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URUK Net 24 February, 2009

Last updated: Thursday, February 26, 2009 16:25

Gaza, Dresden, Hamburg: Legality of targeting civilians?
By Kamal Dib
…But is there evidence that international law was applied and perpetrators of war crimes were brought to justice? Facts since World War II, and up to the attack on Gaza in 2009, confirm that civilians were and are still “legitimate” targets, in wars and conflicts where the superior side included the Western alliance or the United States alone, Israel and Russia (invasion of Afghanistan in 1978). The US has used nuclear weapons against Japan in bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Both cities were flattened and hundreds of thousands of civilians perished. After World War II, the US and several of its Allies waged multiple wars, alone or collectively, in Korea, in Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Laos from the late 1950s till the early 1970s. Other wars also took place after World War II and produced shocking scenes of civilian causalities. On its own, Israel committed a long list of massacres against the civilian population in Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt between the 1930s and 2009…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52126

We have no right to forget or forgive
An interview with Raji Sourani
Bitterlemons:
…bitterlemons: Were war crimes committed during the recent Israeli offensive on Gaza and can they be prosecuted? Sourani: I believe that war crimes were committed, not only during the brutal Israeli offensive that started on December 27 last year, but from before. We have worked hard to record Israeli war crimes and we are working hard to bring Israeli war criminals to justice. This approach is working and the proof is Israel has instituted new procedures to counter such moves. There is legislation by the Israeli parliament that punishes anyone giving information that can lead to the legal prosecution of war criminals and there is provision for legal aid for any Israeli so accused…

Moreover, the Israeli government is engaged in a campaign in Europe in particular to persuade countries to change their laws to prevent the possibility of holding Israelis accountable in courts there.

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52129

With flow of goods and access sporadic, Gazan children remain highly vulnerable
Save the Children Alliance
While a tenuous, month-long ceasefire has brought some respite from violence in and around Gaza, children there still face enormous challenges and risks to their lives and well-being, say Save the Children senior executives who visited the territory this week. The five senior officers — Charles MacCormack, CEO, Save the Children USA; Jasmine Whitbread, CEO, Save the Children UK; Gro Braekken, CEO, Save the Children Norway; Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General, Save the Children Sweden; and Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Secretary General, Save the Children Alliance — met with children and families affected by the conflict, and visited programmes set up by Save the Children to meet the needs of children living in the territory…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52127

Abbas says world should recognize Hamas in unity government
Ma’an news
The international community should recognize a Palestinian unity government comprising representatives of Hamas, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday. Speaking at a news conference in Norway, Abbas said, “This recognition is necessary for addressing the humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.” The president also expressed hopes that negotiations between Palestinian factions, scheduled to begin Wednesday in Cairo, would lead to a Hamas recognition of agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52128

Turkey Iran sought Turkey’s help to mend links with US, says Erdogan
Robert Tait, Guardian
Iran has asked Turkey to help it resolve its 30-year dispute with the US as a possible prelude to re-establishing ties, the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has told the Guardian. Iranian officials made the request while George Bush was in office, Erdogan said, adding that he had passed the message to the White House at the time. He said he was considering raising the matter with Barack Obama, who has said he wants to engage with Iran at a G20 summit in London in April. Speaking aboard his prime ministerial plane during a local election campaign trip to the south-eastern city of Mardin, Erdogan also renewed his criticism of Israel’s recent offensive in Gaza and challenged the Israeli prime minister-designate, Binyamin Netanyahu, to recognise Palestinians’ right to have their own state…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52133

Video: Eviction in East Jerusalem
AlJazeeraEnglish
Inside Story looks at the eviction of 1500 Palestinians from East Jerusalem and the prospect for peace under Netanyahu’s leadership.

