Wednesday, April 8, 2015


   Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace and Justice.
(#1: 3-3-08; #2 Nov. 16, 2012; #3 Nov. 17, 2013; #4 May 31, 2014; #5 July 28, 2014; #6 August 30, 2014).

What’s at stake:   Not only was ‘Operation Protective Edge’ the third major military assault on Gaza in six years, but it was marked by a significant escalation in the scale, severity and duration of the attack. It was Israel’s heaviest assault on the Gaza Strip since the beginning of its occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967.   Russell Tribunal

My blog:   War Department/Peace Department
My Newsletters:
See:  Israeli Aggressions, Israeli-Palestinian Newsletter

See at end for Contents of Nos. 5 and 6.

Contents of Gaza Newsletter #7
Dick, Conversion of US Funds
Russell Tribunal on Palestine, Sept. 25, 2014
Twelve Articles Report the Siege of Gaza, by the Washington Report on Middle
   East Affairs
Gaza’s Ark’s Weekly Digest[DB1] 
Gaza’s Ark’s Weekly Digest
Gaza’s Ark’s Weekly Digest, Dec. 27, 2014

Noam Chomsky, Brutal Israeli Occupation 
Two Reports from Democracy Now
   Henry Siegman, “A Slaughter of Innocents”
    Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan, “The Guns of August,” Context of WWI

Three Articles by Marjorie Cohn, Our Country’s Truth and Justice Conscience

Debra DeLee, Americans for Peace Now Available Online Free Daily

Contact President Obama

Just War Theory, Proportionality, and Sending US Funds to the Victims by Dick Bennett
   What to do with the $3 billion a year US military largesse to Israel?  Joe Jeffers of Arkadelphia, AR, offers one better use of some of the money.  In a letter to Arkansas Democrat-Gazette  (3-22-15) Jeffers argues:  the US should “contribute significantly toward the rebuilding of Gaza, taking those monies out of payments to Israel.”  He offers one good argument:  “If Israel had to…pay for the destruction it causes, perhaps it would be less inclined to be so aggressive.” 
   Another argument for the conversion of funds from destruction to construction even more persuasive for me is expressed in Catholic Just War Theory, and particularly in its “proportionality” principle.  This theory has two parts, and what makes proportionality stand out is its presence in both.  Under Jus ad Bellum appear eight criteria that must be met in order for a war to be considered just.  To meet the criterion of proportionality the destruction to be inflicted and the costs incurred by war must be proportionate to the good expected by taking up arms. Under Jus in Bello are criteria that must be met in order for actions within war to be considered just.  For Jus in Bello proportionality, destruction caused by actions in war must be proportionate to the good expected by the actions.  In both parts of the theory, destruction applies in both the temporal and spiritual, material and ethical sense.
    The disproportion between the few rockets fired from Gaza and the few Israeli people killed or wounded by them, and the small damage to property, compared to the massive Israeli land and air invasion, causing a large number of killed and wounded and massive property damage, is acknowledged by all, including many Israelis.  Amy Goodman’s summary:  “After nearly 50 days of the bombardment of Gaza with Israel’s intensely lethal, high-tech, U.S.-funded arsenal, Palestinian health officials put the number of Gazans killed at 2,139, of whom over 490 were children. Israel reported 64 soldiers killed as a result of its ground invasion of Gaza, with six civilians dead. The narrow Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated places on Earth, suffering under an Israeli-imposed state of siege, is now a pile of rubble through which people pick, searching for the bodies of loved ones.”  (“Guns of August,” August 28, 2014).  See the Russell Tribunal and other reports for additional details of the devastating invasion.

Summary of findings: “The Gaza War (2014) under International Law: An Inquiry into Israel’s Crimes, Responsibility, and the Response of the International Community”.
Russell Tribunal on Palestine

Extraordinary session Brussels, 25 September 2014
Jury: John Dugard, Miguel Angel Estrella, Christiane Hessel, Richard Falk, Ronnie Kasrils, Paul Laverty, Ken Loach, Michael Mansfield, Radhia Nasraoui, Vandana Shiva, Ahdaf Soueif and Roger Waters. Witnesses: Paul Behrens, Desmond Travers, David Sheen, Eran Efrati, Mohammed Omer, Mads Gilbert, Mohammed Abou Arab, Paul Mason, Martin Lejeune, Ashraf Mashharawi, Ivan Karakashian, Max Blumenthal, Agnes Bertrand, Michael Deas.    May this tribunal prevent the crime of silence.  Bertrand Russell, London, 13 November 1966

