Thu Jul 20, 2006 22:46


Thu Jul 20, 2006 21:43



Israel: It's Not A War, It's An Extermination!


If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
1 John 4:19-21 KJV

7/19/06... Air America "The Majority Report"
Guest: Amy Goodman... Re: Middle East
"Collective Punishment"

Collective punishment is hardly a policy
The Japan Times, Japan - Jul 17, 2006
... Forces in their offensive against the Gaza Strip have violated the principle of proportionality and are to be seen as forms of collective punishment, which is ...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Collective punishment is hardly a policy
Special to The Japan Times

NEW YORK -- Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip and of Lebanon's southern border is exacting a heavy price on the civilian population in those regions. Isra- el's actions are worsening a humanitarian situation that was already critical, particularly as far as children's health and the quality of their lives are concerned. Despite international laws protecting children's rights, including the Convention of the Rights of the Child, signed by Israel, Palestinian children are still suffering.

Several factors are important in determining children's health in the region; notably the socio-economic situation, actions of the intifada and punitive reactions of the Israeli Defense Forces.

As a result of the current conflict, the Palestinian economy has been devastated. More than half of the population now lives below the poverty line. Poverty has led to acute and chronic malnutrition in children as well as anemia in children and in women of reproductive age.

In June, the World Food Program estimated that 51 percent of Palestinians -- 2 million people -- couldn't meet basic food needs without aid, and warned that the situation in Gaza was becoming critical.

According to a Palestinian Ministry of Health report issued in June, Israeli occupation forces and paramilitary Jewish settlers have killed 951 Palestinian children and youth (under age 18), and have provoked varied degrees of injuries to almost 20,000 people, since September 2000.

In addition, children and youth face major psychological problems resulting from exposure to violence and terror. This impact is not limited to Palestinians. Israeli children also suffer from the continuous threat posed by Kassam missiles fired by Palestinians. Having to flee their homes in terror to avoid being hit by those missiles is going to leave psychological scars.

The situation deteriorated even further last week as Israeli aircraft bombed power plants and other civilian infrastructure. Twenty-two hospitals didn't have electricity, and hundreds of operations had to be postponed. The lack of refrigeration damaged not only food but also drugs and vaccines.

The accessibility and availability of quality primary health-care services has been seriously compromised. Health-care providers face serious constraints to properly treating patients, particularly those with chronic conditions and those in need of physical rehabilitation.

Irregular access to educational facilities has led to more than 15,000 Palestinian children being denied basic education. This situation has been compounded by rocket attacks on school and university buildings, closures of school and universities, and serious restrictions on students' mobility.

It is estimated that almost 45,000 Palestinian children are engaged in child labor to support their families, and that 7.4 percent of these are the sole breadwinners for their families.

The latest Israeli punitive actions have been severely criticized from both within and outside Israel. Gideon Levy, a writer for the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz wrote, "A state that takes such steps is no longer distinguishable from a terror organization." By contrast, U.S. President George W. Bush stated that Israel has the right to defend itself.

Following the latest events, the Swiss Foreign Ministry stated that "A number of actions by the Israeli Defense Forces in their offensive against the Gaza Strip have violated the principle of proportionality and are to be seen as forms of collective punishment, which is forbidden." The Geneva Convention states that it is "prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population."

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, "a food and health crisis now threatens more than 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip." The center states that the Israeli Defense Forces have prevented the free flow of fuel, food and medical supplies. More than 100,000 Palestinians in need of medical attention are not getting it.

Article 54 of the Fourth Geneva Convention clearly specifies that the occupying power, "to the fullest extent of the means available to it, has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate."

Marjorie Cohn, president-elect of the U.S. National Lawyers Guild and U.S. representative to the American Association of Jurists has indicated that collective punishment also violates Article 50 of the Hague Regulations.

Is there a way out of this escalation of violence that threatens to engulf the whole Middle East? There is, but it requires balanced outside intervention, particularly by the United States, which has maintained unwavering support for actions carried out by the Israeli government. Such intervention is currently lacking.

Peace in the Middle East is now as elusive as ever, and it will remain so as long as innocent civilians are made into peons of a larger political game.
Cesar Chelala, M.D, Ph.D., is an international public health consultant and a winner of an Overseas Press of America award for an article on human rights.
The Japan Times
(C) All rights reserved
Jonathan Mark
Israel Violates Law on U.S. Weapons in Mideast
Wed Jul 19, 2006 20:57

Israel Violates Law on U.S. Weapons in Mideast

- - Israeli Onslaught Will Only Strengthen Hizbullah

Israel Violates Law on U.S. Weapons in Mideast
Published July 18, 2006 by the Inter Press Service
Israel Violates Law on U.S. Weapons in Mideast
by Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS - Israel is in violation of U.S. arms control laws for deploying U.S.-made fighter planes, combat helicopters and missiles to kill civilians and destroy Lebanon's infrastructure in the ongoing six-day devastation of that militarily-weak country.

The death toll, according to published reports, is over 200 people -- mostly civilians -- while the economic losses have been estimated at about 100 million dollars per day.

