vrijdag 30 januari 2009

Holocaust tentoonstelling in Naalin op Westelijke Jordaanoever


Dit is een nobel initiatief, dat alle lof verdient. Het volgende is echter onjuist:
 
""Unfortunately, we are paying the price for the immense pain suffered by the Jews during the Holocaust. There is no comparison between our suffering and that of the Jewish people in the Holocaust, but everyone should understand that we are suffering too, as a result of what the Germans did to the Jews."
 
Nee, de Palestijnen betalen de prijs voor hun eigen onwil een compromis te accepteren. De inwoners van Naalin betalen de prijs voor de tweede intifada, toen honderden Palestijnen zich in bussen, op pleinen, en in restaurants in Israel opbliezen. Men betaalt de prijs voor het blijven vechten tegen een sterkere vijand, in plaats van te gaan onderhandelen. Niet alles wat Israel doet is rechtvaardig, maar dat betekent niet dat dat is veroorzaakt door de Holocaust.
 
Het Israelische wantrouwen in de Palestijnen komt door een lange geschiedenis van geweld en pogingen Joden te vermoorden, die teruggaat tot de pogroms door de mufti in gang gezet van de jaren '20 en '30 van de vorige eeuw. Vanwege het aanhoudende Arabische 'verzet' zetten de Britten de Joodse immigratie naar Palestina stop, notabene nadat Hitler aan de macht was gekomen en zijn plannen steeds duidelijker werden. Na de oorlog en de Holocaust wilde de moefti zoiets ook wel in Palestina uitvoeren, en zette daartoe een legertje op.
 
Het is gemakzuchtig de Holocaust als oorzaak van de Israelische agressie aan te wijzen, en de eigen rol zo buiten beschouwing te laten. Maar misschien is dit vooralsnog een brug te ver. Zolang de Palestijnen hun eigen rol blijven ontkennen zal het echter moeilijk blijven tot echte verzoening en toenadering te komen.
 
RP
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Naalin holds Holocaust exhibit

'Unfortunately, we are paying price for pain suffered by Jews,' says member of village committee

Roi Mandel

Published:  01.27.09, 20:47

 
As the world commemorated the Holocaust Tuesday, a small village in the West Bank held a surprising exhibit memorializing the most tragic event in modern Jewish history.

 

Naalin, a village that has become the symbol for the Palestinians' battle against Israel's construction of a separation fence in the West Bank, erected a display of photographs purchased from Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and invited the public to learn more about the persecution of the Jews.  


Residents gaze at Holocaust images in Naalin (Photo: Khaled)

 

Mohammad Amira, a member of the village's Land Defense Committee, said hundreds of people visited the exhibit by early afternoon. He said many had praised the initiative.

 

"People are surprised at what they see here; there are people who are seeing images of the suffering in the Holocaust for the first time. There are people who didn't know anything about Jewish history," Amira said.

 

Regarding the decision to present the exhibit to residents of Naalin, many of who have been harmed by the construction of the separation fence, Amira said, "We thought the public should understand the pain and suffering the Nazis caused the Jews.

 

"Unfortunately, we are paying the price for the immense pain suffered by the Jews during the Holocaust. There is no comparison between our suffering and that of the Jewish people in the Holocaust, but everyone should understand that we are suffering too, as a result of what the Germans did to the Jews."

 

'Jewish pain has strength'

Khaled Mahmid, who heads the Arab Institute for Holocaust Research and Education in Nazareth, said he believes the Arabs "must understand the Holocaust – the power and strength that the Jews' pain has."

 

He added, "All violence Palestinians perform on the Israelis is not effective, causes suffering, and summons Holocaust anxiety among the Jews."

 

"The Holocaust," Mahmid said, "was a horrible and methodical murder of six million innocents, which affects all of the citizens of Israel even today. The Palestinians need to understand that the Jews have a defense mechanism deriving from the horrid murder in the Holocaust."

 

He said the two-state solution would only have a chance to succeed if the Palestinians made an effort to understand this "profound pain", and relinquished all acts of violence "that stirs existential anxiety in the Jews." Mahmid added that the violence exhibited by both sides is a direct result of the Holocaust.

 

Regarding the exhibit Mahmid said, "The Koran orders us to acknowledge the Holocaust and understand it. The Jews must remember that many of them were saved during the Holocaust thanks to their brothers in the Arab lands. We must overcome Hitler's affects together."
 
 
 

Spanje verandert wet over vervolgen oorlogsmisdadigers


Ook België heeft de wet uiteindelijk aangepast, zodat Sharon niet vervolgd kon worden voor oorlogsmisdaden. Dit gebeurde echter pas nadat ook Belgische politici kans liepen met deze wet te worden vervolgd voor oorlogsmisdaden die in Congo zouden zijn gepleegd. Hoe dan ook, zijn dergelijke wetten niet bedoeld om politici van bevriende naties te vervolgen voor beslissingen waar wij het misschien niet mee eens zijn, maar voor het vervolgen van echte oorlogscriminelen en schurken zoals Idi Amin en Robert Mugabe.

RP
 
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Last update - 16:38 30/01/2009

Spain to amend law in bid to prevent war crimes probes against Israel
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaertz Service The Associated Press


Spain announced on Friday its plans to amend the law that granted a Spanish judge the authority to launch a war crimes investigation against senior Israeli officials.

The judge decided to launch an investigation against Israel's National Infrastructures Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and six other current or former Israeli officials over a 2002 bombing in Gaza that killed one Hamas militant and 14 other people, including nine children.

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos telephoned Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Friday, and told her his government was undertaking swift action to amend the law that made the launching of the probe against Israeli officials possible.

Livni welcomed Spain's decision to amend the law, and said it was an important announcement for the Israeli public.

"Legal systems around the world have been exploited by cynics whose sole purpose is to hurt Israel," she said on Friday. "It's good that Spain decided to put an end to this phenomenon."

Israel's Justice Ministry on Friday transferred documents to the Spanish court that had allowed the opening of the war crimes probe, urging the court to drop the charges.

On Thursday, Ben-Eliezer, who served as defense minister at the time of the bombing, blasted the decision as "ludicrous." He said that "even more than ludicrous, it is outrageous. Terror organizations use the courts of the free world and the mechanisms of democratic nations to file lawsuits against a country that operates against terror."

Judge Fernando Andreu said the attack by Israel, which targeted senior Hamas militant Salah Shehadeh in a densely populated civilian area, might constitute a crime against humanity.

"I do not regret my decision." added Ben-Eliezer. "Salah Shehadeh was a Hamas activist, an arch-murderer whose hands were stained with the blood of about 100 Israelis and who carried out the most heinous attacks against our citizens."

The Justice Ministry on Thursday sent the Israeli Embassy in Madrid a large amount of documents which included legal rulings and Supreme Court decisions dealing with the targeted killing of Shehadeh.

Israeli Ambassador to Spain Rafi Shotz will on Friday give the material to the Spanish judge in order to help bring a cancellation of the ruling.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak earlier Thursday lambasted Andreu's decision as "delusional."

