25 thoughts on “Israelis Murder Hamas Interior Minister, Son, Brother, Four Neighbors – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. blood thirsty war mongers who deserve to be brought to justice in a
    1) (long overdue) International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI), and in
    2) every country in the world which applies the doctrine of Universal Jurisdiction

  2. I heard yesterday that Bolivia had broken ties with Israel and that Evo Morales would seek to get Israeli officials, such as Olmert, charged with genocide in the International Criminal Court.

    Way to go Bolivia!

  3. Unfortunately this latest Israeli murder is but the latest in a long series. First PLO leaders, then Hezbellah and now Hamas. The current Defense Minister Barak earned his “bones” by mudering a PLO leader in 1973.

    Too bad it has taken so long for many to see the Zionist state for the murder machine it has long been.

  4. How do you know the UN warehouse was deliberately targeted? Why do that (knowing the negative consequences for Israel’s image) when – for example – 27 trucks passed through Karni this week, 94 from Keren Shalom, and 200,000 tons of industrial fuel from Nahal Oz? Do you have any evidence that it was deliberately targeted? A serious, embarassing fuck-up, yes. Deliberately targeted, no.

  5. Alex, some quotes from the NYT article:

    “The strike, which Israel said was in response to enemy fire…”
    “Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, on Thursday justified the attack on the refugee agency headquarters, saying that Hamas militants had fired at Israeli forces from within the compound.”

    Similar claims (in this as in previous wars) have so often been debunked as propaganda lies that I don’t believe for a second there’s anything true about it this time. But in any case such excuses are patently incompatible with an accidental hit (in fact there was not one but two, one on the warehouse and another one on an adjacent vocational training compound). You don’t believe that enemy fighters are in a building and then hit that building accidentally.
    That leaves as the only option that the assessment, if made in good faith, of Hamas fighters firing from the compound was wrong:
    Mr. Ging … questioned why Israeli liaison officers had never mentioned Hamas activity in the area, even though he said they were in constant contact.

    “They should tell us if there are militants operating in our compound or in our area,” he said. “The fact that they don’t, we take that as indicative of the fact that there wasn’t.”

  6. ichard:

    While I agree with the content/tone of your post I fear its based on a faulty premise. You assume that there is a belief on the part of the Israeli power structure that a real peace is possible – or at least a peace that they would support/accept. As always watch what they do not what they say.

    What if Israel’s Government has concluded that their best outcome is the long term subjugation of the Palestinian people? I fear if you start with that premise Gaza makes perfect sense.

    From that viewpoint Gaza has been a great success. Consider what they have shown the Palestinian people by this military effort:

    – they can invade and kill as many Palestinians as they want whenever they wish and NO ONE will do a thing about it. Bombing the UN Headquarters and School along with the Hospital really helped to achieve that goal.

    – the most powerful military and economic force in the world is their backer, frankly its their client but that’s another discussion, and has given them freedom to do to the Palestinians what they wish whenever the mood strikes them. Unfortunately this will not change when Obama enters office – he is just as owned as the Bushies.

    – the only acceptable form of Government of the Palestinian State is one that the Israel Government controls. Currently Fatah is their pick and has clearly shown to all it will do as the Israel and US Government wishes.

    – they have no hope for a better future – only pain and suffering will follow until they yield to the wishes of the Israel State. Their only option is to submit or leave. The second being the desired outcome but even Israel can’t admit to ethnic cleansing.

    Sorry, but viewed from this vantage point Gaza makes perfect sense.

  7. Oops, typo in the html tag, the last part, from “Mr. Ging”, was supposed to be a quote.

    On second thought, there’s another possibility, that the shelling was in fact accidental and the excuses were drawn up after the fact. But then we have to ask, how deluded do Israeli spokespersons have to be to think that anyone with two working brain cells believes such excuses any more, just over a week after the bombing of the UNRWA school?

