By Stephen Lendman
First the good news.
On June 22, the International Middle East Media Center reported that the UN Human Rights Council (that established the Goldstone Commission) approved "forming an international committee to probe the deadly Israeli" Flotilla attack, massacring and injuring dozens of nonviolent activists on board. Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak urged Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to shelve it, saying:
"We expressed our view that for the time being, as long as….new flotillas are in the preparation, it’s probably better to leave (an investigation) on the shelf for a certain time" – in other words, postpone it long enough to forget, letting Israel’s self-examination whitewash top officials’ culpability, a vain hope given world outrage, mushrooming toward universally branding Israel a pariah rogue state.
The Human Rights Council (HRC) said committee officials will include lawyers and international law and human rights experts, the body to present its findings in September.
The European Campaign Against the Siege said the International Committee will contact Israel, Greece, Turkey, and the Freedom Flotilla coalition. It will also visit Gaza and urge Tel Aviv’s cooperation, what wasn’t given the Goldstone Commission, nor will be this time. However, with or without it, the investigation will proceed, exposing Israel’s culpability.
On June 1, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTP) responded to the Flotilla massacre headlining, "All States and the international community must urgently take measures against Israel’s violations of international law," explaining that:
Throughout its history, Israel has willfully, arrogantly, and repeatedly violated core international law principles without accountability. "These violations….involve Israel’s international responsibility, its obligation to make reparations for the damage resulting from these violations and the obligation of all States to prosecute and punish those responsible for these violations when they concern crimes against international law," especially ones against peace – the supreme international crime.
RTP "insists" on the immediate and unconditional:
— "lifting of the blockade by Israel of humanitarian aid," what Fourth Geneva and other international laws prohibit;
— ending the Gaza siege, also lawless and prohibited;
— "full and independent inquiry into the" Flotilla attack;
— "suspend(ing) of the EU/Israel Association Agreement in accordance with" its provisions; and
— implementation of the Goldstone Commission conclusions and recommendations.
Global human rights organizations agree, including BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee member, Dr. Ian Douglas, saying:
"Israel simply cannot face up to its own bloody origin. It is a settler state, founded in violence by individuals who came from outside Arab countries," under rogue governments that support and instigate "terrorism." The solution:
"The international community must cut all economic ties, all defense coordination and contracts, and all diplomatic, intellectual and cultural links with Israel until Zionism is recognized as racism. Until this happens, Israel continues to be the single biggest threat to world peace. The possibility of a better society will keep being suffocated by the black hole of Israel’s insistence on perpetuating injustice against the Palestinians," – partnered with Washington, "indistinguishable from Tel Aviv, or vice versa. Obama is either unwilling (or) unable….to break from that….Palestinians have no hope in (him). He won’t help them, and never intended to."
More good news – a first in America against Israel.
On June 20 in Oakland, CA, over 800 longshoremen pickets blocked the unloading of an Israeli ship, the ZIM Shenhen, chanting:
"Free, free Palestine. Don’t cross the picket line. An injury to one is an injury to all – the Israeli apartheid wall will fall."
An ad hoc Labor/Community Committee in Solidarity with the People of Palestine organized the action. Allied groups included the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee, several Palestinian solidarity groups, the Bay Area ANSWER Coalition, and local labor activists.
Their boycott followed the earlier June International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 motion condemning the Flotilla massacre, "call(ing) for unions to protest (by) any action they choose to take."
Organizations supporting the boycott included the Oakland Educational Association, San Francisco Labor Council, Alameda County Labor Council, Cuban Labor Federation, Labor for Palestine, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, and numerous other groups – in solidarity with Occupied Palestinians.
Good news from Sweden – another boycott.
On June 23, the Swedish Dock Workers Union announced a weeklong nationwide blockade in all unionized ports, refusing to handle goods from or to Israel until June 29, and demanding more, including lifting the Gaza siege and allowing an independent international investigation of the Flotilla massacre.
Still more – cancellation of Turkey’s water sales to Israel.
On June 20, Israel National News.com’s Maayana Miskin reported that Turkey "cancelled the planned sale of 1.75 billion cubic feet of water per year to Israel," a 20-year agreement abandoned over the Flotilla massacre, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister, Taner Yildiz, saying sales have been halted unless Israel "apologizes and expresses its regret."
Turkey also recalled its ambassador and froze a plan to supply Israel with Russian natural gas through an underwater pipeline.
Now the bad – a litany of Israeli crimes, some recent ones explained below.
On June 10, Palestine Think Tank.com contributor Kawther Salam headlined, "107 Israeli Crimes Against Palestinian Journalists," saying:
Since January 2010, Israeli attacks included beatings, "breaking their cameras, preventing them from covering events, shooting at them deliberately, arresting and jailing them, fabricating serious charges, fining them, imposing high financial fines before releasing them from detention," denying them access to East Jerusalem and other areas, and let "dozens of armed extremist settlers assault them and damage their cameras."
