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Right of Return or Safe Haven

With No Derogation

The Plight of Refugees

Clive Hambidge

 www.unhcr.org

www.unhcr.org

When I speak of a foreign policy I have a contextual qualitative understanding of the natural order of things as put forth in John Locke’s Two Treaties Of Government, that “The natural liberty of man [humanity] is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but to have only the Law of Nature for his rule.” In the end if we are not in governance of self we are not in accord with law, either man-made or natural.

I do not mean a foreign policy, which is foreign to compassion, foreign to right human relations, international law or right-wing American so-called think-tanks that base their pernicious equations on American self interests, where ‘statecraft’ means to bewitch an unsuspecting American public with an ideology that America “is the most powerful nation on earth” (Obama). Perhaps, but America is only “powerful,” in a global arena of destructive and subversive actions. The global bully America that has destabilised the whole of the Middle East & North Africa (MENA), and its all too willing allies in Europe, must re-visit the international customary laws, which state quite clearly the responsibility of states to help those fleeing intolerable conditions as is the case across the MENA region and indeed across the planet because of imperial rule and hegemony. Such actions then that are foreign, foreign to compassion, foreign to the universal concept of human rights, and foreign to international customary law.

Human beings endowed “with reason and conscience” as nature intended. Not existing in opinions of law but in the topography of their own – a country and the ecology of their individuated consciousness in process of evolution and maintained national identity in culture, religion, and loving societal intergrading.  We do not then exist under the “authority of man” but are supported if we speak of civilisation (now under threat) by its legislative will, and, as a moral compass international customary law. That these protective mechanisms fail us incessantly, because as it stands, UN General Assembly resolutions are recommendations raising “important questions,” they fail because Security Council Resolutions are not legally bound to let’s say UN resolution 194, a recommendation for the Right of Return. Here one thinks of Palestine. Security Council Resolutions however are legally binding. Their primary function is to maintain “international peace and security.” We see then that recommendations and resolutions are not helping the refugee crisis or indeed homelessness with nearly 1000 million members of the human race awash “illegal aliens” on a planet that we share.

In June 2015 Kofi Annan stated “It is time to accept the reality that, like the waves on the seas that many of the migrants traverse, the ebb and flow of human movement cannot be stopped. That is why the international community must solve rather than manage migration with understanding and compassion.”

Suffering is not to be ignored, is it? In understanding just what the drivers of suffering are, compassion arises, doesn’t it? Compassion quickens the heart as, in turn, the heart defibrillates the mind. We organise then in eclectic engagement with the natural concomitants of co-operation to help others.

This crisis cannot be managed it must be resolved. And there are ratified provisions (codifications) in normative international law to resolve such a crisis. Lacking is the political will; the stomach for natural and human formed legislative justice, and a conscience led, imperative for action to free displaced (internally) human beings of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to their natural course home through safety zones, or when displaced externally, into another country to be greeted with compassion under international law with no derogation.

The Catholic Herald reported on the 14th of September Pope Francis as saying “What I asked was that in each parish and each religious institute, every monastery, should take in one family, a family, not just one person. A family gives more guarantees of security and containment, so as to avoid infiltrations of another kind”. This is not a statement of Vatican principle I take no lessons from the Holy See in right conduct.  Sui Generis: having the meaning of existing out of the normal range of legal protection, the Vatican only enjoys in essence a “legal personality” with 180 states; still it exists within a moral dilemma where it makes moral claims on our time and space and conscience, while covering up some of the most abhorrent abuses in history.  Just two families have been taken into Vatican parishes.

Still, Pope Francis plea as a human being is not thereby delegitimised, it is a right one in this declared Jubilee Year of Mercy, which has clearly affected the decisions of European governments to dissuade, human beings, our brothers and sisters, from seeking safe haven where no-mercy is the political mantra. Legislative council can only retire recreationally into the library of human affairs as advisory if foreign policy with a conscionable intuitive meaning is allied to trusted action in co-operative, transparent and integrated missions to restore the displaced peoples of the MENA, as is their right, to lands that need rebuilding. “2014 was a catastrophic year for millions caught up in violence. The global response to conflict and abuses by states and armed groups has been shameful and ineffective” said Salil Shetty (Secretary General, Amnesty International). Furthermore, “Governments must stop pretending the protection of civilians is beyond their power and help roll back the tide of suffering of millions. Leaders must embrace a fundamental change in the way they respond to crises around the world” stated Anna Neistat (Senior Director for Research, Amnesty International).

Moreover, according to the June 20th 2014 UNHCR Report “The UN refugee agency reported … World Refugee Day that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide ha[d], for the first time in the post-World War II era, exceeded 50 million (my emphasis) people. During the year, conflict and persecution forced an average of 42,500 persons per day (my emphasis) to leave their homes and seek protection elsewhere, either within the borders of their countries or in other countries.”

In addition, 2015 saw a worsening situation in many countries or a status quo of suffering, the figures and countries are from relief-web Crisis Overview 2015 Humanitarian Trends and Risks for 2016.[1]   Below are but a few from 11 identified countries that only face bleak conditions in 2016 other countries are not forgotten.

“South Sudan: There are around nearly 1.7 million IDPs and around 200,000 refugees. An estimated 220,000 people were newly displaced in 2015.

Somalia: 9170 Somalis registered as refugees in neighbouring countries in 2015, compared to 18,560 in 2014, bringing the total to nearly 970,000 (UNHCR, 12/201409/2015) 5,000 Somalis have returned from Kenya in 2015; nearly 30,000 returnees and refugees have arrived from Yemen (UNHCR, 01/11/2015 IOM, 05/11/2015).

Syria: Over half of Syria’s population is now displaced. The number of IDPs fell by one million in 2015, explained by changes in data collection combined with the high number of Syrians fleeing the country. More than 500,000 Syrian asylum seekers have been registered in Europe since 2011: almost 300,000 of them arrived in 2015 (HNO 2016, UNHCR, 19/10/2015).

Ukraine: Nearly 900,000 people had been displaced within Ukraine by January 2015, and another 600,000 have been displaced since then. The vast majority of IDPs have fled eastern Ukraine, although around 20,000 are from Crimea. Most IDPs fled in mid 2014 as fighting intensified in the east (DMC, 08/2015; IOM, 01/2015; OCHA 23/01/2015 21/08/2015).

Yemen: More than two million people have become internally displaced since March; 80,000 were newly displaced in 2014 (Task Force on Population Movement, 14/10/2015; HNO, 2015). Aden, Taizz, and Hajjah governorates have recorded the highest number of IDPs (Task Force on Population Movement, 14/10/20150. More than 120,000 people (including Yemenis, returnees, and third-country nationals) have fled Yemen since March (UNHCR, 20/10/2015); 260,000 registered refugees, mostly Somalis, live in Yemen -the figure has remained relatively stable for the last three years (UNHCR, 15/09/2015). Conflict in areas close to refugee hosting sites has resulted in further displacement of refugees and asylum seekers, loss of livelihoods, and a breakdown in basic services (Revised, HNO 06/20150.)”

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) holds “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Here we have a contextual root for human rights and Concordia (harmony) to be found in a “durable peace” and through humanitarian law, the right of “unimpeded access” to those in dire need whether externally or internally displaced in the MENA countries, or indeed across the globe.

The peremptory jus cogens (Latin: compelling law) is an overriding international law from which there can be no derogation, and must be used for a wise ascent of the constant value of the normative treatises law, human rights law and accompanying now as the Sherpa, humanitarian law. A lawful ascent to a moral high ground to plant the billowing flag of the UNDHR Article 6 where “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.” And as the multitude of refugees of the MENA, and further afield, gather before the land mass of Europe, let them in, for it is their right, and our compassionate obligation.

The UN Convention which relates to the Status of Refugees is a 1951[2] convention along with the 1967 Protocol “which removed the geographic and temporal limits of the 1951 Convention” and of course customary international law. In sum the so-called “Magna Carta of international refugee law” has the singular definition of what constitutes “refugee”. Article 1 provides “A refugee, according to the Convention, is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.” Also and importantly for those European countries that would dissuade displaced refugees on seeking refuge, the 1951 Convention further stipulates that “subject to specific exceptions, refugees should not be penalized for their illegal entry or stay. This recognizes that the seeking of asylum can require refugees to breach immigration rules.” In other words refugees/asylum seekers should not be persecuted having fled persecution.

From the “6-10 September 1969” heads of states gathered in Addis Ababa in recognition of the humanitarian disasters that were unfolding, and perhaps with the foresight of the catastrophes to come. The so titled Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa[3] was convened to seek solutions in light of  the fact that the “Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have affirmed the principle that human beings shall enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms without discrimination.”

A number of points in the preamble made clear the problem of distinguishing between the refugees with common cause in “alleviating their misery and suffering” and those with subversive intentions in moving from one country to another.

1: “Noting with concern the constantly increasing numbers of refugees in Africa and desirous of finding ways and means of alleviating their misery and suffering as well as providing them with a better life and future,”

2: “Recognizing the need for and essentially humanitarian approach towards solving the problems of refugees.”

Points 4 and 5 addressed the concerns of ‘subversion’: “Anxious to make a distinction between a refugee who seeks a peaceful and normal life. And person fleeing his country for the sole purpose of fomenting subversion from outside. Determined that the activities of such subversive elements should be discouraged, in accordance with the Declaration on the Problem of Subversion and Resolution on the Problem of Refugees adopted at Accra in 1965.  Article 1 Definition of the term “refugee” as found in paragraphs 1 and 2 (see footnote).[4]

The response to the asylum seeker is found Under Article 2 Asylum we find in paragraphs 2 and 3: “The grant[ing] of asylum to refugees is a peaceful and humanitarian act and shall not be regarded as an unfriendly act by any Member State.  3. No person shall be subjected by a Member State to measures such as rejection at the frontier, return or expulsion, which would compel him to return to or remain in a territory where his life, physical integrity or liberty would be threatened for the reasons set out in Article I, paragraphs 1 and 2.”

Here we find regional and national protection, as defined and bolstering international customary law.

More importantly, that asylum is a “peaceful and humanitarian act.” Here we find no dissuasion as expedited by European nation states succumbing to right-wing pressure. The math needs be done and more than 200,000 (UN suggested figure) souls seeking safe haven must be the urgent agenda for all EU member states, as millions will arrive and should be met with peaceful and humanitarian acts.[5]

A further international bolstering of the rights of refugees regionally came with the: “Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, Colloquium on the International Protection of Refugees in Central America, Mexico and Panama. Adopted by the Colloquium on the International Protection of Refugees in Central America, Mexico and Panama, held at Cartagena, Colombia from 19 – 22 November 1984,”[6] Emphasised the integral state mechanisms or instruments that are so organised to consult and cooperate with the necessary UN conventions protocols, and “Government offices”.

So (a) “To carry out, if they have not yet done so, the constitutional procedures for accession to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees.” (b) “To adopt the terminology established in the Convention and Protocol referred to in the foregoing paragraph with a view to distinguishing refugees from other categories of migrants.” (c) “To establish the internal machinery necessary for the implementation, upon accession, of the provisions of the Convention and Protocol referred to above.” (d) “To ensure the establishment of machinery for consultation between the Central American countries and representatives of the Government offices responsible for dealing with the problem of refugees in each State.” (e) “To support the work performed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Central America and to establish direct co-ordination machinery to facilitate the fulfillment of his mandate.”

Persecution, as one is aware, has a history, as does the natural urge to be free, to flee from tyranny, as natural as a flower spiraling, arching to sun light for life.

Opinion thought Plato being the “medium between knowledge and ignorance” so one must traverse in reverse from ignorance to knowledge through adjudged lawful opinions. And so it is, that in knowledge we recognise that we stand in protective governance of our own senses and the moral, ethical, lawful actions that inform the world of a putative presence of justice, if only in our hearts and minds so by this virtue and in humility speak and act, for those muted by horrific violence and persecution.

Europe must let them in, let them in, let them in, let these suffering people in to be met with the regional instruments of democracy, and, as souls fleeing persecution, the true measure of any nation? Its preparedness to do the right thing and act in accordance with the law. We expect nothing less.

Clive Hambidge is Human Development at Facilitate Global. Clive can be contacted by emai: clive.hambidge@facilitateglobal.org

[1] http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/a-acaps-crisis-overview-2015-trends-and-risks-2016.pdf

[2] UNHCR was set up in 1951 to help the estimated 1 million people still uprooted after World War II to return home. Since then, we have helped find durable solutions for tens of millions of refugees and they remain our core constituency. The latest figures available show that the number of refugees of concern to UNHCR in mid-2014 stood at 13 million refugees, up from a year earlier. A further 5.1 million registered refugees are looked after in some 60 camps in the Middle East by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which was set up in 1949 to care for displaced Palestinians. http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646c1d.html

[3] http://www.unhcr-centraleurope.org/pdf/resources/legal-documents/international-refugee-law/1969-organization-of-african-unity-convention-governing-the-specific-aspects-of-refugee-problems-in-africa.html

[4] 1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term “refugee” shall mean every person who, owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country, or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.2. The term “refugee” shall also apply to every person who, owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order in either part or the whole of his country of origin or nationality, is compelled to leave his place of habitual residence in order to seek refuge in another place outside his country of origin or nationality.

[5] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34148891

[6] https://www.oas.org/dil/1984_Cartagena_Declaration_on_Refugees.pdf

 

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Asylum seekers singled out in London

Media reports in the UK say the houses of asylum seekers in the north-east of England are singled out by their red doors [read more here http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/01/20/446640/Migrants-in-UK-identifiable-be-red-doors]

This interview was first published on Press TV on 20th January  2016

 

 

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A new report has revealed that Daesh (ISIL) terrorists may be using weapons exported to the Middle East by the UK.

According to a research study by human rights organization Amnesty International …. [read more here  http://217.218.67.231/Detail/2015/12/08/440869/UK-ARMS-DAESH]

This interview was published on Press TV on Tuesday 8th December 2015

 

 

Aside

This interview was first published on Press TV on 5th January 2016: http://presstv.ir/Detail/2016/01/05/444624/UK-charities-blame-govt-migration-policies

This interview was re-published in Middle East Rising on 11 January 2016 by   http://www.middleeastrising.com/uk-charities-blame-govt-migration-policies/

Aside

 

Committee room 9

Houses of Parliament

Seminar at Houses of Parliament: "Scotland and Palestine" Building Friendship and Solidarity

Seminar at Houses of Parliament: “Scotland and Palestine” Building Friendship and Solidarity

“Scotland and Palestine: Building Friendship and Solidarity

Clive Hambidge

Organised by the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) and  the Council of European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) this vital seminar, which was held on the 17 November 2015, took on a more poignant atmosphere. Especially in light of the acts of violence perpetrated just days earlier where ‘seven coordinated attacks’ apparently from three hybrid ISIL groups brought France to the heart-stilling- reality of a collective human tragedy. Equally, the 12 November attack in Beirut Lebanon where  39 were killed in Bourj el Barajneh by two suicide bombers were the topics of concerned discussion outside Committee Room 9.

On 13 November 2015 toward the Stade de France, Petit-Cambodge, a Cambodian restaurant in Rue Bichat, a bar opposite le Carillon, Casa Nostra pizzeria in Rue de la Fontaine au Roi, La Belle Equipe bar in Rue de Charronne and in Boulevard Voltaire stalked death. It appeared in the form of black-clothed gunmen carrying AK-47s and suicide vests.  

Afterwards 129 souls lay dying, the promise of so many lives snuffed out as easily as one would snuff the golden flame of a candle, leaving darkness where moments earlier had been the pervasive moving light of human relationships alive to the charms of a Parisian evening.

Just one hour after the attacks at 10:30 pm local time “Plan Blanc,” the emergency response strategy of the Paris hospital authority, saw the flashing lights of ambulances carrying the schooled preparedness of paramedics rushing toward the dead and dying and those in a fight for that precious mystery called life.

