| How many would be alive today if Obama had not quashed Goldstone Report?

How many would be alive today if Obama had not quashed Goldstone Report? ~ , Mondoweiss.

Obama on the phone to an Afghan leader, July 25, photo by Pete Souza

The latest headlines say that President Obama has lost his patience with Israel over the wanton killings of civilians in Gaza. Obama made an “angry call” to Israeli prime minister Netanyahu yesterday, Kate Snow reported on NBC last night. “Obama gets tough with Netanyahu, for Gaza,” Haaretz says.

The White House’s readout of that phone call is frosty. Though containing the usual boilerplate about Israel’s right to defend itself, it twice spoke of Palestinian civilians.

The President also reiterated the United States’ serious and growing concern about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives, as well as the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The obvious question raised by the president’s apparent horror with the scenes from Gaza is, Why did he quash the Goldstone Report?

Five years ago Israel undertook a very similar attack on Gaza. Maybe you don’t remember, but over nearly three weeks in December and January ’08-’09 it flattened Gaza, killing more than 1300, including nearly 400 children. The operation was called Cast Lead.

The death toll this time is over 1000, and we can only pray it won’t reach Cast Lead’s level.

Last week the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to investigate the Israeli offensive (and Palestinian militants’ actions too) for potential war crimes.

Deja vu all over again, but that happened last time, too. Cast Lead resulted in a UN Human Rights Council investigation and a scathing 400-page report nine months after the onslaught that accused Israel and Palestinian authorities of war crimes — the Goldstone Report.

That report mentioned Israeli “impunity” from consequences for its actions again and again. For instance:

The [investigative] Mission was struck by the repeated comment of Palestinian victims, human rights defenders, civil society interlocutors and officials that they hoped that this would be the last investigative mission of its kind, because action for justice would follow from it. It was struck, as well, by the comment that every time a report is published and no action follows, this “emboldens Israel and her conviction of being untouchable”. To deny modes of accountability reinforces impunity, and tarnishes the credibility of the United Nations and of the international community. The Mission believes these comments ought to be at the forefront in the consideration by Members States and United Nations bodies of its findings and recommendations and action consequent upon them.

The Goldstone Report even went so far as to call for universal jurisdiction — i.e., not just the International Criminal Court, but Country Joe Sixpack could indict Tzipi Livni for war crimes if she came to visit the Roman ruins there — so as to end Israel’s sense of having no accountability.

Obama didn’t care about that recommendation. He was not only silent about the Cast Lead onslaught in the weeks prior to his taking the oath of office in January 2009 (Israel did him the genteel service of ending the bombing before he put his hand on the bible), but once in office he repeatedly rejected the Goldstone Report’s findings and acted in the U.N. to do what Israel wanted, and toss the report in the East River. So Goldstone’s findings were blocked from any enforcement.

The officials who participated in the trashing of the Goldstone Report included Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Samantha Power, and Judge Richard Goldstone himself (who recanted portions of his findings after the South African Jewish community put his t-t in a wringer). These folks assured Israel’s impunity.

So lo and behold, it did it again. Slaughtered civilians. With worldwide outrage.

Which raises my question, How many would be alive today if Obama hadn’t trashed the Goldstone Report?

The head of the UN Human Rights Council agrees with me. Navi Pillay in the UN release last week: “All these dead and maimed civilians should weigh heavily on all our consciences. I know that they weigh heavily on mine,” she said, adding that efforts to protect civilians so far have been “abject failures”.

I’m glad that Obama has finally had a bellyful. But it will take more than one sharp phone call. Impunity is a powerful force. As the Goldstone report found, “the sense in the West Bank was one of a ‘free for all’, where any behavior was permitted for Israeli forces.”

Israel is now fearing Goldstone 2. Maybe this time Obama won’t stand in the way.

P.S. Impunity has led Israel to thumb its nose at international efforts to restrain it. Look at how it treated Brazil, after that country called home its ambassador for a consultation after condemning “disproportionate use of force” in Gaza. From the Washington Post:

“This is an unfortunate demonstration of why Brazil, an economic and cultural giant, remains a diplomatic dwarf,” Israeili Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said on Thursday, the Jerusalem Post reports. “The moral relativism behind this move makes Brazil an irrelevant diplomatic partner, one who creates problems rather than contributes to solutions.”

That insult wasn’t the worst that Israel had reserved for Brazil, however. In an interview with the Brazilian media, Palmor brought up the most humiliating moment in recent Brazilian history – this summer’s stunning World Cup semifinal loss to Germany.

“Israel’s response is perfectly proportioned in accordance with international law,” Palmor said in an interview with the Jornal Nacional TV show late Thursday. “This is not football. In football, when a game ends in a draw, you think it is proportional, but when it finishes 7-1 it’s disproportionate. Sorry to say, but not so in real life and under international law.”



