IDF: Covering Up the Murderous Crimes of Cast Lead
CORRECTION: On closer examination of sources it appears that Lt. Col. Aliyan left his position as Rotem commander in May 2008, six months before Operation Cast Lead. Therefore, he is not the Rotem commander who suppressed the death report in the following post. My apologies for not vetting the source more carefully. But thanks to two other Israeli sources we’re all convinced that we now have the right guy.
In what is likely the first use of the IDF Dirty 200 list for further investigation and analysis of specific potential war crimes incidents already known, an Israeli reader has done some excellent forensic research, connecting dots between Israeli media reports and the list to expose the previously unknown identity of a senior Israeli commander accused of covering up a military investigation of the killing of a Gaza woman during Cast Lead.
As is the Israeli media custom, they refuse to identity by name soldiers accused of crimes. They will usually use an initial to name someone. But in this particular case, they didn’t even do that. Here’s what happened:
During Cast Lead some 30 members of the Abu Hajjaj family, bearing white flags approached an outpost of the Rotem battalion (a unit within the Givati brigade, which was one of the main units that served during Cast Lead) after being ordered by another IDF unit to evacuate their homes. Soldiers fired “warning shots,” which somehow managed to kill two of the group, Majeda Abu Hajjaj (35), and Raya Abu Hajjaj (65). A surviving family member and witness said this about the killings:
Salah Abu Hajjaj…was among the targeted group: “My mother was shot and injured. The bullet went through her arm and into her chest. After 15 meters my mother fell down. Majeda, was also shot. She died immediately.” Salah’s mother and sister were the only two individuals killed in the incident.
Somehow in the immediate aftermath of the incident the IDF managed to claim that not two women, but a man was killed. As a result of the supposed confusion investigators decided they couldn’t clarify what really happened and refused to pursue the matter farther.
In a subsequent investigation, Staff Sergeant S., accused of killing the women, claimed he shot only at their legs when he deemed this group of composed largely of women and which was totally unarmed was a “threat” to his comrades. Somehow he managed to shoot the women in the chest instead.
A battalion-level report was written on the incident but it was suppressed and never filed with the proper authorities…until two months later, a reserve officer received a laptop on which he found the report titled, “Normative Incident–killing of innocent civilian during Operation Cast Lead.” The officer deliberated for eight months what he should do with the report. Finally, he decided to take the matter up the chain of command and wrote letters to the Givati Brigade senior command, the IDF southern command, and the IDF military prosecutor.
As a result, a complaint was filed against Staff Sergeant S. in the killing this past June. Alongside this, the IDF launched an investigation into the cover-up of the original incident and the burying of the report. Neither the Haaretz report or any other Israeli source has named the senior officer being investigated. But a close examination of the Dirty 200 List clearly indicates he is number 174 on the hit parade, Lt. Col. Yehuda HaCohen, Givati 453 Rotem commander. Now, it becomes more difficult for the IDF to sweep Lt. Col. HaCohen’s misdeeds under the rug. Let it be a lesson to all other commanders when soldiers under their command kill a Palestinian in cold blood that there will no longer be impunity.
HaCohen is 35, married and the father of two children. One wonders whether he thought of either of them at all when he buried that file in his laptop which concealed the cold blooded murder of a Gaza mother and daughter, whether he thought: that could’ve been my wife and daughter. Foolish me. Of course, he didn’t think of that.
Here are some words of wisdom from our proud warrior published in Bibiton (where else?) which should tell you a lot about why he would cover up the killing of a few white-flag waving Gaza ‘terrorists:’
HaCohen moves from a faith in the righteousness of Israel’s path as reflected in its policies and military action, to a strong human sense of the tragedy caused by war. He doesn’t hesitate using the slogans of Zionism and appears to be someone who believes in them.
He completed tens of operations in Gaza and speaks of the place almost romantically.”There isn’t any place in Gaza I haven’t been. The best times for me are those when I am on the border [with Gaza]. The times that are even better are those when I cross the border [and enter Gaza]. It’s something that’s hard to explain. As someone who spent years in Gaza, HaCohen felt the Operation [Cast Lead] approaching. “It was clear that this was about to happen.”
Before they left on their first mission, HaCohen exhorted his soldiers, telling them they would complete it at all costs, even if there were wounded or dead. “We wouldn’t stop till we had conquered our objectives. In recent years in our nation, we have allowed ourselves to become confused as we count the dead,” he says critcizing the level of psychological prepardedness of Israeli society. “The key measure in war is not the number of dead. That’s a price that we have to grapple with. The people of Israel have to learn the lessons of history and understand that if we don’t defend ourselves through war–we will pay.
HaCohen has reveals no signs of regret or second thoughts about the conduct of the war. “The IDF doesn’t have to apologize. We have the most advanced technology and therefore we are strong. The other side decided practically not to resist because we came in such strength. Where there was resistance it was was quickly ended and they paid a very high price.”
Regarding the claim that disproportionate force was used, he dismisses the notion out of hand. “I don’t know what this means: using disproportionate force. You must understand mentally that you are facing a threat and that you will not lose. At any cost. You must respond aggressively so that the other side will not succeed in doing what he wants. It’s very hard to to create a situation in which no civilians will be harmed and in the course of the Operation, to my regret, they were [gee, d’ya think?].”
HaCohen points a finger of blame at the enemy. “I greatly criticize Hamas for fighting behind the disguise of [civilians], and the one who should criticize this is the Palestinian people. They should decide whether they are prepared to be human shields and, if so, they make things difficult for us. Nevertheless, we know how to deal with this [indeed you do].”