  8. I once asked a certain IDF brigade commander why, if IDF claims it always adheres to purity of arms, would it not equip every single platoon with a photographer to document everything that’s going on in order to be able later to prove to the world that we’re just. I was asking sincerely believing in the premise of the question – namely, that we do adhere to purity of arms, that all the civilian casualties either could not be avoided or were tragic mistakes. Needless to say, the brigade commander did not have a good answer, except to praise me for a good idea and thinking. I kept believing for a long time that the true answer was our stupidity, ineptitude in propaganda…
    Since then, I slowly but surely came to a different conclusion. The reason IDF doesn’t film itself is because it does have things to hide. Case in point, shelling of the UNRWA headquarters. Suppose for a second that Hamas was shooting from there. Instead of shooting back, or at least just prior to that (if there indeed was such a danger to IDF soldiers), shoot a film and later show it to all the world. Same for all the cases where IDF claims Hamas is shooting from within civilian population etc. Even without firing a single shell of bullet back, Israel would have won the war by showing those images around the world. This, of course, doesn’t happen. there are no embedded photographers with every unit and even if there are some, their footage obviously is not to Israel’s advantage.

  9. Recommened read: Is Israel using illegal weapons in its offensive on Gaza?

    As for the Israeli claim about weapons and ammunition being hidden in public buildings such as mosques, Garlasco reiterates that only independent sources will be able to examine this claim and clarify its veracity. If the mosques blown up in the heart of densely populated residential neighborhoods indeed served as hiding places for weapons and ammunition, he would expect to see many secondary explosions, which would have caused significant collateral damage and deep craters. It is difficult to analyze the Israeli claims on the basis of photographs, he notes.

    Garlasco is not prepared to accept without question the Israeli claim that Hamas hides behind civilians and makes use of civilians. “Israelis are very quick to say they are doing it, but very short on proof. By keeping the independent people out, they leave doubt in people’s minds.” Furthermore, he believes, Israel has a record of not telling the truth: “They said in Lebanon they did not use cluster bombs. We found 4 million. They evade answering that they use phosphorus, and we stand there every day watching. They claim to have bombed a truck full of Grad missiles, and according to witnesses who spoke with Haaretz, it turned out to be a truck with oxygen tanks. Not everything that is long is a missile. How can anyone trust the Israeli military?'”

  10. Alex, if you want some background on why many here, and in Israel, have reason to disbelieve what the IDF says, here are several instances where overwhelming proof forced the IDF to admit that it lies.


    A short quote from the blog:

    “But, in the weeks that following the assassination at Nusseirat, Israeli MK Yossi Sarid repeatedly asked the IDF to clarify the operational details it had released to the press about the mission. Sarid was a member of the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee, and had received classified information that events at Nusseirat were not as the Israeli military had suggested. It was not until Sarid threatened to go public with what he knew about the operation that the IDF came clean:

    “The Israeli military has admitted that it lied about a rocket attack on a Gaza refugee camp, which according to the army led to no casualties, but which the Palestinians have claimed killed 14 civilians…. [T]he army now admits that it lied in briefings to the Israeli and foreign press, because the second rocket was not a Hellfire missile. The military refuses to identify the weapon used, on the grounds of “operational security”. But the speculation is that it was an American-made Flechette, which is illegal under international law because it fires thousands of tiny darts over hundreds of meters, causing horrific injuries. Israel has used similar weapons in Gaza in the past…

    Evidence from the attack scene indicated that the second missile exploded in the air, not on impact, suggesting an intention to cause casualties in a wide area instead of just destroying the vehicle. ”
    — Israel Admits It Lied Over Missile Raid on Camp; The Guardian, 21 Nov 2003.

    This kind of thing happens over and over again. Why do they do it? Because most of the time they can get away with it. Because they can pretend to be the “most moral army in the world” while committing immoral acts, and many will continue to believe their rubbish as long as they continue to lie.

