Tuesday, December 12, 2023


This went up Saturday at THE COMMON ILLS.

The assault on Gaza continues

The US government has rarely been on the side of peace.  Apartheid?  They supported it for decades.  They verbally trashed -- especially during Ronald Reagan's two terms as president -- Nelson Mandela as a "terrorist."  So Friday's action at the United Nations wasn't that shocking.  But they are appalling.  Mallory Moench (TIME) reports

The U.S. is facing criticism from the Palestinian Authority that governs the West Bank, and other global leaders and organizations, after it vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

The security council held an emergency meeting on Friday after U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres invoked Article 99, a rare move to force a vote on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, where two million people are displaced. The Hamas-run health ministry says 17,000 people have been killed under an Israeli campaign to eliminate the militant group after its Oct. 7 attack that killed 1,200 people and took an estimated 240 hostage. More than 100 remain in captivity. 

The U.S. vetoed a resolution calling for a ceasefire put forward by the United Arab Emirates and backed by more than 90 Member States at a meeting in New York City. Compared to 13 council members’ votes in favor, the U.S. was the sole veto. The U.K. abstained. 

Yes, the White House is facing criticism.  Even from Recep.

That's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey, and he's calling out the US.  Recep who does the same to the Kurds in Turkey  that is being done to the Palestinians is calling out the US.  Because anyone can now.  The US government is in the wrong -- completely -- and now even Recep can call the US government out.  And he can do it on strong ground.  There's no weak foundation that's about to crumble under him as he makes this call.

The vote on Friday resulted from Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, triggered the vote.  As noted in the December 7th snapshot:

Edith M. Lederer (AP) reports:

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres used a rarely exercised power to warn the Security Council on Wednesday of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza and urged its members to demand an immediate humanitarian cease-fire.

His letter to the council’s 15 members said Gaza’s humanitarian system was at risk of collapse after two months of war that has created “appalling human suffering, physical destruction and collective trauma,” and he demanded civilians be spared greater harm.

Article 99?  ALJAZEERA explains:

It’s a special power, and the only independent political tool given to the secretary-general in the UN Charter. It allows him to call a meeting of the Security Council on his own initiative to issue warnings about new threats to international peace and security and matters that are not yet on the council’s agenda.

In Article 99, the charter states, “the Secretary General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security”.

Now Guterres will have the right to speak at the Security Council, without having to be invited to speak by a member state, as is usually the case.

THE NEW YORK TIMES notes that the veto "has sparked frustration among Arab governments that are pushing to end the conflict, with one group of regional officials expressing 'deep dissatisfaction' over the move. Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority -- which Washington and others have floated as a potential governing body for postwar Gaza --  called the veto 'a mark of shame that will follow the United States for many years' and said that American officials' policy toward Israel had made their country 'a partner in genocide'."  As if the veto wasn't bad enough, there's the ongoing supply issue and the lack of Congressional oversight.  Wafaa Shurafa and Bassem Mroue (AP) report, "The sale of nearly 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition was announced a day after the U.S. vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, a measure that had wide international support. The U.S. said Secretary of State Antony Blinken determined that 'an emergency exists' in the national interest requiring the immediate sale, meaning it bypasses congressional review. Such a determination is rare."  Julia Connelly (COMMON DREAMS) adds, "The State Department notified congressional committees of the sale around 11:00 pm EST Friday, hours after a new Pew Research poll showed that only 35% of Americans support the Biden administration's backing of Israel's attacks on Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces have now killed more than 17,700 Palestinians in Gaza in just over two months, while claiming they are targeting Hamas."   Missy Ryan, Michael Birnbaum, Abigail Hauslohner and John Hudson (WASHINGTON POST) note:

The Biden administration faces mounting pressure over its provision of powerful weapons to Israel, with the spiraling death toll in Gaza deepening questions about whether the United States, as the country’s chief military backer, must do more to ensure civilians’ safety.

Rights groups, along with a growing bloc from within President Biden’s Democratic Party, are intensifying scrutiny of the arms flow to Israel that has included tens of thousands of bombs since Hamas militants’ bloody attacks of Oct. 7. Local authorities say that at least 17,700 people, many of them civilians, have been killed in Israel’s operation to dismantle the Palestinian group.


