The Guardian has compiled detailed evidence of alleged war crimes committed by Israel during the 23-day offensive in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, involving the use of Palestinian children as human shields and the targeting of medics and hospitals.
A month-long investigation also obtained evidence of civilians being hit by fire from unmanned drone aircraft said to be so accurate that their operators can tell the colour of the clothes worn by a target.
The testimonies form the basis of three Guardian films which add weight to calls this week for a full inquiry into the events surrounding Operation Cast Lead, which was aimed at Hamas but left about 1,400 Palestinians dead, including more than 300 children.
Peering over the horrible pile of Palestinian civilian casualties that has immediately resulted, it’s fairly easy to see where this is going in the medium-to-longer term. The zealot settlers and their clerical accomplices are establishing an army within the army so that one day, if it is ever decided to disband or evacuate the colonial settlements, there will be enough officers and soldiers, stiffened by enough rabbis and enough extremist sermons, to refuse to obey the order. Torah verses will also be found that make it permissible to murder secular Jews as well as Arabs. The dress rehearsals for this have already taken place, with the religious excuses given for Baruch Goldstein’s rampage and the Talmudic evasions concerning the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Once considered highly extreme, such biblical exegeses are moving ever closer to the mainstream. It’s high time the United States cut off any financial support for Israel that can be used even indirectly for settler activity, not just because such colonization constitutes a theft of another people’s land but also because our Constitution absolutely forbids us to spend public money on the establishment of any religion. [continued…]
Editor’s Comment — Nadia Matar, a leader of the Israeli settler group “Women in Green,” was in New York last Wednesday (thanks to Mondoweiss for covering the story) where, receiving a round of applause, she said: “We must kill all the terrorist leaders, starting with Mahmoud Abbas and all others…Nobody had any moral qualms at destroying the Nazi regime. We have to abolish the Oslo Agreements, there’s no difference between the PA, the Islamic Jihad, the Hamas, whatever names you have, they’re all terrorists and we cannot have peace with them.”
The settler spirit (“we are the future”) that Matar exemplifies can be seen in the following Israel National News TV report which aired last October. Matar describes the Israeli government as “corrupt and evil and anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic.” She says her government “only deals with one thing: persecuting the loyal Jews of Eretz Yisrael [Greater Israel].”
(Sidenote: This INN news presenter really needs to get snapped up by Jon Stewart’s Daily Show – his untapped comedic talent is going to waste on INN.)
Israel will not demolish nine houses in a West Bank settlement in spite of a court order to do so, because they were inhabited months ago and are within the confines of the Ofra settlement.
Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, informed the court on Sunday of his decision, a day before an Israeli High Court hearing on the matter. Mr Barak said “no unique position” should be settled with respect to the houses in isolation of the settlement as a whole.
The news comes on a day Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and Shufat, both in occupied East Jerusalem, fight home evictions, house demolitions and, in the latter case, the expropriation of 30,000 sq m of land on the edge of the Shufat Refugee Camp for the building of a military checkpoint that will sever the camp’s 30,000 inhabitants from the rest of Jerusalem. [continued…]
On Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show on March 15, Chas Freeman said that the Zionist Organization of America had coordinated a campaign against his selection to be Obama’s National Intelligence Council chair, an appointment he had given up under pressure five days before the interview aired. Freeman cited a “posting” by ZOA that took credit for an effort to dig up information against him and “to agitate first congressmen who were sympathetic to them and later others.”
The ZOA responded on March 18: “There is no such ZOA posting that Freeman describes.”
Well here’s the posting, from a Zionist website, an email that Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America sent out March 11, the day after Chas Freeman withdrew his name. It’s also here, on an Israeli site. It describes just such a campaign: [continued…]
Human beings are social creatures. We are social not just in the trivial sense that we like company, and not just in the obvious sense that we each depend on others. We are social in a more elemental way: simply to exist as a normal human being requires interaction with other people.
Children provide the clearest demonstration of this fact, although it was slow to be accepted. Well into the nineteen-fifties, psychologists were encouraging parents to give children less attention and affection, in order to encourage independence. Then Harry Harlow, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, produced a series of influential studies involving baby rhesus monkeys.
He happened upon the findings in the mid-fifties, when he decided to save money for his primate-research laboratory by breeding his own lab monkeys instead of importing them from India. Because he didn’t know how to raise infant monkeys, he cared for them the way hospitals of the era cared for human infants—in nurseries, with plenty of food, warm blankets, some toys, and in isolation from other infants to prevent the spread of infection. The monkeys grew up sturdy, disease-free, and larger than those from the wild. Yet they were also profoundly disturbed, given to staring blankly and rocking in place for long periods, circling their cages repetitively, and mutilating themselves.
At first, Harlow and his graduate students couldn’t figure out what the problem was. They considered factors such as diet, patterns of light exposure, even the antibiotics they used. Then, as Deborah Blum recounts in a fascinating biography of Harlow, “Love at Goon Park,” one of his researchers noticed how tightly the monkeys clung to their soft blankets. Harlow wondered whether what the monkeys were missing in their Isolettes was a mother. So, in an odd experiment, he gave them an artificial one. [continued…]