US-Supported Israel Defence Forces Continue ‘Acts of Genocide’ Against Indigenous Arab Palestinians Under ‘Operation Protective Edge’ As the International Community Observes
APNS /North America [08.06.2014] – As the State of Israel began extracting its ground troops from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning in observance of another (72-hour) ceasefire, the SOI and factions representing the Palestinian Nation have committed themselves to negotiations in Cairo, Egypt to discuss terms for an extended truce and the rebuilding of Gaza’s crippled infrastructure after hostilities have ended. The SOI says it is willing to compensate the Palestinian population with the rebuilding of the Gaza if Hamas will agree to the total disarmament of the armed resistance; (Source: ‘Official: Israel to allow Gaza rebuilding in exchange for disarmament‘, Ma’an News Agency: Aug. 5th 2014: http://ow.ly/A32mi)
Palestinian Authority (PA) representatives have also met with International Criminal Court (ICC) investigators in a (late) attempt to hold the SOI accountable for war crimes. The PA has said that they wish for a seat in the ICC, in order to help give the ‘international’ court jurisdiction over the Occupied Palestinian Territories, legally side-stepping the SOI.
One factor that could muddle the negotiations is the international news story of three, 2008 US diplomatic cables (leaked through WikiLeaks) that show the SOI discussing its intention to maintain pressure on the Gaza Strip’s economy in an effort to keep it teetering ‘on the brink of collapse’. The Norwegian news agency, Aftenposten, which cited the cables, say that the documents clearly show Israeli officials briefing the US Embassy in Tel Aviv on its designation of the entire Gazan region as a ‘hostile entity’ and its plan to persist in blockading the Gazan community until the Palestinian resistance to Israel, ‘breaks’.
As the talks continue, the State of Israel’s military offensive against the Palestinian Territories (codenamed: ‘Operation Cast Lead‘) continues to wreak havoc on the Indigenous Arab population of the Gaza Strip as an Israeli-led air strike destroyed yet another UN-operated refugee facility in the southern quarter (Rafah) of the embattled region. Palestinian health officials and International news agencies report that at least 10 Indigenous Arabs had been killed and another three dozen left severely injured after Israel Defence Forces (IDF) shelled the refugee structure (claiming) that the attack was targeting an Hamas outpost lobbing homemade rockets aimed at Israel.
It should be noted here that UN sources have repeatedly made clear that buildings under their control are well known to the Israeli authorities and that the refugee station at Rafah was protecting up to 3,000 homeless, non-combatant, Palestinians. Earlier on the same day, IDF attacks reportedly killed about 30 people in the Gaza wounding some three dozen others.
The Indigenous Arab death tally – as of this writing – according to Palestinian health officials, stands at 1,900, (Gaza Health Ministry: 430 Children Killed; UNICEF Warns of “Tragic Impact” – August 06, 2014 | Democracy Now! http://ow.ly/A2vRk) more than 9,000 injured and at least $7 billion USD worth of infrastructure destruction to the Gaza Strip. The Israel’s ministry has confirmed at least 67 IDF personnel lost in active combat, mostly during the OPE ground offensive, including three civilian casualties as a result of Palestinian rocket fire. The NGO American Friends of UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency) has reported (via Twitter) that the total number of displaced in Occupied Gaza now stands at an estimated 475,000 with almost 260,000 Indigenous Arabs seeking food, water and shelter from the violence in 90 UNRWA Palestinian school buildings.
Amidst this, the international NGO Human Rights Watch (HWR) has come forward with evidence that accuses Israel Defence Forces (IDF) personnel of shooting civilians in Khuzaa who were trying to run away after they ordered them out of their homes. The NGO has also begun reporting on an execution-style killing of several Palestinians found heaped upon one another in the toilet of a private residence, (Source: Jesse Rosenfeld, ‘Who Is Behind Gaza’s Mass Execution?‘: 08.01.14 – The Daily Beast).