  1. When images of the death, destruction and desperation inflicted on Palestinian citizens of Gaza were broadcast in July and August of 2014, people all over the world were struck with a visceral sense of indignation, anger and disgust. For too long, crimes and serious human rights violations have been committed against the Palestinian people by the occupying Israeli authorities with complete impunity. The occupation, blockade and siege imposed on the territory of Gaza amount to a regime of collective punishment, but the most recent conflict represents a clear intensification of the campaign to collectively punish and terrorise the civilian population. Not only was ‘Operation Protective Edge’ the third major military assault on Gaza in six years, but it was marked by a significant escalation in the scale, severity and duration of the attack. It was Israel’s heaviest assault on the Gaza Strip since the beginning of its occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967. Given this cyclical and devastating pattern of violence and the likelihood of its continuation, the members of the Tribunal were conscious of the need to give a voice to the people of Gaza and to express the overwhelming need for urgent action. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine hopes to act as a voice of conscience and to contribute some measure of accountability for these appalling and inhumane acts.
  2.  Over the course of the 50-day conflict, some 700 tons of ordinance were deployed by the Israeli military forces in the context of a sustained aerial bombardment and ground offensive. This approximate figure equates to the dropping of two tons of ordinance per square kilometre of the Gaza Strip. These actions resulted in: the deaths of 2,188 Palestinians, at least 1,658 of whom were civilians; 11,231 civilians injured; damage to 18,000 housing units (13% of all available housing stock in Gaza was completely or partially destroyed); the internal displacement of some 110,000 civilians; the complete destruction of eight medical facilities and damage to many others, such that 17 out of 32 hospitals were damaged and six closed down as a result; massive destruction of water facilities leaving some 450,000 civilians unable to access municipal water supplies; the destruction of Gaza’s only power plant facility rendering the entire Gaza Strip without electricity for approximately 20 hours per day, thereby having a profound impact on water treatment, food supply and the capacity of medical facilities to treat the wounded and displaced; numerous attacks on and destruction of UN sponsored and controlled infrastructure, including three UNRWA schools which were being used as temporary centres of refuge; the total destruction of some 128 business and approximately US$550 million worth of damage caused to agricultural land and livestock; attacks on cultural and religious property; and finally, the conflict has left some 373,000 children in need of direct and specialised psychosocial support. The attack was widespread and systematic to the extent that the Palestinian Authority estimates that it will require US$7.8 billion to repair the damage caused to civilian and state infrastructure.
  3.  The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) is an international citizen-based Tribunal of conscience, created in response to the demands of civil society (non-governmental organisations, unions, charities, faith-based organisations) to educate public opinion and exert pressure on decision-makers. The RToP is imbued with the same spirit and espouses the same rigorous rules as those inherited from the Tribunal on Vietnam (1966-1967), established by the eminent scholar and philosopher Bertrand Russell. The Tribunal operates as a court of the people, with public international law (including international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law) constitutes the frame of reference of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.
  4.  Following Israel’s military operations in the Gaza Strip in July-August 2014, a decision was taken to urgently reconvene the RToP for a extraordinary session to examine the nature of potential international crimes committed in Gaza. During the course of this extraordinary session the RToP has received testimony from some sixteen individual witnesses providing eyewitness and expert opinion on a range of issues of direct relevance to the events in Gaza in the summer of 2014. The members of the Tribunal jury were moved and deeply disturbed by the harrowing evidence provided by the witnesses. Following the hearings and the deliberations of the jury on 24 September 2014, the findings of the extraordinary session of Russell Tribunal on Palestine are summarised as follows. 3

The Use of Force

5. Israel is the occupying power in the Gaza Strip. As the occupier, Israel cannot be considered to be acting in self-defence under the rules of public international law in its resort to the use of force in Gaza. Israel did not respond to an armed attack by the military forces of another state; rather it acted as an occupying power using force to effect its control of the occupied territory and its domination over the occupied population. Under international law, people living under colonial rule or foreign occupation are entitled to resist occupation. Israel’s actions are those of an occupying power using force to maintain its occupation and to suppress resistance, rather than a state resorting to force in lawful selfdefence. The ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories is itself an act of aggression as defined by the UN General Assembly in Resolution 3314 (1974); the Tribunal notes that an aggressor cannot claim self-defence against the resistance to its aggression. Operation Protective Edge was part of the enforcement of the occupation and ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip. This siege amounts to collective punishment in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. II. War Crimes

6. The evidence provided by the witnesses who appeared before the RToP covers only a tiny fraction of the incidents that occurred during Operation Protective Edge. Their testimony, however, coupled with the extensive documentation of Israel’s attacks in the public realm, leads inescapably to the conclusion that the Israeli military has committed war crimes in the process. Israel forces have violated the two cardinal principles of international humanitarian law – the need to distinguish clearly between civilian targets and military targets; and the need for the use of military violence to be proportionate to the aims of the operation. It has done so through the scale of its bombardment of Gaza and its shelling of civilian areas, including hospitals, schools and mosques. An estimated 700 tons of munitions were employed by the Israeli military during the operation, in contrast to 50 tons during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09. Civilians in Gaza have been terrorised by this bombardment, as well as denied the right to flee the territory to seek protection and assistance as refugees from war in breach of the right to leave one’s country pursuant to article 13 (2) of the UN Declaration on Human Rights.

