January 2012 Archives

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Now it seems that US troops are going to arrive in force! God help us!

Thousands of US Troops to Arrive in Israel This Week, in Preparation for an Attack on Iran

by Mais Azza – IMEMC & Agencies

January 10, 2012

re-published from the Al-Jazeerah news

Accompanied by a US aircraft carrier, 9,000 US troops including airmen, missile interceptor teams, marines, technicians and intelligence officers are scheduled to land in Israel in the coming weeks. Many will stay up to the end of the year as part of the US-Israeli Army deployment in readiness for a military engagement with Iran, aiming at a synchronized military front against Iran.

US Third Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc commented in his visit two weeks ago that the coming action is more a “deployment” than an “exercise,”. The joint force will now be in place ready for a decision to attack Iran’s nuclear installations or any combat emergency.

After Tehran had released a bulletin about another Iranian naval exercise at the Strait of Hormuz in February, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the two army chiefs, US Gen. Martin Dempsey and Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz decided to announce the coming of the force on Thursday night, Jan. 5.

During his visit to Washington, British Defense Minister, Phillip Hammond, confirmed that Britain stands ready to strike Iran if the Strait of Hormuz is closed.

Tehran stages military maneuvers every few days to assure the Iranians that it is prepared to defend the country against an American or Israeli strike on its national nuclear program.

The joint US-Israeli drill is going to test several Israeli and US air defense systems against incoming missiles will also practice intercepting missiles and rockets coming in from Syria, Hezbollah Party in Lebanon, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

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Deployment of thousands of U.S. troops in Israel, a start of war against Iran?

January 8, 2012

By Dina al-Shibeeb, Al-Arabiya —

 

The Middle East roils in crisis as a U.S. aircraft carrier entered one of the world’s most important choke point for oil shipments, the Strait of Hormuz, which Iran has threatened to close if the United States raises sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The deployment of thousands of U.S. troops in Israel has raised speculation of an imminent war.

On December 20, the Jerusalem Post reported that Lt.-Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of the U.S. forces based in Germany, said that there will be a deployment of several thousand American soldiers in Israel.

An Egypt-based military expert, major general Jamal Mathloum, said that “there is a military strategic cooperation between the U.S. and Israel since the 1980s and there is definitely mutual understanding.” He added that the U.S. troop deployment might not necessarily mean a direct signal of war, but that it could be read as Israel and U.S. readiness in case of a conflict arising in the region.

“There is already a U.S. radar station in southern Israel, and might contain from 500 to 700 American soldiers operating there,” Mathloum said.

But for Abdulaziz Sager, chairman and founder of the Gulf Research Center in Dubai, the deployment of U.S. troops in Israel is “definitely to send a clear signal to Iran.”

Sager said that there is a U.S.-Israel defense agreement that makes defending the Jewish state an obligation to the United States. In addition to that, U.S. President Barack Obama said in his last AIPAC meeting that the United States does not rule out any option against Iran.

According to debka.com…, an Israeli website that provides political and security analysis, about 9,000 U.S. soldiers have already arrived in Israel. But Mathloum said this figure remains insignificant compared to the more than 100,000 American soldiers dispersed in 1,000 U.S. bases worldwide.

Lt.-Gen. Gorenc’s announcement came as he was visiting Israel to finalize plans for the upcoming drill. There will also be an establishment of American command posts in Israel and IDF command posts at EUCOM headquarters in Germany – with the ultimate goal of establishing joint task forces in the event of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East, the newspaper reported.

But according to Elias Henna, a Lebanon-based expert in military issues, the deployment of 9,000 U.S. troops in Israel goes back to the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and to support U.S. presence in the region and not to leave the “Arab field” open to further Iranian influence.

Asked why the United States did not increase its troop numbers in its military bases in the Persian Gulf, Henna said that both countries [Israel and United States] have far more compatible militaries, are bound with military agreements and that the United States has more freedom in Israel.

“Israel does not mind even if one million U.S. soldiers to be deployed in the Jewish state,” he added. As the U.S. and Israel continue their cooperation in light of the crisis looming around Iran, the Islamic Republic appears to remain unyielding.

