IDF

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The concluding line of this article says it all: “Israel has reserved the right to carry out its own operations against militants in the West Bank.”

The fact that Israel ‘reserves the right’ for the IDF to go in and out of Palestinian towns and villages, playing the role of policeman, makes a mockery of the Palestinian Authority’s ‘control’ of the West Bank.

The sad irony is that while Mahmoud Abbas has achieved nothing for his people by trying to work with the Israeli authorities, Hamas seems to have made huge strides forward through their militancy! God knows this does not auger well for the future.

Father Dave

source: tvnz.co.nz/world-news/israeli-forces-continue-raids-in-palestine-5311167…

Israeli forces continue raids in Palestine

Israeli forces raided the West Bank city of Jenin in search of a suspected Palestinian militant today, setting off clashes with residents who threw rocks and petrol bombs at them, an Israeli security source said.

It was the second time this week that Israeli forces had entered the Jenin area to detain suspects.

On Tuesday, Israeli soldiers disguised as Palestinians raided the village of Tamoun, arresting a member of the Islamic Jihad group. Several dozen Palestinians were injured in ensuing clashes, medical officials said.

In today’s incident, the soldiers clashed with some 500 Palestinians, forcing them out of Jenin, the security source said. An elderly Palestinian woman was slightly injured by a dog used by Israeli forces during the operation.

A military source said a Palestinian was arrested in Thursday’s raid – though not the suspect in whose pursuit Israel had launched the operation. The source did not give further details on the detainee.

Jenin is under the control of the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace accords with Israel.

Israel has reserved the right to carry out its own operations against militants in the West Bank.

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Avnery writes: “Was there an alternative [for Israel]? Obviously, the situation along the Gaza Strip had become intolerable. One cannot send an entire population to the shelters every two or three weeks. Except hitting Hamas on the head, what can you do? A lot.”

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

November 17, 2012

Another Superfluous War         

HOW DID it start? Stupid question.

Conflagrations along the Gaza Strip don’t start. They are just a continuous chain of events, each claimed to be a [or “in”] “retaliation” for the previous one. Action is followed by reaction, which is followed by retaliation, which is followed by …

This particular event “started” with the firing from Gaza of an anti-tank weapon at a partially armored jeep on the Israeli side of the border fence. It was described as retaliation for the killing of a boy in an air attack some days earlier. But probably the timing of the action was accidental – the opportunity just presented itself.

The success gave rise to demonstrations of joy and pride in Gaza. Again Palestinians had shown their ability to strike at the hated enemy.

HOWEVER, THE Palestinians had in fact walked into a trap prepared with great care. Whether the order was given by Hamas or one of the smaller more extreme organizations – it was not a clever thing to do.

Shooting across the fence at an army vehicle was crossing a red line. (The Middle East is full of red lines.) A major Israeli reaction was sure to ensue.

It was rather routine. Israeli tanks fired cannon shells into the Gaza Strip. Hamas launched rockets at Israeli towns and villages. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis rushed to their shelters. Schools closed.

As usual, Egyptian and other mediators went into action. Behind the scenes, a new truce was arranged. It seemed to be over. Just another round.

The Israeli side did everything to get back to normal. Or so it seemed. The Prime Minister and the Defense Minister went out of their way (to the Syrian border) to show that Gaza was off their minds

In Gaza, everybody relaxed. They left their shelters. Their supreme military commander, Ahmad Ja’abari, climbed into his car and drove along the main street.

And then the trap closed. The car bearing the commander was blown up by a missile from the air.

SUCH AN assassination is not carried out on the spur of the moment. It is the culmination of many months of preparation, gathering of information, waiting for the right moment, when it could be executed without killing many bystanders and causing an international scandal.

Actually, it was due to take place a day earlier, but postponed because of the bad weather.

Ja’abari was the man behind all the military activities of the Hamas government in Gaza, including the capture of Gilad Shalit and the successful five-year long hiding of his whereabouts. He was photographed at the release of Shalit to the Egyptians.

So this time it was the Israelis who were jubilant. Much like the Americans after the Osama bin-Laden assassination.

THE KILLING of Ja’abari was the sign for starting the planned operation.

The Gaza Strip is full of missiles. Some of them are able to reach Tel Aviv, some 40 km away. The Israeli military has long planned a major operation to destroy as many of them as possible from the air. Intelligence has patiently gathered information about their location. This is the purpose of the “Pillar of Cloud” operation. (“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way – Exodus 13:21).

