Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it

This article has been edited and updated for the benefit of those who thus far have been dependent on the mainstream media for information regarding the current (2014) situation in Palestine/Israel. I was moved to repost it after hearing a tragically erroneous statement regarding the reasons why things are as they are from someone who got that information from a mainstream broadcast.

It was written in 2009 following Operation Cast Lead, the 2008/9 predecessor of current actions, and written for the same reason, given that not only were the Israeli army doing exactly what they're doing now, but the mainstream media was giving it the same coverage and 'spin'. It is of necessity a long article, but those wanting a comprehensive overview of the situation from a historical and current perspective will be well served by it. The numerous links within are to data the amount of which would make this article unfeasibly long. Links to essential reading are identified with an asterix*.

A historical parallel

The policy of apartheid is nothing new. Most people are aware of such legislation once being implemented in South Africa. In fact, the word apartheid is an Afrikaner word. In 1958 the Nationalist Party won a whites-only election by a majority of five seats in a whites-only Parliament on a racist platform that promised to establish strict ‘apartheid’ or separate development policies to counter the hyped up ‘black threat’. From that point until 1994 apartheid ruled in South Africa. The segregationist legislation, included:

  • The Prohibition of Mixed-Marriages Act (1950), which made interracial marriage a criminal act; 
  • The Population Registration Act (1949), which required registration and racial classification of all persons above sixteen years of age;
  • The Suppression of Communism Act (1950), which associated anti-apartheid activities with communism; 
  • The Group Areas Act (1950), which allowed the government to determine the areas in which people of different races and nationalities could reside and own property;
  • The Bantu Education Act (1953), which brought mission schools under government control and circumscribed the education of Africans.

An anti-apartheid movement developed in response to the legislation. There were two main aspects to the movement: the internal campaign to destabilise the racist regime, and the external campaign for political, economic, and cultural sanctions. Few social movements in history have garnered anywhere near the international support that was mobilised against the racist apartheid regime in South Africa. The mass civil-disobedience campaigns gathered supporters in India, Africa, and the US, and in 1952 thirteen African and Asian countries brought the issue before the Secretary General of the United Nations, calling on the organisation to establish a commission to study the issue and report its finding at the next General Assembly. The United States vetoed the resolution, however, beginning a forty-year history of US diplomatic support for apartheid.

The Sharpeville Massacre in March 1960 when South African police gunned down seventy-two men, women, and children demonstrating against the Natives Act of 1952 (collectively known as the Pass Laws) that required black people to carry identification with them at all times, caused international outrage and precipitated international action. In 1962 the UN General Assembly voted to sever diplomatic, transportation, and economic relations with South Africa.

The apartheid regime responded to this pressure by declaring a state of emergency, and banning anti-apartheid organisations. The liberation movement went underground and into exile, and the second phase of the movement, armed struggle, began. Bases of operation, military training, and political education were obtained through the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and a coalition of nieghbouring countries. The apartheid regime responded by attacking the ‘frontline states’ and sponsoring terrorist organisations to disrupt, discredit, and overthrow hostile governments. By the 1970s the region had become a ‘Cold War theatre’, with the United States and South Africa sponsoring terrorist insurgencies and Cuba and the Soviet Union supporting the governments of Mozambique and Angola.

In the 1980s, the movement entered a third stage: massive resistance, characterised by the determination of anti-apartheid activists within South Africa to make the country ungovernable through strikes, boycotts, demonstrations, and acts of sabotage. Internationally the anti-apartheid movement had matured, and most countries in the world had imposed military and economic sanctions against South Africa, with the exception of Britain and the United States. It took over a decade of activism in the US before the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act was passed despite it’s being vetoed by President Reagan. The combined pressures of international sanctions, divestment, trade embargos and internal strife eventually led to the demise of the apartheid state, beginning with the repealing of the Pass Laws in 1986. In May 1994 Nelson Mandela, released three years earlier after twenty-seven years in prison, was sworn in as president of South Africa.

Keep the above in mind as we fast-forward to modern day and once again see a racist regime oppressing a nation using apartheid strategies and legislation. The apartheid regime in question is the Israeli regime, and the nation being specifically oppressed the Palestinians. And once again we see that regime condoned, supported and funded by Britain and the US (There are those who argue that the term apartheid doesn’t apply to the Israeli regime’s policies and practices. I would recommend that they read this  very perceptive and rational analysis of the issue of apartheid as it applies to the Israeli regime.)