His greatest criticism he reserves for our “friends” in the outside world. He blithely dismisses the claims found in the Goldstone Report about war crimes. “I don’t think we have to get excited about this Report so that we don’t feel we can explain why we protected our own citizens. It’s not a question of morality [!]. There is a conflict between two peoples, one of which kidnaps soldiers and fires on civilians [!!!!]. This is war and civilians are harmed in it. On our side too civilians were harmed. Goldstone has to understand that we evacuated Gaza so they could lead their own lives. The ball is in their court.”
“I think other countries should examine themselves first [before blaming us]. The British should reflect on what they did in Ireland and Afghanistan. And the Americans should reflect on the nature preserves they built for the Indians.”
HaCohen also criticizes the effort to detain Israeli officers abroad: “If they believe in London there are senior IDF officers who are war criminals I wouldn’t want to visit there [little likelihood of that now, I’d say]. There are other nice places. At the end, the only test we have to pass is the mirror test. I can look in the mirror and say that I am at peace with what I did. Everything was done according to the spirit of the IDF and for a higher purpose–to return quiet to the South.”
All I can say in HaCohen’s defense is that he didn’t pull the trigger in this case. His subordinate did. But if he can look himself in the mirror after covering up such wanton killing and still be at peace, then maybe someone in the IDF or the attorney general’s office has to step in and tell him that they don’t like what they see in the mirror: the image of an officer covering up a war crime.
Haaretz also exposes HaCohen’s identity though it does not disclose how it put two and two together. Given the timing, it had to be through the Dirty 200 list. The fact that Haaretz appears unwilling to admit that it at least in part may’ve used the list to confirm the officer’s identity is hypocritical. They’re afraid of being linked to a list which many Israelis hate, but not so afraid as to refuse to exploit the list’s existence and what it contains.
86 thoughts on “IDF: Covering Up the Murderous Crimes of Cast Lead – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
are you sure it is not #174, Yehuda HaCohen, Lt. Col., commander of Givaati 435? The Haaretz Hebrew report mentioned a battalion commander.mentioned
So this guy is supposed to fall on his sword in a display of IOF “honesty” and “morality”? What about all the others who were guilty of, among other things, herding together the Samoudi family into one house and then ordering that it be bombed, subsequently refusing entry by the ICRC for three days, during which time the dead, dying, and small children were deprived of any assistance? I would dearly love to see those worthless bastards punished, but it’ll never happen.
So the first fall guy out of 200 Israeli Gaza attackers … is a Druze.
Speaking of War Crimes committed in Gaza, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the first world leader to confront Israel on this issue and again on the Flotilla Massacre, so I hope everyone goes to Time Magazine’s website and votes him 2010 Person of the Year.:
And kurds are what? Dirt to you?
Please tell me you’re not that naive or think that I’m naive?
It’s a well known fact that Israeli commandos trained Kurds in Northern Iraq and the BBC and the Guardian both reported on this.
Since then, there has been a dramatic increase in attacks by the PKK against Turkey resulting in dozens of casualties and injuries. So do I sympathize with the PKK? Not so much; they have a way better life in Northern Iraq than Palestinians could dream of.
Do Kurds vote in Turkey? YES
Do they have many more rights than Palestinians have? Hell yes.
Are Kurds in Turkey better off than Palestinians? You bet!
Has Erdogan brought positive change to Turkey? Yep.
Did he help to draw international attention to the Palestinian struggle by standing up to Israel? Oh yeah!
So I think I’ll vote for Erdogan and encourage others to do so, and you can help Lady Gaga win, because she’s second on the list and even if you vote for someone else; it won’t make a bit of difference.
Just don’t preach to me about Kurds and what not when Israel is holding an entire nation hostage under oppression. Erdogan did what every leader in the EU and America lacks the stones to do – stand up to Israel, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Oh, and doesn’t take writing on the wall to see where you real sympathies lie. Israel first – Palestinians, not so much.
“It’s a well known fact that Israeli commandos trained Kurds in Northern Iraq and the BBC and the Guardian both reported on this.”
One of the few things that still make me proud of my country.
“they have a way better life in Northern Iraq than Palestinians could dream of.”
Exactly what right-wingers in israel say about palestinians – they have a better life than kurds or africans, so they shouldn’t complain.
“Just don’t preach to me about Kurds and what not when Israel is holding an entire nation hostage under oppression”
Israel says they same thing about turkey! “Don’t preach to us about arabs when you kill kurds”.
And yes, my sympathies lie with israel first. I am hardly ashamed of that.
This has not at all stopped me from fighting for palstinian rights. It hasn’t stopped me from helping arab farmers harvest their olives while the IDF tries to transfer their lands to jewish hands.
I agree that it’s terrible that western leaders don’t confront israel about it’s crimes.
It galls me that erdogan is leading turkey. He has only made life for kurds worse, and he is killing turkey. He is so similar to israeli leaders – dragging his country from a near member of the EU to a third world country of religious ignorance, hate and violance, all the while diverting attention from his crimes to the crimes of others. Ahmadinejad is also doing the exact same thing to iran.
Infact, israel, turkey and iran are amazingly similar these days, and all three are racing towards collapse.
“One of the few things that still make me proud of my country.”
-Oh, so you’re going on and on about human rights, but training the PKK in the IDF art of killing, doesn’t phase you, right?
“And yes, my sympathies lie with israel first. I am hardly ashamed of that.”
-Tell me something I don’t know. I would try living somewhere else for a few years to broaden my perception, because your “Israeliness” taints everything you say; so much so, that you’re like a person with an accent who denies they have an accent because they haven’t been exposed to a diversity of other accents.
Oh, and please inform yourself on Erdogan, he’s not quite the “sayten” you make him out to be, at least not OUTSIDE OF ISRAEL.:
“Erdoğan’s pro-EU government instituted several democratic reforms such as giving the European Court of Human Rights supremacy over Turkish courts, diminishing the powers of the 1991 Anti-Terror Law which had constrained Turkey’s democratization, and passing a partial amnesty to reduce penalties faced by many members of the Kurdish terrorist organization PKK who had surrendered to the government.”
