Archive for war crimes

Israelis told to fight ‘holy war’ in Gaza

Posted in Media Watch with tags , , , , , , , on May 6, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

molechvx9The Independent (UK)

March 21, 2009

Many Israeli troops had the sense of fighting a “religious war” against Gentiles during the 22-day offensive in Gaza, according to a soldier who has highlighted the martial role of military rabbis during the operation.

The
soldier testified that the “clear” message of literature distributed to
troops by the rabbinate was: “We are the Jewish people, we came to this
land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the Gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land.”

The claim comes in the detailed transcript of a post-war
discussion by soldiers, publication of which has triggered a military
police inquiry into allegations about the use of lethal firepower
against unarmed civilians.

The investigation was ordered by the military’s advocate
general Avichai Mandleblit on Thursday after the liberal daily
newspaper Haaretz published extracts from the transcript describing
incidents in which Palestinian civilians were killed and property
wantonly damaged.

In the fuller version of the transcript published yesterday, the soldier, a unit commander from the Givati brigade, says: “This
was the main message and the whole sense many soldiers had in this
operation was of a religious war.” He recalled that his own sergeant
was from a hesder yeshiva, a college combining religious study and
military service, who led the whole platoon in prayer before going into
battle. [Battle?! The Israelis deployed armored tank columns, backed by
jet fighters and helicopter gun-ships, against lightly-armed resistance
fighters. What happened in Gaza was more akin to a sacrifice, or
holocaust, than a “battle” — 800]
. The commander added that he had
sought to talk to the men about Palestinian politics and society and,
“about how not everyone in Gaza is Hamas and not every inhabitant wants
to vanquish us”.

After the offensive, Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group, called for the dismissal of the military’s head chaplain, Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, a brigadier general. It said that he had distributed to troops a booklet saying that it was “terribly immoral” to show mercy to a “cruel enemy” and that the soldiers were fighting “murderers”.

The longer transcript conveys a fuller sense of the debate
involving graduates from the Yitzhak Rabin military preparatory course.
At one point Danny Zamir, the head of the course, says he would have
questioned the killing of 180 traffic policemen during bombing on the
first day of the operation. One pilot replies: “Tactically speaking you
call them police. In any case they are armed and belong to Hamas …
during better times they take Fatah people and throw them off the roofs
and see what happens.”

The latest casualty figures published by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights list the names of 1,434 dead of whom they say 926 were civilians, 236 fighters and 255 police officers.

The above article can be found at: Israelis told to fight ‘holy war’ in Gaza

Israeli “rules of engagement”: fire on rescue workers, defecate in Palestinian homes

Posted in Israel with tags , on April 3, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

021122_jenin_hook_body-customIDF soldiers ordered to shoot at Gaza rescuers, note says
Ha’aretz (Israel)

March 22, 2009

GAZA STRIP — “Rules of Engagement: Open fire also upon rescue,” was handwritten in Hebrew on a sheet of paper found in one of the Palestinian homes the Israel Defense Forces took over during Operation Cast Lead. A reservist officer who did not take part in the Gaza offensive believes that the note is part of orders a low-level commander wrote before giving his soldiers their daily briefing.

One of the main themes in news reports during the Gaza operation, and which appears in many testimonies, is that IDF soldiers shot at Palestinian and Red Cross rescuers, making it impossible to evacuate the wounded and dead. As a result, an unknown number of Palestinians bled to death as others cowered in their homes for days without medical treatment, waiting to be rescued.

The bodies of the dead lay outside the homes or on roadsides for days, sometimes as long as two weeks. Haaretz has reported a number of such cases, some of them as they happened. The document found in the house provides written proof that IDF commanders ordered their troops to shoot at rescuers.

The sheet of paper entitled “Situational Assessment” was found by a field researcher of The Palestinian Center for Human Rights in the home of Sami Dardone’s family in Jabal al-Rayes, east of Jabalya. The extended Dardone family lives in about 40 homes in this neighborhood, built on a hilltop. Some of the homes were taken over by the army to house troops during the offensive and to serve as sniping positions, or for shooting in general.