  11. @Peter D: I think Garlasco is right that such incidents (and the pursuit of warfare in general) have to be investigated by independent experts and journalists on the ground. Embedded journalists are not independent. Videos and photos on their own are unreliable – even if they’re genuine, not staged or tampered with, we will see in them whatever those presenting them say they show. You’ll remember the one year old video presented by Israel as “proof” of the presence of gunmen at the UNRWA school. Amira Hass mentions the welding equipment presented as missilies. In 2004 there was the stretcher incident in Jabaliya, and in 2003 the incident at Nusseirat that tree mentioned. In all these cases genuine videos were used to deliberately mislead the public.

  12. Yes, fiddler, of course, but I am talking about the weight of accumulated evidence. Right now nobody trusts Israeli version of the events because time after time after time Israel failed to produce any evidence supporting it in the best case, was caught outright lying in the worst. Embedded journalists that produce evidence supporting IDF claims time after time after time would have had a similar effect, but beneficial to Israel. It won’t happen because the is simply no such supporting evidence in most cases. In my case in point of shooting at the UNRWA headquarters , if IDF was so positive they were fired at from there, it should have been be possible to capture it on film with reasonable credibility.
    By the way, today in HuffPo David Bromwich has a very good post in which he argues against the perception that results of Israeli actions are just “unintended consequences”:

    Thus, if Israel in 2006 destroyed large parts of Lebanon, there is a strong chance that this happened because Israel intended to reduce to rubble large parts of Lebanon; even if the Israeli claim at the time was that it sought nothing more than to weaken Hezbollah and destroy its hiding places. Again, if Israel in 2009 reduces to rubble a large portion of the Gaza Strip and leaves tens of thousands homeless, there is a strong chance that this was what it intended to do; even if the Israeli claim is merely that it wished to stop the rockets at their source.

    As they say, “if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…”.

  13. By the way, the stretcher and the gas-canisters-cum Grad-missiles cases teach us something: namely, IDF is too trigger-happy. I don’t think the pilot who destroyed that trucks with the canisters would have done it had he known these were not really Grad missiles. He just suspected they were. This means that the rules of opening fire are too lax. That happened in Lebanon in 2006 too – trucks with refugees hit just because they had a tarp cover and not too far from a Katyusha launch location.
    This signals to me that while in many cases IDF indeed does not try to hurt civilians deliberately, it on the other hand does not do enough to prevent that. Same with Peretz reducing the safety range for artillery to 100mm (in 2006 I think). People were warning him that it would cause civilians deaths, petitions were signed, but he did not budge and increase it back to 300mm until they wiped out that family in Bet Hanun. This is just criminal negligence.

  14. Peter, I’m not suggesting each and every individual IAF pilot or soldier on the ground deliberately tries to hurt civilians. There are however too many cases where I can’t think of another explanation. The use of a flechette missile, quoted above, is one – there was absolutely no chance that a large number of civilians would not be hurt, and it’s especially incomprehensible since the two targeted Hamas men had already been killed then. The murder of Amira (in other reports Iman) al-Hams in Rafah in 2004 is another. (http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2006/01/below-is-english-translation-from.html)
    And on and on and on.
    The point is that the soldiers who do this are not a few bad apples. If they were, the army would vigorously investigate, prosecute them, and if found guilty, convict them and expel them from their ranks. Instead we get lies, cover-ups, and so-called investigations that silently trickle out when the world’s attention is focused elsewhere, that is, if there is an investigation at all. In the handful of cases where a soldier is convicted the sentences are ludicrous.
    So the army is quite openly sending the message that Palestinians can be killed with impunity and the civilian leadership at best nods and winks. This, the institutional level is where the main responsibility lies, and it’s why IMO it’s born out by the facts and justified to say that the IDF deliberately kills civilians, even if that isn’t true of every single soldier.

  15. fiddler, absolutely, I am not disputing a word of what you said. I was saying that in many cases IDF did not target civilians deliberately, rather through negligence which is at times not really any better than deliberate killing (like giving car keys to a drunk, sort of). That was not to suggest that there aren’t many cases in which IDF deliberately targets civilians. The number of dead children with sniper wounds to the head, back and abdomen would convince any reasonable person, I think. There are plenty of other examples too. The killing of civilians during “targeted assassinations”, the killing of the graduating class of policemen as the opening salvo of the current op et cetera, et cetera. I am also convinced that IDF targets UN installations quite deliberately: all these cases involve frantic calls from UN to IDF pleading to hold their fire and invariably end in IDF doing so only after the target is destroyed.

