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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Israel rations Palestinians to trickle of water, says Amnesty International



This is a headline news story on the BBC, but don't count on hearing much about it in the U.S. press. Amnesty's press release, and the full report, are available at this link.

Israeli government spokesperson Mark Regev, who is trotted out to deny every charge leveled against Israel, has been trotted out once again to blow smoke rings around the accusations. On the face of things, if I had to decide who has more credibility, AI or the Israeli government, can anyone guess which I would choose? Nevertheless, please read the report and decide for yourself.

While I am on the subject of Israel, I had meant to comment on an item buried in the New York Times a few days ago, about Richard Goldstone asking the U.S. government to specify the concerns it had with his report finding Israel and Hamas guilty of war crimes during Israel's assault on Gaza last winter. At the end of the story we find this very revealing passage:

Obama administration officials have made more detailed criticisms of the report, usually contending, as did Douglas M. Griffiths, the American delegate to the Human Rights Council, that it was unfair to Israel.

Explaining his vote against endorsing the report, Mr. Griffiths said that, “While Justice Goldstone acknowledged Hamas’s crimes, in examining Israel’s response sufficient weight was not given to the difficulties faced in fighting this kind of enemy in this environment.”

The problem here is that Goldstone's inquiry found that Israel had deliberately targeted civilians in some cases, and in others acted with wanton disregard for civilian life. Both are crimes under international law, which requires nations taking military action to make every effort to protect civilian lives--even if that creates "difficulties." This the Israeli military clearly did not do, and by not recognizing the validity of Goldstone's findings, the Obama administration is simply once again avoiding its responsibility to keep Israel from committing war crimes with weapons that American taxpayers provide it.

More on Gaza's water problems. From the BBC, reporting on a sewage crisis.

U.S. official resigns over Afghan war. A news story worth reading in the Washington Post. The Obama administration's Afghanistan strategy is unraveling, smart people are deserting--in the long run this could be a good thing for Afghans and Americans alike.

More thoughts on Afghanistan, which is getting very bloody for U.S. troops. Aren't those who are trying to rush President Obama into making a decision about Afghanistan strategy playing politics with the lives of our young men and women serving there? Of course they are. So who has the courage to accuse them of that directly? How about some timid Democratic politicians afraid of their own shadows and everything Fox news says getting some guts?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The water story has been a long time coming.

The 'Anti Terrorist Wall' was deliberately built above and beyond the Occupied Palestinian side of the West Bank hill contours where groundwater might be expected in springs. This is not new; it's a long-running Israeli policy; take the land and the resources.


Goldstone - his report is so long, carefully phrased, and absolutely damning of the Hannukah Massacre that even if the US flattens it in the UN, it will remain as much an indictment of Israel's barbaric behaviour as Mein Kampf did to Hitler.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (Richard Parker) says about the Afghanistan war:
- 100% no chance of 'winning'
- Getthefuckoutathere (maybe with something facesaving - no helicopters from the US embassy)
- Give the so-called 'government' who coudn't run a bus through the Kabul suburbs,to Karzai, the US puppet, in spite of his fraudulent 'democracy', with enough chance to get strung up when the Talib-an (religious students) take over again.