7. Evidence heard by the Tribunal suggests that war crimes committed by Israeli forces include (but are not limited to) the crimes of: o wilful killing (including summary executions by ground troops and killings of civilians by snipers around houses occupied by Israeli forces inside Gaza); o extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity (including the destruction of essential services, in particular Gaza’s only functioning power plant and the apparently systematic targeting of the water and sewage infrastructure); 4 o intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population and civilians objects (including extensive and wanton artillery shelling and aerial bombardment of densely populated civilian areas); o intentionally launching attacks in the knowledge that such attacks would cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated (i.e. the use of disproportionate force, explicitly stated and implemented by the Israeli military in the form of its ‘Dahiya doctrine’, which involves a policy of deliberately using disproportionate force to punish the civilian population collectively for the acts of resistance groups or political leaders); o intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion or education (including repeatedly and knowingly targeting UN schools operating as places of refuge for civilians); o intentionally directing attacks against hospitals, medical units and personnel (including the direct shelling of hospitals resulting in the killing and forced evacuation of wounded civilians, as well as apparent patterns of the targeting of visibly marked medical units and ambulance workers performing their duties); o utilising the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations (i.e. the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields); o employing weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare which are of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering or which are inherently indiscriminate (including flechette shells, DIME weapons, thermobaric munitions (‘carpet’ bombs), and munitions containing depleted uranium); o the use of violence to spread terror among the civilian population in violation of the laws and customs of war (including the employment of a ‘knock on the roof’ policy whereby small bombs are dropped on Palestinian homes as a warning signal in advance of larger bombardments to follow).

8. Allegations of the targeting of civilians and the use of indiscriminate weapons by the Palestinian resistance during Operation Protective Edge have been clearly stated in the public realm by the Israeli authorities. The information available to the Tribunal is that 66 Israeli soldiers and 7 civilians in Israel were killed by Palestinian armed groups during Operation Protective Edge, with 469 soldiers and 837 civilians wounded. There is also, however, contradictory information and unclear statistics from official Israeli sources regarding Palestinian rockets, and Israel’s military censor has a gag order in effect, making it extremely difficult to identify where the rockets fell without cooperation from the authorities. The Israeli authorities did not accept the invitation to appear before the Tribunal to state their case. This 5 notwithstanding, the RToP emphasises as a matter of principle that any armed group that directs its firepower at a civilian population thereby violates the laws of war. Where such firing results in the deaths of civilians, war crimes will have potentially been committed by those responsible. Firing weapons which are incapable of making the distinction between military and civilian target is itself criminal. III. Crimes against Humanity The Contextual Elements of Crimes Against Humanity

9. For an apparently ‘ordinary’ domestic criminal act to reach the threshold of a crime against humanity, there are certain contextual legal elements that must be satisfied. There must be a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population, and the acts of the perpetrator must form part of that attack and be committed with knowledge of the wider context of the attack. Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, there is an additional legal element to be proven, which is the existence of a State or organisational policy to commit such an attack. Article 7 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court lists several specific crimes against humanity: murder; extermination; enslavement; deportation or forcible transfer of population; imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty; torture; rape and sexual violence; persecution; enforced disappearance; apartheid; and other inhumane acts. While the Tribunal is confident that findings could be reached under each of these respective headings, given the specific focus of this extraordinary session and the resources available, the RToP limits itself to findings with respect to: (i) murder; (ii) extermination; and (iii) persecution.

10. The preponderance of the evidence received by the RToP clearly establishes that an attack against a civilian population has taken place. The sheer scale of civilian deaths, injuries, and the destruction of civilian housing, provide a clear indication that a prima facie case can be established that Operation Protective Edge was overwhelmingly directed at the civilian population of Gaza.
11. In light of the testimony received and summarised above regarding the extent of the loss of life and destruction of property caused by Israel, considered alongside the data compiled by the various offices of the UN and human rights organisations on the ground, the Tribunal finds that there is compelling evidence establishing a strong prima facie case that the attack against the civilian population of Gaza was widespread and systematic.

12. In relation to the policy requirement, the Tribunal has heard testimony pertaining specifically to three policy directives of the Israeli military – namely, the Dahiya Doctrine (which involves the deliberate use of disproportionate force to collectively punish the civilian population for the acts of resistance groups or political leaders), the Hannibal Directive (the destruction of an entire area for the purpose of preventing the capture of Israeli soldiers) and the Red Line policy (which involves the creation of a ‘kill zone’ beyond an arbitrary and invisible ‘red line’ around houses occupied by Israeli forces). Each of these policies deliberately and flagrantly disregard protections afforded to civilians and 6 civilian property under international humanitarian law, and fundamentally involves indiscriminate violence against the civilian population of Gaza. As such their implementation amounts to a prima facie case of a specific policy on the part of the Government of Israel and the Israeli occupying forces to target civilian areas with disregard for civilian life. The Tribunal finds that there is a compelling case to be made that the contextual elements of crimes against humanity, as outlined above, are satisfied for the purposes of Article 7 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court; specifically with respect to the selected crimes of (i) murder; (ii) extermination; and (iii) persecution. (i) Murder