  16. To Alex Stein: How many times does this kind of thing have to happen for you to be convinced? Embarrassing fuck-up? No, not really, Israel is totally shameless. This is the kind of behaviour I’d expect from an army which routinely denies medical attention to the sick and injured. The reason you are not convinced is that it seems incredible to you that civilised people could do such a thing. I, on the other hand, have personally seen enough to convince me that the IDF is not civilised, and this is exactly the kind of thing they do.
    I will be very surprised to learn this was NOT deliberate, especially in light of the fact that the UN stores were hit by phosphorus shells whose most noteworthy characteristic is the intensity of the fires they create and the difficulty of extinguishing them. In any case, the use of phosphorus shells for the stated purpose is illegal, whether or not there was an ‘accident’. Doubtless you will accept assertions that the wrong shells were ‘accidentally’ loaded, before being ‘accidentally’ fired at the wrong target.
    You’re a free man Alex, find out for yourself. Israel has a plethora of Human Rights organisations; spend some time volunteering for one of them.

    With respect to the Peter,Fiddler discussion. Most IDF soldiers I met were worse than careless of Palestinians and their property. They just did not see them as human beings worthy of respect or dignity. Whether or not they felt this was expected of them, they were clearly confident it would attract no admonition or penalty. If you look at responses to outrages which become unexpectedly public, the official responses are often directed not at the behaviour, but at the carelessness which caused its exposure. A (very) few soldiers I met were ‘good’ professional soldiers. Indeed, had they been typical, I don’t think Israel would have anything like the problems it now faces. However, some I met were pure evil personified and they terrified almost all the Palestinians with whom they came into contact. I expect this was the type who denied medical attention to the Samouni family for three days after repeatedly shelling them. What did strike me was the genuine ignorance of most soldiers about just how gruesome some of their colleagues are. They know they’re not very nice, but not how dreadful they really are. There may be some element of self deception, but I’m still convinced this ignorance isn’t feigned or artificial. There is also a marked variation in the standards of different units.
    All that said, I am convinced the phosphorus shelling of the UN stores was not the act of a ‘bad apple’. It was the calculated act of the State at some senior level and was clearly NOT unacceptable at the highest level. The expected benefits outweighed the expected costs. I think the calculation was correct. There is no real cost, but the IDF has again demonstrated that nowhere is safe or sacred.

  17. Miles, there was no real discussion b/w fiddler and me as I agree with every word he said, and with you, for that matter. I was lucky to serve at the time when there was very little friction with the Palestinians and in non-combat role in the territories, while spending most of the time in Lebanon where there was almost no contact with the local population except for the collaborators that supplied our outposts. Still, I am totally aware that a lot of people I served with indeed see [the Palestinians] as human beings worthy of respect or dignity (someone once mentioned to me that IDF is so humane that there are practically no rape cases in the territories, to which I replied that this is, first and foremost, because of ingrained squeamishness that the typical Jewish IDF soldier feels towards the Palestinians) and I am ashamed to be the one who not only ignored it at the time, but also accepted it. For example, I remember meeting somebody from my former battalion in my university and him bragging about shooting a Palestinian boy (who, supposedly, threw a Molotoff bottle at him) during his reserve duty and me, while uncomfortable with the his bragging and callousness, never saying anything. Another example is a doctor(!) in my reserve duty battalion saying that the fact that IDF killed a thousand Palestinians in Jenin in 2002 (it was during the events and the real numbers were unknown) was very good since this meant a 1000 less terrorists. Same thing, I would have never thought or said anything like that myself but I said nothing at the time.

