July 12, 2011
The Guardian has a piece of the latest information coming from the civil suit that the Corrie family are pursuing in Israel. The family claim that evidence has been withheld and misleading information was provided to the US officials at the time of her death. The hearing has been taking place since March 2010 and finally completed last weekend.
In March last year the Corrie family launched a civil case, accusing the military of either unlawfully or intentionally killing Rachel or of gross negligence. Hearings in the case ended on Sunday and a verdict is due to be delivered next April.
“After more than a year of hearings, we are at this moment in much the same place as we were when they began – up against a wall of Israeli officials determined to protect the state at all costs, including at the expense of truth,” said Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother.
“We came seeking accountability. We demand justice,” said Craig Corrie
Right up to the end of the hearings, the Israeli military sought to discredit the work of the volunteers there trying to prevent the human rights abuses being perpetrated by the Israeli military.
The final witness in the case, Colonel Pinhas Zuaretz, told the court in Haifa that Rafah was a war zone in 2003 and “reasonable people would not be there unless they had aims of attacking our forces”. Members of the International Solidarity Movement, such as Rachel Corrie, were aiding “Palestinian terrorists”, he said.
because of course an unarmed civillian with nothing more than a finger to wag or a camera to document the attacks on civillians is obviously a grievous threat to those heavily armoured tanks the military were permanently ensconced in and those “Palestinian terrorists” who were actually the unarmed homeowners who suffered sustained attacks on their homes by members of the military which usually led to the household abandoning the home and becoming refugees, then the military subsequently demolishing it were also grievous threats.
As the Israeli government has recently shown with its open pressuring of foreign governments to stop the flotilla and tacitly supporting at least one group that behaved in criminal behaviour to try to stop some of the flotilla boats leaving in Greece, it is unlikely that this will cause them to display integrity and admit responsibility for the behaviour of its armed forces. Will the courts see it differently and judge that the military did distort the truth to hide its culpability in the death of Rachel? We’ll know next April.
June 29, 2011
The boats involved in the Freedom Flotilla II have started to set sail for Gaza. Last year this peaceful protest against Israel’s behaviour in Palestine resulted in the deaths of 9 civillians after Israel illegally boarded the ships in international waters. This year Israel is trying more insidious means to stop the flotilla before it physically stops them.
This time, as Freedom Flotilla II sets sail over the next week, with 10 ships carrying many of the same activists who travelled last year, including Swedish writer Henning Mankell, American human rights campaigner Hedy Epstein, and writer and academic Alice Walker, the Israeli government’s response will be closely watched.
This week Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, wrote a letter saying: “Israel calls on the international community to do everything in their ability in order to prevent the flotilla and warn citizens … of the risks of participating in this type of provocation.” The purpose of the flotilla, he said, is “to provoke and aid a radical political agenda”. He later added: “We are very determined to defend ourselves and to assert our right to a naval blockade on Gaza.”
“The threats of violence won’t deter us,” says Huwaida Arraf, one of the flotilla organisers. “Nobody is going in to this lightly, but we feel it has to be done. Israel has to realise its violence against us is not going to stop our growing civilian effort to challenge its illegal policies. The size of this flotilla, the number of people involved in organising it, even after Israel killed nine of our colleagues last year, is testament to that.”
Israel started with the letter to the UN, since then it has threatened any journalist who joins the flotilla with deportation and a 10 year ban from israel which was only revoked after an international outcry and now an Israeli group has now resorted to attempting to delay the sailings through a group in Greece by complaining to the greek authorities that boats are not seaworthy which then requires the authorities to hold the boats and investigate. There has also been an allegation of sabotage against the boats in Greece, a claim that is not being denied by the Israeli authorities
Israel and its allies have been working hard to head off the planned flotilla, which is hoping to enter the waters off Gazain the next week. Col.. (ret) Ann Wright, who’s organizing a US vessel named the Audacity of Hope for the flotilla, says her ship has been detained in Athens on spurious charges that it’s not seaworthy. She says that charge was made by an Israeli legal group.