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52132

Not Authorized !
Layla Anwar, Uncensored Arabwomanblues
…America’s track record in contemporary history is one of the worst known to mankind…but that is okay, because America like Israel is above the law. Never mind that America has obliterated a whole nation -Iraq and killed one million of its people in 5 years. Never mind that it stole, plundered, pillaged its resources. Never mind that it erased its history. Never mind that it raped and tortured its men and women. Never mind that it imposed sanctions that starved its population to death. Never mind that it generously used DU, Napalm and God knows what other lethal toxic shit. Never mind that it destroyed its infrastructure. Never mind that it installed a sectarian theocracy, never mind that it exiled 5 million outside their country…never mind any of that, but one should not criticize neither America nor the American people. That would be hate-filled…But all the murder, mayhem, destruction and shit that America has done is not hate-filled and not terrorist…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52104

Crime and accountability in Gaza
Toufic Haddad, The Electronic Intifada
Now that the smoke has at least temporarily cleared from Gaza’s skies, credible human rights reports have filtered in describing the utter devastation that took place throughout the course of Israel’s 22 day assault “Operation Cast Lead.” The figures are truly shocking. According to statistics by the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, at least 1,285 Palestinians were killed, of which 895 were civilians, including 280 children and 111 women. Another 167 of the dead were civil police officers, most of whom were killed on the first day of the bombing when they were graduating from a training course. More than 2,400 houses were completely destroyed, as were 28 public civilian facilities, (including ministries, municipalities, governorates, fishing harbors and the Palestinian Legislative Council building), 29 educational institutions, 30 mosques, 10 charitable societies, 60 police stations and 121 industrial and commercial workshops…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52117

Why we went to war in Iraq remains a secret as Straw blocks the release of cabinet minutes
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian,
The government took the unprecedented decision yesterday to block the release of cabinet minutes about the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that it would undermine democratic decision-making, the very argument used by freedom of information bodies which had ordered their disclosure. Jack Straw, the justice secretary, told MPs the government had decided to use its veto powers under the Freedom of Information Act because publication “risked serious damage to cabinet government”. He argued that the potential damage “far outweighs” any potential public benefit of publication and added that the decision to go to war had already been examined “with a fine-toothed comb” in several inquiries…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52123

US commander warns American troops will be in Afghanistan for years
By Peter Symonds
The top US commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, warned on Wednesday that the huge boost to US troop numbers announced this week would have to continue for years. His comments underscore the fact that the Obama administration is preparing for a dramatic escalation of the war in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan that will inevitably heighten tensions throughout the region, especially in Central Asia. In a bid to shore up the US-led occupation of Afghanistan, President Obama announced on Tuesday that an additional 17,000 US soldiers would be sent there. McKiernan told the media that the troop buildup was “not a temporary force uplift” and would “need to be sustained for some period of time,” adding that he was looking at “the next three to four to five years”. The US already has 36,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan, along with about 30,000 other foreign soldiers operating under NATO command…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52016

Al-Quds Evictions Infuriate Palestinians
IslamOnline.net
Israel’s plans to evict some 1,500 people and destroy more than 88 houses in Al-Quds (occupied east Jerusalem) have sent shockwaves among Palestinians and infuriated politicians and civil society. “We will be in the street. Our women and children will be homeless,” Fakhri Abu Diab, a member of the Committee for the Defense of the Territory of Silwan, told the Palestinian News Agency (PNN). “The demolitions will affect a whole generation and foster hatred from the residents as they see only this side of the Israeli government.”---

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52124

Afghan bomb kills 4 US troops; deadliest this year
HEIDI VOGT, AP
A roadside bomb killed four U.S. troops in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, inflicting the year’s deadliest single attack on international forces a week after Washington set plans to send reinforcements. An Afghan civilian working with the Americans also died. The Americans were patrolling with Afghan soldiers when their vehicle struck a bomb Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. military said in a statement. The military withheld identities of the dead and the attack’s location pending notification of relatives. The previous deadliest attack on U.S. troops this year was an explosion in Zabul province in January that killed three Americans…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52122

Obama’s Afghan “surge” sows seeds of new wars
Keith Jones, WSWS
US imperialism is set on a course to expand and intensify the Afghan War—vastly increasing the number of troops deployed to Afghanistan and extending the war into neighboring Pakistan. The Obama administration’s Afghan troop “surge” and the ensuing ratcheting up of violence will have catastrophic consequences for the Afghani and Pakistani peoples. It adds a new, explosive dynamic to the decades-old geopolitical rivalry between India and Pakistan and will intensify the great power competition for control of oil-rich Central Asia, sowing the seeds for even larger and more destructive wars…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52115