Mother and child separation induces severe psychological stress in animals

Originally posted on Adoption Detective | A True Story by Judith Land:

The bond between a mother and her child is the strongest bond found in all of nature. All infants have an instinctive need to stay near their mothers for survival. Scientific studies prove that separation induces severe psychological stress, causes deviations from normal behavior that is predictable, and provides scientific evidence that show the negative effect on the well being of humans and animals.

Separation anxiety disorder | Judith Land | Adoption Detective

The emotional attachment elephants form toward family members rivals our own. A baby elephant will cry for hours when separated from its mother. Bonds between mother elephants and their daughters last 50 years or more.

The behavioral science of psychology that focuses on understanding behavior and the mind is called cognitive-behavioral research. Psychological and sociological data is replete with information about the importance of maternal bonding and the terrible consequences when it is disrupted. Nature has provided a process of ‘bonding’ to develop a close mother-infant…

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Originally posted on Desertpeace:

People are buried in mass graves or in used family graves, hospital morgues can no longer accommodate the growing number of casualties.
Here’s what really happened …. sans outrage


Israel targets 50 mosques since start of Gaza offensive

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israel has destroyed or severely damaged over 50 mosques since its assault on Gaza began, a Hamas official said Tuesday.
Undersecretary of the Ministry of Endowments in Gaza, Hassan al-Saifi, said over 50 mosques have been targeted.

Israel does not distinguish between targeting militants, civilians, hospitals, mosques, and cemeteries, al-Saifi told Ma’an, adding that he is afraid that schools may be targeted in the coming days.

“People are buried in mass graves or in used family graves,” he said, adding that hospital morgues can no longer accommodate the growing number of casualties.

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Originally posted on Desertpeace:

This graphic, “The Five Stages of Grief,” reflects on the shared experiences of grief of Americans and Palestinians in Gaza, while contrasting the stages of healing and recovery.


Click on image to enlarge



Ali Abunimah

The is the second graphic by Visualizing Palestine on the current situation in Gaza, following its infographic on who violates ceasefires.

As the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza escalated – today reaching 1,088 – the United States was the only country to vote against a UN Human Rights Council resolution calling for an investigation into Israel’s invasion.

This graphic, “The Five Stages of Grief,” reflects on the shared experiences of grief of Americans and Palestinians in Gaza, while contrasting the stages of healing and recovery.

The people of New York City mourned and memorialized their losses after the 11 September 2001 attacks, but their counterparts in Gaza are not allowed to…

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An open letter to Theresa May calling for Michael Mansfield QC to chair the Child Abuse Inquiry

Originally posted on spotlight:

Dear Theresa May

Re the proposed government inquiry into organised child abuse

As Butler-Sloss stated, the proposed government inquiry into organised child abuse needs to have the confidence of care and abuse survivors. It is for this reason that the view of many survivors and leading specialists in the area of child protection is that the most suitable candidate to chair the announced ‘Child Abuse Inquiry’ is Michael Mansfield QC.

The chair of this inquiry will need fearlessness, to be prepared to challenge the authorities and to ask and get answers to very difficult questions. This is a role that can only be undertaken by someone clearly seen as outside the establishment.

Mr Mansfield has shown with his work on the Stephen Lawrence inquiry and the current Hillsborough inquiry that he has the respect of survivors and professionals to undertake this inquiry.

In addition to the need to have the…

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| What is Israel’s greatest chutzpah?

On chutzpah and war – What is Israel’s greatest chutzpah? ~ Marwan Bishara, AlJazeera.

Israel has had a problem since its inception. It’s a terribly serious, existential problem; one that existed since its realisation as a European implantation in sea of Arabs, and it continues to haunt it today. Israel is a tiny state built on the ruins of another nation.

What began as a Zionist dream to transform the Jews of Europe into a modern nation soon turned into an Arab and Jewish nightmare upon its collision with reality: The homeland chosen to build their state, Palestine, belonged to its Palestinian inhabitants. But Israel went on to expel or dispossess most Palestinians from their homes and take control of their entire homeland.

To maintain and enforce its gains, Israel had to keep the Palestinians down or out, the Arabs away, and draw the West in. For this, it needed to employ pre-emptive and overwhelming force, while at the same time embrace, even embody victimhood, to elicit western as well as Jewish sympathy and support. After decades even centuries, of being victims of repression, the Jews couldn’t afford to have the image of aggressors.

From the 1950s through the last decade, the likes of Ariel Sharon, “the Bulldozer”, mastered violence just as the likes of Shimon Peres, the great communicator, mastered the art of public relations.

This was best captured by the Hebrew phrase, “yorim ve bochim“, literally “shooting and crying”.