On Sunday, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Fereydoun, Abbasi Davani, reportedly said that Iran’s underground uranium enrichment facility will go on-stream soon. Davani said that the Fordow nuclear enrichment plant will be operational in the near future and that around 20 percent, 3.5 percent and four percent enriched uranium can be produced at the site.

“There is no third party to verify about the site [Fordow] and truth about the announcement,” said Sager, adding “they can say all they want to say but there is no confirmation or verification.”

english.alarabiya.net…

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From Father Roy:   Please notice that I highlighted a few key words in the first paragraph of Richard Falk‘s essay and that I also highlighted his concluding sentence.  In the interest of time, I added an activated link.    Peace, Roy

Stop Warmongering in the Middle East

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The public discussion in the West addressing Iran’s nuclear program has mainly relied on threat diplomacy, articulated most clearly by Israeli officials, but enjoying the strong direct and indirect backing of Washington and leading Gulf states. Israel has also engaged in covert warfare against Iran in recent years, somewhat supported by the United States, that has inflicted violent deaths on civilians in Iran. Many members of the UN Security Council support escalating sanctions against Iran, and have not blinked when Tel Aviv and Washington talk menacingly about leaving all options on the table, which is ‘diplospeak’ for their readiness to launch a military attack. At last, some signs of sanity are beginning to emerge to slow the march over the cliff.

For instance, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, commented harshly on this militarist approach: “I have no doubt that it would pour fuel on a fire which is already smoldering, the hidden smoldering fire of Sunni-Shia confrontation, and beyond that [it would cause] a chain reaction. I don’t know where it would stop.” And a few days ago even the normally hawkish Israeli Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, evidently fearful of international panic and a preemptive response by Tehran, declared that any decision to launch a military attack by Israel is ‘very far off,’ words that can be read in a variety of ways, mostly not genuinely reassuring.

It is not only an American insistence, despite pretending from time to time an interest in a diplomatic solution, that only threats and force are relevant to resolve this long incubating political dispute with Iran, but more tellingly, it is the stubborn refusal by Washington to normalize relations with Iran, openly repudiate the Israeli war drums, and finally accept the verdict of history in Iran adverse to its strategic ambitions. The United States has shown no willingness despite the passage of more than 30 years to accept the outcome of Iran’s popular revolution of 1978-79 that nonviolently overthrew the oppressive regime of the Shah. We need also to remember that the Shah had been returned to power in 1953 thanks to the CIA in a coup against the constitutional and democratically elected government of Mohamed Mossadegh, whose main crime was to nationalize the Iranian oil industry. This prolonged unwillingness of Washington to have normal diplomatic contact with Iran has been a sure recipe for international tension and misunderstanding, especially taking into account this historical background of American intervention in Iran, as well as the thinly disguised interest in recovering access to Iran’s high quality oil fields confirmed by its willingness to go along with Israel’s militarist tactics and diplomacy.

This conflict-oriented mentality is so strong in relation to Iran than when others try their best to smooth diplomatic waters, as Brazil and Turkey did in the May 2010, the United States angrily responds that such countries should mind their own business, which is an arrogant reprimand, considering that Turkey is Iran’s next door neighbor, and has the most to lose if a war results from the unresolved dispute involving Iran’s contested nuclear program. It should be recalled that in 2010 Iran formally agreed with leaders from Brazil and Turkey to store half or more of its then stockpile of low enriched uranium in Turkey, materials that would be needed for further enrichment if Iran was truly determined to possess a nuclear bomb as soon as possible. Instead of welcoming this constructive step back from the precipice Washington castigated the agreement as diversionary, contending that it interfered with the mobilization of support in the Security Council for ratcheting up sanctions intended to coerce Iran into giving up its right to a complete nuclear fuel cycle. Such criticism of Turkey and Brazil for its engagement with peace diplomacy contrasts with its tacit endorsement of Israeli recourse to terrorist tactics in its efforts to destabilize Iran, or possibly to provoke Iran to the point that it retaliates, giving Tel Aviv the pretext it seems to seek to begin open warfare.

