Skip to main content

Home/ International Politics of the Middle East/ Group items tagged Gaza

Rss Feed Group items tagged

Ed Webb

'A mass assassination factory': Inside Israel's calculated bombing of Gaza - 0 views

  • The Israeli army’s expanded authorization for bombing non-military targets, the loosening of constraints regarding expected civilian casualties, and the use of an artificial intelligence system to generate more potential targets than ever before, appear to have contributed to the destructive nature of the initial stages of Israel’s current war on the Gaza Strip, an investigation by +972 Magazine and Local Call reveals
  • The investigation by +972 and Local Call is based on conversations with seven current and former members of Israel’s intelligence community — including military intelligence and air force personnel who were involved in Israeli operations in the besieged Strip — in addition to Palestinian testimonies, data, and documentation from the Gaza Strip, and official statements by the IDF Spokesperson and other Israeli state institutions.
  • The bombing of power targets, according to intelligence sources who had first-hand experience with its application in Gaza in the past, is mainly intended to harm Palestinian civil society: to “create a shock” that, among other things, will reverberate powerfully and “lead civilians to put pressure on Hamas,”
  • ...33 more annotations...
  • the Israeli army has files on the vast majority of potential targets in Gaza — including homes — which stipulate the number of civilians who are likely to be killed in an attack on a particular target. This number is calculated and known in advance to the army’s intelligence units, who also know shortly before carrying out an attack roughly how many civilians are certain to be killed
  • “The numbers increased from dozens of civilian deaths [permitted] as collateral damage as part of an attack on a senior official in previous operations, to hundreds of civilian deaths as collateral damage,”
  • another reason for the large number of targets, and the extensive harm to civilian life in Gaza, is the widespread use of a system called “Habsora” (“The Gospel”), which is largely built on artificial intelligence and can “generate” targets almost automatically at a rate that far exceeds what was previously possible. This AI system, as described by a former intelligence officer, essentially facilitates a “mass assassination factory.”
  • the increasing use of AI-based systems like Habsora allows the army to carry out strikes on residential homes where a single Hamas member lives on a massive scale, even those who are junior Hamas operatives. Yet testimonies of Palestinians in Gaza suggest that since October 7, the army has also attacked many private residences where there was no known or apparent member of Hamas or any other militant group residing. Such strikes, sources confirmed to +972 and Local Call, can knowingly kill entire families in the process.
  • “I remember thinking that it was like if [Palestinian militants] would bomb all the private residences of our families when [Israeli soldiers] go back to sleep at home on the weekend,” one source, who was critical of this practice, recalled.
  • there are “cases in which we shell based on a wide cellular pinpointing of where the target is, killing civilians. This is often done to save time, instead of doing a little more work to get a more accurate pinpointing,”
  • Over 300 families have lost 10 or more family members in Israeli bombings in the past two months — a number that is 15 times higher than the figure from what was previously Israel’s deadliest war on Gaza, in 2014
  • “There is a feeling that senior officials in the army are aware of their failure on October 7, and are busy with the question of how to provide the Israeli public with an image [of victory] that will salvage their reputation.”
  • “The emphasis is on damage and not on accuracy,” said IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari on Oct. 9.
  • “We are asked to look for high-rise buildings with half a floor that can be attributed to Hamas,” said one source who took part in previous Israeli offensives in Gaza. “Sometimes it is a militant group’s spokesperson’s office, or a point where operatives meet. I understood that the floor is an excuse that allows the army to cause a lot of destruction in Gaza. That is what they told us. “If they would tell the whole world that the [Islamic Jihad] offices on the 10th floor are not important as a target, but that its existence is a justification to bring down the entire high-rise with the aim of pressuring civilian families who live in it in order to put pressure on terrorist organizations, this would itself be seen as terrorism. So they do not say it,” the source added.
  • at least until the current war, army protocols allowed for attacking power targets only when the buildings were empty of residents at the time of the strike. However, testimonies and videos from Gaza suggest that since October 7, some of these targets have been attacked without prior notice being given to their occupants, killing entire families as a result.
  • As documented by Al Mezan and numerous images coming out of Gaza, Israel bombed the Islamic University of Gaza, the Palestinian Bar Association, a UN building for an educational program for outstanding students, a building belonging to the Palestine Telecommunications Company, the Ministry of National Economy, the Ministry of Culture, roads, and dozens of high-rise buildings and homes — especially in Gaza’s northern neighborhoods.
  • “Hamas is everywhere in Gaza; there is no building that does not have something of Hamas in it, so if you want to find a way to turn a high-rise into a target, you will be able to do so,”
  • for the most part, when it comes to power targets, it is clear that the target doesn’t have military value that justifies an attack that would bring down the entire empty building in the middle of a city, with the help of six planes and bombs weighing several tons
  • Although it is unprecedented for the Israeli army to attack more than 1,000 power targets in five days, the idea of causing mass devastation to civilian areas for strategic purposes was formulated in previous military operations in Gaza, honed by the so-called “Dahiya Doctrine” from the Second Lebanon War of 2006.
  • According to the doctrine — developed by former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, who is now a Knesset member and part of the current war cabinet — in a war against guerrilla groups such as Hamas or Hezbollah, Israel must use disproportionate and overwhelming force while targeting civilian and government infrastructure in order to establish deterrence and force the civilian population to pressure the groups to end their attacks. The concept of “power targets” seems to have emanated from this same logic.
  • Previous operations have also shown how striking these targets is meant not only to harm Palestinian morale, but also to raise the morale inside Israel. Haaretz revealed that during Operation Guardian of the Walls in 2021, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit conducted a psy-op against Israeli citizens in order to boost awareness of the IDF’s operations in Gaza and the damage they caused to Palestinians. Soldiers, who used fake social media accounts to conceal the campaign’s origin, uploaded images and clips of the army’s strikes in Gaza to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok in order to demonstrate the army’s prowess to the Israeli public.
  • since October 7, Israel has attacked high-rises with their residents still inside, or without having taken significant steps to evacuate them, leading to many civilian deaths.
  • evidence from Gaza suggests that some high-rises — which we assume to have been power targets — were toppled without prior warning. +972 and Local Call located at least two cases during the current war in which entire residential high-rises were bombed and collapsed without warning, and one case in which, according to the evidence, a high-rise building collapsed on civilians who were inside.
  • According to intelligence sources, Habsora generates, among other things, automatic recommendations for attacking private residences where people suspected of being Hamas or Islamic Jihad operatives live. Israel then carries out large-scale assassination operations through the heavy shelling of these residential homes.
  • the Habsora system enables the army to run a “mass assassination factory,” in which the “emphasis is on quantity and not on quality.” A human eye “will go over the targets before each attack, but it need not spend a lot of time on them.” Since Israel estimates that there are approximately 30,000 Hamas members in Gaza, and they are all marked for death, the number of potential targets is enormous.
  • A senior military official in charge of the target bank told the Jerusalem Post earlier this year that, thanks to the army’s AI systems, for the first time the military can generate new targets at a faster rate than it attacks. Another source said the drive to automatically generate large numbers of targets is a realization of the Dahiya Doctrine.
  • Five different sources confirmed that the number of civilians who may be killed in attacks on private residences is known in advance to Israeli intelligence, and appears clearly in the target file under the category of “collateral damage.” 
  • “That is a lot of houses. Hamas members who don’t really matter for anything live in homes across Gaza. So they mark the home and bomb the house and kill everyone there.”
  • On Oct. 22, the Israeli Air Force bombed the home of the Palestinian journalist Ahmed Alnaouq in the city of Deir al-Balah. Ahmed is a close friend and colleague of mine; four years ago, we founded a Hebrew Facebook page called “Across the Wall,” with the aim of bringing Palestinian voices from Gaza to the Israeli public. The strike on Oct. 22 collapsed blocks of concrete onto Ahmed’s entire family, killing his father, brothers, sisters, and all of their children, including babies. Only his 12-year-old niece, Malak, survived and remained in a critical condition, her body covered in burns. A few days later, Malak died. Twenty-one members of Ahmed’s family were killed in total, buried under their home. None of them were militants. The youngest was 2 years old; the oldest, his father, was 75. Ahmed, who is currently living in the UK, is now alone out of his entire family.
  • According to former Israeli intelligence officers, in many cases in which a private residence is bombed, the goal is the “assassination of Hamas or Jihad operatives,” and such targets are attacked when the operative enters the home. Intelligence researchers know if the operative’s family members or neighbors may also die in an attack, and they know how to calculate how many of them may die. Each of the sources said that these are private homes, where in the majority of cases, no military activity is carried out.
  • there is ample evidence that, in many cases, none were military or political operatives belonging to Hamas or Islamic Jihad.
  • The bombing of family homes where Hamas or Islamic Jihad operatives supposedly live likely became a more concerted IDF policy during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Back then, 606 Palestinians — about a quarter of the civilian deaths during the 51 days of fighting — were members of families whose homes were bombed. A UN report defined it in 2015 as both a potential war crime and “a new pattern” of action that “led to the death of entire families.”
  • according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, by Nov. 29, Israel had killed 50 Palestinian journalists in Gaza, some of them in their homes with their families
  • The intelligence officers interviewed for this article said that the way Hamas designed the tunnel network in Gaza knowingly exploits the civilian population and infrastructure above ground. These claims were also the basis of the media campaign that Israel conducted vis-a-vis the attacks and raids on Al-Shifa Hospital and the tunnels that were discovered under it.
  • Hamas leaders “understand that Israeli harm to civilians gives them legitimacy in fighting.”
  • while it’s hard to imagine now, the idea of dropping a one-ton bomb aimed at killing a Hamas operative yet ending up killing an entire family as “collateral damage” was not always so readily accepted by large swathes of Israeli society. In 2002, for example, the Israeli Air Force bombed the home of Salah Mustafa Muhammad Shehade, then the head of the Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing. The bomb killed him, his wife Eman, his 14-year-old daughter Laila, and 14 other civilians, including 11 children. The killing caused a public uproar in both Israel and the world, and Israel was accused of committing war crimes.
  • Fifteen years after insisting that the army was taking pains to minimize civilian harm, Gallant, now Defense Minister, has clearly changed his tune. “We are fighting human animals and we act accordingly,” he said after October 7.
Ed Webb