While I am writing this, I don’t know yet how the whole thing will end. But some conclusions can already be drawn.

FIRST OF All, this is not Cast Lead II. Far from it.

The Israeli army is rather good at discreetly drawing lessons from its failures. Cast Lead was celebrated as a great success, but in reality it was a disaster.

Sending troops into a densely populated area is bound to cause heavy civilian casualties. War crimes are almost inevitable. World reaction was catastrophic. The political damage immense. The Chief of Staff at the time, Gabi Ashkenazi, was widely acclaimed, but in reality he was a rather primitive military type. His present successor is of a different caliber.

Also, grandiose statements about destroying Hamas and turning the Strip over to the Ramallah leadership have been avoided this time.

The Israeli aim, it was stated, is to cause maximum damage to Hamas with minimum civilian victims. It was hoped that this could be achieved almost entirely by the use of air power. In the first phase of the operation, this seems to have succeeded. The question is whether this can be kept up as the war goes on.

HOW WILL it end? It would be foolhardy to guess. Wars have their own logic. Stuff happens, as the man said.

Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, the two men in overall command, hope the war will wind down once the main aims are achieved. So there will be no reason to employ the army on the ground, enter the Gaza Strip, kill people, lose soldiers.

Deterrence will be restored. Another truce will come into force. The Israeli population surrounding the Strip will be able to sleep soundly at night for several months. Hamas will be cut down to size.

But will this whole exercise change the basic situation? Not likely.

Ja’abari will be replaced. Israel has assassinated dozens of Arab political and military leaders. Indeed, it is the world champion of such assassinations, politely referred to as “targeted preventions” or “eliminations”. If this were an Olympic sport, the Ministry of Defense, the Mossad and the Shin Bet would be festooned with gold medals.

Sometimes one gets the impression that the assassinations are an aim by [in] themselves, and the other operations just incidental. An artist is proud of his art.

What have the results been ? Overall – nothing positive. Israel killed Hizbollah leader Abbas al-Moussawi, and got the vastly more intelligent Hassan Nasrallah instead. They killed Hamas founder Sheik Ahmad Yassin, and he was replaced by abler men. Ja’abari’s successor may be less or more able. It will make no great difference.

Will it stop the steady advance of Hamas? I doubt it. Perhaps the opposite will happen. Hamas has already achieved a significant breakthrough, when the Emir of Qatar (owner of Aljazeera) paid Gaza a state visit. He was the first head of state to do so. Others are bound to follow. Just now, in the middle of the operation, the Egyptian prime minister arrived in Gaza.

Operation “Pillar of Cloud” compels all Arab countries to rally around Hamas, or at least pretend to. It discredits the claim of the more extreme organizations in Gaza that Hamas has gone soft and lazy, enjoying the fruits of government. In the battle for Palestinian opinion, Hamas has gained another victory over Mahmoud Abbas, whose security cooperation with Israel will look even more despicable.

All in all, nothing basic will change. Just another superfluous war.

IT IS, of course, a highly political event.

Like Cast Lead, it takes place on the eve of Israeli elections. (So, by the way, did the Yom Kippur war, but that was decided by the other side.)

One of the more miserable sights of the last few days has been the TV appearances of Shelly Yachimovich and Ya’ir Lapid. The two shining new stars in Israel’s political firmament looked like petty politicians, parroting Netanyahu’s propaganda, approving everything done.

Both had hitched their wagons to the social protest, expecting that social issues would displace subjects like war, occupation and settlements from the agenda. When the public is occupied with the price of cottage cheese, who cares about national policy?

I said at the time that one whiff of military action would blow away all economic and social issues as frivolous and irrelevant. This has happened now.

Netanyahu and Barak appear many times a day on the screen. They look responsible, sober, determined, experienced. Real he-men, commanding troops, shaping events, saving the nation, routing the enemies of Israel and the entire Jewish people. As Lapid volunteered on live television: “Hamas is an anti-Semitic terrorist organization and must be crushed.”

Netanyahu is doing it. Adieu, Lapid. Adieu Shelly. Adieu Olmert. Adieu Tzipi. Was nice seeing you.

WAS THERE an alternative? Obviously, the situation along the Gaza Strip had become intolerable. One cannot send an entire population to the shelters every two or three weeks. Except hitting Hamas on the head, what can you do?

A lot.

First of all, you can abstain from “reacting”. Just cut the chain.

Then, you can talk with Hamas as the de facto government of Gaza. You did, actually, when negotiating the release of Shalit. So why not look for a permanent modus vivendi, with the involvement of Egypt?