The history of the conflict is a long and convoluted one whose waters are clouded by political machinations, covert manipulation from intelligence agencies, and corporate dealings.  To understand the very beginnings of the conflict, I would recommend a look at the transcript of a speech given by Benjamin Freedman* in 1961. Freedman, one-time liaison to Henry Morgenthau, Sr. in the 1912 campaign when President Wilson was elected, was also personally acquainted with Bernard Baruch, Samuel Untermyer, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Kennedy, and John F. Kennedy. In his speech he describes little-known aspects of how the Palestine/Israel situation came about. Although dated, what he had to say is relevant to understanding the current situation. It also gives a valuable insight into other aspects of the development of WWII. The article includes links to other related sources of information.

Following on from the information revealed by Benjamin Freedman, an important aspect of the conflict is the refugee problem that began in 1948, with the creation of the State of Israel. Over 700,000 Palestinians became refugees that year, in what is known as the “Nakba”, which is Arabic for catastrophe. Detailed description and analysis of that aspect can be found here* and here*.

This article is called Those Who Forget History Are Condemned to Repeat it, but, as the Nakba is something Palestinians will never forget, it could more aptly be titled, Those Who Forget History Condemn Others to Have it Repeated on Them.

History aside, one need look no further than the current situation to perceive its illegality and immorality. Despite the sound bytes fed through the media, Israeli military action isn’t about security or a response to a ‘Palestinian threat’ (the same type of justification the South African government's "black threat").

For years the Israeli government has been stealing Palestinian land particularly in the West Bank and Gaza, destroying Palestinian homes and oppressing Palestinian people with the kind of apartheid legislation described above, and worse. Displaced and homeless Palestinians are put in ghettos (as in South Africa) where brutal living conditions such as lack of access to water and power prevail. Gaza is aptly described as the world's largest open-air concentration camp. The following documentary film shows footage from one of the many camps in Gaza for Palestinians displaced by the Israeli occupation.

www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15693.htm

Another type of abuse is strip-searching, cavity searching, and forced stripping. While organisations that focus on Palestine/Israel have long been aware that Israeli forces regularly strip-search men and women, If Americans Knew appears to be the first organisation that has specifically investigated the situation. Israeli Strip Searches: A Partial List compiled by Sarah Tiglao documents the use of strip searches and forced stripping as a method for humiliating men, women, and children routinely employed by Israeli forces.

Documented abuses include:

  • People forced to strip in public 
  • Women strip searched in front of their children 
  • Children and women (sometimes in labour) strip searched and/or cavity searched
  • Children under 16 being ‘body searched’ in isolation 
  • Being stripped and beaten precipitating a miscarriage
  • Being stripped and having burning paper held under the testicles with threats of having a bottle shoved up the anus and being shot 
  • Being made to strip after being shot

The list, a partial one, makes long and distressing reading. Reading it not only generates outrage at the crimes and the perpetrators, but it also helps to understand some of the responses of the oppressed.

One might argue that, given the current situation in Palestine and the risk of ‘suicide attacks’, strip-searching by Israeli forces is justified. There is, however. the existence of sensing technology that has done away with the need for arbitrary strip-searching, technology easily accessible to Israeli forces with the billions of dollars of US military assistance they get each year, and the unlimited trade access to they enjoy. In fact, the regime spares no cost when it comes to buying equipment like fighter jets, tanks, helicopters, and bulldozers. It also appears that Israeli policy targets only Christians and Muslims, and is equally applied to those with Israeli citizenship and citizenship in other countries, including native-born Americans.

The following video shows five women who tell stories of humiliation and harassment by Israeli border guards and airport security officials.

http://www.ifamericansknew.org/about_us/easiesttargets.html

As the wall in Gaza has extended and checkpoints increased so have reports of abuse at checkpoints.The ctrl.alt.shift Film Competition winner video No Way Through highlights one of the problems faced by Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, and goes some way to bringing the issues of life in Palestine closer to home.

Israeli military attacks on civilian infrastructure have killed thousands, mostly civilians, including hundreds of children. UNICEF regularly reports on the impact to children as a result. Civilian and children fatalities and casualties are passed off as ‘regrettable’ and ‘unavoidable’ by the Israeli government in instances of the aerial bombardment of schools, mosques, hospitals and other civilian targets in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), attacks guaranteed to result in civilian casualties, against targets which are illegal according to international law set out in the Geneva Protocols. This set of photographs reveals the effects of Israeli military attacks (Dec 08-Jan 09) in Gaza, which included the banned by international law use of white phosphorus munitions on civilians.

