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Israeli Army to Clear Itself of Wrongdoing in Gaza Slayings

Society & Culture  (tags: accountability, Human Rights Watch, Gaza siege, David Crane, occupation-zionism, Palestinian human rights violations, Gaza Strip blockade, humanitarian, right of Return, UN Human Rights Council, Great March of Return, world news/media/Palestine, freedoms )

- 84 days ago -
Israel will once again clear itself of wrongdoing over the killing of more than 150 Palestinians during the Great March of Return protests in Gaza


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fly b (26)
Friday July 27, 2018, 7:31 pm
Medics attempt to save the life of Yasir Abu al-Naja, 11, the youngest fatality during the Great March of Return. The boy was shot in the head during a protest on 29 June.
(Ashraf Amra / APA images)

Israel will once again clear itself of wrongdoing over the killing of more than 150 Palestinians during the Great March of Return protests in Gaza.

Palestinian civilians were shot as a result of “operational mishaps,” rather than intentionally targeted, an internal military probe is reportedly set to conclude, contrary to the findings of human rights groups.

The internal investigation “is expected to find that none of the incidents involved violations of open-fire orders and therefore there are no grounds for referring any of the cases to the Military Police for further investigation,” according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Human rights groups characterize the Israeli military’s investigations of its violations against Palestinians as a whitewashing mechanism intended to ward off attention from bodies such as the International Criminal Court.

There is no reason to believe that this probe will prove otherwise.

The internal investigation supposedly finds that the deaths of “innocent” protesters were caused by ricocheted bullets or as a result of demonstrators walking into the paths of already fired live ammunition.

The deaths of Palestinians who Israel claims opened fire at soldiers or threw explosives resulted from troops opening fire “due to operational needs,” according to the probe.

Haaretz’s reporting suggests that the deaths of some unarmed protesters may have been dismissed by the internal investigation because Israel’s intelligence apparatus identified the individuals as affiliated with Hamas’ military wing.

Israel has consistently sought to portray the protests as provocations instigated by Hamas. Defense minister Avigdor Lieberman has called all of those killed during the demonstrations “terrorists.”

Human rights groups say that the political affiliation of protesters killed by soldiers is irrelevant to the legality of Israel’s actions.

In a report calling for sanctions against Israeli leaders who have ordered the killings of civilians, Human Rights Watch states:

“Hamas’ encouragement of and support for the protests and the participation of Hamas members in the protests do not justify the use of live ammunition against protesters who posed no threat to life.”

UN committee of inquiry

The United Nations Human Rights Council announced this week the formation of a committee of inquiry into Israeli military assaults on the Great March of Return protests.

Former war crimes prosecutor and US Department of Defense official David Crane will head the panel of three jurists.

Israel declared that it would refuse to cooperate with the investigation after the UN body voted in favor of its establishment. The vote was held during a special session on 18 May after more than 60 protesters were fatally wounded four days earlier.

For years Israel has prevented human rights investigators from entering Gaza under the guise of security considerations in an effort to block them from undertaking their work.

Israel is currently waging a court battle to deport Omar Shakir, the head of Human Rights Watch’s office in Palestine, as part of a greater effort to muzzle witnesses of its crimes.

Human Rights Watch has described Israel’s open-fire policy towards Gaza protesters as “calculated” and Amnesty International has termed it a “murderous assault.”

The use of live fire against unarmed demonstrators has also attracted the scrutiny of the International Criminal Court and Israeli leaders have received an unprecedented warning from the chief prosecutor.

“Point of no return”

Israel continues to make life miserable for ordinary Palestinians in Gaza for the stated purpose of turning the population against Hamas, which administers the internal affairs of the occupied territory.

COGAT, the bureaucratic arm of Israel’s military occupation, announced the resumption of entry of fuel and gas into Gaza on Tuesday.

“The return of the crossing to full operation is contingent upon a complete cessation of terror activity along the security fence,” COGAT stated, referring to the Gaza-Israel boundary.

Israel killed three Palestinian fighters in Gaza on Wednesday, despite a ceasefire reportedly reached after a massive bombing campaign last Friday.

On Tuesday, UN Middle East peace process coordinator Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council that over the past two weeks, “the situation [in Gaza] quickly spiraled out of control, nearly to a point of no return.”

Mladenov separately warned this week that Gaza “is on the verge of a total economic and social collapse, with half of the population jobless and basic services severely overstretched.”

He added that “There is no point in asking [international] donors to continue funding initiatives without a political horizon for the future. This cannot be another futile exercise in conflict management and recurring humanitarian support.”