Now the Juliano is held up. Mikael Löfgren, a spokesman for Ship to Gaza Sweden, says the damage was discovered at 6:30 in the eveningAthens time today, and that divers probably cut the propeller in the past 24 hours.
“The reports I’m receiving is that it’s certain that it was sabotage,” says Mr. Löfgren, reached by phone inSweden. “The propeller and [propeller shaft] has been cut and we have divers that have filmed the damages. Experts have said there’s no doubt” that the damage was deliberate.
He says that repairing the damage will take a few days. As to who is responsible, he declined to speculate. “We simply don’t know who did it, but it’s obviously a hostile act,” says Löfgren.
So how can a couple of hundred people who are unarmed and carrying supplies through international waters be such a threat? Perhaps because shining a light to expose the truth of the brutality of Israel towards the people of the land they have occupied and to those who try to support them may finally trigger an outcry that will force Israel to loosen its stranglehold on the people of Palestine.
We can only hope.
Below is an approximate list of the Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human participants
Spain- Gernicka, 30 passengers
France – Louise Michel, 24 passengers, 6 journalists
France- Dignity, 10 passengers, 1 journalist
Australia/Belgium/Canada/Denmark/Germany – Tahrir, 48 passengers, 9 journalists
Italy/Netherlands/Germany/Switzerland/Malaysia – Stefano Chiarim, 65 passengers, 5 journalists
Ireland- Saoirse, 20 passengers, 2 journalists
European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza- Freedom for All, 15 passengers
Greece/Sweden/Norway – Juliano, 25 passengers, 4 journalists
Greece/Sweden/Norway – Methimus #2 cargo boat, 15 passengers
United States- The Audacity of Hope, 40 passengers, 10 journalists
For more information on the flotilla and its progress you can read about it at freegaza.org or at Witnessgaza.com, Tahrir.ca and FreedomFlotilla.eu and join them on twitter and Facebook or donate to help.
March 27, 2009
I wanted to make sure this wasn’t forgotten.
UN criticises Israelis over Gaza
UN human rights investigators have questioned the legality of Israel’s Gaza offensive in a wide-ranging report to the UN Human Rights Council.
One investigator, Richard Falk, asked how a military assault with modern weapons could have been made “against an essentially defenceless society”.
The report found civilians appeared to “have taken the brunt of the attacks” with schools and clinics also hit.
Israel has accused Council members of seeking to “demonise” it.
Many international organisations have raised concerns about possible war crimes during the three-week offensive, which ended on 18 January.
An Israeli rights group has also criticised Israel for hitting medics and impeding medical evacuations.
The Israeli military says it is investigating specific claims of abuses and argues that it did its utmost to protect civilians during a conflict in which militants operated from populated civilian areas.
Because Mr Falk, a UN human rights investigator, was unable to enter the Palestinian territories, his latest findings focus on the legality of Israel’s January operation in Gaza in general, rather than on specific cases or claims that disproportionate force was used.
Mr Falk argued that in order to determine if the war was legal, it was necessary to assess whether Israeli forces could differentiate between civilian and military targets in Gaza.
“If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attacks is inherently unlawful, and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law,” he said in Geneva.
“The overall ratio of deaths, 1,434 on the Palestinian side, 13 on the Israeli side, is suggestive of the one-sidedness of the military encounter,” he added.
Gaza’s borders were closed, he stressed, so civilians were unable to flee the fighting.
Mr Falk called for an independent inquiry to examine possible war crimes committed by both Israel and Hamas.
He also suggested that the Israeli blockade of Gaza was in violation of the Geneva Conventions and must be lifted.
Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN secretary general’s special representative for children and armed conflict, cited a long series of incidents to back her charges, in her report to the UN Human Rights Council.