A hudna can be achieved. In Arab culture, a hudna is a binding truce, sanctified by Allah, which can go on for many years. A hudna cannot be violated. Even the Crusaders concluded hudnas with their Muslim enemies.

The day after the assassination, Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, who had been involved in mediating Shalit’s release, disclosed that he had been in contact with Ja’abari up to the last moment. Ja’abari had been interested in a long-term cease-fire. The Israeli authorities had been informed.

But the real remedy is peace. Peace with the Palestinian people. Hamas has already solemnly declared that it would respect a peace agreement concluded by the PLO – i.e. Mahmoud Abbas – that would establish a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, provided this agreement were confirmed in a Palestinian referendum.

Without it, the bloodletting will just go on, round after round. Forever.

Peace is the answer. But when visibility is obscured by pillars of cloud, who can see that?

More Avnery articles online: zope.gush-shalom.org…

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The following article is written by Adam Keller and appeared on his blog today.

I only knew the man through his involvement in Gush Shalom – as the man behind so many press releases – but a little research has shown me that Mr Keller is a powerful activist in his own right.

Imprisoned on numerous occasions for refusing to serve in the Israeli military in the Occupied Territories, Keller has a proud history of activism on behalf of the oppressed. Certainly his hopes and fears for Obama’s second term echo my own.

Father Dave

Adam Keller

Adam Keller

source: Adam Keller’s ‘Crazy Country’ blog

A Night of Hope

A few hours and many cups of coffee after a night which seemed like an eternity. The CNN non-stop on the screen and experts arguing  and maps with red and blue spots. Swing states and swing counties in the swing states. Instant lessons in the physical and human geography of Virginia and Florida and Ohio. Here the countryside always votes Republican and the big city there is a Democrat bastion and here live many Blacks and there the number of Hispanics increased in the past decade and in this location Bush won in 2004 but Obama did in 2008 and there might develop a big surprise. And in Florida it was 50% against 49% when a quarter of the votes were counted, and the same when half were counted and when it was three quarters, and suddenly the gap narrows and then widens again, and would Obama’s advantage be maintained and when at last would the count be finished in the counties south of Miami, and how long can one stand this tension?

And in the end there was no need to wait for Florida because the die  was already cast in other places and the crowds were celebrating in the dark streets of Chicago while here in Holon in the State of Israel the light of the quiet early morning was already streaming through the window and this decision which was taken overseas will affect our destiny here, no less and perhaps more than in our own Israeli elections come January. And on the screen Mitt Romney made a respectable speech and how good to spare him a moment of a generous victor’s sympathy, and in another year we will hardly remember who he was. And how wonderful that Sheldon Adelson’s hundreds of millions have all gone down the drain and that the Jewish pensioners in Central Florida were not really impressed with the special elections broadcasts recorded by Binyamin Netanyahu.

In a way the achievement of Barack Hussein Obama last night was greater than his achievement four years ago. Than, he was widely regarded as a savior, almost a Messiah, and was swept to power on enormous  waves of enthusiasm. Since then, he has many times disappointed those who voted for him and those who looked up to him. By now, everybody  knows he is no Messiah nor does he posses any magic wand, and that he certainly does not succeed in everything he tries. Yet at the crucial moment  the Blacks came out, and the Hispanics and the Jews and the women and the Ohio auto workers, and also quite a few of the maligned White Men, and they all gave him a chance to achieve in four more years, what he didn’t so far.

And also we here in Israel, who had no vote in these elections, we shared in the dashed hopes. The impressive speech in Cairo and the high-profile clashes with Netanyahu which somehow always ended indecisively, while the settlement freeze dissolved. And the grand confrontation in the summer of 2011, when Obama proposed negotiations based on the 1967 borders and Mahmoud Abbas agreed immediately and Netanyahu burst out in a furious attack in  Congress and got a standing ovation and Obama shelved all the ideas and plans until after the election. After the elections is today.

Yesterday “Yediot Ahronot” had a large headline: “Netanyahu fearful of an Obama victory”. Below it was written: “Tension in Israel towards the US  elections. Due to Netanyahu’s support for Romney, the PM’s aides are apprehensive that Obama, if re-elected, might take vengeful steps. To the contrary, a Romney victory would put the wind in the Prime Minister’s sails.   (…) Officials believe that Obama’s anger against Netanyahu is so great that Obama would try – indirectly and perhaps also directly – to sabotage  Netanyahu’s elections campaign in Israel. There is concern that during the [Israeli] campaign, Obama would voice public criticism of Netanyahu and embarrass him. In addition it is feared that Obama would stop providing automatic backing to Israel in international forums dealing with Israeli policy in the Territories. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a private conversation that in her opinion, after the Israeli elections there would  appear an opportunity to revive the talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and that the Obama Administration will be deeply involved if the President wins a second term.