Hundreds of wounded, violated by bullets and shrapnel, were arriving in Parisian hospitals. The severity of injuries, the mounting numbers of wounded added to teams of medics (with different skills working together with great urgency to treat injuries seen and locate injuries unseen). The magnitude of this night of carnage became clear; Phillippe Juvin the head of emergency services of Georges Pompidou hospital was quoted by The local 15th November as saying: “It felt like scenes from a war.”

Many injuries were caused by bullets to the thorax; and to understand the immense challenge that the medical staff and their patients faced this from Medscape: “Any organ within the chest is potentially susceptible to penetrating trauma, and each should be considered when evaluating a patient with thoracic injury. These organs include the chest wall; the lung and pleura; the tracheobronchial system, including the oesophagus, diaphragm, thoracic blood vessels, and thoracic duct; and the heart and mediastinal structures.”  

We understand then why so many skilled hands were at work that night as so many families prayed for their stricken loved ones or mourned the loss of daughters and sons. May they melt as snowflakes into the warm hands of their God.

Phillipe Juvin’s “it felt like scenes from a war” were transferred from the flickering screen of  a shocked human consciousness to the reality of State Power as for the third time since 1848, Francois Hollande addressing the upper and lower houses of parliament (the bicameral legislature of the French Republic) at Versailles said “France is at war.” Hollande also said France “will be merciless toward the barbarians of Islamic State group.”

With this statement I became instantly aware that the situation for the Syrians had just worsened, the crisis for the Palestinians deepened, the suffering for displaced refugees fleeing poverty, conflict, persecution, corruption, human trafficking and war across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) made ever more intolerable; and that Islamophobia throughout Europe and North America (and the implicate racism that pervades that destructive word with a particularly misplaced fear for ‘Islamic political force’) would ignite.

Islam was, is, and remains a peaceful expression of the love and mercy of Allah. Societal, political expression for Muslims, a “political force”, is their right and must be defended. For in that sphere of right influence lie the seeds for a deeper understanding of the Muslim faith and its inherent value system of the duty of compassionate-societal-care for others, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and non-violence, of which Judeo Christian faiths can learn much.   Pope Francis: “Christmas is approaching: there will be lights, parties, Christmas trees and nativity scenes … it’s all a charade. The world continues to go to war. The world has not chosen a peaceful path.”

The Muslim Council of Britain had placed, on the behalf of 300 mosques an advert across a swathe of British news papers. It expressed condolence, unequivocal condemnation of the “barbaric acts of Daesh” (ISIL). That Muslims had donated blood for the French victims, and “reaffirm[ed]…commitment to the value of pluralism and tolerance as the best defence against those who seek to create division and fear.”

This is a compassionate democratic right of Islamic expression of “political force” and that from a community under suspicion under surveillance, called upon by the British governments “Prevent strategy” to spy. This, according to Lindsey German of Stop the War Coalition in 2014 involv[ed] high levels of surveillance and the involvement of mosques and community organisations in controlling and monitoring young Muslims who might be thought to be under the influence of extremism” clearly this policy is failing, as the surveillance continues. 

We have seen that from 9/11 onwards British Muslims have witnessed UK and US led coalition of illegal military interventions into Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Successive labour and latterly liberal/conservative alliances and the now conservative majority have, in taking advice from the Department for International Development (DfID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have  looked historically to undertake and to ensure sustainable development in the MENA  by adapting policy to overcome the barriers of  ‘debt, HIV, conflict, governance, and trade barriers’ however as usual governmental policy has been at odds with advice from DfID and the FCO. Instead commercial venture to include profiteering in Iraq and the invidious national-self-interest has been linked increasingly with the “war on Terror.” Sound development and humanitarian principles to be worked through and with the institutions of the EU, UN and the World Bank, is adrift in a river of incompetence, and corruption, creating a sea of suffering.

Failed states or “weak states” are viewed as harbouring potential terrorists and therefore targets to attack. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, stated the obvious that “The use of force without the approval of the United Nations Security Council is a very grave violation of international law”.  “[U]nanimously adopting resolution 2249 (2015)” the UN Security “Council unequivocally condemned the terrorist attacks perpetrated by ISIL — also known as Da’esh — on 26 June in Sousse, on 10 October in Ankara, on 31 October over the Sinaï Peninsula, on 12 November in Beirut and on 13 November in Paris, among others.”

We have then a plan which will negatively affect all sovereign subjects in mainly Muslim populated countries and the resentment of law abiding Muslim communities who must be heard. For just as they condemn the “barbaric acts of Daesh” they are within their unapologetic democratic right to criticise a foreign policy that only increases the probability of young Muslims to become radicalised and perceived rightly or wrongly as the enemy within with no allegiance to their country of birth and therefore nationality, allied to Islamic State’s nihilist and brutal actions, they are then, as far removed from Muslim values as Israel’s brutal actions in the occupied PalestinianTerritories are from Judaism.

The war is on, warships afloat and war planes searing the skies over Syria thus the suffering of innocents is to increase exponentially. And the understanding of a deeply religious, conservative Middle East society to be silenced as the true jihad, the essence of Islam, peace, peace, peace, my brothers and sisters, peace, peace, peace. As-salaamu alaykum “Peace be upon you” for all, is again to be assaulted with the withering contempt of western powers with an all consuming self righteousness that will “rampage in the name of virtue.” (Noam Chomsky)  

The aforementioned seminar then, in my mind, was to be drawn into the contextual dynamic of the events in Paris and Beirut.

Committee room 9

One expected heightened security on arriving at the Houses of Parliament but it was the civil face of ‘democracy-as-usual’ as I passed through a relaxed security on my way to committee room 9.

Chaired by Tommy Sheppard, Scottish National Party (SNP) spokesperson, Cabinet Office and member of the recently formed SNP Friends of Palestine, the panel comprised H.H Prof. Manuel Hassassian Palestinian Ambassador to the UK, Andy Murray Director of SNP Friends of Palestine, and Karl Sabbagh Palestinian-British historian. Naturally, representatives of PRC and CEPR were to address the audience.

I remained cautious for this was an opportunity for the SNP to declare, in principle, a certain solidarity with Palestinians, and to politicise (though not necessarily cynically) questions arising in context of that relationship where historical similarities of The Nakba and the “Highland clearances” which now permeated Scottish claims to independence and return of land to Scottish ownership, thereby alarming certain commentators and bodies for and against such a move.

William Astor for The Spectator 23rd May 2015 asking plaintively “Are we estate owners now to be nationalised or made to feel so unwelcome that we have to sell up in a Mugabe-style land grab?” The Scottish Republican Socialist Movement (SRSM) quoted Marx: “in Scotland areas as large as German principalities are dealt with … by the peculiar from of property: under which the embezzled lands were held.” Further SRSM shared that aconcerted system of state terrorism imposed a revolutionary change onto the Highlands. The economy was reduced to colonial subordination.” Henry Hill writing in Conservative Home 3rd December 2014 mulled “there’s something slightly archaic about a political campaign for land reform. It smacks of such the great Irish political battles of the Nineteenth Century, or the Highland Clearances … “Who owns the land” is, courtesy of the SNP, once again one of the core issues upon which a 21st Century political party is campaigning.”

That the above being so, and the SNP being a nationalist movement, the SNP would naturally  seek national-political advantage through comparisons of oppression, though the fact of “forced displacement” through terror, land grabbing was/is prescient for questions on occupied Palestine.

The Highland Clearances or “Fuadach nan gaidheal Gaelic for “eviction of the Gael” took place between the 18th and 19th centuries, defined as  “an enforced simultaneous eviction of all families living in a given area such as an entire glen or “deep valley.” The evictions were brutal with no recourse under “Scots law” the cultural topography of the Clan System and Gaelic culture had thus been dealt a vicious blow. We find “In the early 21st century, more descendants of Highlanders are found in these Diaspora (Scottish Lowlands, North America, and Australasia) destinations than in Scotland.” (Wikipedia)

For the Palestinians we add from the above comparisons UN Resolution 194  the “right of return” as an inalienable right of Palestinian Diaspora where many refugees reside, generationally; in camps of squalid condition, many that inhabit those camps indeed 97% will not under any circumstance renounce that right.   UN Resolution 194 was adopted on December 11, 1948 however we know that, these are advisory resolutions and there must not be, “obligation or enforcement “of resolution 194.

The speakers and attendees found the international community response shameful, indeed my Freudian slipping pen wrote “sham-full.” And so we were taken through the plethora of UN resolutions against the actions of Israel in the occupied Palestinian Territories. Ambassador Hassassian finding sense between the afferent-efferent Scottish Palestinian relationship, suggested it could be a march to freedom,   yet Israel was “clinging to the geography [of Palestine] whilst getting rid of the demography” he listened to a recount of the history of Scotland and Palestine where both groups of peoples were seen at various times in history as “semi savages”. With his usual dignity, he asked rather implored the International community to “walk the walk” not just “talk the talk.”

Andy Murray the “lead” on SNP Friends of Palestine had persuaded 30 MPs of the standing 55 SNP MPs to be declared supporters for SNP Friends of Palestine. The MPs calling : “for an end to the Israeli occupation and withdrawal from and removal of all illegal Israeli settlements and support the Palestinian ‘Right of return’.” Murray himself had been stripped searched, and thrown unceremoniously into a cell whilst traversing Ben Gurion airport. This was an affront to democracy and would be a point of political developments to be discussed in Westminster and Scotland.

To put his hour long incarceration in perspective, Murray had earlier written: “We will highlight specific issues such as the continued construction of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine, the worsening treatment of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation, and a raft of brutal legislation passed recently by the Israeli Security Council which, for example, can condemn Palestinians to a minimum of 4 years in prison for simply throwing a stone.”

So with the Jeremy Corbyn tenure as leader of the labour opposition and his unequivocal support of Palestinian rights: “I am absolutely committed to a meaningful peace process between Israelis and Palestinians and that has to be one based on the 1967 borders.” The SNP can force questions on Israeli criminality to be addressed in the Houses of Commons in alliance with others concerned by the brutal occupation and British arms sales to Israel totalling 4 billion pounds.

With then the premise of international law collapsing around us and one SNP MP to suggest we are witnessing not just the ethnic cleansing of Palestine but genocide, the murmur that rippled around committee room confirmed once more that which we have always known. My mind threw up a statement by Recep Tayyip Erdogen in The Times of Israel July 17 2014 “Since (the creation of the state of Israel) in 1948 we have been witnessing this attempt at systematic genocide every day and every month,” he said. “But above all we are witnessing this attempt at systematic genocide every Ramadan.”  

Finding “ways and mechanism” to solidify this Scottish Palestinian relationship are to come, for in the West Bank and Gaza every day is a bad day as Israel tightens its apartheid, criminal noose around the innocent necks of so many Palestinians.

No matter and despite all assault Ramadan will remain the time when Muslims in their usual peaceful actions celebrate, commemorate, the blessed first revelation of the Quran, as their Islamic faith requires. In Palestine and all assaulted states across the MENA.

 

Clive Hambidge is Human Development at Facilitate Global. Clive can be contacted by email: clive.hambidge@facilitateglobal.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Committee room G

Clive Hambidge

houses-of-parliament

houses-of-parliament eyedea.org.uk

Sitting in Committee room G in the Houses of Parliament on 23rd October from 6 to 7 .30 pm was a sobering affair. While hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Conflict Issues and chaired by Lord Alderdice, the event’s speaker was Professor Padraig O’Malley who had recently published The Two State Delusion which the New York Times described as both “impressive and frustrating”. It is indeed impressive in its observations.

Clear that Israel’s occupation is brutal, O’Malley recounted that according to various sources “Israel has cut down more than 800,000 Palestinian olive trees since 1967”, which, O’Malley observes, is “the equivalent of razing all of the 24,000 trees in New York City’s Central Park 33 times.”

Israel has cut down many succeeding generations of Palestinians in limited but full bloom of their occupied lives and others with their tiny feet already preoccupied with death and suffering.

The topic for discussion was the possibility of a two state solution, though probably not a possibility; or, an Israeli controlled one state solution though probably not a possibility either. The so-called; peace process between two ‘warring’ neighbours (one side with many stones, the other with one of the most sophisticated militaries in the 21st century its weapons routinely tested on the Palestinian population) namely Israel-Palestine, has been in ill health since 1948 and is now in a deep coma.

The underwhelming analysis of the speaker was that the “tit-for tat” invidious deeds perpetrated by both sides lately were unhelpful and the mental health of both populations, particularly Israel was deteriorating. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on the rise, the historical anxiety of the Israeli population not for us to comprehend.

The West Bank is ailing, Gaza completely reliant on the UN and NGOs for aid has effectively no income and the life line of tunnels now flooded by the unenlightened Egyptian regime means this open air prison is in a desperate state. Pledges of monies from various donors have not materialised and it would take a generation to rebuild Gaza even if the pledges were expedited.

Hamas democratically elected would never be recognised by Israel and now that Isis has allegedly infiltrated the Gaza Strip another invasion of Gaza by Israel’s IDF is on the cards which would reduce Gaza to rubble: rubble on top of rubble then. One was reminded of the great Roman historian Tacitus’ statement when describing the Roman Empire “Brigands of the world, they create desolation and call it peace.” The desolation of the Gaza Strip is almost total, the deteriorating mental health of both citizens in Gaza and the West Bank negatively shaped by the Israeli occupation because of their morphology of violence.

As evidenced by the World Health organization (WHO) Report of 22 March to 1 April 2015: “scientific literature is unequivocal on the negative effects of adversity (e.g. trauma, loss, severe life stressors) on mental health and mental disorder (Dohrenwend, B.P. 1998; Kessler et al. 2010). The facets of the occupation … involve a sense of unpredictability and uncontrollability in daily life that have been shown to have a detrimental impact on mental health (Gallagher et al. 2014). Palestinians report experience of chronic humiliation during the occupation (Giacaman et al. 2007), with humiliation being shown to be associated with health (Giacaman et al. 2007) and mental health complaints (Kendleret al. 2003).” Professor O’malley reiterated this point of the intolerable and continuing humiliation as a matter of policy by Israel was clearly associated with mental health issues of many Palestinians, along with I would add with co-morbid physical complaints.

A considerable Hamas presence in the West Bank would not be tolerated by Israel we were told because if missiles were to find a snug bunker there, the Israeli defence system “Iron Dome” would be ineffective in intercepting missiles launched from such short range. I was fast developing PTSD symptoms listening to this stuff. Facts on the ground (meaning illegal settlement building) were, though I repeat illegal in occupied Palestine, to stay and the corpus-separatum that is Jerusalem would remain Israel’s capital even though the international community has its embassies and diplomatic corps in Tel Aviv the only internationally recognised capital of Israel. Hamas does have a small presence in the West Bank and seeks, according to credible sources, to aid West Bank inhabitants with medical supplies and other scarce resources.

Leadership on both sides has been reduced to (a requisite for national tempers and international consumption and condemnation) name calling, and politicking, on one beleaguered side, by the autocratic Abbas whose presidential mandate long expired and on the illegal occupying side the land-grabbing Netanyahu. The difference between the two is, one has subjugated and expanded the Jewish state at the cost of incalculable human suffering and loss, the other has been complicit in overseeing the dwindling territory of historical Palestine, human rights abuses and the complete loss of faith in the Palestinian Authority (PA) by the people and particularly the young of the West Bank.

The name professor O’Malley cited as a possible future Palestinian leader is the influential Marwan Barghouti.  Marwan Hasib Ibrahim Barghouti the prominent Palestinian political figure, recognised by many as the Palestinian Nelson Mandela was controversially convicted and imprisoned for murder by an Israeli court having been regarded as the leader behind the first and second intifada after becoming disillusioned with the now mythological peace process. He was arrested by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in 2002 in Ramallah. In truth  Barghouti would find himself between a rock and a hard place if he were ever allowed to leave prison, when according to the NYT he told Al-Monitor that “if the two-state solution fails, the substitute will not be a bi-national one-state ­solution, but a persistent conflict that extends based on an existential crisis – one that does not know any middle ground.”