Iran is being accused of moving toward a ‘breakout’ capability in relation to nuclear weapons, that is, possessing a combination of knowhow and enough properly enriched uranium to produce nuclear bombs within a matter of weeks, or at most months. Tehran has repeatedly denied any intention to become a nuclear weapons state, but has insisted all along that it has the same legal rights under the Nonproliferation Treaty as such other non-nuclear states as Germany and Japan, and this includes the right to have a complete nuclear fuel cycle, which entails enrichment capabilities and does imply a breakout capability. In the background, it should be realized that even the 1968 Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons contains a provision that allows a party to withdraw from the obligations under the treaty if it gives three months notice and ‘decides that extraordinary events..have jeopardized its supreme national interests.’(Article X) Such a provision, in effect, acknowledges the legal right of a country to determine its own security requirements in relation to nuclear weapons, a right that both the United States and Israel in different ways have implicitly exercised for decades with stunning irresponsibility that includes secrecy, a failure to pursue nuclear disarmament that is an obligation of the treaty, and a denial of all forms of international accountability. The real ‘threat’ posed by a hypothetical Iran bomb is to Israel’s regional monopoly over nuclear weapons. As three former Mossad chiefs have stated, even if Iran were to acquire a few nuclear bombs, Israel would still face no significant additional threat to its security or existence, as any attack would be manifestly suicidal, and Iran has shown no such disposition toward recklessness in its foreign policy.

To be objective commentators we must ask ourselves whether Iran’s posture toward its nuclear program is unreasonable under these circumstances. Is not Iran a sovereign state with the same right as other states to uphold its security and political independence when facing threats from its enemies armed with nuclear weapons? When was the last time resorted to force against a hostile neighbor? The surprising answer is over 200 years ago! Can either of Iran’s antagonists claim a comparable record of living within its borders? Why does Iran not have the same right as other states to take full advantage of nuclear technology? And given Israeli hostility, terrorist assaults, and military capabilities that includes sophisticated nuclear warheads, delivery style, and a record of preemptive war making, would it not be reasonable for Iran to seek, and even obtain, a nuclear deterrent? True, the regime in Iran has been oppressive toward its domestic opposition and its president has expressed anti-Israeli views in inflammatory language (although exaggerated in the West), however unlike Israel, without ever threatening or resorting to military action. It should also be appreciated that Iran has consistently denied an intention to develop nuclear weaponry, and claims only an interest in using enriched uranium for medical research and nuclear energy. Even if there are grounds to be somewhat skeptical about such reassurances, given the grounds for suspicion that have been ambiguously and controversially validated by reports from International Atomic Energy Agency, this still does not justify sanctions, much less threats backed up by deployments, war games, projected attack scenarios, and a campaign of terrorist violence.

So far no prominent advocates of confrontation with Iran have been willing to acknowledge the obvious relevance of Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal. Is not the actuality of nuclear weaponry, not only an Iranian breakout potential but a substantial arsenal of Israeli weaponry secretly acquired (200-300 warheads), continuously upgraded, and coupled with the latest long distance delivery capabilities, the most troublesome threat to regional stability and peace? At minimum, are not Israel’s nuclear weapons stockpile highly relevant both to bring stability and for an appraisal of Iran’s behavior? The United States and Israel behave in the Middle East as if the golden rule of international politics is totally inapplicable, that you can do unto others, what you are unwilling to have them do unto you!

