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The unity agreement between Hamas and Fatah under which they will set up a joint administration that will, among other things, control Gaza is going to be regarded with scepticism in the region. The accord signed in the main intelligence headquarters in Cairo has come about because both the Palestinian sides are weak and have... Read More
Has Amnesty International Lost Its Way? Part 11
CONCLUSION It cannot be seriously disputed that Amnesty International’s reports on Operation Protective Edge lacked objectivity and professionalism. They betrayed a systematic anti-Palestinian bias amounting to apologetics on Israel’s behalf. They also marked a steep regression from the high standard Amnesty set in its reports on the Israel-Palestine conflict during the past two decades. Amnesty... Read More
Has Amnesty International Lost Its Way? Part 10
Failure to Take All Feasible Precautions International humanitarian law obliges all parties to a conflict to take “all feasible” precautions/precautions “to the maximum feasible extent” in order “to protect civilians and civilian objects under their control against the dangers resulting from military operations.” One example is to “avoid locating military objectives within or near densely... Read More
Has Amnesty International Lost Its Way? Part 9
The criminal dimensions of OPE can be gleaned from the Breaking the Silence testimonies (see Table 5). TABLE 5 How Israel Fought OPE: A Selection of IDF Testimonies 18* When we left after the operation, it was just a barren stretch of desert…. We spoke about it a lot amongst ourselves, the guys from the... Read More
Indiscriminate and Deliberate Targeting of Civilians and Civilian Objects
Beyond indicting Hamas for the commission of war crimes because it used indiscriminate weapons, Amnesty also, and as a discrete line in its ledger, indicts Hamas for the commission of war crimes because it used these indiscriminate weapons to launch “indiscriminate attacks” and “attacks targeting civilians.” Article 51 of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva... Read More
Hamas War Crimes and Violations of International Law
The allegation that not just Israel but Hamas as well committed massive war crimes underpins Amnesty’s “balanced” indictment of both sides. Amnesty’s accusations that Hamas was guilty of “flagrant violations of international law”—that is, war crimes—fall under two heads: (1) its use of inherently indiscriminate weapons, and (2) its indiscriminate or deliberate targeting of Israeli... Read More
The Whole Point of OPE Was To Leave "Families Under the Rubble."
The ghastly truth of what unfolded in Gaza is captured, not in Amnesty’s effective whitewash but, instead, in the Breaking the Silence collection of testimonies of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers who served in Gaza during OPE (see Table 4).[1] TABLE 4 Property/Home Destruction in Gaza during OPE: A Selection of IDF Testimonies 1* [Did... Read More
A forensic analysis of Amnesty's reports on Operation Protective Edge
Amnesty’s biased evidentiary approach is also manifest in Families under the Rubble, which examines targeted Israeli attacks on inhabited civilian homes. It does find that the eight attacks on which it focused were on various grounds unlawful and possibly war crimes.[1] However, although it asserts that “the onus is on Israel to provide information concerning... Read More
A forensic analysis of Amnesty's reports on Operation Protective Edge
Hospitals (cont.) Shuhada al-Aqsa. Israel shelled Shuhada al-Aqsa hospital, killing at least four people and wounding dozens. Noting that Israel alleged it had targeted a cache of antitank missiles stored “in the immediate vicinity of the hospital,” Amnesty states that it “has not been able to confirm this” incident and calls for it to be... Read More
Amnesty’s citation of official Israeli sources produces skewed results that validate Israeli propaganda at Hamas’s expense. In some instances more credible contrary evidence is simply ignored. In its hyperbolic inventory of Hamas’s arsenal, Amnesty quotes the Israeli allegation that it intercepted a vessel carrying Iranian rockets “bound for Gaza.” It omits the widely reported finding... Read More
We’ve just passed the first “anniversary” -- if such a word can even be used with such a catastrophe -- of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s third invasion of the Gaza Strip in recent years. That small bit of land has now suffered more devastation than just about any place on the planet. In the wake... Read More
Before Homes Are Even Rebuilt in the Ruins of the Gaza Strip, Another War Looms
"A fourth operation in the Gaza Strip is inevitable, just as a third Lebanon war is inevitable,” declared Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in February. His ominous comments came just days after an anti-tank missile fired by the Lebanon-based guerrilla group Hezbollah killed two soldiers in an Israeli army convoy. It, in turn, was a... Read More
A forensic analysis of Amnesty's reports on Operation Protective Edge
To justify its unchecked violence in Gaza, Israel invariably spotlights the arsenal of rockets Hamas allegedly amassed. Amnesty echoes this story line. Thus, the reader learns from Unlawful and Deadly that, as far back as 2001, Hamas had been stockpiling short-range rockets; that it then “developed longer-range Qassam rockets”; that “in more recent years, armed... Read More
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How Amnesty International’s attempt at a ‘balanced’ approach at the conflict turns into an apologetic for Israel’s aggression against Gaza.