Indeed O’Malley postulated that with the Israeli created “facts on the ground” it would probably take a regional war drawing the super powers in to direct confrontation that would, could, bring both sides to their senses and create conditions for a lasting peace. Lord Alderdice sadly suggested the geo-political conflict had begun in 2014. This can only worsen an already precarious existence for Palestinians. We were all aware that for the failed states, such as Iraq, Syria, Libya, the implosion was underway and a sea of human suffering was arriving on the shores of Europe if they were able to make such a journey fraught with numerous dangers.

So Let me be clear here, at least are facts from history not Israeli manipulated facts-on the ground. The 1948 Nakba saw the Israeli illegal land-grab where over 400 villages were overrun or disembowelled and 85% of the Palestinian population an estimated 750,000 became refugees as the establishment of an “Israeli homeland” later to become the declared Jewish (apartheid) State was procured by violence that continues to this day.

Jerusalem which according to the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine “was [and remains] a corpus separatum (separated body)” would because of its holy sites come under  UN General Assembly Resolution 181 providing in part that Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem … shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the evacuation of the armed forces of the mandatory Power has been completed but in any case not later than 1 October 1948″. This failed due to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Resolution 194 was to establish a “Conciliation Commission” to be inclusive of Resolution 181. This failed.  Further elaborations were to come but an Israeli fait accompli was to seal Palestinians’ fate when Ben-Gurion’s “Jewish Jerusalem” was to be seen as inseparable from the now State of Israel and corpus separatum untenable along with Resolution 181.  Israel had shown its clenched fist and was not to extend with any sincerity a hand of peace to the Palestinians then or now.

Because of the above and international community connivance and negligence, Palestinians have endured decades of persecution and an illegal occupation that has seen (to bring us up to date) during the right wing tenure of Netanyahu Benjamin an increase of illegal settlements numbering in the region of 100,000. The religiously fanatical, mostly armed occupants, routinely harass or murder their unsettled, upturned, Caterpillar bulldozed Palestinian neighbours and are encouraged to-do so by the right wing religiously fanatical Israelis.

One state or two who knows? But we of conscience must continue in our protestations over the brutal treatment of Palestinians since the Nakba of 1948.

We must in observing the truth recognise that we also stand in protective governance of our own senses and the moral, ethical, lawful actions that inform the world of the presence of justice, if only in our hearts and minds so by this virtue and in humility speak for those muted by horrific violence and persecution. A violent history as that of Israel cannot be consigned as past, as these unjust antecedents fester and metastasize into a nexus newly formed brigands. Willing to be obviated of criminality and expiated from sin whilst perpetrating some of the worst crimes against a defenceless people is not to be tolerated.

I finish with a quote by Howard Zinn from A peoples History of the United States 1492-present: “I don’t want to invent victories for peoples movement. But to think history-writing must aim simply to recapitulate the failures that dominate the past is to make historians collaborators in an endless cycle of defeat.”

Clive Hambidge is Human Development Director at Facilitate Global. Clive can be contacted by email: clive.hambidge@facilitateglobal.org

Aside

Resilience & Resistance
A Palestine Cause

Clive Hambidge & Soraya Boyd

Resilience
There are many definitions of resilience. One such is “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of threat.” In the face of Israeli persecution and contrary to international normative law, Palestinians have determinately developed to adapt and progress in recognition that resilience “is not a simple or static construct” but the human face of a conscious, ethnic, cultural, social, political, economic and spiritual project evolving in spite of Israel’s wilful belligerence. The focus of this determination, aside from endeavouring daily to lead as normal a life as possible whilst under the brutal yoke of the Israeli military rule, is nothing less than internationally recognised statehood for Palestine in 2017.

Few would argue the above is a substantial definition of resilience. To expand, in regard to the West Bank in general and Gaza in particular, testimonies passed down from generations of Palestinians attest to the acute suffering they have endured. The will to live and affirm one’s existence through such simple acts as tending lovingly to an ancestral olive grove, marrying, raising a family as enabled them to survive the longest and cruellest military occupation of modern times. They have not been found wanting. Collectively and individually they epitomise the very essence of resilience as practised daily under the most extreme of circumstances. The only thing that needs be said is that profound lessons in resilience, humility, simplicity and dignity can be learned from our fellow Palestinians.

Palestinian Statehood Bid
In 2014 a Palestinian statehood bid called for three things: firstly, Israel to withdraw from the occupied West Bank to include East Jerusalem; secondly, for the establishment of an independent State of Palestine within the 1967 borders by 31st December 2017 and thirdly for an end of Israeli occupation. The resolution got 8 votes. It was ultimately rejected by the UN Security Council because it was not able to meet the minimum requirement of nine ‘yes’ votes. The resolution which stressed the pressing need to reach “a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution” within a twelve month period would have passed had Nigeria, which abstained, voted in favour thus securing the required nine ‘yes’ votes to be adopted by the fifteen UNSC members. Did the US apply undue or covert pressure on Nigeria? This was certainly yet another missed opportunity.

Samantha Power, US Ambassador, stated “We voted against this resolution not because we are comfortable with the status quo. We voted against it because … peace must come from hard compromises that occur at the negotiating table.” Such is the view of the broken broker. Hard compromise? negotiating table? Whose compromise and which table?  No matter, we, in the international community, have a conscionable duty to support any and all political actions to establish this call for a 2017 internationally recognised Palestinian State.

Palestine Awareness Coalition | Building awareness in our ... palestineawarenesscoalition.wordpress.com

Palestine Awareness Coalition | Building awareness in our … palestineawarenesscoalition.wordpress.com

Vatican Treaty in recognition of Palestinian Statehood
In 2012, the Vatican recognised the ‘State of Palestine’ soon after the UN granted Palestine a ‘non-member observer status’. Causing a stir, the Vatican recently announced that a drawn up treaty which re-affirms the recognition of Palestinian Statehood is in the process of being finalised in Rome by a working group called the Bilateral Commission of the Holy See in association with the State of Palestine.

The treaty “deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine.” Unsurprisingly the treaty drew criticism from Israel, one official declaring “Such a development does not further the peace process and distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct bilateral negotiations.” Peace process? Sixty seven years of a protracted peace process with no end in sight! Bilateral negotiations? What about Israel’s decades long unilateral un-negotiated policy of land appropriation, house demolitions, arbitrary detentions, juvenile incarceration in military courts, continued illegal settlement building, and on and on, all this ever in plain sight for all to see to include pseudo leaders of the so-called international community.

The hyper vigilant David Horovitz of The Times of Israel thinks the Pope has not thought this one through saying “Even this philo-Semitic pope, this pope who cares about the Jews, even he doesn’t get it.” Well Mr Horovitz you may wish to reconsider. It is very likely that perhaps it could be you who doesn’t ‘get it’. A bit rich in light of Netanyahu’s statement. There will no Palestinian State under his watch. Take heed Ms Samantha Power: Israel has no intentions, neither has it never had any intentions to compromise or negotiate. Period. Simple research will confirm that former Israeli heads of state and other Israeli officials have all made it clear: there can never be a State of Palestine. Such simpe reseacrh will lead to readily available information. This information is in the public domain, and has been for a very long time. A visit to your Congressional library will provide much irrefutable evidence that a people lived, had lived, and were living in land with a people long before Israel created itself in the dead of the night on the back of murder and ethnic cleansing. Israel will never concede lest it be brought short and made to, particularly if leaders in the west were to enforce the letter of the law and especially the Geneva conventions in regard to ongoing war crimes for a start. Nonetheless, the momentum for a two state solution continues to grow exponentially. There will be a State of Palestine.

The European Eminent Persons Group on Middle East issues Letter (EEPG)
Over the last year the European Parliament as well as the UK, Republic of Ireland, Spain and France have all passed non-binding motions in favour of recognising a State of Palestine. Furthering the process, on Wednesday 13th May 2015, the Guardian published a letter from “A high-profile group of former European political leaders and diplomats” which was addressed to Federica Mogherini who is the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission. The letter was also sent to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union and was copied to Donald Tusk (President of the European Council), Jean Claude Junker (President of the European Council), Martin Shultz (President of the European Parliament), and John Kerry (US Secretary of State).

The published letter stated in part that “Mr Netanyahu expressed various views on Palestine in and around the recent election campaign, most of them cold to the concept of an independent Palestinian state. We are convinced in our own minds that he has little intention of negotiating seriously for a two state solution within the term of this incoming Israeli government. We also have low confidence that the US Government will be in a position to take a lead on fresh negotiations with the vigour and the impartiality that a two state outcome demands.” Straight forward. Spot on.

President Obama commitment to the Palestinian
In a wide ranging interview with the Pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awat, as reported by Mina Al-Oraibi, president Barack Obama said “I will never give up on the hope for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and the United States will never stop working to realize that goal. As I said when I visited Ramallah two years ago, Palestinians deserve an end to the occupation and the daily indignities that come with it; they deserve to live in an independent, sovereign state, where they can give their children a life of dignity and opportunity.” Well Mr President, is the price paid by generations of internally and externally displaced Palestinians not heavy or high enough? Palestinians are not responsible for the pogroms. Palestinians are not responsible for the persecutions. Palestinians are not responsible for the holocaust. These atrocious acts were all historically perpetrated by white, European, Christians. Conversely Arabs, Muslims offered sanctuary, refuge and protection as well as high office to generations of fleeing white, European, Jews. Why are Palestinians made to bear the full burden of righting historic wrongs for which they bear no responsibility? Arabs whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish lived harmoniously side by side in Palestine prior to Israel’s creation.

1967 Borders
A French resolution calls for the old 1949/1967 Jordanian armistice lines to be the basis for borders, as well as making parts of Jerusalem a Palestinian capital, in an attempt to find a “fair” solution for Palestinian refugees.” Tel Aviv is the official capital of Israel. Tel Aviv is where the embassies for the various nations of the world are located. Jerusalem whether in terms of the sum total of its cardinal parts or status under international law is and must not be altered. Israel’s forceful annexation has been rejected by a biding UNSCR252 (1968) re-affirmed with UNSCR 267 (1969) which provides that Jerusalem is in its entirety indeed an integral part of the oPTs of the West Bank, as stated below.
UNSCR 252:
“1. Reaffirms Resolution 252 (1968);
2. Deplores the failure of Israel to show any regards for the resolutions of the General Assembly and Security Council mentioned above;
3. Condemns in the strongest terms all measures taken to change the status of the city of Jerusalem;
4. Confirms that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel which purport to alter the status of Jerusalem, including expropriation of land and properties thereof are invalid and cannot change that status …
With minor changes, similar resolutions have been repeatedly and unanimously passed by the Security Council, albeit with occasional abstensions on the part of the United States. The norm is that the international community can be considered united regarding the legal status of Jerusalem. ”

When the UN General Assembly put forward a resolution GA/11317 which passed “overwhelmingly” to accord Palestine ‘Non-Member Observer State Status’ on the 29 November 2012,  Vuk Jeremić,  General Assembly President, said that in today’s interconnected world “what happens between the River Jordan and the shores of the Mediterranean have become the key to the security and well-being of [all] mankind.” Indeed since its creation, Israel has held the whole world to ransom. The problems which have beleaguered and continue to plague the world are intrinsically linked to the Israeli military occupation of Palestine as well as the ensuing military interventionism to balkanise the region in order to draw up a new map. In addition, the Balfour declaration was not a permission granting laisser faire but a mere statement expressing a favourable intent or sympathy. Nothing more. Nor was it was a legally binding document.

US support of Israel
Now it is more than time and more than lawful that Palestine is granted full statehood. It is further right that Israeli aggression and American connivance, as demonstrated by the US decades long provision of political, military, diplomatic, financial support to Israel, be put a stop to. Palestinians have suffered not just “indignities” since 1948 but have continued to suffer as a result of a cruel continuum which has led to the permanent process of ethnic cleansing of their native villages, home towns and cities as well as unnaturally causing separation from family members and loved ones living in other areas of Occupied Palestine. Israel continues to implement policies prohibited under international law. World leaders deplore or express concern. How about something stronger: embargoes, sanctions. Thank goodness civil society is making progress with BDS. And it is making a difference.

A modern Chronology of suffering
Marginalised and the victims of incessant Israeli bullying, generations of Palestinians have shown remarkably “divergent capacities to cope with the … risks and this, in turn, link[ing] to people’s experience of chronic versus transitory forms of poverty.” In addition and equally salient, “Chronic poverty (Israeli induced) [has] the cumulative impact of discrimination, risk, vulnerability and exclusion across an individual’s life cycle and between generations.”

Drawing on statistics from the World Health Organisation, the Electronic Intifada (EI) reported in 2006 “Interviews were held with 1008 Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. Of the Palestinians interviewed, 25.6 per cent consider their life quality as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, and more than 21.2 per cent suffer ‘a lot’ or ‘extremely’ from physical/bodily health problems that negatively influences their ability to function, as well as their life quality.” Unsurprisingly, “Overall, about one in four Palestinians report suffering ‘a lot’ or ‘extremely’ from psychological strain. The reasons for this suffering are more than apparent: 28.5 per cent reported a close relative killed or imprisoned; 52.5 per cent have to cross Israeli army checkpoints to pursue daily life activities, such as getting to work, school, university or services; 26.5 per cent in the West Bank live close to an Israeli settlement, with 80.8 per cent reporting being negatively affected. Almost 19.8 per cent live close to the wall, with 87.2 per cent feeling negatively affected.”

Ads Against Apartheid 'ONE WORD' ad campain launched in Boton - mondoweiss.net - Palestinian Children Series (Graphic AAA)

Ads Against Apartheid ‘ONE WORD’ ad campain launched in Boton – mondoweiss.net – Palestinian Children Series (Graphic AAA)

According to the Palestinian Association for human rights, “the IDF arrest[ed] Palestinian children on a regular basis. Israeli Police, Israeli army and Israeli Secret Service personnel conduct the arrest and interrogation of Palestinian children on a daily basis. The arrests and subsequent interrogations in detention centres operate in isolation of any transparent rules, procedure or laws giving Israeli military personnel wide powers during this phase.” Such is the behaviour of the only democracy in the Middle East!

A 2008 report from The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) stated “About 90 percent of water supplied to Gaza residents is not suitable for drinking according to WHO standards, due to [this] infiltration of seas water … 28% of illnesses in the Strip resulted from poor water quality, and conditions have only worsened since.“ The report goes on “40,000 or so newborn babies born this year (2008) are at immediate risk of nitrate poisoning; the incidence of “blue baby syndrome” (methaemoglobinaemia) is exceptionally high.” Further “the General Department of Pharmacy in Gaza reported that 104 essential drugs-including treatments for cancer, heart conditions, kidney disease and psychiatric disorders -and 123 types of medical supplies had run out due to the Israeli blockade and ongoing closure of the crossings.” This represents collective punishment, prohibited under the laws of war, of Palestinian citizens, particularly in Gaza.

On 30th December, 2008 of that same year, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) in the US issued a statement of condemnation based in law referencing the illegal bombardment of the Gaza Strip by Israel where they plummeted into new depths of depravity by bombing children as they left school premises. “The dead included, men, women and children in school uniforms.” We find in the laws of war the prohibition where, “collective punishment and the targeting of a civilian population disproportionate to military necessity.”

The WHO reported in 2011 that “deep poverty in the Gaza strip increasing: the occupied Palestinian territory poverty rate in 2010 was 25.7% (18.3% for the West Bank and 38. % for the Gaza Strip), but estimated at 42.5% without humanitarian assistance for households. Deep poverty increased in the Gaza-strip from 21.9% to 23. %.” Shocking figures!