13. The crime against humanity of murder requires that the perpetrator kills (or caused the death) of one or more persons. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has defined murder as the ‘unlawful, intentional killing of a human being’. The RToP finds that a strong prima facie case can be made that a significant proportion of the Palestinian civilian fatalities during Operation Protective Edge were the result of deliberate, unlawful and intentional killings. The RToP has heard testimony relating to a number of individual incidents, such as the deliberate execution of Salem Khalil Shammaly for crossing an imaginary red line while searching for family members in Shuja’iyya and the deeply disturbing circumstances of the killing of 64 year-old Mohammed Tawfiq Qudeh in his own home. The RToP finds that their deaths are prima facie examples of the crime against humanity of murder, in addition to the war crime of wilful killing. (ii) Extermination

14. Under the Statute of the International Criminal Court, the crime of extermination includes both mass killings and the intentional infliction of conditions of life (including depriving access to food, water or medical treatment) calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population. There is therefore a degree of common ground between the crime against humanity of extermination and the crime of genocide. However, while the crime of extermination frequently involves a large number of victims, it differs from genocide in that it does not require that the victim(s) be part of a protected group, or that the perpetrator had the specific intent to bring about the destruction of the group in whole or in part.

15. During the course of this extraordinary session, the RToP has received detailed and wide-ranging testimony with respect to attacks on civilian populations and protected civilian property which directly resulted in the mass fatalities. In particular, the Tribunal has received detailed testimony relating to attacks on medical facilities and personnel. The deliberate and indiscriminate targeting of medical infrastructure contributed substantially to the loss of civilian life. Additional deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilian infrastructure such as the Gazan power plant also contributed to the increase in the death toll. Coupled with the denial of a humanitarian corridor, the sealing of the Erez and Rafah crossings and the targeting of UNRWA infrastructure, this contributed to the infliction of conditions of life calculated to bring about the destruction of part of the population of Gaza. 7 (iii) Persecution

16. The crime against humanity of persecution involves the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental human rights against members of a group or collectivity. The group must be targeted for a discriminatory purpose, such as on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, gender or religious grounds. This element of discriminatory intent makes the crime of persecution somewhat similar to the crime of genocide, although crucially persecution does not require the establishment of a specific intent to destroy the group in whole or in part. The RToP determines that persecutory acts may be considered under the following three categories of conduct: o Discriminatory acts causing physical or mental harm; o Discriminatory infringements on freedom; o Offences against property for discriminatory purposes.

17. In line with the findings adopted in previous sessions of the RToP and the continuing escalation of violence against the Palestinian people, the Tribunal finds that the actions and policies of the Government of Israel and the Israeli military are inherently discriminatory against the Palestinian people. The Tribunal determines that in its actions and policies the Government of Israel and Israeli military discriminate against the Palestinian people, and in this instance specifically the people of Gaza, on the basis of, inter alia, political affiliation, nationality, ethnicity, religion, culture and gender. The Tribunal finds grounds to believe that a host of additional crimes and violations of fundamental human rights have been and continue to be committed on discriminatory grounds against the Palestinian people and the population of Gaza. In this respect the Tribunal notes the following non-exhaustive list of violations: murder; torture (including the case of 16 year old Ahmad Abu Raida, who was abducted by the Israeli military, whipped with a wire and threatened with sexual assault while under interrogation, and forced to act as a human shield for the Israelis); sexual violence (such as Khalil AlNajjar, the imam in Khuza’a who was forced to strip naked in public); physical violence not constituting torture; cruel and inhumane treatment or subjection to inhumane conditions; constant humiliation and degradation; terrorising the civilian population (including examples of Gazan citizens being instructed by the Israeli military to remain in their homes and then being subjected to bombardment); unlawful arrest and detention; imprisonment or confinement; restrictions on freedom of movement (including the denial of a humanitarian corridor or ability to leave the territory of Gaza); and the confiscation or destruction of private dwellings, businesses, religious buildings, cultural or symbolic buildings or means of subsistence. 8 IV. Genocide

18. The international crime of genocide relates to any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: a. Killing members of the group; b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; d. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

19. Direct and public incitement to genocide is also an international crime, irrespective of whether anyone acts as a result of the incitement.

20. It is clear that the Palestinians constitute a national group under the definition of genocide. It has been established that Israeli military activities considered under the heads of war crimes and crimes against humanity meet the acts set forth in sub-paragraphs (a) to (c) above.

21. The crime of genocide is closely related to crimes against humanity. Where persecution as a crime against humanity aims to protect specific groups from discrimination, the criminalisation of genocide aims to protect such groups (national, racial, ethnic, religious) from elimination. The sometimes fine distinction between the two crimes, characterised by the ‘intent to destroy’ element, was explained by the judges at the Yugoslavia Tribunal: ‘When persecution escalates to the extreme form of wilful and deliberate acts designed to destroy a group or part of a group, it can be held that such persecution amounts to genocide.’

22. Israel’s policies and practices in Palestine have for decades aimed at ensuring that Palestinians submit to Israeli domination. This has been effected through settler colonial policies based on the displacement and dispossession of Palestinians since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. This process continues today through the settlement of the West Bank and imposition of a regime of apartheid and segregation, the siege of Gaza and the prolonged collective punishment of its people, as well as the criminal conduct of repeated military operations and systemic violations of Palestinian human rights designed to ensure that Palestinians forfeit their right to self-determination and continue to leave their country.