He stated that his office is “focused on restoring unity between Gaza and the West Bank under one democratic government and under one legal system where all weapons are under the control of one legitimate national authority.”

fly b (26)
Friday July 27, 2018, 7:32 pm
“Israel effectively declares itself an apartheid state”
July 19, 2018

Palestinian civil society reacts to Israel’s "Jewish Nation-State Law​" which unambiguously defines Israel as a state that belongs exclusively to the “Jewish people.” This is despite the fact that one in five citizens of Israel is an indigenous, non-Jewish Palestinian.

(A Palestinian family in front of the ruins of their home in Umm al-Hiran, a Palestinian community that the Israeli government is destroying so it can build a town for Israeli Jews only in its place. Residents of Umm al-Hiran are Israeli citizens.)

July 19, 2018 — Today, Israeli lawmakers gave their final approval to the “Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People” bill that unambiguously defines Israel as a state that belongs exclusively to the “Jewish people.” This is despite the fact that one in five citizens of Israel is an indigenous, non-Jewish Palestinian.

Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset condemned the law, which enjoys constitutional power, as an “apartheid law.”

Adalah, a leading Palestinian human rights organization in Israel, describes how the law “affirms the principle of apartheid in housing, land and citizenship.” It concludes that “this law constitutionally sanctions institutionalized discrimination.”

Najwan Berekdar, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, reacted:
As a Palestinian citizen of this state, this bill entrenches my third-class citizenship on the land where generations of my family have lived since long before the state of Israel even existed.

The Jewish-Israeli majority is loudly reminding us indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel that we are not welcome in our own ancestral homeland. My people have always suffered from legalized racism by the state of Israel and its institutions, but this law makes our apartheid reality the law of the land like never before.

As “non-Jews” we are already not allowed to buy or rent land on 93% of the area controlled by the Israeli state, and many of our communities are declared to be “unrecognized” and bulldozed out of existence by Israeli forces. I received a racially segregated and inferior education in a school system that conspicuously privileges Jewish-Israelis.

Israel is now stripping us of any semblance of equal rights based solely on our ethno-religious identity. It’s even demoting our language from one of the state’s two official languages.

Omar Barghouti from the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) commented:

Israel has dozens of racist laws, including some which strikingly fit the UN definition of apartheid. But with the constitutional power of this Basic Law, Israel is effectively declaring itself an apartheid state and dropping its worn-out mask of democracy.

From now on, it will not just be legal to racially discriminate against the indigenous Palestinian citizens of the state. It will be constitutionally mandated and required. This should stir people, institutions and governments to take effective action to hold Israel accountable.

Omar Barghouti concluded:

If ever there was a time for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel’s system of oppression, it is now. Israel’s official adoption of apartheid opens the door for the Palestinian people, Arab nations and our allies around the world to pressure the UN to activate its anti-apartheid laws and impose serious sanctions on Israel like those imposed on apartheid South Africa.

We shall double our efforts to further grow the BDS movement for Palestinian rights to hold Israel accountable for all its crimes against our people. No Israeli law will erase our right to self-determination in our homeland or the right of our refugees to return home. No Israeli far-right government, with all the blind support it receives from xenophobic and outright fascist forces in the United States and Europe, will ever extinguish our aspiration for freedom, justice and equality.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.

fly b (26)
Friday July 27, 2018, 7:52 pm
Lieberman says Israel Planning Assault on Gaza Bigger than 2014 Invasion in which 2100 Palestinians Killed.
July 20, 2018

Israeli Defense Minister and former nightclub bouncer Avigdor Lieberman stated, on Friday, that he is directing the Israeli military to prepare for an all-out assault on the besieged Gaza Strip, which he said will be “broad” and “painful”.

After killing 42 unarmed protesters, and wounding 17,000 who were participating in non-violent protests, over the the past three and a half months, without provoking an armed response from Palestinian resistance fighters in Gaza, Israeli authorities appear to be at a loss as to how to ensure that the Palestinian population continues to be perceived by the world as ‘irrational terrorists’, rather than a population living under colonial military rule, struggling for their existence.

Avigdor Lieberman, who is well-known for his threat to expel all Palestinians from inside what is now Israel, and who has frequently called for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, is now the Defense Minister under the government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Lieberman is also known for having beaten up a twelve year old boy in a settlement where he had been living, because the boy was bothering him.

On Friday, Lieberman appeared to blame Hamas for the escalation that Israel has been carrying out in Gaza, stating, “We are trying to be measured and responsible, but the leaders of Hamas are leading us into a situation in which there is no choice, a situation in which we will have to embark on a broad and painful military operation, not only for appearances”.