The UNWRA Gaza Situation Report (7-14 April 2015 16 Issue no. 88)  published on 16 April 2015 stated in part that “UNRWA will serve all those who are assessed as eligible for food assistance; there is no maximum number of food aid beneficiaries. Currently almost 868,000 Palestine refugees depend on food aid from UNRWA – half of Gaza’s 1.76 million total population and 65 percent of the registered refugee population.”

Also in the same UNRWA Report, “Almost 2,700 more refugee families received support for home repairs or rental subsidies during this week. US$ 1.94 million in funding became available for UNRWA cash assistance for supporting home repairs of minor damages or transitional rental subsidies and will reach 2,698 families across the Gaza Strip this week. They will access the payments through local banks. These payments do not change the fact that only US$ 175 million has been pledged in support of UNRWA’s emergency shelter programme, for which a total of US$ 720 million is required. This leaves a current shortfall of US$ 545 million.”

Israel holds on to the belief that it has its IDF boots firmly on the necks of the Palestinians because of its military superiority. It does because it can. But military superiority is all it has. Israel is morally, ethically and spiritually deficient. None of the leaders of the international community has forced them to stop. Even through the harshness of the continually inflicted physical, psychological, social, economic stressors and the devastating effects of the chronic grind of daily poverty that so affects their mental and physiological health, Palestinians survive. They are resilient. They are resistant to Israeli propaganda and its tortuous occupation. Vulnerable as they are in the early years of their tender lives, children, who are constantly exposed to a multiplicity of stressors, the levels of which are extremely high, age very rapidly, their innocence denied and childhood  robbed by a violent military occupier.

Resistance
A definition of resistance “The refusal to accept or comply with something.” All people have a legal right to resist an occupier using all and any means available to do so. In regard to the case of Palestine’s struggle for self determination this is no different. Members of the resistance in occupied France used everything they could to liberate their country from the Nazis. Resistance is as resistance does, “resisting authority, especially in an occupied country.” In the case of the illegal occupier Israel, resistance can be defined as  exhibibing a reduced mental capacity to embrace or accept change.  This use of language neither addresses the collective pain of the Palestinians, nor the obdurate resistance of Israel to comply with international human rights law and the laws governing war Jus ad Bellum/Jus in Bello. Yet it, language, provides Palestinian supporters with a powerful tool based as rightly affirmed in international law.

Let us be absolutely clear Palestinians have the legal right indeed duty to resist as affirmed by the General Assembly Resolution 3246 (XXIX) of 29 November 1974:
3.Reaffirms, the legitimacy of the peoples’ struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination, alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle; …
4.7.[also] Strongly condemns all Governments which do not recognize the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the peoples of Africa and the Palestinian people;
Further: United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 of 29 November 1978:   “2. Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle;”

It is our duty to support the Palestinian struggle with all the peaceful means at our immediate disposal. Go to it. The bottom line is the internationally recognised fact that Israel has no legal case for its actions in the occupied territories.

Clive Hambidge is Human Development Director at Facilitate Global. Clive can be contacted by email: clive.hambidge@facilitateglobal.org

Soraya Boyd is CEO and Founder of Facilitate Global. Soraya can be contacted by email: soraya.boyd@facilitateglobal.org

Aside

Culture and Primary Health Care Under Military Occupation

Dr Ang Swee Chai, Eyewitness to the Sabra-Shatilla refugee camp … flickr.com

 

 The P21 Gallery and Facilitate Global invite to

 

 

Ang Swee Chai and Colin Green  in  conversation with Soraya Boyd

 

Professor Colin Green

Thursday 19th March 2015,  from 7 to 9pm
An evening in the company of Dr Ang Swee Chai and Professor
Colin Green. Our esteemed speakers will talk about their
respective discovery and experience of the richness, vibrancy and
dynamism permeating all areas of Palestinian life and culture
whilst campaigning tirelessly, volunteering their vital skills to
save the lives of many Palestinians, working dedicatedly in a
variety of operating theatres in very difficult circumstances
from Beirut to Gaza as well as teaching. Our prominent and
celebrated surgeons will take us on a profoundly transformative
and poignant journey of activism and awareness-raising in which
they will share their first-hand experience on the Israel Palestine
conflict, its impact on the Middle East and its wider relationship
to a global military matrix of control.

 

There are no admission charges. Attendance strictly conditional
on prior booking and confirmaton due to places being limited.

 

Registration: 6 to 6.30pm

 

To book your place and for more  information please email:  soraya.boyd@facilitateglobal.org

 

 

Clive Hambidge (c)

Palestine 48 Clive Hambidge (c)

About Facilitate Global:
W: www.facilitateglobal.org/new
E: soraya.boyd@facilitateglobal.org
T: Fac_Global
FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Facilitate-Global/256979387651116?fref=ts
FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/64459728936/?fref=ts

 

Aside

Palestine

Clive Hambidge and Soraya Boyd

Evocative
Palestine. Just to think of Palestine is evocative. From the lush orange orchards to the laden olive groves, many examples could be provided to confirm the fact that prior to the creation of Israel,  Palestinian society thrived in all areas of human endeavour.  The splendour of Jaffa was aptly captured in the photograph which appears below, renowned for its famed produce namely oranges which were exported to England as well as other destinations.

book before their diaspora is a visual journey into palestine before -  btd.palestine-studies.org

book before their diaspora is a visual journey into palestine before btd.palestine-studies.org

Debunking the myth, the first example, based on Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians, 1876-1948, a book by Walid Khalidi, depicting Palestinian life in all of its aspects, was commented upon by the French newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique which stated that Khalidi’s visual testimony unequivocally laid to rest the claim that there never was a land without a people for a people without a land. 1   That generations of Arab Palestinians had lived, were living and lived in a land with a people.

btd.palestine-studies.org

btd.palestine-studies.org

Numerous examples attest to the vibrant dynamism which prevailed in all areas of Palestinian society before 1948: from the celebrated poetry of Ahmad Hilmi Abdel Baqi or such distinguished cutting age advocates as Ihsan Abbas and Jabra Ibrahim Jabra advancing the case of the Modernist movement in the field of poetry; to the renouned Palestinian dramatist Jamil al-Bahri’s plays, with Jerusalem in the lead boasting well over thirty theatrical troupes; to the eminent translations of western literary oeuvres such as Amin Abu al-Shi’r ‘s Dante’s Divine Comedy (Inferno) or Anbara Salam Khalidi’s Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. From culture, the arts, literature, agriculture to a sustainable economy, a vibrant dynamism permeated all areas of Palestinian life and oversaw the very birthplace of the Arab Cinema Company Ltd in Haifa. Europe was not alone in its efforts to develop its fledging film industry, Bashar Ibrahim’s Palestinian Cinema in the 20th Century evidences the Palestinian cinematographic drive both prior to and after 1948 and in the 1990s. 2

From an agricultural perspective, let us take the village of Sirin which according to Ilan Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing Of Palestine  “was noted as a fine example of the collective system of land-sharing to which villagers adhered, dating back to the Ottoman period, and here had survived both the capitalization of the local agriculture and the Zionist drive for land. ”  Pappe adds “[Sirin] boasted three rich bustans (gardens with fruit trees) and olive groves, which spread out over 9000 cultivated dunam of land (out of 17,000) … Today, a cactus hedge surrounds the rubble that was Sirin. Jews never succeeded in repeating the success of the Palestinians in holding on to the tough soil in the valley …” 3

Biblical historiography appropriation
In the shadow of the impending catastrophe (Nakba), a deliberate tale to wilfully and violently eradicate an indigenous people was emerging. History for most and the violent Israeli narrative has been the formulation of a biblical historiography dominated by zionism constructed over time using vast financial resources to re-shape the actuality of Palestinian historical progress by ignoring it and destroying it.  The present eidetic imagery that is associated with Palestine is the violence raged upon its people and its land by a belligerent zionist Israel. Since 1948 it, Israel, has schemed, deceived and manipulated to obliterate Palestine of its people by all means and defile the land. The cold hungry child, the cold dead bodies of Palestinian children this is the stamp of Israel; the apartheid Wall its seal; the ink, Israel uses to write its fabricated history, the blood of generations of Palestinians.

Al Nakba | The Catastrophe | النكبة – occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com

Al Nakba | The Catastrophe | النكبة – occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com

From this

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to this

Palestinians gaza strip news photos operation protective edge israeli  -  rebloggy.com

Palestinians gaza strip news photos operation protective edge israeli – rebloggy.com

With those huge financial resources Israel can and does manipulate facts and history. Israel as it annexes more and more of historical Palestine invents and re-invents an Israelite morphological re-shaping of a history that doesn’t exist and never existed. All is a studied manipulation arising from an accumulative knowledge of Israel’s perceived superiority claimed from various archaeological artefacts found on Palestinian territory by prejudicial scholars. From this has developed the racist apartheid pariah state that is Israel today. It has invented itself. And now it persecutes millions and that is no invention.

The un-earthed narrative
Keith W. Whitelam writes : “The literary construct that is ‘ancient Israel’, which has obscured the history of ancient Palestine in the late Bronze and Iron Ages, will be allowed to achieve the same objective from later periods.”  Whitelam goes on: “The evolutionary scheme which has presupposed the replacement of Canaanite by Israelite culture has distracted from the aesthetic and cultural qualities exhibited in the rich deposits of ceramics, faience, glass, jewellery, etc, evidenced throughout Palestine”. Further adds Whitelam: “The discovery of female figurines and statuettes in the different levels at many Palestinian sites.” gives us a rich sense of fertility and rebirth in Palestine. Never empty, the only thing empty was has been Israel’s promises of peace as it murders and maims. To unearth is to reveal, to expose. The archaeology of the peace process has been exposed and continues to be exposed. It reveals the non-intention of Israel and America to conduct or hold meaningful dialogue for a peace or a legitimate land for the Palestinians. 4

Uprooted Palestinian: Commonly heard Zionist lies uprootedpalestinians.blogspot.com

Uprooted Palestinian: Commonly heard Zionist lies uprootedpalestinians.blogspot.com

Whitelam evokes an appreciation of the cultural and aesthetic minds that gave modelled form to any part of historical passage and reminds us why the Palestinians are still with us. And why Israel is not, but removed in a sort of artificial intelligence (AI), anchored in its barbarity and increasingly its mechanised warmongering cruelty. Israel’s ‘finds’ help to create a normative (though false) history of cultural spirals and scholarship so rarefied as to consign Palestine to some sort of historical intellectual rubbish dump. Nothing could be further from the truth. We discover from Whitelam in that small paragraph the sensitivity and creativity of a still vital and present people. And why they survive decades of on-going attempts of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Zionism tweets06 2014 www.livingislam.org

Zionism tweets06 2014 www.livingislam.org

skeptics.stackexchange.com

skeptics.stackexchange.com

Contemporary narrative
Now, in modern times, in reading Edward W. Said’s book The End of The Peace Process we realised that civilisation is an admixture of historical layers from different lands, time- in -‘flux’ moving as we write ‘mixed,’ ‘hybrid.’  That somehow the West has ingrained unto itself, its civilisation, its culture by itself. That, the West had/has no discernible context where different cultures have not collided, “clashed” with the West but have given, not always freely, but have given and that giving accepted willingly or not, because more often than not, this ‘giving’ has perniciously coincided with being taken.  So “Nothing could be more fruitless than seeing the West as somehow standing apart and above from the civilizations of Africa, Islam, India, and Latin America. True, there are specific ideological attempts to pretend that some pre-existing essence defines culture once and for all, but that is ideology, not history or the serious interpretation.” 5

In Blaming The Victims we find “The present situation of the Palestinian people then is fundamental and seriously anomalous. The Palestinians have all the attributes of nationhood – a common history, language, and set of traditions, a national culture, national institutions, a national representative,” the Israelis just won’t recognise this, and the international community with numerous laws and UN resolutions against Israel  do-a-Chamberlain and do nothing but appease. 6

If we return for a moment to what Edward Said had to say we find the nub of the Israeli Palestinian tragedy. Israel wants to see itself apart a Jewish Nation and separate. Problem is besides it being ideologically not feasible, Israel has Semitic neighbours which it wants to go away, disappear. They haven’t, and, the world won’t allow it, neither the law. So Israel bombs, maims, withholds wages, taxes, persecutes every minute of every day every Palestinian in some way.
Apparently the 2007 report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on the OPT Control and Oppression of the Palestinians by Israel gave rise according to Kathleen and Bill Christison to a “powerful rumour that Tony Blair “having took on the role of special international representative in the occupied territories in mid 2007, left a briefing prepared for him ashen-faced and in shock.” 7

It’s bad, it’s worse, it’s criminal. According to Robert Fisk we see how cop out was decades long, anti-Semitism the card played “It was quite acceptable for Israel’s supporters to raise family issues of family or national origin if others criticized its actions. When, for example, the UN General Secretary Boutros Boutros Ghali , instructed his military advisor Dutch Major General Franklin Van Kappen, to conduct an investigation into the Israeli massacre of 106 Lebanese refugees at the UN base at Qana in southern Lebanon in 1996, a pro–Israeli newspaper condemned the decision on the grounds that Van Kappen came from a country which had surrendered its Jews to the Nazis in the Second World War. Yet when AIPAC’s former prominent staff member was appointed America’s top negotiator, no questions were asked.” 8   All the while children died, Palestinian land stolen, their sacred olive trees uprooted and their homes bulldozed by American Caterpillar machines, elderly Palestinian mothers ridiculed and molested by settlers as Israeli bombs rained down the core of Israel’s boundless brutality.

The truth writ-large
Many of our elected officials have claimed and continue to claim to not know, that they are ill informed about the Israeli Palestinian conflict. They have had more than enough time to inform themselves. In the main most concerned people who stand on the right side of history have taken the time to inform themselves and visit Palestine.  Many politicians have also been to the OPT s, attended numerous events/workshops/conferences organised by various local and international ngos, met with Palestinians,  heard firsthand accounts, wrote and published official reports. Yet in spite of this and in spite of the fact that many formal records of historical zionist colonialists’ statements have been in the public domain for decades on end in pain sight for all to see, still many political figures sit on the fence. Are our elected officials disingenuous, woefully ignorant, perhaps naive, simply incompetent or deliberately towing the line under considerable pressure from the zionist lobby?