You know what I suspect really bugs you about him? The fact that he’s no longer dictated to by Israel. That, and the fact that he widened diplomatic channels with Iran. IN THAT ORDER.
What bugs me about erdogan is that he leads a religious party. That is all I need to know about him. Being chumps with the oppresive iranian regime is merely a side effect.
I support pretty much everything he said about israel. I also think he responded fairly to israeli policy.
This doesn’t make him any better.
Ataturk understood that democracy is about more than just elections – it’s about human rights. That is why he charged the military with defending his vision for the country. THAT is what erdogan hates, and why he is supporting a fake “democracy” by weakening the army’s ability to resist.
Then you know very little. The only thing that bugs me more than an intolerant rightist is an intolerant leftist. THere is a rising tide of Islam in the Muslim-Arab world. You can either deal w. it or denounce it unequivocally. If you do the latter you’re not that much better than Dick Cheney and his thugs.
This is prob. the lamest “analysis” of Turkey’s current political condition that I’ve ever read. Congrats. for writing the most tone deaf piece of crap I could imagine. In case you hadn’t noticed, Attaturk has been dead for 80 yrs. And his political descendants turned into nationalist militarist corrupt violent thugs. That’s why Erdogans party is so popular. He’s not corrupt, he isn’t authoritarian, he respects democracy, and he won’t make the kind of phony alliance w. Israel his secularist predecessors did.
Where do you get yr information about Turkey or do you just make it up to suit yr own prejudices?
You’re pining for Ataturk? Lol! Just don’t tell the Armenians, the Greeks, and oh yes, even the Kurds!
You see one man’s hero is another man’s villain.
I’m not saying ataturk is a saint, just like i’m not demonizing erdogan. I do, however, admire his ideas on preserving the secular state, and I hate erdogan for fighting against this ideal.
I can very sympathise with erdogan’s enemies within turkey, since my country is also being brought down by religious fanatics.
Oh, I think you are or doing something very close to it. You ignore the amazing achievements he’s made both domestically & internationally. You ignore his affirmation of democracy, his eradication of corrupt violent nationalist thuggery, his solidarity & courage in representing a strong non western voice in international affairs. You dismiss him at yr peril. He’s a formidable figure as Ehud Olmert discovered when he crossed him.
Richard, I’ve signed on with a new email address. Last night that old address also got hacked, and I suspect the culprit is someone on Facebook. Someone got into my email and deleted my entire inbox, contacts, drafts and sent mail. Thank you for letting me know.
Yes, I got spam fr. that e mail address yesterday or the day before. It was about the 4th or 5th time it happened. I’m so sorry for your trouble. I’ll friend you once again on Facebook if you’ve lost me as a friend.
I admire Erdogan. I don’t think he’s perfect. But many of the Turkish policies people object to are ones he inherited fr. previous secular nationalist leaders fr. which he’s trying to break.
Besides, do you want Jon Stewart or Lady Gaga to win? Other worthies running are Julian Assange and Imam Rauf.
The winner is going to be ultimately decided by the /b/ board on 4chan no matter what you vote.
If so, that would be sad. Does Chris Poole really NEED to be Time’s Person of the Yr? Will it inflate his ego even more than it already is?
It would be amazing if assange won. He is a true hero.
Possibly one with clay feet I’m sorry to say.
You don’t understand how /b/ works. moot (Poole) does not direct anything. He takes no action, and he doesn’t need anything.
What happens is someone comes with an idea, and everyone else follows. Then you have hundreds of people working toward skewing the poll.
I don’t care who Poole is or how the game works. It’s stupid & a waste of time. If all these people hacked or did whatever they do for a truly progressive goal they’d be doing the world a great deal more good.
Shoot – I agree with Duck (shoe the duck?):
Erdogan can be a close second though. He i actually doing a lot for Turkey a an independent player in the ME. Naturally, Israeli don’t like it.
BTW, duck, your islamophobia is showing…..
“BTW, duck, your islamophobia is showing…..”
Where? How could you possibly see islamophobia here?
I dislike islam as much as I dislike any other monotheistic religion, but I can’t see how you could think I’m biased against islam.
Duck- “I dislike islam as much as I dislike any other monotheistic religion, but I can’t see how you could think I’m biased against islam.”
– No you don’t. I don’t think you dislike Judaism quite as much ergo, bias. That’s the “hint” of bias I wrote about earlier, but it’s much more than a hint, I agree with Dana on that.
Regarding Assange, although I feel he’s worthy, Sweden may indict him on rape charges soon, and it would be unfortunate if people associate him with this serious charge and that overshadows the positive reason he deserves the cover and undermines his credibility with the public.
I’m sticking with Erdogan. Maybe you can vote for Imam Rauf? Pun intended.
I myself voted for the Unemployed Americans. First, because I’m one of them and I understand the hardship firsthand, and second, because I don’t think there’s a single politician on this planet who deserves an award for anything.
Mary: Someone is still spamming your e mail address & I strongly recommend that you close this e mail account you’re using & open a new one. I’ve had to add your e mail address to my Comcast spam folder so I don’t keep getting innundated by it.
Ok, I give up. I might dislike islam a liitle more than judaism. Hang me.
Actually, while I have personally never been hurt by islam, I have been hurt plenty by judaism.
BTW, I think the poll is about who has more influence, not who is a better person.
Assange is probably the best person on the list, but he has nowhere near as much influence as hu jintao.
Erdogan has very little influence on the world stage.
Duck: “Ok, I give up. I might dislike islam a liitle more than judaism. Hang me.
Actually, while I have personally never been hurt by islam, I have been hurt plenty by judaism.”
-Despite our disagreement on some issues, I appreciate and respect your sincerity in this comment.