These cases are not being discussed very much with the Hasbara machine working overtime in the background. And Israeli PM ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu has gone on the defensive, calling the IDF targeting of Palestinian infrastructure and the bombardment of recognised UN facilities in the Gaza, ‘justified’, laying fault for civilian casualties and widespread destruction upon the leadership of Hamas, (Source: ‘Benjamin Netanyahu: Deaths in Gaza justified’ – The Independent: 06 August 2014 http://ow.ly/A2ho5). PM Netanyahu and his Likud faction insists that Hamas militias and rocket teams use residential areas as ‘human shields’ dismissing the substantial data highlighting the overwhelming human density of Israeli-imposed, Palestinian encampments, (See: ‘Demographics of Palestine: Population density‘ http://ow.ly/A2ADO).
The US has also ignored this and doubled-down its own defence of the SOI’s genocidal actions with Secretary of State John Kerry saying:
‘We fully support Israel’s right to defend itself and the fact that it was under attack by rockets, by tunnels, and it had to take action against Hamas. Hamas has behaved in the most unbelievably shocking manner of engaging in this activity. And yes, there has been horrible collateral damage as a result of that, which is why the United States worked very, very hard with our partners in the region, with Israel, with Egyptians, with the Palestinian Authority, with President Abbas, to try to move towards a ceasefire‘. (Source: Democracy Now! : Aug. 6th, 2014 : http://ow.ly/A2xtE)
The hasbara effect continued when Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel also defended the SOI and the actions of the IDF in an full-page advert entitled; ‘Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years ago. Now it’s Hamas’ turn‘ – (pdf) where he states: ‘I call upon President Obama and the leaders of the world to condemn Hamas’ use of children as human shields‘, which helped to set the framing of the discourse away from IDF atrocities during OPE, back towards the Indigenous victims. Zionist blogger Yochanan Gordon went so far as to post an editorial titled: ‘When Genocide is Permissible‘ on August 1, 2014 (the post has since been removed, but an archived page is still available here) and deputy speaker of the Knesset, Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, has openly called for the SOI to pursue OPE until the Gaza Strip is ‘reconquered’ and has called for the IDF to erect tent cities (reservations) for Indigenous Palestinians somewhere along the Sinai until, ‘relevant emigration destinations are determined‘: (Source: The Times of Israel: Aug. 5th, 2014 http://ow.ly/A2OSX).
Conversely, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called the last IDF attack on the UN in Gaza a ‘moral outrage’ and a ‘criminal act’ and requested that the Israeli government and military officials responsible for authorising OPE be held to account without specifying how this would happen or under what conditions. (See: ‘Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the United Nations General Assembly on December 9th 1948′) This is a chilling repeat of his earlier condemnations of similar acts of gross IDF violence against UN outposts in the Occupied Territories during ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in 2009; (‘Ban “appalled” by Gaza’s damage‘, BBC, Tuesday, 20 January 2009: http://ow.ly/zVClJ).
This past Thursday, Navi Pillay – the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – slammed the July 30th attack by the IDF, raised the issue of UN facilities trying to protect Palestinians and pointed out the intentional targeting of what remains of the Gaza’s meagre infrastructure. The commissioner also emphasised the increasing number of juvenile casualties citing (at the time) the loss of more than 250 Indigenous Palestinian youths and babies. (Source: ‘Pillay condemns continuing attacks on civilians in Gaza‘, UN News Service: http://is.gd/prSVzB)
‘Under international law, humanitarian relief personnel and objects used for relief operations – this would include UNRWA schools in Gaza being used as shelters – must be respected and protected’, Pillay said. ‘An attack against humanitarian relief personnel and objects used exclusively for relief operations, is a violation of international humanitarian law and may amount to a war crime’. (UN News – July 31st, 2014)
Others have followed suit in announcing their condemnation of the SOI’s official policy of broad, ‘collective punishment’ against civilian lives, infrastructure and Indigenous Palestinian political independence. In Europe, UK Foreign Office minister, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, has resigned, saying Britain’s policy on the crisis in Gaza is ‘morally indefensible’. Surprisingly, the minister did so publicly by announcing her resignation via Twitter stating: ‘I can no longer support Govt policy on #Gaza’ and that: ‘…British government can only play a constructive role in solving the Middle East crisis if it is an honest broker and at the moment I do not think it is.‘
The intense condemnation of the SOI has also extended beyond the usual borders of Anglophone political and economic influence to include the South American Indigenous states of Peru, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Peru and Brazil which have all recalled their ambassadors as their governments officially condemned the attacks. Venezuela and most notably Bolivia – which has officially listed Israel as a ‘Terrorist State’ (See: ‘Bolivia Government Officially Lists The State of Israel As a Terrorist Nation‘, APNS Dispatch: http://is.gd/XVW78I). Both nations have identified OPE as an act of genocide against Indigenous Arabs and have called for universal condemnation of the SOI. Venezuela has demanded a special hearing of the Human Rights Council (HRC) to end the invasion of the Gaza in an official statement. Argentina and Uruguay have decided to leave their embassy staff in place, although they did enter into a joint statement with other S. American states strongly decrying the violence as ‘disproportionate’, (Source: Weekly News Update on the Americas: WNU #1229: 3 More Nations Recall Israel Envoys http://ow.ly/A2pfu).
