) 812

by Jeremiah Cornelius (#47561709) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Israel's problem is that they have an ethno-centric, fascist state ideology - based on mythical stone tablets from a fairy story.

Israel's problem is that this ideology breeds a sociopathic self-righteousness - one that allows them to keep children walled into a cage, and then to bomb the cage, because of Israel's innate "tolerance" and because they are an "embattled victim".

If everyone on earth has rejected "you", for five centuries? Maybe the problem isn't "them"... But psychological subtlety has never been a strength of fascist ideology.

User Journal

Journal: Chronicle: Apartment: Carpet complaints 1

Journal by Chacham

My apartment has carpet save the kitchen that has tile. When i moved in, i was given a checklist to note what was not perfect. Figuring that's what they would fix, i verbally mentioned the cracks in the kitchen floor and perhaps something else, and moved on. I really had no idea what the checklist was for. Besides, it looked daunting.

Comment: Five Israeli Talking Points on Gaza - Debunked (Score 3, Interesting) 812

by Jeremiah Cornelius (#47558159) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Israel claims that it is merely exercising its right to self-defense and that Gaza is no longer occupied. Here’s what you need to know about these talking points and more.

Israel has killed almost 800 Palestinians in the past twenty-one days in the Gaza Strip alone; its onslaught continues. The UN estimates that more than 74 percent of those killed are civilians. That is to be expected in a population of 1.8 million where the number of Hamas members is approximately 15,000. Israel does not deny that it killed those Palestinians using modern aerial technology and precise weaponry courtesy of the world’s only superpower. In fact, it does not even deny that they are civilians.

Israel’s propaganda machine, however, insists that these Palestinians wanted to die (“culture of martyrdom”), staged their own death (“telegenically dead”) or were the tragic victims of Hamas’s use of civilian infrastructure for military purposes (“human shielding”). In all instances, the military power is blaming the victims for their own deaths, accusing them of devaluing life and attributing this disregard to cultural bankruptcy. In effect, Israel—along with uncritical mainstream media that unquestionably accept this discourse—dehumanizes Palestinians, deprives them even of their victimhood and legitimizes egregious human rights and legal violations.

This is not the first time. The gruesome images of decapitated children’s bodies and stolen innocence on Gaza’s shores are a dreadful repeat of Israel’s assault on Gaza in November 2012 and winter 2008–09. Not only are the military tactics the same but so too are the public relations efforts and the faulty legal arguments that underpin the attacks. Mainstream media news anchors are inexplicably accepting these arguments as fact.

Below I address five of Israel’s recurring talking points. I hope this proves useful to newsmakers.

1) Israel is exercising its right to self-defense.

As the occupying power of the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Territories more broadly, Israel has an obligation and a duty to protect the civilians under its occupation. It governs by military and law enforcement authority to maintain order, protect itself and protect the civilian population under its occupation. It cannot simultaneously occupy the territory, thus usurping the self-governing powers that would otherwise belong to Palestinians, and declare war upon them. These contradictory policies (occupying a land and then declaring war on it) make the Palestinian population doubly vulnerable.

The precarious and unstable conditions in the Gaza Strip from which Palestinians suffer are Israel’s responsibility. Israel argues that it can invoke the right to self-defense under international law as defined in Article 51 of the UN Charter. The International Court of Justice, however, rejected this faulty legal interpretation in its 2004 Advisory Opinion. The ICJ explained that an armed attack that would trigger Article 51 must be attributable to a sovereign state, but the armed attacks by Palestinians emerge from within Israel’s jurisdictional control. Israel does have the right to defend itself against rocket attacks, but it must do so in accordance with occupation law and not other laws of war. Occupation law ensures greater protection for the civilian population. The other laws of war balance military advantage and civilian suffering. The statement that “no country would tolerate rocket fire from a neighboring country” is therefore both a diversion and baseless.

Israel denies Palestinians the right to govern and protect themselves, while simultaneously invoking the right to self-defense. This is a conundrum and a violation of international law, one that Israel deliberately created to evade accountability.

2) Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005.