Examples of ideological zionism:
– Ben Gurion’s words: “In defiance of all restrictions, immigration will continue and increase; pioneering will go on despite all obstacles”. He also stated “I believe in miracles” and so have every leaders (so-called) since…
“A song [was] written in Hebrew was accepted as the national anthem of a century which did not exist and would not for another half-century. But, most important of all, this body of world Jewry dared to state openly, for everyone to hear, that its aim was to bring into existence ‘a publicly recognized and legally secured Jewish home in Palestine.” 9
– “The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more”…. Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time – August 28, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000
– ” [The Palestinians are] beasts walking on two legs.” Menahim Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, “Begin and the Beasts”. New Statesman, 25 June 1982.
– “The Palestinians” would be crushed like grasshoppers … heads smashed against the boulders and walls.” ” Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988
– “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.” Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, New York Times, 14 April 1983.
– “How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to.” Golda Maier, March 8, 1969.
– “There was no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed.” Golda Maier Israeli Prime Minister June 15, 1969
– “The thesis that the danger of genocide was hanging over us in June 1967 and that Israel was fighting for its physical existence is only bluff, which was born and developed after the war.” Israeli General Matityahu Peled, Ha’aretz, 19 March 1972.
– David Ben Gurion (the first Israeli Prime Minister): “If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti – Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?” Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), pp121.
– Ben Gurion also warned in 1948 : “We must do everything to insure they ( the Palestinians) never do return.” Assuring his fellow Zionists that Palestinians will never come back to their homes. “The old will die and the young will forget.”
– “We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves.” Chairman Heilbrun of the Committee for the Re-election of General Shlomo Lahat, the mayor of Tel Aviv, October 1983.
– “Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.” – Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001, to Shimon Peres, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio. (Certainly the FBI’s cover-up of the Israeli spy ring/phone tap scandal suggests that Mr. Sharon may not have been joking.)
– “We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel… Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours.” Rafael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces – Gad Becker, Yediot Ahronot 13 April 1983, New York Times 14 April 1983.
– “We must do everything to ensure they [the Palestinian refugees] never do return” David Ben-Gurion, in his diary, 18 July 1948, quoted in Michael Bar Zohar’s Ben-Gurion: the Armed Prophet, Prentice-Hall, 1967, p. 157.
– ” … we should prepare to go over to the offensive with the aim of smashing Lebanon, Trans-jordan and Syria… The weak point in the Arab coalition is Lebanon [for] the Moslem regime is artificial and easy to undermine. A Christian state should be established… When we smash the [Arab] Legions strength and bomb Amman, we will eliminate Transjordan, too, and then Syria will fall. If Egypt still dares to fight on, we shall bomb Port Said, Alexandria, and Cairo.” ” David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.
– “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.” Israel Koenig, “The Koenig Memorandum”
– “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.” Moshe Dayan, address to the Technion, Haifa, reported in Haaretz, April 4, 1969.
– “We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question, What is to be done with the Palestinian population?’ Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said ‘Drive them out!'” Yitzhak Rabin, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979.
– Rabin’s description of the conquest of Lydda, after the completion of Plan Dalet. “We shall reduce the Arab population to a community of woodcutters and waiters” Uri Lubrani, PM Ben-Gurion’s special adviser on Arab Affairs, 1960. From “The Arabs in Israel” by Sabri Jiryas.
– “There are some who believe that the non-Jewish population, even in a high percentage, within our borders will be more effectively under our surveillance; and there are some who believe the contrary, i.e., that it is easier to carry out surveillance over the activities of a neighbor than over those of a tenant. [I] tend to support the latter view and have an additional argument:…the need to sustain the character of the state which will henceforth be Jewish…with a non-Jewish minority limited to 15 percent. I had already reached this fundamental position as early as 1940 [and] it is entered in my diary.” Joseph Weitz, head of the Jewish Agency’s Colonization Department. From Israel: an Apartheid State by Uri Davis, p.5.
– “Everybody has to move, run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements because everything we take now will stay ours… Everything we don’t grab will go to them.” Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of militants from the extreme right-wing Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.
– “It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism,colonialization or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.” Yoram Bar Porath, Yediot Aahronot, of 14 July 1972.
– “Spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it employment… Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.” Theodore Herzl, founder of the World Zionist Organization, speaking of the Arabs of Palestine,Complete Diaries, June 12, 1895 entry.
– “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.” — Rabbi Yaacov Perrin, Feb. 27, 1994 [Source: N.Y. Times, Feb. 28, 1994, p. 1] 10

There you have it the words condemn and the actions betray Israel. Unless the world works on collectively condemning Israel, Palestinian suffering and betrayal by the international law makers continue.

Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians 1876 -  pinterest.com

Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians 1876 – pinterest.com

1 Walid Khalidi, Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians, 1876-1948, 1984, available at http://btd.palestine-studies.org, also see http://btd.palestine-studies.org/content/about-book-author

2 Bashar Ibrahim, Palestinian Cinema in the 20th Century, available at http://www.albawaba.com/entertainment/palestinian-cinema-depicts-people%E2%80%99s-long-struggle. More on the history of Palestinian cinematography see https://mubi.com/lists/they-do-not-exist-palestine

3 Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Oneworld: Oxford, 2006, pp105-106

4 Keith W. Whitelam, The Invention Of Ancient Israel. The silencing of Palestinian history, Routledge: London, New York., first published 1996, p233

5 Edward W. Said, The End Of The Peace Process, Revised and Updated Edition, Granta Books: London, first published 2000., p141

6  Edited by Christopher Hitchen and Edward Said, Blaming The Victims, Verso: London, New York, 1988, p290

7 Kathleen and Bill Christison, Palestine in Pieces. Graphic perspectives on the Israeli occupation, Pluto Press: London, New York, 2009, p31

8 Robert Fisk, the great War For Civilization. The conquest of the Middle East, Harper Perennial: London, New York, Toronto, Sydney, 2000, p539

9 Robert St John, Ben Gurion, Jarrolds: London, Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Bombay, Toronto, Johannesburg, New York, first published 1959, p73, p124

10 Source: http://whatreallyhappened.com/search/node/Israeli%20General%20Matityahu%20Peled#axzz3P7IbrB1Y

Clive Hambidge is Human Development Director at Facilitate Global. Clive can be contacted at clive.hambidge@facilitateglobal.org

Soraya Boyd is CEO and Founder of Facilitate Global and can be contacted by email soraya.boyd@facilitateglobal.org

 

Aside

The Israeli Connection

Clive Hambidge and Soraya Boyd

Supremacists in arms
When one thinks of Israel today, one immediately thinks of a chain of inseparable  words:  impunity, immunity and deception; a bleak tableau which gives rise to an acrid blue sky laden with ideological chemtrails. No matter the attempt to quiet a synaptic leap across a neuronal cleft Israel, and the word belligerence crosses a very contused cleft, flashes the brain like a neon light infused with violence which Israel has perpetrates and continues to perpetrate. As this heavily militarised state emanates from its core hatred for all that is humane, all that is human, and all that is tender and open, it becomes the uber incineration plant of love.

Wall Street Journal | algebraworksblog algebraworksblog.wordpress.com

Wall Street Journal | algebraworksblog algebraworksblog.wordpress.com

Israel is not alone in this assumed “supremacist” attitude. The U.S, Israel’s partner in war crimes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), has the stars and stripes draped all over death, and, all over the region over which it spreads its darkly shroud arrogantly misusing power simply because it can -overshadowed however by would-be zionist ambition for greater power. Ambition not steeped in the sacred balm of a loving Judaism but rather an uncompromisingly brutal political and diametrically opposed contender: naked  zionism. Combining Christian zionism to zionism per se is  lethal. Nonetheless non fundamentalist Christians do embrace as do Jews the respective tenets of their faith. Why? Because they love as others of other faiths love. Beware fundamentalists of all shades “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” (Proverbs 10:12)

Institutional racism
A letter by Alan Vaughan concerns a Matthew Taylor commentary made on January 1st in the i Newspaper, rightly though unwittingly, gives us the simple answer. Vaughan writes “Matthew Taylor is right to raise alarm about faith schools “Free and faith schools are blamed for breeding social and racial segregation.” This not the preserve of UK schools, echoes of South Africa’s apartheid education system reflected in zionist segregation in schools? Well this certainly does pertain to Israel. As correctly stated Vaughan: “All students need to be taught about different religions because they exist.” Importantly, Israel must equally recognise other religions and a “humanism” that embraces all that is good instead of propagating all that is of hate, because it exists. Similarly in purveying an inherently  distorted representation of Palestinians, at the core of the Israeli education curriculum, Israel is enforcing, producing, reproducing and maintaining a process of segregation. Nurit Peled-Elhanan’s Palestine in Israeli Schoolbooks – Ideology and Propanganda in Education evidences such a distortion which does create a fertile context for sowing seeds of hatred and fear of the perceived other.  It is then not surprising that “As of 2013, Israel had been condemned in 45 resolutions by the United Nations Human Rights Council since its creation in 2006—the Council had resolved almost more resolutions condemning Israel than on the rest of the world combined. The 45 resolutions comprised almost half (45.9%) of all country-specific resolutions passed by the Council. ” (UN)

Paul Wilkinson discusses in  his book The New Fascists Israel’s absolute intention: violence and extremism with at the time 30,000 Mossad indoctrinates spying on its own people mostly Arab Jews reflecting the realities of present apartheid and fascism that has gripped and continue to grip Israel today. Wilkinson goes on to remind us that “in 1981 a tiny extremist party, Kash, inserted a full–page advertisement in every major Israeli newspaper, advocating the expulsion of all Arabs from Israel as a ‘stage’ in the establishment of a ‘Greater Israel’ … We shall propose a law which will punish every non – Jew who has sexual relations with a Jewish woman with five years imprisonment.” Of course back in the 1980s most Israelis regarded this rightly as barmey. However as Wilkinson stated back then “no culture or political system is immune from the dangers of a fascist mentality, not even the people who have suffered from the barbarity of fascism” and this has been consistently levelled at Israel by individuals of integrity and moral conviction. It was true then and it  is now.

Law of return
Basheer Al Zoughbi captures the overall aim of the law of return “The Israeli state’s establishment hinged upon the ideology of having an absolute dominant Jewish population over the Palestinian population since the Jewish people and government would not have accepted the notion that the Jewish population would end up being a minority in their own state. The objective and the end goal of having a Jewish demographical predominance over the Palestinian population can be proved by the means and actions of deporting Palestinian people, making them refugees, internally displaced and forcibly transfer them. These means and actions were supplemented by enacting subsequent legislations i.e the law of return (1950).”    Furthermore “Israeli nationality law defines the terms by which a person can be granted citizenship of Israel. It also deals with the Right of Return for Jewish Diaspora. In general, Israel’s nationality follows as the primary mechanism through which a person may obtain citizenship, rather than nationality … It is Jus sanguinis that is a rule that a child’s citizenship is determined by its parents’ citizenship which must be of Israel. Jus soli the right of anyone born in the territory of a state to nationality or citizenship …. The law of Return grants all Jews the right to immigrate to Israel and almost automatic Israeli citizenship upon arrival in Israel. In the 1970s the Law of Return was expanded to grant the same rights to the spouse of a Jew, the children of a Jew and their spouses, and the grandchildren of a Jew and their spouses, provided that the Jew did not practice a religion other than Judaism willingly.” (Wikipedia). There is no right of return for internally displaced Palestinians, neither is there a right of retunr for Palestinian disapora.

Israel has always been against true integration. Those practising other chosen forms of religious practices suffer discrimination and intimidation. It is an apartheid, fascist aligned state. In Israel there is no separation between religion and state. Moreover, Noam Chomsky (Fateful Triangle) posits that “The state of Israel, as the courts have determined, is not the state of the citizens. Rather, it is “the sovereign state of the Jewish people,” where “the Jewish people consist not only of the people residing in Israel but also Jews in the Diaspora.” Thus, “there is no Israeli nation apart from the Jewish people,” in this sense. Almost 1/6 of the state of Israel are not Jews.” Many powerful Jews who live in the U.S and elsewhere are zionists, who may not care to see much about the cohesion of a so-called democratic Jewish state, care more about expanding control through the territorial entity called Israel in ongoing endeavours to firm up the consolidation of a matrix of control over the region’s petroleum and gas reserves, thus securing a powerful geo-political advantage. If this were not the case, they would look to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and elsewhere.

Some are more equal
As articulated by Basheer Al Zoughbi “The fact that other ethnic, religious and /or linguistic minorities continue to live in such states or other states in general must not be prejudiced by any religious imputation of such states and from an international law point of view, minority rights must be guaranteed. Article 27 in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provides that “In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language.”

American and Israel share a special bond. izquotes.com

American and Israel share a special bond. izquotes.com

Further, Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle Chapter Four titled ‘Israel and Palestine; Historical Background’, evidences Israeli racism writ large “Despite extensive pressures to compel immigration to Israel, most, particularly from European Russia [who] now prefer immigration to the U.S. Another relevant case is that of the Ethiopian Jews (Falashas), who have been subject to savage persecution with little attempt on Israel’s part to do anything for them or to “gather them in” . They are of course Black; also, Israel had close relations with Ethiopia through much of the of the worst period of [their] persecution. For some recent comment, see Simcha Jacobovici, alleging that “for at least six years all major Jewish organizations, uncharacteristically adhering to Israel’s line on a Diaspora matter, have suppressed information about the Falashas’s plight to undertake major initiatives to save them,” in sharp contrast to Russian Jews.”

Unsurprisingly, “Israel’s status as a representative democracy has been questioned as Jewish residents of the occupied territories are allowed to vote in Israel’s elections while Arab residents are not.” Consequently and rightly so “In 2000, Nur Masalha characterized Israel’s occupation of Palestine territories as comparable to the Nazi lebensraum (living space) policy of gaining land and materials for the benefit of Germans” while “In 2009, British Member of Parliament Gerald Kaufman suggested that an Israeli justification for the deaths of 1,000 Palestinians on the grounds that “500 of them were militants” represented “the reply of a Nazi”, and that the same logic could have been applied in the Warsaw Ghetto.”  In addition, George Soros remarked “I do believe that attitudes toward Israel are influenced by Israel’s policies, and attitudes toward the Jewish community are influenced by the pro-Israel lobby’s success in suppressing divergent views.” Of course many Israeli Jews whine whilst slaughtering Palestinians: the “whole world is against us.” Israel you will do well to start treating Palestinians with a far greater degree of humanity. Palestinians have a right to challenge this protracted status-quo. Palestinians have a right to self determine as enshrined in international law. Israel stop incarcerating children in Israeli prisons. Stop using military courts to procesute juveniles. Stop  torturing them as policy, not because they have done anything wrong but because you want to destroy then psychologically or turn them into informers against their own.

Diplomacy and double speak
Against all acceptable norms of decency and common sense, “The Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs seeks to explain government policies and promote Israel in the face of what they consider negative press about Israel around the world – the current campaign is called Masbirim.” Stuff Masbirim. Does Israel think that conscionable individuals, that the whole good hearted and thinking world does not know of the treatment handed out to the children of Gaza, the strangulation of economic growth? Are we fools to think Israel is sincere in its half hearted attempts to reconcile with their legitimate Semitic neighbours? Or that Palestine had been an empty land in the early part of the 20th Century. No we are not. This myth has been brilliantly “dissembled” by Norman Finkelstein as nonsense, Ilan Pappe’s Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Noam Chomsky and many other realists.

The cleansing of Abu Ghosh
Other examples could have been employed, one will suffice. “The villagers of Abu Ghosh had first been expelled in 1948, but the bulk of the inhabitants “infiltrated” back home in the following months and years. In the second half of 1949, the IDF and police started to descend on Abu Ghosh in a series of more or less brutal search-and-expel operations, where they rounded up the most recent “infiltrators” and pushed them over the border into Jordan … Following one such round-up, in early 1950, the inhabitants of Abu Gosh sent off an “open letter”, to members and journalists, writing that the Israeli’s had repeatedly “”surrounded our village, and taken our women, children and old folk, and thrown them over the border and into the Desert, and many of them died in consequence, when they were shot [trying to make their way back across] the borders”. (Wikipedia) Just one example among many many other ethincally cleansed villages.

Greater Israel
The Plan that ever was. “The promised land according to Michel Chossudovsky Editor of Global Research, “The Zionist project supports the Jewish settlement movement. More broadly it involves a policy of excluding Palestinians from Palestine leading to the eventual annexation of both the West Bank and Gaza to the State of Israel. Greater Israel would create a number of proxy States. It would include parts of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the Sinai, as well as parts of Iraq and Saudi Arabia.”

To justify the pursuit of the intended goal, Israel lays claim to biblical references “The Bible contains three geographical definitions of the land of Israel. The first, found in Genesis 15:18-21, seems to define the land that was given to all of the children of Abraham, including Ishmael, Zimran, Jokshan, Midian, etc. It describes a large territory, “from the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates”, comprising all of modern-day Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq, as well as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Oman, Yemen, most of Turkey, and all the land east of the Nile river. The other definitions are found in Deuteronomy 11:24, Deuteronomy 1:7,Numbers 34:1-15 and, Ezekiel 47:13-20. They describe smaller territories … The definition in Numbers and Ezekiel refers to the land that was divided between the original twelve tribes of Israel after they were delivered from Egypt, and finally, the borders defined in the book of Deuteronomy are those that will be given to the children of Israel slowly throughout the years.” Only Israeli extremists and a growing religious far–right and those with a skewed political agenda use/believe these words from another age and interpretation for their own ends. However as recently pointed out by the Presbyterian Church   “Please note in using these texts that the biblical and liturgical ‘land of Israel’ is not the same as the State of Israel established in 1948, which is a contemporary nation state. The Bible contains differing descriptions of the parameters of Israel. Promises of land generally come with obligations to God for justice to be practiced with all inhabitants.” [our emphasis] Ancients tribal Israelites are not to be equated with present day Israelis.