"Whoever calls the assassination of a terrorist a 'crime against humanity' is living in an upside-down world," said Barak, in a statement released by his ministry.

Barak added that, "All senior officials in the security establishment, current and erstwhile, have acted appropriately on behalf of Israel and from a commitment to defend its citizens."

The judge is acting under a doctrine that allows prosecution in Spain of such an offense or crimes like terrorism or genocide even if they are alleged to have been committed in another country.

Andreu announced the probe in a writ issued Thursday.

The people named in the suit include Dan Halutz, former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff and Israel Air Force commander at the time, as well as Ben-Eliezer.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu also condemned the decision to open the probe.

"It's absurd; Israel is fighting against war criminals and they are charging us with crimes?" said Netanyahu, speaking on Army Radio.

He added: "There is nothing more ridiculous and absurd than them accusing us, a democracy legitimately protecting itself against terrorists and war criminals, of these crimes; it is absurd and makes a mockery out of international law."

Meanwhile, Israel is preparing for a wave of lawsuits by pro-Palestinian organizations overseas against Israelis involved in the latest Gaza fighting, claiming they were responsible for war crimes due to the harsh results stemming from the IDF's actions against Palestinian civilians and their property.

Senior Israeli ministers have expressed serious fears following the war about the possibility that Israel will be pressed to agree to an international investigation of the losses among non-combatants during Operation Cast Lead; or alternately, that Israelis will be faced with personal suits, such as happened to Israeli officers who were accused of war crimes in Britain for their actions during the second intifada.
 

Moshe Yaalon, of hoe citaten van Israeli's vervalst worden


Een helder voorbeeld van hoe uitspraken van Israeli's verdraaid worden tot nep-citaten om Israel en het zionisme in een kwaad daglicht te zetten. Heeft iemand zo'n verkeerd citaat eenmaal op internet gezet, dan gaat dat een eigen leven leiden en wordt dit eindeloos aangehaald en herhaald. Zo zijn er vele tientallen citaten van Sharon, Dayan, Begin, Rabin, Ben-Goerion, sommige compleet verzonnen of verdraaid, bij andere is essentiële context weggehaald. De bedoeling is altijd te laten zien hoe wreed de Israeli's waren of zijn, dat het zionisme een racistische beweging is die erop uit is om iedere Arabier te onderwerpen en soms zelfs dat zij gebaseerd is op een nazistische ideologie van raszuiverheid. Hoe dan ook, laat onderstaande een reden zijn om dit soort citaten voortaan met een flinke korrel zout te nemen.
 
RP
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The Jewish Press / Jan. 14, 2009
What Did Moshe Yaalon Really Say?
by Jason Maoz, Senior Editor
Posted Jan 14 2009
http://www.jewishpress.com/pageroute.do/37792/
 
 
An op-ed column in last Thursday's (Jan. 8) New York Times by Columbia professor of Arab studies Rashid Khalidi, while fairly unremarkable in its boilerplate condemnation of Israel's military operation in Gaza, ended dramatically with a citation of the following statement allegedly made in 2002 by former IDF chief of staff Moshe Yaalon:

"The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people."

Pretty strong imagery, bringing to mind an Israeli boot planted firmly on the neck of a prostrate Palestinian. But a simple Google search immediately made it clear the quote is not just inaccurate but turns the meaning of Yaalon's actual words upside down, and so the Monitor's alter ego wrote about the matter on Commentary magazine's Contentions blog. (Meanwhile, the trusty folks at CAMERA had also been on the case and are demanding a correction or clarification from the Times.)

The bogus version of the quote (which Khalidi did not originate but which he used in his 2005 book Resurrecting Empire) has been circulating on the web since at least early 2003, cited ad nauseam by Arab news services, neo-Nazi websites and leftist bloggers, though never with a hyperlink to the actual article where it supposedly appeared - an August 2002 interview in the Israeli daily Haaretz.

Here is what Yaalon actually said when asked, "Do you have a definition of victory? Is it clear to you what Israel's goal in this war is?":

<quote>
I defined it from the beginning of the confrontation: the very deep internalization by the Palestinians that terrorism and violence will not defeat us, will not make us fold. If that deep internalization does not exist at the end of the confrontation, we will have a strategic problem with an existential threat to Israel. If that [lesson] is not burned into the Palestinian and Arab consciousness, there will be no end to their demands of us .
<end quote>

He later elaborated:

<quote>
The facts that are being determined in this confrontation - in terms of what will be burned into the Palestinian consciousness - are fateful. If we end the confrontation in a way that makes it clear to every Palestinian that terrorism does not lead to agreements, that will improve our strategic position. On the other hand, if their feeling at the end of the confrontation is that they can defeat us by means of terrorism, our situation will become more and more difficult .
<end quote>

         Tellingly, the same week Haaretz ran the interview with Yaalon, the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharanot published the transcript of a speech Yaalon had just given to a conference of rabbis in Jerusalem. Its blunt tone drew criticism from leftists, but the sentiments expressed dovetailed with what Yaalon told Haaretz: "It is imperative that we win this conflict in such a way that the Palestinian side will burn into its consciousness that there is no chance of achieving goals by means of terror."

          It's clear, then, that in both his speech to the rabbis and his interview with Haaretz, Yaalon - far from saying the Palestinians had to be "made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people" - was stating that the Palestinians had to understand that Israel would not be defeated by violence and terror.
Further indication that Yaalon did not make the remark attributed to him by Khalidi and others is that two days after publication of the Haaretz interview, Israeli über-leftist Uri Avnery wrote a column in Maariv detailing everything he found offensive in Yaalon's responses. There was no reference to any statement by Yaalon about making the Palestinians understand that "they are a defeated people."

             It's hard to say with any degree of certainty who first circulated the egregious misquote, though one of the earliest and most oft-cited sources is Henry Siegman, formerly a Jewish organizational official and for years now one of Israel's fiercest critics in the American Jewish community. Siegman has used the misquote in a number of columns over the past six years, though not always consistently.


             What is fairly certain is that this is yet one more example of an insensitive or incendiary comment falsely attributed to Israeli officials (one of the most notorious is the statement Ariel Sharon is supposed to have made regarding Israel's control of Congress) and given eternal life among in cyberspace for the comfort and edification of Israel's enemies.


Jason Maoz can be reached at
jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Hamas leiders roepen overwinning uit na Gaza Oorlog


Hamas claimt de overwinning, zoals te verwachten, en zegt dat de bevrijding van Jaffa, Jeruzalem, Tel Aviv en de rest van Palestina nu nabij is. Wat verontrustend is is dat de media de Hamas propaganda zo klakkeloos overnemen en tegelijkertijd blijven geloven dat met Hamas te praten is en uiteindelijk vrede te sluiten door Israel.  
 
