Amnesty International: Israel must disclose all weapons used in Gaza

23 January, 2009

Reports have suggested that Israel used new Dime (dense inert metal explosive) bombs designed to produce an intense explosion in a small space that may have been sent from the US via its Lakenheath military base in eastern England.

London, Jan 23, IRNA — Amnesty International is calling on the Israeli regime to disclose all weapons and munitions that were used in its latest slaughter of more than 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza amid concern that they include new secret US bombs that cause horrific injuries.

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Alternative Information Centre: Absolutely Not! Not in Their Names, Not in Ours

Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni, Gabi Ashkenazi and Ehud Olmert–don’t you dare show your faces at any memorial ceremony for the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto, Lublin, Vilna or Kishinev. And you too, leaders of Peace Now, for whom peace means a pacification of the Palestinian resistance by any means, including the destruction of a people. Whenever I will be there, I shall personally do my best to expel each of you from these events, for your very presence would be an immense sacrilege.

Not in Their Names

You have no right to speak in the name of the martyrs of our people. You are not Anne Frank of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp but Hans Frank, the German general who acted to starve and destroy the Jews of Poland.

You are not representing any continuity with the Warsaw Ghetto, because today the Warsaw Ghetto is right in front of you, targeted by your own tanks and artillery, and its name is Gaza. Gaza that you have decided to eliminate from the map, as General Frank intended to eliminate the Ghetto. But, unlike the Ghettos of Poland and Belorussia, in which the Jews were left almost alone, Gaza will not be eliminated because millions of men and women from the four corners of our world  are building a powerful human shield carrying two words: Never Again!

Not in Our Name!

Together with tens of thousands of other Jews, from Canada to Great Britain, from Australia to Germany, we are warning you: don’t dare to speak in our names, because we will run after you, even, if needed, to the hell of war-criminals, and stuff your words down your throat until you ask for forgiveness for having mixed us up with your crimes. We, and not you, are the children of Mala Zimetbaum and Marek Edelman, of Mordechai Anilevicz and Stephane Hessel, and we are conveying their message to humankind for custody in the hands of the Gaza resistance fighters: “We are fighting for our freedom and yours, for our pride and yours, for our human, social and national dignity and yours.” (Appeal of the Ghetto to the world, Passover 1943)

But for you, the leaders of Israel, “freedom” is a dirty word. You have no pride and you do not understand the meaning of human dignity.

We are not “another Jewish voice,” but the sole Jewish voice able to speak in the names of the tortured saints of the Jewish people. Your voice is nothing other than the old bestial vociferations of the killers of our ancestors.


Gaza: The Facts Are Insufficiently Impartial

23 January, 2009

The BBC’s refusal to broadcast a charity appeal for Gaza will prevent essential aid from reaching the victims of Israel’s assault.

From Lenin’s Tomb

Facts are awkward. They take sides. They do not conveniently distribute themselves evenly along the spectrum of opinion and, therefore, they lack balance. They must either be suppressed or complemented by some lies. For instance, it is a matter of controversy only to Tzipi Livni [leader of Israel’s Kadima Party] that Gaza is experiencing a profound humanitarian crisis.

* Aside from the thousands dead and wounded, 50,000 people have been left homeless, 400,000 have been left without water, and 84% of the population have no secure source of food.
* Power shortages are normal — 40% of the population gets no electricity, while the remaining 60% only have intermittent access.
* Eight of Gaza’s hospitals were partially destroyed by bombing and shelling during the war and 26 clinics were hit, and the whole medical system is suffering from severe shortages, including those resulting from having inadequate or non-existent power supplies. For over a month, access to Gaza’s already diminished medical structure was severely reduced.

By standards that are commonsensical, this is a humanitarian catastrophe. It has been worsened by the fact that, due to Israeli attacks on humanitarian workers, much aid delivery had to be suspended during the war itself. 89% of the people have received no aid at all. The simple fact is that if aid doesn’t arrive soon, a great many people will suffer horribly and die.

The Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella group of 13 UK-based humanitarian agencies, did what it usually does in such circumstances. It prepared an urgent campaign to raise funds from the British public, for Gaza. Under an agreement dating back to 1963, the BBC broadcasts the DEC’s emergency appeals, and other broadcasters tend to follow suit. Yet, this time, they have refused, a decision that will deny the campaign millions of pounds. Other broadcasters are now using this as an excuse to refuse to carry the appeal.

The BBC says that its decision was prompted by concerns that broadcasting such an appeal would call its impartiality into question. I have to confess, I have absolutely no idea what this can mean. Does it actually mean anything?

Note that the BBC didn’t consider its broadcast on Kosovo, just under a decade ago, to have any implications for its impartiality. This despite the fact that the (very real) humanitarian crisis in Kosovo was at that point being used as a justification for war by the NATO powers that were at that point actually co-responsible for the crisis through their bombing campaign. In that case, there was an obvious consequence of broadcasting the DEC’s appeal, inasmuch as it could have fed into pro-war propaganda and facilitated further carnage — but only a miserly sod would have demanded that it be withdrawn on those grounds.

In the case of the Gaza appeal, the only likely consequence of broadcasting it is that some people get a slightly more comfortable and prolonged life. Obviously, the consequence of not broadcasting it is that they don’t. The BBC is therefore clearly not being impartial. It is taking sides, effectively boycotting aid for Gaza on the apparent assumption that their job is to avoid offending Israel’s supporters.

Tomorrow’s protest starts outside BBC Broadcasting House at Portland Place, from 1.30pm. In the meantime, Stop the War recommends that you call the BBC and complain, on this number: 03700 100 222. Press 3 for complaints [Or, online:]. And you might also consider donating to the DEC appeal.

Joe Bageant: North Toward Home

HOPKINS VILLAGE, BELIZE — I watched Obama’s inaugural speech over a plate of rice, beans and tortillas eaten with my fingers, in a thatch roofed joint in Belize. Which is organic and ethnic as hell, but I’d be the first to admit that a bucket of hot wings and a cold sixer would have been far preferable to this slob. And right along with the Garifunas, Mestizos and Creoles there watching Obama, I had my choked up moments. After all, I’m still an American — albeit a reluctant one, and (despite the opinions of a couple of ex-wives) a human being.

But unlike most of the other villagers present, I also understood that I was watching a $40 million media production in which the highly paid meat puppets at the microphones spoke in a continuous tape loop … lip synching the lyrics of the national sing along, pointing out for the thousandth time that our new president is black, and going into detail about such things as Obama and Biden stepping out of their limos simultaneously. Wow! For the most part it was the Rose Bowl Parade, but with a speech and a dance party replacing the football game.

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