A no longer available report from the Middle East Children’s Alliance tells of Palestinian families being shot by Israeli snipers as they tried to enter a Red Crescent (Palestinian Red Cross) hospital in Gaza. In it Sharon Locke, an Australian volunteer at Al-Quds Hospital says that when one family approached the hospital, Israeli snipers started firing at the family. "They shot a young girl in the face and abdomen. She is now being operated on. The father of the family was shot in the leg and fell to the ground," Locke said. “The mother was screaming that one of her daughters was still outside, behind a bush, too scared to move. Mohammed, a medic I have been working with, ran outside and carried her to the hospital." The following day parts of the hospital went up in flames when Israeli artillery shells struck the buildings.

Stop for a moment and ask yourself how you would feel if that young girl was your daughter, or your sister, or if that man was your husband, your father or your brother?

The attack of non-political emergency medical teams is not uncommon. Israeli attacks often target Red Cross/Red Crescent ambulances and hospitals. The Red Cross team were called to help a family whose home had been bombed, and had just finished loading three injured people onboard when it was hit by a rocket. Everybody was injured. Kassem Shaulan, a 28-year-old medic with the Lebanese Red Cross had several wounds on his body and stitches on his chin and leg. "There was an old man on a stretcher in the ambulance who lost his leg from the bomb, and a child with us is now in coma. The third person is critically injured," Kassem told Inter Press Service journalists. He also said that minutes after his ambulance was bombed, another ambulance nearby that was collecting injured people was also bombed.

Mohammad Zatar, who has been working for the Lebanese Red Cross since 1993, said he had never before seen attacks on rescue workers. "As a Red Cross volunteer, I need to be very clear that we are not political – we rescue anyone who needs help, whether they are civilian, a resistance fighter or an Israeli soldier, our policy is to help any human who needs help. But the Israelis seem to be attacking us now."

In the following video Cenk Uyger, a presenter of the US independent media outlet The Young Turks asks whether the January 2009 bombing by Israeli forces of a UN facility in Gaza that was sheltering over 700 civilians and UN workers was intentional. A very perceptive and important point made in the video is the connection between the current deliberate targeting of civilians by Israeli forces and the strategy of ‘education’ used by the Israeli government against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, namely, inflicting so much property damage and ‘collateral casualties’ in Hezbollah’s communities that Hezbollah would be reluctant to engage with them in the future. Perhaps the strategy, as it does seem to be, of targeting United Nations, Red Cross, and other Non Governmental Organisations, is intended to ‘educate’ the rest of the world and dissuade international opposition. It certainly reflects former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s thinking when he said that Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.

The targeting of children by Israeli snipers seems to be the rule rather than the exception. A report (no longer available) by Chris McGreal in the Guardian details children being hunted by Israeli snipers and describes Palestinian doctors despair at the rising toll of children shot dead by army snipers. Another report(no longer available), 'Israeli snipers with children in their sights', begins with the account of Asma Mughayar aged 16 and her brother Ahmed, 13, killed by an Israeli army sniper as they collected laundry on the roof of their home in southern Gaza. The Israeli army insisted the children had been blown up by a roadside bomb. Single bullet wounds to the head observed by morgue attendants and journalists told a different story. When confronted with the evidence the army changed it’s statement and said the children were killed by a Palestinian gunman.

Israeli army snipers, proud of their actions and attitudes have t-shirts, fleece jackets and pants printed with images and slogans like the one in the picture which shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull's-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, "1 shot, 2 kills”

Other images and slogans include:

  • "Better use Durex," next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with it’s weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him.
  • A drawing of a soldier next to a young woman with bruises, and the slogan, "Bet you got raped!"
  • Images about confirming the kill – shooting a bullet into a Palestinian's head from close range to ensure s/he is dead –"We won't chill 'til we confirm the kill"
  • Images that show harm to religious sites.
  • Images showing harm done to female or child non-combatants.

Internationals murdered

Mohammed, the medic at Al-Quds hospital mentioned above was lucky. Tom Hurndall, 21-years old British member of the International Solidarity Movement, was murdered by Occupation forces in the act of protecting Palestinian children at a checkpoint in Gaza. Reports say that he had managed to carry one to safety out of the range of an Israeli sniper and was returning for two more when he was shot in the back of the head. This tribute from British journalist Robert Fisk is a preface to Hurndall’s soon to be published journals.