Senior Hamas official Isma'il Radhwan stated at the rally: "The Gaza victory has paved the way to Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa, the Negev, and the West Bank. Gaza is not our [only] enterprise; [our national enterprise includes] Gaza and Palestine. We will continue fighting until the occupation is defeated on Palestinian soil."(4)
 
Meshaal: "As we won the Gaza war, so we will win a war aimed at lifting the siege and opening the crossings, as a preliminary to the liberation of the country, the return [of the refugees], the liberation of Jerusalem, and extricating ourselves from the occupation."(1)
 
Hamas wil Palestijnse eenheid slechts baseren op deze ideeën en strategie, niet op onderhandelingen en compromissen.
 
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Mash'al: "The Resistance Entered Every Home, and Has Become an Ideal Among the Arab Nation and Worldwide"
 
"What happened in Gaza was the first real serious war [fought by] our people on their territory, and therefore it constitutes a turning point in the war with the Zionist enemy. The occupation has failed both politically and in the [battle]field, in that it was compelled, after three weeks, to stop the fighting unilaterally, with no agreement, binding conditions, or stipulations restricting the resistance.

"Two weeks prior to the ceasefire, the Zionist entity, through mediators, attempted to impose on us conditions of surrender, [i.e.] stopping the resistance in Gaza by [declaring] a long-term tahdia [calm] and disarming it.

"However, we staunchly held our ground both in the [battle]field and in the political arena. We rejected these conditions, and they were forced to stop their aggression, [admit] defeat, and withdraw unconditionally. We were adamant in our rejection [of these conditions], since we put our trust in our people's choices and rights.

"The enemy leaders wanted to achieve several objectives: to break the resistance, defeat it, and expel it from Gaza; [and] to inculcate our nation with defeatism, end Hamas's rule, and stop the firing of missiles. What was the outcome? The resistance showed fortitude and became an element equal to [the Israeli army], despite the difference in resources. The firing of missiles continued; our people rallied around the resistance and stood fast. Hamas, which [the Israelis] had set out to destroy, gained strength; the resistance has entered every home and has became an ideal among the Arab nation and worldwide."

"We Want an Intra-Palestinian Dialogue... But the Residents of the West Bank Must Rise Up and Resist... As Happened In Gaza"

Mash'al continued: "We were glad when the intra-Arab conciliation began, [although] it has not been achieved; [now] we seek an [intra-]Palestinian conciliation. However, having learned a lesson in Gaza, we want a conciliation based on the resistance and the rights, rather than on pointless negotiations, agreements, and conditions [set by] the Quartet. We want an intra-Palestinian dialogue - but in order to provide it with the proper basis, the residents of the West Bank must rise up and resist until victory, as happened in Gaza.

"This, however, will be possible only if the resistance fighters [i.e. Hamas members imprisoned by the PA in the West Bank] are set free and if the weapons of the resistance are regarded as legitimate and honored.

"As we won the Gaza war, so we will win a war aimed at lifting the siege and opening the crossings, as a preliminary to the liberation of the country, the return [of the refugees], the liberation of Jerusalem, and extricating ourselves from the occupation."(1)

Palestinian Factions "Creating New Supreme National Authority... The PLO No Longer Constitutes a Supreme Authority of the Palestinians"

At a rally marking the "Gaza victory" in Qatar, Mash'al said that the Palestinian factions were initiating a "surprising" move and were acting to "create a new supreme national authority, that will represent the Palestinians in [Palestine] and outside it, and will include all the national Palestinian forces and all the streams in the Palestinian people...
In its present state, the PLO no longer constitutes a supreme authority of the Palestinians; instead, it has turned into an administration aimed at dividing the Palestinian home."(2)

Hamas Spokesman to PA: "Join What Your People Has Chosen - Jihad and Resistance"

At the rally, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called on the PA: "Stand aside and catch your breath. You are exhausted and must rest, so that the people can rest [as well]. The equations have changed; victories have been achieved; all bets have failed. Enough! Time is not on your side, and the clock cannot be turned back. Join what your people has chosen - jihad and resistance."(3)

"The Gaza Victory Has Paved the Way to Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa, the Negev, and the West Bank... We Will Continue Fighting Until the Occupation is Defeated on Palestinian Soil"

Senior Hamas official Isma'il Radhwan stated at the rally: "The Gaza victory has paved the way to Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa, the Negev, and the West Bank. Gaza is not our [only] enterprise; [our national enterprise includes] Gaza and Palestine. We will continue fighting until the occupation is defeated on Palestinian soil."(4)

Mash'al to Europe: "You Should Be Ashamed... For Not Making It Possible For Us to Obtain Weapons... The Time Has Come For Reciprocal Relations With Hamas"

At the Qatar rally, Mash'al addressed Europe, saying: "You should be ashamed. It is a crime that you are cannot stop the aggression against us, and that you are not making it possible for us [to obtain] the weapons of the resistance. It will be a mark of disgrace on the forehead of Europe and the rest of the Western entities, if this policy continues.

"The time has come for reciprocal relations with Hamas, which has been legitimized both by the struggle and by the ballot box...(5)

Mash'al then addressed U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, warning him against disregarding the resistance, and saying, "All political, security, and military efforts will fail if they are based on disregarding the resistance."(6)
 
MEMRI Special Dispatch | No. 2219 | January 29, 2009

=========
Endnotes:
(1)
www.palestine-info.info, January 21, 2009.
(2) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), January 21, 2009.
(3) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), January 21, 2009.
(4) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), January 21, 2009.
(5) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), January 21, 2009.
(6) Al-Sharq (Qatar), January 29, 2009.

For assistance, please contact MEMRI at
memri@memri.org.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.

MEMRI
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077
www.memri.org

EU subsidieert Palestijnse NGO die Israeli's aanklaagt


Het is schandalig en arrogant dat in verschillende Europese landen Israelische politici en officieren worden aangeklaagd voor oorlogsmisdaden. Het volgende is tekenend:
 
The case was eventually dismissed and the law changed after Belgian officials linked to African dictators realized that they, too, were vulnerable to prosecution.
 
Europese staten hebben niet alleen de nodige tonnen boter op hun hoofd, maar waren niet lang geleden in Afrika en andere continenten betrokken in de nodige onverkwikkelijke zaken, en sommige landen hebben nog steeds banden met onfrisse figuren. In plaats van steeds zo op vermeende Israelische wandaden te focussen, zouden we beter onze eigen rol in de wereld kritisch onder de loep kunnen nemen, en ons afvragen of wij het in Israels plaats zoveel beter zouden doen. Hoe zouden wij reageren als we omringd waren door landen die op zijn best een koude vrede met ons hebben, maar waarvan sommigen groeperingen steunen die uit zijn op onze vernietiging en daartoe bijna dagelijks raketten afschieten? De morele zelfgenoegzaamheid die steeds naar boven komt waar het Israel betreft is walgelijk, en het geeft te denken dat het juist Israel is dat door ons steeds de les wordt gelezen.  
 
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Analysis: EU-funded Palestinian NGO leading the 'Spanish inquisition'
GERALD M. STEINBERG , THE JERUSALEM POST
 
The case in Spain against Israeli officials, which stems from the 2002 air force attack that destroyed the home of a senior Hamas terrorist and killed several of his children, is based on the universal jurisdiction provisions in the legal systems of a number of democratic countries.