Most of the homes were seriously damaged when the IDF directly bombed them or other targets nearby at the start of the ground operation. This was also the reason the homes’ residents fled on January 4. When the residents returned to the neighborhood at the end of the offensive on January 18, they found that the IDF had completely destroyed some of the homes, in addition to those that had been damaged by shelling and others that were wrecked when soldiers broke in through the walls. Sometimes the soldiers needed explosives to break in.

A military source told Haaretz that “the document that was found is not an official document signed by a particular commander, and as such the IDF cannot comment on fragments of sentences that were jotted down on a piece of paper, and asks that this not be interpreted as directives and instructions that were issued by commanders.”

‘Situational assessment’

According to the reservist officer who did not participate in Operation Cast Lead and who received a copy of the document via fax, the “Situational Assessment” was written by a platoon commander, or at the highest level a company commander. The reservist says the author of the “Situational Assessment” was making notes to brief his soldiers based on a briefing that low-ranking commanders receive from senior officers.

The date on the sheet is “16.1.08,” clearly an error because it should read one year later. It comments on political and military events that occurred in mid-January 2009. It’s possible to conclude that the author is discussing the possibility of a cease-fire, which was being discussed publicly by Israeli officials at that time.

“The next 24 hours are important; there is a likelihood they [Hamas] will not accept the agreement,” the author writes. He also mentions the “Interior Minister.” The reference is probably to Hamas Interior Minister Said al-Sayam, who was killed on January 15 when the IDF bombed his home. Four members of his family and five members of a neighbor’s family were killed. Among the dead were four children.

The commander’s notes toward the top of the sheet are largely a short political briefing — for example, “the local leadership wants [a cease-fire], the external [Hamas leadership] is out of touch” — and an assessment of the enemy’s intentions — “the enemy would like to achieve a kidnapping [of soldiers], the destruction of homes.”

“Rules of Engagement” is written in the lower half of the sheet, along with one other category: — “Operational Routine.”

The following is written: “Rules of Engagement: Fire also upon rescue. Not on women and children. Beyond the tantcher — incrimination.”

“Tantcher” is what the IDF calls Salah al-Din — the route that runs the length of the Gaza Strip. The home of the Dardone family is east of the route, so it is possible to assume these are instructions on shooting at anyone crossing the route to the east into areas held by the IDF.

A reservist soldier who did not participate in Cast Lead says that to the best of his knowledge “incrimination” refers to the process of identifying whether a person approaching is a terrorist.

The reservist officer who did not take part in the Gaza operation spoke with reservists who said “incriminating” was a shoot-to-kill order, contrary to “suspect procedure,” in which shots are fired in the air and then at the legs.

The IDF spokesman said in response that “IDF forces were given unequivocal instructions not to fire at those identified as not being involved in the fighting, and to assist as much as possible injured Palestinians under battle conditions.” [This is nonsense. The IDF routinely used overwhelming firepower, including banned weapons such as white phosphorus, against civilians — 800]

The reservist officer told Haaretz that “according to the details mentioned in the paper it appears the author was a low-ranking officer who dealt with the affairs of about 30 soldiers — like organizing their platoon equipment and oiling their weapons.”

He says the author might have taken part in an earlier briefing by more senior officers and took notes for his political and military briefing. That is where he received his instructions on the rules of engagement.

“The rules of engagement are not something the platoon or company commander makes up,” the reservist officer said.

According to the graffiti left in the Dardone homes, and based on what is known about the IDF’s deployment in the Strip, the unit involved was part of the Golani Brigade.

The last portion of the document is entitled “Operational Routine — Fighting Timeline,” and includes things such as guard duty, responsibility for platoon equipment and briefings. Under “Operational Routine” a note is included whose title can be translated as “Shitting of Houses.”

The reservist officer and soldier with whom Haaretz spoke said they were not aware of that term.

Many of the homes the IDF troops took over were left in particularly unsanitary conditions; the residents of Sami Dardone’s home found their clothes in piles with obvious signs of human feces.