Israel argues that its occupation of the Gaza Strip ended with the unilateral withdrawal of its settler population in 2005. It then declared the Gaza Strip to be “hostile territory” and declared war against its population. Neither the argument nor the statement is tenable. Despite removing 8,000 settlers and the military infrastructure that protected their illegal presence, Israel maintained effective control of the Gaza Strip and thus remains the occupying power as defined by Article 47 of the Hague Regulations. To date, Israel maintains control of the territory’s air space, territorial waters, electromagnetic sphere, population registry and the movement of all goods and people.

Israel argues that the withdrawal from Gaza demonstrates that ending the occupation will not bring peace. Some have gone so far as to say that Palestinians squandered their opportunity to build heaven in order to build a terrorist haven instead. These arguments aim to obfuscate Israel’s responsibilities in the Gaza Strip, as well as the West Bank. As Prime Minister Netanyahu once explained, Israel must ensure that it does not “get another Gaza in Judea and Samaria. I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.”

Palestinians have yet to experience a day of self-governance. Israel immediately imposed a siege upon the Gaza Strip when Hamas won parliamentary elections in January 2006 and tightened it severely when Hamas routed Fatah in June 2007. The siege has created a “humanitarian catastrophe” in the Gaza Strip. Inhabitants will not be able to access clean water, electricity or tend to even the most urgent medical needs. The World Health Organization explains that the Gaza Strip will be unlivable by 2020. Not only did Israel not end its occupation, it has created a situation in which Palestinians cannot survive in the long-term.

3) This Israeli operation, among others, was caused by rocket fire from Gaza.

Israel claims that its current and past wars against the Palestinian population in Gaza have been in response to rocket fire. Empirical evidence from 2008, 2012 and 2014 refute that claim. First, according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the greatest reduction of rocket fire came through diplomatic rather than military means. This chart demonstrates the correlation between Israel’s military attacks upon the Gaza Strip and Hamas militant activity. Hamas rocket fire increases in response to Israeli military attacks and decreases in direct correlation to them. Cease-fires have brought the greatest security to the region.

During the four months of the Egyptian-negotiated cease-fire in 2008, Palestinian militants reduced the number of rockets to zero or single digits from the Gaza Strip. Despite this relative security and calm, Israel broke the cease-fire to begin the notorious aerial and ground offensive that killed 1,400 Palestinians in twenty-two days. In November 2012, Israel’s extrajudicial assassination of Ahmad Jabari, the chief of Hamas’s military wing in Gaza, while he was reviewing terms for a diplomatic solution, again broke the cease-fire that precipitated the eight-day aerial offensive that killed 132 Palestinians.

Immediately preceding Israel’s most recent operation, Hamas rocket and mortar attacks did not threaten Israel. Israel deliberately provoked this war with Hamas. Without producing a shred of evidence, it accused the political faction of kidnapping and murdering three settlers near Hebron. Four weeks and almost 700 lives later, Israel has yet to produce any evidence demonstrating Hamas’s involvement. During ten days of Operation Brother’s Keeper in the West Bank, Israel arrested approximately 800 Palestinians without charge or trial, killed nine civilians and raided nearly 1,300 residential, commercial and public buildings. Its military operation targeted Hamas members released during the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011. It’s these Israeli provocations that precipitated the Hamas rocket fire to which Israel claims left it with no choice but a gruesome military operation.

4) Israel avoids civilian casualties, but Hamas aims to kill civilians.

Hamas has crude weapons technology that lacks any targeting capability. As such, Hamas rocket attacks ipso facto violate the principle of distinction because all of its attacks are indiscriminate. This is not contested. Israel, however, would not be any more tolerant of Hamas if it strictly targeted military objects, as we have witnessed of late. Israel considers Hamas and any form of its resistance, armed or otherwise, to be illegitimate.

In contrast, Israel has the eleventh most powerful military in the world, certainly the strongest by far in the Middle East, and is a nuclear power that has not ratified the non-proliferation agreement and has precise weapons technology. With the use of drones, F-16s and an arsenal of modern weapon technology, Israel has the ability to target single individuals and therefore to avoid civilian casualties. But rather than avoid them, Israel has repeatedly targeted civilians as part of its military operations.

