WARNING : This site is not for you if you cannot see the otherness of other and sufferings of both sides of the party in the conflict. Security for Israel and Justice for the Palestinians are interdependent, one will not happen without the other. My view focuses on building cohesive societies where no one has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. I hope and pray a sense of justice to prevail. Amen. Website www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.com | Also Check Israel Palestine Confederation a pragmatic solution

Friday, October 30, 2009

Democrats’ Attacks on Goldstone

It is time for the majority of Israelis and Jews around the world to speak up. Their silence is signalling the evil men to continue to hurt the future of the Jewish people.

Shame on the congressmen and women and the Senators of the United States, don't they have the GD guts to speak their conscience, if they have one? Our arrogance has no limits, the world votes one way and we the other.

In the long haul, the biggest enemies of Israel are these greedy men and women who are letting Hawks of Israel get away from murders and massacres and compromise peace and security of Israel and the Palestine for a long time to come. Justice is the only thing that is sustainable, the short term (in terms of Jewish history) gains for bullying the congressmen and women and getting the US to veto the UN Security resolutions is going to hurt the Israelis common people. The idiots have been doing this for 60 years, it is time to wake up and speak up if not evil persists the Neocons.

Mike Ghouse

Democrats’ Attacks on Goldstone
by Stephen Zunes

The Obama administration and the Democratic leadership in Congress appear to be continuing the Bush administration policy of ignoring and denouncing those who have the temerity to report violations of international humanitarian law by the United States or its allies. The latest example can be seen in their reaction to the United Nations Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict, which was headed by the renowned South African jurist Richard Goldstone.

Goldstone, who has had a longstanding reputation for fairness and objectivity and who previously led the war crimes prosecutions for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, is a Zionist Jew and a longtime supporter of Israel. He rejected the original mandate of the UN Human Rights Council that the investigation focus solely upon violations of human rights by Israel and successfully demanded that the investigation be expanded to examine the conduct by both sides of the conflict.

The Goldstone Commission report cited a number of violations of the laws of war by Hamas, including its rocket attacks on Israel, its torture of Palestinian opponents, and its continued holding of kidnapped Israeli solider Gilad Shalit. The report's criticism of Hamas would have likely been even longer and harsher had the Israeli government agreed to meet with the commission and allow its members to visit Israel.

What upset Obama administration officials and congressional Democrats was that the report also concluded that Israel's military assault on Gaza was "a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate, and terrorize a civilian population," citing deadly attacks against schools, mosques, private homes, and businesses nowhere near legitimate military targets. These conclusions echo detailed empirical reports released in recent months by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, and the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, among others.

Rather than challenge the content of the meticulously documented 575-page report, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice responded to its release by noting that the United States had long had "very serious concerns" about the mandate the Human Rights Council gave to Goldstone, calling it "unbalanced, one-sided, and basically unacceptable," ignoring that the original mandate was superseded long ago by a balanced directive. Rice was particularly critical of the report's recommendation that those Palestinians and Israelis suspected of war crimes be tried before the International Criminal Court, arguing, "Our view is that we need to be focused on the future." Though Rice had argued just a few months earlier during a UN debate on Darfur that war crimes charges should never be sacrificed for political reasons, she reinforced Assistant Secretary of State Phillip Crowley's insistence that the Goldstone Commission report "should not be used as a mechanism to add impediments to getting back to the peace process."

In late September, Michael Posner, the new U.S. assistant secretary of state for human rights, noted, "We disagree sharply with many of the report's assessments and its recommendations, and believe it to be deeply flawed."

Sixteen Democrats joined fourteen Republicans in writing a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attacking what they called a "biased report." The letter insisted that Israeli human rights abuses must not be taken up in international fora but—despite the Israeli government's long history of covering up war crimes by its armed forces—the Israeli government must be trusted to handle the matter internally. The signatories praised what they called "the extraordinary measures taken by the Israel Defense Forces to minimize civilian casualties," praised the State Department for publicly raising its significant concerns about the report, and called upon the Obama administration to "denounce the unbalanced nature of this investigation." The letter was signed by such leading Democratic senators as Charles Schumer (D-NY), Carl Levin (D-MI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Daniel Inouye (D-HI).