Sealed bags

Haaretz asked the IDF spokesman whether “Shitting of Houses” refers to “an intentional action of turning the homes into latrines, or whether the commander wanted to talk to his soldiers about the fact that they had turned their living space into latrines.”

A reservist soldier who took part in Cast Lead told the reservist officer that “going to the toilet was part of the briefing, and perhaps ‘Shitting of Houses’ is a reference in the briefing to where to pile up the sealed bags the IDF provides the soldiers for relieving themselves.”

The IDF spokesman said that “soldiers who were in the homes were instructed to relieve themselves in areas where it did not endanger their lives, mostly inside the house, and which allowed them to carry out their operational activities in the best possible way, and for as long as it would be necessary.”

The other side of the “Situational Assessment” sheet shows that it was written on a letter sent to the troops by a child. “To the Golani soldiers, good luck in the war,” the letter reads in the hand of a young child. In the middle of the page there is a drawing of an armed soldier. “Love, the S. family.”

The above article can be found at: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072830.html

Israeli “rules of engagement”: fire on rescue workers, defecate in Palestinian homes

GAZA’S BLOOD IS ON OUR HANDS (for ignoring the truth of 9/11)

Posted in Original Research with tags , , on January 20, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

20090120221515652_1As the dust settles in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian casualties, mostly women and children, are being counted in the hundreds. What just happened was a real holocaust — not a fictional Hollywood production like the “Holocaust” of European Jewry — and the blood of the more than 1300 slain Palestinians is on our hands.

If we had collectively faced up to the reality of Israel’s central role in the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington in 2001, none of these subsequent Israeli atrocities — including the Zionist-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — would ever have been allowed to happen.

In the wake of 9/11, overwhelming evidence emerged, available to anyone who was interested, implicating Israel in the attacks. Much of this evidence — more than enough to stand up in any legitimate court of law — even came out in the Jewish-owned “mainstream” media. (For a concise collection of this evidence, see Victor Thorn’s “9/11 Evil: Israel’s Central Role in the September 11, 2001 Attacks”.)

Now, imagine if, in the months and first few years after the tragedy, we had all had the courage to face the obvious: that the so-called Jewish state — along with its rats’ nest of agents in the US government and intelligence agencies — had conceived, planned, and executed the attacks in order to produce an imaginary “Clash of Civilizations” and drive the US into a global war against the enemies of Israel.

All of the proof was available to us. If we had all shown a little strength of character, and faced up to the truth staring us in the face, the subsequent march to war by the Jewish-controlled Bush Jr. Administration would have been stopped in its tracks.

Imagine: States of the union — pressured by their outraged constituencies — would have demanded legitimate, independent investigations, threatening the federal government with secession if need be.

Enormous demonstrations, involving millions of Americans, would have converged on Washington DC. At risk to life and limb, angry protestors would have dragged known culprits from the White House and other federal institutions to face trial or, depending on the circumstances, vigilante justice.

Jewish-owned mass-media institutions, which played such a vital role in the 9/11 conspiracy and subsequent cover-up, would have been quickly dismantled. Their Zionist propagandists would have been detained pending investigation, trial and — most likely — execution.

Good people in the armed services — still loyal to the US Constitution — would have found and exposed those within their ranks working in the service of a foreign power. Zionist conspirators within the military would have been court-martialed and, having been found guilty of high treason, subject to the maximum penalty.

Meanwhile, the Israeli embassy in the US, along with ADL and AIPAC offices countrywide, would have been besieged by angry Americans seeking redress for the murder of 3000 of their innocent compatriots. Zionist agents would have been tried — by emergency courts, convened by independent states of the union, if need be — and, given the overwhelming proof against them, sentenced to death.

Conspirators who escaped conviction in court would have become fugitives, to be hunted down by righteously-minded local posses spearheaded, perhaps, by the outraged kinsmen of those slain on 9/11.