Legendary revolutionary Cuban leader Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz compared the SOI’s OPE invasion into Palestinian Territory and its historic abuse of Indigenous Arabs is a ‘genocide’ that he said was being wilfully assisted by the United States. He also suggested that it is clear to the world that the US is now ‘unable to control’ its Mid-East client-state:
‘I think that a new and disgusting form of fascism is emerging with considerable force at this moment in human history‘: (‘Holocausto Palestino en Gaza’, Granma: 5 de agosto de 2014: http://ow.ly/A34TY)
The Caribbean Communist nation hasn’t had a diplomatic relationship with the SOI since 1973 when Cuba officially voiced its objection to Israel’s questionable treatment of Indigenous Arab Palestinians.
To date, US government spokespersons have only expressed official condemnation about the attacks against UN structures saying that the Obama administration is, ‘appalled’ by the ‘disgraceful shelling’ and asked (nicely) that the IDF (please) consider the risk of harm to non-combatants. (Source: zeenews.india – 08.04.2014) US State Dept. spokesperson Jen Psaki also raised the possibility of an investigation into the spate of IDF attacks on recognised UN facilities without providing any details.
But despite these statements, the US government has also quietly stepped-up its long-standing tradition of providing military assistance to Israel (seemingly) in tacit support of OPE. And Pentagon officials have now confirmed rumours of munition transfers being quietly released to the IDF since the beginning of OPE (Source: ‘U.S. Has Sold Ammunition to Israel Since Start of Gaza Conflict‘ – ABC News: Jul 30, 2014: http://ow.ly/zX2zK) from its (1 billion USD) War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel (WRSA-I) caché maintained by the US military within the SOI, (Sources: Tikkun Magazine – July 31, 2014: http://ow.ly/zVw99 / ABC News – Jul 15, 2014: http://ow.ly/zX33l).
It is important to remember here that the SOI began ‘Operation Protective Edge’ against the (elected) Hamas government on July, 8th following a false-flag propaganda manoeuvre that fed the international public deliberate misinformation about the abduction and murder of three Israeli settlers in the West Bank by a (claimed) column of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) operating within Palestinian territory; (Source: ‘Jihadist group takes credit for teens’ killings’, The Times of Israel: July 3, 2014: http://is.gd/jRCmam). Although Israeli Prime Minister ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu repeatedly insisted that Hamas was directly responsible for the killings – the moral justification for beginning OPE – it has since been revealed that SOI intelligence authorities knew from the very start that the murders were not connected to, nor ordered by the Palestinian (Hamas) government, (Source: ‘J.J. Goldberg – ‘How Politics and Lies Triggered an Unintended War in Gaza‘ – Forward.com, July 10, 2014: http://ow.ly/zX3d9).
It is also known that the Shabak enacted an immediate gag order (d-notice) that allowed resentment against the Indigenous Arab population within Israel and the Occupied Territories to fester based upon this false information. And there is good reason to suspect that the revenge murder of a young Palestinian – Mohammed Abu Khdeir, (who was burned alive by his assailants) by several racist Israelis in East Jerusalem was due to this propaganda pressure.
And oddly enough, an outspoken Mossad agent had actually predicted such an abduction scenario just weeks before it actually happened; (See: ‘Mossad chief’s chillingly prescient kidnap prophecy‘ – By Barak Ravi, Haaretz: 15.06.14 http://ow.ly/zXcMn).