We need, as well, to remember the lessons of recent history bearing on the counter-proliferation tactics relied upon in recent years by the United States. Iraq was attacked in 2003 partly because it did not have any nuclear weapons, while North Korea has been spared such a comparably horrific fate because it possesses a retaliatory capability that would likely be used if attacked, and has the capability to inflict severe harm on neighboring countries. If this experience relating to nuclear weapons is reasonably interpreted it could incline governments that have hostile relations to the West to opt for a nuclear weapons option as necessary step to discourage attacks and interventions. Surely putting such reasoning into practice would not be good for the region, possibly igniting a devastating war, and almost certainly leading to the spread of nuclear weapons to other Middle Eastern countries. Instead of moving to coerce, punish, and frighten Iran in ways that are almost certain to increase the incentives of Iran and others to possess nuclear weaponry, it would seem prudent and in the mutual interest of all to foster a diplomacy of de-escalation, a path that Iran has always signaled its willingness to pursue. And diplomatic alternatives to confrontation and war exist, but require the sort of political imagination that seems totally absent in the capitals of hard power geopolitics.

It should be obvious to all but the most dogmatic warmongers that the path to peace and greater stability in the region depends on taking two steps long overdue, and if not taken, at least widely debated in public: first, establishing a nuclear free Middle East by a negotiated and monitored agreement that includes all states in the region, including Israel and Iran; secondly, an initiative promoted by the United Nations and backed by a consensus of its leading members to outline a just solution for the Israel/Palestine conflict that is consistent with Palestinian rights under international law, including the Palestinian right of self-determination, which if not accepted by Israel (and endorsed by the Palestinian people) within twelve months would result in the imposition of severe sanctions. Not only would such initiatives promote peace and prosperity for the Middle East, but this turn to diplomacy and law would serve the cause of justice both by putting an end to the warmongering of recent years and to the intolerable denial of rights to the Palestinian people that goes back to at least 1947, and was later intensified by the oppressive occupation of East Jerusalem, West Bank, and Gaza that resulted from the outcome of the 1967 War.

These manifestly beneficial alternatives to sanctions and war is neither selected, nor even considered in the most influential corridors of opinion-making. It is simple to explain why: world order continues to be largely shaped by the rule of power rather than the rule of law, or by recourse to the realm of rights, and no where more so than in the Middle East where the majority of the world’s oil reserves are located, and where an expansionist Israel refuses to make real peace with its neighbors while subjugating the Palestinian people to an unendurable ordeal. Unfortunately, a geopolitical logic prevails in world politics, which means that inequality, hierarchy, and hard power control the thought and action of powerful governments whenever toward strategic interests are at stake. Perhaps, a glance at recent history offers the most convincing demonstration of the validity of this assessment: Western military interventions in Iraq and Libya, as well as the intimidating threats of attacks on Iran, three states in the region with oil and regimes unfriendly to the West. Egypt and Tunisia, the first-born children of the Arab Spring, were undoubtedly politically advantaged by not being major oil producing states, although Egypt is not as lucky as Tunisia because Israel and the United States worry that a more democratic Egyptian government might abandon the 1978 Peace Treaty and show greater solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, and are doing what they can to prevent Cairo from moving in such directions.

Fortunately, there is a growing, although still marginal, recognition that despite all the macho diplomacy of recent years, a military option is not really viable. It would not achieve its objective of destroying Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and it would in all likelihood confirm the opinions among Iranian hawkish factions that only the possession of nuclear weapons will keep their country from facing the catastrophe brought on by a military attack. Beyond this, attacking Iran would almost certainly unleash retaliatory responses, possibly blocking the Straits of Hormuz, which carry 20% of the world’s traded oil, and possibly leading to direct missile strikes directed at Israel and some of the Gulf countries. Given this prospect, there is beginning to be some indication that the West is at last beginning to consider alternatives to hot war in responding to Iran.

But so far this realization is leading not to the peaceful initiatives mentioned earlier, but to a reliance on ‘war’ by other means. The long confrontation with Iran has developed its own momentum that makes any fundamental adjustment seem politically unacceptable to the United States and Israel, a sign of weakness and geopolitical defeat. And so as the prospect of a military attacked is temporarily deferred for reasons of prudence, as Barak confirmed, but in its place is put this intensified and escalating campaign of violent disruption, economic coercion, and outright terrorism. Such an ongoing effort to challenge Iran has produced a series of ugly and dangerous incidents that might at some point in the near future provoke a hostile Iranian reaction, generating a sequence of action and reaction that could plunge the region into a disastrous war and bring on a worldwide economic collapse.