23. Throughout that period, Israel’s occupation policies appeared to be aimed at the control and subjugation of the Palestinian people, rather than their physical destruction as such. Recent years have seen an upsurge in vigilante style ‘price tag’ attacks on Palestinian people, homes, and religious sites in the West Bank and Israel. Characterised by racist threats against Palestinians, such rhetoric escalated rapidly and across all forms of media and public discourse in Israel during the summer of 2014. The 9 scale and intensity of Operation Protective Edge indicates an unprecedented escalation of violence against the Palestinian people. For this reason, the RToP is compelled to now, for the first time, give serious examination to Israeli policy in light of the prohibition of genocide in international law.

24. The Tribunal has received evidence demonstrating a vitriolic upswing in racist rhetoric and incitement during the summer of 2014. The evidence shows that such incitement manifested across many levels of Israeli society, on both social and traditional media, from football fans, police officers, media commentators, religious leaders, legislators, and government ministers. This can be understood in varying degrees as incitement to racism, hatred, and violence. The evidence shows that the speech and language used in the summer of 2014 did, on occasion, reach the threshold where it can only be understood as constituting direct and public incitement to genocide.

25. Some of this incitement, in a manner similar to genocidal situations elsewhere, is characterised not only by explicit calls for violence against the target group, but in the employment of sexualised (rape), gendered, and dehumanising memes, motifs, and prejudices. The RToP heard evidence of multiple examples of such incitement. One notable instance being Israeli legislator Ayelet Shaked’s widely reported publication in July 2014 defining ‘the entire Palestinian people [as] the enemy’, arguing for the destruction of ‘its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure’, and stating that the ‘mothers of terrorists’ should be destroyed, ‘as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes.’

26. The RToP notes that the legal definition of genocide demands proof of a specific intent on the part of the perpetrator not simply to target people belonging to a protected group, but to target them with the intention of destroying the group. It would be for a criminal court to determine whether such specific intent is present in a given situation, on the basis of scrutiny of the relevant evidence for the purposes of prosecution of such crimes. The RToP notes that alternative, broader understandings of genocide beyond that defined for the purposes of individual criminal responsibility have also been suggested as applying to the situation in Gaza. The cumulative effect of the long-standing regime of collective punishment in Gaza appears to inflict conditions of life calculated to bring about the incremental destruction of the Palestinians as a group in Gaza. This process has been exacerbated by the scale of the violence in the Operation Protective Edge, the continuation of the siege of Gaza and the denial of the capacity to rebuild. The Tribunal emphasises the potential for a regime of persecution, such as that demonstrated in section III above, to become genocidal in effect, In light of the clear escalation in the physical and rhetorical violence deployed in respect of Gaza in the summer of 2014, the RToP emphasises the obligation of all state parties to the 1948 Genocide Convention ‘to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide.’ 10

27. The prohibition of genocide – and of direct and public incitement to genocide – constitutes a jus cogens (non-derogable) norm of international law. According to the 1948 Genocide Convention, individuals who attempt or who incite to genocide ‘shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals’. It is thus incumbent on all states to take the appropriate action in line with their legal obligations to investigate and prosecute those responsible for such crimes. It is further incumbent on all states to ensure that the state of Israel does not, through the persons of its military and government ‘engage in conspiracy, incitement, attempt and complicity in genocide’.

28. The evidence received by the Tribunal demonstrates that the state of Israel is failing to respect its obligations to prevent and to punish the crime of direct and public incitement to genocide. This is in keeping with the warning issued by the Special Advisers of the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, and on the Responsibility to Protect, in July 2014, in response to Israel's actions in Palestine: ‘We are equally disturbed by the flagrant use of hate speech in the social media, particularly against the Palestinian population’. The Special Advisers noted that individual Israelis had disseminated messages that could be dehumanising to the Palestinians and had called for the killing of members of this group. The Advisers reasserted that incitement to commit atrocity crimes is prohibited under international law.

29. Previous sessions of the RToP have established that the Israeli state is implementing an apartheid system based on the dominance of Israeli Jews over Palestinians. Beyond the prolonged siege and collective punishment of the Palestinians of Gaza, the ongoing settlement project in the West Bank, and the now regular massive military assaults on the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, one must add the increase in aggravated racist hate speech. It is recognised that in a situation where patterns of crimes against humanity are perpetrated with impunity, and where direct and public incitement to genocide is manifest throughout society, it is very conceivable that individuals or the state may choose to exploit these conditions in order to perpetrate the crime of genocide. Alert to the increase in anti-Palestinian speech which constitutes the international crime of direct and public incitement to genocide, and the failure of the Israeli state to fulfil its obligations to prevent and punish incitement to genocide, the RToP is at this time compelled to place the international community on notice as to the risk of the crime of genocide being perpetrated. The jury has listened to alarming evidence over the course of this extraordinary session; we have a genuine fear that in an environment of impunity and an absence of sanction for serious and repeated criminality, the lessons from Rwanda and other mass atrocities may once again go unheeded. 11 V. Consequences & Action

30. In view of the above findings, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine calls on the state of Israel to immediately: · end the occupation and respect the Palestinian right to self-determination; · fully respect its obligations under international law; · provide full reparations to the victims of human rights violations; · release all political prisoners; · genuinely investigate and prosecute any individual suspected of being responsible for international crimes; · act to prevent and punish any acts in violation of the Convention Against Genocide.