Richard: “If all these people hacked or did whatever they do for a truly progressive goal they’d be doing the world a great deal more good.”
Duck: “BTW, I think the poll is about who has more influence, not who is a better person.
Assange is probably the best person on the list, but he has nowhere near as much influence as hu jintao.”
-True it is about who was the most influential person, but you more than anyone has been treating it as “who is the better person”.
You see, I think of it as, Erdogan may not be perfect, but he’s doing something that the EU and the U.S. should consider and that is saying: No, Israel, you can’t have my friendship at any price! This is where I DRAW THE LINE. If everyone set this boundary with Israel, maybe Palestinians and all of us might get somewhere and Israel wouldn’t have a means to wiggle out of international treaties and snub International Law repeatedly.
Secondly, you’re contradicting your own standard when you state that Hu Jintao is more influential than Assange. After all, in 1989 Hu Jintao was responsible for squashing the Tibetan uprising.
But I disagree that Jintao should be on the cover, for other reasons.
I don’t want Hu on the cover because China is putting the squeeze on the Nobel award winner so he can’t accept the award. Plus, it would reward China’s bellicosity & intimidation on the world stage.
Hu jintao is not the best person – possibly the worst.
He does, however, have a great deal of influence globally.
Oh, one important point I forgot to make. You don’t know me from nothing. For your information, Kurds are not dirt for me, and it was very rude of you to imply this. But since you put it this way, maybe Palestinians are dirt for YOU? It seems to gall you that Erdogan is winning, or you wouldn’t have responded this way to someone you don’t even know. But one thing both you and I do know is that the number one reason he’s winning is because he stood up to Israel during Cast Lead and the Flotilla Massacre when no other Nato leader did. But you don’t seem to think it’s a big deal that he dared to stand up to Israel and draw attention to an egregious injustice. Like I stated, Israel first, Palestinians, not so much, which puts all your posts re the IDF, in a different light.
Come on, Duck. Not everyone realizes or understands how the Turkish government abuses the rights of Kurds or that Turkish Kurds are the most oppressed of any of the Kurdish populations, including Iraqi Kurds. That kind of thing doesn’t make the news much because Turkey is a big U.S. ally, so its treatment of Kurds is ignored or considered quite acceptable.
Israel is also a big US ally, and it’s treatment of arabs is also considered acceptable by most people.
It’s very annoying that someone would recognize arab suffering but not kurdish, and even praise a disgusting man like erdogan.
This also gives a lot of weight to the claims of crazy right-wingers in israel – that criticism of israel is antisemitic. So really, praising erdogan is only hurting the struggle for human rights in israel.
“This also gives a lot of weight to the claims of crazy right-wingers in israel – that criticism of israel is antisemitic. So really, praising erdogan is only hurting the struggle for human rights in israel.”
Oh puh-leez, b.s., and for that reason none of us must give Erdogan credit for standing up to Israel? Rubbish. Those crazy right wingers would just find 10 more reasons to be crazy. You may think Erdogan is disgusting, but I can name 5 to 10 political figures in Israel that I find much more disgusting.
Funny, you brought out the “antisemitic” card already when you disagreed with Dana on the IDF thread, and now you’re using it indirectly in reference to my post? What’s your game with that anyway? Every time someone touches a nerve with you, you need to stoop to that tactic?
Oh, and your second sentence betrays your intention and completely contradicts your first sentence with just that hint of bias that makes me wonder where you’re really coming from.
“I can name 5 to 10 political figures in Israel that I find much more disgusting. ”
I bet I can find 20, starting with almost all our ministers. So what?
As far as I can recall, the other thread was the first time I ever accused anyone of being antisemitic, and even then it was borderline.
I don’t think you’re antisemitic, and I very much doubt erdogan is.
He is, however, hypocritical, accusing israel of crimes while he is doing the same thing to kurds.
Right-wingers make this hypocrisy look like antisemitism, which is clearly false.
Anyway, that was just a side note. The reason not to praise erdogan is his actions.
He inherited a policy from those secularists you so admire. When you inherit a policy so deeply ingrained in an entire nation it’s very hard to change it overnight. We know a few other nations with such problems too don’t we?
BTW, duck, you need to use the “self-hating Jew” label on me, borderline or otherwise.
See, I like precision (even if my keyboard is ‘s’-less – my deep apologies to all — I waive my fists too – why couldn’t it happen to the ‘Q’?). Besides, I collect labels…
You doing good, kalea – I think you have a good sense of smell – a roasted duck….yummy…..
I have a deep enough hatred of settlers to be seen as a self hating jew by most, but I didn’t think self hating jews actually existed. Maybe I was wrong. I am pretty close to the far edge of israel’s left, and I’ve never heard anyone accuse some israeli-american jewish conspiracy for dragging america to iraq against it’s will. Maybe it’s because your’e jewish that you didn’t realise how extreme this is.
I don’t blame you for seeing me as another one of israel’s racists. I used to think the same thing about shai here. It’s a reputation israel has won fair and square.
Dana, I do have a great “sixth” sense or so I’ve been told, and it usually works out 8 times out of 10! Duck, is just beginning to see that I read people “between the lines”.
Duck, Dana wasn’t calling you a self-hating Jew; you mis-read the post and made it about you, oh and when you accuse someone of “anti-semitism”; it’s never “borderline”; it is what it is, and should be resorted to wisely.
And no, Israeli right-wingers accuse Erdogan of anti-semitism because he dares to stand up and criticize Israel, not because he’s hypocritical; they don’t really care about the Kurdish aspect; it’s just an excuse they use to diminish his credibility, and by the way, you’re doing it too.