While it used to be “Labour Zionism” or the Israeli mainstream left that regretted the killing of Palestinians and lamented the death of children, now it’s the specialty of the Israeli right to bomb and whine. But if the “left” did it with “eloquent prose, stirring poetry, and award-winning movies“, the right does it with cheap cliches and crude lies.

Style and sophistication notwithstanding, both the mainstream Israeli left and the right want to “have their cake and eat it too”. That’s chutzpah.

Arrogance meets presumption

Chutzpah, pronounced “khoots-pah”, is audacity plus deception; it’s where arrogance meets presumption. The word itself is derived from old Yiddish – a combination of Russian and German. However, its meaning is best explained in anecdotes. For example, killing one’s own parents and then begging the court to have mercy on an orphan! Or, as the Arab proverb goes, “He hit me and cried, went ahead of me and whined.”

The street-smartness of chutzpah has popularised the term in recent years as nervy, bold and daring. It encompassed everything from Israel’s advanced military to its bigmouth advocates through its leading brewery: “Maccabi beer, an Israeli chutzpah”.

The mother of all chutzpahs came from the late Israeli premier Golda Meir about half a century ago: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our sons , but we can never forgive them for forcing us to kill their children.” The new version blames the Palestinians for civilian deaths in Gaza, and praises Israel for sparing lives, even after the Israel offensive kills over a thousand Palestinians.

It’s the ultimate chutzpah when Israel government expresses empathy with the ill-fated civilian victims, as it gives the orders to the Israeli military to bomb entire Palestinian communities.

And more of it when Prime Minister Netanyahu makes the unsubstantiated claim that Hamas built tunnels to attack Israeli kindergartens, when in the last few days, Israeli jet fighters killed more than two hundred Palestinian children and hundreds more injured, according to UNICEF.

Perhaps the greatest chutzpah is the term itself, moving from scurrilous origins to something admirable. The popularisation of chutzpah as an accepted term of admiration, used across the West, runs alongside the acceptance and legitimisation of Israel’s narrative of victimhood and retaliation.

Provocation or retaliation

Rarely is chutzpah more pronounced as when Israel provokes attacks and cries self-defence. This time around, the situation is precisely the same.

Israel began an aggressive campaign against Hamas first in the West Bank and later in Gaza, even when its leaders suspected that Hamas was not behind the killing of three young Israelis in the occupied territories and that Hamas had no interest in military escalation after it joined the national unity government. In fact, Israeli politicians have now admitted that they know Hamas was not behindthe deaths of the three young Israelis and that the kidnappings were the results of lone actors.

INTERACTIVE: Gaza Under Attack

That didn’t stop Israeli security forces from deploying to the West Bank and arresting hundreds, including the prisoners released under past prisoner-exchange agreements. And yet, Israel’s top leaders did not hesitate to argue that their provocation was in retaliation to Hamas violations.

This contradiction between claims and reality is hardly new. Indeed there’s a pattern of Israeli violations meant to provoke Hamas and other Palestinians to react. To paraphrase professor Steve Niva, who documented Israeli provocations: The only thing more threatening for Israeli leaders than Hamas “terrorism” is a Hamas ceasefire. Because when there’s ceasefire, Israel must talk peace, which entails giving up land.

Here are a few examples:

Israel’s offensive against Gaza in 2006 came after the killing of 85 Palestinians, including many children, in attacks aimed at carrying out illegal extrajudicial assassinations. At the time, the Hamas government maintained a one-sided ceasefire for 15 months, but continued Israeli attacks made Palestinian retaliation only a question of time.

On June 10, 2003, Israel’s attempted assassination of the senior Hamas political leader in Gaza, Abdel-Aziz Rantisi, which wounded him and killed four Palestinian civilians, leading to the bus bombing in Jerusalem on June 11 that killed 16 Israelis.

On July 23, 2002, an Israeli air attack on a crowded apartment block in Gaza City killed a senior Hamas leader, Salah Shehada, and 15 civilians, 11 of them children, hours before a widely reported unilateral ceasefire declaration. A suicide bombing followed on August 4, 2002.

On July 31, 2001, Israel’s assassination of the two leading Hamas fighters in Nablus ended a nearly two-month Hamas ceasefire, leading to the terrible August 9 Hamas suicide bombing in a Jerusalem pizzeria.

Although Israel’s provocations don’t justify suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, they demonstrate why the main source of violence lies first and foremost in Israel’s pre-emptive strategy.

The same can be traced to the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the 1956 and 1967 wars, etc. But I shall leave that discussion to a future reflection: “On history and war”.

Common sense

One must ask if Israel has a right to retaliate for the capture of one of its soldiers by bombing an entire people and destroying life. Don’t the Palestinians also have right to manifold retaliation after the capturing of hundreds of their leaders and holding them indefinitely or without trial? If it was a simple numbers game, the numbers simply don’t stack up.