Permission to Narrate: Half the story: What @IDFSpokesperson leaves out about #Gaza - 0 views

  • In 2011, the projectiles fired by the Israeli military into Gaza have been responsible for the death of 108 Palestinians, of which 15 where women or children and the injury of 468 Palestinians of which 143 where women or children. The methods by which these causalities were inflicted by Israeli projectiles breaks down as follows: 57% or 310, were caused by Israeli Aircraft Missile fire, 28% or 150 where from Israeli live ammunition, 11% or 59 were from Israeli tank shells while another 3% or 18 were from Israeli mortar fire.Conversely, rocket fire from Gaza in 2011 has resulted in the death of 3 Israelis.
  • Last year, in a post about this issue, we showed how media portrayed a flare-up in cross border violence as a result of increased rocket fire while actual tweets from individuals in Gaza revealed that destructive Israeli strikes preceded and in fact provoked the upsurge in rockets. Of course, the events that came before the upsurge in Gaza-launched projectiles did not get reported.Now, with the daily data we have from UN OCHA and the data we have for launches from Gaza, we can graph the two lines next to each other.
  • increases in the red line, which signifies Palestinian casualties, typically precede increases in the blue line, which signifies launches of projectiles from Gaza. This is particularly evident before the most significant spikes in the blue line. This suggests that Palestinian launches may be explained, in part, as a response to Israeli projectiles which kill or injure Palestinians
  • ...3 more annotations...
  • Palestinian deaths from Israeli projectiles into Gaza led to a 22% increase in rocket launches the following day, Palestinian injuries led to an additional 4% increase
  • The three Israelis who died as a result of Palestinian projectile fire died during periods of upsurge provoked by preceding Israeli projectile fire into Gaza. In fact, 75% of launches from Gaza came during these upsurges provoked by Israeli fire.
  • This suggests that it is the Israelis and not the Palestinians who, through their capacity to actually inflict high casualties with their projectiles, control escalation in cross border dynamics. While all launches from Gaza cannot be explained as responses to Israeli fire, most of them are.
Ed Webb

Behind Egypt's gift to Islamic Jihad - 0 views

  • About 80 members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad were released from an Egyptian jail on Oct. 17. Some had been detained without trial, and others had been sentenced by a Cairo state security court to lengthy jail terms for membership in a terror organization and threatening Egypt’s national security. The release followed an Oct. 14 meeting between senior Islamic Jihad officials, led by the organization’s head, Ziad Nahala, and senior Egyptian intelligence officials. Nahala, who arrived in Cairo from Beirut, was joined by leaders of Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, from Gaza
  • This was the first time that they were called to Cairo alone to resolve issues between Egypt and their organization, which is supported by Iran.
  • with Gaza surrounded by Israel and Egypt, even a radical, fundamentalist organization dedicated to establishing a Muslim state throughout Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, has to compromise and adapt its ideals to existing situations
  • ...5 more annotations...
  • Egypt’s preconditions for the meeting indicate that it is able to dictate its wishes to the heads of Islamic Jihad in Gaza and elsewhere despite Cairo's hostility toward the movement and Egyptian leadership of the Sunni front aligned against the group’s sponsor state, Iran
  • Islamic Jihad, under total Iranian control, only has some 6,000 fighters, but some 8,000 rockets. Last November, Islamic Jihad launched a new type of rocket at Ashkelon. According to the organization, the rocket carried a larger warhead than the older ones in its arsenal. The group also made no secret of the fact that it owed its success to direct support from Iran, which regards Islamic Jihad as an integral part of the Islamist revolution.
  • Both Egypt and Israel, which regularly consult on security matters, realized that there could be no arrangement without Islamic Jihad as part of the arrangement. This is especially true given that Hamas, in a bid to avoid friction and clashes with Tehran, could give Islamic Jihad free rein, or a semblance of one, and would never conduct an all-out war against it as it does against Salafi groups in Gaza.
  • Clearly, the Egyptians are willing to go a long way to secure an Israeli-Hamas arrangement, as evidenced by the gesture it extended to Islamic Jihad in Cairo. After the first day of talks, Egypt immediately released 55 Islamic Jihad prisoners. Most of them returned to Gaza that same day, and some left for Beirut. An additional 25 detainees were freed two days later and returned to Gaza with Islamic Jihad's delegation.
  • For Egypt, an accommodation among Israel, Hamas and Islamic Jihad stands to restrain violence capable of trickling into the Sinai and setting off a conflagration there.
Ed Webb