The Dahiya Doctrine is central to these operations and refers to Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on Lebanon in 2006. Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said that this would be applied elsewhere:

What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. [] We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases.

Israel has kept true to this promise. The 2009 UN Fact-Finding Mission to the Gaza Conflict, better known as the Goldstone Mission, concluded “from a review of the facts on the ground that it witnessed for itself that what was prescribed as the best strategy [Dahiya Doctrine] appears to have been precisely what was put into practice.”

According to the National Lawyers Guild, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, Israel directly targeted civilians or recklessly caused civilian deaths during Operation Cast Lead. Far from avoiding the deaths of civilians, Israel effectively considers them legitimate targets.

5) Hamas hides its weapons in homes, mosques and schools and uses human shields.

This is arguably one of Israel’s most insidious claims, because it blames Palestinians for their own death and deprives them of even their victimhood. Israel made the same argument in its war against Lebanon in 2006 and in its war against Palestinians in 2008. Notwithstanding its military cartoon sketches, Israel has yet to prove that Hamas has used civilian infrastructure to store military weapons. The two cases where Hamas indeed stored weapons in UNRWA schools, the schools were empty. UNRWA discovered the rockets and publicly condemned the violation of its sanctity.

International human rights organizations that have investigated these claims have determined that they are not true. It attributed the high death toll in Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon to Israel’s indiscriminate attacks. Human Rights Watch notes:

The evidence Human Rights Watch uncovered in its on-the-ground investigations refutes [Israel’s] argumentwe found strong evidence that Hezbollah stored most of its rockets in bunkers and weapon storage facilities located in uninhabited fields and valleys, that in the vast majority of cases Hezbollah fighters left populated civilian areas as soon as the fighting started, and that Hezbollah fired the vast majority of its rockets from pre-prepared positions outside villages.

In fact, only Israeli soldiers have systematically used Palestinians as human shields. Since Israel’s incursion into the West Bank in 2002, it has used Palestinians as human shields by tying young Palestinians onto the hoods of their cars or forcing them to go into a home where a potential militant may be hiding.

Even assuming that Israel’s claims were plausible, humanitarian law obligates Israel to avoid civilian casualties that “would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.” A belligerent force must verify whether civilian or civilian infrastructure qualifies as a military objective. In the case of doubt, “whether an object which is normally dedicated to civilian purposes, such as a place of worship, a house or other dwelling or a school, is being used to make an effective contribution to military action, it shall be presumed not to be so used.”

In the over thee weeks of its military operation, Israel has demolished 3,175 homes, at least a dozen with families inside; destroyed five hospitals and six clinics; partially damaged sixty-four mosques and two churches; partially to completely destroyed eight government ministries; injured 4,620; and killed over 700 Palestinians. At plain sight, these numbers indicate Israel’s egregious violations of humanitarian law, ones that amount to war crimes.

Beyond the body count and reference to law, which is a product of power, the question to ask is, What is Israel’s end goal? What if Hamas and Islamic Jihad dug tunnels beneath the entirety of the Gaza Strip—they clearly did not, but let us assume they did for the sake of argument. According to Israel’s logic, all of Gaza’s 1.8 million Palestinians are therefore human shields for being born Palestinian in Gaza. The solution is to destroy the 360-kilometer square strip of land and to expect a watching world to accept this catastrophic loss as incidental. This is possible only by framing and accepting the dehumanization of Palestinian life. Despite the absurdity of this proposal, it is precisely what Israeli society is urging its military leadership to do. Israel cannot bomb Palestinians into submission, and it certainly cannot bomb them into peace.

Comment: Re:Yes it should ship! (Score 1, Insightful) 106

by gmhowell (#47556803) Attached to: Samsung Delays Tizen Phone Launch

"Apple didn't come from behind in the smartphone market. They created the market. "

Well, that's one view into the reality distortion field.

And I bet if he had said something along the lines of "Apple came from behind in the smartphone market and knocked the heretofore industry leaders on their asses", you'd have an equally useless and snarky rejoinder.

Sometimes the inverse RDF is just as strong as the RDF itself...

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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