If Israel complains about terrorism but looks at the death of Palestinian civilians, including women and children as “collateral damage”, would it be an exaggeration that the Palestinians themselves are victims of state terrorism?

If Israel has a right (without even adhering to the responsibility of proof) to unleash the dogs of war, deploy fighter planes and tanks against Gaza, kill over a thousand Palestinians in response to the killing of three of its citizens, can we say the Palestinians have an equal right to retaliate a thousand times more? In this game, the numbers don’t stack up, but the bodies do.

If Israelis have a right to security, independence and freedom, wouldn’t you say the Palestinians have the same rights and perhaps more of a right after decades of Israeli terror, military occupation, and dispossession?

So when you hear those responsible for more than 40 years of occupation ranting about the violation of a four-hour ceasefire, think chutzpah.

And when the occupiers continue to whine about security in order to deny the indigenous people of the land the same rights for security and peace in their own land, think chutzpah.

Indeed, it’s a double chutzpah to attack those who aren’t even doing what’s obviously within their right. Call it provocation or whatever you may, but legitimate resistance to military occupation is a right enshrined not only in every law of the land, but also in the law of nature.

Marwan Bishara is the senior political analyst at Al Jazeera. 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.




#GazaUnderAttack | WARCRIME! | Israel bombs a hospital again. Al-Shifa Hospital under fire

Originally posted on Occupied Palestine | فلسطين:

July 28, 2014 | LIVE BLOG
Continuously updating new news and footage from Gaza

Initially breaking reports showed Israel bombed the hospital. At the same moment of the attack on al-Shifa a playgarden filled with playing children was hit to by a missile.

In the meanwhile Israel is also bombing onseveral other locations in Gaza.

Duringa so called Eid-Truce.


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Joint Declaration by International Law Experts on Israel’s Gaza Offensive


Respect existence or expect resistance.
More power to the mass campaign of non-cooperation with Israeli war crimes.

Originally posted on Global Justice in the 21st Century:

(Prefatory Note: Posted here is a Joint Declaration of international law experts from around the world who are listed below as endorsers. I am among the endorsers, and the text was initially drafted by Chantal Meloni who has served as rapporteur. We welcome additional signatures that can be sent to me in the comments section, with affiliation noted for identification, and names will be periodically added to the text. I view this as an important expression of professional judgment and individual conscience relating to Israeli behavior in Gaza commencing on 8 July that has already taken so many innocent lives and caused such widespread devastation. Please join us and spread the word!)  

The International Community Must End Israel’s Collective Punishment of the Civilian Population in the Gaza Strip

As international and criminal law scholars, human rights defenders, legal experts and individuals who firmly believe in the rule of law…

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Resistance is the key to defeating zionism


Respect existence or expect resistance.
More power to the mass campaign of non-cooperation with Israeli war crimes.

Originally posted on Joti's journey to Gaza:

Palestinian child in kafiye holds flag and makes victory salute

The lines which do not blur and which have become more focused are the absolute obligation to support Resistance, who are fighting against foreigners, occupiers, and for the very lives of Palestinians.

And in Syria, Syrians, against largely foreign insurgents whose ‘revolutionary’ tactics include: car-bombing civilian areas, mortaring (with insidious mortars packed with bits of jagged metal, glass … whatever will inflict as much pain and damage as possible upon their civilian targets), cutting — often sawing, not enough the luxury of a swift stroke, but instead a jagged blade, a slow and brutal death — and stoning to death, using chemical weapons, and if not murdering flogging, cutting off hands …

It’s time to really bring Resistance to the forefront and erode the stigma corporate media and western governments have tagged them with. They have a legitimate and legally-lauded right to resist.

The countless Syrians I met in Syria…

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Dysfunctional, self-serving -vs- fit-for-purpose.
“Ubi remedium ibi lex. That is to say, it is an object of English law that, where there is a legal problem to be resolved or a civil right to be defined then the law will find a means of doing so.”

Originally posted on dbfamilylaw:

Public bodies and applications in the family court

The case of Re X (A Child) [2014] EWHC 2522 (Admin) (considered also in http://suesspiciousminds.com/2014/07/23/serious-case-review-versus-judicial-review-a-cough-review/ under the heading: Serious case review against judicial review: a review) prompts the question: why cannot the family court hear all issues with administrative law aspects or other the intervention of public bodies. It hears such application daily in care proceedings where a public authority (as eg defined by Human Rights Act 1998 s 6(2)) is invariably the applicant. Public bodies are parties – whether as applicant or intervener – in a variety of family proceedings, such as:

• In Revenue and Customs v Charman [2012] EWHC 1448 (Fam), [2012] 2 FLR 1119 HMRC unsuccessfully sought a husband’s family proceedings documents in connection with a tax tribunal appeal
• In A Local Authority v Mother, Father and X and Y [2014] EWHC 278 (Fam), Baker J ordered…

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