Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Israel Terrorizing Palestinians Lawlessly

Israel Terrorizing Palestinians Lawlessly - by Stephen Lendman

Palestinians bear witness daily to Israeli state terror. Complicit Western and regional nations, in fact, condone it through silence or failure to condemn what never is tolerable and must end.

For nearly a week, Israeli aircraft struck Gaza preemptively. As a result, fear of a new war grows.

Israel claims strikes follow rocket attacks. In fact, when launched, they're few in number and respond to Israeli aggression in self-defense.

On July 12, IDF jets struck alleged northern Gaza "weapons manufacturing sites," injuring one woman.

On July 13, three tunnels were bombed. Israel falsely blamed them for "terrorist activity." Two Palestinians were missing after one of the tunnels collapsed. Later one body was recovered. Five or more other Palestinians were wounded.

On July 14, other targets were struck, wounding four Palestinian civilians.

On July 15, overnight attacks wounded four Palestinians, including two children. Over the weekend, other preemptive raids followed. Blaming the victims, a July 14 IDF statement said:

"The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians, and will respond with determination to any attempt to use terror against the State of Israel. The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip."

In fact, Hamas is Palestine's legitimate government. Israel lawlessly terrorizes West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza residents preemptively, falsely claiming self-defense.

On July 17, four new raids struck Khoza village in Khan Yunis, critically injuring two Palestinians and traumatizing dozens of children.

Other same day attacks targeted Beit Hanoun, injuring seven Al Za'aneen family members, including four children - innocent civilians Israel calls "terrorists." In addition, Israeli armored vehicles and bulldozers raided Gaza's Al Bureij refugee camp, firing randomly and uprooting lands.

The previous day, Israeli planes dropped thousands of leaflets, asking Gazans to spy on neighbors for Israel. They also warned of continued strikes, especially in northern areas.

Gaza Emergency and Medical Services spokesperson Adham Abu Salmiyya said since early July, Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinian civilians, injuring at least 20 others, including six children.

On July 14, Israeli naval forces attacked the Oliva, an international human rights monitoring Civil Peace Service Gaza (CPSGaza) boat offshore, nearly sinking it.

On July 15, a second attack occurred, crew members saying an Israeli gunboat indiscriminately used water cannons and live fire, including on 11 fishing boats in the area. As a result, nine vessels were badly damaged. In addition, the Oliva was too badly flooded to continue. Fishermen rescued its crew, then towed the boat to shore, pursued by Israel's navy to within one nautical mile of port.

On July 11, after passing an anti-free speech bill, Israel's Knesset targeted Balad MK Hanin Zuabi, lawlessly stripping her of parliamentary privileges.

On July 18, the Ethics Committee prevented her from addressing the Knesset or vote in committees through the end of the parliamentary season because she participated in Freedom Flotilla I.

Last July, other rights were lawlessly stripped, including her diplomatic passport, financial help, legal assistance, and right (Knesset members have) to travel freely to countries with no official ties to Israel.

At issue, is Zuabi's vocal criticism of Israeli policies. Last week, security officers forcefully removed her from the Knesset after interrupting Netanyahu's speech, defending the new anti-boycott bill. In fact, Knesset practice lets members interrupt, raising issues or voicing criticism. An Israeli Arab, Zuabi was denied her right to do so.

A Final Comment

Complicit with Washington and Greece, Israel blocked "Freedom Flotilla II - Stay Human (FF II)" boats from sailing to Gaza, or so it thought. On July 17, an FF II press release headlined, "French boat Dignite (al Karama) of Freedom Flotilla II leaves Greece," saying:

Departing on July 16, its 10 passengers "view themselves as (representing) the whole (FF II mission). The rest of the Flotilla's ships have been detained in different Greek ports, through bureaucratic obstruction, sabotage, sudden restrictions and withdrawals of flags."

Dignite, in fact, represents past and future missions. Saying "Gaza, we are coming," its message to Israel, Washington, and the international community is that initiatives won't stop until Gaza's illegal siege ends.

The Swedish/Norwegian/Greek MV Juliano also hopes to sail. So far, however, it's still blocked in the Greek island of Crete, per orders from Israel and Washington, determined to keep collectively punishing Gazan civilians illegally.

No wonder growing numbers of Israelis are voting with their feet and leaving. On July 15, hundreds of others joined with Palestinians (about 2,000 in total), marching in occupied East Jerusalem, calling for an independent Palestinian state. Among them were Hadash Party MK Dov Hanin and Meretz MK Zehava Galon.

Starting from East Jerusalem's Jaffa Gate, they followed the Green Line dividing East and West Jerusalem, ending at Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighborhood often attacked by Israeli settlers. In response, extremist Israelis tried to disrupt the march with an ineffective counter demonstration.

On July 15, Reuters writer Tom Perry headlined, "Settler violence against Palestinians up 57 percent in the West Bank," according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) saying:

Palestinian officials call it "a worrying sign of deepening hostility which they fear could trigger wider violence as hard-line settlers increasingly appear to be a law unto themselves...."

Coming from hilltop enclaves, they vandalize Palestinian property and commit assaults with impunity. PA minister Maher Ghoneim, monitoring settlement activities, says Netanyahu's government represents settlements. Extremist Foreign Minister/Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman lives in one. "This naturally encourages" violent attacks.

So far this year, settlers have stoned, run down, or shot at 178 Palestinians (killing three civilians), compared to 176 all last year. In response to Reuters' request, Israeli police and army officials provided no information regarding the scale of violence.

As a result, "(t)he role of Israeli security forces in dealing with settler violence is the focus of controversy." B'Tselem says they do little or nothing to protect Palestinians and their property. Even when arrested, settlers get lenient slaps on the wrist, freeing them to commit more violence with impunity.

At the same time, when Palestinians respond in self-defense, including by throwing stones, Israeli soldiers (if nearby) attack them with tear gas, rubber bullets, and at times live fire.

In Israel and Occupied Palestine, only Jews have rights. Arabs are denied them for being Muslims in a Jewish state, even on their own land.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.