31. To Israel and Egypt: · Immediately lift the siege and blockade of Gaza and permit the unhindered reconstruction of the Gaza Strip as well as permitting unhindered access to media, humanitarian, and human rights organisations.

32. To the European Union: · In line with EU policy on restrictive measures, to pursue the objectives of preserving peace, strengthening international security, developing and consolidating democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, to adopt restrictive measures against Israel, and specifically: o to suspend the EU-Israel association agreement; o to suspend the EU-Israel scientific cooperation agreement and to immediately cease cooperation with Israeli military companies; o to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, including prohibitions on the sale, supply, transfer or export of arms and related materiel of all types; and the prohibition on the provision of financing and technical assistance, brokering services and other services related to military activities; o to suspend the import of all military equipment from Israel; · To actively encourage Israel and Palestine to immediately ratify the Rome Statute in line with EU policy on the International Criminal Court; · To claim reimbursement for damages to EU and/or member state funded infrastructure destroyed by the Israeli military; · All EU member states to recognise the state of Palestine; · To advocate and act for the implementation of the International Court of Justice recommendations in its 2004 Advisory Opinion on the legality of the Wall.

33. To UN member states: · All states to cooperate to bring to an end the illegal situation arising from Israel’s occupation, siege and crimes in the Gaza Strip. In light of the obligation not to render aid or assistance, all states must consider appropriate measures to exert sufficient pressure on Israel, including the imposition of sanctions, the severing of diplomatic relations collectively through international organisations, or in the absence of consensus, individually by breaking bilateral relations with Israel; · The UN General Assembly to call for a full arms embargo against the state of Israel; 12 · All states to fulfil their duty ‘to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide’; · The United States and member states of the European Union to cease exercising pressuring on the Palestinian authorities to refrain from engaging the mechanisms of international justice; · All parties to cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry and to ensure that the Commission is granted full access to Israel and Gaza for the purposes of its investigations; · UN Human rights mechanisms to investigate the violations of the fundamental freedoms and rights of journalists, media workers, and medical personnel; · Donor states to undertake a full reconfiguration of the international aid regime in Palestine, such that it ceases to underwrite Israeli occupation and destruction; · All States to support full realisation of Palestinian self-determination including full Palestinian membership of the UN; · In light of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, all states to ensure that in light of the continued denial of Palestinian human rights steps are taken to prevent further atrocities.

34. To the Palestine authorities: · The state of Palestine to accede without further delay to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; · Fully cooperate with the human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry; · Fully engage the mechanisms of international justice.

35. To Global Civil Society: · To fully support, develop, and expand the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement; · To support activism aimed at denying Israeli firms and organisations supporting or profiting from the occupation access to international markets; · To show solidarity with activists taking action to shut down firms aiding and abetting the commission of crimes against Palestinians such as Elbit Systems in the UK; · To actively lobby and pressure governments to take immediate action to ensure they are not contributing to Israeli crimes and to ensure they are acting in line with the edicts and principles of international law. I wish for you all, each of you, to have your own motive for indignation. This is precious. When something outrages you, then you become militant, strong, and involved.

Stéphane Hessel

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  included  a dozen articles about the invasion, and several others partly.  WRMEA is the antidote to the pro-Israel bias of the US Media and Congress.    [Dick’s annotations of the first three.]
--“Cease-Fire Follows Cease-Fire But Gaza Remains a Prison” by Rachelle Marshall.  [The title could be “But Remains Destroyed.”  Gives several instances of Israeli war crimes. 
“Although there is no evidence that Hamas used civilians as human shields there is ample evidence of Israeli war crimes….”  Marshall is member of Jewish Voices for Peace.          ]
--“’Son of Death’ Mohammed Deif” by Uri Avnery.  [Avnery, former member of Israeli Knesset and founder of Gush Shalom, I met in Israel.   Story of Deif, commander of Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, who barely escaped death, but his family did not.  Now he leads the Israel “Most Wanted” list, “No. 1 ‘Son of Death.’”  Article also explores several questions:  Why did Hamas rocket in middle of cease-fire?  Who fired the rockets?] 
“’Even If Israel Destroys Our Homes, We Will Never Leave,’ Gazans Vow” by Mohammed Omer.  [An account of the destruction of the village of Al-Fokhari as an example of the 7-week destruction of Gaza, where “more than 2,100 people were killed and 11,000 injured,” 3,000 of the injured children, 1, 000 permanently disabled, and 1,800 children now orphans, and 450,000 Gazans fled to U.N. shelters.] 

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[GazaArk] Statement from the Freedom Flotilla Coalition: Open Gaza Port

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Dec 8, 2014
to Gaza's
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Statement from the Freedom Flotilla Coalition
December 8, 2014

The humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate. Israel is not being held accountable for the damage it caused during its assault on the strip nor for the commitments it made as a part of the Egyptian brokered agreement to end hostilities. The port of Gaza remains closed and borders remain blocked and Palestinians in Gaza continue to be denied their basic right to freedom of movement. Gaza continues to suffer from the lack of basic supplies and materials needed for daily life let alone rebuilding what Israel damaged during its July/August assault. The International community did not meet the obligations it made to Gaza after the assault either.