Again, ask yourself how would you feel if Tom was your son or your brother?

Another member of the International Solidarity Movement, American Rachel Corrie, was murdered whilst defending a Palestinian doctor’s home from demolition by an Israeli military bulldozer.

 

The following is an eyewitness account from one of the other ISM members present:

TOM DALE EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT (British Citizen from Lichfield, Birmingham)

Many of you will of heard varying accounts of the death of Rachel Corrie, maybe others will have heard nothing of it. Regardless, I was 10 metres away when it happened 2 days ago, and this is the way it went.

We'd been monitoring and occasionally obstructing the two bulldozers for about 2 hours when one of them turned toward a house we knew to be threatened with demolition. Rachel knelt down in its way. She was 10-20 metres in front of the bulldozer, clearly visible, the only object for many metres, directly in its view. They were in radio contact with a tank that had a profile view of the situation. There is no way she could not have been seen by them in their elevated cabin. They knew where she was, there is no doubt.

 

The bulldozer drove toward Rachel slowly, gathering earth in its scoop as it went. She knelt there, she did not move. The bulldozer reached her and she began to stand up, climbing onto the mound of earth. She appeared to be looking into the cockpit. The bulldozer continued to push Rachel, so she slipped down the mound of earth, turning as she went.

Her faced showed she was panicking and it was clear she was in danger of being overwhelmed.

All the activists were screaming at the bulldozer to stop and gesturing to the crew about Rachel's presence. We were in clear view as Rachel had been, they continued.

They pushed Rachel, first beneath the scoop, then beneath the blade, then continued till her body was beneath the cockpit. They waited over her for a few seconds, before reversing. They reversed with the blade pressed down, so it scraped over her body a second time. Every second I believed they would stop but they never did.

 

I ran for an ambulance, she was gasping and her face was covered in blood from a gash cutting her face from lip to cheek. She was showing signs of brain hemorrhaging. She died in the ambulance a few minutes later of massive internal injuries. She was a brilliant, bright and amazing person, immensely brave and committed. She is gone and I cannot believe it.

 

The group here in Rafah has decided that we will stay here and continue to oppose human rights abuses as best we can. I want to add that more than 10 palestinians have died in the Gaza strip since Rachel.

Please: forward this message. Boycott Caterpillar. Take direct action against the Caterpillar Corporation - please do not let this be without cost to them. Legally, I shouldn't ask you to do anything destructive or against the law.

If you're wondering about Rachel: her writings, photos of her and statements on her death are available on the website below. More photos: go to yahoo news section, search for photos by 'rachel'.

If you're wondering about the International Solidarity Movement: www.palsolidarity.org

If you're wondering about the bulldozers: They're American, Caterpillar-made armoured D9 Bulldozers. I estimate the blade is maybe 8 ft high, 15 ft wide and more than 9 tons. They're purchased from America using the $12billion per annum military aid package that America gives to Israel. [Report on their previous usage, well worth reading -- especially if you didn't believe anyone would be crazy enough to do this].

If you're wondering about Rafah: in the southern Gaza Strip, next to the Egyptian border. Apart from suffering in excess from the problems all over Palestine: Israeli manipulation of the water supply, economic strangulation, regular shootings and army operations, Rafah is afflicted by the building of an extra border wall. It has caused hundreds of homes to be destroyed.

The house in question, that of a doctor, like dozens of others in the area is not set to be demolished because of any supposed link to militants. Only because it lies within 100 metres of the new border wall, currently in construction. Families receive no compensation from Israel, and are frequently given just a few minutes warning in the form of live ammunition being shot through the walls of their house.

Tom Dale - 18 March 2003

Observations and sentiments communicated in this remarkable series of emails to her family sent days before her death explaining why she was risking her life are the material for a theatre production based on Rachel Corrie's life called Let Me Stand Alone.The following videos show some of Rachel's words readby a fifth grade pupil and an interview with Rachel herself.

http://rachel-corrie.com      http://rachelcorriefoundation.org

An American woman is murdered by the Israeli military using a made-in-the-USA Caterpillar bulldozer given to the apartheid government of Israel by the US government. One would think that such an incident would generate outrage in the US and change the policy of supplying, giving, a murderous regime machinery to be modified and used to oppress and destroy a culture. Unfortunately not. This Congress Research Service Brief for Congress on U.S. Foreign Assistance to Israel (April 2005) (pdf) details the billions of dollars of US taxpayer’s money being used to ‘assist’ the Apartheid government’s oppression and genocide of the Palestinian people (currently, 2014, over $3.2 billion per year, or for a better perspective, around $8.5 million a day).