The Palestinian delegation to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva proposed a resolution to have the UN Security Council endorse the report and its recommendations. However, Obama administration officials made clear they would veto any such resolution and successfully pressured the Palestinian delegation in Geneva to drop its initiative.

In short, while Goldstone recognizes that "the ongoing lack of justice is undermining any hope for a successful peace process and reinforcing an environment that fosters violence," the Obama administration's view is that holding human rights abusers accountable for their actions is somehow incompatible with working for peace.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Democrats were echoing their Republican counterparts in denouncing Goldstone and his commission's report. Rep. Elliot Engel of New York and Rep. Shelley Berkley of Nevada, senior Democratic members of the House Middle East subcommittee, issued a joint statement claiming the Goldstone Commission report was "biased against Israel." Ignoring the detailed evidence to the contrary, they insisted that "Israel took every reasonable step to avoid civilian casualties" and that "it is ridiculous to claim that Israel did not take appropriate actions to protect civilian populations." Even though the UN report—like those of Amnesty International and others—challenged the myth that Hamas fighters had used Palestinian civilians as human shields, Engel and Berkley still insisted that the report ignored "the true root of this problem -- Hamas terrorists who ... are willing to risk their own civilian populations -- even their own children."

Rep. Gary Ackerman of New York, whom the Democrats have named the Middle East subcommittee chairman and vice-chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, misrepresented the report even more blatantly. He denounced it by claiming, "In the self-righteous fantasyland inhabited by the authors, there's no such thing as terrorism, there's no such thing as Hamas, [and] there's no such thing as legitimate self-defense." In reality, the report refers to "terrorism" (or "terror" or "terrorists") more than 100 times, mentions Hamas more than 400 times, and fails to challenge the dubious claim that Israel launched its war on Gaza in self-defense.

The real fantasyland, then, appears to be among congressional Democratic leaders and members of the Obama administration who are willing to ignore empirical evidence if it reflects unfavorably against Israel or other U.S. allies.

The problem is not one of being too "pro-Israel," since it is just such war crimes and other gross and systematic human rights abuses by the Israeli government that have resulted in the rise of extremist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah in the first place. The problem is that the Democratic leaders in Washington, like their Republican predecessors, recognize that popular concern for human rights can be an impediment to their militaristic agenda in the Middle East. As a result, they have joined the Republicans in a campaign to, in effect, kill the messenger: attack the United Nations, Amnesty International, or anyone else—journalist, scholar, activist, or one of the world's most respected jurists -- who puts forward credible evidence of human rights abuses by the United States or its allies.

Stephen Zunes (www.stephenzunes.org) is a professor of politics and chair of Middle Eastern studies at the University of San Francisco, a senior policy analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, and a longtime contributing editor at Tikkun.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gaza Children to Learn about Holocaust

A new initiative by the United Nations.

I have been writing about this topic for nearly twenty five years, that a few basics need to be addressed and understood by all the parties in the conflict.

Neither Israeli nor the Palestinian leadership has focused on the human aspect or even the religious aspect of the conflict. The majorities on both sides want peace, unfortunately the one's running the show are revenge seekers and perhaps believe that peace comes after revenging is done. I hope the new breed of leaders emerge who are equipped with a heart to see the endlessness to revenge and a mind to see the wisdom in peace making that brings security and prosperity to the next generation.

Jews have a need to be understood and be acknowledged for their eternal security needs, not the military, but mental security where they can put their guards down and live their life in peace.

Palestinians have a need to be understood. They have suffered immeasurably; no human should be stripped of his or her hope and dignity; hopes to have a family, work and own a house and call a place their homeland.

The following initiative by the United Nations must be lauded. The Palestinians need to understand the suffering of the Jews and I hope a similar initiative is taken where the Israelis watch the conditions of hopelessness that the people of Palestine endure. Peace is in the interest of both people and these initiatives must be encouraged where the sleeping empathies are awakened.