Jeremy Bowen (BBC NEWS) notes:

At the UN, the Americans duly vetoed this resolution calling for a ceasefire. For those concerned about the significant loss of life, that does sound a bit hollow - the Americans claim the Israelis are saying they will stick to the rules of war and avoid unnecessary civilian deaths. But, they say, there is a gap between what Israel says and what it does.

I think the strategy behind the secretary general's decision to bring a vote - which he knew would probably get vetoed - was to hurry up the inevitable moment when the Americans will say to Israel: "Enough is enough, you've had enough time and killed enough people and it's time for a ceasefire."

Some diplomats I have spoken to have said they might give the Israelis another month - I think Mr Guterres's strategy is to try and shorten that, partly by increasing international pressure and also partly by shaming the Americans into thinking that they cannot continue to hold this position as it becomes less and less tenable.

That pressure has also increased today with the publication of footage of prisoners in Gaza, held by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), stripped to their underwear and being driven away in trucks. It's a cruel image of war seeing these men, which local reports on social media suggest could be as many as 700.

Those same sources, including family of some of the men, say that they were taken from a UN school where they were sheltering, and where others tried to get away and were killed. 

Friday, on DEMOCRACY NOW!, Amy Goodman noted, "Video has emerged showing Israeli soldiers in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza detaining over 100 Palestinian men at gunpoint, forcing them to strip to their underwear while lined up, kneeling on the pavement. Among those detained was Diaa Al-Kahlout, a Palestinian journalist with the London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. In a statement, the newspaper condemned the mistreatment of Al-Kahlout and other civilians, saying Israeli forces 'deliberately subjected the Gazans to degrading treatment, forcing them to disrobe, conducting intrusive searches, and subjecting them to humiliation upon arrest, before forcibly transporting them to undisclosed locations'."  Today, AP reports that they spoke with several of the detainees, "One of those freed, Osama Oula said troops ordered all men to come down to the street in their underwear. He said the men were were taken to a yard, handcuffed and dropped off at a warehouse. During days of questioning, the men were beaten and forced to walk or sleep on raw rice, causing great pain, he said."

I didn't watch the garbage that was HOMELAND and the reason why is I avoid it and all 'adventure' product based on Israeli entertainment is due to the fact that the Israeli government practices and promotes torture. I'm sure the Israeli government will deny that torture took place but their long history of practicing it makes any such claim hard to believe.  As AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL noted last month:

Israeli authorities have dramatically increased their use of administrative detention, a form of arbitrary detention, of Palestinians across the occupied West Bank; extended emergency measures that facilitate inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners; and failed to investigate incidents of torture and death in custody over the past four weeks, Amnesty International said today.  

Since 7 October, Israeli forces have detained more than 2,200 Palestinian men and women, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club. According to Israeli human rights organization HaMoked between 1 October and 1 November, the total number of Palestinians held in administrative detention, without charge or trial, rose from 1,319 to 2,070.  

Testimony from released detainees and human rights lawyers, as well as video footage and images illustrate some of the forms of torture and other ill-treatment prisoners have been subjected to by Israeli forces over the past four weeks. These include severe beatings and humiliation of detainees, including by forcing them to keep their heads down, to kneel on the floor during inmate count, and to sing Israeli songs.   

“Over the last month we have witnessed a significant spike in Israel’s use of administrative detention – detention without charge or trial that can be renewed indefinitely – which was already at a 20-year high before the latest escalation in hostilities on 7 October. Administrative detention is one of the key tools through which Israel has enforced its system of apartheid against Palestinians. Testimonies and video evidence also point to numerous incidents of torture and other ill-treatment by Israeli forces including severe beatings and deliberate humiliation of Palestinians who are detained in dire conditions,” said Heba Morayef, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.  

[. . .]

Amnesty International has for decades documented widespread torture by Israeli authorities in places of detention across the West Bank.  However, over the past four weeks, videos and images have been shared widely online showing gruesome scenes of Israeli soldiers beating and humiliating Palestinians while detaining them blind-folded, stripped, with their hands tied, in a particularly chilling public display of torture and humiliation of Palestinian detainees. 