The following videos are documentaries that reveals how the Israeli regime acquires Caterpillar bulldozers from the US Government through its foreign and/or military aid and then converts them to war machines to demolish Palestinian homes and olive groves and build roads and walls on Palestinian lands.

 

See also the Stop Caterpillar Campaign

The West Bank Barrier/Apartheid Wall

Israel's West Bank Barrier has become the most visible manifestation of the Israeli military occupation and most pressing issue for Palestinians. Often deceptively called a "security fence", the considerable structure snakes through the West Bank on Palestinian land, leaving Palestinians on the wrong side isolated from their land, extended families, and way of life.

On 9 July 2004, at the request of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice in The Hague issued an Advisory Opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Court made clear that the construction of the Wall and the settlements were illegal.

Stop The Wall in Palestine is a report compiled for the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network Apartheid Wall Campaign.

The report was produced as a means to call attention to the Wall’s devastating effects on these communities, destruction and confiscation of Palestinian land and resources, and its consolidation of the Occupation and Israel’s stranglehold over Palestine.

This publication presents the Wall’s effects on communities and people by highlighting the destruction, devastation, and socio-economic impacts on the lives of those now living the Apartheid Wall’s horrors. The Wall insidiously affects all aspects of people’s lives including their ability to access basic services, work, and their land, and thus their ability to continue to sustain themselves. The 190-page report is available in hardcopy and/or downloadable from Stop The Wall

The village of Ni’lin is located in the West Bank, 26 KM to the west of Ramallah city. Ni’lin has become a site of active struggle against the Apartheid Wall. Frequent protests and confrontations between villagers and Occupation soldiers are staged on the site where bulldozers are razing land to build the latest segment of the Wall. The Wall is just the latest land grab. Confiscations over the last 60 years left Ni’lin with just 10,000 of its original 58,000 dunums of land. Construction of the Apartheid Wall on the western side of the village and a military base on the southern side will strip Ni’lin of a further 2,500 dunums of land (1dunum = 1/4 acre/1000m2)

On 7 July 2008, the villagers of Ni'lin organized yet another demonstration. During this protest 27 years old Ashraf Abu-Rahma was detained, blindfolded and handcuffed. After he had been handcuffed and blindfolded, the Occupation forces military shot him in the foot at close range. While torture, ill treatment and other cruel methods to break the will and the spirit of the Palestinians are nothing new, this time the incident was captured by a video camera from inside a resident’s house. The original footage has been censored by YouTube, but is featured in the following report.

 (An alternative copy of the removed video was once available on YouTube titled 'Soldier fire 'rubber' bullet at Palestinian detainee'.)

On 13th March 2009 another American was shot by Israeli forces in Ni’lin. Tristan Anderson was shot as Israeli forces attacked unarmed demonstrators, gathered against construction of the apartheid wall through the village of Ni’lin’s land.

He sustained a large hole in the right part of his forehead where he was struck by a tear gas canister. The heavy impact from the tear gas canister being shot directly at him, from about 60 metres, also caused severe damage to his right eye, which he may lose. Tristan underwent brain surgery in which part of his right frontal lobe and shattered bone fragments were removed.

Another resident from Ni’lin was shot in the leg with live ammunition. Four Ni’lin residents have been killed during demonstrations against the confiscation of their land.

How many innocent people have to be critically injured or killed using equipment and weaponry paid for by American tax-payers, before those tax-payers reconsider their role in the atrocities?

Reem Salahi asks some very pertinent questions prompted by what she saw and heard in Gaza on a recent National Lawyers Guild delegation:

But let us play the devil's advocate and agree that the majority of Israel's attacks were completely reactionary and only consequent to Palestinian militant firing. Let us assume that Israel was justified in its attacks against al-Fakhura school, in its demolition of the American School, the best school in Gaza, in its destruction of the UNRWA warehouses which housed tons of humanitarian aid, in its shelling of the Palestine Red Crescent Society, in its obliteration of the Samouni home in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City where hundreds of family members had taken refuge after being directed to do so by the Israeli military, resulting in the killing of 48 to 70 members of the same family (I visited this area during the mass memorial for the Samouni family and it still reeked of rotting bodies and phosphorus), in its eradication of the Gaza City police station, in its shooting at UN cars, clearly marked with the large blue letters, and at ambulance drivers, in its destruction of the Islamic University of Gaza on 28 December, in its bombing of the Gaza media building, and the list goes on and on. Yet, let us momentarily assume that Israel was the victim in all of this madness, as it claims it was, and that in fact the Palestinians are the ones to blame.