"Section 4 of the (U.S.) Arms Export Control Act requires that military items transferred to foreign governments by the United States be used solely for internal security and legitimate self-defense," says Stephen Zunes, professor of politics at the University of San Francisco.

"Since Israeli attacks against Lebanon's civilian infrastructure and population centers clearly go beyond legitimate self-defense, the United States is legally obliged to suspend arms transfers to Israel," Zunes told IPS.

Frida Berrigan, a senior research associate with the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute in New York, is equally outraged at the misuse by Israel of U.S.-supplied weapons.

"As Israel jets bombard locations in Gaza, Haifa and Beirut, killing civilians (including as many as seven Canadians vacationing in Aitaroun), it is worth remembering that U.S. law is clear about how U.S.-origin weapons and military systems ought to be used," Berrigan told IPS.

She pointed out that the U.S. Arms Export Control Act clear states that U.S. origin weapons should not be used for "non-defensive purposes."

"In light of this clear statement, the United States has an opportunity to stave off further bloodshed and suffering by demanding that its weaponry and military aid not be used in attacks against Lebanon and elsewhere, and challenging Israeli assertions that it is using military force defensively," she added.

That would demonstrate the kind of "utmost restraint" that world leaders called for at the G8 Summit of the world's most industrialized nations, which just ended in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The 25-member European Union has said that Israel's military retaliation against Lebanon is "grossly disproportionate" to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers last week by the Islamic militant group Hezbollah, which is a coalition partner of the U.S.-supported government in Beirut.

Israel has accused both Syria and Iran of providing rockets and missiles to Hezbollah, which has used these weapons to hit mostly civilian targets inside Israel.

Israel's prodigious military power -- currently unleashed on a virtually defenseless Lebanon -- is sourced primarily to the United States.

Armed mostly with state-of-the-art U.S.-supplied fighter planes and combat helicopters, the Israeli military is capable of matching a combination of all or most of the armies in most Middle Eastern countries, including Iran, Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The air force has continued to devastate Beirut and its suburbs with no resistance in the skies during six days of incessant bombings, causing civilian deaths and infrastructure destruction.

"The Israeli Air Force now flies only U.S.-origin fighters, a mix of F-15s and F-16s, and the rest of the service's fleet is almost completely of U.S. origin," says Tom Baranauskas, a senior Middle East analyst at Forecast International, a leading provider of defense market intelligence services in the United States.

While in earlier years Israel bought from a variety of arms suppliers, with the French in particular being strong sellers to Israel of such items as Mirage fighters, over the past couple of decades the United States has developed into Israel's preponderant arms supplier, he added.

"The U.S. domination as Israel's arms supplier can be seen in the Congressional Research Service's (CRS) annual study of arms sales," Baranauskas told IPS.

He said the latest CRS survey shows a total of 8.4 billion dollars of arms deliveries to Israel in the 1997-2004 period, with fully 7.1 billion dollars or 84.5 percent coming from a single source: the United States.

A major factor in this trend was the rise in U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) -- outright U.S. grants to Israel -- which now totals about 2.3 billion dollars a year paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

By U.S. law, Baranauskas said, 74 percent of FMF assistance to Israel must be spent on U.S. military products. This U.S. assistance has now become the main source of financing for Israel's major arms procurements, especially its fighter planes.

From a historical perspective, he said, U.S. assistance to Israel during 1950-2005 has been staggeringly high: Foreign Military Financing (FMF) amounting to 59.5 billion dollars; 27 billion dollars in Foreign Military Sales (FMS) mostly government-to-government arms transactions; and eight billion dollars in commercial arms sales by the private sector.

Berrigan of the Arms Trade Resource Center said the United States is undoubtedly the primary supplier of Israeli firepower.

In the interest of strengthening Israel's security and maintaining the country's "qualitative military edge" over neighboring militaries, the U.S. Congress provides Israel with annual FMF grants that represent about 23 percent of its overall defense budget. Israel's 2006 military budget is estimated at 7.4 billion dollars.

According to the Congressional Research Service, FMF levels are expected to increase incrementally by 60 million dollars a year to a level of 2.4 billion dollars by 2008 compared with 2.2 billion dollars in 2005.

"Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid every year since 1976," Berrigan said.

Additionally, the United States provides Israel with billions of dollars worth of weaponry.

She pointed out that recent military sales to Israel include propulsion systems for fast patrol boats worth more than 15 million dollars from MTU Detroit Diesel; an eight-million-dollar contract to Lockheed Martin for high-tech infrared "navigation and targeting" capabilities for Israeli jets; and a 145-million-dollar deal with Oshkosh Truck Corp to build more than 900 armour kits for Israeli Medium Tactical Vehicles.

In December of last year, Lockheed Martin was awarded a 29.8-million-dollar contract to provide spares part for Israel's F-16 fighter planes.

Berrigan also said that Israel has one of the world's largest fleets of F-16 fighter planes, made in Fort Worth, Texas and also in Israel by Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Israel has a total of over 378 F-16s, considered one of the world's most advanced fighter planes -- besides 117 F-15s, 94 Skyhawks, 110 Phantoms -- all supplied by the United States.

Copyright 2006 IPS-Inter Press Service

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