Most importantly, America’s support for the criminal state of Israel would have vanished overnight, to be replaced by bitter acrimony. An alliance of sovereign nations including the US — whose peoples had purged their respective governments of Zionist rot — would have brought their full weight to bear against the pariah state, arresting its criminal leaders and forcing its military to disarm.

Universally despised and economically unsustainable without US funding, the Israeli experiment would have been brought to a close, forcibly if necessary. Its people would have been dispersed — to refugee camps, if need be — and replaced by the original, rightful inhabitants of Palestine.

But no. We chose instead to give Israel and its henchmen a pass on 9/11.

In an indication of how low we’ve sunk, we let them get away with it. And our apathy only emboldened them to pursue a litany of subsequent crimes — in Iraq (where millions have been killed), Afghanistan, Southern Lebanon, and now Gaza.

Those dead and dying in the Gaza Strip have already paid the price for our spinelessness. And if the global resistance doesn’t soon take this fight to the enemy, it’s only a matter of time before the next consignment of innocent children is offered up to Jewish gods on the altar of our cowardice.

How long before we seek — demand — righteous vengeance?

GAZA’S BLOOD IS ON OUR HANDS (for ignoring the truth of 9/11)

In Washington, Israel calls shots on Gaza, pt. II

Posted in Media Watch with tags , on January 19, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

20090119155905526_1Olmert’s boast of “shaming” Rice provokes diplomatic furor
The Jewish Daily Forward
January 15, 2009

Washington — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert didn’t do anything wrong — but he should have kept his mouth shut. That was the reaction of several Jewish leaders to Olmert’s public boast January 11.

He said he left Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “shamed” by getting President Bush to block her at the last moment from voting for a Gaza cease-fire resolution that she herself had hammered out over several days with Arab and European diplomats at the United Nations.

Olmert bragged of having pulled Bush off a stage during a speech when he called on the phone and demanded the president’s intervention. Administration officials, however, have sharply challenged Olmert’s account.

“I have no problem with what Olmert did,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “I think the mistake was to talk about it in public.”

“This is what friendships are about. He was not interfering in political issues. You have a relationship, and if you don’t like what is being done, then you go to the boss and tell him.”

Douglas Bloomfield, a former chief lobbyist for the Washington-based pro-Israel lobby the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, dismissed the episode as “a spitting match between two lame ducks.”

“This reinforces the perception that the Israeli prime minister and Israeli leaders have easy access to the leaders of the U.S.,” Bloomfield said. “It is a fact that the Israeli prime minister can get the president on the phone. Not every prime minister in the world can do that. It is no secret that Israel tried to influence the U.S. regarding U.N. votes. It reinforces what the rivals of Israel say about the enormous clout Israel has in Washington, and I see nothing wrong with that.”

But Bloomfield added, “It is a mistake to talk about it.”

Rice, according to press reports, worked hard with Arab and European diplomats to come up with a Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza that all could support. She finally gave her approval to a draft calling for an “immediate, durable and fully respected cease-fire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.”

But the January 8 vote was delayed just before it was to take place, as Rice was called away to the phone. When she returned, she abstained on behalf of the United States — contrary, other diplomats said, to her earlier commitment. The measure, Resolution 1860, was adopted 14-0, with only America in abstention.

In public remarks afterward, Rice stressed that her government nevertheless strongly supported the resolution.

“We decided that this resolution, the text of which we support, the goals of which we support and the objectives that we fully support, should indeed be allowed to go forward. I believe in doing so, the council has provided a roadmap for a sustainable, durable peace in Gaza,” Rice said after the January 8 vote, explaining America’s decision to abstain.

Olmert’s call to Bush aside, there were hints of internal wrangling within America’s administration over the resolution. In a January 11 CNN interview, Vice President Dick Cheney voiced disbelief in the U.N.’s ability to end the fighting in Gaza. “I think we’ve learned, from watching over the years, that there’s a big difference between what happens at the United Nations in their debates and the facts on the ground in major crises around the world,” Cheney said.