Mike Ghouse


Teach Gaza children about Holocaust, UN tells Hamas,
Donald Macintyre reveals controversial plans to include a Jewish tragedy in lessons for Palestinian children

Monday, 5 October 2009

Palestinian schoolchildren should learn about the Nazis' slaughter of Europe's Jewish population during the Second World War as part of a curriculum component based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UNRWA says

The United Nations' refugee agency is planning to include the Holocaust in a new human-rights curriculum for Gaza's secondary-school pupils, despite strident opposition to the idea from within Hamas.

John Ging, the UN Relief and Works Agency's (UNRWA) director of operations in Gaza, told The Independent that he was "confident and determined" that the Holocaust would feature for the first time in a wide-ranging curriculum that is being drafted.

Mr Ging, a passionate advocate for Palestinian civilians in Gaza who has recently faced increasingly personal criticism and even threats by elements in the Islamic faction, added: "No human-rights curriculum is complete without the inclusion of the facts of the Holocaust, and its lessons."

The draft, to be completed within weeks and then put out for consultation with parents and the public, is built on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was agreed by the UN General Assembly in 1948 in the shadow of what it called the "barbarous acts" committed by the Nazis during the Second World War.

The one-time Irish Army officer has long been an outspoken critic of Israeli policy towards Gaza, including the conduct of last winter's lethal military offensive and what he described more than once in his interview as the "illegal siege".

Mr Ging said the curriculum would explain the genesis, and "inculcate the values" of the Universal Declaration which stipulates that "everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person". He pointed out that the UN General Assembly in 2005 unanimously urged "all countries to teach the lessons of the Holocaust to children so that we learn from history, so that we don't repeat history".

Although the UNRWA director strongly emphasised that the de facto Hamas government had not sought to interfere with the agency =96 which is responsible for the welfare of some 1 million Gaza refugees =96 other figures in the movement have angrily condemned the idea of including the Holocaust in any part of the curriculum. Yunis al Astal, a religious leader and a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said last month that it would be "marketing a lie" and a "war crime" to do so.

Mr Ging said the new curriculum would also include "tangible examples"
of other "blights and stains in human history". He added: "We want to succeed with the active support of the civilian population who want their children to be part of the civilised world and who have no interest in challenging globally accepted facts; no more than ... they start challenging whether the earth goes round the sun, or Hiroshima or Nagasaki, or the killing fields of Cambodia, or the ethnic cleansing of the Balkans, or the genocide in Rwanda, or apartheid in South Africa; or, for that matter, the Nakba." The last event on his list was the Palestinians' "day of catastrophe", the flight or forced expulsion of some 700,000 refugees in the 1948 war which saw the foundation of Israel.

He continued: "This is also part of the frustration here. There are so many global tragedies and travesties that are learned worldwide. Who learns about the Nakba? Again [that is] a very reasonable and legitimate demand but it's not 'either/or'; it's both."

Mr Ging added that UNRWA wanted to teach children that "those who fight for justice must fight with justice =96 lawful actions are the only way to prevail". "The children of Gaza need this more than children elsewhere, because their daily experience is not giving them the example they need to have," he said. He cited the struggles led by such figures as Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela who "eventually prevailed".

"We also want to teach them what he did when he prevailed," he explained. "He didn't seek retribution. He fought for human rights for all South Africans not just for black South Africans."
He added that the curriculum would also seek to demonstrate that war crimes, such as those in Rwanda and in the Balkans, can be punished by international law. "We are not seeking to transform the value system of the people of Gaza. We're seeking to protect the value system of the people of Gaza, and that's why the community will support us."

He argued that tackling the issue "would be so simple if we didn't have the illegality of the [Israeli-imposed] siege ... and the war and all the other illegalities that are the daily life of Palestinians here in Gaza", such as, "the fishermen not being allowed out to fish, sanitation not working, water being undrinkable, the private sector having lost all of the jobs and the dignity of work, students not being able to travel out of Gaza, sick people being trapped in Gaza.

"[It] is a seemingly endless list of travesty and injustice but we can't wait for those to be righted before we also do more to counter the effect of all that." Mr Ging said that the human-rights component in the existing curriculum had not been adequate to tackle topics of concern in Gaza, including the illegality of firing rockets, the issue of what constituted lawful resistance, and the effect of propaganda and "anti-Semitic rhetoric".

Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan last night declined to comment.