On the topic of War Crimes, Abby Sewell (AP) reports:

A British Palestinian surgeon who spent weeks in the Gaza Strip during the current Israel-Hamas war as part of a Doctors Without Borders medical team said he has given testimony to a British war crimes investigation unit.

Ghassan Abu Sitta, a plastic surgeon specializing in conflict medicine, has volunteered with medical teams in multiple conflicts in Gaza, beginning as a medical student in the late 1980s during the the first Palestinian uprising. He has also worked in other conflict zones, including in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Here's a video of the doctor explaining what he saw:

Of course, the Israeli government denies they are committing War Crimes. It's not that easy, it's not that simple.  Josh Meyer (USA TODAY) notes:

But a growing chorus of international experts – including some former U.S. government war crimes officials – say Israel's bombing of civilian areas is a clear violation of the internationally recognized rules of armed conflict.

“I have very serious concerns about their compliance with the law of war in Gaza based on what I’m seeing,” attorney Brian Finucane, who spent nearly a decade as a State Department adviser on the law of armed conflict, said in an interview. One of the biggest concerns, said Finucane, who left the State Department in 2021, involves “how Israel is defining military objectives, and whether those definitions are consistent with the law of war.”

[. . .]

“Is Israel doing everything feasible to limit civilian harm? Is it causing disproportionate harm when attacking civilian targets?” asked Anthony Dworkin, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “These depend on context – such as information on targeting – which is why leaders are hesitant to make conclusive statements.

“But I would say that Israeli actions fall outside what is reasonable and do constitute war crimes,” Dworkin, a former director of the nonprofit Crimes of War Project, told USA TODAY.

Click here for ALJAZEERA's INSIDE STORY addressing the topic of possible US complicity in War Crimes.  The realities of abuse taking place cannot be refuted.  So the Israeli government and its assets (paid and unpaid) try to resurrect the claim of 'rape' (we addressed the lack of proof on this topic in yesterday's snapshot).  At ZNET, Kareena Panuu writes:

After a lull, Israel’s allegations of sexual violence committed by Hamas have returned to international headlines with a vengeance. As the UN faces heightened pressure to condemn Hamas’s alleged sexual violence, the sudden onslaught of media and international attention nearly two months after October 7 begs the question, why now?

Indeed, narratives of sexual violence have not only resurged, but they have done so with vim. Lurid stories of gang rape, mutilation, and even necrophilia, have been disseminated by the media. This has occurred despite there being no substantive developments in evidence of sexual assaults from the Israeli occupation forces. Israel has repeatedly failed to provide forensic evidence, concrete photographic evidence, or victim testimonies to news organizations beyond inferences made by Israel’s forensic teams. Indeed, the Times of Israel alleges that the IOF will never provide forensic evidence because “physical evidence of sexual assault was not collected from corpses by Israel’s overtaxed morgue facilities,” and it is now, reportedly, too late to collect conclusive evidence. 

Presently, Israel’s case consists of one eyewitness testimony shown privately to journalists by the Israeli police, witness testimonies of “body collectors,” forensic teams, and army staff, photographs taken at sites that suggest women may have been sexually assaulted, and witness testimonies of Hamas fighters acquired from Shin Bet, whose use of torture is notorious. Testimonies of victims will not be shared; the police have not interviewed any surviving victims, and according to May Golan, Israel’s Women’s Empowerment Minister, the very few victims who survived are receiving psychiatric treatment and are therefore, conveniently, unable to talk. 

It’s a far cry from the persistent efforts of the Palestinians, forced to film their murdered relatives, their burnt and mutilated children, and their friends and families in their most vulnerable moments of grief, all in a desperate attempt to show the world what is being inflicted upon them. Perhaps that is what privilege looks like, where the dignity of Israeli victims is preserved, and the dignity of Palestinian victims must be discarded in a desperate voyeuristic attempt to publicize their suffering, starkly aware that the survival of the Palestinian people depends on this. 

Israel’s secrecy remains deafening; the IOF exclusively screened a 47-minute compilation of “raw footage” to invited journalists, as opposed to sharing the footage with news agencies to report on and verify independently (Al Jazeera journalists, notably, were not invited to attend). Amongst those invited, journalist Owen Jones saw no “conclusive evidence” for torture, sexual violence, rape, or beheadings. Furthermore, despite calling on the UN to condemn Hamas’s acts of sexual violence, Israel refuses to cooperate with a UN commission of inquiry into sexual violence committed by Hamas on the ludicrous basis that the UN has “an anti-Israel bias.” 