‘I was victim of medieval torture,’ says freed Guantanamo detainee
By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
The seven-year ordeal of a British resident who claims he was brutally tortured before being sent to Guantanamo Bay was brought to an end last night during an emotional reunion with his family. Binyam Mohamed’s sister, Zuhra Mohamed, said she was “overcome with joy” as she watched her brother shuffle down the steps of the RAF transport plane which had carried him from the notorious US detention camp in Cuba to Northolt airfield, west London… Almost as soon as Mr Mohamed had taken his first steps on British soil, the former computer and engineering student made it clear that he had unfinished business with both the US and UK governments. In a carefully worded statement he said he intended to hold to account those he blamed for his alleged rendition, torture and unlawful imprisonment: “I am not asking for vengeance; only that the truth should be made known so that nobody in the future should have to endure what I have endured.”..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52108

Amnesty’s scandalous obliquity
By Khalid Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem
In an apparent effort to sound “balanced” and “unbiased,” the London-based human rights group, Amnesty International (AI) , has urged the international community to halt arms sales to the Israeli apartheid regime and the Palestinian Islamic liberation movement, Hamas. A report issued by the group on Sunday, 22 February, pointed out that arms supplied to “the two sides” were used in attacks on civilians and civilian objects” which constituted war crimes. Non the less, a careful examination of the report shows a clear propensity on the part of AI to create a false symmetry between Hamas, a small liberation movement resisting a decades-old Nazi-like foreign military occupation, and Israel, a manifestly criminal state armed to the teeth, which has been committing every conceivable crime under the sun for the purpose of maintaining its colonialist occupation and brutal domination over the Palestinian people. To be sure, no one claims that Hamas is completely blameless. Targeting innocent civilians is unacceptable. However, equating the resistance of a long-persecuted people languishing under an evil military occupation, even if wrongs are done, with an immensely superior state terror unjustifiably perpetrated by an occupying power is morally unconscionable, to say the very least…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52106

Gaddafi: Israel, not Sudan, to blame for crisis in Darfur
Reuters
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the current African Union president, on Tuesday accused “foreign forces” including Israel of being behind the Darfur conflict. Judges from the International Criminal Court are due to announce on March 4 whether they will issue a warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir over allegations that he masterminded genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region. UN diplomats have told Reuters the warrant will be issued. But Gaddafi, addressing a meeting on ways to expand cooperation between the United Nations and African Union, urged the Court to stop its proceedings against Bashir…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52121

EVIL are these means and avowed ends
Carolyn Bennett, thepeoplesvoice.org
…In its 23-day reign of rabid violence (on top of continuous aggression and occupation) that left 1,330 people (among them 400 children) massacred and 5,450 wounded, Israel has left two thirds of Gaza’s 1.5 million people homelessness. New refugees number 30,000 that the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and the UN refugee agency are scrambling to house in 700 tents. Do you know (Are you acquainted with) any human beings who live in “tents” or have lived in “camps” for 60 years —under critically worsening conditions?…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52120

The Only Palestinian Woman in Israel’s Parliament
Jonathan Cook
When Israel’s 18th parliament opened today, there was only one Arab woman among its intake of legislators. Haneen Zoubi has made history: although she is not the first Arab woman to enter the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, she is the first to be elected for an Arab party. Sitting in her home in Nazareth, the effective capital of Israel’s 1.2 million Palestinian citizens, she is dismissive of her predecessors, two women elected on behalf of Zionist parties. “They were worse than decorations,” she said. “Decorations don’t do any harm, but these women damaged our society. They were no role models at all.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52116

Study: Israel “retaliates” to Palestinian “provocation” in UK press
Shipra Dingare, The Electronic Intifada
A new study by Arab Media Watch demonstrates a strong tendency in the British press to represent Israel as “retaliating” in coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The study, the first to investigate this aspect of British press coverage of the conflict, examined a period from January to June 2008. It found that when the British press represents a party as retaliating or responding in the conflict, that party is Israel 72 percent of the time. The tabloid press showed a particularly marked bias, representing Israel as retaliating in 100 percent of all representations of “retaliation.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52114

Mosul Police Attack US Soldiers, Killing One
Interpreter Also Killed, Three Others Wounded
Jason Ditz
The details of a 2 PM incident at a police station in the Iraqi city of Mosul remained elusive for several hours, with quotes from media outlets putting the number of soldiers killed at four (citing an unnamed official from the Iraqi Interior Ministry), while the US military initially claimed to have no information beyond the death of an Iraqi interpreter. The reports finally seem to have stabilized, however: two policemen at the station opened fire on US troops and their interpreter, killing the interpreter and wounding four US soldiers, one of whom later died of his wounds…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52110

