Monday, July 31, 2006

Israel's war crimes, massacres and blatant breaches of international law continue unhindered in Lebanon and Gaza

An HRA press release / July 31, 2006

Israel's military assault on Lebanon continues to violate international humanitarian law as Israel pushes forward an agenda awash in unabated violent massacres and war crimes. US diplomacy has only complied with these war crimes through granting Israel impunity, thereby giving Israel the impression that it has permission to continue. Finally, it is plain to see that the international community has failed miserably in its duty – to ensure the protection of innocent civilians during time of war.

Israel's latest assault on Lebanon was Sunday morning's massacre in Qana – which killed 28 civilians (initial reports said 60, but the new numbers are more accurate), the majority of whom were children. With this massacre, Israel's war on Lebanon has entered a new phase. This war crime is also testament to the UN Security Council's failure to impose an immediate ceasefire to ensure the protection of civilians and to halt war actions. Furthermore, if following the massacre all that is made is a verbal condemnation, then Israel can only interpret that as being a green light to assault more civilians and civilian infrastructure.

The massacre in Qana has brought the death toll to over 750 in Lebanon, the majority of who are civilians. In addition, as Israel's crimes of collective punishment in Gaza continue, more than 160 Palestinians, also chiefly civilians, have been killed. The Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA) makes an urgent appeal to the international community to act towards an immediate cessation of violence and for Israel to comply with its obligations to international law.

Lebanon: Since the start of Israel's military assault of Lebanon on July 12, over a third of the casualties in Lebanon have been children. Furthermore, Israel's bombardment of Lebanon has given rise to over 700,000 refugees. Civilian infrastructure and institutions have been deliberate targets of Israel's aerial attacks – airports, ports, power stations, roads and bridges have all been hit. As casualties mount, there is an increasing humanitarian crisis in Lebanon, particularly in the south.

Gaza Strip: In addition to the 160 Palestinians killed since June 25, at least 700 civilians have been wounded by Israeli army gunfire. In addition, Palestinian ministries and educational institutions have been destroyed, as has the plant that supplies nearly 50% of Gaza's electricity. Bridges, roads, dozens of homes, and hundreds of dunams of agricultural land have also been destroyed. Furthermore, 27 elected Palestinian ministers, including eight cabinet ministers have been detained without charge.

The United Nations Security Council is the UN's most powerful body whose chief responsibility is the 'maintenance of international peace and security'. However, despite its numerous meetings following the crisis, it has been unable to enforce a ceasefire, much less condemn Israel's blatant violations of international humanitarian law, including the killing of four UN observers.

The European Union also has a special role to play in the crisis because of the Association Agreements it has signed with Israel and Lebanon. Article 2 of this Agreement contains a human rights clause that states, 'Relations between the parties shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles'. Furthermore, the EU-Israel Action Plan clearly stresses 'Common values of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law and basic freedoms'. Surely, Israel's targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure, and its refusal to negotiate do not fall in line with these shared values.

The HRA believes that the failure of the UN Security Council to protect civilians in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip at a time when serious humanitarian crises face the two populations raises serious questions from civil society engaged in promoting international law and human rights principles, about the credibility of institutions and agreements that fail to stop war crimes against civilian populations. The failure of the EU to use existing agreements (Action Plan, Association Agreement) clearly resulted from a lack of political will by certain member states. This failure undermines the EU's credibility and its position in the region.

Through our work in the community, we receive clear signals that the EU and UN's failure to act and to apply agreements to protect civilians during war has been interpreted as having succumbed to the political interests of powerful states. This sends the negative message that these agreements will never be enforced to stop the daily human rights violations and discrimination that our community faces. This is viewed as a step backward, as people will look for alternatives outside the current system, which will only lead to more violence in the region.

The HRA strongly condemns Israel's war crimes and gross violations of international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and the Fourth Geneva Convention. We stress that Israel should not be allowed to stand above international standards and law.

We thereby urgently call on the EU and UN to firstly, take clear positions condemning the current breaches of international law; and second, to activate the existing mechanisms (Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention) for an urgent and immediate international ruling to impose a ceasefire and to enable effective transfer of humanitarian aid to the needy. Third, given recent developments it is increasingly urgent that the UN establish an international commission for enquiry into the war crimes committed by Israel since its assault on Lebanon began on July 12.