The main features of this disturbing pattern of covert warfare are becoming clear, and are even being endorsed in liberal circles because such a course of action is seen as less harmful to Western interests than an overt military attack, proceeding on the assumptions that are no better alternatives than confrontation in some form. Israel, with apparent American collaboration, assassinates Iranian nuclear scientists, infects Iranian nuclear centrifuges used to enrich uranium with a disabling Stuxnet virus, and recruits Iranians to join Jundallah, an anti-regime terrorist organization in Iran, to commit acts of violence against civilian targets, such as the 2009 attack on the mosque in Zahedan that killed 25 worshippers and wounded many others. The New York Times in an editorial (January 13, 2012) describes these tactics dispassionately without ever taking note of their objectionable moral or legal character: “An accelerating covert campaign of assassinations, bombings, cyber attacks and defections—carried out mainly by Israel, according to The Times—is slowing..[Iran’s nuclear] program, but whether that is enough is unclear.” The editorial observes that “a military strike would be a disaster,” yet this respected, supposedly moderate, editorial voice only questions whether such a pattern of covert warfare will get the necessary job done of preventing Iran from possessing a nuclear option sometime in the future.

It should be obvious that if it was Iran that was engaging in similar tactics to disrupt Israeli military planning or to sabotage Israel’s nuclear establishment liberal opinion makers in the West would be screaming their denunciations of Iran’s barbaric lawlessness. Such violations of Israel sovereignty and international law would be certainly regarded by the West as unacceptable forms of provocation that would fully justify a major Israeli military response, and make the outbreak of war seem inevitable and unavoidable.

And when Iran did recently react to the prospect of new international sanctions making its sale of oil far more difficult by threatening to block passage through the Straights of Hormuz, the United States reacted by sending additional naval vessels to the area and warning Tehran that any interference with international shipping would be ‘a red line’ leading to U.S. military action. It should be incredible to appreciate that assassinating nuclear scientists in Iran is okay with the arbiters of international behavior while interfering with the global oil market crosses a war-provoking red line. These self-serving distinctions illustrate the dirty work of geopolitics in the early 21st century.

There are some lonely voices calling for a nuclear free Middle East and a just settlement of the Israeli/Palestine conflict, but even with credentials like long service in the CIA or U.S. State Department, these calls are almost totally absent in the mainstream discourse that controls debate in the United States and Israel. When some peaceful alternatives are entertained at all it is always within the framework of preventing Iran doing what it seems entitled to do from the perspectives of law and prudence. I am afraid that only when and if a yet non-existent Global Occupy Movement turns its attention to geopolitics will the peoples of the Middle East have some reason to hope for a peaceful and promising future for their region.   

NOTE: [Official] Global March To Jerusalem – The Official Site For The Global March.   Peace, Roy 

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In the complex political matrix covering Israel/Palestine, the USA, Iran and the rest of the Middle East, a great deal seems to depend on the future of Syria.

We in Australia keep hearing of the terrible excesses of the Assad regime, yet the media coverage seems to be enormously one-sided!

My friend, Jamal Daoud, has written the letter featured below to SBS TV Australia, highlighting the lack of professionalism in their media coverage of Syria. The letter is instructive.

We are very sick of your biased and unprofessional coverage of the crisis in Syria

Dear Sir/Madam

Let me get straight to the point: We are very sick of your biased and unprofessional coverage of the crisis in Syria. For the last few months you chose to take side in the conflict, instead of neutrally and professionally report and document on the crisis there.

I will give you very clear examples, that I doubt you will find any logical explanation to justify your biased unprofessional conduct.

In today’s coverage of the crisis, we noted:

1- You covered the rally in Jordan of people opposing Assad regime. You failed to report  the rally yesterday to support the Assad regime in the same place outside Syrian embassy in Jordan capital, Amman.