Secondly, you may be on the Left in Israel, but here, you’re just a “tad” right of center. And you find that accusing Israel of pushing the U.S. into Iraq is extreme? I don’t think it’s extreme to suspect this. First Israel pushes the U.S. to do a lot of stupid things. The Guardian stated that prior to the war, the Pentagon had a revolving door policy with the Israelis so much so that they got special clearance, and don’t forget that Franklin who was alleged to have spied for Israel was working there at the time, and then you have rabid Zionists like Wolfowitz and Feith leading the charge falsifying intelligence etc. together with the fact that Israel never got over their fear that Saddam was considering building another Osirak that the Israelis took out. So your accusation is way out there but Dana’s comment was not.
I was right, you do need to get out of Israel for a while to start seeing clearly, without bias and find out where Left and Right really is. You’re definitely not Left.
You misunderstood. I did understand what dana said.
My point was that despite hanging around in the “self hating jew” crowd, I have never seen a jew make such a blunt, offensive and ridiculous comment the way dana did. It wasn’t outright anti-semitic, but it was close.
“And no, Israeli right-wingers accuse Erdogan of anti-semitism because he dares to stand up and criticize Israel”
I agree. However their means for doing so is by exploiting his hypocrisy. Which ofc makes them hypocritical themselves. While they don’t care about kurdish suffering, I do (although not as much as palestinian suffering – closer to home). That is why I have no respect for erdogan.
“And you find that accusing Israel of pushing the U.S. into Iraq is extreme? I don’t think it’s extreme to suspect this.”
It isn’t extreme. I suspect this myself. What is extreme is placing ALL the blame on israel, the way dana did. There is a big, BIG diffrence. I’ve been saying this over and over.
“You’re definitely not Left.”
Interesting that I keeping hearing that. I disagree.
I wonder though – would you say erdogan is left?
I want to close down this line of conversation. I don’t find anything that Dana ever writes to be anti-Semitic & I’m extremely uncomfortable to hear this claim made repeatedly. So don’t go over the same ground again.
Since when do we attribute any significance to any excuse that any right winger exploits to further their pro Israel political agenda. Because the Israeli right says Erdogan is an anti Semite or oppressor of Kurds that means I have to take the charge seriously? Nonsense.
1. Why did you?
2. What changed your opinion?
“1. Why did you?
2. What changed your opinion?”
Some comments, some other comments. I too sometimes mistake defending israel for right-wingism.
Duck, discussing with you is like drawing circles in the same spot.
Do you not see the glaring inconsistency in this statement: “While they [Israeli right] don’t care about kurdish suffering, I do (although not as much as palestinian suffering – closer to home). That is why I have no respect for erdogan.”
If you really cared more about “Palestinian suffering” you would understand why Erdogan’s red line towards Israel is so important, and you would put this bias you have against him aside for the greater good. Whether you do or you don’t won’t change how right-wingers in Israel think anyway. Like they care that you’re trying to show integrity in all things! Sometimes, you have to overlook a person’s failings on one issue to work for the greater good which in this case is: ending the occupation and oppression of Palestinians. We’re lucky that Erdogan has the influence to get on Israel’s last nerve!
“would you say erdogan is left?” I would say he’s way more left than Lieberman and even Netanyahu, as he has made some changes that fall into the Progressive category, but whether he’s on the left right now is totally irrelevant. He’s like the dark horse, coming up from behind. While everyone thinks that Iran wields influence in the region. Erdogan is influencing the region in a different way, more towards unity and diplomacy, while drawing red lines which to me is a symbol of self-respect, in other words, he’s saying, my hand is stretched out to EVERYONE in the region; just don’t cross this line.
Stop underestimating his influence and painting him to be a tyrant; it’s counter-productive to your alleged cause.
Asking whether Erdogan is “left” is the wrong question. Compare Erdogan to his political opponents. They are the generals, the megaindustrialists, the dirty secular politicians, the coup plotters, the nationalist assassins. Compared to all of that yes, Erdogan & his party are progressive.
“you would put this bias you have against him aside for the greater good.”
Well, yes. Just like here in israel we cooperate with various religious leftist movements, like rabanim shomrei mishpat.
While I have great respect for their work and the guts it takes for them to go against the opinion of most rabbies in israel, in the end they are still my enemies, so to speak. They will never accept my way of life, and I will never accept theirs.
Same goes for erdogan – except he’s a politician with an agenda, so he’s not quite as good as activists who have a lot to lose.
“it’s treatment of arabs is also considered acceptable by most people.”
Really? And what is your source for this claim? In fact most people are not even aware of Israel’s treatment of “Arabs”, by which I assume you mean Palestinians, and I doubt there are many among those who are aware who consider it acceptable in any way.
“It’s very annoying that someone would recognize arab suffering but not kurdish”
I believe you mean Palestinian suffering, not Arab suffering, don’t you? And do you require every mention of Palestinian suffering to include equal concern about the suffering of every other group? Is it equally annoying to you that someone would recognize Kurdish suffering and not Burmese, or North Korean, or the suffering n Dar Fur?
As for Erdogan, is your world view so unsophisticated that you cannot acknowledge that someone like Erdogan might earn praise on one area while deserving opprobrium in another?
You are totally ignoring the context here.
Most people are not aware of the horrors of the occupation because they simply don’t care. Most people have no problem with what israel does. This is seen with the overwhelming support the amercian public has for israel.
“And do you require every mention of Palestinian suffering to include equal concern about the suffering of every other group?”
No, I do not. What annoys me is praising someone for fighting against the suffering of one group while that same person is causing harm to another group.
I can’t abide absolutists. Name me a single country in the world which doesn’t have a major blemish somewhere on its human rights record. It’s a question of degrees. If we compare Turkey to Iran, N. Korea, Israel, Pakistan, the U.S., Sudan, Zimbabwe, etc. I’d say the human rights record is substandard, but by no means worse than any of them. Does it mean anyone’s giving Turkey a pass? No. But does it mean we use some judgment & proportion to judge its record relative to others? Yes.