While designed to bring heinous dictators to justice, "lawfare" - as this tactic has been dubbed - is exploited by non-governmental organizations that use the façade of universal human rights to promote their political goals.

The pattern emerged in 2001 when Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Badil (which focuses on refugee claims) and other NGOs used Belgium as the venue for allegations of war crimes against then-prime minister Ariel Sharon. The case was eventually dismissed and the law changed after Belgian officials linked to African dictators realized that they, too, were vulnerable to prosecution.

In 2005, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog, who had retired from the IDF and was traveling to London to raise funds for the treatment of autism, stayed on an El Al plane at Heathrow Airport after NGOs targeted him with legal proceedings. This case, too, was later dropped, but the damage had been done.

The Spanish example of "lawfare" was initiated by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR). With a large budget provided by the European Commission, Norway, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and other European governments, PCHR is among the leaders of the anti-Israel demonization strategy.

The strategy was developed in the NGO Forum of the 2001 Durban Conference, the goal being to use boycotts and legal processes to brand Israel an "apartheid" state, while legitimizing terrorism. During the recent Gaza operation, PCHR issued over 50 statements, most of which included allegations of "war crimes."

In contrast, top Israeli government figures have been very slow to recognize these threats and devise a counter-strategy. While "lawfare" has been around for a number of years and PCHR filed its request with Spanish authorities in June, it has failed to register in the IDF and elsewhere.

After the Gaza operation, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged to provide legal support for officials caught up in the harassment - a belated and irrelevant approach. In response to the developments in Spain, Defense Minister Ehud Barak reacted angrily and Pubic Security Minister Avi Dichter expressed hope "that common sense will prevail" among Europeans.

Somewhat more concretely, the Foreign Ministry has pressed European governments to amend their legal codes to prevent NGOs from bringing such cases to court, but scant attention has been paid in Israel to EU and government funding for PCHR. There has been no cost to European officials, such as the Spanish prime minister, who are still welcomed by Israel as peace mediators.

After the surprise attack delivered by the Spanish court, the Israeli government will have to give much higher priority to preventing "lawfare" cases before ministers and IDF officers are met by police in the arrivals hall and taken for interrogation.
 
=============
Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg is executive director of NGO Monitor and chairs the Political Science Department at Bar-Ilan University

Een gemiddeld antwoord aan de gemiddelde anti-zionist

 
Het is logisch dat de Palestijnen het VN delingsplan niet accepteerden, aangezien zomaar de helft van hun land werd afgepakt, zo betogen sympathisanten van de Palestijnen vaak. Hieronder een reactie op onder andere deze bewering, met historiche bronnen.
 
RP
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If you are like me, your inbox is flooded with "criticism of Israel" these days. This comes in a variety of forms.

I prefer the peace loving humanitarians who are frank and open, and write something like,

Jew, your Talmud teaches you to hate goyim. We have had enough of your Jew atrocities against the oppressed Hamas freedom fighters. We are going to finish Hitler's work.

The more polished ones also use the "F***" word to good effect. I value intellectual honesty and straightforward old fashioned race hate and gutter language, especially when the writer, with priceless unconscious humor, explains that "not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism, you f*ing Jew bastard."

Letters from Jews are more problematic. It is not that we do not understand that there are Jewish anti-Semites as well as anti-Zionists. We know that. It is not even that we cannot, at bottom, understand the depravity and mental cowardice that makes Jews turn against our own people. But the feeling of shame that such Jews exist is overwhelming, and the bad aroma they leave in the air, like that which is experienced after opening a rotten egg, is hard to disperse.

Some of the letters assert that the doings in Gaza were precisely like the Nazi suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto Revolt, others may be based on the usual premise that Israel has no right to exist. Most of them combine both arguments. At bottom, the reason they are critical of this or that Israeli action is that Israel has no right to exist according to them. The reason Israel has no right to exist is that Jews are in some way inferior to other peoples in their views. We should always ignore the superficial current "issues" and get to the nitty gritty of the argument.

Because there is always so much of this going 'round, we have compiled a series of questions and answers for such people that we hope you find helpful: FAQ-Zionism and Israel. It is important to answer these perennial accusations when they appear in public debate, because we need to address a neutral audience that often has no grasp of basic facts. The crazies have created their own set of facts, which are just as convincing to the ignorant as the actual facts - more convincing in fact, because they are more sensational and easier to digest. The bad information drives out the good. They always have "scoops" that nobody else saw. It is a source of continual amazement that no matter how much one writes about the Middle East and Zionism, no matter what long list of documents and meticulous proofs one amasses, the crazies are always there to offer you "new information" that you must consider, and which they think you never saw.

It is generally a waste of time replying to "criticism of Israel" by such people in e-mails, as there is no hope of changing their mind. It is however, a useful intellectual exercise and sometimes serves to let off steam. I have replied at length to one of these gentlemen of Jewish extraction, Menachem Korn by name. To anticipate the notes I might get from some of our readers, I note that you can look him up in Google and see what sort of erudite and rational thought this sort of person represents. I won't write more because Snoopy of Simply Jews promises to take up the subject.

It seems a pity to waste a useful set of replies on this one fellow, especially as he wrote a standard sort of multipurpose anti-Zionist screed and I gave a standard sort of multipurpose reply that can be recycled. Herewith the correspondence, slightly edited.

His first letter:

I saw your article here making fun of Jewish life in America: Aliya to Dotan Alabama

I wonder if you would like to comment on the following excerpted from an email to a relative who is a strong Zionist:

Perhaps Israel has a positive destiny in the world. I honestly do not know. But one thing is for sure: the original UN partition plan was unfair and unrealistic. And it is time that people acknowledge that fact. For the injustice behind it is the source of all the misery ongoing to this day.

Many people think that the violence committed by Palestinian groups against Israel today is no different in kind than the sabotage committed by Zionist terror militia against the British Mandate before 1948, or the attacks of the Jewish partisans in the Warsaw Ghetto against the German occupying forces. You may not agree with this assessment, but you need to have a logical reason for not agreeing. And the first step is to understand the historical process, in which Israel was created as a "Jewish" state with a 40% Arab minority population who would live at best as second class citizens. Also the Jews, who owned only 7% of the land prior to 1948, were awarded with 60% of the land by the UN. These two facts alone should alert you to the injustice behind the UN decision.

Mr Korn goes on to provide "educational links" to a number of "proofs" of the inequity of Zionism of the usual kind.

Korn's letter was the more valuable as it was admittedly a canned anti-Zionist screed of a standard type, that had been already sent to at least one of this gentleman's unfortunate relatives. It is a boiler plate type, that deserves the attention of a boiler plate reply that can be used on any occasion.

Mr Korn,
The land was promised to the Jewish people under international law by the Balfour Declaration [actually by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine] . On the basis of that pledge, the Zionist movement invested sweat, blood and money to turn a land of malarial swamps into a viable homeland for the Jews.