Amnesty International is among the premier human rights organizations in the world. Its pronouncements shape public opinion, while councils of state feel obliged if not to heed them at any rate to respond. A movement for justice aspiring to reach a broad public and inflect state policy can ill afford to ignore Amnesty if and... Read More
How Gazan Natural Gas Became the Epicenter of An International Power Struggle
Guess what? Almost all the current wars, uprisings, and other conflicts in the Middle East are connected by a single thread, which is also a threat: these conflicts are part of an increasingly frenzied competition to find, extract, and market fossil fuels whose future consumption is guaranteed to lead to a set of cataclysmic environmental... Read More
Talk of an oil glut and a potential further price drop seems to be growing. The cost of a barrel of crude now sits at just under $60, only a little more than half what it was at its most recent peak inJune 2014. Meanwhile, under a barrel of woes, economies like China's have slowed... Read More
During the Israeli attacks on Gaza this past summer, U.S. officials were unusually vocal. After shelling killed four young Palestinians on a beach, for example, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called it "horrifying." "The tragic event makes clear that Israel must take every possible step to meet its standards for protecting civilians from being killed,"... Read More
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Broken Homes and Broken Lives
Rubble. That’s been the one constant for the Awajah family for as long as I’ve known them. Four months ago, their home was demolished by the Israeli military -- and it wasn’t the first time that Kamal, Wafaa, and their children had been through this. For the last six years, the family has found itself... Read More
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How the Israel Lobby reshapes its message
Those of us who believe that the Israeli government has finally gone too far in its slaughter of Gazan civilians because the whole world, including most Americans, finally recognize something called ethnic cleansing at a level approaching genocide when they see it, should be aware that pushback has arrived. Israel and its powerful friends in... Read More
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What’s Next for Israel, Hamas, and Gaza?
On August 26th, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) both accepted a ceasefire agreement after a 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza that left 2,100 Palestinians dead and vast landscapes of destruction behind. The agreement calls for an end to military action by both Israel and Hamas, as well as an easing of the Israeli siege... Read More
Is there nowhere on the face of the Earth where opinion polls aren’t taken? In the wake of the 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza, parts of that tiny strip of land now look, according to photographs, like a moonscape of destruction. At least 10,000 homes were obliterated and thousands more damaged; at least 175 major... Read More
Workers Seen as Reflection of Israeli Society
On the Morning of May 20, 1990, Israeli Ami Popper, who would quickly be described as a “madman” by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, murdered seven Gaza workers and wounded 11 others in the “slave market” of Rishon Lezion, an Israeli town on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. As word of the massacre spread, protests broke... Read More
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Analysis: Military sources say Pentagon’s assessment of Shujaiya shelling alarmed even Secretary of State John Kerry
The cease-fire announced Tuesday between Israel and Palestinian factions — if it holds — will end seven weeks of fighting that killed more than 2,200 Gazans and 69 Israelis. But as the rival camps seek to put their spin on the outcome, one assessment of Israel’s Gaza operation that won’t be publicized is the U.S.... Read More
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The Devil Went Down to Georgia
Sinclair Lewis once opined that if fascism ever comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. I was reminded of that comment when a good friend of mine recently wrote a letter to her local newspaper in Augusta Georgia decrying the killing of nearly two thousand Palestinian civilians in... Read More
\"Marx Brothers 1931\" by Ralph F. Stitt - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress\
“Hey, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?” –Chico Marx