2- You showed the rally organised by mainly Lebanese extreme groups opposing Assad regime (and falsely described it as Syrians Australians opposing Assad regime), while you failed to cover the rally last Thursday of mainly Syrians in support of Assad regime.

3- You showed “unverified” clips posted on Facebook against Assad regime, when you failed in the last 10 months to show any “unverified” clips posted by supporters of Assad regime.

4- How did you verify that the armed militia members in Zabadani are in fact Syrian army “deserter” and not criminals who were armed by USA, Israel and Qatar?

5- The report mentioned that it is the first time that the criminals described by the BBC journalist as “heroes” to control any part of Syrian town or city. This is not true. The criminals in fact controlled and still control small parts of small towns. They controlled the village of Jiser Al Shghour, where they spread death and destruction before army interfered and kicked them out to Turkey. They also still in control of several neighbourhoods in Homs, like Baba Amro. They also controlled at some stage wide areas of city of Hama before army interference and kick them out. The control of small part of city does not mean that they have the support of local people or that the regime is very weak. We remember when gangs and drunk people controlled several neighbourhoods in Sydney during the “Cronulla riots” period. This did not mean that the gangs had the support of local communities. Nor did it mean that Australian regime is very weak on the brink of collapse.

We hope that SBS could take further steps to make their coverage more professional and neutral. We will lodge complaint to ACMA on this account.

Thanks

Jamal Daoud

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Dan Stone writes: Every once in a while, the truth slips through the usrael filter system. It seems no one is challenging the report cited below on the basis of its facts, but on its subjective language.

French parliament report accuses Israel of water ‘apartheid’ in West Bank

By Barak Ravid

January 17, 2012

 

Israeli Embassy in Paris had no foreknowledge of the French parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee report, which was published two week ago, and thus did not refute it or work to moderate it.

The French parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee published an unprecedented report two weeks ago accusing Israel of implementing "apartheid" policies in its allocation of water resources in the West Bank.

[photo: A man collecting drinking water in buckets in Jisr al-Zarqa. Photo by: Nimrod Glickman]

The Israeli Embassy in Paris had no foreknowledge of the report and thus did not refute it or work to moderate it. Foreign Ministry officials called the incident "a serious diplomatic mishap."

The report said that water has become "a weapon serving the new apartheid" and gave examples and statistics that ostensibly back this claim.

"Some 450,000 Israeli settlers on the West Bank use more water than the 2.3 million Palestinians that live there," the report said. "In times of drought, in contravention of international law, the settlers get priority for water."

The author of the report was Socialist Party MP Jean Glavany, who in the past served as agriculture minister under French President Lionel Jospin and as cabinet secretary for President Francois Mitterrand.

The Foreign Affairs Committee had assigned Glavany to report on the geopolitical impact of water in confrontation zones throughout the world. He visited Israel and the Palestinian territories on May 17-19 of last year and met with several senior government officials, including Energy and Water Resources Minister Uzi Landau and Water Commissioner Uri Shani.

Both the Foreign Ministry and the embassy in Paris were aware of the visit and knew that Glavany planned to write a report. But Israeli Ambassador to France Yossi Gal did not follow up on Glavany’s work.

No one in the embassy attempted to get a draft copy of the report so as to ensure that its conclusions were not overly harsh. Nor were Israel’s allies on the French Foreign Affairs Committee contacted to ascertain whether the report could be moderated.

The embassy only learned about the report a few days after it appeared on the French parliament’s website, when the Foreign Ministry’s European desk in Jerusalem, which heard about it from an outside source, informed the embassy.

The report states that water is not allocated fairly to West Bank Palestinians and that Palestinians have no access to the territory’s underground aquifers. Glavany said Israel was perpetrating a "water occupation" against the Palestinians.

"Israel’s territorial expansion is seen as a ‘water occupation’ of both streams and aquifers," the report said.

It also said that "the separation wall being built by Israel allows it to control access to underground water sources" and to "direct the flow of water westward."