What is also in amplified debate is the actual objective of these latest Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip (Hamas territory) since the killing of the settlers – the base rationale behind OPE – took place in the (PLO dominated) West Bank? Some have speculated that the ultimate goal is to dismantle the new Palestinian Unity Government (PLO/Hamas) and there is good reason to suspect this; (See: ‘Israel’s Operation Protective Edge: Why now?‘, middleeastmonitor.com: July 21st, 2014 http://ow.ly/A2Zef: 21). But as we have mentioned in previous dispatches, some petroleum and economic analysts have suggested that the real aim behind OPE is to secure Palestinian petroleum sources for the SOI and International energy firms: (See: ‘IDF’s Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis‘, theguardian.com – Wed. 9th July, 2014 – and – ‘Oil in Palestine: A gurgle of hope‘ | The Economist Mar 20th 2014: http://ow.ly/A2Jy3).
Independent political analysts Professor Michel Chossudovsky and Felicity Arbuthnot have both addressed this issue in detailed articles for globalresearch.ca. One titled; ‘War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields‘ and first published in 2009 by Prof. Chossudovsky, pointed out that one year after the end of ‘Operation Cast Lead’, the SOI made public the ‘discovery’ of natural gas in the Levantine Basin, or as the Israeli press termed it, just ‘off the coast of Israel’; (See: ‘Gas Deposits Off Israel and Gaza Opening Vision of Joint Ventures‘ – New York Times http://ow.ly/A2Je7 Sept. 15th, 2000) and articulates the following information:
‘British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority. The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21, 2007). The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001). The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.‘ (emphasis mine.)
Ms. Arbuthnot’s later analysis appeared in Global Research on Dec. 30th, 2013 where she discussed the back-room deal making and international political fault lines involved in the capitalist exploitation of the natural resource:
‘Israel is set to become a major exporter of gas and some oil, if all goes to plan. The giant Leviathan natural gas field, in the eastern Mediterranean, discovered in December 2010, is widely described as “off the coast of Israel.” At the time the gas field was: “ … the most prominent field ever found in the sub-explored area of the Levantine Basin, which covers about 83,000 square kilometres of the eastern Mediterranean region.” (i) Coupled with Tamar field, in the same location, discovered in 2009, the prospects are for an energy bonanza for Israel, for Houston, Texas based Noble Energy and partners Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration. Also involved is Perth, Australia-based Woodside Petroleum, which has signed a memorandum of understanding for a thirty percent stake in the project, in negotiations which have been described as “up and down.” There is currently speculation that Woodside might pull out of the deal: “ …since the original plans to refrigerate the gas for export were pursued when relations between Israel and Turkey were strained. That has changed, more recently, which has opened the door for gas to be piped to Turkey‘. – ‘Israel: Gas, Oil and Trouble in the Levant – 2013‘. (emphasis mine.)
Prof. Chossudovsky in particular has connected the timing of large-scale IDF incursions as a military cover for the industrial exploitation of Indigenous Palestine’s natural petroleum resources. Further speculation along these lines also hint that the SOI’s stated goal of eliminating the Hamas wing of the Palestine Unity Government would facilitate this agenda as they would certainly continue to bargain for more equitable terms. Or perhaps, the concern on the part of the US and the SOI is that Hamas will at some point simply (and expectedly) claim (with justification) the entire Levantine Basin petroleum reserve as Palestinian Territorial property. A situation that will likely keep this crisis going until something breaks. Or until the oil flows.
Joshua Norman ‘WikiLeaks: Israel Intentionally Kept Gaza on Brink of Economic Collapse‘, CBS News (Jan. 5th, 2011) http://ow.ly/A367w
David Wurmser, ‘The Geopolitics of Israel’s Offshore Gas Reserves‘, (April 4, 2013) http://ow.ly/A37JW
Al Shawa Petroleum & Gaza Company: Private Company Information – Businessweek http://ow.ly/A37L3
‘Israel shells UN school in #Gaza‘ – Middle East – Al Jazeera English (17 Jan 2009) http://ow.ly/zVkDk
Sam Hamad, ‘Operation Protective Edge: Reading between the lines‘, middleeastmonitor.com (July 16th, 2014) http://ow.ly/A31gk
[globalsecurity.org] – Operation Protective Edge http://ow.ly/A31ES
A. Kofi [Sources] — APNS [2014-08-07 07:17:32]
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