Will Hamas accept Israeli incentives? - 0 views

  • hortly after Hamas announced its disengagement from the recent confrontation, Haaretz reported Nov. 14 that the Israeli army and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) advised the government to provide Gaza with economic incentives. The newspaper reported that Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett supports this step
  • On Nov. 16, Israel allowed the entry of dozens of oil trucks into the Gaza Strip, expanded the fishing zone from 6 to 12 nautical miles and reopened its border crossings, after it had closed them Nov. 12 following the unrest in Gaza.
  • A Hamas official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “The incentives for Gaza mentioned in Haaretz were agreed upon as part of humanitarian understandings between the resistance and Israel, with Egyptian, Qatari and UN brokerage that started in October 2018. They are not related to the recent Israeli aggression on Gaza or Hamas’ stance. We are [still] waiting for the Israeli promises to alleviate Gaza’s suffering to materialize.”
  • ...2 more annotations...
  • Looser Israeli measures toward Gaza might be an attempt to push Hamas into holding on to its self-restraint policy and not to engage in any future military escalation. But this might not happen for two reasons: First, the ongoing exchange of threats between the two sides and Hamas’ conviction that Israel is getting ready to attack; second, the rampant political crisis in Israel and new elections being scheduled for February 2020, for the third time in less than a year. As a result, the current Israeli government would be unable to implement looser policies in the Gaza Strip.
  • Hussam al-Dujni, political science professor at Umma University, told Al-Monitor, “There are two possibilities regarding why Hamas did not engage in the latest round of fighting. First, it might have realized that its participation would lead to violent Israeli aggression on Gaza, which would last for weeks and result in economic and human losses, further burdening Hamas. Second, Hamas and Islamic Jihad might not see eye to eye regarding the method of response to Abu el-Atta’s assassination.”
Ed Webb

Inside the Pro-Israel Information War - 0 views

  • a rare public glimpse of how Israel and its American allies harness Israel’s influential tech sector and tech diaspora to run cover for the Jewish state as it endures scrutiny over the humanitarian impact of its invasion of Gaza.
  • reveal the degree to which, in the tech-oriented hasbara world, the lines between government, the private sector, and the nonprofit world are blurry at best. And the tactics that these wealthy individuals, advocates, and groups use -- hounding Israel critics on social media; firing pro-Palestine employees and canceling speaking engagements; smearing Palestinian journalists; and attempting to ship military-grade equipment to the IDF -- are often heavy-handed and controversial.
  • The final group consists of those who are "reflexively pro-Israel, kind of ‘Israel, right or wrong.’" Members of this group "are not actually very knowledgeable," so they needed to be equipped with the right facts to make them "more effective in advocating for Israel,” Fisher said.
  • ...22 more annotations...
  • Members of the hasbara-oriented tech world WhatsApp group have eagerly taken up the call to shape public opinion as part of a bid to win what’s been described as the “second battlefield” and “the information war.”
  • The group, which also includes individuals affiliated with the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), has tirelessly worked to fire employees and punish activists for expressing pro-Palestinian views. It has also engaged in a successful push to cancel events held by prominent Palestinian voices, including an Arizona State University talk featuring Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat who is the only Palestinian-American in Congress. The group has also circulated circulated a push poll suggesting Rep. Tlaib should resign from Congress and provided an automatic means of thanking Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., for voting for her censure.
  • J-Ventures has also veered into an unusual kind of philanthropy: shipments of military supplies. The group has attempted to provide tactical gear to Israel’s equivalent of the U.S. Navy SEALs, known as Shayetet-13, and donated to a foundation dedicated to supporting the IDF’s undercover “Duvdevan” unit, which is known for infiltrating Palestinian populations. Many of the shipments intended for the IDF were held up at U.S. airports over customs issues.
  • Israel would soon lose international support as its military response in Gaza kills more Palestinian civilians, noted Schwarzbad, who stressed the need to refocus attention on Israeli civilian deaths. “Try to use names and ages whenever you can,” she said. Don’t refer to statistics of the dead, use stories. “Say something like, 'Noah, age 26, was celebrating with her friends at a music festival on the holiest day of the week, Shabbat. Imagine if your daughter was at Coachella.’”
  • The Israel-based venture capitalist outlined three categories of people for whom outreach, rather than attacks, is the best strategy. The first group is what he dubbed “the impressionables,” who are "typically young people, they reflexively support the weak, oppose the oppressor," but "are not really knowledgeable." For this category of people, the goal is not to "convince them of anything," but to "show them that it's much more complicated than it seems." Seeding doubt, he said, would make certain audiences think twice before attending a protest. "So it's really about creating some kind of confusion,” Fisher continued, “but really, just to make it clear to them that it's really a lot more complicated."
  • Fisher repeatedly noted the need to offer accurate and nuanced information to rebut critics of Israel's actions. Yet at times, he offered his own misinformation, such as his claim that "anti-Israel" human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch "didn't condemn the October 7th massacre."
  • One participant even suggested that they appeal to the university’s “woke” aversion to exposing students to uncomfortable ideas.   The participant drafted a sample letter claiming that Tlaib’s appearance threatened ASU’s “commitment to a safe and inclusive environment.” The following day, ASU officially canceled the Tlaib event, citing “procedural issues.”
  • efforts to discredit HRW stem directly from its outspoken criticism of Israel’s record in the occupied territories and its military conduct. An HRW report released the same day as Fisher’s remarks cited the World Health Organization’s conclusion that the IDF had killed roughly one child in Gaza every 10 minutes since the outbreak of violence in October.
  • members of the J-Ventures group chat also internally circulated a petition for Netflix to remove the award-winning Jordanian film ‘Farha,’ claiming that its portrayal of the actions of IDF soldiers during the 1948 displacement of Palestinians constituted “blood libel,” while another said the film was based “antisemitism and lies.”
  • Last year, the Israeli government revoked funding for a theater in Jaffa for screening the film, while government figures called for other repercussions to Netflix for streaming it.
  • One member noted that despite the controversy over a scene in the film in which Israeli soldiers execute a Palestinian family, Israeli historians have documented that “such actions have indeed happened.” The critique was rejected by other members of the group, who said the film constituted “incitement” against Jews.
  • a variety of automated attempts to remove pro-Palestinian content on social media
  • Over the last two months, dozens of individuals have been fired for expressing opinions related to the war in Gaza and Israel. Most have been dismissed for expressing pro-Palestinian views, including a writer for PhillyVoice, the editor of ArtForum, an apprentice at German publishing giant Axel Springer, and Michael Eisen, the editor-in-chief of eLife, a prominent science journal. Eisen’s offense was a tweet sharing a satirical article from The Onion seen as sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians in Gaza.
  • The WhatsApp chats provide a rare look at the organizing efforts behind the broad push to fire critics of Israel and suppress public events featuring critics of the Israeli government. The scope is surprisingly broad, ranging from investigating the funding sources of student organizations such as Model Arab League, to monitoring an organizing toolkit of a Palestine Solidarity Working Group – “They are verrrry well organized”, one member exclaimed – to working directly with high-level tech executives to fire pro-Palestinian employees.
  • "President Biden seems incapable of using the one policy tool that may actually produce a change in Israel's actions that might limit civilian deaths, which would be to condition military aid that the United States provides to Israel,” Clifton added. He partially attributed the inability of the U.S. government to rein in Israel’s war actions to the “lobbying and advocacy efforts underway.”
  • Lior Netzer, a business consultant based in Massachusetts, and a member of the J-Ventures WhatsApp group, requested help pressuring the University of Vermont to cancel a lecture with Mohammed El-Kurd, a Palestinian writer for The Nation magazine. Netzer shared a sample script that alleged that El-Kurd had engaged in anti-Semitic speech in the past.The effort also appeared to be successful. Shortly after the letter-writing campaign, UVM canceled the talk, citing safety concerns.
  • The WhatsApp group maintained a special focus on elite universities and white-collar professional positions. Group members not only circulated multiple petitions to fire professors and blacklist students from working at major law firms for allegedly engaging in extremist rhetoric, but a J-Ventures spreadsheet lists specific task force teams to "get professors removed who teach falcehoods [sic] to their students." The list includes academics at Cornell University, the University of California, Davis, and NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus, among others.
  • Many of the messages in the group focused on ways in which to shape student life at Stanford University, including support for pro-Israel activists. The attempted interventions into campus life at times hinged on the absurd. Shortly after comedian Amy Schumer posted a now-deleted satirical cartoon lampooning pro-Palestinian protesters as supporters of rape and beheadings, Epstein, the operating partner at Bessemer Ventures Partners and member of the J-Ventures WhatsApp group, asked, “How can we get this political cartoon published in the Stanford Daily?"
  • The influence extended beyond the business and tech world and into politics. The J-Ventures team includes advocates with the most powerful pro-Israel lobbying organization, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, better known as AIPAC. Officials in the J-Ventures group include investor David Wagonfeld, whose biography states he is “leading AIPAC Silicon Valley;” Tartakovsky, listed as “AIPAC Political Chair;” Adam Milstein, a real estate executive and major AIPAC donor; and AIPAC-affiliated activists Drs. Kathy Fields and Garry Rayant. Kenneth Baer, a former White House advisor to President Barack Obama and communications counsel to the Anti-Defamation League, is also an active member of the group.
  • Other fundraising efforts from J-Ventures included an emergency fund to provide direct support for IDF units, including the naval commando unit Shayetet-13. The leaked planning document also uncovers attempts to supply the mostly female Caracal Battalion with grenade pouches and to donate M16 rifle scope mounts, “FN MAG” machine gun carrier vests, and drones to unnamed IDF units. According to the planning document, customs enforcement barriers have stranded many of the packages destined for the IDF in Montana and Colorado.
  • the morning after being reached for comment, Hermoni warned the WhatsApp group against cooperating with our inquiries. “Two journalists … are trying to have an anti semi[tic] portrait of our activity to support Israel and reaching out to members,” he wrote. “Please ignore them and do not cooperate.” he advised. Shortly thereafter, we were kicked out of the group
  • Victory on the “media battlefield,” Hoffman concluded, “eases pressure on IDF to go quicker, to wrap up” and “goes a long way to deciding how much time Israel has to complete an operation.”
Ed Webb