This is utter nonsense. The most progressive religious Jews in Israel who favor ending the Occupation & restoring the rule of law to Israel are your “enemies???” You’re hopeless really.
And Israeli rightists can think of no reason why Palestinians shouldn’t accept the half a loaf offered by Israel. YOu don’t hear the condesencion of yr statement? Who cares what you think about giving Kurds a country cut fr Turkish territory? That’s something the Kurds & Turks will work out. If the Kurds come up w. a solution that satisfies them short of a country then who are you to judge what the solution should be & who are you to declare that Erdogan is a criminal because he won’t offer Kurds what you think they deserve?
Funny you should be repeating the talking pts of the Israel apologists who say precisely the same thing about this election. Israel f(&$ed up the election. Israel didn’t accept the result. Israel sabotaged it & instituted the blockade. Hamas is not at fault for winning the election. If Israel hadn’t interfered then perhaps Hamas would’ve transitioned to a democratic movement. But we’ll never know because of Israel’s interference in the process.
No, I am not ignoring the context, but I AM simply generalizing to show the absurdity of your position.
Most Americans are not aware of the horrors of the occupation because they are bombarded daily by Zionist propaganda as well as propaganda regarding Arabs and Muslims to the near exclusion of any other point of view. That is changing largely as a result of Israel’s brazen excesses, but it is changing slowly. The “overwhelming support the American public has for Israel” is based mainly on lies and deception.
“What annoys me is praising someone for fighting against the suffering of one group while that same person is causing harm to another group.”
Once again, you are displaying a binary black vs white, and therefore extremely unsophisticated, not to mention unrealistic point of view.
“Does it mean anyone’s giving Turkey a pass?”
Seems to me that’s exactly what’s happening here. If you judge turkey only in comparison to other countries, you have to do the same for israel. If bibi is your enemy for rights violations which are less severe than that of sudan’s, than so should erdogan be your enemy.
“The most progressive religious Jews in Israel who favor ending the Occupation & restoring the rule of law to Israel are your “enemies???””
This is tiring. I said I give them all the credit they deserve for their work, but when push comes to shove, these are deeply religious people who will always frown and disrupt my way of life. They will always deny my right to live free of religious laws.
“That’s something the Kurds & Turks will work out… who are you to declare that Erdogan is a criminal because he won’t offer Kurds what you think they deserve?”
Is this for real? are you serious???
If I said this:
“That’s something the israelies & palestinians will work out… who are you to declare that liberman is a criminal because he won’t offer palestinians what you think they deserve?”
You would probably throw me the hell out, and rightly so.
Nonsense. I said no one was giving him a pass & indeed everyone here who has commented that Turkey’s police toward the Kurds is unacceptable. The diff. is that WE can still find valuable, constructive elements of Erdogan’s leadership of Turkey & the Middle Eastern bloc he’s come to lead. You on the other hand believe in some sort of absolutist standard which allows you to call even those who could be yr allies at least tactically, your enemies.
And then called them yr enemy. YOu’ve got religious Jews living in Israel. Are you gong to be perpetually at war w. every one, or will you atttempt to build coalitions with the most tolerant & progressive among them. If the former then prepare for eventual civil war & may the least obnoxious of you win (I guess).
Erdogan is NOT Lieberman, not even Bibi. He’s a serious statesman whatever you might think of him. By what right do you, an Israeli Jew get to say that Erdogan is a human rights criminal because he doesn’t recognize a Kurdish state? The very thought of it is preposterous.
Haaretz confirms – it’s 174 bingo!
Yup, but they don’t have the guts to admit that they used the Dirty 200 List at least partially as a source! If you’ll notice Pfeffer doesn’t name any source, bad journalism but done deliberately no doubt so Haaretz doesn’t have to deign to use a List that most of Israel thinks was compiled by traitors.
Thanks Edo. Good work!
After the recent drone attacks that killed several Gaza militants, and those rockets that landed in the Negev (odd place, if you’re trying to get back at someone); and the big dust up over the settlement freeze which has the ultra-right up in arms and wanting to depose Netanyahu and install Lieberman in his place, could it be that maybe Netanyahu is getting some crazy notion to attack Gaza to get out of the settlement debacle and get back in the good graces of the radical right?
Maybe I’m reaching, and I definitely hope I’m wrong. I never want to have to witness through the web what I witnessed the last time: all those children and families, and homes blown to bits and the phosphorous raining down on Gaza, and everyone, the press, Regev, Oren and all the other clowns watching Gaza burn from their hilltop vantage point.
Never again, I hope will such a crime be committed against a civilian population with so many children. Those children killed and the ones who were orphaned and the ones who witnessed these crimes are so easily forgotten. Imagine 400 American or Israeli children killed in 3 weeks? The wailing would be heard round the world for years, and there would be a monument in their memory…but those children in Gaza are already out of sight and out of mind.
I’m actually surprised bibi didn’t already start a war. It’s the perfect solution for him. All he needs is something vaguely resembling provocation from gaza, and he gets full support from the public here and in the US, from the US gov’t and from the israeli right. And the peace process stops dead.
I wonder – could hamas be avoiding and preventing provocation for this very purpose?
“I wonder – could hamas be avoiding and preventing provocation for this very purpose?”
Finally, we agree. Well, of course they are! It would be ludicrous to think that they’re intentionally look for an excuse to be bombed to the stone age again. They don’t even need a reason now to fire rockets because Hamas got what it wanted, the world’s attention on Gaza. Now, Hamas is looking for credibility, and trying to use a totally different strategy to get there starting with telling other groups not to resort to rocket firing, because it betrays their present effort. Here’s what Hamas stated last spring:
“Hamas strongman Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar on Saturday night slammed the Palestinian groups firing rockets at Israel. Zahar told the Iranian al-Alam television station that the rocket fire was a “suspicious action aimed at allowing the enemy to gain points in its favor in the public opinion and divert the attention from its crimes in the territories.”