[. . .]

The latest propaganda effort signifies a desperation in the Israeli propaganda machine. Activists and journalists have rightly pointed out how the Israeli government has weaponized sexual assault allegations, deriving from ulterior motives rather than a place of genuine concern for women and children given Israel’s own horrific track record on rape and sexual abuse, and furthermore, its active censorship of human rights groups investigating sexual assault abuses of Palestinian children, which Josh Paul, former director at the U.S Department of State, admitted to CNN. 


AP notes, "The Palestinian death toll in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war has surpassed 17,700 [. . .]"  ALJAZEERA notes the death toll on UN workers, "The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) confirmed the deaths of 133 employees in Gaza due to Israeli attacks."  This is the largest number of US workers killed in any conflict or war.   Fiona Nimoni (BBC NEWS) reports:

A senior UN aid official has warned that half of Gaza's population is starving, as fighting there continues.

Carl Skau, deputy director of the UN World Food Programme, said only a fraction of supplies needed have been able to enter the Strip - and nine out of 10 people cannot eat everyday.

Conditions in Gaza have made deliveries "almost impossible", Mr Skau said. 

Eduardo Cuevas (USA TODAY) notes, "Israel continued its bombardment of the Gaza Strip on Saturday, including in areas where Israeli forces had previously told Palestinians to evacuate. The strikes came just hours after the U.S. stood alone against an historic U.N. resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire."  THE NEW YORK TIMES words it this way, "Some of the strikes targeted the southern Gaza Strip, where the Israeli military has ordered civilians to go to avoid bombardment, underscoring the reality that there is no safe place in Gaza to take shelter."  ALJAZEERA explains, "Two hospitals in central and southern Gaza received 133 bodies of Palestinians killed in Israeli bombings over the past 24 hours, health ministry officials in Gaza said on Saturday. Dozens of people held funeral prayers in the hospital’s courtyard before taking the bodies for burial – a scene that has become routine over the past two months of war."

While the US government voted no on a cease-fire, the United Kingdom chose to just be present and not vote for or against.  They're not listening to their citizens either.  UK SCOCIALIST WORKER explains:

Over 100,000 people joined the sixth national demonstration in London on Saturday against the Israeli mass murder and destruction in Gaza.

Marchers were sickened by the daily evidence that Israel has stepped up the bombing and ethnic cleansing after the end of the brief truce. And many were disgusted -- although not surprised -- that the US vetoed a resolution on Friday at the United Nations calling for a ceasefire. Britain refused to support the motion.

Some of those marching have been on all the national protests and local ones as well. But there are still new forces turning out. Vinny, a taxi driver from Kent, said, “I missed the first few protests but thought I better do my bit. I can’t watch the news—it is so annoying and upsetting. Every day there is another horror story. 

“Obviously there needs to be a ceasefire, but that isn’t going to bring back the thousands of dead people. There has to be something else. The Palestinians need to get more than ruins, they need a country of their own.”

Around the world, protests have taken place and are taking place.  Dante Pastran (WSWS) reports:

Since the Israeli genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza began in October, numerous protests have taken place throughout the Philippines opposing this barbaric crime. At times clashing with police, demonstrators have denounced not only Israel, but the roles of both United States imperialism and the government of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr in Manila.

Demonstrators gathered in Quezon City, Metro Manila on November 29, marking the annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Protesters held signs demanding Israel “Stop the bombings. Free Palestine.” They also drew attention to the large number of women and children who have been killed since Israel’s slaughter began.

Rallies were also held the previous weekend, with marchers in Manila on November 25 denouncing Israel’s genocide. Demonstrators chanted “Free, free Palestine,” and “US, Israel Terrorists” and headed to the US Embassy before police forcibly diverted them from their planned, and supposedly government-approved, route. The protesters have been mostly youth, students, and large contingents from the Muslim Filipino minority. Thousands too marched on the Philippines’ southern island of Mindanao, where most of the country’s minority Muslim population lives.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }