"The children were fascinated. Urged to ask questions, they mostly wanted to know whether IDF colonel was afraid, though they also asked if he had killed Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, whose picture and the picture of his destroyed wheelchair were quite a hit on Israeli TV. The colonel said it was another unit, not his, ‘but he deserved to die,’ and he promised the children that ‘we don’t kill unless there is a really good reason.’ He ended the talk by telling the children he hoped that they too would one day have the chance to become senior officers in the IDF.” Yitzhak Laor writes about an exhibition of soldiers’ photographs in Tel Aviv and introduces some of the soldiers’ memories of their military service.
An Israeli Knesset committee is currently formulating the first constitution for Israel in its fifty-six years of existence. The consensus among the Jewish committee members is that the constitution will proclaim the state to be both “Jewish and democratic”. The sole Arab committee member, Azmi Bishara, believes that the state cannot be both Jewish and democratic at the same time. Who is right? In considering the Jewish state?s track record in fostering democracy, we will restrict ourselves to its record in governing the population within its own borders, and in particular the one million Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship. How have they fared in what the Knesset wishes to call a Jewish and democratic state?
Ian Williams, Asia Times.
It is not often that the International Court of Justice comes out with such an unequivocal opinion as it did recently on Israel?s “security barrier” inside the Occupied Territories. Just because it ruled against Israel and, by extension, its USA protector, on every point, does not invalidate the reasoning for the rest of the world. You cannot cherry-pick international law. People who attack the court for its decision should beware. In doing so, they are calling into question the United Nations Charter, and the whole foundation of international law and humanitarian conventions and treaties: which in the end are the legal basis of the state of Israel’s international recognition, and, in a broader sense, everyone else’s best hope for a global order that does not rely on anarchistic violence and force majeure.
Even prior to its ruling on the illegality of the wall, the International Court of Justice was denounced by Israeli government pundits as a “kangaroo court.” After the ruling, one commentator opined, “The court is biased.” Another proclaimed that the ICJ decision would “find its place in the garbage can of history.” The same stance was not, however, taken with respect to the Israel High Court decison. Justice Minister Yosef Lapid aptly summarized Israel’s position on these two decisions: “We will comply with our High Court decisions, and not with the International Court.” Herein lies the fundamental problem: Israel reserves the right to act both as defendant and judge of any suit against it and will not accede to independent adjudication of its crimes.
One of the Israeli newspapers, Haaretz, put the two events on the front page: the 100th anniversary of the death of Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionist movement, and the judgment of the International Court of Justice, which declared the Israeli Separation Wall illegal. This coincidence may seem fortuitous. What connection could there possibly be between a historical anniversary and the latest topical event? But there is a connection. It is expressed in one sentence written by Herzl in Der Judenstaat, the book that became the cornerstone of Zionism. This is what it said: “There (in Palestine) we shall be a sector of the wall of Europe against Asia, we shall serve as the outpost of civilization against barbarism.” This sentence could easily be written today.
"What the army used here yesterday was not tear gas. We know what tear gas is, what it feels like. That was something totally different . . . When we were still a long way off from where the bulldozers were working, they started shooting things like this one. Black smoke came out. Anyone who breathed it lost consciousness immediately, more than a hundred people. They remained unconscious for nearly 24 hours. One is still unconscious, at Rapidiya Hospital in Nablus. They had high fever and their muscles became rigid. Some needed urgent blood transfusion. Now, is this a way of dispersing a demonstration, or is it chemical warfare?”
Palestinians Declare a New Intifada Has Begun
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) extra-judicially executed the founder and spiritual leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas Sheikh Ahmad Yasin while leaving a mosque after he performed his predawn prayers in Gaza City early Monday. Pandora?s box has been opened. We are counting down” until the next Palestinian attack “and the question is how many Israelis will be killed,” said Yossi Beilin the former Israeli justice minister and co-author of the unofficial Geneva Initiative. Hamas vindicated Beilin?s warning. The Hamas leadership said, “Sharon has opened the gates of hell. And nothing will stop us from cutting off his head”.
The current threat of attacks in countries whose governments have close alliances with Washington is the latest stage in a long struggle against the empires of the west, their rapacious crusades and domination. The motivation of those who plant bombs in railway carriages derives directly from this truth. What is different today is that the weak have learned how to attack the strong, and the western crusaders’ most recent colonial terrorism (as many as 55,000 Iraqis killed) exposes “us” to retaliation. The source of much of this danger is Israel. A creation, then guardian of the west’s empire in the Middle East, the Zionist state remains the cause of more regional grievance and sheer terror than all the Muslim states combined.
The lack of access to medical services resulting from the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is having devastating effects on the population, a conference held at the University of Illinois in Chicago on March 7 concluded. Heightened maternity deaths, increasing numbers of traumatized patients suffering from lack of treatment, emergency services unable to come to the rescue of the injured, acute malnutrition, anaemia and stunting among Palestinian children are but a few of the dramatic consequences of the occupation since the outbreak of the second Intifada.
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