In the shadow of these circumstances the Freedom Flotilla Coalition met in Athens on December 6th and 7th to follow up and revise plans for the upcoming flotilla: Freedom Flotilla III: Open Gaza port.

In this meeting, following the previous meeting in Istanbul last August, details were finalized for "Open Gaza Port" (OGP) to sail during the first half of 2015 with a flotilla of at least 3 ships, reflecting the urgency, wide interest and diverse public support to the project and taking into account the above mentioned grave situation in Gaza.

More details about OGP will be released over the coming weeks.
Freedom Flotilla Coalition members:
Canadian Boat to Gaza
European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza
Freedom Flotilla Italia
Gaza's Ark
International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza (ICBSG)
Rumbo a Gaza
Ship to Gaza Greece
Ship to Gaza Norway
Ship to Gaza Sweden

also participating in the project:
Palestine Solidarity Alliance - South Africa
Miles of Smiles
Life Line Gaza – Jordan

Gaza's Ark  Dec. 27, 2014 via
Update and Financial report
from Gaza's Ark

    Dear supporter;

We would like to provide you with a summary of the Gaza's Ark project as it stands now and what we have achieved over the last couple of years.

As you know, our boat was destroyed by the Israeli military during the Israeli assault on Gaza in July, the second time the Ark was deliberately targeted []. By attacking Gaza’s Ark twice in less than three months, Israel obviously deemed the Ark a huge threat to its propaganda and criminal actions. Our peaceful efforts were, and will continue to be, stronger than their arsenals.

We will continue our work with our partners in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition to challenge the blockade of Gaza until it ends. We are putting Gaza's Ark on hold for now, until the situation becomes more suitable to resume it or similar work to challenge the blockade from inside Gaza.

Trade not Aid - Palestinian products:
Successful aspects of our ongoing work include the export product promotions and sales which link Palestinian producers in Gaza to solidarity purchasers around the world. Thanks to individuals and organizations in Europe, North America and Australia, we arranged over $25,000 in export contracts for Palestinian producers in Gaza. Of that amount, over $14,000 was for traditional food items, which were recently donated to needy Palestinian families in Gaza with the help of our friends at MECA []. The remaining non-food products (e.g. traditional embroidery, textile and woodworking items) are being stored by our partners in Gaza until the conditions are right for them to once again be part of challenging the blockade from the inside. Meanwhile, we will continue to develop direct links between Gaza producers and solidarity organizations throughout the world, and we will continue to raise the issue of Palestinian export trade (not aid), in the wider context of freedom of movement for all Palestinians.

Financial Report:

Your support is what has brought Gaza's Ark this far. You contributed
$341,000 (all figures in Canadian Dollars) to the project. We bought the fishing trawler which became Gaza's Ark for $87,000. Over the period between May 2013 and July 2014 we spent $131,000 modifying, upgrading and refurbishing it which went to the local economy, much of it payments to local workers.

Other expenses (including travel and administrative costs) amounted to $18,000. Professional services (legal, accounting, management and other service fees) totaled $58,000.  All Steering Committee members were volunteers none of whom received any payment for their work.

We started the project with $22,000 - mostly money remaining from the Canadian Boat to Gaza Tahrir project of 2011. Main contributions after this came from Canada, $130,000, the US, $57,000 and Australia, $24,000, while our FFC partners contributed $74,000 which included sizable donations from partner campaigns in France, Turkey,South Africa, Norway, Sweden and others.

What will remain, after covering payables and selling some remaining assets in Gaza, is estimated at $45,000 which we will put towards work on the same line we are following since we started in 2010: challenging the Israeli illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza through non violent direct action such as the FFC's Open Gaza Port (FF3) announced lately.

We will continue to count on your support.  Together we will succeed.

In solidarity;
Gaza's Ark Steering Committee (Gaza's Ark Wikipedia page)

Noam Chomsky.   “The Crass and Brutal Approach Used to Keep Gaza Mired in Misery.”    AlterNet , Reader Supported News, Oct. 4, 2014.
Chomsky writes: "On Aug. 26, Israel and the Palestinian Authority both accepted a cease-fire agreement after a 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza that left 2,100 Palestinians dead and vast landscapes of destruction behind."