Israel and Jewish groups, including Aipac, the ADL and the American Jewish Committee, opposed the draft’s language, which they saw as one-sided. They also felt that the draft stood in contrast to Israel’s demand not to give it equal standing with Hamas in the resolution.

During a January 5 conference call with Jewish activists, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, gave special priority to blocking the international body from taking a stand on the Gaza issue. “We need to work hard to ensure the Security Council doesn’t pass a resolution,” Hoenlein said.

It was in Ashkelon, in southern Israel, that Olmert gave a speech in which he said that on hearing of the draft that Rice had developed with her U.N. colleagues, he immediately called Bush, just minutes before the U.N. vote. He was told that Bush was giving a speech in Philadelphia and could not talk.

“I said, I don’t care; I have to talk to him,” Olmert told the crowd, which included reporters and TV cameras.

Bush, according to Olmert, was called off the podium and immediately agreed to look into the issue. “He gave an order to the secretary of state, and she did not vote in favor of it — a resolution she cooked up, phrased, organized and maneuvered for. She was left pretty shamed, and abstained on a resolution she arranged,” Olmert told the crowd.

A furious White House and State Department condemned Olmert’s account as inaccurate and the State Department called it “totally, completely untrue.” Rice termed it “a fiction.”

In a January 13 press briefing, spokesman Sean McCormack said Rice had decided a day before the vote that she would not veto the resolution. McCormack also stated that Rice made the choice to abstain after she consulted with National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and with Bush.

The decision by Rice not to outright veto the January 8 Security Council resolution, as the United States has the power to do under Security Council rules, triggered angry and unusual criticism from Jewish groups that have praised Bush during most of his eight-year White House tenure.

Aipac issued a statement January 6 condemning the U.N. resolution and criticizing the Bush administration for not using its veto power and instead “succumbing to pressure exerted by Arab states.”

The ADL expressed disappointment with the administration in a written statement: “We expected the Administration to abide by its longstanding commitment to fighting global terrorism and the scourge of anti-Semitism, and Israel’s role on the front lines of that fight.”

The tough words from Israel and Jewish groups toward the outgoing administration will make little difference for Bush and Rice, who leave office January 20. But they will serve as a message to the incoming administration led by President-elect Barack Obama and his choice for secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“This is a battle that needed to be taken,” Foxman said. “We don’t win all our battles, but we can’t simply accept that the Security Council is what the Security Council is.”

The above article can be found at: http://www.forward.com/articles/14957/
Also, see this Jan. 13 article from IPS:

Olmert’s Claims Revive Spectre of “Israel Lobby”
Inter Press Service (IPS)
January 13, 2009

WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department fiercely denied claims made by Ehud Olmert about his influence over President George W. Bush, in an incident that has stirred up old debates about the role of the Israeli government and the so-called “Israel lobby” in formulating Middle East policy in Washington.

On Monday, Olmert claimed that he demanded and received an immediate conversation with President Bush, during which he convinced the president to overrule the wishes of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and abstain from a United Nations resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

In response, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack on Tuesday called Olmert’s claims “wholly inaccurate as to describing the situation, just 100-percent, totally, completely not true”. The State Department did not respond to an IPS request for further elaboration.

Olmert’s comments were made in Ashkelon, a southern Israeli city that has been the target of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

According to Olmert, he called the White House upon hearing of the upcoming U.N. Security Council resolution. “I said, ‘Get me President Bush on the phone’. They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn’t care: ‘I need to talk to him now’. He got off the podium and spoke to me,” Olmert said, according to multiple media reports.

As a result of his conversation with President Bush, Olmert claimed, the president called Rice and forced her to abstain from voting on the measure, which she herself had helped author.

“He gave an order to the secretary of state and she did not vote in favour of it — a resolution she cooked up, phrased, organised and maneuvered for. She was left pretty shamed and abstained on a resolution she arranged,” Olmert said.

The Security Council resolution passed by a vote of 14 to 0, with the U.S. the only abstention.

