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Oct-05-2009 02:33printcommentsVideo

Human Rights Groups in Palestine ask, When is Enough, Enough?

Palestinians say they will not accept findings on Gaza; a demonstration takes place in AlManara Square Ramallah today.

The reality of life and death for the people of Gaza
The reality of life and death for the people of Gaza
Photo: Mazin Qumsiyeh

(SALEM, Ore.) - If Americans are the victims of injustice, they have recourse. Most western people assert their rights and maintain a sense of dignity in life. That is not the case for the people of Palestine.

They are the victims of a religious doctrine and belief system that places Palestinian last on the list, and has led so many of these people to disparity and death.

In December, Hamas militants fired rockets into Israel from Gaza. This was a response to Israel's failure to open checkpoints that it had earlier agreed to do. When the smoke cleared, more than 1400 people in Gaza were dead, among them nearly 400 children. Israel's total losses from the rocket attacks and military incursion into Gaza, was 14 people. Of the 14, four died in friendly fire incidents.

This 100-to-1 death toll response is typical of Israel, which blatantly uses military equipment manufactured in the U.S.A. and supported by U.S. tax dollars, to launch unprecedented military attacks on its neighbors.

The news last week that the Palestinian leadership would look the other way over the issue of Gaza, does not appear to be an idea headed toward acceptance.

Palestinian activist Mazin Qumsiyeh sent a press release to Salem-News.com and other media outlets, describing the feelings among Palestinian people who believe their current leaders greatly let them down by not pressing the issue of Israeli war crimes with the UN.

Gaza was attacked by Israel repeatedly in December and January

"It is hard to describe our emotions in the past three days in Palestine since we heard of the Palestinian 'leadership' withdrawal of the discussions at the UN Human Rights Council about the Goldstone report."

The Israeli Defense Forces used white phosphorous as a weapon against Palestinians and hundreds were killed in their homes; burned to death horribly.

Qumsiyeh said, "Can those who made the decision look straight in the eyes of the families of the 400 children butchered in Gaza and tell them that this was politically necessary because Hillary Clinton asked them to do it?"

He suggests that Americans might understand if they see just one family picture, "And will the rest of us (and yes each of us is responsible) be able to look into these same eyes and tell them we were satisfied with expressing sympathy and uttering words?"

"Who decreed that popular civil action cannot be directed at those who harm the cause and happen to also be Palestinian? Will our shame, anger and revulsion be NOW moved to civil action? Will we really have a democratic civil society or one ruled by a clique of elites? Will decent people in Fateh stand-up to correct this trend? Will we say enough is enough and this was the straw that broke the camel's back?"

A demonstration is scheduled in AlManara Square Ramallah today, Monday, at noon. Mazin Qumsiyeh issued an urgent statement by the The Palestinian NGOs Network (PNGO):

"PNGO condemns PA request of delaying endorsement of Goldstone recommendations

PNGO expresses its bewilderment and strongly condemns the Palestinian Authority’s withdrawal of its draft resolution supporting the recommendations contained in the Goldstone Report, resulting in a deferral of a vote to endorse the report in the Human Rights Council to March 2010. The report suggests that war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity were committed by the Israeli military during its 23-day offensive in Gaza from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009.

PNGO considers that this move by the Palestinian Authority (PA) is an insult to the victims of Operation Cast Lead, and actively facilitates the ongoing impunity of suspected Israeli war criminals; while the siege on Gaza enters its 28th month, Israeli military attacks on the Palestinian population are ongoing and settlement expansion in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, continues unabated. PNGO is shocked at the suggestion by the PA that accountability for the victims in Gaza could adversely affect the peace process.

PNGO asks Palestinian political parties to immediately adopt a clear position about the PA decision and to request from the PA a public explanation. This decision has triggered embarrassment and disappointment among Palestinians and activists in the international community, who have made efforts to bring perpetrators of war crimes in Gaza to justice. The Palestinian Authority has wasted an important opportunity towards ensuring accountability of the State of Israel for their war crimes and human rights violations.

In the words of Justice Goldstone at the presentation of his report at the HRC on 29 September: "This is the time for action. The lack of accountability for war crimes and possible crimes against humanity has reached a crisis point; the ongoing lack of justice is undermining any hope for a successful peace process and reinforcing an environment that fosters violence."