Democracy Now! Daily Digest
A Daily Independent Global News Hour with Amy Goodman & Juan González
Monday, September 1, 2014
Today, a special with Henry Siegman, the former executive director of the American Jewish Congress, long described as one of the nation’s "big three" Jewish organizations along with the American Jewish ... Read More →

Demolition of Gaza in Context of WWI
with Amy Goodman & Juan González
The Guns of August, AUGUST 28, 2014
By Amy Goodman with Denis Moynihan
In her epic, Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Guns of August,” historian Barbara Tuchman detailed how World War I began in 1914, and how the belligerence, vanity and poor policies of powerful leaders led millions to gory deaths in that four-year conflagration. Before people realized world wars had to be numbered, World War I was called “The Great War” or “The War to End All Wars,” which it wasn’t. It was the first modern war with massive, mechanized slaughter on land, sea and in the air. We can look at that war in retrospect, now 100 years after it started, as if through a distant mirror. The reflection, where we are today, is grim from within the greatest war-making nation in human history, the United States.
In the early years of the 20th century, the leaders of the nations of Europe had contrived a web of alliances, each treaty binding one country to join in the defense of another in the event of war. When the Austrian emperor’s son, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, visited Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, 19-year-old Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated him. As Barbara Tuchman writes in her book, published in 1962, Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia, which set off a chain reaction, involving Russia, France, Belgium and Great Britain in the war against Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire.
After the war plans of the various powers failed, a period of brutal trench warfare began, with millions of lives lost under a relentless barrage of mortars, machine guns, mustard gas and newfangled airplanes outfitted with machine guns and bombs. By the war’s end, an estimated 9,700,000 soldiers would be dead, along with 6,800,000 civilians killed.
What, if anything, have we learned from the disaster of World War I? Look no farther than Gaza, or Ferguson, Mo. After nearly 50 days of the bombardment of Gaza with Israel’s intensely lethal, high-tech, U.S.-funded arsenal, Palestinian health officials put the number of Gazans killed at 2,139, of whom over 490 were children. Israel reported 64 soldiers killed as a result of its ground invasion of Gaza, with six civilians dead. The narrow Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated places on Earth, suffering under an Israeli-imposed state of siege, is now a pile of rubble through which people pick, searching for the bodies of loved ones.
Click here to read the full column posted at Truthdig.
Listen and share Amy Goodman’s weekly podcast on SoundCloud.

By Marjorie Cohn, Marjorie Cohn's Blog | Report
2014 809 cri t
By Marjorie Cohn, Jurist | News Analysis
2014 0714gco cat
By Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | News Analysis

Americans for Peace Now

Dear Dick--

Did you hear that Israel has made the largest land appropriation in the West Bank in 30 years? Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer said that the move was "a knife in the back of (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas, and it sends a message to the Palestinian people that the government of Israel is negotiating with Hamas, while at the same time destroying any chance to reach a true accord with the moderate people." Do you want to know what the Israeli government says about this? Do you want to know how the U.S. government, the Israeli people and the Palestinian Authority have reacted? News Nosh, APN's news service, searches through all the news for you. You could surf the web for Israeli news sites, struggle with Hebrew and pop-up ads, or you can let APN do the work for you. Every day. For free. That's right: You can get a daily review of the Israeli Hebrew press, comprehensive yet concise, emailed to your inbox to read with your morning coffee, absolutely free. Where's the catch? No catch. We supply this service because we think that it's important for people like you to know what's happening in Israel, particularly during difficult times like these. News Nosh, APN's news service, searches through all the news for you. Click here to read a sample from today's News Nosh!
News Nosh
News Nosh arrives "on your doorstep" (in your inbox) first thing in the morning for you to peruse with your morning coffee. If you want to keep up with what's happening in Israel, there's no better way to do so. APN offers the top news aggregator, for free. All you need to do is sign up.

It's time for a Nosh!

Thank you,
Debra DeLee
CEO, Americans for Peace Now
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Contents Gaza Newsletter #5
End the Occupation, NATIONAL RALLY JULY 24
Attack, Civilian Deaths
Barnard, NYT, Civilian Toll Climbing
Video of Bombing Victims on a Street
Amy Goodman, Gaza Hospital Bombed

August 2 March
   Intro. By Rabbi Lerner
   Hass, Gazans Killed
   Israel Provoked This War by Henry Siegman
    Ponomarev, Gaza a Living Hell and Goya’s “Third of May, 1808
   Morally Depraved Zionist Regime
   Poem by Hammad
   Yoffie on US Jews
End the Occupation
Avnery, Netanyahu’s Stupidity
Jewish Voice for Peace
Judis, Who’s Most Responsible?
Chris Hedges, Palestinian Right to Self-Defense
HAW Statement
The Nation, Impunity
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now
Niemela, Myths
Omer, Two Articles on Nowhere to Run or Hide
War Resisters League, Actions and a Film
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR): No Support for Israeli War Crimes
Action Alert: What We Can Do
Jewish Opposition to the Invasion

Gaza’s “Ark” Destroyed

Contents of Gaza Newsletter #6
Expressions of Outrage Against the Brutal Invasion to Wipe Out Gaza
Michael Albert, Get Out of Gaza, End the Occupation of Palestine
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now:  Chomsky and Other Indignant Voices
Chris Hedges’ Essays on Gaza
Noam Chomsky, “Outrage’
Coalition for Grassroots Progress, US Complicit, Culpable for Atrocities, Contact
    Your Congressional Reps
A.N.S.W.E.R. March on DC
Jewish Voice for Peace:  Invasion Worsening, Where Are the Jewish Peace
Gaza’s Ark Reports
Maps Show Israeli Conquest of Palestine
Contact President Obama


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Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

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