The U.S. government was quick to counter Olmert’s remarks. In addition to the State Department’s rebuttal, a White House spokesman also denounced “inaccuracies” in the story.

Regardless of the truth of Olmert’s claims, the story comes as an embarrassment to the Bush administration, which has faced criticism for its alleged unquestioning support for Israeli positions.

While most U.S. allies in Europe and elsewhere have called for an immediate ceasefire since the Israeli bombardment of Gaza began on Dec. 27, the Bush administration has been unwavering in its refusal to condemn the campaign or suggest a timeline for its conclusion.

The U.S Congress has also expressed its strong support for Israel’s actions in Gaza. Last week, both the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed nonbinding resolutions in support of the military campaign.

But polls indicate that both members of Congress and the public at large may be more skeptical of the Israeli offensive than the official positions of the U.S. government would indicate.

An anonymous poll of 68 congressmen conducted by National Journal found that 39 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of Republicans felt that Israel had used “too much” force in Gaza. Nevertheless, over 90 percent of representatives voted in favour of the House resolution, which placed all blame for civilian casualties in Gaza upon Hamas.

And in late December, a Rasmussen poll found that the U.S. populace as a whole supported the Israeli offensive by a narrow 44 to 41 percent margin. Among Democrats, 55 percent felt that Israel should have tried to find a diplomatic solution first.

The diplomatic spat over Olmert’s comments, along with this alleged disparity between U.S. public opinion and policies on Israel-Palestine, have given new intensity to an old set of debates.

Charges of pro-Israel bias have not been unique to the Bush administration. Critics also accused the Bill Clinton administration, and particularly its top negotiator Dennis Ross, of giving priority to Israeli concerns during the peace negotiations of the late 1990s.

Ross, who is rumoured to be in line to become President-Elect Barack Obama’s top Middle East envoy, was accused by U.S. and Arab negotiators of not being “an honest broker” in the peace process, according to a book by Ross’s former colleague Dan Kurtzer.

And in 2005, former U.S. peace negotiator Aaron David Miller complained that “many American officials involved in Arab-Israeli peacemaking, myself included, have acted as Israel’s attorney, catering and coordinating with the Israelis at the expense of successful peace negotiations”.

On the U.S. domestic scene, Congress’s overwhelming backing of the Gaza offensive despite apparently lukewarm public support has been taken as further evidence for the existence of an “Israel lobby” skewing policy in a hawkish direction.

This claim was put forth by political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in a 2006 article in the London Review of Books entitled “The Israel Lobby”, later turned into a 2007 book. They alleged that hawkish pro-Israel lobbying groups — most notably the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — have for decades skewed foreign policy in a direction detrimental to U.S. interests.

The Mearsheimer/Walt thesis has been extremely controversial since its publication. To critics, the thesis was simply the latest manifestation of a long line of conspiracy theories alleging covert Jewish domination of politics.

Defenders countered that the idea of an Israel lobby was not meant to stand in for Jews as a whole — both because the policies of groups like AIPAC were unrepresentative of the more dovish views of most U.S. Jews, and because the lobby was also made up of large numbers of evangelical Christians.

Regardless, the years since the publication of Mearsheimer and Walt’s article have seen more open debate about the way that Israel policy is formulated in Washington. Relatively centrist commentators such as Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic and Joe Klein of TIME, while taking pains to distinguish their views from those of Mearsheimer and Walt, have suggested that hawkish Jewish groups in the U.S. political establishment are skewing Israel policy in an unhealthy direction.

As world debate over the Gaza war remains fierce, it seems unlikely that these controversies will die down in the near future.

Walt, for one, has taken recent developments as a further vindication of his views.

“[A]lthough most Americans support Israel’s existence and have more sympathy for them than they have for the Palestinians,” he wrote Jan. 5 in response to the Rasmussen poll, “they are not demanding that U.S. leaders back Israel no matter what it does. But that’s what American politicians reflexively do.”