At a critical moment in history that land, that was to have been a refuge for the Jews, was closed to Jewish immigration. The partition plan, which took half of the 20 - odd percent of the mandate land [remaining after the partition of Transjordan] and gave it to the Arabs, was certainly unfair to the Jews who had developed the land and made it support nearly 2 million people,

Many people can think what they want. We are not responsible for their depraved ideas. If you think that a suicide bomber blowing up in a discotheque and killing 15 year old kids is the same as attacking British soldiers who were drowning Jewish immigrants in the Mediterranean, then it is your problem and not ours.

If you think that the massacre of 6 million Jews who did nothing to incur the ire of the Nazis is precisely the same as actions taken against terrorists in self defense, there is nothing anyone can do about that.

Hitler also had excuses for hating the Jews.

The Arabs of Palestine in 1948 were led by Hajj Amin El Husseini, an escaped Nazi war criminal. Their plan was suited to his ideas, and had they won the war in 1948 every Jew in Palestine would have been slaughtered.

Jews had lived for hundreds of years in Jerusalem. In a series of pogroms, the Arabs, spurred on by British imperialists and later by the Abwehr, reduced the Jewish population of the old city of Jerusalem from 5,000 to about 3,000 and then to about 1,600 soulds. This sorry remnant too was ethnically cleansed to the last man, woman and child in 1948. This was considered an example of the humane behavior of the Jordan Legion under its British officers. The Jews of Hebron were similarly forced out of their city, where they had lived for hundreds of years. There is no doubt that that would have been the fate of every Jew living in the land of the Palestine mandate had the Arabs won the war.

Not only Golda, but Ben Gurion also said that there is no Palestinian Arab people, and besides them several Arabs said it as well. Before 1948 there were no Palestinians here except us Jews. Arabs did not call themselves Palestinians, but rather Arabs. The war of extermination that was organized by the Nazi Grand Mufti in 1948 was not waged on behalf of a Palestinian people but rather on behalf of the Arab ouma and the Muslim ouma. There was never any record of a Palestinian Arab national life in history, nor did they ever make any claim to self determination as a separate nation, but only as part of the Arab people. Since 1967, Yasser Arafat and the PLO created, or tried to create, a new reality. The jury is still out on whether or not there is a Palestinian people and a Harakat Wataniyeh filistiniya, (Palestine Liberation Movement) as the PLO/FATAH claim, or whether there is only a Harakat Mukawama Islamiyeh - Hamas - the MUSLIM Resistance movement, which actually has no national aspirations but only religious aspirations.

Golda and Ben Gurion's pronouncements were in any case appropriate rejoinders to the declarations of the PLO and of anti-Zionists like yourself, that there is no Jewish people, and to the declared intention of the PLO to wipe out Israel.

Be that as it may, Israel accepted the legitimacy of the Palestinian people and their right to a state. Too bad that certain depraved degenerates, along with the reactionary genocidal religious fanatics of the Hamas, have still not accepted the legitimacy of the Jewish people, and our right to a state.

If you think that Golda's pronouncement about Palestinian Arabs was unjust, how much more outrageous is the denial of the right to self determination to the Jews, who are one of the oldest nations on earth?

Sincerely,
Ami Isseroff

Mr Korn would not leave well enough alone, and sent the following rejoinder:

the British made promises to BOTH sides in World War I: the Jews and the Arabs.

Balfour was only half the equation.

i encourage you to read the following about how the Balfour declaration really came about:

rense.com/general34/amaz.htm
sweetliberty.org/issues/israel/freedman.htm
benjaminfreedman.net/
...

The following is an edited summary of several of my replies to the above.

What you mean to say is that Arab propaganda later made out that the British had made promises to both sides.

Several British officials made it clear that no promises were made to the Arabs regarding Palestine, except that civil rights of the inhabitants would not be infringed. The obligation the British undertook, at the behest of British anti-Zionist Jews, was to provide only a Jewish national home in Palestine [rather than to make all of Palestine a national home]. This was clearly fulfilled when the British created Transjordan, and Mr Churchill said as much:
Churchill White Paper 1922.
[Churchill also made clear British recognition of the significance of the League of Nations Mandate, which was a declaration in International Law]:

But in order that this community should have the best prospect of free development and provide a full opportunity for the Jewish people to display its capacities, it is essential that it should know that it is in Palestine as of right and not on the sufferance. That is the reason why it is necessary that the existence of a Jewish National Home in Palestine should be internationally guaranteed, and that it should be formally recognized to rest upon ancient historic connection.

This, then, is the interpretation which His Majesty's Government place upon the Declaration of 1917, and, so understood, the Secretary of State is of opinion that it does not contain or imply anything which need cause either alarm to the Arab population of Palestine or disappointment to the Jews.



The above was written by Mr. British Government Himself, Winston Churchill, in an open and public document. There is nothing ambiguous about it.

Balfour, who wrote the declaration, opined that it would eventually lead to a Jewish State. [See Balfour's views on Zionism]. Who understood the intentions of Mr. Balfour and Mr. Churchill better, Messrs Balfour and Churchill, or Mr Jeff Rense and Mr. Benjamin Freedman?

Can you provide a reference to the Freedman White Paper or the Rense White Paper as instruments of British policy? When did they serve in HM government?

King Feisal made it clear that Arabs welcomed the Zionists, and that their only beef was to ensure that the British would honor their promises to Feisal concerning Syria:
Feisal-Frankfurter Correspondence
Feisal-Weizmann agreement

In any case, it doesn't matter what the British promised during WW I, but rather what was anchored in international law in the Mandate of the League of Nations.

Rense is a racist conspiracy Web site and the rest are anti-Zionist screeds. Unlike the references you give, the above are original documents. - they reflect what happened, not what some anti-Zionist or anti-Semite wants you to believe happened in history. The obligation to provide balance only extends to telling the truth whether it hurts or helps one side or the other. It doesn't extend to giving equal space to lies and conspiracy theories.

You did not explain how you can adamantly assert that the Palestinian Arabs are a nation with the right of self determination, while maintaining that Jews are a non-entity.

Ami Isseroff

If you find the above useful, save them for whenever you are confronted by the sort of arguments that Mr Korn and his ilk are apt to use.*

Ami Isseroff

 

* Arguments are always more effective if you can cite original documents to back them up. If you received this article in text only format, here are the URLs of the documents mentioned above:

http://www.zionism-israel.com/Balfour_Declaration_1917.htm  Balfour Declaration.
http://www.zionism-israel.com/hdoc/Feisal_Weizmann_Agreement.htm  Feizal - Weizmann Agreement.
http://www.zionism-israel.com/hdoc/Feisal-Frankfurter-Correspondence.htm  Feisal-Frankfurter Correspondence
http://www.zionism-israel.com/Balfour_Introduction_to_Zionism.htm  Arthur Balfour - Zionism
http://www.mideastweb.org/1922WP.htm  Churchill "command" White Paper
http://www.mideastweb.org/Mandate.htm .

You can find all the above linked from: http://zionism-israel.com/zionism_documents.htm
Additional replies to the skeptics, the malicious and the ignorant:
http://zionism-israel.com/issues


Original content is Copyright by the author 2009. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000657.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

Gaza familie als menselijk schild gebruikt door Hamas

 
Het zoveelste voorbeeld van hoe Hamas de bevolking als menselijk schild gebruikt. Behoorlijk gevaarlijk ook voor deze familie uit Gaza om Hamas zo openlijk te beschuldigen.