People who are behind Israeli politics frequently say, "Israel has a right to defend itself" and that is certainly true, just as any nation does. Yet in spite of that recognition, they often call those of us who decry Israeli policies "anti-Semitic" which is a false charge.

Writers I am associated with who are critical of Israel, have many Jewish friends, and some are Jewish. At no time do these writers ever single people out over their religion, it is not the point. The point is that all humans have a right to certain basic freedoms that the Palestinian people are denied.

The denial of Israel's involvement in war crimes is wrong, it is prejudice, and it can't go on this way much longer. I can only imagine what it would be like through the eyes of those who live in Gaza.

Groups supporting statement:

Adalah * Addameer * Aldameer * Al Haq * Al Mezan * Badil * Civic Coalition for Jerusalem * DCI-Palestine * ENSAN Centre * Independent Commission for Human Rights * Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre * Palestinian Centre for Human Rights * Ramallah Centre for Human Rights Studies * Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling *

Background

Christian Science Monitor Oct. 3, 2009: Palestinians drop endorsement of Goldstone report on Gaza war

Salem-News.com Oct. 3, 2009: Critical Declaration by Almost all Palestinian Human Rights Organizations

Defence for Children Internatinal Oct. 2, 2009: Palestinian civil society dismayed at PA deferral of UN vote

In the video below by Journeyman Pictures, we go back to Gaza in May 2003, where there was a constant gauntlet of Israeli sniper fire, military rockets and army bulldozers. "No one is safe. In light of the escalating tensions, we're bringing back one our most moving documentaries, a hard-hitting expose of life in the Occupied territories. We speak to the children caught in the crossfire and find out the true cost of Israel's targeted assassinations policy."

Video

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Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), the first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several other awards including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Eddie Zawaski October 6, 2009 5:39 am (Pacific time)

Bravo Tim! The best part of your article was the photos and videos you published along with it. You say that Goldstone suggests Americans might understand if they see just one family picture. This is so true. Americans saw repeated images of people leaping out of the twin towers and and huge buildings collapsing into smoky ruins. By this means, the American media communicated a sense of rage and despair that was used by politicians to support two huge military operations. It was the power of those images repeated over and again that made the wrong-headed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan possible. Similarly, should the mainstream media show the same photos and videos that you provided with this article, something might change. The fact is that they don't. Small courageous news outlets like yours are the only sources we have for the pictures nobody wants to see, for the pictures that would drive a nation to action if enough people saw them often enough. These pictures might prompt Americans to get behind some positive and constructive action rather than the negative and destructive deeds spawned by the endless twin towers falling loops. The other thing you do well in this article, Tim, is to call out your comment contributor AR and identify him for who he is. Israel has an army of such people whose primary purpose is to drown the media with sophistry and claims of victimhood for Israel and blame for Israel's perceived enemies. What AR and all his cronies fail to realize is that Israel's real enemy is itself. For as long as Israel pursues policies of war, genocide and colonial expansion, it will continue to be a target and rightly so. If AR and his allies wish to put an end to anti-semitism, they should turn their persuasive powers on the Israeli government to bend its policies away from aggressive expansionism and toward cooperation with its neighbors. Keep on publishing these words and pictures, Tim, and perhaps someday enough of it will leak into the the NYTimes to make a difference.


AR October 6, 2009 2:31 am (Pacific time)

Now you compare a person asking for a balanced view of this terrible conflict to a Nazi. You are just proving that you are not engaging in a rational discussion, and revert to ad hominum attacks. You imply I could only hold the views that I hold for insincere reasons. Please settle down and do some open-minded research.


xexon October 5, 2009 8:12 pm (Pacific time)

A link for AR, because I smelled a zionist as I wandered by... http://fc01.deviantart.com/fs23/f/2008/005/f/5/Why_do_they_attack_us__by_Latuff2.jpg x


AR October 5, 2009 2:33 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. King does not know his history, nor has he bothered to look beyond shallow conventional interpretations that blithely blame one protagonist in this conflict for all problems. Again, this kind of approach does not help the problem get solved. The Palestinian leaders have been coddled by useful idiots like King for decades. Both parties in this conflict are making mistakes. One party wants to annihilate the other. How do you think a Jewish family would fare living in Gaza today? Yes, Arabs in Israel face some discrimination, like minorities do in many states including where you live. But they enjoy more rights and more human rights than people in any Arab state. Do you know that hundred of thousands of Jews were driven out of their homes in Arab countries after 1948? Which country is threatening to destroy the other, Iran or Israel? Does the leader of Israel refer to the Iranian people as bacteria, cancerous tumors, etc.? I don't find your argumentation impressive.

