Monthly Archives: March 2011
Palestine: 81 Reasons Why Gaza has the right to Self Defense, 79 found in UN Security Council Resolutions
Seventy-nine of them can be found in United Nations Security Council Resolutions “directly critical of Israel for violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions, the U.N. Charter, the Geneva Conventions, international terrorism, or other violations of international law.” (1)
Number 80 can be found in the Goldstone Report (2), the recommendations of which have yet to implemented some 18 months after its submission to the Human Rights Council, and Paragraph 1912 of which stresses “all States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 have in addition the obligation, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that Convention.”
…. If the international community has abandoned its responsibilities towards Palestinians, and particularly towards Gaza, as the above examples over the last 63 years plus this map of Palestinian territories so graphically illustrate, what else is left to Gaza but self-defense?
Israel and its chorUS disingenuously cite Israel’s right of “self-defense” to justify not only Israel’s disproportionate military response to Gaza – and Palestinians’ – genuine right to self-defense, but also to attempt to disguise Israel’s blatant land-theft from existing citizens. Continue reading
* * * * *
The single demand that can unite the Palestinian people
Only direct elections can rejuvenate the Palestinian liberation movement by taking power from the few back to the many
By Karma Nabulsi
Date: 29th March 2011
Source: The Guardian
After another week of breathtaking demonstrations from Jordan to Yemen heralding dramatic revolutionary change, in occupied Palestine things appear much the same. The repetitions of bombing, air attacks on civilians, muted international protests, and dubious gestures towards a bankrupted peace process: all lend an air of futility and hopelessness to the trajectory of Palestinian freedom. Palestinians urgently need their voice to be represented at this historical moment in which unrepresentative rulers are being toppled by popular movements, and citizens are reclaiming their public squares and political institutions on the age-old principle of popular sovereignty. Continue reading
President Obama is the most pro-war President in Living Memory
* * * * *
… “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different,” Obama said.
“To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and more profoundly our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are.” Continue reading
You can also watch the speech
… the United States of America has played a unique role as an anchor of global security and as an advocate for human freedom. Mindful of the risks and costs of military action, we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges. But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act. That’s what happened in Libya over the course of these last six weeks.
Libya sits directly between Tunisia and Egypt — two nations that inspired the world when their people rose up to take control of their own destiny. For more than four decades, the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant — Muammar Qaddafi. He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world — including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.
Last month, Qaddafi’s grip of fear appeared to give way to the promise of freedom. In cities and towns across the country, Libyans took to the streets to claim their basic human rights. As one Libyan said, “For the first time we finally have hope that our nightmare of 40 years will soon be over.”
Faced with this opposition, Qaddafi began attacking his people. As President, my immediate concern was the safety of our citizens, so we evacuated our embassy and all Americans who sought our assistance. Then we took a series of swift steps in a matter of days to answer Qaddafi’s aggression. We froze more than $33 billion of Qaddafi’s regime’s assets. Joining with other nations at the United Nations Security Council, we broadened our sanctions, imposed an arms embargo, and enabled Qaddafi and those around him to be held accountable for their crimes. I made it clear that Qaddafi had lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to lead, and I said that he needed to step down from power.
In the face of the world’s condemnation, Qaddafi chose to escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the Libyan people. Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed. Supplies of food and fuel were choked off. Water for hundreds of thousands of people in Misurata was shut off. Cities and towns were shelled, mosques were destroyed, and apartment buildings reduced to rubble. Military jets and helicopter gunships were unleashed upon people who had no means to defend themselves against assaults from the air.
Confronted by this brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, I ordered warships into the Mediterranean. European allies declared their willingness to commit resources to stop the killing. The Libyan opposition and the Arab League appealed to the world to save lives in Libya. And so at my direction, America led an effort with our allies at the United Nations Security Council to pass a historic resolution that authorized a no-fly zone to stop the regime’s attacks from the air, and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people.
Ten days ago, having tried to end the violence without using force, the international community offered Qaddafi a final chance to stop his campaign of killing, or face the consequences. Rather than stand down, his forces continued their advance, bearing down on the city of Benghazi, home to nearly 700,000 men, women and children who sought their freedom from fear.
At this point, the United States and the world faced a choice. Qaddafi declared he would show “no mercy” to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. In the past, we have seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day. Now we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. We knew that if we wanted — if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.
It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. Continue reading
The so-called Nakba Law, using the Arabic word for “catastrophe” which is how many Palestinians regard the founding of Israel, passed by a vote of 37 to 25 after an angry debate among right and left-wing lawmakers.
Civil rights groups have denounced the measure as an effort to restrict freedom of expression to Arabs, who make up about a fifth of Israel’s predominantly Jewish population.
* * * * *
…. “If the regime that encourages incitement, racism and anti-democracy is not toppled soon, we will find that the future is already here,” says Israeli columnist Sefi Rachlevsky in the Israeli daily ‘Haaretz’.
He adds: “If there is one country in the world that should have heeded the commandment ‘Thou shall not fall into the chasm of anti-democratic racism,’ it is Israel. But the regime threatens to turn Israel into a rising anti-democratic power after all.”
Rachlevsky’s remarks come in the wake of an accusation by Richard Falk — an investigator with the U.N. Human Rights Council and an American professor emeritus of international law’ — that Israel is carrying out a form of ethnic cleansing against Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Continue reading
* * * * *
Depleted Uranium: A Strange Way To Protect Libyan Civilians
…. In the first 24 hours of the Libyan attack, US B-2s dropped forty-five 2,000-pound bombs. These massive bombs, along with the Cruise missiles launched from British and French planes and ships, all contained depleted uranium (DU) warheads.
DU is the waste product from the process of enriching uranium ore. It is used in nuclear weapons and reactors. Because it is a very heavy substance, 1.7 times denser than lead, it is highly valued by the military for its ability to punch through armored vehicles and buildings. When a weapon made with a DU tip strikes a solid object like the side of a tank, it goes straight through it, then erupts in a burning cloud of vapor. The vapor settles as dust, which is not only poisonous, but also radioactive. Continue reading
The “Arab Spring” was a short one; what follows, another NATO Summer, will last much longer.
If you do not think about it, there is a lot to cheer about the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1973, against what this time has been a mountain of advice, questions, and critiques from all imaginable political quarters, and not as the warmongering extremists would have it, from “Gaddafi lovers” (George Will? Pat Buchanan? Richard Haas? Gaddafi lovers?). In previous articles, I have criticized the flip-side enough, meaning the positions taken by Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Daniel Ortega, without sparing Gaddafi in the least–I do not need to repeat any of it here, because it is entirely irrelevant to the discussion now. Instead, this is an autopsy, identifying the weapons used, and the criminals responsible for killing the Libyan revolution. This is no longer a Libyan story–that chapter is now closed. My autopsy is divided into several broad categories of actors: the humanitarians, the rebels, the international organizations, the mass media, and the Americans. Finally, what we should be watching in the coming days, weeks, months, and years.
A great mass of humanitarian social media addicts and self-styled cyberactivists in their hundreds of thousands signed petitions to beg the United Nations to authorize the bombing of Libya. Bearers of good intentions, no doubt, but perhaps less skilled as historians. Many will not even Google their way to the nearest Wikipedia entry that might cause them to ask some basic questions. On the other hand, history does not always repeat itself, and I am not one to make solid predictions, so perhaps this is not a useful basis for discussing the role of “humanitarian concern” in this debacle.
Instead, I have questions.
For example, exactly what kind of global human rights agenda is it that requires substantial military spending, private defense contractors, and a robust air force? Continue reading