This is how a police state operates when not waging all out war.
More bad news.
On June 22, the Palestine Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) headlined, "Continued Ethnic Cleansing and Measures Aimed at Creating Jewish Majority in Occupied Jerusalem," in fact, an agenda to make all Jerusalem exclusively Jewish, dispossessing all non-Jews living there.
PCHR responded saying:
It "strongly condemns aggressive (Israeli) measures in East Jerusalem, which are part of a series of (others) aimed at ethnic cleansing," and have included:
— bulldozing Palestinian houses on lands between Pisgat Ze’ev and Neve Ya’kov settlements to build 600 new units – approved a year earlier to link the two communities;
— the June 21 implemented "Israeli Municipality in Jerusalem decision to demolish 22 houses in al-Bustan neighborhood in Salwan village (to) establish ‘King David’s Garden’ " on expropriated Palestinian land; on June 23, Haaretz writer Nir Hassan reported that East Jerusalem settlers "threatened to (hire private security firms to) forcibly evict four Palestinian families they claim are living on" Jewish Silwan property; East Jerusalem, in fact, is Occupied Palestinian territory, not belonging to invaders who have no business being there or legal right to the land;
— the June 20 Israeli High Court ruling, affirming the deportation of PLC member, Mohammed Abu Tir, a member of the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform Bloc;
— the June 20 closing of the Ilaf Association for Education Support in Jerusalem, using falsified documents to claim Hamas held meetings there; and
— Israel’s ongoing lawlessness in violation of international law, including expropriating Palestinian land, what, so far, the international community won’t stop.
On June 20, the US State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs warned Americans against traveling to Gaza, stopping short of saying those doing it will be prosecuted, but calling it "infiltrating" by flotillas or other means.
The warning "applies to all US citizens, including journalists and aid workers," with no mention of the illegal siege, the Flotilla massacre, or repeated attacks against defenseless civilians. A week earlier, Britain issued a similar alert, suggesting UK citizens doing it wouldn’t be welcomed back home. Israel endorsed both statements from its closest allies, together comprising the real axis of evil.
On June 20, Haaretz writer Barak Ravid exposed Netanyahu’s bogus siege easing, headlining "Netanyahu: Security blockade on Gaza will get stronger," quoting him saying that despite letting in more "civilian" goods:
The "security closure will be tightened from now on (to) keep (weapons and "dual use" goods) out of Gaza," claiming "Our friends around the world are getting behind our decision and giving international legitimacy to the security blockade on Hamas."
So though designated foods, housewares, writing implements, mattresses and toys can enter, cement and shoes (among hundreds of other non-military items) remain banned, Israel bogusly calling them "dual use," meaning materials potentially for violence and conflict.
On June 24, Gaza Gateway.org reported "no significant change in the volume of trucks entering Gaza," despite the supposed easing – last week, 654, fewer than before the Flotilla massacre when 662 entered; this week through four of five allowed crossing days, 567, "consistent with the (imposed) policy since June 2007."
Gaza Gateway said only one crossing operates at near capacity of about 110 trucks a day, five days a week permitted – Kerem Shalom (Kerem Abu Salam). Karni Crossing, Gaza’s commercial lifeline, able to handle 1,000 trucks per day, remains closed.
The Obama administration and virtually all members of Congress support the most lawless Israeli policies, including the siege, subsidizing them with billions of dollars annually, the latest weapons and technology, and virtually any special requests – to wage war, commit violence, maintain an illegal occupation against Palestinian civilians and the legitimate Hamas government, bogusly called terrorist.
Confirmation of PA/Israeli/Washington Complicity
According to a June 22 Asa Winstanley Electronic Intifada (EI) article headlined, "Exclusive: Leaked documents show PA undermined Turkey’s push for UN flotilla probe:"
"A document sent to Ibrahim Khraishi, (PA UN) representative in Geneva," shows its officials tried but failed to "neutralize a (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution condemning" the Flotilla massacre, by preventing an independent investigation and endorsing an Israeli one – a thinly veiled scheme to whitewash premeditated murder and absolve high-level culpability. Turkey rejected it out of hand. HRC approved an independent committee proceed and report back by September.
EI’s article and one document can be accessed here.
Last year, Fatah officials tried to undermine the Goldstone Commission’s findings, proving they ally with Israel against their own people.
Last October, however, when the Commission’s findings were adopted, Mahmound Abbas "was forced into a humiliating U-turn after an outpouring of disgust and protest from Palestinians around the world," not diminishing his contempt for his own people. Perhaps theirs now for him enough to elect a new president serving them, not their oppressive occupier in league with its Washington paymaster/partner.
– Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.