How war destroyed Gaza's neighbourhoods - visual investigation | Gaza | The Guardian - 0 views

  • Using satellite imagery and open-source evidence, the investigation found damage to more than 250 residential buildings, 17 schools and universities, 16 mosques, three hospitals, three cemeteries and 150 agricultural greenhouses.Entire buildings have been levelled, fields flattened and places of worship wiped off the map in the course of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, launched after the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October.The destruction has not only forced 1.9 million people to leave their homes but also made it impossible for many to return. This has led some experts to describe what is happening in Gaza as “domicide”, defined as the widespread, deliberate destruction of the home to make it uninhabitable, preventing the return of displaced people. The concept is not recognised in law.
Ed Webb

Gaza militants' rockets: Fewer, less accurate than last Hamas-Israel conflict - CSMonit... - 0 views

  • A popular narrative about the current face-off between Hamas and other Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and Israel is that the Israelis, confronted with withering volleys of rocket fire, have had no choice but to respond with overwhelming force and that the failure of the rockets to do much damage has largely been thanks to the country's US-funded Iron Dome missile defense system. But it turns out that compared to the last major escalation between the two sides, the Palestinians in 2014 are firing fewer rockets than in the past, and those rockets they are firing are proving less accurate.
  • When the shooting started this time, after a major Israeli roundup of hundreds of Hamas activists in the West Bank in response to the murder of three teens, Israeli officials asserted that the rocket stockpile in Gaza had grown more powerful and accurate. Based on the evidence of the past few weeks, "more accurate" does not seem an apt description.
  • There are only half as many hits on urban areas per day. This is because the rockets are less numerous and less accurate, while the interception rate is steady
  • ...2 more annotations...
  • That Iron Dome is overwhelmingly effective has become an article of faith for many Israelis and the programs backers in Congress. But Theodore Postol at MIT disagrees. An earlier piece in the MIT Technology Review quoting Dr. Postol saying Iron Dome has been largely ineffective led to a flood of furious complaints, prompting the piece he released last night. Reaction "was so negative, and angered so many people, particularly Israelis, that we asked Professor Postol to explain how he came to his conclusions and to show his data," the publication's editors wrote. 
  • rather than Iron Dome, the explanation for low Israeli casualties is the small size of the explosives in the rockets and an excellent Israeli early warning system and network of bomb shelters. The argument is of more than academic interest. The US has spent $721 million on the system for Israel since 2011 and yesterday a Senate subcommittee voted to roughly double spending on the program to $350 million in the next fiscal year. Postol argues this is wasted money, since the payloads of Gaza rockets are so small (from 1-2 pounds up to about 30 pounds of explosives against 1,000 pounds or more in Israel's bombs) they can't harm bunkers (bunkers would be much less effective against serious artillery such as is in Israel's arsenal).
Ed Webb

In Jenin, Israel is unveiling the next phase of apartheid - 0 views

  • June 30, 2023
  • aerial assaults reveal a dangerous phase in the evolution of Israel’s occupation. The air strikes are reportedly the first in the West Bank in two decades, awakening the nightmares of many Palestinians who ran for cover or suffered wounds from helicopter attacks during the Second Intifada. In that time, though, aerial warfare became the modus operandi in the Gaza Strip, accelerated by Israel’s withdrawal of its settlements in 2005 and the total blockade of the territory following Hamas’ takeover.
  • reconfiguration of military rule has intentionally produced a physical and psychological separation between the West Bank and Gaza, abetted by the fratricidal rivalry between Fatah and Hamas. As that distance normalized, the two territories became regarded as disconnected and incomparable. Even well-meaning advocates — in their heavy focus on settlements and annexation — often fell into the trap of forgetting Gaza outside the scope of wartime, deeming it an anomaly in the context of the “one-state reality.” But as many activists, scholars, and experts have warned, the structures used to confine and suppress Gaza are not a deviation from Israel’s methodology, but a natural continuation of it. And that was made clear over the skies of Jenin last week.
  • ...5 more annotations...
  • Like Gaza, Jenin has long been a center of Palestinian social life and political resistance — and as such, a target of vicious repression
  • The bombardment of a populated urban area, together with the city’s collective punishment, is further justified by the demonization of Jenin as a “cesspool of terrorism” requiring constant intervention — in essence, the same doctrine of “mowing the lawn” that is applied in the blockaded strip a few kilometers away.
  • Gaza is hardly an exception to the rule of Israeli apartheid. Rather, it is the ultimate bantustan — the model for controlling and weakening a native population in a besieged space, using modern weapons and technology, with local rulers to handle their basic needs, at minimal cost to the settler society surrounding them
  • If the expulsion of Palestinians won’t be possible, Gazafication will be their future.
  • The army may feign distress over settlers committing “nationalist terrorism,” but it openly commands its soldiers to do the same, so long as it is done in uniform
Ed Webb

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Mosque gun battle rages in Gaza - 0 views

  • "These declarations [of an Islamic emirate] are aimed towards incitement against the Gaza Strip and an attempt at recruiting an international alliance against the Gaza Strip. "And we warn those who are behind these Israeli Zionist declarations: the Gaza Strip only contains its people." Jund Ansar Allah (Army of the Helpers of God) gained some prominence two months ago when it staged a failed attack on a border crossing between Gaza and Israel. The group is very critical of Hamas, which governs Gaza, accusing the Islamist group of not being Islamist enough.
Ian Mandell