According to Zahar, “The enemy wants to portray itself as defending itself against the rocket fire while being criticized by the Quartet. We are aware of the fact that there are elements wishing to help the enemy divert the attention from what is happening in Jerusalem.
“We are closely following those firing the rockets and are aware of the real motives behind the fire,” Zahar said, implying that the groups’ main goal was to undermine Hamas’ rule in the Gaza Strip.”
You’re going to think what I’m about to write is way out there, but I’m starting to suspect that MAYBE Egyptians got a false tip regarding an imminent threat against Israelis in the Sinai. Maybe what’s going on is a false flag operation to give Netanyahu a reason to attack Gaza, because the excuse Kadima used to attack Gaza which was also bogus no longer applies today since everyone is aware that Hamas is staying away from firing rockets, by the way, Hamas didn’t break the truce then, facts later proved it was Israel that broke the truce. And again, Israel is launching drone strikes killing off targets just like they did prior to Cast Lead, and in essence breaking this truce. In the recent rocket attacks launched by these other groups, no one was hurt, and the most recent fell in the Negev, of all places.
This all gives me an eerie “déja vu” foreboding that Netanyahu is up to no good. I mean if he got an excuse to attack Gaza it would be the answer to his prayers.
Gaza seems to be the whipping child for all of Israel’s political manoeuvres. I’m worried; hopefully for no reason.
Very interesting article.
I knew hamas was stopping rocket fire to avoid another war. Stopping bibi from getting political gain is a whole other motive, and a very interesting one.
I remember israel braking two truces before. It seems hamas is giving israel a harder time breaking the this truce.
On a related note, while hamas is acting responsibily towards israel, this does not absolve it of it’s crimes against thier own people – knee breaking comes to mind. Not unlike erdogan.
Sure, Hamas committed crimes against its own people. The knee-breaking was rather barbaric, but it was in response to the very real problem of dealing with collaborators and traitors during a time of Israeli attack. I’ve been told by Gazans as well as Palestinians in the West Bank that this is a huge and dangerous problem, but that many, many collaborators are forced into betraying the Palestinians because they have relatives in Israeli prisons – these relatives suffer dire consequences in the event the Palestinian refuses to work as a spy for Israel. Others agree to spy for Israel because they or someone else in their family needs medical attention and needs to go to Israel or the West Bank for it, or out of the country altogether.
As for Erdogan, I don’t see him doing anything more than asking Israel to apologize for killing Turkish citizens who were on the Mavi Marmara. I’m not impressed. I’m hoping there are civil actions pending, and this is why the whole thing is so low key, not because Israel is once again off the hook.
Hamas also uses these barabaric methods to cement it’s own rule. It brutally attacks pretty much anyone who speaks up against hamas. It’s terribly convenient to say that these are all traitors – few actually are.
“Pretty much” covers a bit too much ground don’t you think. I’d feel a whole lot more comfortable if you stopped making such sweeping judgments that aren’t justified by facts. Criticism of Hamas? Sure. But criticism with facts & context, which you omit.
Look I’m not into “knee breaking” as I am not into punishing an entire civilian population for their political choices either. And I should say that it’s wrong to stage a coup against a party recently elected by a resounding majority. Maybe if Israel and the U.S. would just butt out Palestinians will get it right after a while and get wise to who’s working in their favor, and has their best interests at heart and who doesn’t, and Abbas certainly doesn’t, although I don’t believe Hamas will benefit the Palestinians either and Gazans especially will get wiser once everyone stops bullying them into a choice. There are many brave and progressive-thinking Palestinians who will lead the way to achieving a better political alternative for Palestinians. Palestinians have been too much at the mercy of Israel and U.S. interference to be able to recognize these choices.
But at the same time, that a two-state solution is being completely railroaded by the reality of settlement expansion I also believe perhaps more strongly than ever that the future of the Palestinians lies with people in Israel who are willing to embrace the rule of law, and throw away their fear and paranoia to envision a future where all are equal and all can live together in peace. It happened in the U.S. with the conclusion of the civil rights movement; it happened in South Africa with the end to Apartheid; it happened in Ireland although they’re going through the growing pains and it’s happening in Serbia thanks to world-wide pressure.
So, you see that vision is not impossible. But Israelis need to embrace diversity and most of all – reality. Palestinians are staying; they’re not going anywhere and justice for them is a long time coming. It’s time to do the right thing by them and move on for the good of all.
Mary, I agree that the way Israel blackmails and entices collaborators is shameless.
The fact is that without justice nothing is possible. Israel has been trying to circumvent doing the right thing by Palestinians for years and has had to resort to all manner of injustice and dirty tricks to do so, in other words, doing everything but submitting to the rule of law where Palestinians are concerned.
While I abhor violence, violence that is a direct consequence of injustice, violence that is a consequence of occupation and brutality must be viewed through the lens of compassion mixed with condemnation. I compare it to an abused wife who ends up using violence to set herself free of domination. The law must consider her circumstances when condemning her. Palestinians have been in the impossible situation of having to make the world see how much pain and injustice they suffer because the media has been complicit in favoring the occupier.
Duck, imagine being imprisoned in an abusive situation where no one cares and no one sees?
We have been for so many years too hasty and prejudiced in our judgment of Palestinians. Palestinian resisters used violence as Hamas used rockets to garner the world’s attention to their suffering while they resisted injustice. IT’S WRONG, but we are all also to blame and Israel is especially to blame for its decades-long occupation and expansion.
Finally, many are starting to see, and Palestinians now feel more confident that the world is listening to them and they don’t need to use violence.
The only good thing to come out of Cast Lead was that it tipped the balance that was once totally against the Palestinians. People woke up and have become committed to the Palestinian cause; I’m one of these.