Tim King: You know the German government went after any and all reporters that attempted to expose what the Third Reich was about, and I see a correlation here.  You are one of these low-IQ nimwits that Israel pays to go around criticizing every article like this online.  Well, I just read it again and I can see why it bothers you.  I tried to really put this into terms that people could grasp, even when hearing about this for the first time.  Any history book shows that the Jewish refugees from WWII moved to Palestine in 1947 and 1948 and formed Israel, along with U.S. and British secret services.  The Palestinian people were little more than in the way and in villages like Dier Yassin, the Palestinians were brutalized and murdered, by the Israeli's.  But Dier Yassin is only one small example of the brutality that Israel began doling out to the Palestinians.  Expansion is the key strategy and now the Palestinian land is in tiny sections where the water is sparce.  In neighboring Israeli neighborhoods on the other side of the fence are homes with sprinklers and pools.  If that wealth was distributed just a little, if the Six Day War hadn't been an excise for Israel to seize more Palestinian land, there would be more peace.  But above all else if they (you) would just stop mowing down Palestinian homes with bulldozerx to build more settlements,  you would cause the world to gain faith in Israel.  YOU are a sad little example of humanity, you should feel dirty for the lies you attempt to put forth.  I also wish I had what it took to just flush comments like yours, but instead I am always having to address packaged statements of lies that support bigotry.   I always prefer to leave the name calling out but pal, I can take you on in my sleep.  The shame! 


R Sutcliffe October 5, 2009 9:24 am (Pacific time)

Tell me where the right to defense says you can destroy civilian property in order to starve a captive population.
http://tigerbythetail.wordpress.com/2009/10/04/idf-bravery-knows-no-bounds/


Mike October 5, 2009 10:08 am (Pacific time)

AR the majority of people know who the real belligerants are, and what course of action will soon be taken. It's unfortunate so many innocents will have to die, but when your survival is on the line one has no choice. After countless discussions about securing peace, all one has to do is see who are the primary attackers. No one will be shocked how this will turn out, but still my prayers are that the people of the different areas will overthrow those who are leading them into the abyss.


R Sutcliffe October 5, 2009 9:24 am (Pacific time)

Tell me where the right to defense says you can destroy civilian property in order to starve a captive population. http://tigerbythetail.wordpress.com/2009/10/04/idf-bravery-knows-no-bounds/


AR October 5, 2009 4:16 am (Pacific time)

It is not correct to state that Hamas fired rockets into Israel because of problems with the border of Gaza. Hamas is dedicated to destroying Israel, doesn't the writer know this? Is he claiming this was a normal military actions? Which side tried to protect civilians, Hamas or Israel? How has Hamas ever tried to protect Israeli civilians? I agree that allegations of war crimes should be investigated by Israel. In fact, almost any country involved in such a war commits such crimes. But when the international community and journalists are taken in by propaganda, it does not encourage cooperation to solve attacks against civilians. Israel has been victimized by the UN Human Rights Council and Commission. Don't try to tell me anti-semitism is not an element in this syndrome. Because of this they distrust the fairness of criticism.

Tim King: So then all struggles in this world, regardless of the violence and bloodshed, are always about racial bigotry?  No, being against a particular religion and disapproving of massive unilateral military strikes,  does not add up to the same thing.  Nobody in their right mind will say that what Hamas did is right, but it is a matter of at least understanding what politics drives them to do these things.  Israel is safe for the most part, it has a massive military that is scarcely rivaled.  Iran has no history of preemptive military strikes.  The danger is all in the hands of the Israeli's and the level of humanity they are willing to extend to the Palestinian people.  Peace AR.  

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