At noon today, Netanyahu sent Obama a letter of congratulations (what else could he have done?)

Last week I expressed the hope that it might be the American voters would make for the State of Israel the decision which our political system is evading for forty-five years already.  Not everyone who read it was enthusiastic about this passage. Some argued that I was spreading false hopes and that President Obama and his party would never seriously confront Netanyahu, neither in his first term nor in the second one.

It is quite possible such criticism would prove justified; that also this time, Obama would disappoint those who still cherish hopes, Israelis and Palestinians and others of good will who care about the future of this country and this region. It is quite possible. But it is also possible that he would surprise and astonish the sceptics, as yesterday he surprised and astonished the US Republicans and their Israeli supporters and the learned commentators who prematurely wrote him off.

At least, now we will get to check all this empirically.

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Father Roy writes: Please read the article pasted below.  You’ll notice that the TRUE history of the Holy Land is beginning to be revealed to us as tho it were from the shadows.  I’ve done no highlighting.  Have you noticed?  There are some confessions that are good for everybody’s soul.  There’s a postscript.

Peace, Roy

P.S.   History is being made under our very noses.  We’re waking up to a new life as we (you and I) read on.  Some history is too recent to be re-written.

source: Middle East Monitor

Israeli army veterans admit role in massacres of Palestinians in 1948

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Mr. Neumann admitted that he took part in displacing Palestinians from their villages.

Dozens of Israeli army veterans have admitted their involvement in massacres against Palestinian civilians in 1948, and acknowledged that Zionism misled them and is a catastrophe for both Jews and Arabs. The details have been revealed by the Yazkern organisation, which was founded in 2001 and seeks to unveil the truth and spread the Palestinian narrative of the country’s history among Israelis and convince them of Zionism’s false account. The organisation believes in a one-state solution and in Palestinians’ right to return to their land and homes.

Israeli army veteran Amnon Neumann is 82 and from Haifa. He said that he was a member of the Palmach, the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Yeshuv Jewish community during the period of the British Mandate of Palestine. Neumann joined the Palmach in 1946 after he came to Palestine from Poland at the age of 16.

He said that there were no real battles due to Palestinian poverty and lack of organisation, training and arms. The official Israeli account of that period claims that the displacement and killing of Palestinians was the normal result of a war.

Mr. Neumann admitted that he took part in displacing Palestinians from the villages of Simism, Najd, Kawkaba, Burayr and other places which were fully inhabited by their owners; this runs contrary to Zionist claims. Confessing to his participation in the massacre that was committed against the people of Burayr, Neumann noted that they had Czech-made guns which they used to expel the local inhabitants towards the Gaza Strip.

The Haganah forces were surrounding the village on three sides, he recalls, and firing in the air before entering and expelling its people forcefully. The houses were burnt down, as per the orders the armed forces had received. According to the veteran, he heard a confession by a Haganah officer after the occupation of Burayr that he had shot a Palestinian girl in the head after raping her. It was later revealed, said Neumann, that the girl had indeed been raped.

Another veteran, Arhamel Khnovitc, also 83 years old, now lives in the settlement of Daghania. He confessed that he took part in the massacre in the Dahmash Mosque in Al-Lydd in July 1948; he also took part in the ethnic cleansing of the villages of Jamzu and Dan’el.

“I headed to the mosque, as per an order from the command, and I kept my ears and eyes open after I quietly opened the door,” said Khnovitc. “Then I fired a Fiat missile, following orders. Many corpses flew and got stuck to the walls due to the severity of the blast.”

Benyamin Eisht, 85, who lives in Bilhaym, said that he saw the Palestinian survivors of Al-Lydd and Ramla after the massacre, walking in lines toward Ramallah, with dead bodies scattered on the sides of the road.

The testimony of 83-year-old Yitzhak Tishler, who lives in Mafsirt Tsyon, confirms the accounts provided by other veterans who spoke of looting houses and stores. He also said that he took part in the killing of dozens of villagers in the village of Al-Sheikh near Haifa in revenge for the Jewish workers who were killed in a quarrel near Rifyanry.