Wouter
_____________


Bulletin
Jan. 29, 2009
Palestinian Media Watch

Gaza victims describe being used as human shields by Hamas

by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

 
Members of a Gaza family whose farm was turned into a "fortress" by Hamas fighters have reported that they were helpless to stop Hamas from using them as human shields. They told the official Palestinian Authority daily newspaper that for years Hamas has used their property and homes for military installations from which to launch rockets into Israel, dig tunnels and store arms. According to the victims, those who tried to object were shot in the legs by Hamas.
 
The following are excerpts from the article from the official Palestinian Authority daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida:


"The Abd Rabbo family kept quiet while Hamas fighters turned their farm in the Gaza strip into a fortress. Right now they are waiting for the aid promised by the [Hamas] movement after Israel bombed the farm and turned it into ruins...

The hill on which the Abd Rabbo family lives overlooks the Israeli town Sderot, a fact that turned it into an ideal military position for the Palestinian fighters, from which they have launched hundreds of rockets into southern Israel during the last few years. Several of the Abd Rabbo family members described how the fighters dug tunnels under their houses, stored arms in the fields and launched rockets from the yard of their farm during the nights.

The Abd Rabbo family members emphasize that they are not [Hamas] activists and that they are still loyal to the Fatah movement, but that they were unable to prevent the armed squads from entering their neighborhood at night. One family member, Hadi (age 22) said: "You can't say anything to the resistance [fighters], or they will accuse you of collaborating [with Israel] and shoot you in the legs."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 27, 2009]

Hezbollah aanslag op Israelisch doel in Europa verijdeld

 
Een nogal vaag bericht.
 
Wouter
__________
 
 
Hizbullah attack against Israeli target in Europe foiled
Jan. 28, 2009
Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST
 
 
Israel's intelligence agencies recently thwarted a major Hizbullah terror attack against an Israeli target in Europe, security officials revealed on Wednesday.
 
The attack was foiled by Israel in conjunction with a European intelligence agency. Hizbullah planned the attack to avenge the February 2008 assassination of arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus.
 
Last week, Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered Israeli security services to raise their level of alert out of fear that Hizbullah will increase its efforts to launch an attack against an Israeli or Jewish target abroad ahead of the first anniversary of Mughniyeh's assassination on February 12.
 
Mughniyeh was the commander of Hizbullah military forces and was assassinated on in a car bombing in Damascus. While Israel did not claim responsibility for the assassination, Hizbullah has declared its intention to avenge Mughniyeh's death by striking at Israel.
 
The assessment in the Israeli intelligence community is that Hizbullah plans to attack an Israeli target overseas that will not have its direct fingerprints on. Hizbullah is believed to have extensive terror infrastructure in Africa and South America and was allegedly behind the bombings in 1992 and 1994 in Buenos Aires.
 
Hizbullah, the intelligence community believes, is deterred from launching an attack along the northern border out of fear of Israel's potential response. The two recent Katyusha rocket attacks into northern Israel are believed to have been carried out by a Palestinian terror group, although under the direction of Hizbullah.

Grenzen Gaza weer open na terreuraanval op IDF jeep

 
Het is bijna ondoenlijk om de grenzen te openen voor humanitaire hulp aan Gaza en tegelijkertijd duidelijk te maken dat geen aanvallen op Israel meer getolereerd zullen worden. Dat kan men alleen duidelijk maken door tijdelijk de grenzen te sluiten of militaire aktie te ondernemen...
 
Wouter
__________
 
Crossings reopen following lethal terrorist attack

28th January, 2009
(Communicated by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Spokesman)

 
Kerem Shalom, Karni, Nahal Oz and Erez crossings operated on Wednesday enabling humanitarian movements and transfer of humanitarian goods in to Gaza. Throughout the day, a total of 174 trucks with 4701 tons of supplies at the request of UNRWA, the World Food Programme, UNICEF, The International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, and a donations from Jordan and Let the Animals live Israel. Also, goods for the private sector comprised of dairy products, fruit, and reproductive eggs. Also, 45,000 liters of heavy duty diesel for the Gaza power station were transferred via the Nahal Oz fuel depot. Following extensive maintenance activities, Karni conveyor belt resumed operation and conveyed 3116 tons of different types of grain.

Before the lethal terrorist attack at Kissufim on the 27th January, 2009, causing the immediate closure of the crossings, a total of 243 tons of grain were transferred via the Karni conveyor belt. Via the Nahal Oz fuel depot 82,000 liters of heavy duty diesel and 25 tons of gas for domestic needs were transferred.

Today Kerem Shalom, Karni, Nahal Oz and Erez crossings are operating for humanitarian needs.

Since the beginning of the operation, 74,979 tons of humanitarian supplies have been transferred to the Gaza Strip. Also, 6,682,451 liters of fuel have been conveyed through Nahal Oz and Kerem Shalom. In the ongoing humanitarian effort, since the unilateral cease fire (18/1/2009), 35,404 tons of aid has been delivered to the Gaza Strip and 2,873,900 liters of fuel.
 

De Noorse diplomate met haar Nazi-vergelijking

 
Gedurende de Gaza operatie waren de vergelijkingen met het getto van Warschau niet van de lucht. Niet alleen botte reaguurders op internet en antisemieten op Stormfront beweren zulke nonsens, maar ook steeds meer politici en diplomaten.
 
RP
-----------

Nazi-Shmatzi hypocrisy

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2009/01/nazi-shmatzi-hypocrisy.html

Aren't we all getting just a bit tired of comparisons between the Warsaw Ghetto and the Gaza Strip? When did the SS truck in food supplies for the Jews and treat them in German hospitals?
 
The Hamas in Gaza "revolted" in order to realize their "legitimate right" to destroy Israel. The Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto revolted in order to defend their honor, since saving their lives was a hopeless proposition. Those who really cannot tell the difference are totally depraved and devoid of moral sense, but at least they should be able to count. How many Jews were left alive at the conclusion of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ?? - A.I.
 
 
 
by David A. Harris
Executive Director
American Jewish Committee
January 26, 2009
 
 
 
Dear Ms. Trine Lilleng,
 
You were an unknown Norwegian diplomat till this month.
 
No longer.
 
As first secretary in the Norwegian Embassy in Saudi Arabia, you recently sent out an email on your office account in which you declared: "The grandchildren of Holocaust survivors from World War II are doing to the Palestinians exactly what was done to them by Nazi Germany."
 
Accompanying your text were photos, with an emphasis on children, seeking to juxtapose the Holocaust with the recent Israeli military operation in Gaza.
 
Clearly, you are miscast in your role as a diplomat, all the more so of a nation that has sought to play a mediating role in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
 
In fact, you're desperately in need of some education.
 
Let's begin with your current posting. You've been in Riyadh since 2007.
 