In one, she said, Israeli soldiers shot a father after ordering him out of his house and then opened fire into the room where the rest of the family was sheltering, wounding the mother and three brothers and killing a fourth.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, Aharon Leshno Yar, said the report “wilfully” ignored and downplayed terrorist and other threats faced by Israel
The 43-page document was, he added, part of a pattern of “demonising Israel” in the Council.
Israeli authorities denied entry to Mr Falk last December, when he attempted to conduct his regular investigative mission to the Palestinian territories.
Israel was angered by a series of comments he had made accusing it of war crimes and comparing its actions in Gaza to Nazi Germany in World War II.
On Monday, the Israeli organisation Physicians for Human Rights released a report saying Israel had violated international law and ethics codes during the Gaza operation.
It accused Israeli forces of “attacks on medical personnel, damage to medical facilities and indiscriminate attacks on civilians not involved in the fighting”.
January 24, 2009
A GOAL FOR GAZA
Star footballer Fredi Kanoute, now playing in Spain but formerly of Tottenham Hotspur, celebrated scoring a goal last Saturday by lifting his shirt to reveal a T-shirt with the word Palestine blazoned across it.
He was booked by the referee and fined 3000 Euros. Spain prohibits players from displaying religious or political messages on the pitch.
See video of Kanoute’s goal for Gaza here: http://tinyurl.com/bmh4q8
A LIFELINE FROM BRITAIN TO GAZA
A Lifeline for Gaza aid convoy will leave Britain on Saturday 14 February 2009.
It has been initiated by George Galloway MP, who writes: We will not look away. The Palestinians in Gaza need our help now, just as they did when Israel’s bombs and illegal weapons were dropping. Thousands of people have contacted me to say that they have marched, cried at the television pictures and feel helpless in the face of the suffering.
That’s why I have launched a major initiative in response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. I will be leading an aid convoy from London to Gaza leaving on 14 February and travelling through France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and through Rafah and into Gaza.
It will bring material aid and raise the banner of Palestine in all the countries that we visit. The convoy will be led by a British fire engine, ambulances, and many trucks full of practical aid given by the various communities in Britain.
FOR FULL DETAILS OF THE AID CONVOY, SEE THE VIVA PALESTINA WEBSITE: http://www.vivapalestina.org/
January 19, 2009
Israel called a ceasefire on Saturday, saying it had met its war aims
Anonymous Israeli officials, quoted by AP news agency, said the withdrawal would be completed before US President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday.
UN official John Ging said half a million people had been without water since the conflict began, and huge numbers of people were without power.
Four thousand homes are ruined and tens of thousands of people are homeless.
Unrwa was keen to reopen its schools, Mr Ging said, where 50,000 people were sheltering. Tens of thousands have been made homeless by the bombardment.
At least 1,300 Palestinians, according to Palestinian sources, and 13 Israelis have been killed since Israel launched its offensive on 27 December. Palestinian medical sources say at least 95 bodies have been pulled from the rubble since Israel halted its assault.
Some 400,000 Gazans still do not have running water.
During the Israeli attacks, about two-thirds of Gaza’s 1.5m people were without power, the UN says.
Gaza’s only power plant shut down on 30 December because it ran out of fuel.
On 18 January the plant received 90,000 litres of fuel from the filling depot at Nahal Oz in southern Israel, says the UN.
Since then most Gazans have had intermittent electricity, although some households are still without power due to damage to the grid.
However, the plant is still short of fuel. It needs 450,000 litres of industrial fuel per day to produce its full capacity.
Although most main power lines have been repaired, two lines are still damaged in northern Gaza.
Since 18 January an extra 100,000 people received running water when the electricity supply was reconnected.
Some wells have been refilled and several NGOs, including Save the Children, have distributed drinking water in the Gaza Strip. The UN says supplies could be improved if workers are given safe passage to repair three damaged water mains.
One water main east of Khan Younis has been damaged, cutting supplies to 25,000 people.