Opportunity in extremism
Netanyahu sees opportunity in extremism “bringing down countries … that [are] being seized by Islamic extremism. It is bringing down countries, many countries. It is knocking on our door, in the north and south.” If Islamic extremism under the cloak of political Islam is knocking on many doors what of Christian fundamentalism allied to zionism? Does Israel’s own extremism not mean it can now defend and go on the offensive with a view to take control of other countries and thereby their resources? A Greater Israel, the beginning? Israel today has a cruel leader with limitless ambitions and the U.S may hold back the tide of Israel’s rise in power and territorial expansion for a while but Israel is militarily powerful. It does also have nuclear warheads. It is clearly not incidental then that Israel has submarines armed with nuclear weapons skulking the deep oceans of every major sovereign nations’ coasts including America.

Israel–United States relations - Wikipedia - en.wikipedia.org

Israel–United States relations – Wikipedia – en.wikipedia.org

Israel Belligerent Nuclear State
The “Weizmann Institute of Science” actively supported nuclear research by 1949, with Dr. Bergmann heading the chemistry division. Promising students went overseas to study nuclear engineering and physics at Israeli government expense. Israel secretly founded its own Atomic Energy Commission in 1952 and placed it under the control of the Defence Ministry. The foundations a nuclear program was beginning to develop. We find in 1996 the Israeli diplomatic persuasive lobby sought and was [rightly] refused their perceived need for nuclear weapons.”

Too little too late, in 2004 the Arab governments always on the back foot called for a “nuclear free Middle East.” The race was on. Kissinger in a “Sanitized declassified document” a “Memorandum for the President” [Nixon] said “We (Packard, Richardson, Helms, Wheeler, Kissinger) judge that the introduction of nuclear weapons into the Near East would increases the in an already dangerous situation and therefore not be in our interest.” France was complicit: Kissinger “Israel has 12 surface to air missiles delivered from France. It [Israel] has set up a production line and plans by the end of 1970 to have a total force of 24-30, ten of which are programmed for nuclear war heads.” Further, went on Kissinger: “Everyone agreed that, as a minimum, we [America] want Israel to sign the NPT (Non-proliferation Treaty). This is not because signing will make any difference in Israel’s actual nuclear programme because Israel could produce warheads clandestinely. Israelis signature would, however, give us a publicly feasible issue to raise, with the Israeli government … a way of opening the discussion. It would also publicly commit Israel not to acquire nuclear weapons”.

So we have this public relations exercise by Kissinger, for which he was famed; that would somehow contribute to stopping Israel becoming the most dangerous country in the Middle East and as one of the most duplicitous nations in the world producing nuclear weapons . Dream on. This will prove to be America’s worst “American dream.” Who in their right diplomatic mind would stop Israel from developing nuclear weapons by providing the aircraft that could deliver them? Kissinger: “the “signed” contract for the Phantom aircraft was made only because Israel agreed “not to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East”, Concluding that “Everyone agreed that, in addition, we should try to get from Israel a bilateral understanding on Israel’s nuclear intentions because the NPT is not precise enough and because the phantom aircraft are potential nuclear weapons carriers”. So Israel has nuclear warheads and continues to oppress and experiment with new weapons in Gaza. Still now America defends Israel’s actions and supplies money for the carnage. Now Israel will expand and threaten, later occupy and torture. It’s what they do. They are good at “going wild”. Damningly, states the Congressional Research Service Report (CRSR) of 16th September 2010 U.S Foreign Aid to Israel reported, “Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance.” The Bush Administration unsurprisingly sanctioned an increase of 6 billion dollars in U.S military assistance to Israel in August 2007. And the Obama Administration, also unsurprisingly, responded to the Bush Neo Con reverberation by requesting $3 billion U.S in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to Israel for fiscal year of 2011.” So, add those figures in your moral mind space to this cumulative ‘conservative estimate’ given by the U.S ngo ‘If Americans Knew’ of “total direct aid to Israel [1949 to 2008] of $113. 8554 Billion, massive by any standards, as are Israeli ambitions.”

Why? Why Not
Decades of Israeli murder and mayhem began with a trade loan in 1949 of $100.000 from the US. God only knows when and how it will end. Today the billions of US taxpayers dollars that pour through the ‘aid funnel’ are used to buy arms and equipment such as caterpillar bulldozers made in the U.S; indeed a stipulation by the U.S is that Israel uses “75% of its military aid from the U.S. funnels this money to more than 1,000 U.S arms suppliers, which in turn lobby for policies that benefit them at the expense of peace in the Middle East.” Whereas all other nations receive theirs in increments, Israel remains the only nation to receive US aid in one lump sum.

Moshe Dayan Quotes - Meetville meetville.com

Moshe Dayan Quotes – Meetville meetville.com

According to the CRSR, by giving unconditional aid to Israel, America seeks to and “maintains … [Israel’s] qualitative military edge over potential threats, and prevent[s] a shift in the security balance of the region.” in fact that aggressive ‘military edge’ keeps Palestinians locked down in interminable suffering and the region a tinderbox. And make no mistake the ‘qualitative military edge’ is not for Israel but for The United States of America and its continued hegemonic ambitions through its proxy, Israel. However the cutting edge moves and is being sharpened and used by Israel: cuts both ways. U.S blood money was/is for “a militarized Israel that will serve the U.S. interest of controlling the Petroleum reserves of the Middle East … policy debate in elite circles takes for granted, on all sides, the goal of maintaining U.S. control over Middle East petroleum resources and the flow of petrodollars.” (Chomsky, Fateful Triangle). If we take a sordid trip down Israel’s blood soaked memory lane we find U.S Aid increasing in direct proportion to Israel’s military aggression, perceived success therefore usefulness to American interests. Israel’s continuum is vital for American control over the oil reserves of the region.

The cost to Palestine
As observed “On Monday, Arab leaders backed a proposed UN Security Council resolution placing a 2017 deadline on the creation of a Palestinian State and the end of Israel’s decade’s long illegal occupation. Israel responded by threatening immediate war with any such state”. However, “Despite persistent claims from Israel and the US that the sole barrier to peace is the refusal of Palestinians to accept a two-state solution, yet in reality, both states continually block any move towards such a solution. Israel’s 44 year-old occupation means control: control of Palestinian land, airspace, sea and territorial borders. It has also meant control over trade, natural resources, and economic potential, which have been monopolized by Israel, to the detriment of Palestine’s economy. In 2011, the Palestine National Authority produced, for the first time, a study that calculates the quantifiable cost of Israel’s continued military occupation of the Palestinian Territory. The study revealed that in 2010, Israeli occupation cost to the Palestinian economy amounted to 6.897 billion USD, a staggering 93.3% of the total Palestinian GDP that year.” No end in sight because Israel does not want any form of peace but American backed control of the entire Middle East and North Africa.

In its 2010 ‘Building a Political Firewall Against Israel’s Delegitimization’, the Tel Aviv based Reut Institute speculated that ‘the Jewish world is growing more distant from Israel’ because ‘a growing number of Jews do not have enough historical knowledge’. In terms of “historical knowledge”, Norman Finkelstein argues that “at least in the case of the US – the reverse is true: namely, that a growing section of the disproportionately liberal US Jewish public (only African-Americans have voted Democratic and self-identified as liberals in greater numbers) now knows too much about the realities of the Israeli-Palestine conflict to lend Israel its blind support. ‘A young, liberal and idealistic Jew does not want to have to defend flooding south Lebanon with four million cluster sub munitions, or firing white phosphorus shells reaching a temperature of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit on hospitals in Gaza, anymore than he or she wants to defend the legality of Israeli settlements against the considered opinion of every member of the International Court of Justice,’” and those who fund it. Finkelstein posits “It’s just not a Jewish thing. ‘Moreover, this has practical consequences for activists: ‘If the liberal conscience of American Jews is pricked and, finally, they do the right thing, the long, dark night might yet soon end.” If not a nuclear holocaust is awaiting an already rubble strewn crucible of suffering in the Middle East and North Africa.

Clive Hambidge is Human Development Director at Facilitate Global. Clive can be contacted at clive.hambidge@facilitateglobal.org

Soraya Boyd is CEO and Founder of Facilitate Global and can be contacted by email soraya.boyd@facilitateglobal.org

Aside

Where to now: Iraq Today?

Clive Hambidge & Soraya Boyd

“I thought Nick Clegg’s reaction was very disappointing. His reaction should not be of ‘openness’ to a judicial enquiry. He should be actively pushing for a judicial enquiry. The Government came to power four years ago. He’s had ample opportunity to uncover, as Deputy Prime Minister, what was going on. We’ve now pushed it off to a rather pitiful parliamentary committee with no … teeth and again it just goes into the long grass.” (Philippe Sands)

Chilcot inquiry

Tweets about #chilcot hashtag on Twitter twitter.com

Tweets about #chilcot hashtag on Twitter twitter.com

It is scandalous that the Chilcot Inquiry report has not been published before Christmas as intended. It is further outrageous, since it is obvious to most of us, as ably articulated by a member of the public Peter Hughes in his letter to the Times Editor (Friday 12 December 2014) that “According to Rob Wilson, a Cabinet Office minister, the Chilcot report into the Iraq war cannot be released after February (report, Dec 11) because of a ban on releasing “politically sensitive” material in the run-up to the general election. Surely that is precisely the time when voters should be be in possession of political material, especially if it is sensitive.” so as to enable the electorate to make an informed choice. It is precisely because we don’t now have this choice that the general election is based on a system where faith in our institutions is found wanting. We could make the further case that it is time for a written Constitution.

It is worth mentioning Andrew MacKinlay, former member of Foreign Affairs select committee, writing in the Evening Standard (UK), 15 December 2014, “it is institutionalised that the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition nominate candidates for the intelligence and security Committee. The committee is filled with Establishment figures who cannot provide robust, independent oversight of the security services. As a former foreign secretary ISC Sir Malcolm Rifkind should be disqualified from membership. To perform proper scrutiny, the question MPs should ask is whether the PM will indicate what parts of the Senate committee report ministers or UK intelligence requested redaction of but were refused. ” Further damning and crucially is that “In not one of the Iraq inquiries held in the UK – Hutton, Butler, the Intelligence and Security Committee’s, the Foreign Affairs Committee’s – was evidence given under oath. The same is true of Chilcot. This undermines their credibility.. We need a full judicial inquiry in which hearings are in public and televised …” (MacKinlay)

The Independent on Sunday 14 December 2014: “The latest cases [on torture] being sent this week to the ICC in The Hague as well as to the Ministry of Defences Service Prosecuting Authority include harrowing accounts covering a five-year period, from 2003 to 2008. The allegations, in court documents … highlight a systematic approach of beating and hooding before brutal interrogations; these actions took place after ministers had claimed such methods were no longer being used by British forces in Iraq.” It was on the 27th March 2009 that Andrew Tyre, Chairman of the All Party Committee on rendition concluded: “Only a judge-led inquiry can enable us to draw a line under this. And give the public confidence that we will finally get to the truth on rendition.” Well, I know, Tyrie knows, and the informed public knows of rendition and special renditions undertaken during an illegal war are facts. What are needed now are prosecutions. Blair, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and many more, all deserve to stand before a judge and be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal

http://www.brussellstribunal.org/article_view.asp?id=560#.VKFbPdAA

http://www.brussellstribunal.org/article_view.asp?id=560#.VKFbPdAA

In his November 2011 paper titled “Bush and Blair found guilty of crimes against peace at the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal” , Professor Richard Falk reminded us that although “its verdict was not enforceable in a normal manner associated with a criminal court operating within a sovereign state or as constituted by international agreement, as is the case with the International Criminal Court” a verdict was rendered at “The “recent session of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal offers a devastating critique of the persisting failures of international criminal law mechanisms of accountability to administer justice justly, that is, without the filters of impunity provided by existing hierarchies of hard power. “ (The Brussells Tribunal).

Prosecutions may indeed be a long time coming, prosecutions will however take place for such is the slow course of due justice. You can’t see it coming but be sure it is.

Impunity and immunity

The recent Saleh v. Bush case (N.D. Cal. Mar. 13, 2013, No. C 13 1124 JST), worth quoting in full below, more than exemplifies “the filters of impunity provided by existing hierarchies of hard power. “ (Falk):

“a federal judge dismissed a civil claim filed against George W. Bush and other high-ranking officials regarding their conduct in planning and waging the Iraq War, and immunized them from further proceedings.

“This is an early Christmas present to former Bush Administration officials from the federal court,” Inder Comar of Comar Law said. Comar brought the claim on behalf of an Iraqi refugee and single mother, Sundus Shaker Saleh. “This was a serious attempt to hold US leaders accountable under laws set down at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946. I am very disappointed at the outcome.”

The tribunal at Nuremberg, established in large part by the United States after World War II, declared international aggression the “supreme international crime” and convicted German leaders of waging illegal wars.

The case alleged that George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz committed aggression in planning and waging the Iraq War. Specifically, the lawsuit claimed that high-ranking Bush officials used the fear of 9/11 to mislead the American public into supporting a war against Iraq, and that they issued knowingly false statements that Iraq was in league with Al-Qaeda and had weapons of mass destruction, when none of those things were true.

“The decision guts Nuremberg,” Comar said. “Nuremberg said that domestic immunity was no defense to a claim of international aggression. This Court has said the opposite.”

The court’s ruling comes in the wake of the Senate report regarding the use of torture by the CIA during the Bush Administration. The Senate report confirmed that a false confession obtained from the torture of Ibn Shaykh al-Libi was cited by the Administration in support of the war.

Comar, a corporate attorney based out of Impact Hub San Francisco, primarily works with startups and venture funds. He took the case pro bono after learning about the plight of Iraqi refugees displaced through the Iraq War. Comar connected with Saleh through mutual colleagues in San Francisco.

Comar filed the initial complaint on March 13, 2013. While Comar recognizes the year-and-a-half-long effort was a long-shot, he remains steadfast. “The plaintiff will consider all her options, including an appeal. Judicial inquiry into possible wrong-doing that led to the Iraq War is warranted.”

In August 2013, Obama’s Department of Justice requested that the lawsuit be dismissed pursuant to the Westfall Act, a federal law that immunizes any government official from a civil lawsuit if that official was acting “within the scope of his office or employment.” Judge Jon S. Tigar, an Obama appointee, ruled that the defendants were shielded by the Westfall Act regardless of the allegations made in the Complaint.” (Inder Comar, December 22 2014, Brussells Tribunal)

The Iraq Deception

In 2006 in a private meeting with a member of parliament with whom Chris Coverdale and I met in Westminster to discuss the illegal act of aggression being prosecuted in Iraq a wrongful action by a standing prime minister, the MP stated “do we really think that Parliament would have the stomach to bring the PM before the international courts? I think not.” Coverdale in his rightfully indignant paper The Iraq Deception sheds light in Section 23 of the Memorandum to the Foreign Affairs Committee “In SCR 1441, the Security Council has determined-
(1)that Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) constitutes a threat to international peace and security;
(2)that Iraq has failed – in clear violation of its legal obligations – to disarm; and
(3)That in consequence, Iraq is in material breach of the conditions for the ceasefire laid down by the Council in SCR 687 at the end of hostilities in 1991, thus reviving the authorization in SCR 678”

Resolution Quotes - Page 1 | QuoteHD www.quotehd.com

Resolution Quotes – Page 1 | QuoteHD www.quotehd.com

Coverdale: “This statement is false and untrue. Security Council Resolution 1441 determined nothing of the sort. Reluctantly agreed by the Security Council on the basis that it did not authorise an attack, the tenor of resolution 1441 is to give Iraq a further chance of proving that it has complied with its disarmament obligations. The Security Council did not authorize the revival of resolution 678. This statement was constructed by the FCO to mislead MP’s into believing that it was the Security Council rather than the [British] Prime Minister that had decided that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, that they (WMD) were a threat to international peace and security, that by failing to disarm Iraq had violated legal obligations, and that ‘authorisation’ for an armed attack on Iraq had revived.”