If you're so anguished by human rights violations, perhaps you could have begun by devoting some of your attention - and email blasts - to what surrounds you.
 
Or were your eyes diplomatically shut?
 
Have you failed to notice the many legal executions, including beheadings, going on in your assigned country?
 
Have you ignored the often abysmal treatment of foreign workers, many from Asia, who also happen to be disproportionately counted among the victims of Saudi capital punishment?
 
Have you neglected the gender apartheid that surrounds you? Did you ever look out of your car to notice that Saudi women are proscribed from driving, and that's hardly the worst of it?
 
Have you checked the skyline of Riyadh or Jeddah lately to count the number of church spires or other non-Muslim houses of worship?
 
Have you bothered to inquire about the fate of homosexuals?
 
Okay, you were AWOL on those issues. Maybe you just didn't want to offend your hosts by speaking the truth, or maybe you're suffering from that diplomatic disease known as "localitis" or "clientitis."
 
But surely a woman like you, with such capacity for empathy for those in far-away places, and especially for children in danger, couldn't remain silent about other human rights transgressions, could she?
 
After all, could an individual so deeply moved by the plight of Palestinians in Gaza remain silent about what a New York Times columnist earlier this month described as "hell on earth" - Zimbabwe? Could a person so anguished by the fate of Palestinian children stay mum about a country where a girl's life expectancy at birth is 34, much less than half that of her Norwegian counterpart, and where the health care sector has vaporized, all thanks to the one-man rule of Robert Mugabe?
 
Could such a dedicated humanist possibly avert her eyes from the deadliest conflict since the Second World War, which has killed over five million people, many of them children, in the Congo in the past decade - not to mention the documented and widespread use of torture, rape, and arbitrary detention?
 
An observer of such acute sensitivity could hardly hold her tongue while Afghan girls attempting to go to school have been doused with acid by those who wish to deny young women access to education, reminiscent of the five years of Taliban rule, could she?
 
In neighboring Pakistan, where you served in the Norwegian embassy for three years, the beleaguered human rights community must have been fortunate to have such an impassioned voice for all that's wrong in this failing state. Or was that voice, perhaps, on mute?
 
The children of Sderot, the Israeli town near the Gaza border, have been in desperate need of just such a spokesperson as you for the past eight years.
 
After all, their town has been in the crosshairs of literally thousands of missiles and mortars fired from Gaza. Those Israeli children live with all the signs of trauma, knowing that, with only 15 seconds warning, they could be hit at any time in their schools, their parks, or their beds. Yet, during my visit there last week, for some reason, those children and their parents had yet to hear you speak out for them. What a pity!
 
And the children of Iran could use your help as well. According to human rights groups, Iran has no compunction about executing children or those who were children when their crimes were allegedly committed.
 
Oh, and by the way, your compassionate help would also undoubtedly be welcomed by others under the gun in Iran, including women's rights activists, union organizers, student protesters, independent journalists, reformist politicians, and religious minorities. And let's not forget, once again, the children of Israel, who, according to the Iranian president, don't have a right to live.
 
But wait! A Google search about you reveals nothing, not a single word, regarding your views on Zimbabwe, Congo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sderot, or Iran. Or, for that matter, Burma, Darfur, Syria. Shall I go on?
 
Only Israel, faced with those who wish to destroy it, manages to prompt your impassioned correspondence and righteous indignation. Why?
 
No less, your stunning lack of education extends beyond the contemporary world to 20th century history, specifically the Holocaust.
 
Your invocation of the Holocaust to describe what's taken place in Gaza is, frankly, nothing short of obscene.
 
Your claim that the grandchildren of the survivors are doing to the Palestinians exactly what was done to them goes beyond any norm of decency, much less honesty.
 
Approve or disapprove of the Israeli military operation, but there is no basis whatsoever for such a comparison.
 
When Israel entered Gaza in a war of self-defense in 1967, the population was 360,000. After Israel withdrew totally from Gaza in 2005, it was estimated at 1.4 million.
 
Would that the Jewish population under Nazi rule had quadrupled!
 
When Israel entered Gaza in 1967, life expectancy for women was 46. When it left Gaza, it was 73.
 
Shall we even bother to discuss life expectancy for Jews under Nazi occupation?
 
The Second World War in Europe lasted from September 1, 1939 to May 8, 1945 - 68 months in all. That means an average monthly extermination rate of nearly 90,000 Jews.
 
Compare that to the total number of victims in Gaza over three weeks - roughly guesstimated at more or less 1,000 - and recall that the majority were armed fighters committed to Israel's destruction, who used civilians, including children, as human shields, mosques as arms depots, and hospitals as sanctuaries.
 
Believe me, Ms. Lilleng, if the "grandchildren of the Holocaust survivors" had wanted to do exactly what the Nazis did to their grandparents, they would have unleashed their full air, land, and sea power. They would have thrown the Israel Defense Forces' ethical guidelines to the wind, kicked out the UN and Red Cross personnel on the ground, stopped humanitarian transports of food, fuel, and medicine, prevented media reporting, and left absolutely nothing - and no one - standing.
 
Unless, of course, they needed slave labor, in which case they would have carted off the able-bodied to work in Auschwitz replicas until they dropped. Or material for ghoulish medical experimentation, in which case, in the spirit of Mengele, they would have kept Palestinian twins alive temporarily.
 
But Israel didn't do any of these things. It's a peace-seeking democracy dedicated to the rule of law - unlike so many of the countries whose horrific sins you blithely choose to overlook.
 
What are we to make of your selective moral outrage and rank hypocrisy?
 
You ought to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself why Israel, and only Israel, makes your blood boil and leads you to speak out, even at the risk of grossly distorting both reality and history.
 
The answer, Ms. Lilleng, should be painfully obvious.

Hamas oorlogsmisdaden in Gaza

 
De berichten - en bewijzen - van oorlogsmisdaden gepleegd door Hamas stapelen zich op. Hieronder worden een aantal zaken op een rijtje gezet.
 
RP
---------

Hamas war crimes in Gaza

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2009/01/hamas-war-crimes-in-gaza.html

The truth about Hamas crimes in Gaza

The evidence of Hamas' war crimes, its exaggeration of civilian casualties and damage to property, its abuse of humanitarian aid and its intimidation of Gaza's residents are finally coming to light.

Despite Hamas' best efforts to hide the truth about events in the Gaza Strip, the evidence of Hamas' war crimes, its exaggeration of civilian casualties and damage to property, its abuse of humanitarian aid and its intimidation of Gaza's residents are finally coming to light.

Israel knows better than most countries the horrors of war. Eight years of constant rocket barrages targeting Israeli civilians, eight years of trying tactic after tactic to stop these war crimes left Israel with little choice but to invoke its legitimate right of self-defense.

When Israel did strike back against Hamas terror in Gaza, it took unprecedented and innovative steps to try to encourage civilians to avoid Hamas positions, even placing tens of thousands of phone calls warning residents in hazardous areas. As British Colonel (ret.) Richard Kemp commented on the BBC, "I don't think there's ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza."