In this moment, the want for international action is dire; at stake are not only the lives of innocent civilians but also the credibility of humanitarian morals and international values that have been held ransom by the belligerent forces of international politics and war machines.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Scholar Ghazi Falah free but Lebanon siege continues

The Shin Bet (Israeli General Security Service) and police today released without charges Professor Ghazi Falah, an Israeli-Canadian geographer (of Palestinian descent) detained three weeks ago on suspicion of spying for Hezbollah.

Falah was held for the first 18 days of his detention without permission to consult a lawyer, and was questioned by security sources for more than 12 hours straight without break or sleep.

In the meanwhile, Israel's breaches of international humanitarian law continue with its latest massacre in Qana, Lebanon. Atleast 54 dead, among them 34 children. How much longer?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon assuming a lot these days

Haim Ramon. Being probed. I'm assuming ofcourse.

Haim Ramon, Israel's Justice Minister, seems to be assuming a lot these days.

Following international talks in Rome on Wednesday about Israel's brutal assault on Lebanon, when the international community stopped short of calling for an immediate truce, Haim Ramon made an assumption. He assumed that Israel had received "a green light from the world... to continue the operation". The US wasn't too pleased.

Back at home, Haim is making other assumptions.. about how certain women wish to get down with him. He is alleged to have forcibly kissed an employee of another government ministry on the mouth about two weeks ago at a party in Tel Aviv. Israel's Minister of Rough Justice is currently being probed by the police.

I'm assuming that it will be a non-invasive probing and will likely result in him receiving a promotion.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Scholar Ghazi Falah arrested by Israel without charge

Ghazi-Walid Falah is a tenured professor from the Geography and Planning Department at the University of Akron in the US. He was arrested in Israel on Saturday July 8, 2006 and remained detained without charge and without access to legal council until today. On July 17, 2006 the authorities denied his access to a lawyer for a further ten days. Only today has his lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein, been allowed a meeting with him.

Ghazi was on a visit to see his mother who was facing an operation to remove a brain tumor. During his visit he went to a popular tourist resort at Nahariya (Israel) to take some pictures, presumably for use in the Arab World Geographer, in research articles, or for teaching purposes. However, the Israeli authorities thought he was spying for Hizballah in taking photos of an area repeatedly hit by Katyusha rockets. The Israelis fear that the photos would give Hizballah an idea of how accurate its firing has been. Ghazi is originally from near Nasereh and holds Canadian citizenship. Nayil Falah, his son, says the Canadian government has done nothing to help him.

Since being arrested and until today, Ghazi-Walid was refused access to a lawyer, consulate staff, or other visitors - a blatant violation of his human rights.

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What is this 'durable ceasefire' they talk about?

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted there could not be a return to the "status quo" of political uncertainty and instability in Lebanon and that any ceasefire must be "sustainable."

Really, what does that mean - sustainable/durable ceasefire? Implementation of UN Resolution 1559 that calls on Hezbollah to disarm? Why would they? What have they gotten in return? Has Israel made any concessions that would prompt Hezbollah to disarm?

The whole world is calling for an immediate ceasefire with the exception of the US and UK. 405 Lebanese dead, the majority civilian. And many more buried under the rubble. Over 600,000 refugees. How many to die before this 'sustainable' ceasefire is reached.

Remember, a durable/sustainable ceasefire would also entail answers to the question of Palestine and Palestinian refugees as per UN Resolution 194. The Palestinian Question remains one of the principal reasons that Hezbollah became involved. If you want a durable ceasefire, then you must address this question. However, it hasn't been answered for nearly 60 years. It therefore seems that a cessation of violence will not come about anytime soon.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hizballah's Katyushas hit Nazareth

Two Katyushas dropped on Nazareth yesterday at approximately 1400 GMT, directly striking and killing two kids - Mahmood 'Abd il Raheem Taluzeh, 3, and his brother, Rabee' 'Abd il Raheem Taluzeh, 7. Allah yer7amhum.