BBC News - Egypt starts building steel wall on Gaza Strip border - 0 views

  • Egypt has begun constructing a huge metal wall along its border with the Gaza Strip as it attempts to cut smuggling tunnels, the BBC has learned.
  • The land beneath Egypt and Gaza resembles a Swiss cheese, full of holes and tunnels through which the Palestinians smuggle the everyday items they are denied by the blockade. But the Israelis say the tunnels are also used to smuggle people, weapons, and the components of the rockets that are fired at southern Israeli towns. The wall is not expected to stop all the smuggling, but it will force the Palestinians to go deeper and it will likely cut the hundreds of superficial tunnels closer to the surface that are used to move the bulk of the goods.
  • Egypt has begun constructing a huge metal wall along its border with the Gaza Strip as it attempts to cut smuggling tunnels, the BBC has learned.
  • ...5 more annotations...
  • gypt has begun constructing a huge metal wall along its border with the Gaza Strip as it attempts to cut smuggling tunnels, the BBC has learned.
  • Egypt has begun constructing a huge metal wall along its border with the Gaza Strip as it attempts to cut smuggling tunnels, the BBC has learned.
  • Egypt has begun constructing a huge metal wall along its border with the Gaza Strip as it attempts to cut smuggling tunnels, the BBC has learned
  • SHARED READ WATCHED/LISTENED World's fastest train unveiled Man wrestles gun from assailant How feet reveal sexual attraction Man's death prompts care review Strange light mystifies Norwegians Obama receives Nobel Peace Prize One-minute World News Trains in Spain signal the future Death numbers in Iraq questioned Obama accepts Nobel peace prize Most popular now, in detail liveStatsTabs('livestats200','livestats100'); liveStatsTabs('livestats200','livestats300');
  • When it is finished the wall will be 10-11km (6-7 miles) long and will extend 18 metres below the surface
Mohammed Hossain

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Palestinian poll delay recommended - 0 views

  • recommended the postponement of presidential and parliamentary polls
  • postponement was somewhat inevitable after the Palestinian group Hamas said it would not not allow elections to be held in the Gaza Strip.
  • postponement was somewhat inevitable after the Palestinian group Hamas said it would not not allow elections to be held in the Gaza Strip.
  • ...14 more annotations...
  • postponement was somewhat inevitable after the Palestinian group Hamas said it would not not allow elections to be held in the Gaza Strip.
  • Election
  • WATCH NOW FRONT PAGE BLOGS FOCUS SPORT PROGRAMMES AFRICA AMERICAS ASIA-PACIFIC CENTRAL/S. ASIA EUROPE MIDDLE EAST SEARCH ABOUT US PODCASTS MOBILE ARABIC RSS
  • postponement was somewhat inevitable after the Palestinian group Hamas said it would not not allow elections to be held in the Gaza Strip.
  • postponement was somewhat inevitable after the Palestinian group Hamas said it would not not allow elections to be held in the Gaza Strip.
  • postponement was somewhat inevitable after the Palestinian group Hamas said it would not not allow elections to be held in the Gaza Strip.
  • postponement was somewhat inevitable after the Palestinian group Hamas said it would not not allow elections to be held in the Gaza Strip.
  • Abbas had ordered for the polls to be held on January 24
  • reconciliation pact between his Fatah faction and the Hamas failed to materialise.
  • is evidence that Hamas does not value the unity of the homeland nor national reconciliation.
  • will take the necessary decision
  • we lack the right conditions
  • Abbas has already said that he will not run for the presidency again, citing a lack of progress in peace talks with Israel.
  • Abbas is in a very tough position
Ed Webb

UN to teach children about Holocaust in Gaza schools - Middle East, World - The Indepen... - 0 views

  • The United Nations' refugee agency is planning to include the Holocaust in a new human-rights curriculum for pupils in its Gaza secondary schools 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.
  • Although the UNRWA director strongly emphasised that the de facto Hamas government had not sought to interfere with the agency – which is responsible for the welfare of some 1 million Gaza refugees – 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.
  • "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."
Ed Webb

Syria Comment » Archives » "Bush White House Wanted to Destroy the Syrian Sta... - 0 views

  •  
    Search Comment Search Poll Assad's statement with Ahmadinejad was appropriate and necessary over the top and asking for trouble View Results Polls Archive Categories announcement (28) Asad quotes (55) Authors (189) Book (20) Britain (4) Economics (189) Foreign Relations (2529) EU (32) France (78) Germany (6) Iran (112) Iraq (154) Israel (423) Lebanon (684) Hariri (96) Hizbullah (169) Palestine (110) Russia (26) Saudi (108) Turkey (87) UK (17) US (609) Golan (93) Jordan (8) nature (4) Omar Dahi (1) Politics (479) Religion and Ethnicity (134) Society & Culture (126) UN (48) Uncategorized (132) Weapons (113) Reading Syria Books Islam Books Middle East Books Greatest Hits Opposition Meeting Planned for Paris Collapses, August 25, 2005 Is Syria Ready for Democracy? March 12, 2005 Syria's Bourse - The Launch & Recommendations See All... Blogroll Creative Syria Juan Cole's Informed Comment Syrian History: Moubayed Thara - Womens Rights Ammar Abdulhamid Damascene Blog Nur al-Cubicle Innocent Criminal Syrian Diplomat in America Syria Planet (Aggregates Sy Blogs) Dove's Eye View Anthro in Dam Open Lebanon Lebanese Bloggers Mideast Policy Iraq Slogger POMED PostGlobal Syria News Wire by Sasa Rime Allaf abu muqawama Angry Arab Arabist Steve Clemons War in Context Levant Watch George Ajjan Patrick Seale Missing Links by Badger 'Just World News' by Cobban friday-lunch-club Wampum Col. Patrick Lang Yves Gonzalez Guide de Syrie-sur-Web All4Syria - Ayman Abdel Nour Lobelog - Jim Lobe and Friends China Matters LeftLink Mona Eltahawy Le Monde Diplo Blogs Syrian TV and Radio Forward - Sami Moubayed Rootless Cosmo by Karon Mondoweiss by Philip Weiss Marc Gopin Dreyfuss Report Qifa Nabki Belgravia - Greg Djerejian TurcoPundit Eighth Gate Toot - Choice M.E. Blogs One Region, One future Enduring America - Lucas et. al. Maghreb Blog Maghreb Blog - Daadaoui Syria Comment Bint Al-Beltway - Shana Marshall On Olives and Sake (Yazan Badran) Firas Azm
Jim Franklin

Al Jazeera English - Europe - Rights council adopts Gaza report - 2 views

  • The UN human rights council has endorsed the Goldstone report on Israel's war on Gaza, which accuses the military of using disproportionate force as well as laying charges of war crimes on Israeli occupation forces and Hamas.
  • 25 votes to six with 11 countries abstaining and five declining to vote.
  • Hamas 'thankful'
  • ...6 more annotations...
  • The Palestinian Authority had initially agreed to defer a vote on the UN-sanctioned report, but later backtracked under heavy criticism.
  • The United States and Israel were among those countries which voted against the resolution.
  • the resolution "strongly condemns all policies and measures taken by Israel, the occupying power, including those limiting access of Palestinians to their properties and holy sites".
  • Israel rejected the charges saying the resolution – drafted by the Palestinians with Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Tunisia, on behalf of non-aligned, African, Islamic and Arab nations – threatened peace efforts.
  • The report accused Israel of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • It also accused Hamas, which has de facto control of Gaza, of war crime violations, but reserved most of its criticism for Israel.
  •  
    Yea I just read that on Al Jazera. Well with this I hope it has a good outcome. I just wonder if the people inside of Gaza are going to recieve any kind of reperations; further more I think the reaction of the people in the Gaza is going to be crucial. Questions like where will they go?, If they stay will there be equal rights?, and how will they respond with all the past and present adversity?
Ed Webb