According to the official Israeli Defense Forces website Israel’s military adopted policies to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza. These included warnings via texts and phone calls, leaflets and “roof-knocking,” the firing a non-lethal round prior to the use of live ammunition. Israeli officials have been quick to embellish the IDF’s allegedly humanitarian ways. For example,... Read More
The carnage in the Gaza Strip has been horrendous: more than 1,900 dead, mainly civilians; its sole power plant destroyed (and so electricity and water denied and a sewage disaster looming); 30,000 to 40,000 homes and buildings damaged or destroyed; hundreds of thousands of residents put to flight with nowhere to go; and numerous U.N.... Read More
Israel and the U.S. Miss Many Chances to Avoid War
Alongside the toll of death and broken lives, perhaps the saddest reality of the latest Gaza war, like the Gaza wars before it, is how easy it would have been to avoid. For the last eight years, Israel and the U.S. had repeated opportunities to opt for a diplomatic solution in Gaza. Each time, they... Read More
Let’s do a thought experiment and imagine that the Arabs had gotten the better of the Israelis in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War and after years of conflict, all that was left of Israel was the Gaza strip. Assume for a moment that instead of Palestinians, over 1.8 million Jews were crammed into the 11 mile... Read More
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A Modern Guernica Enabled by Washington
The Obama Administration sent Secretary of State John Kerry to Israel to insist on a cease fire in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responds not only with a no but with a “hell no” and Kerry backed down, but Bibi didn't let it end there, telling Kerry and US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro "don't ever... Read More
Hamas is stronger, the Jewish state looks shifty and heartless – and the world's eyes are on Gaza
As Gaza is devastated by a new paroxysm of violence, what has Israel achieved by its 26-day bombardment and ground intervention? The outcome so far is similar to that of past Israeli wars in Lebanon and Gaza: massive firepower is used to inflict heavy losses on the other side, the great majority of the casualties... Read More
Confronting Your Member of Congress
In Italy, France, Spain, and much of Western Europe, August is vacation time. That is one of the few customs that members of the US Congress might admit sharing with what they see as “dead and dying Europe.” It also provides an unparalleled opportunity for those justifiably frustrated by the limited effects of protests in... Read More
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But What's In It For Americans?
It is a familiar scenario. Israeli is killing hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children, and the Zionist propaganda machine is working overtime. The President of the United States reaffirms America’s solemn pledge to protect Israel at all costs and justifies the carnage by stating that Israel has a right to defend itself. Secretary of... Read More
To many readers the New York Times coverage of the war in Gaza comes across as neutered or as having a pro-Israeli bias. But not to Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador in Washington, who lambasts the paper for failing “to mention that a million Israelis were in bomb shelters yesterday as 100 rockets were fired... Read More
The Moral Failure Of The West
Readers are asking for my take on the Israel-Gaza situation, and, believe it or not, Oxford University’s famous debating society, the Oxford Union, invited me to debate the issue. I replied to the Oxford Union that I was unprepared to take responsibility for the Palestinians without undergoing the extensive preparation that an Oxford Union debate... Read More
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NEW YORK – In 1956, Britain and France were convinced that Egypt’s charismatic nationalist leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser, was threatening what was left of their Mideast and African colonial empires. London branded Nasser, “Hitler on the Nile.” So the British and French governments secretly enlisted Israel to invade and annex Egypt’s Sinai. British and French... Read More
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The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
Israeli spokesmen have their work cut out explaining how they have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza, most of them civilians, compared with just three civilians killed in Israel by Hamas rocket and mortar fire. But on television and radio and in newspapers, Israeli government spokesmen such as Mark Regev appear slicker and less... Read More