To Israel's great sorrow, innocent civilians in Gaza have been harmed. However, the figures of civilian casualties have been greatly exaggerated. Most of these figures come from Hamas sources, amplifying the number of civilians killed by including as "children" teenage Hamas fighters and as "women," female terrorists. According to an Israeli investigation, of the 1,100-1,200 reported casualties, 250 were civilians. The rest are believed to be terrorists or have yet to be identified, but given that most of them are young men in their 20s, it is not unreasonable to assume that they are also members of Hamas or other terrorist organizations.

Hamas is responsible, both morally and under international law, for many of the dead and injured civilians. This terrorist organization deliberately used the local population as human shields, a war crime. Civilian structures were used as launching pads for rockets, a tactic that is extremely hazardous to residents. Civilians were prevented, at gunpoint, from fleeing the sites of battles and even children have been grabbed to be used as living bulletproof vests. Even ambulances were not safe from hijacking attempts by terrorists, who would lure the ambulances into the heart of battle to transport Hamas terrorists to safety.

Property damage, while sizeable, has also been exaggerated. As Tim Butcher, a journalist intimately familiar with the Gaza Strip reported (Telegraph, Jan 20): "There had been no carpet bombing of large areas, no firebombing of complete suburbs. Targets had been selected and then hit, often several times, but almost always with precision munitions. Buildings nearby had been damaged and there had been some clear mistakes... But, in most the cases, I saw the primary target had borne the brunt… For the most part, I was struck by how cosmetically unchanged Gaza appeared to be."

Hamas' rocket attacks, which continued throughout the operation, constituted a double war crime. Not only were they aimed at about 15% of Israel's civilian population, they were cynically carried out from locations immediately adjacent to homes, schools, hospitals, relief agency warehouses, mosques, public buildings - as well as from the office building that housed foreign media studios. These reprehensible acts were documented not only in Israeli aerial films, but by the international media.

As Rod Nordland (Newsweek, Jan 20) described one event, "Suddenly there was a terrific whoosh, louder even than a bomb explosion. It was another of Hamas's homemade Qassam rockets being launched into Israel - and the mobile launchpad was smack in the middle of the four [apartment] buildings, where every apartment was full…"

Lorenzo Cremonesi (Corriere della Sera, Jan 21) relates the testimony of "Um Abdallah": "Practically all of the tallest buildings in Gaza that were hit by Israeli bombs … had rocket launching pads on their roofs, or were observation decks for the Hamas. They had also put them near the big UN warehouse, which went up in flames."

Many of Gaza's residents are now returning home. Some have found weapons left behind by Hamas terrorists who turned their homes into forward positions against the IDF, or worse, bodies of terrorists killed during the fighting. Many blame Hamas for the loss of life and property damage caused by Hamas' practice of hiding among the civilian population. However, critical as they are of the Hamas regime in private, few, if any, residents of Gaza will accuse Hamas publically, a move that is tantamount to suicide.

An official Fatah spokesman in Ramallah (Jerusalem Post, Jan 19) reported that 100 of his men in Gaza have been killed or wounded, some brutally tortured, by Hamas. A Fatah leader in Gaza City claimed that members of his faction were being held in school buildings and hospitals that Hamas had turned into make-shift interrogation centers, and as many as 80 were either shot in the legs or had their hands broken for allegedly defying Hamas' orders (see also video of Fatah testimonials about Hamas).

Ulrike Putz (Der Spiegel, Jan 23) managed to interview Palestinians who were not too intimidated by Hamas to speak (as long as their full names were not used): "Hail found out after the cease-fire that the militants had used his house as a base for their operations. The door to his house stood open and there were electric cables lying in the hallway. When Hail followed them they led to his neighbor's house which it seems Hamas had mined. As Hail, in his mid-30s, sat on his porch and thought about what to do a man came by: He was from Hamas and had left something in Hail's home. He let him in and the man then emerged with a bullet proof vest, a rocket launcher and an ammunitions belt. An hour later a fighter with Islamic Jihad called to the door, then disappeared onto the roof and reappeared with a box of ammunition."

Israel has a strong interest in the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip and will work together with the international community and moderate Arab regimes to improve the lives of Gaza's residents. However, caution most be exercised to ensure that the aid does not end up in Hamas' pockets.

This is not unwarranted wariness - Hamas has a long history of stealing humanitarian aid for its own use, even while the operation was ongoing. As Yaacov Katz reported (Jerusalem Post, Jan 12), "Hamas raided some 100 aid trucks that Israel had allowed into Gaza, stole their contents and sold them to the highest bidders." Earlier (Jerusalem Post, Jan 6) Mr. Katz related that "Hamas has set up an independent hospital in the Gaza Strip to treat its operatives wounded in fighting with the IDF - and, according to Israeli estimates, it is pilfering a significant portion of the medicine allowed into the Strip…"

These reports are not only coming in from Israeli sources. Jordan's News Agency (Petra, Jan 20) reported on the hijacking of humanitarian aid on its way to UNWRA warehouses in >Gaza for distribution to the civilian population: "A number of armed men have seized on Tuesday a Jordanian aid convoy after entering the Gaza Strip… The armed men opened fire at drivers after crossing Karem Abu Salem [Kerem Shalom] crossing point and forced them to head to their own warehouses."

Hamas' hijacking of humanitarian aid is not only ethically repulsive, it is extraordinary given that Hamas is attempting to claim that the motive for its rocket attacks is to force the opening of the crossings. This assertion is, of course, preposterous given that the rocket fire started eight years ago, when there was free trade with Gaza and continued after Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Moreover, Hamas' constant and deadly rocket, mortar, truck-bomb and shooting attacks on the crossings are one of the prime reasons for their closing.

The complexities of fighting terrorist organizations are becoming more familiar to democratic states, including NATO forces in Afghanistan. A British soldier who served there analyzed the IDF's activities in light of his experience and noted (The Spectator, Jan 24) that "I believe that I and other soldiers understand the stress, friction and confusion that combat brings in a way that media commentators and UN bureaucrats never can."

However, one principle is clear to any unbiased analyst - as long as Israel, and not Hamas, is blamed for civilian casualties and property damage, Hamas will continue to use civilians as human shields and violate every basic rule of international humanitarian law.

As Nir Boms, vice president of the Center for Freedom in the Middle East, and Shayan Arya an Iranian activist, wrote (Jerusalem Post, Jan 28), "War, even when justified, brings much injustice with it. But there is also an important lesson to be learned, and a hope that this time it will not be completely missed by the rioting Arab street... The Palestinian discourse often fails to address the question of responsibility and accountability for Palestinian choices, decisions and leadership." The Palestinians in Gaza must accept and take responsibility for the consequences of the Hamas leaders they chose.

Fortunately, the truth is starting to come to light. Even a senior European Union official - Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid - denounced Hamas, not only stating (AFP, Jan 26) during his visit to Gaza: "I intentionally say this here - Hamas is a terrorist movement and it has to be denounced as such," but also concluding that: "At this time we have to also recall the overwhelming responsibility of Hamas" for the conflict in Gaza.

Source: Israel MFA