How then, does Israel explain the executions, the shooting of Palestinians point blank in cold blood? How does it justify Israeli soldiers shooting Kassab Shurrab with seven bullets across the chest as he came out of his car with his hands to his side, especially as one of the Palestinian hostages sitting blindfolded by the soldiers heard the commander tell the soldier in Hebrew to shoot the civilians that were driving down the road. What about the two daughters of Khaled Abed Rabu, Amal, two years old, and Suaad, seven years old, murdered by an Israeli soldier using a semi-automatic rifle before their father's eyes as the other Israeli soldiers ate chips and chocolate?

Or Sameer Rashid Mohammad Mohammad, a 43-year-old UNRWA worker, who was separated from his family by Israeli soldiers and taken to a separate room and shot in the chest? For four days after killing Sameer, Israeli soldiers held his family hostage and would make the family prepare the murdered Sameer food. Only when the Israeli soldiers left their home, did Sameer's children see that their father was executed and by their father's dead and bleeding body were piles of food.

How about Farah al-Helo, 18 months old, shot in the stomach when her family was forced to evacuate from their home at 6:30pm by Israeli soldiers who assured them of their safety? Only 50 meters down the road they were shot at by other Israeli soldiers. Farah, with her intestines spilling from her stomach, died on the side of the road a few hours later as the same soldiers that had assured their safety watched.

Further, how can Israel explain its use of the Palestinians as human shields? Upon entering a village, Israeli soldiers would separate the men from the women. Sami Rashid Mohammad Mohammad, Sameer's brother, was taken as a hostage and forced to accompany the Israeli soldiers for four days. He was handcuffed and blindfolded and made to walk in front of the Israeli tanks and soldiers as bullets would whiz by. At other times, he was made to sit on his knees in an open field for hours while Israeli soldiers would shoot from behind him and often at his feet. These Palestinians were nothing more than entertainment for the soldiers, a child's play toy. When I asked Sami whether he saw any Palestinian militants during his time as a human shield, he laughed and said that he only saw Israeli soldiers with their blackened faces and camouflage outfits.

(Al Jazeera and others have reported 27-29 dead in the al-Samouni family massacre.)

Much of what’s going on in Palestine is hidden from the rest of the world by a complicit media whose reports often repeat Israeli government propaganda. International law seldom newsworthy in war on Gaza, a Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting study, details the corporate media collusion in keeping the facts of international law being repeatedly broken by the Israeli regime out of the public’s awareness.

A list of links, essential sources for information on the Palestine/Israel situation that you won’t get from mainstream media sources, is at the end of this section.

The reaction, or tragic lack of it, from the general public is perhaps understandable given the facts withheld, and the lies and misinformation fed through the media. This January 2009 Guardian article reveals how the BBC refused to broadcast a national humanitarian appeal for Gaza, leaving aid agencies with a potential shortfall of millions of pounds in donations. Other broadcasters followed suit, meaning that millions of viewers have been kept ignorant of the fact, and facts, of the crisis. This despite the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella group for 13 aid charities, who launched the appeal describing the devastation in Gaza as "so huge British aid agencies were compelled to act". Perhaps the fact that the ‘devastation’ has been caused by the British and US ally, Israel, contributes toward the BBC’s unwillingness to air the appeal.

The BBC's refusal to air the appeal moved former British Cabinet minister Tony Benn to once again demonstrate his integrity as a politician and human being.

But what of the politicians, surely it’s not just the millions that are being made by the corporate connections in government through extremely lucrative deals with Israel that has bought their silence and complicity, one of which is detailed in the following video:

(For more analysis of the Gaza gas connection see War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields)*

Or could it be that they’re scared of the concept and the threat of European countries being attacked by a belligerent country that still hasn’t officially acknowledged its possession of nuclear weapons, not to mention its chemical and biological weapons?