The above article can be found at: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=45401

In Washington, Israel calls shots on Gaza, pt. II

In Washington, Israeli PM Olmert calls shots on Gaza; orders Bush, Rice on UNSC resolution

Posted in Media Watch with tags , , on January 14, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

20090114185024306_1U.S. says remarks on Olmert-Bush call inaccurate
Reuters
January 13, 2009

WASHINGTON — The United States on Tuesday denied that a telephone call from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to President George W. Bush forced Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to abstain in a U.N. vote on the Gaza war.

“There are inaccuracies,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said about Olmert’s remarks Monday night in a speech broadcast on Israeli television and widely reported in the media.

Olmert said he had demanded to talk to Bush with only 10 minutes to spare before a U.N. Security Council vote Thursday on a resolution opposed by Israel calling for an immediate ceasefire.

“He gave an order to the secretary of state and she did not vote in favor of it — a resolution she cooked up, phrased, organized and maneuvered for. She was left pretty shamed and abstained on a resolution she arranged,” Olmert said.

The White House did not elaborate on the inaccuracies.

But State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, who was with Rice at the United Nations last week during debate on the U.N. resolution, said the remarks were “just 100 percent, totally, completely untrue.”

McCormack added that Washington had no plan at the moment to seek clarification from Israel.

In his remarks, Olmert described his call to Bush while the U.S. president was giving a speech in Philadelphia.

“I said, ‘I don’t care. I have to talk to him now,'” Olmert said, describing Bush, who leaves office on Jan. 20, as “an unparalleled friend” of Israel.

“They got him off the podium, brought him to another room and I spoke to him. I told him, ‘You can’t vote in favor of this resolution.’ He said, ‘Listen, I don’t know about it, I didn’t see it, I’m not familiar with the phrasing.'”

Olmert said he then told Bush: “‘I’m familiar with it. You can’t vote in favor.’”

Bush was in Philadelphia on Thursday morning and gave a 27-minute speech on education policy that ended at 11:46 a.m. and there was no interruption of the public event.

The U.N. Security Council voted on the Gaza resolution about 10 hours later, shortly before 9:30 p.m.

[The U.S. abstained from voting, while the other 14 members of the council approved the ceasefire resolution.]

Arab ministers said after the U.N. vote Thursday that Rice had promised them the United States would support the resolution, but then made an about-face after talking to Bush.

A few minutes before the scheduled vote at the United Nations, Rice’s staff told reporters she would make a few brief comments beforehand, but then abruptly canceled her press appearance, saying she would instead speak to Bush by phone.

She then entered the U.N. Security Council chamber, huddled with Arab ministers who shook their heads as she spoke to them. Immediately after the vote, Rice left for Washington without talking to reporters.

Rice joined her French and British ministers in drawing up the resolution and the three Western powers haggled with Arab countries for three days over wording, which Rice told the U.N. Security Council she supported.

(By Tabassum Zakaria; Additional reporting Paul Eckert and Sue Pleming in Washington and Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Editing by Doina Chiacu)
The above article can be found at: http://uk.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUKTRE50C6OJ20090113

In Washington, Israeli PM Olmert calls shots on Gaza; orders Bush, Rice on UNSC resolution

Israel uses “unprecedented” weapons in Gaza; Jewish-run media, rights groups apologize for it

Posted in Media Watch with tags on January 12, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

20090112014030551_1Gazans fear Israel using phosphorus
Aljazeera.net
January 11, 2009

Doctors in Gaza City have told Al Jazeera that people have been admitted suffering burns consistent with the use of the controversial chemical white phosphorus. Human rights campaigners say that Israeli forces have used the munitions, which can burn away human flesh to the bone, over Gaza City and Jabaliya in recent days.

Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, said: “Doctors here say they are seeing unprecedented levels of deep burns.

“They cannot categorically say that white phosphorus is being used, they are saying that the munitions being dropped are unprecedented.”

Residents in densely-packed Jabaliya have described Israeli forces exploding shells that drop scores of burning fragments and spread suffocating smoke.

“It’s the first time we see this type of weapon, it must be new and it seems like it’s phosphorous,” one resident told Al-Jazeera.