How much blood needs to be spilled before we approach the negotiating table? Why is Israel so adamant to continue its onslaught of Lebanon, where more than 300 civilians have been killed to date; and why then does it question Hizballah's Katyusha fire?

It is well known that Hizballah was striking an army weapons depot in Nazerat Illit, overshot, and hit Nazareth instead. So contrary to what you would expect, the people here are not turning on Hizballah. Instead, they're blaming Israel and asking how many more casualties before Israel gives diplomacy a chance?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Happy Birthday ya wardat al-nasereh

Kill sana wa inti salma 7abibti.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Over 200 Lebanese civilians dead

As of 1030 GMT, 203 Lebanese civilians and 14 Lebanese army personnel have been killed by Israeli action in Lebanon.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Erasing all things Arab.

This is a picture taken in Israel. It speaks of how State discriminatory practice reflects on the people. I know, I live here. There is a lot of animosity towards Palestinians and Arabs and the majority would tell you without batting an eyelid that they would much rather have a pure Jewish State for Jews only.

Credit farfuglinn on

Nazareth Elite and 'Afula hit by Hizballah's Katyushas

Nazareth Elite (Nazerat Illit) and 'Afula, two Israeli towns, were hit last night at approximately 2000GMT by Katyushas fired by Hizballah.

But shhhhh - don't tell anybody. The Israeli army wants to keep it a secret. That's why there has been virtually no coverage following the event.

Why? Well, Knesset (Israeli parliament) Member Zvi Hendel (National Union – NRP) thinks that doing so would "serve the enemy", so he's called on Israel's Chief of Staff Dan Halutz to ban the media from reporting the exact spots of rocket landing.

In addition, Israeli intelligence has also been preventing al-Jazeera's reporters (Elias Karam and others) from doing their job through detentions, questioning, and forced censorship.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Has Israel forgotten about its kidnapped soldiers?

I think so.

Or if it hasn't, then it really wasn't about Israel's soldiers in the first place.

Ilan Pappe's recent Electronic Intifada article offers some good perspective on what Israel is really about in Lebanon. And Putin two hours ago made comments that hint of having probably read the Pappe article.

Being engaged in 'low intensity warfare' with the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, even following the intifada in 2000, is extremely frustrating when you're the biggest military power in the Middle East. So they used the Hizballah capture of 2 soldiers to wreak havoc on Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructre so that Hizballah is blamed; they implicated Syria and Iran because they want nothing more than to fire their toys and see all three aforementioned parties no longer in existence.

I suppose the aim is so that the world no longer mistakes them for a weak ethnicity that was unable to prevent the Holocaust; maybe it's cognitive dissonance after running up a debt of 74 billion dollars of which military spending factors heavily.

Fine. But at what cost?

Lebanon and Israel update

Reuters says Israel killed at least 34 civilians on Saturday (by 1915 GMT), including 15 children, in air strikes meant to punish Lebanon for letting Hizbollah guerrillas menace the Jewish state's northern border.

In the meantime, little Katya has the State on Kidnap. Watch for her.

Hizballah - Representing Resistance or Terrorism?

I’m sorry that innocent Lebanese have to die. But don’t you realise that the despicable, morally bankrupt Israeli army is specifically targeting civilians, civilian infrastructure and Lebanon’s pretty cafĂ©’s so as to turn the people against Hizballah?

Don’t you realise that in taking out families from major villages in the south (and now also in the north) the Israeli army hopes to turn the civilians against the moqawimeen (resistance)?

Hizballah is representing resistance to Israeli oppression. Oppression against Gazawis, those in the West Bank and to the Palestinian minority citizens of Israel.

I know cause I’m in Israel. Maybe my town will be hit by a long range missile, but if it’s a step towards changing current Israeli policy meted out to the Palestinians and really all Arabs for that matter, then I’ll be okay with it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Kidnap the State

So Ivory Coast lost. And Italy won. Who cares?

The State is on kidnap. As of 1600 GMT, 7 Israeli soldiers dead, 2 kidnapped.

A Lebanese celebrates in Beirut (AP)