Even though the existence of Israel’s nuclear arsenal is now a well-established fact, the state of Israel has consistently refused to confirm its nuclear status. Furthermore, Israel refuses to become a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Despite Israel not having allowed international weapons inspectors into the country, I hear no brouhaha from the US administration or the UN. In fact, at President Obama's first televised press conference when asked the president if he knew of any countries in the Middle East that have nuclear weapons the President said that he didn't want to "speculate" about such an issue, but that preventing a regional nuclear arms race, as well as reducing nuclear arsenals internationally, was an important goal. With that statement the current president continues a tradition of avoidance of the issue of Israel’s nuclear capability, and a tradition of giving the Israeli government billions of dollars every year in aid...and that despite the fact that the Foreign Assistance Act prohibits US economic, and military assistance, and export credits to countries that deliver or receive, acquire or transfer nuclear enrichment technology when they do not comply with IAEA regulations and inspections.

The Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control is a research and advocacy group established in 1986. The organization’s work is guided by the idea that the best way to stop the proliferation of mass destruction weapons is to do so at the source: to cut off the supply of material, equipment and technology needed to make these weapons. To that end, the Project uncovers and publicizes dangerous export transactions and works directly with countries to improve their export control systems. Their Risk Report Israel's Nuclear Weapon Capability: An Overview dated July-August 1996, details the development of Israel’s nuclear program. This report from the Federation of American Scientists also describes Israel’s nuclear weapons production.

The indisputable fact is the actions of the Isreali regime persistently breaks a long list of international laws, protocols and conventions, which clearly identify those involved as war criminals, including Crimes Against Peace, War Crimes, and Crimes against Humanity.

The Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal, (The Nuremberg Principles), are a set of international guidelines that constitute what a war crime is, drawn up during the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi Party members after the Second World War. In 1950 the International Law Commission of the United Nations adopted the Principles. The tribunal drew up the definitions of the crimes listed above, crimes currently being broken most spectacularly by the US and Israeli.

Principle VII states:

Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principles VI is a crime under international law.

Some synonyms of complicity are involvement, responsibility, collusion, participation and support. [Editor's note: Those who think that they're outside those definitions should be reminded that inaction constitutes collusion and support.]

_______________

This section, although pages long, is a very condensed view of the current (2008/9) situation in Palestine and Israel. Its aim, like Psyclone and the rest of this site, is to make people aware of the fact that they are being kept ignorant of the truth and lied to, and to connect them with information being kept from them. Points have been laboured to cut through the veil, and jiggle the blindfold of social programming and denial. Without the blindfold, with open eyes, the facts speak for themselves. Without the blindfold, possibilities present themselves. Throughout the entry I’ve repeated the question, how would you feel? I refuse to believe that people are completely hardened to the suffering of other people, or unable to empathise with them. I believe it’s an ignorance of the facts that produces the apathy which allows the demonic elements in authority to continue to commit their Crimes against Humanity. I refuse to believe that faced with the facts, and the question ‘How would I feel?’ people would willingly turn away. There is one move we can all make, a small step for us, but a giant step for humankind. A simple step, into the other person’s shoes. Because they are a person, someone’s mother, sister, daughter, father, son, brother, grandparent. Aspects like creed and colour, treated as barriers with ‘us’ on one side and ‘them’ on the other are only superficial differences, variations on the same human theme. ‘They’ like good food, good music, and laughing with friends, ‘they’ bleed, feel pain, cry when they’re hurt. With relatively little variation in detail ‘they’ want essentially the same out of life. How would you feel in their situation? Another good question to ask is, if you were in the position of any of the people mentioned above, or family to them, what would you want people hearing of your plight to do? That you’d want them to do something is a certainty.

History and current political situations show that trusting matters into the hands of politicians is a waste of time. It was politicians and their corporate cronies that created the mess in the first place. Seeing the response of the UN in the independent news broadcast earlier demonstrates that looking likes of the United Nations to protect the innocent, including their own workers, is also a waste of time.

Here I imagine I hear that too often heard response, ‘but what can I do about it?’ My answer, quoted from Psyclone, is ‘You could start by asking the question as if it was a real question, instead of a statement that says there’s nothing you can do. Ask yourself the question and think about it for more than a few seconds. The answers might take some working out, but there is something you can do. There are things we can all do.’

The following links are essential sources for information on the Palestine/Israel situation that you won’t get from mainstream media sources:

Stop The Wall

Electronic Intifada

Gaza News