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Israel is clearly winning the David v. Goliath struggle with Palestinians in Gaza. Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, seized on the murder in June of three Jewish teenagers from a West Bank settlement to launch Israel’s third war against Gaza in six years. So far, some 230 Palestinians have been killed, 70% women and children,... Read More
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There has to be a word which describes phrases which please the ear and are uttered in an air of reverence, implying that they contain some timeless wisdom. Upon examination, however, the phrase is either false or meaningless. Certainly Charles Krauthammer is not the first person to use this rhetorical technique. Here’s a brief listing:... Read More
A memo dated today is circulating among the members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It reads: BRIEFING NOTICE: HCFA FULL COMMITTEE BRIEFING: "Israeli-Gaza Conflict: Operation Pillar of Defense" WEDNESDAY 11/28/12 10:00 a.m. MEMBERS ONLY Dear Colleague: You are invited to attend a closed briefing to discuss the Israeli-Gaza Conflict: Operation Pillar of Defense. The... Read More
Interview with Iranian HispanTV - Video in Spanish Entra la noche en la Franja de Gaza con la sombra del dolor y la muerte. Entre lágrimas y gritos, se eleva a 46 la cifra de los palestinos muertos y centenares más de heridos por los ataques del régimen israelí contra la Franja de Gaza. Y... Read More
Interview with Russia Today. James Petras analyzes what is happening in
Living in Dignity With the Benefits of Citizenship
25,000 Jews live in Iran. It's the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel. Iranian Jews are not persecuted or abused by the state, in fact, they are protected under Iran's constitution. They are free to practice their religion and to vote in elections. They are not stopped and searched at checkpoints,... Read More
New book by James Petras, includes the Executive Summary of the GOLDSTONE REPORT AVAILABLE ONLY FROM CLEAR DAY BOOKS, a Division of CLARITY PRESS, INC. and from amazon.com TABLE OF CONTENTS ISBN: 0-9845255-0-5 978-0-9845255-0-8 $15.00 / 126 pp. / 2010 FROM THE PREFACE Published by the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,... Read More
The PR aftermath of the Gaza flotilla incident has not been edifying for people who worry about the future of Israel, the media, or the truth. Anyway, the media apparently believes that the interests of journalism, the truth, and its readers has been served by covering the story for about 48 hours. Not coincidentally, for... Read More
The Road to Ruad
As I write, Israel is using a military designed to fight hostile countries to fight a hostile population. In the modern world, this has seldom worked. To defeat a country you destroy its military and capture its territory. But Gaza has little military to destroy, no tanks or aircraft, and Israel already owns its territory.... Read More
A war is coming – I was forewarned some weeks ago by a most unlikely expert on the subject, an old fisherman called “Charlie”. We sat at a small café by the Sea of Galilee and looked at the dry mud where the sweet waters of the lake used to rollick, at its waterline, which... Read More
...there are a few points I haven't seen made in the press.
1. It was always clear that Israel was going to take advantage of the post-Bush/pre-anybody interregnum to attack one of its enemies. Remember when the possibility of an attack on Iran or Lebanon 2.0 were being chewed over? It turned out badly for the people of Gaza, but Iran & Syria are probably noting that... Read More
It now seems clear the last disastrous act of the Bush administration was giving Israel a green light to launch its final solution campaign against the Hamas government in Gaza. Just when we thought it was impossible for this calamitous president and Svengali Dick Cheney to do any more damage to the world or to... Read More
"Has God Changed His Mind?"
Apart from the slaughter of 900 Palestinians and the vast destruction from 14 days of aerial bombardment, the Israeli invasion of Gaza has failed to achieve any of its strategic objectives. The Palestinian resistance is still intact, the rocket-fire has continued, and Hamas is stronger than ever. So, what has been gained? Hamas has withstood... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
In contrast to the grim forecasts of many fine contributors to this site over the past days, your CounterPunch editors have been inclined to take the view that Israel’s onslaught on Gaza, appalling though the carnage has been, is not only a crime but a blunder, like the attack on Lebanon in 2006, which demonstrated... Read More
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A Modern Guernica Enabled by Washington