The IDF's Unlawful Attack on Al Jalaa Tower - 2 views

  • On May 15, 2021, early in the afternoon, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) informed residents of the Al Jalaa tower that it planned to destroy their building. The building had 11 floors, around 60 residential apartments, and offices for doctors, lawyers, and journalists including Al Jazeera and the Associated Press. Residents grabbed what belongings they could carry and ran down the stairs. Children and the elderly took turns using the single working elevator. An hour later, the IDF levelled the building and crushed everything inside. The now-former residents joined more than 77,000 Gazans displaced from their homes amidst ongoing airstrikes and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Initially, the IDF claimed that the building “contained military assets belonging to the intelligence offices of the Hamas terror organization.” Later, the IDF tweeted that Hamas members took “items” out of the building before it was destroyed. The IDF said it was “willing to pay that price to not harm any civilians.” Officials who were involved in the decision reportedly now “completely regret” it. Hamas operatives simply moved their computers out, leaving only empty offices behind.
  • Given the sheer scale of destruction, suffering, and death, any starting point for legal analysis may seem arbitrary. But the IDF, a former IDF legal adviser, and one leading scholar publicly defended the legality of the airstrike on Al Jalaa tower. Their legal claims call for a response. The IDF also destroyed four other residential towers, and hundreds of other residential units across Gaza. Examining the attack on Al Jalaa tower may shed light on these other attacks as well.
  • ...10 more annotations...
  • the tower was not a military objective (a “lawful target”) at the time of the airstrike. The expected harm to civilians and civilian objects was also excessive (or “disproportionate”) in relation to the military advantage anticipated from destroying any equipment Hamas may have left behind
  • International law prohibits attacks on civilian objects. Civilian objects are all objects which are not military objectives. Military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. According to the IDF and subsequent reports, Hamas members left with their equipment before the airstrike. They were not using the building or any part of it when it was destroyed. No one suggests that the tower made any effective contribution to military action by its nature or location.
  • If attacking forces are allowed to level any building their adversary might intend to use in the future, then the principle of distinction will lose much of its meaning and legal effect in urban warfare.
  • Based on IDF statements as well as video of the attack, it appears that the attack was directed at the building’s base, not at particular offices or their contents. Since the building was a civilian object at the time of the attack, it was unlawful to make the building as such the object of attack
  • The expected harm to civilians and civilian objects was excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. The IDF and its defenders do not argue otherwise. They do not deny that the destruction of dozens of civilian homes and offices would be excessive in relation to the destruction of whatever military equipment may have been left in the building. They argue that the civilian homes and offices were not civilian objects at all.
  • the IDF’s reported position that, if members of an armed group use any part of a civilian building for military activities, then the entire building—including all the civilian apartments inside—becomes a military objective. Since the proportionality rule only protects civilian objects, the IDF argues that expected damage to civilian apartments inside such a building carries no weight in determining the proportionality of an attack. This view is grotesque.
  • To my knowledge, no one thinks it is morally acceptable to destroy dozens of civilian apartments to obtain a minor or uncertain military advantage by destroying military equipment that the adversary has abandoned but may retrieve. The IDF may think it has found a loophole in the law. It hasn’t. But it is worth remembering that basic moral principles have no loopholes.
  • No part of Al Jalaa tower, let alone all of it, was a military objective at the time of the attack
  • The IDF emphasized that it notified the civilian residents that it planned to attack. The IDF may have thought that the tower, or part of it, was a military objective at the time of the notification and therefore it must remain a military objective at the time of the attack. This inference is obviously invalid. Attacking forces do not acquire a legal right to carry out an attack at one moment in time, which they then retain even if circumstances change. The law of armed conflict applies at all times, but never more than at the moment an attack is carried out.
  • It was an unlawful attack. One of many, and not the worst, I suspect.
Jim Franklin

Israel out of NATO event because of Gaza, Turkish official says - CNN.com - 1 views

  • Turkey excluded Israel from a planned NATO military exercise partly because of Turkey's criticism of Israel's Gaza offensive nearly a year ago, Turkey's foreign minister told CNN on Sunday.
  • The Turkish government decided to change the list of participating countries and exclude Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces. As a result, the NATO exercise was effectively scrapped, although a U.S. embassy representative said it was only postponed.
  • "We hope that the situation in Gaza will be improved, that the situation will be back to the diplomatic track. And that will create a new atmosphere in Turkish-Israeli relations as well. But in the existing situation, of course, we are criticizing this approach, [the] Israeli approach."
  • ...5 more annotations...
  • Earlier, the Turkish foreign ministry said "a technical matter," not politics, prompted the delay of the Anatolian Eagle exercise.
  • The United States and Italy
  • withdrew their participation from the drill after learning Israel had been excluded
  • tensions have emerged over strong Turkish criticism of the Gaza offensive in December and January.
  • Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed out of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January after accusing Israeli President Shimon Peres of killing children during the six-week war.
Ed Webb

Jadaliyya - 0 views

  • in exchange for a slew of Palestinian strategic concessions, Israel magnanimously agreed to negotiate the PLO’s terms of surrender.
  • The Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, as the Oslo Accord is formally called, is only a few pages long and largely free of technical jargon, and well worth reading for those who haven’t done so. It contains not a single reference to “occupation”, “self-determination”, “statehood”, or anything of the sort. Rather, Palestinians were to exercise limited autonomy, within limited areas of the occupied territories (excluding East Jerusalem), from which Israeli forces would “redeploy” rather than withdraw
  • the issues that had the greatest impact were the effective abandonment of the refugees, who constitute the majority of the Palestinian people, by the leadership; the political-institutional fragmentation of the Palestinian people; the indefinite suspension of the national agenda in exchange for economic reconstruction that was unlikely to materialize (as it stands the Palestinian economy is today but a shadow of what it was in 1993); and the transformation of the national movement into a local authority
  • ...14 more annotations...
  • Things have turned out very much worse than Oslo’s bitterest critics could have imagined, particularly in the Gaza Strip and Jordan Valley
  • The second enabling policy was Israel’s relentless campaign of mass violence throughout the occupied territories, and the Gaza Strip in particular, to crush the 1987-1993 uprising. It didn’t succeed, but as Graham Usher perceptively noted at the time, it did lay the basis for widespread Palestinian acquiescence, and quite a bit of enthusiasm, in these territories for the false promises of Oslo. 
  • Colonization of course commenced immediately after Israel occupied and initiated the “creeping annexation” of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in June 1967, but Oslo was nevertheless a critical turning point. Although the settlement enterprise constitutes a grave breach of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention and a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (which is the primary reason Israel refused to ratify it), the Oslo Accords as a matter of design make no reference to international law. Further, the sponsor of the Oslo process, the United States, has spared no effort to ensure that international law is not applied to Israeli conduct towards the Palestinians beyond the confines of Oslo, that it is not held accountable for its actions, and that it can continue to act with unrestricted impunity. In other words, the United States ensured that Oslo was implemented beyond the purview of the norms and rules established to govern international conduct. 
  • Israel’s response to the 1994 Hebron Ibrahimi Mosque massacre by a fanatic Israeli-American settler, which it instrumentalized to further entrench its control over Hebron and the mosque rather than confront the settlers, provided an early, definitive indication in this regard. It bears recalling that this response was led by Rabin, his fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres, and their military commander Ehud Barak, not Binyamin Netanyahu or Itamar Ben-Gvir.
  • Every time Israel engaged in a new act of colonization, such as the construction of the Har Homa settlement on Jabal Abu Ghnaim in 1997, it was tolerated on the pretext of keeping the process alive
  • If, for the sake of argument, we take claims that Oslo was supposed to conclude with Palestinian statehood seriously, ignoring reality on the ground on the pretext of preserving the diplomatic process helped ensure its failure.
  • A second key Israeli policy enabled by Oslo is Palestinian fragmentation
  • Israel succeeded in making Oslo’s transitional phase a permanent arrangement, in the process transforming the Palestinian Authority (PA) into a local subsidiary of the Israeli state
  • if a Palestinian from the West Bank or Gaza Strip seeks to pursue a claim against Israel for an act committed between 1967 and 1995, let’s say against the Israeli military for unlawful use of force in 1976 or during the 1987-1993 uprising that rendered the claimant quadriplegic, the PA is under an obligation to ensure that the claimant brings the case before a Palestinian rather than Israeli court, and that any financial judgement by that court in the claimant’s favor is paid out by the PA rather than Israel. If the claimant despite the above brings the case before an Israeli court, and an Israeli judge rules in the claimant’s favor, on account of unlawful actions by the Israeli military years before the PA even existed, the PA is required to immediately reimburse Israel the full amount of compensation awarded to the Palestinian by the Israeli court. Article XX perfectly encapsulates the thoroughly lopsided nature of Oslo, the imbalance of power it codified, Israel’s insistence upon achieving retroactive impunity, and its determination to hold its victims responsible for its crimes against them. In my view nothing better demonstrates that this is a conflict between occupier and occupied and nothing else.
  • the enormous economic windfall Israel derived from the Oslo Accords and its integration into the global economy. Most importantly it led the Arab League to renounce its boycott of Israel and – crucially – of companies that do business with Israel. For all its shortcomings this boycott was exponentially more effective than the current Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and for example kept major Japanese and South Korean firms out of Israel and quite a few Western ones out of the Arab world. It is often forgotten that during the 1970s and 1980s Israel was something of an international pariah, but in the wake of the 1991 Madrid Middle East diplomatic conference and thereafter Oslo was able to normalize relations with much of Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia
  • While Oslo promised Palestinian economic development in exchange for political paralysis, growth materialized only temporarily from the desultory baseline where it stood in 1993 at the conclusion of a prolonged uprising. A sharp reversal in fact commenced in the years leading up to the 2000 eruption of the Al-Aqsa Intifada on account of Israeli policy, and this deterioration has continued at an accelerated pace ever since. What Oslo did achieve was to catapult Israel into the ranks of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), of which it has since 2010 been a full member. It is virtually inconceivable Israel would have acquired this status without Oslo.
  • Palestinians, whether within the West Bank and Gaza Strip, within Israel, in its prison system, or in the diaspora, have been organizing and resisting in myriad ways. Most importantly, they have despite massive and systematic state violence and repression, and betrayal by their own leaders and Arab governments, refused to surrender – putting into practice “the power of refusal” advocated by Said. In doing so the Palestinians have retained the overwhelming support of the international community, and even in the West public opinion increasingly recognizes that Israel is a structurally racist, colonial state
  • when the succession commences Israel is likely to promote a model where different Palestinian population concentrations – Hebron-Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho, Nablus-Salfit-Jenin, Qalqilya-Tulkarm – are administered by a series of local chieftains
  • even this model, a regional version of the failed Village Leagues of the 1980s, may prove unpalatable to the lunatics currently running the Israeli asylum. These are forces agitating for wholesale, formal annexation and then some, and which thanks to the inexorable rightward shift of Israeli society, and international and regional support and acquiescence (not unrelated phenomena) are only gaining in strength and power.
Ed Webb