Officials have confirmed that all two million litres of wastewater at Gaza City’s treatment plant, bombed on 10 January, leaked into surrounding agricultural land. Pumps at the plant are out of action due to lack of fuel.
A pump that sends sewage from Beit Hanoun to the Beit Lahia wastewater treatment plant is still damaged. According to officials, 30 cubic metres of sewage are flowing into the streets of Beit Hanoun every hour.
Unrwa says it is operating 50 emergency shelters for 50,896 displaced people in Gaza.
The shelters, many of them schools, are overcrowded with only basic levels of support, including food and water.
The shelters, especially those in the north, are in urgent need of non-food items and there is a shortage of more than 23,000 blankets and mattresses.
The UN says construction materials needed to repair and rebuild homes also need to be brought into Gaza.
So what were it’s aims? To destroy the civillian infrastructure? To make yet more people homeless, some for the fourth or more time? To terrorise a population already under stress from the siege of the last 18 months?
Certainly to make all the people in the suburbs of Brazil and Yibna homeless and finally complete the sterile area they wanted between the people of Rafah and the wall they have built around them.
here’s the current position of the Red Cross on the use of phosphorous weapons: http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/weapons-interview-170109
If you wish to help, these are some of the aid agencies running appeals:
Save the Children Fund: http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/en/32_7306.htm
Red Cross/Red Crescent: http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/palestine-update-180109?opendocument
Médecins Sans Frontières: http://www.msf.org.uk/articledetail.aspx?fId=a_paltry_response_20090108&gclid=COnu8qKGm5gCFQtOQgodOwlImg
January 18, 2009
This comes from a repost flickr site and the image haunts me.
January 9, 2009
The depravity with which the Israeli Government is inflicting death on the people of Gaza reached a new low today as news began to leak out of yet another Israeli war crime in the town of Zeitoun.
According to the United Nations the events in a second shelter in the town represents ‘one of the gravest events since the beginning of the offensive.’
Eyewitness accounts obtained by the UN describe how, on the 4th January, the IDF rounded up 110 people, half of them children and moved them into a single story home. The IDF told the people they were being led to their safety.
Then 24 hours later the IDF bombed the shelter killing 30 people. According to the Red Cross and the UN, the IDF’s refusal to allow humanitarian access to the area for four days was because of this incident.
Following this incident the Red Cross issued a statement on the deaths of children killed by the Israeli Army in which they said that there had been a 250% increase in deaths to children since the ground invasion.
Read the BBC report here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7819492.stm
Here’s the latest update from the Red Cross
Israel allowed the ICRC to get blood supplies (but don’t say how much) and 1000 tetanus injections into Gaza. The injections are given to the wounded to help reduce the chance of infection. Only 1000 when there are over 3000 known wounded already. A pittance, just crumbs from the Israeli table.
If you live in the UK, the PSC have set up a web page with a pre written letter that they will use to forward to your MP. It literally takes a couple of minutes and will exert pressure on them to act. It calls on them to pressure the Government into taking real action that will force Israel to end its invasion and siege on Gaza.
All you have to do is visit http://www.iparl.com/lobby-psc/widget.html and put in your postcode – easy as that.
Please take the time to do this, small actions like this can make a difference.
Don’t forget there are demonstrations in London and Edinburgh tomorrow. Last Saturday’s had over 60,000 people there.
MARCH ROUTE: Speakers Corner at Hyde Park, Bayswater, Notting Hill Gate, left into Kensington Church Street, left into Kensington High Street, past the Israeli Embassy. There will be rallies with speakers at Speakers Corner and at the end of the march.
ALL SCOTLAND DEMONSTRATION 10 JANUARY
STOP THE MASSACRE: ISRAEL OUT OF GAZA
Bring in-date medicine for Gaza, and spare shoes.
Supported by Stop the War Scotland, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Pauline McNeil MSP, Sandra White MSP, Muslim Association of Britain, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign, Lebanese Community Scotland, Scottish Afghan Society, Scottish Islamic Foundation.