Israeli forces shoot Palestinian teenager in southern Gaza
Ma’an news
Seventeen-year-old Wafa An-Najjar was shot in the leg by Israeli forces on Tuesday near the borderline in the town of Khuza’a in the Southern Gaza Strip. Medical sources at Nasser Hospital in the nearby city of Khan Younis reported that the girl had a bullet in her leg. On Tuesday morning, international volunteers reported that Israeli forces opened fire on farmers near Khuza’a, about 300 meters from the Green Line. The volunteers, with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), were accompanying farmers on their lands…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52109

“They killed me three times”
Eva Bartlett writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine
Amer al-Helo smiled wanly while saying he is broken inside. Twenty days after Israeli soldiers shot dead his 55-year-old father and his one-year-old daughter in front of him, also shooting his oldest daughter in the elbow and his brother in the shoulder, the pain of the 29-year-old had not diminished. Then again, he’d only just recovered the rotting corpse of his father six days earlier; his entire area of Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood had been cut off from ambulances and emergency teams until Israel unilaterally declared an end to the extensive bombing of Gaza and pulled ground troops out of occupied areas on 18 January. “It was a nightmare,” al-Helo said of the experience. From the afternoon of 3 January until 5am the next day there was “non-stop shelling in our area. We had F-16 firing missiles out front, tanks shelling all around.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52111

12 Iraqi Shiite policemen captured for sectarian violence
Xinhua
The Iraqi authorities have captured 12 Shiite policemen murdering Sunnis during sectarian strife in 2006, including the murder of a sister of Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, an Interior Ministry source said on Tuesday. “Iraqi security forces arrested 12 of the Interior Ministry security members for their suspected role of killing and kidnapping 15 people,” the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. According to the source, few days ago a force from the ministry’s office of internal affairs raided houses of the wanted suspects in the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52118

Palestinians Reconsider Two-state Strategy
By Khalid Amayreh, IOL Correspondent
While the west-backed Palestinian Authority is still clinging to the two-state solution as the only feasible strategy for ending the 40-year Israeli occupation, a growing number of Palestinian intellectuals and lay people are coming to the conclusion that the creation of a viable Palestinian state is no longer possible in light of the ubiquitous proliferation of Jewish settlements. “There is no doubt that the two-state solution is dead. In fact it has been dead for quite a long time,” Laila el-Haddad, a Gaza-based writer, told IslamOnline.net. “The metastasizing of Jewish settlements, along with the overriding deliberate policies of ‘politicide’ have rendered the two-state solution impossible,” she believes…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52125

Report Contradicts Govt Claims of “Humane” Detention
By William Fisher
A leading human rights organisation charges that contrary to recent U.S. government reports that found prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba being treated humanely, they are in fact “deteriorating at a rapid rate” due to “harsh conditions that continue to this day, despite a few cosmetic changes to their routines.” The Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR) released a report on the current conditions in Camps 5, 6, and Echo following a press conference convened late last week by Admiral Patrick M. Walsh, the vice chief of naval operations. In his own report on conditions at Guantanamo, delivered to the White House, Walsh determined that conditions at the base meet the standards of the Geneva Conventions…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52119

I Was Illegally Detained by the U.S. Government and Held in CIA-Run “Black Sites”
Mohamed Farag Bashmilah
From October 2003 until May 2005, I was illegally detained by the U.S. government and held in CIA-run “black sites” with no contact with the outside world. On May 5, 2005, without explanation, my American captors removed me from my cell and cuffed, hooded, and bundled me onto a plane that delivered me to Sana’a, Yemen. I was transferred into the custody of my own government, which held me — apparently at the behest of the United States — until March 27, 2006, when I was finally released, never once having faced any terrorism-related charges. Since my release, the U.S. government has never explained why I was detained and has blocked all attempts to find out more about my detention…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52112

The End of the “Peace Process,” and Dissolution of the Historical Political Regimes in Israel and Palestine
Sergio Yahni, The Alternative Information Center (AIC)
Though there is continued talk about an ongoing, though perhaps stalled, Israeli-Palestinian “Peace Process,” for all intents and purposes, it ended more than eight years ago, on 29 September 2000, with the beginning of the Israeli offensive against the Palestinian people in the wake of the collapse of the Camp David negotiations. Since that time, all attempts by the international community to revive the process, including the Arab initiative, have failed. ..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52113

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