More than Genocide - Boston Review - 0 views

  • Mass state violence against civilians is not a glitch in the international system; it is baked into statehood itself. The natural right of self-defense plays a foundational role in the self-conception of Western states in particular, the formation of which is inseparable from imperial expansion. Since the Spanish conquest of the Americas starting in the sixteenth century, settlers justified their reprisals against indigenous resistance as defensive “self-preservation.” If they felt their survival was imperiled, colonizers engaged in massive retaliation against “native” peoples, including noncombatants. The “doctrine of double effect” assured them that killing innocents was permissible as a side effect of carrying out a moral end, like self-defense.
  • By the nineteenth century, the Christianizing mission had been augmented by a civilizing one of the “savage” natives. More recently, this colonial ideology has manifested itself in the project of “bringing democracy to the Arab world,” with Israel designated as the “the only democracy in the Middle East,” the proverbial “villa in the jungle.”
  • Without imperial possessions and the lucrative trade in sugar and other commodities predicated on the Atlantic slave trade, European states would not have generated the surpluses necessary to pay for their military establishments and the bureaucratic apparatuses required to sustain them. And while European powers and settlers in their colonies did not set out to exterminate the peoples they conquered, they killed any who resisted, claiming that their hands were forced.
  • ...16 more annotations...
  • civilian destruction tends to be greatest when security retaliation reaches the level of what I have called “permanent security”—extreme responses by states to security threats, enacted in the name of self-defense. Permanent security actions target entire civilian populations under the logic of ensuring that terrorists and insurgents can never again represent a threat. It is a project, in other words, that seeks to avert future threats by anticipating them today.
  • The historical record shows that, however terrible, violent anticolonial uprisings were invariably smashed with far greater violence than they unleashed. The violence of the “civilized” is far more effective than the violence of the “barbarians” and “savages.”
  • Throughout the five-hundred-year history of Western empires, the security of European colonizers has trumped the security and independence of the colonized.
  • Jabotinsky’s famous “Iron Wall” argument from 1923, in which the Revisionist Zionist leader argued that Palestinian resistance was understandable, inevitable—and anticolonial. Speaking of Palestinians, Jabotinsky wrote that “they feel at least the same instinctive jealous love of Palestine, as the old Aztecs felt for ancient Mexico, and their Sioux for their rolling Prairies.” Because Palestinians could not be bought off with material promises, Jabotinsky wanted the British Mandate authorities to enable Zionist colonization until Jews, then a tiny minority of Palestine, reached a majority. “Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population,” he concluded. “Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population—behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.”
  • to ensure that Palestinian militants can never again attack Israel, its armed forces are subjecting two million Palestinians to serial war crimes and mass expulsion
  • If Western states support this solution for Israeli permanent security—as the United States appears to be with its budgeting of refugee support in neighboring countries under the guise of a “humanitarian” gesture—they will be continuing a venerable tradition. During, between, and after both twentieth-century world wars, large-scale population transfers and exchanges took place across the Eurasian continent to radically homogenize empires and nations. Millions of people fled or were expelled or transferred from Turkey, Greece, Austria, Italy, India, Palestine, Central and Eastern Europe. Progressive Europeans reasoned then that long-term peace would be secured if troublesome minorities were removed. This ideology—which the governments of Russia, China, Turkey, India, and Sri Lanka share today—maintains that indigenous and minority populations must submit to their subordination and, if they resist, face subjugation, deportation, or destruction. Antiterrorism operations that kill thousands of civilians are taken to be acceptable responses to terrorist operations that kill far fewer civilians
  • Indigenous and occupied peoples, then, are placed in an impossible position. If they resist with violence, they are violently put down. If they do not, states will overlook the lower-intensity but unrelenting violence to which they are subject
  • Hamas thus reasons that Palestinians have nothing to gain by conforming to a U.S.-led “rules-based international order” that has forgotten about them.
  • When state parties to the UNGC negotiated in 1947 and 1948, they distinguished genocidal intent from military necessity, so that states could wage the kind of wars that Russia and Israel are conducting today and avoid prosecution for genocide. The high legal standard stems from the restrictive UNGC definition of genocide, which was modeled on the Holocaust and requires that a perpetrator intend to “destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such” (the dolus specialis) in at least one of five prescribed ways (the actus reus). The words “as such” are widely regarded as imposing a stringent intent requirement: an act counts as genocide only if individuals are targeted solely by virtue of their group membership—like Jews during World War II—and not for strategic reasons like suppressing an insurgency.
  • Together, the United States and Russia have killed many millions of civilians in their respective imperial wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Chechnya; so have postcolonial states like Nigeria and Pakistan in fighting secessions. Genocide allegations were leveled in some of these cases in global campaigns like the one we see now, but none stuck, and they are largely forgotten in the annals of mass violence against civilian
  • Adding to the difficulty of establishing genocidal intent is the uncertainty in international humanitarian law about the legality of civilians killed “incidentally” in the course of attacking legitimate military targets. While the majority of international lawyers agree that civilian deaths are acceptable so long as they are not disproportionate in relation to the military advantage sought, others argue that bombing crowded marketplaces and hospitals regardless of military objective is necessarily indiscriminate and thus illegal.
  • They go far in excusing all Israeli conduct in the name of its legitimate self-defense; the US even seems to have demurred on whether the Geneva Conventions are applicable to Palestinian territories. It is thus unsurprising that they have not pressed the Israeli government to explain how cutting off water, food, and power to Gaza—a “war of starvation” as the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor put it—is a legitimate military tactic, one not covered by the UNGC, which declares one genocidal predicate act to be “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” But if so-called humanitarian pauses are occurring to allow in a little, if grossly inadequate, aid, and the “total siege” is lifted after the military defeat of Hamas (should it happen), it will be difficult to argue in a legal context that Israel’s strangling of Gaza was a genocidal act.
  • the “Dahiya Doctrine,” which, they argue, dictates “disproportionate attacks, including against *civilian* structures and infrastructure.” This is clearly illegal.
  • Excessive reprisals, we should recall, are a staple of colonial warfare and state consolidation
  • Since genocide is a synonym for the destruction of peoples, whether the killing and suppression of their culture is motivated by destruction “as such” or by deterrence, the experience is the same: a destructive attack on a people, and not just random civilians. But the UNGC does not reflect the victim’s perspective. It protects the perpetrators: states that seek permanent security.
  • Unless the conditions of permanent insecurity are confronted, permanent security aspirations and practices will haunt Palestinians and Israelis.
Ed Webb

