Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA) told Al Jazeera: “The resolution [HR867] itself, I don’t think accurately characterizes the Goldstone report itself. It certainly doesn’t accurately characterize, nor does it really attempt to characterize, the reality on the ground and the devastation and death that occured there. And nor does it speak at all to the suffering of the Palestinian people or what needs to happen to try to move this situation forward. And I am concerned not only about that but about the general issue of what we can do proactively to get more relief to the people in Gaza in need immediately and what we can do to try to move the peace process forward, and that includes in my judgment, cessation of settlement expansion and moving towards real progress on the ground — tangible progress.”
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) made the following statement on the House Floor about H. Res 867, which condemns the ‘Goldstone Report’ or the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict:
“Today we journey from Operation Cast Lead to Operation Cast Doubt. Almost as serious as committing war crimes is covering up war crimes, pretending that war crimes were never committed and did not exist.
“Because behind every such deception is the nullification of humanity, the destruction of human dignity, the annihilation of the human spirit, the triumph of Orwellian thinking, the eternal prison of the dark heart of the totalitarian.
“The resolution before us today, which would reject all attempts of the Goldstone Report to fix responsibility of all parties to war crimes, including both Hamas and Israel, may as well be called the “Down is Up, Night is Day, Wrong is Right” resolution.
“Because if this Congress votes to condemn a report it has not read, concerning events it has totally ignored, about violations of law of which it is unaware, it will have brought shame to this great institution.
“How can we ever expect there to be peace in the Middle East if we tacitly approve of violations of international law and international human rights, if we look the other way, or if we close our eyes to the heartbreak of people on both sides by white-washing a legitimate investigation?
“How can we protect the people of Israel from existential threats if we hold no concern for the protection of the Palestinians, for their physical security, their right to land, their right to their own homes, their right to water, their right to sustenance, their right to freedom of movement, their right to the human security of jobs, education and health care?
“We will have peace only when the plight of both Palestinians and Israelis is brought before this House and given equal consideration in recognition of that principle that all people on this planet have a right to survive and thrive, and it is our responsibility, our duty to see that no individual, no group, no people are barred from this humble human claim.”
Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, director of Military Intelligence, announced Tuesday that Hamas launched a rocket some 60 kilometers into the sea, apparently as an experiment. Such a rocket, if fired from the northernmost point of the Gaza Strip, could strike the southern cities of the Gush Dan area – including Rishon Letzion, Holon and Bat Yam – and possibly reach as far as Tel Aviv itself.
Although Yadlin didn’t specify the type of the weapon used, it appears to be a standard, foreign-made rocket smuggled into Gaza. Yadlin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Hamas has accumulated an arsenal of rockets slightly larger than the arsenal it possessed before last winter’s Operation Cast Lead.
The experiment hardly caught Israeli intelligence by surprise, as it had assumed Hamas had acquired a similar type of rocket several months ago. However, the importance of Yadlin’s report should not be underestimated as this is the first tangible piece of evidence that Hamas holds a weapon capable of striking Gush Dan. It would seem Hamas has used the lull in fighting with Israel to not only restore, but improve its capabilities. Still, and similar to Hezbollah, restoring the arsenal hardly testifies to restoring motivation to confront Israel militarily. [continued…]
Editor’s Comment — How can you tell when an Israeli official is lying? You can see his lips moving.
I know, an old joke, but really: are we supposed to believe this?
With international attention focused on today’s debate on the Goldstone report taking place in New York at the UN General Assembly, Hamas decides to try out one of its shiny-new rockets from Iran. That’s sure to steer the debate in Hamas’ favor!
Then there’s the dubious concept of missile testing in this context. One would assume that missiles constructed in Iran have undergone very thorough testing in Iran. “Testing” them in Gaza would simply mean depleting the inventory.
Haaretz says: “Israel believes Hamas considers the new rocket a strategic asset, a ‘doomsday weapon’ of sorts, and therefore avoided publicizing the experimental launch, in the hope of using the weapon as a surprise during some later confrontation.”
Wouldn’t a more effective way of maintaining the element of surprise be to skip the “test”?
Before the war on Gaza, Israeli hawks kept on saying that Hamas could not be trusted to maintain a truce and that it was building up its stockpile of longer-range missiles. Then Israel attacked and the long-range missile threat never materialized.
If Hamas really had such an arsenal, why didn’t it use it?
Were they afraid that Israel would abandon its “restraint”? Were they afraid that Israel might use disproportionate force?
The Obama administration is scaling back its ambitions for the Arab-Israeli peace process, focusing on maintaining some degree of low-level dialogue in the face of big divisions between the two sides.
U.S. officials began outlining Washington’s diminished expectations as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton completes a one-week tour of the Middle East on Wednesday. She had tried to kick-start a new round of talks during stops in Israel and Arab capitals, but the divisions proved too wide to bridge.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused U.S. calls for a complete freeze of settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the Palestinians have ruled out resuming negotiations without the freeze.
Mrs. Clinton subsequently pressed Arab leaders to agree to support talks with just a partial Israeli freeze. But barring that, U.S. officials said all sides might be forced to accept a lower level of engagement in the talks to guard against a new round of violence in the Palestinian territories.
There is a fear that militant groups, such as Hamas in the Palestinian territories and Hezbollah in Lebanon, could use a political vacuum to spark renewed violence.
More on Mideast Peace Talks
“There’s value in having the process” in itself, said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley on Tuesday. In a sign of the administration’s changing focus, Mr. Crowley added: “If this particular path, we think, can’t get us there, we’ll look for others.” [continued…]
Police suspect that Yaakov (Jack) Teitel, who has confessed to murdering two Palestinians and carrying out a long list of other, less deadly, terror attacks, also murdered two traffic policemen in the Jordan Valley eight months ago – a crime originally attributed to Palestinian terrorists.
Haaretz reported on Tuesday that police suspected Teitel of other murders in addition to those of the two Palestinians, but at the time, a gag order was still in place that prevented specifying which murders.
The policemen, Warrant Officer David Rabinowitz and Senior Warrant Officer Yehezkel Ramzarkar, were shot while sitting in their patrol vehicle near Moshav Massua. The subsequent investigation indicated that the assailant had lain in wait at the turn-off from the main road to Massua and did something to make them stop and roll down their window. He then shot them from point-blank range. No damage was done to the vehicle, and nothing was taken from it.
Teitel denied responsibility for these murders, and it not clear what evidence the police have against him. But a police source said yesterday that Teitel’s modus operandi in the crimes he has admitted to “precisely matches” that of the policemen’s murder.
The police and the Shin Bet security service have long assumed that the policemen’s killer acted alone, and not as part of an organization, making it difficult to get information about the crime. And while the police considered the possibility that the murder was criminal rather than the work of terrorists, three different lines of inquiry had drawn blanks, leaving investigators utterly in the dark. [continued…]