Ali Abunimah - In recent weeks, the US- and Israeli-backed Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) has made a show of calling on Palestinians to boycott goods manufactured in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Despite the rhetoric of defiance and resistance, and exaggerated screams of anguish from Israeli settler groups, the PA effort actually appears designed to co-opt, undermine and abort the much broader Palestinian civil society campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), and to reassure Israel of the continued docility and collaboration of its puppet regime in Ramallah.
Raymond Whitaker and Donald Macintyre - By the time the shooting stopped, more than 100 Palestinians had been killed for every Israeli who died. Was every death lawful? And, if not, where does the fault lie? Did Israel – or its enemy, Hamas – commit war crimes during 22 days and nights of aerial assault, rocket launches and ground fighting in Gaza? In one sense the question is academic, because Israel will not recognise the conflict as an international one, and has not signed the 1977 Geneva protocol designed to apply to the victims of internal conflicts. But international lawyers say general principles can be drawn from the laws of war, which may have been violated in several ways. This article covers the main issues.
Noam Chomsky - Literally, the crimes that the US and Israel have been committing in Gaza in the past weeks fall under the official US government definition of “terrorism,” but that designation does not capture their enormity. They cannot be called “aggression,” because they are being conducted in occupied territory. In their comprehensive history of Israeli settlement in the occupied territories, Idit Zertal and Akiva Eldar point out that after Israel withdrew its forces from Gaza in 2005, the ruined territory was not released “for even a single day from Israel’s military grip or from the price of the occupation that the inhabitants pay every day … Israel left behind scorched earth, devastated services, and people with neither a present nor a future.” The US-Israeli assault escalated in January 2006, when Palestinians committed a truly heinous crime: they voted “the wrong way” in a free election. Since the terms “aggression” and “terrorism” are inadequate, some new term is needed for the sadistic and cowardly torture of people caged with no possibility of escape, while they are being pounded to dust by the most sophisticated products of US military technology.
John Pilger - The bombardment and reinvasion of the Gaza Strip has little to do with Hamas or “Israel’s right to exist”. Palestine’s right to exist was cancelled 61 years ago and the expulsion and, if necessary, extinction of the indigenous people was planned and executed by the founders of Israel. The lie of David and Goliath, of perennial victim, reached its apogee in 1967, and since then, mostly Jewish truth-tellers have dispatched this and other myths and revealed a state shorn of the humane traditions of Judaism, whose unrelenting militarism is the sum of an expansionist, lawless and racist ideology called zionism. In Gaza, the enforced starvation and denial of humanitarian aid, the piracy of life-giving resources such as fuel and water, the denial of medicines and treatment, the systematic destruction of infrastructure and the killing and maiming of the civilian population, 50 per cent of whom are children, meet the international standard of the Genocide Convention.
Chris Floyd - Comment on Israel’s savage attack on the people of Gaza seems superfluous. The speak loudly, with horrifying clarity, for themselves. We are witnessing monstrous crimes, committed with cold deliberation: a bloodthirsty spectacle of unbridled terrorism, openly celebrated by the political and media elites of Israel and America. This is, of course, the same kind of moral insanity that guides the actions of power in many lands, in increasingly brazen and unapologetic ways, with less and less of the shamefaced furtiveness that once surrounded such abominations as military aggression, torture, “ethnic cleansing” and other crimes of power down through the centuries. This furtiveness was hypocrisy, of course - but in hypocrisy there remains some vestige of the morality it falsely purports to uphold, some awareness that an evil thing is being done which must be hidden or disguised. But now the masks are falling away - or rather, they are being flung aside with gleeful abandon.
Ramzy Baroud - Sharon has once more demonstrated that he is anything but a changed man. His words and actions are the single required testimony. In fact, one might argue that his commitment to the illegal settlements project is approaching the apex: Caging in Palestinians in the whole occupied territories, effectively annexing 58 per cent of the West Bank, expanding the borders of “Greater Jerusalem”, dispatching thousands of Jewish settlers from Gaza to the West Bank, incarcerating tens of thousands of Palestinians behind walls, fences, trenches and locked gates. This is what the Israeli Prime Minister has to offer Palestinians in response to their one sided ceasefire and to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose foremost priority seems to be proving to Washington and Tel Aviv, that he, unlike Arafat, is a worthy and “relevant” peace partner.
Tanya Reinhart - For those who oppose Israeli occupation, it is clear that Sharon’s disengagement is just a plan for maintaining the occupation with more international legitimacy. However, there is one presupposition shared in all discussions of this plan - that in the process, Sharon also intends to dismantle the settlements of the Gaza strip, and return the land they are built on to the Palestinians. I should say that had I believed this might happen, I would have supported the plan. As long as the Palestinians manage to hold on to their land, under even the worst occupation, they will eventually also gain their liberation. In fact, however, the Israeli parliament voted to approve “the revised disengagement plan”, which was previously approved in another “historical meeting” of the Israeli Cabinet, on June 6, 2004. So it is appropriate to check what was actually approved at that Cabinet meeting.
B. Michael - Between September 29th and October 15th, fifteen days in all, I killed thirty children. Two children per day. Two dead children per day is more or less four bereaved parents per day. Why more or less? Because some of them were brothers. So, two dead children for one pair of bereaved parents. Perhaps that’s better, because these parents are bereaved anyway, so they are just bereaved twice, and another pair of parents is released from being bereaved. But perhaps it is less good, because to be bereaved is worse than being dead, and being twice bereaved is twice worse than being dead. So I don’t really know what to decide.
Omar Barghouti - Iman al-Hams was a 13-year old refugee schoolgirl who was executed—after being wounded—by an Israeli platoon commander on the sad sands of Rafah. After a bullet hit her leg, and Iman fell, the officer went over to her, saw that she was bleeding from her wounds, and shot her twice in the head to “confirm the killing.”. A cursory army investigation later cleared him of any “unethical” conduct, as is customary. In a flash, Israel proved to the world—yet again—that it is not only intransigent in its patent and consistent violation of international law, but also incapable of adhering to the most fundamental principles of moral behavior. But why, someone may protest, should we judge Israel based on this one incident, as heinous as it may be? A brief look at Israel’s recent record of purposely targeting Palestinian children will provide a compelling response.
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