Entire US ruling class responsible for Iraq war' — RT Russian politics rt.com

Entire US ruling class responsible for Iraq war’ — RT Russian politics rt.com

Let us be clear if the inspectors had found a box of fireworks in a bunker they the British and they the U.S. would have attacked. If a lone child had been waving a sparkler in the air in fun the Brits and the Yanks would have/did attack and killed her/him and countless others. France declined why? “Article 2.4 of the UN Charter outlaws the threat or use of force. Under the Charter both against Britain and America made a firm and binding agreement never to threaten or use force against another Member state.” This paper is written this in memory of all those innocent victims who were maimed or killed in this insane and bloody act of aggression prosecuted against the sovereign state of Iraq.

MWDs

A Bush, Blair, ideological war to free the Iraqis and rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s). When the war was over, the long suffering Iraqis would emerge from under the colossal shadow that was the Saddam regime. They would love us the British and the Americans, for they would be free from tyranny. “Free at last God almighty free at last. “ (Martin Luther King) The invasion started March 20th 2003 and “officially ended in 2011.” (Wikipedia) But has continued during 2014 and will into 2015. “Nearly 4,500 U.S. service members were killed in more than eight years of war and about 30,000 wounded. Tens of thousands of Iraqis died, troops and civilians, as the U.S. deposed Saddam’s regime and beat down an insurgency backed by al-Qaeda terrorists and sectarian revenge killings that threatened to destroy the country.” (USA Today) Ironically, the U.S of Department of State declared the removal or reduction of troops from Iraq in 2012 “The U.S. Mission in Iraq remains dedicated to building a strategic partnership with Iraq and the Iraqi people. The December 2011 departure of U.S. troops from Iraq marked a milestone in our relationship as Iraq continues to develop as a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant country. Iraq is now a key partner for the U.S. in the region as well as a voice of moderation and democracy in the Middle East.”

The opposite is of course true as America continues to bomb Iraq. This time with Islamic State in its crosshairs: “The mostly Sunni Arab population of western and northern Iraq is faced with a diabolical choice between the brutal rule of IS and the even more murderous rule of their own government. Their life and death predicament is the direct result of past and present U.S. policy in Iraq.” (Nicolas J.S. Davies, Why Iraqis May See ISIL as Lesser Evil Compared To U.S.-Backed Death Squads, 13-12-2014) .  Iraq is not a partner, was never a partner and will never be a partner. How can it be a partner when “In 2004, the U.S. responded to resistance in Iraq with a “divide and rule” strategy that relied heavily on recruiting, training and deploying Special Police commandos to detain, torture and summarily execute tens of thousands of young men and boys in areas that resist the illegal U.S. invasion and occupation of their country. At its peak in 2006, this genocidal campaign delivered over 1,600 corpses per month to the morgue in Baghdad. “ (Davies). Thereby fuelling more chaos and hatred.

But today an Iraqi dictator has gone and chaos leaves all Iraqis in a permanent violent instability called an emerging Nation State courtesy of the West. This statement by Jeff Rathke Director Office of Press Relations from the U.S. Department of State, November 19th..2014 shows the reality on the ground in Iraq that will/is to continue, unless again we have a coalition of troops of the United Nations to police and monitor a crumbling Iraq under the close administrative scrutiny of the UN: “The United States strongly condemns the continued terrorist attacks in Iraq, including the suicide car bomb attacks today in Basra and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region in front of the Erbil Provincial Council Building that took a number of innocent lives. We extend our condolences to the families of the victims and hope for a rapid recovery for those who were injured.”

Amnesty International reported “In recent months, Shi’a militias have been abducting and killing Sunni civilian men in Baghdad and around the country. These militias, often armed and backed by the government of Iraq, continue to operate with varying degrees of cooperation from government forces – ranging from tacit consent to coordinated, or even joint, operations. Amnesty International holds the government of Iraq largely responsible for the serious human rights abuses, including war crimes, committed by these militias.” Further “By granting its blessing to militias who routinely commit such abhorrent abuses, the Iraqi government is sanctioning war crimes and fuelling a dangerous cycle of sectarian violence that s tearing the country apart. Iraqi government support for militia rule must end now. “ (AI)

Before hostilities

Before the “criminal” hostilities began, The United Nations Security Council with resolution 1441 had asked for the complete cooperation from the Iraqis with the weapons inspectors before the possible outset of hostilities as to ascertain whether Saddam had Weapons of Mass destruction (WMD) and ‘cruise missiles’. The United Nations Monitoring Verification and Inspecting Commission (UNMOVIC) found Zilch. Bush and Blair were going to war even if The UN teams had found a bunker full of fireworks. And the companies involved in and with the invasion were going to make an awful lot of money. The inflated rhetoric by officials US hid the real reason for the war, oil and rebuilding contracts for American and British companies.

Preparing for war

Repeated warnings from government lawyers that they would not have a ‘leg to stand on’ if Britain invaded Iraq. Devastating evidence at the Iraq inquiry yesterday revealed that every senior legal adviser at the Foreign Office believed the conflict was in breach of international law. (Mail Online) Sir Michael Wood the senior legal adviser to the Foreign Office had warned that without the necessary resolution from the United Nations Security Council the invasion would be legally viewed as a “crime of aggression in international law.” In his article for Stop the War Coalition (19 December 2014) Peter Foster wrote “Collusion with the CIA torture can be added to the war crimes that should have put Blair and Straw [in the docks] for taking Britain into an illegal war in Iraq.” Moreover, “An ongoing Scotland Yard investigation into the renditions of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi and a civil claim for compensation in which Jack Straw was named as a respondent rendered the Gibson Inquiry untenable since it risked prejudicing those proceedings. However intelligence sources who spoke to The Telegraph earlier this year alleged that both Mr Blair and Mr Straw knew in detail about the CIA’s secret programme after the September 11 attacks and were kept informed “every step of the way”. Stop the War Coalition stated “The politicians took a very active interest indeed. They wanted to know everything. The Americans passed over the legal opinions saying that this was now ‘legal’ and our politicians were aware of what was going on at the highest possible level.” which was illegal according to the Geneva Conventions. No moral high ground here.

Outrageously “Less than two months before the Iraq War began in 2003, Sir Michael told ministers there was ‘no doubt’ that Britain could not lawfully use force against Iraq because it could not claim it was acting in self defence, that it was trying to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe or that it had the authorisation of the UN. A series of secret documents released by the Chilcot inquiry revealed that the lawyer’s stance led to an extraordinary stand-off with Jack Straw, then Foreign Secretary. Mr Straw, now Labour’s Justice Secretary, insisted that while at the Home Office he had often been advised policy proposals were unlawful but had gone ahead anyway.” (Mail Online)

Iraq today

WMDs in Iraq: Oh My!” Said Bush to BFF Blair in '03. “ICBMs in ... corporategreedchronicles.com

WMDs in Iraq: Oh My!” Said Bush to BFF Blair in ’03. “ICBMs in … corporategreedchronicles.com

The reality in the 18 Governorates in Iraq is bleak. The UN country teams working tirelessly and increasingly under danger. They work with the prism of governance at all levels. “The UN Country Team works in all of the 18 governorates of Iraq and operates at the community, governorate and national levels. National and international staff members are deployed throughout the country in cooperation with local, provincial and national counterparts.” (UN). This then is the surface of and face of the human suffering in Iraq. The 2014 American-led intervention in Iraq started on 15 June when President Obama ordered U.S. forces to be dispatched to the region, in response to offensives in Iraq conducted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Bloodied profits

And so this special relationship of violence, British and American, to include other Allies bomb with impunity as the profiteers make huge sums. Here are some listed by the Business Pundit together with some quotes:

Halliburton: Where war is raging the company’s profit, it is estimated that $ 17.2 billion was accrued in contracts by Halliburton in war related revenue from 2004 through 2006 alone, and is ongoing.”

VERITAS Capital Fund/ Dyn Corp”

Washington Group International:
Aegis: This Company’s role was to coordinate Private-Security-Operations worth $430 million because Aegis decision to earn enormous profits has led to Aegis to it “being rejected from the influential international Peace Operations Association.”

Environmental Chemical: “The privately held Burlingame, California Company has stockpiled $878 million by the end of fiscal 2006 for munitions disposal, calling upon its “decade of experience planning and conducting UXO removal, investigation, and certification activities.” The company has close ties to several defence agencies and is staffed by graduates of the U.S. Navy’s Explosive Ordinance Schools, as well as the U.S. Army’s Chemical Schools at Anniston. “

International American products:
Perini Coro: “Perini (controlled by financier Richard Blum) is one of the more controversial companies to have scored big-time Iraq war money. That’s because Blum’s wife, Senator Dianne Feinstein, appears to have used her seat on the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee to steer the $650 million environmental clean up deal in his favour.”

URS: “As with Perini, both Blum and Feinstein have come under intense scrutiny to answer questions about the apparent conflict of interest inherent in Feinstein helping to secure such an exorbitant government contract for her investment banker husband. Both Blum and Feinstein have refused to produce copies of the ethics committee’s rulings on Perini and URS, leading to considerable suspicion.”

Parsons: “Few Iraq contractors have come under fire as much as Parsons who reportedly mismanaged the construction a police academy so poorly that human waste dripped from its ceilings. Far from being an isolated incident, reports from federal government auditor’s revealed lacklustre work on 13 of the 14 Iraq projects entrusted to Parsons. That hasn’t stopped the Pasadena-based firm from making off with $540 million in U.S. government funds for the poorly executed reconstruction projects at Iraq’s healthcare centres and fire stations. For obvious reasons, Parsons’ work in Iraq has generally been considered an embarrassment.”

This is the lens through which Iraqis will now see America,” lamented Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said. “Incompetence. Profiteering. Arrogance. And human waste oozing out of ceilings as a result.” [our emphasis]

First Kuwaiti general trading & contracting: “It now seems that the company has succeeded on the strength of its ties to [the] to Bush Administration officials. Rival companies have been extremely vocal in their displeasure at First Kuwaiti being awarded $500 million to build a United States Embassy in Baghdad.

Armour Holdings: “Since combat commenced in 2001, the company’s revenue has sky-rocketed by a mind-blowing 2,247%, up to $634 million. Armour Holdings’ speciality is providing state-of-the-art armour for military vehicles and important personnel as they traverse dangerous Iraqi war zones. The civil war between opposing Sunni and Shia and general unrest throughout the country has greatly increased the demand for the company’s products.””

Clive Hambidge is Human Development Director at Facilitate Global. Clive can be contacted at clive.hambidge@facilitateglobal.org

Soraya Boyd is CEO and Founder of Facilitate Global and can be contacted by email soraya.boyd@facilitateglobal.org

Aside

On Torture: The American Malaise

Clive Hambidge

A definition

“Torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control …” (Wikipedia)

BBC London: “Former US President George W Bush was “fully informed” about CIA interrogation techniques condemned in a Senate report, his vice-president says. Speaking to Fox News Dick Cheney said Mr Bush “knew everything he needed to know” about the programme, and the report was, “full of crap”. Well he would, wouldn’t he! When combined to hubris there are no limits to  ‘known unknown knowns’.

Senate report on CIA torture 'full of crap', says Dick Cheney www.irishtimes.com

Senate report on CIA torture ‘full of crap’, says Dick Cheney www.irishtimes.com

Britain's role in the torture of terror suspects: Ian Cobain's ... www.theguardian.com

Britain’s role in the torture of terror suspects: Ian Cobain’s … www.theguardian.com

Damningly, once more, Britain was complicit and in ‘the corridors of power’ the talk of requests by the UK intelligence agencies for ‘deletions’ of Britain’s complicity was shared by the UK newspaper The Guardian: “References to Britain’s intelligence agencies were deleted at their request from the damning US report on the CIA’s use of torture after 9/11, it has emerged.” Let’s not look for any moral ascendency here either.

 

Moazzam Begg wiseupaction.info

Moazzam Begg wiseupaction.info

badattitudes.com

badattitudes.com

Further, “A spokesman for David Cameron acknowledged the UK had been granted deletions in advance of the publication, contrasting with earlier assertions by No 10. Downing Street said any redactions were only requested on “national security” grounds and contained nothing to suggest UK agencies had participated in torture or rendition”. Unsurprisingly “The admission will fuel suspicions that the report – while heavily critical of the CIA – was effectively sanitised to conceal the way in which close allies of the US became involved in the global kidnap and torture programme that was mounted after the al-Qaida attacks.” (The Guardian) Another UK newspaper goes further by naming an inmate: “Yesterday’s revelation by The Independent that MI5 was passed intelligence that had allegedly been tortured out of former Guantanamo inmate Moazzam Begg by his American interrogators – and the acknowledgement by former security minister Lord West that UK agents may have been present during water-boarding – expose the truth about British complicity in torture.”

Why CIA Interrogators Unlikely to Be Prosecuted For Torture - ABC News abcnews.go.com

Why CIA Interrogators Unlikely to Be Prosecuted For Torture – ABC News abcnews.go.com

After the Senate Committee on Intelligence CIA 6000 page report concerning the unlawful techniques of torture used to brutalise suspects at Guantanamo Bay and other secret locations the return to the understanding of clearly stated resolutions and covenants is of vital importance. The scale of state organised violence has shocked the so-called thinking world. America’s greatest intellectual and tireless ethical constructor for future generations of a moral code Noam Chomsky wrote an article in ‘News’ on May 20th 2009 ( time is not important here for I write later of principles even though 2009 looms large) Chomsky on Torture. What is clear the programme was instigated under Bush Junior and wilfully ignored by Obama: both are culpable and have been sanctioning illegal acts. We have historical precedents. Torture has been seen by successive U.S administrations as a natural extension of American covert interference in and with other countries’ sovereignty.

Even the U.S police in 1910 used “psychological duress such as prolonged confinement to extreme violence and torture … widespread and considered acceptable in early American policing.” Today the Americans see themselves as the world’s policing force and so the policing techniques clearly continue. Also today during peaceful demonstrations violence has been used inappropriately and as policy by the police in America (for instance police violence meted out to the Occupy Movement protestors, the recent shootings in Ferguson: the acme).
The U.S, undertaking in-depth training in Israel, has and is training in torture techniques in virtually all countries of the world. This has destroyed many, many lives, so American Israeli fascism has been increasingly exposed: “The Torture Manuals was a nickname for seven training manuals that had excerpts declassified to the public on September 20, 1996, by the Pentagon.” Historically significant, “One was the 1963 CIA document, Kubark Counterintelligence interrogations which describes interrogation techniques, including, among other things, “coercive counterintelligence interrogation of resistant sources.” The CIA techniques involved were used in the CIA’s Phoenix Programme in South Vietnam. Eventually the CIA’s psychological methods were spread worldwide through the U.S Agency for International Development Program and U.S. Army mobile training teams the manuals were prepared by the U.S. military and used between 1987 and 1991 for intelligence training courses at the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA). The manuals were also distributed by Special Forces Mobile Training teams to military personnel and intelligence schools in Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru.” (Wikipedia)
All this criminal suffering has been recognised to divulge “unreliable evidence” clearly a person under extreme stress ‘mostly’ will say anything to stop the pain.