“It’s suffocating and has a deadly poisonous smell that I am sure will cause a lot of sickness and disease on all of the civilians here,” he said.

Another witness said she saw “… a bright flash and then all of these sparks fell on our area … landing all around us and in our homes. Our mattresses caught on fire”.

Law “violated”

The use of the munitions in densely-populated areas violates the requirement under international humanitarian law for all feasible precautions to be taken to avoid civilian injury and loss of life, Human Rights Watch said.

International law permits the use of white phosphorus in order to cover troop movements and prevent enemies from using certain guided weapons.

Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst at the human rights group told Al-Jazeera on Saturday that he had watched Israeli ground forces using white phosphorus.

“Clearly it is [white phosphorus], we can tell by the explosions and the tendrils that go down [and] the fires that were burning,” he said.

“Today, there were massive attacks in Jabaliya when we were there. We saw that there were numerous fires once the white phosphorus had gone in.

“We went by Israeli artillery units that had white phosphorus rounds with the fuses in them.”

Major Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, told Al-Jazeera that the Israeli army was “using munitions with accordance to international law”.

“The policy of the IDF [Israeli Defense Force] is to not specify the types of munitions. We have not done it before and we will not do it now.”

Mark Regev, the Israeli government spokesman, said he was unable to confirm or deny whether the military was using the chemical, but said that Israel did not use munitions that were banned under international law.

“I don’t have the knowledge of the detail of what ammunition we are using. I can only know for a fact that Israel uses no ammunition that is outlawed under conventions and that NATO forces would not use in a similar combat situation,” he told Al-Jazeera.

Israel used white phosphorus during its 34-day war against Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement in 2006, while the United States used it during the controversial siege of the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004.

The above article can be found at: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/20091111392884765.html
There are serious questions about the journalistic independence of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news channel, which avoids a number of red-line issues such as 9/11 Truth and Zionist infiltration of governments and institutions. Nevertheless, Al-Jazeera’s coverage of ongoing Israeli crimes against the people of Palestine is generally excellent. (I’m referring here to the Arabic-language channel, NOT the new English-language channel Al-Jazeera International, which shamelessly downplays Israeli criminality.)

Compare the above Al-Jazeera article to the following propaganda piece by the Zionist-run Reuters news agency. Notice how Reuters — backed up by Human Rights Watch, also controlled by Zionists — reports that Israel is only using white phosphorus “to hide military operations,” considered “a permissible use in principle under international humanitarian law”:
Israel accused of using white phosphorus in Gaza
Reuters
January 10, 2009

JERUSALEM — A leading human rights group on Saturday accused Israel of using white-phosphorus munitions during its offensive in the Gaza Strip and warned of the risk to civilians near the fighting.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement that its researchers in Israel observed multiple air-bursts on Jan. 9 and Jan. 10 of artillery-fired white phosphorus near the city of Gaza and the Jabalya refugee camp.

The group said Israel appeared to be using white phosphorus to hide military operations — “a permissible use in principle under international humanitarian law”.

“However, white phosphorus has a significant, incidental, incendiary effect that can severely burn people and set structures, fields, and other civilian objects in the vicinity on fire. The potential for harm to civilians is magnified by Gaza’s high population density, among the highest in the world,” Human Rights Watch said.

It called on Israel to stop the practice.

An Israeli army spokesman had no immediate comment.

The above article can be found at: http://uk.reuters.com/article/featuredCrisis/idUKLA617723
The truth, in fact, is that Israel — increasingly desperate in the face of a looming strategic defeat by Hamas — is now openly using illegal weapons such as white phosphorus against Gaza’s civilian population.

The above Reuters article, which attempts to legitimize Israel’s use of an illegal weapon, is little more than Zionist propaganda. The author should be aware that — as a propagandist for one side of the conflict — he or she could become criminally liable if that side is found by a legitimate court of law to have committed war crimes, or to have employed illegal weapons against civilian populations.

Israel uses “unprecedented” weapons in Gaza; Jewish-run media, rights groups apologize for it