The Gaza-ification of the West Bank | The New Yorker - 0 views

  • the West Bank, where millions of Palestinians currently live, has also seen increased violence, with more than a hundred Palestinians killed in raids conducted by Israel’s military and clashes between Israelis and Palestinians. Israeli settlers—often with the support of the Army—have also kicked scores of Palestinian families off their land
  • The Israeli goal of cleansing as much of Area C as possible from Palestinian communities is not a new goal. Area C is just over sixty per cent of the West Bank—basically, all of the West Bank outside of the major Palestinian population centers and towns. All of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank are in Area C. The major Palestinian population centers are like holes in Swiss cheese, where the cheese itself is Area C, engulfing everything: the Jordan Valley, the South Hebron Hills, part of the northern West Bank.
  • The Israeli state, through its settlers, is trying to take advantage of the fact that all eyes are on Gaza and is intensifying dramatically the pressure on Palestinian communities. I would assume from the Israeli perspective this has been a success. Thirteen Palestinian communities have basically fled in horror in the three weeks since October 7th.
  • ...15 more annotations...
  • all of these various mechanisms that the state has been using, are backed by Israeli courts, and backed by the Israeli legal system. This is not some random phenomena that is happening uniquely to a single unlucky community far from the eyes of the state. On the contrary, this is part of an ongoing Israeli state project of trying to push, to cleanse, as many Palestinians out of Area C, using all available state mechanisms in order to accomplish this goal
  • What has escalated in recent weeks is that you have repeated reports of masked men showing up in the middle of the night. Armed, masked men.
  • if anyone is now shocked that Israeli soldiers are involved in this. You should have been shocked five years ago. You should have been shocked twenty years ago. Because the involvement of soldiers has been also documented for years, not only with testimonies but also with video footage.
  • Palestinians, if they try to act in self-defense, will almost always have that used as an excuse to frame them as terrorists and to use lethal force against them. It cannot be overstated how exposed the lives of Palestinians are in the West Bank under these conditions
  • The uprooting of Palestinian communities all over the West Bank is not a project of the settlers, the bad ones, the good ones, or the other ones. It is a state project.
  • Who’s the state in the West Bank? It’s the Israeli state. So land that’s announced as state land is public land, and then cannot be used for the benefit of the Palestinian population. It’s used by the state for the purpose it wants to advance, which is Jewish settlement, right? And the regime issues building permits for Jewish settlements and issues demolition orders for Palestinian communities.
  • When these official mechanisms fail and Palestinian communities show perseverance to stay on the land, then what you have is that other mechanism, the one that tends to make more headlines. You might catch sight of a violent settler torching a Palestinian’s field or using weapons provided to the settlers by the Army.
  • What we’ve been seeing since October 7th, after all these years of suffering and orchestrated bureaucratic violence, are direct threats and direct actions against these communities. It happens very quickly, but it does create international friction, and that is the balance that Israel has been playing with, trying to accomplish as much displacement of Palestinians as possible while paying the minimal international price.
  • This is an Israeli project that has been unfolding under left, right, and center governments. Each and every one of them have been doing exactly this since 1967. Let’s not be ahistorical.
  • There is almost zero media coverage in Hebrew in Israel about this. One of the only news outlet that professionally addresses this is Haaretz. Almost no one else discusses it.
  • Even right-wing governments, when they feel international pushback, would take a step back for a month or two until attention moves somewhere else.
  • This is how Israel accomplished getting more than two hundred and fifty settlements and more than seven hundred and fifty thousand settlers into the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
  • How come so many settlers thought that they could be involved in that and get away with it? That there would be no consequences? They have been enjoying this kind of impunity for decades. Not just in recent months but also under previous governments that were more internationally digestible.
  • Palestinians will be told openly by Israeli officials, by settlers, that their future is in Area A, not in Area C. Area A is twenty per cent of the West Bank—the large Palestinian population centers.
  • you can think about this process as the Gaza-ification of the West Bank. One step at a time, Israel is pushing Palestinians in that direction. There will be a number of Palestinian Bantustans, Gaza-style, all over the West Bank. And each one of these Palestinian enclaves is already surrounded and gradually will be more surrounded by this mix of measures, whether it be Israeli infrastructure such as roads or military bases or walls or fences or settlements and so on. And if one visits any one of the large Palestinian cities like Hebron, Jenin, or Ramallah, you will see this process gradually unfolding
Ed Webb

Arab Public Opinion about the Israeli War on Gaza - 0 views

  • a sample of 8000 respondents (men and women) from 16 Arab countries
  • 97% of respondents expressing psychological stress (to varying degrees) as a result of the war on Gaza. 84% expressed a sense of great psychological stress.
  • 54% of respondents relied on television, compared to 43% who relied on the internet
  • ...10 more annotations...
  • While 67% of respondents reported that the military operation carried out by Hamas was a legitimate resistance operation, 19% reported that it was a somewhat flawed but legitimate resistance operation, and 3% said that it was a legitimate resistance operation that involved heinous or criminal acts, while 5% said it was an illegitimate operation
  • 69% of respondents expressed their solidarity with Palestinians and support for Hamas, 23% expressed solidarity with Palestinians despite opposing Hamas, and 1% expressed a lack of solidarity with the Palestinians
  • 92% believe that the Palestinian question concerns all Arabs and not just the Palestinians
  • 94% considered the US position negatively, with 82% considering it very bad. In the same context, 79%, 78%, and 75% of respondents viewed positions of France, the UK, and Germany negatively. Opinion was split over the positions of Iran, Turkey, Russia, and China. While (48%, 47%, 41%, 40%, respectively) considered them positively (37%, 40%, 42%, 38%, respectively)
  • About 77% of respondents named the United States and Israel as the biggest threat to the security and stability of the region
  • 82% of respondents reported that US media coverage of the war was biased towards Israel
  • a near consensus (81%) in their belief that the US government is not serious about working to establish a Palestinian state in the 1967 occupied territories (The West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza)
  • this percentage is the highest recorded since polling began in 2011, rising from 76% at the end of 2022, to 92% this year
  • In Morocco, it rose from 59% in 2022 to 95%, in Egypt from 75% to 94%, in Sudan from 68% to 91%, and in Saudi Arabia from 69% to 95%, a statistically significant increase that represents a fundamental shift in the opinions of the citizens of these countries
  • Arab public opinion is almost unanimous in rejecting recognition of Israel, at a rate of 89%, up from 84% in 2022, compared to only 4% who support its recognition. Of particular note is the increase in the percentage of those who rejected recognition of Israel in Saudi Arabia from 38% in the 2022 poll to 68% in this survey
1 - 20 of 146 Next › Last »
Showing 20 items per page