Chomsky

Nothing Can Justify Torture: Chomsky By Eric Bailey www.countercurrents.org

Nothing Can Justify Torture: Chomsky By Eric Bailey www.countercurrents.org

“Over the past sixty years, victims worldwide have endured the CIA’s “torture paradigm,” developed at a cost that reached $1 billion annually, according to historian Alfred McCoy in his book A Question of Torture. He shows how torture methods the CIA developed from the 1950s surfaced with little change in the infamous photos at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. There is no hyperbole in the title of Jennifer Harbury’s penetrating study of the US torture record: Truth, Torture, and the American Way. So it is highly misleading, to say the least, when investigators of the Bush gang’s descent into the global sewers that “in waging the war against terrorism, America had lost its way.”

None of this is to say that Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld et al. did not introduce important innovations. In ordinary American practice, torture was largely farmed out to subsidiaries, not carried out by Americans directly in their own government-established torture chambers. As Allan Naim who has carried out some of the most revealing and courageous investigations of torture, points out: “What the Obama [ban on torture] ostensibly knocks off is that small percentage of torture now done by Americans while retaining the overwhelming bulk of the system’s torture, which is done by foreigners under US patronage. Obama could stop backing foreign forces that torture, but he has chosen not to do so.” (Chomsky)

This barbaric criminality, a crime against humanity, instigated by the Bush Junior administration and this Bush created sewer keeps flowing through the American Constitution accepted or ignored by Obama.

The UK Times December 10 2014 under Leading Articles wrote: (well quoted) more correctly, “Did we torture people? Yes. Did it work? No.” The Times comments: “That is the verdict of Senator Angus King on the CIA rendition and torture programme in the years after 9/11.

CIA

Senate's CIA Torture Report: 'Brutal' Treatment, 'Rectal Feeding ... www.mediaite.com

Senate’s CIA Torture Report: ‘Brutal’ Treatment, ‘Rectal Feeding … www.mediaite.com

According to the UK The Guardian, Wed 10 December 2014 under U.S news: The operation was murky from the beginning “The CIA began the establishment of a specialised detention centre, codenamed DETENTION SITE COBALT, in April 2002. Although its location is not identified in the report it has been widely identified as being in Afghanistan. Conditions at the site were described in the report as poor “and were especially bleak early in the program”. Additionally, “The CIA chief of interrogations described COBALT as “a dungeon”. There were 20 cells, with blacked-out windows. Detainees were “kept in complete darkness and constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud music and only a bucket to use for human waste”. It was cold, something the report says likely contributed to the death of a detainee. “ Adding “Prisoners were walked around naked or were shackled with their hands above their heads for extended periods of time. About five CIA officers would engage in what is described as a “rough takedown”. A detainee would be shouted at, have his clothes cut off, be secured with tape, hooded and dragged up and down a long corridor while being slapped and punched.” Moreover, “operatives subjected at least five detainees to what they called “rectal rehydration and feeding.” Finally, “Rectal feeding is of limited application in actually keeping a person alive or administering nutrients, since the colon and rectum cannot absorb much besides salt, glucose and a few minerals and vitamins. The CIA administered rectal rehydration to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed “without a determination of medical need” and justified “rectal fluid resuscitation” of Abu Zubaydah because he “partially refused liquids”. Al-Nashiri was given an enema after a brief hunger strike.” Suspects, all men, were fighting for their dignity and were brave; the upshot of such criminal abuse was that all suffered severe health problems. “Risks of rectal feeding and rehydration include damage to the rectum and colon, triggering bowels to empty, food rotting inside the recipient’s digestive tract, and an inflamed or prolapsed rectum from carless insertion of the feeding tube. The report found that CIA leadership was notified that rectal exams may have been conducted with “Excessive force”, and that one of the detainees, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, suffered from an anal fissure, chronic haemorrhoids and symptomatic rectal prolapsed.” (The Guardian)

UN

The second paragraph of the UN Declaration on Principles of International Laws is clear enough: “Every State has the duty to refrain in its international relations from the threat or the use of force against the territorial integrity of political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. Such a threat or use of force constitutes a violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations and shall never be employed as a means of settling international issues.”

Examining Britain and the “aggressive war” conducted against Iraq according to antiwar expert Chris Coverdale: “in 2001 parliament enacted the International Criminal Court Act making it a criminal offence for residents to engage in genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or conduct ancillary to such crimes.” The “Iraq Inquiry, published evidence showing that the war with Iraq was illegal. The same rationale of illegality and criminality [applied] to the … wars in Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan.” (Chris Coverdale) Alleged then we now know torture was used regularly.

This enshrined international norm is unequivocal: “Torture in all forms is banned by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which the United States participated in drafting. The United States is a party to the following conventions (international treaties) that prohibit torture: the American Convention on Human Rights (signed 1977) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (signed 1977; ratified 1992). It has neither signed nor ratified the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture. International law defines torture during an armed conflict as a war crime. It also mandates that any person involved in ordering, allowing and even insufficiently preventing and prosecuting war crimes is criminally liable under the command responsibility doctrine.

The Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind makes a clear number of points:
Article 2
Individual responsibility
[This applies to Bush/Obama in terms of sanctioning or ignoring torture even though representing the highest office in the U.S.]
3. An individual shall be responsible for a crime set out in article 17, 18, 19, 20 if that individual:
(a) Intentionally commits such a crime;
(b) Orders the commission of such a crime which in fact occurs or is attempted
(c) Fails to prevent or repress the commission of such a crime in the circumstances set out in article.
(e) Directly participates in planning or conspiring to commit such a crime which in fact occurs
Article 7 the official position of an individual who commits a crime against the peace and security of mankind, even if he acted as head of a state or Government, does not relieve him of criminal responsibility or mitigate punishment. [Emphasis added]

It is recognised that torture only inflames the mainly Muslim world and increases resentment against the West especially the United States of America -even if the Head of State acted/ordered a criminal act, in this case torture as Head of State or Government, this does not relieve him/her of criminal responsibility or mitigate punishment. I submit therefore and thereof that former President George W. Bush and current President Barack Hussein Obama are war criminals and are directly responsible through the institution of the Presidency of the United States of America for some of the worst war crimes of the 21st century. Namely the torture of suspects subjected to some of the worst forms of torture known to the so called ‘free world’. That likes to think itself civilised.

Clive Hambidge is Human Development Director at Facilitate Global. Clive can be contacted at clive.hambidge@facilitateglobal.org

The wreckage of a soul

The wreckage of a soul

Soraya Boyd

Drifting in the fevered winter of a desolate mind
The captive pursuit of status and power a daily grind
In such a space the stilled bells of conscience no longer toll
For travailing arduously against sense and dignity many lose their soul

The lure of a total materialistic apex never quite complete
Ever more surreptitiously insatiable want relentlessly compete
While false friends intentfully slither to the glamoured realm
Circumventing inconvenient legalities to steady the corporate helm

Navigating a scathing moral desert dizzily coursing chartered loopholes
Erring wondrously in self contained dimly lit halls
Hearts scarred by petrified crevasses of decayed compassion
Litter a once internally empathetic constitution

When seduced by the prospect of riches galore
Ruthless slobbering ooze profusely from every sinew and pore
Imperceptibly descending into the final winding folds of perdition
Will an auspicious epiphany occur ushering in providential redemption?

Now but a refracted shadow of a silhouetted ghost
Scavenge voraciously on the discarnate host
Shackled to the self wrought chains of deceitful manipulation
Condemned to roam the desolate space of self annihilation

Until per chance for an age perhaps
Seeped in the restorative waters of profound contrition
Redeemed, arise anew in humility
Rectitude, empathy, purpose and communion

Soraya Boyd is CEO and Founder of Facilitate Global and can be contacted by email soraya.boyd@facilitateglobal.org

Aside

Protecting the Children of Gaza
Clive Hambidge

Military Power, according to Gianfranco Poggi’s Forms of Power explains with his usual clarity that he found it “difficult to define political power otherwise than with reference to organized violence; it is the command over this resource that allows one group, for example to ‘run things’ over a given territory.” He goes on, and think here of a belligerent Israel, “the state (as well as in other forms of institutionalized political power) the violence in question is seen as legitimate; that is, the threat or exercise of it are seen as constituting not a merely factual affair, but the realization of a normative claim demanding assent.” This is of course constitutes state sanctioned murder when Israel decides systematically to bomb Gaza to rubble, and terrorise the civilian population that has nowhere to go.

www.newstatesman.com

www.newstatesman.com

www.z2systems.com

www.z2systems.com

Poggi writes in the same book “We have already the paradox in Hobbes: political power arises as a remedy to fear, but operates chiefly by making people fearful.” Gaza is kept in a constant state of fear. The children ask their parents “when are we going to die”. The preparedness of Israel to inflict death and terror is second to none. This has resulted in causing a heavy tension of fear in Israel itself. Here we remember “Operation Summer Rains” and “Operation Autumn Clouds”. The Human Rights Council Report 29 January 2007 by Special Rapporteur John Dugard relates “Missiles, shells and bulldozers destroyed or damaged homes, schools, hospitals, mosques, public buildings, bridges, water pipelines, and electricity networks. Agricultural lands were levelled by bulldozers.” This is the pernicious methodology of Israel that is repeated again and again, and again. Sanctions by the international community, as always lacking. As Dugard further stated “The siege of Gaza is a form of collective punishment in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12th August 1949. The indiscriminate use of military power against civilians and civilian targets has resulted in serious war crimes.”

www.a-w-i-p.com

www.a-w-i-p.com

“Operation Cast Lead” from 27th of December to 18th of January 2009 Israel so primed as a “normative” lethal organised military machine attacked Gaza’s citizens with disproportionate force. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, as reported by Ben White, stated “during the 22 days of the Israeli military operation, nowhere in Gaza was safe for civilians” with “whole neighbourhoods” turned “into rubble.” With areas looking “like the epicentre of a massive earthquake” there is still “half a million tons of concrete rubble to clear.” And so we have Operation Protective Edge. “UN Chief Ban Ki-moon at an emergency Security Council meeting called for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian fighters in Gaza.” The risk of violence expanding further still is real. Gaza, and the region as a whole, cannot afford another full-blown war.

beforeitsnews.com

beforeitsnews.com

“Today Friday 8th August 2014 and reported in I news paper from The Independent, reports that “Gaza officials say the latest figures show the conflict has killed 1,874 Palestinians most of them civilians.” Also from the same source – and don’t hold your collective breath, “A ban on UK arms sales to Israel could soon (my emphasis) be imposed by the government, with ministers understood to be edging closer to a deal. Nick Clegg [Deputy Prime minister] suggested yesterday that the truce had given the Coalition the time it needed to reach an agreement on halting the UK’s £42m of arms export licences adding a “tougher approach would soon be announced.” Does too often, too little and too late come to mind? As Israel bristling with weaponry is using it against a relatively defensless civilian population as I write.

www.arabworldbooks.com

www.arabworldbooks.com

www.4thmedia.org

www.4thmedia.org

So out of political power arises military power and in the case of Palestine the need for protection under the penumbra of Humanitarian Law -a normative international law- of which there can be no derogation by any nation state. The protection of Palestinian children the very future of Palestine must preoccupy our minds, galvanise our actions, as we witness once again the systematic targeting of children by the Israeli defence forces (IDF), the occupying force. Murder of innocents, being an Israeli government policy, the killings constitute state sanctioned murder therefore in this context, egregious war crimes. According to the impeccably researched The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John J. Mearshiemer and Stephen M. Walt, “Israel has always had the intention under the guise of ‘defence’ to expand Israel’s borders. “Between 1949 and 1956, for example, Israeli security forces killed between 2,700 and 5000 Arab infiltrators, the overwhelming majority of them unarmed.” (my emphasis). Also the IDF “murdered hundreds of Egyptians prisoners-of-war in both the 1956 and 1967 wars. In 1967, it expelled between 100,000 and 260,000 Palestinians from the newly-conquered West Bank, and drove 80,000 Syrians from the Golan Heights.”

mycatbirdseat.com

mycatbirdseat.com

According to the Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind, as stated in “Article 1 (2) Crimes against the peace and security of mankind are crimes under international law and punishable as such, whether or not they are punishable under national law” (my emphasis) if we observe the active decision making of Netanyahu -and those before him) for example. Article 2 (e) of the above Draft states one who “directly participates in the planning or conspiring to commit such a crime which in fact occurs;” is culpable and Article 3 of the said code under “Punishment” states “An individual who is responsible for a crime against the peace and security of mankind shall be liable to punishment. The punishment shall be commensurate with the character and gravity of the crime.” Further Article 7 official position and responsibility makes clear that “The official position of an individual who commits a crime against the peace and security of mankind, even if he acted as head of State or Government, (my emphasis) does not relieve him of criminal responsibility or mitigate punishment.”

kagenobunshin.blogspot.com

kagenobunshin.blogspot.com

In the case of Palestine it is right to record here Article 18 of the same code, the Crimes against humanity. A crime against humanity means any of the following acts, when committed in a systematic manner or on a large scale and instigated or directed by a Government or by any organization or group. They are (a) murder; (b) extermination; (c) torture; (d) enslavement; (e) persecution; (f) institutionalized discrimination on racial, ethnic or religious grounds involving the violation of fundamental rights and freedoms and resulting in seriously disadvantaging a part of the population; (g) arbitrary deportation or forcible transfer of population; (h) arbitrary imprisonment; (i) forced disappearance of persons; (j) rape, enforced prostitution and other forms of sexual abuse; k) other inhumane acts which severely damage physical or mental integrity, health or human dignity, such as mutilation and severe bodily harm.

To investigate the latest unlawful “strikes” and probable incursion by Israel we must examine the past and the international laws that pertain to the Palestinian tragedy to show forensically the continuum of violence that is the policy of Israel without exception when it involves the intimidation, and worse, of the civilians in Gaza and the West Bank. I will come to the latest abomination later. Many of the above laws are infringed on a daily basis committed by a lawless Israel with as yet impunity? Its time will come and it will involve not only justice for the beleaguered Palestinians but penitence for Israel for crimes committed and then brazenly, cruelly denied.

www.theguardian.com

www.theguardian.com

Mearsheimer and Walt go on “It was [Israel] complicit in the massacre of 700 innocent Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps following its invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and an Israeli investigatory commission found then Defence Minister Sharon “personally responsible” for these atrocities.” It is a truth “Israel is good at killing”. It is a ruthless killing machine in denial and a denier of true democracy being racist by nature. It is also a master of torture. This is shocking though not surprising as the denial of the very existence of Palestinians from the early propaganda of the Zionists, denies the very humanity of Palestinians, and the innocence of their precious children. Demonising Palestinians defies “human rights laws” also the sacred right of nations to the principle of national determination and, of course, the right to life. This means the sanctity of their being and becoming. The culpability of the Zionist movement to expel Palestinians from their own land has been recognised and condemned forthrightly by the international community, and most importantly resisted -by right- by Palestinians. However condemnations do not put a stop to the on-going daily incursions carried out by the IDF often followed by the usual large scale and brutal massacre of civilians, and mostly children. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is unequivocal “Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

And finally this “Belligerent occupation in itself is not an unlawful situation: it is accepted as a possible consequence of armed conflict. At the same time, under the law of armed conflict (also known as international humanitarian law), occupation is intended to be only a temporary state of affairs. International law prohibits the unilateral annexation or permanent acquisition of territory as a result of the threat or use of force: should this occur, no State may recognize or support the resulting unlawful situation. In contrast to occupation, both colonialism and apartheid are always unlawful and indeed are considered to be particularly serious breeches of international law because they are fundamentally contrary to core values of the international legal order.” (Human Sciences Research Council – HSRC).

I say to the British government that as usual drag their feet and skirt around the atrocities committed on a daily basis by Israel, not and not ever in my name.

Clive Hambidge is Human Development Director at Facilitate Global.  Clive can be contacted by email clive.hambidge@facilitateglobal.org.