The report accused Israel of "systematically destroying wells that were dug by Palestinians on the West Bank," as well as of deliberately bombing reservoirs in the Gaza Strip in 2008-09. It also claimed that "Many water purification facilities planned by the Palestinian Water Ministry are being ‘blocked’ by the Israeli administration."

Senior Foreign Ministry officials said the Paris embassy had been asleep at the switch.

"This report is a serious mishap that has caused diplomatic damage and has seriously damaged Israel’s image in France," one senior official said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Glavany had inserted extreme terms into the report on his own, at the last minute, without consulting other members of the report’s working group.

"These unacceptable remarks surprised his colleagues in the working group, who were shocked to find them in the final version after it was published, after Israeli diplomats called their attention to them," Palmor said.

The report, he continued, "was loaded with the language of vicious propaganda, far removed from any professional criticism with which one could argue intelligently." Moreover, the report’s author omitted numerous facts and acted "with blatant tendentiousness."

"After embassy staffers pointed out the exceptional seriousness of the wording … all the working group members disassociated themselves from [the report], including the chairman, who sent an official letter to the ambassador renouncing responsibility for the report’s anti-Israel expressions," Palmor added.

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The horror of this story is that the process seems so every-day! Palestinians are used as human guinea-pigs to test new security apparatus.

There is no permission asked for or given. No one is told what is going on. It is devilish in its ever-dayness.

Originally published on “Little Girl Behind a Big Wall”:

rachellemfriesen.wordpress.com…

A Testing Ground

Posted on January 2, 2012

I grumble as I wait in the line of cars at the checkpoint. At least, there are only a few cars in front of me and the soldiers are moving quickly. As I approach the checkpoint, I roll down my window and flash my passport.

In Hebrew, I am told to go straight and up the hill- not the usual left to exit the checkpoint. It is amazing what can all be communicated with a single point of a finger and a grunt. It seems that the mere presence of an M16 can help in understanding foreign languages.

As I drive to the designated area, there are soldiers pointing myself and 5 other cars (all Palestinian) towards selected parking spots. Every spot has an apparatus next to it, which looks like a giant IV that you would find in a hospital. I am told to get out of my vehicle with all my windows shut, except the driver window, which should be 5 cm open.

I get out of my vehicle and stand next to the Palestinians who have also had to abandon their cars. Soldiers wander around the cars, one with a stopwatch. It is obviously a drill of some kind. With complete disregard for our schedules or impending meetings, the soldiers are taking the opportunity to practice and test Practice on a population without any kind of consent, but that does not seem to matter. Consent is never asked or required from a people under occupation. They are the occupied and at the whims of their occupiers.

From the IV apparatus next to our parked cars, soldiers put a hose into our driver side window. It reminds of movies where the someone tries to commit suicide by filling their car with exhaust. Some of the people ask the soldiers what they are doing. Their response is, that it is for security and that it is fine. There is no comment as to what or why they are  spraying some sort of chemical into our vehicles.

After 10 minutes the soldier with the stopwatch stops his clock. The hoses are removed from our cars and we are allowed to continue onwards to Jerusalem. We are permitted to go on with our day. We are permitted to go on living.

Yet the smell from the gas still lingering in my car is assaulting. Even though it is cold outside, I drive with my windows down. Unfortunately nothing will stop my impending headache. For the next four days, whenever I drive my car I have a headache. Yet, my whining and complaints are futile.

An occupied population is a crucial experimental ground for the occupier. Israel views the Palestinian people as a dispensable people- a testing ground for ‘security’ apparatuses and weapons that are later exported globally. Tear gas technology, stink spray, rubber bullets, and gassing cars are all tested here before they are exported. If too many Palestinians end up dying from the gas, or there is an international outcry, it won’t be exported, if it found ‘effective’ it will be sold worldwide and used by governments on their own people, such as at G20 protests.

 

While, western governments buy these security apparatuses and support a government that does testing on human beings we are not surprised when cancer becomes more prominent to people under occupation. We are not surprised when children in Gaza are increasingly born with birth defects. In the mean time, my head hurts from the smell gas but I am already half an hour late for my meeting, so there is

no time to complain.