According to the Israeli paper Ha’aretz, Lieberman made the statement during a visit to the Israeli town of Sderot, which was provocatively built on stolen Palestinian land just across the border from Gaza several years ago, “Unfortunately, residents of Gaza will be among those who will have to pay the price”.

Lieberman also stated, according to the Israeli paper, “We all saw in the newspaper that because of the kites and because of the fires, we’re not going to war – although any reasonable person who sees natural woodlands burned, thousands of acres of agricultural fields burned, understands that the situation is unreasonable. We are acting with responsibility and restrain, even though the real problem is the erosion of deterrence, a change in the equation and of course the sense of security, which is no less important than security itself.”

He added that, “There are 159 dead terrorists, there are some 5,000 wounded, we damaged crucial infrastructure belonging to Hamas, including production facilities, a munitions depot, a central training facility, [and] we struck two tunnels”, saying proudly that Israel had dropped 50 tons of bombs into Gaza over the past two and a half months. But no evidence was provided to support the claim that the Palestinians killed in this period were ‘terrorists’, and multiple videos show that the vast majority of the 142 Palestinians killed (not 159 as Israel claimed) were anything other than non-violent demonstrators, medics, journalists and children.

Prior to moving to Israel from Moldova, Lieberman worked as a nightclub bouncer. When he moved into an Israeli settlement, he gained infamy when he was charged with beating up the 12-year old boy. He espoused extreme right-wing views, and became a member of the Yisrael Beitenu party. He is now chair of that party.

In 2012, a corruption case against Lieberman was dropped, and an article in the Israeli paper Ha’aretz stated, “Completing the investigation would have required judicial inquiries in different countries, but a decision was taken on the matter, to wind up the investigation instead of probing deeper.”

The Ha’aretz article quoted the investigation’s documents, which found that Lieberman had millions of dollars in offshore bank accounts linked to at least five different companies in his name. The investigation’s report also stated, “Considerable questions and queries remain in light of the evidence seemingly indicating Lieberman’s involvement in the companies and his improper connection with them. Needless to say, closing a criminal case for lack of evidence does not constitute a certificate of vindication and does not eliminate these doubts.”

The 2014 war in Gaza was devastating to the population of Gaza – over 2100 Palestinian people were killed, the vast majority of whom were unarmed civilians. 39 Israeli soldiers, and 3 Israeli civilians, were killed by Palestinians. During the month-long assault, Israeli airforce bombers devastated whole neighborhoods, wiped out entire families of dozens of members from grandparents to infants, and fired white phosphorus at schools where families had gone to seek shelter. Despite a UN Inquiry that found widespread evidence of war crimes, Israeli soldiers who participated in this massacre faced no repercussions for their actions.

fly b (26)
Friday July 27, 2018, 8:08 pm
UN: Gaza Needs Support to Prevent Renewed Conflict.
July 26, 2018

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolay Mladenov, said in a statement yesterday that the besieged Gaza Strip is on the verge of total economic and social collapse.

Mladenov stressed that half of Gaza’s population is unemployed and that basic services are severely overstretched.

The UN envoy welcomed a recommendation by the World Bank’s Board to allocate $90 million, an increase of $55 million from last year, in response to the economic situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, specifically in the Gaza Strip.

Mladenov stated:

“This significant increase in funding comes at a critical time when urgent interventions are required to prevent renewed conflict and to boost Palestinian economic opportunities and livelihoods.”

He added that this allocation will be used in partnership with the Palestinian Authority (PA)

“to support key interventions, including job creation through emergency cash-for-work and labor-intensive infrastructure rehabilitation.”

UNRWA needs $217 million to maintain its work this year, he explained, describing the situation as a “serious concern”.

Earlier this week UNRWA suspended the work contracts of nearly 1,000 employees, transferring many to temporary employment which comes to an end at the end of the year.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Evelyn B (61)
Saturday July 28, 2018, 1:02 am
We need human shields in Gaza (&OPT)

Because DT has given the extreme right Israelis the message that they can act in complete impunity during his watch. And that just reinforces BN & Co's own tendancies

When impunity is guaranteed, too suggest that Israeli strategies & actions are WRONG is clearly "anti-Semitic" - and only Israelis (chosen from among those supporting the extreme right) may judge Israeli actions ... ensuring that any wrong-doing is justified & white-washed.
Nothing new, just more extreme.

WHEN will enough Israelis dare to speak out & reject this process of approving human rights abuses if perpetrated by the State of Israel? It is not in keeping with Judaic values ... just with extreme Zionist politics
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