  18. Alex, nobody is saying Israel is killing as many Palestinians as it technically could. One of the lessons of both Lebanon wars is that there are limits to what even the US will let Israel get away with. As haughty as Israel’s diplomacy may seem even towards its allies, I don’t think they’re so stupid as to think they could go it all alone without at least the tacit backing of major powers. Look at the spat over the way the US abstention in the UNSC ceasefire resolution came to be. No matter who’s right, the fact remains that the US vote was important for Israel.

  19. Peter D writes of the doctor and the 1000 fewer terrorists in Jenin. This is utterly blinkered thinking as this behavior will only create a 1000 more terrorists. I served in the IDF in the 1960’s and I am utterly ashamed of what has been perpetrated in the name of Israels defence.

  20. MWFolsom said, “What if Israel’s Government has concluded that their best outcome is the long term subjugation of the Palestinian people?”

    I think you make excellent points, altho I believe the evidence points to an Israeli desire, not to subjugate, but, yes, to “cleanse”.

    I don’t think they want to subjugate, I think they want the Palestinians out. That has been the goal since 1948. Nothing less will satisfy the Israelis. That is why every time the possibility of a peace or a cease-fire or a truce approaches, Israel makes sure it becomes an impossibility.
    This has been documented in many articles, it is a historical fact.

    The Israelis think if they makes things unbearable enough the people will leave. Just where are they supposed to go?

    As we know, there are some government minsters, such as Avigdor Lieberman, who openly advocate ethnic cleansing.

    And, since the occupation, and this horrific reign of deliberate mutilation, slaughter and terror, are all means to that end, and since, acc to polls some 80%+ of Israelis support the assault, I hold all those people responsible and accountable.

    One small ray of hope – seems we are seeing, at least globally, if not in the US, increasing awareness of war crimes and calls for criminal trials.

  21. This post conveniently ignores the fact that a few years ago the Palestinians already murdered a member of the Israeli cabinet. Your entire series of posts about this war seem to forget that the war never would have occurred if at ANY point during the last 8 years, Hamas had actually stopped its random shelling of behind the green line internationally accepted boundaries of Israel and its civilians or if at ANY point during the last 8 years the international community & UN had shown 1/10 the interest in stopping the Hamas attacks. Think about what Gaza would look like today if Hamas had spent the last 8 years moving slowly towards developing Gaza’s economy instead of its missile capability. Good chance by now the blockade would have been lifted. Thank Hamas for today’s ugly reality, death, and destruction.

    1. Ellis: No, if you’d bother to read this blog you’d find that I’d written about Rehavam Zeevi’s murder. The Palestinians who committed this crime are sitting in an Israeli prison. Is it yr claim that Israel is now entitled to assassinate Said Siam because the PFLP killed Zeevi despite the fact that the authors of the crime are presently incarcerated. If so, that would be interesting logic.

      the war never would have occurred if at ANY point during the last 8 years Hamas had actually stopped its random shelling of behind the green line

      You’re getting it wrong again, Ellis. Israel’s foreign ministry itself publicly concedes that Hamas observed the ceasefires it declared with Israel. Are you saying that you have knowledge that contradicts the IFM & is more accurate than it? The most recent ceasefire before the present one was broken on Nov. 4th by Israel. Once again, Hamas didn’t break this ceasefire. Israel did.

      Think about what Gaza would look like today if Hamas had spent the last 8 years moving slowly towards developing Gaza’s economy

      Hamas has not run Gaza for 8 yrs. It has run Gaza for the past 18 months during which Israel imposed a total siege. So just how was Hamas supposed to “develop” its economy??

  22. Ellis: Israel could have stopped the rockets by opening the crossings to normal commercial traffic, as they agreed to and as they are required to do by law. Ask yourself why Israel chose not to do this?
    With regard to the murder of Rehavam Zeevi: Are you serious? Israel could not possibly have done more to validate assassination. I am surprised that Palestinians do not try harder to imitate them. The only way the murderers could have better imitated Israel is by waiting for rescuers to gather, and then setting off a bomb.

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