Cast Lead was a barbaric assault on a civilian population that should never happen again, but I’m grateful that in a sense justice is having the final say because of it.
This is another reason why these “murderous crimes of Cast Lead” as Richard puts it should not be forgotten or go unpunished. To allow crimes to be committed with impunity is a pox on all of us everywhere, and above all we should be vigilant try to stop it from happening again, and the best way is to decry and expose these crimes and whatever political shenanigans may be in the works to excuse repeating a civilian massacre.
Let’s keep things in perspective shall we? Or shall we do a dance on Hamas’ grave when its human violations pale in comparison to some of its neighbors…
I AM trying to keep things in prespective.
I’m clearly not an expert on turkey, and I’m sure erdogan did some good things. However he is a religious leader, and I can never accept that. That doesn’t make him a terrorist, but it will always prevent him from being a truly positive figure.
He also has done far too little to stop turkey’s decades long oppression of the kurds. Most importantly, he has in no way supported their right for a state. This is also unacceptable.
Hamas may not be a terrorist group. It has shown a great deal of restraint and responsibility in it’s dealings with israel. Having seen the damages of the occupation many times, I am amazed that any arab group can even stand to talk with israel on any level. Non of this changes the fact that hamas is also a group of thugs. It is an inherently undemocratic group. They are far better than the monsters that could have been created by israel’s monstrosity, but their crimes are still inexcusable.
As for throwing ALL the blame for the invasion of iraq on israel, I’ve said what I think about that over and again.
“They are far better than the monsters that could have been created by israel’s monstrosity”
We created the monsters and the monstrosity together by allowing Israel to break the law repeatedly.
“Most importantly, he [Erdogan] has in no way supported their right for a state [correction: independence]. This is also unacceptable.”
– And neither has Spain allowed the Basques who have their own terrorist group ETA to create an independent state within Spain.
Maybe it’s a process where Turkey’s leaders need to give in to a few “nationalist” demands by the Kurds, but I believe that Erdogan has been doing some of that. Independentists put a heavy burden on central governments, because the majority must also be considered, as well, there are economic and territorial considerations.
Methinks you judge way too harshly.
Kalea, I couldn’t get this comment where I wanted it, but I just wanted to point out that armed resistance is not wrong. It is an occupied people’s legal right to mount an armed effort against the occupier, under international law. For you to say it is “wrong” for Hamas or any Palestinian group to resist, including using weapons, is grossly unfair to them as well. With Israel bombing unarmed civilians in Gaza, as they did today, are we to say that it’s OK for Israel to use deadly force against Palestinians but not OK for Palestinians to use deadly force against Israelis?
Armed resistance is legal for an occupied people by international law against mulitary targets, not civilian targets as is\was more often than not with the Palestinian resistance.
Similarly, international law permits a State to defend itself against it’s aggressive neighbours and against violent internal uprising.
Both sides frequently do the above, sometimes within the international law framework and sometimes against what has become customary international law.
Were one to examine all the world’s conflicts one would probably find similar actions within and without of the international law framework.
This blog seems to attach a very large importance to international law and war tribunals as if these are “the holy of holies” of international actions and diplomacy. I think most af the world’s countries and\or leaders don’t hold the same esteem and importance to international law, certainly when it may be interpreted against their own actions, present or past.
Practically, none of the 200 on the list will reach a tribunal, and neither will Mashal, a-Zahar, etc.
Working for a solution to the too long conflict is more likely to succeed than searching for some form of Utopian justice or world order that is way out of reach.
Is that what you called Cast Lead? Israel “defending” itself? Excuse me while I spew my morning coffee.
First of all, this is false. If the world didn’t attach significance to the ICC the nations ratifying the convention that established it wouldn’t have done so. And besides, whether the president of Sudan or Augusto Pinochet thinks the ICC is a good idea has no interest for me. The ICC is held in the highest esteem by those for whom it’s important that they do so (not you of course).
Israel’s apologists have made so many similar foolish predictions in the past. Israel generals & leaders will face justice as will Palestinians. I have very little doubt of this.
Again a fundamental misunderstanding of the ICC & international law. This is not “utopian justice.” This is justice plain & simple. It is justice called for fr. the nations themselves who perpetrate it. Only if they do not judge the perpetrators within their own citizenry is international law allowed to take up the cause. Another fundamental flaw in yr argument is that there can be no solution of the conflict (nor any such major ethnic conflict) w/o justice being seen to be done. You cannot solve the IP conflict w/o justice. The victims on both sides will demand it & have every right to expect it. So either Israel judges its own war criminals or the world will do it for them. Their (& your) choice.
No, Ovadia Yosef is a religious leader. Erdogan is a prime minister, not a religious leader. He is at the head of a moderate Islamist party that is no different than the Christian Democrats of western Europe used to be (except a lot more democratic & a lot less corrupt).
No, again. He IS a very positive figure. If Olmert hadn’t fucked things up there could now be peace bet. Syria & Israel thanks to him. Mark my words, this guy’s going to get a Nobel Peace Prize someday. And well deserved I think.
This is ludicrous. You have a state like Turkey steeped in nationalism with a fervent sense of the unitary nature of the state & you expect Erdogan to start waving the Kurdish flag & recognizing an independent state? You’re damn right you don’t know anything about Turkey. Really, you’ve got to stop showing yr ignorance.
How ironic that you’re saying this about one of the few Islamist groups recently to win a democratic election. Saying they are inherently undemocratic is also a sign of yr ignorance or else your search for tropes that are convenient to yr own views & prejudices.
Do you expect bibi to start waving a palestinian flag?
Really, what’s the difference here?
I can think of no excuse for not giving the kurds a country.
Maybe, just maybe, israel and turkey will reach such a critical low point, that israel will start seriously arming the kurds as revenge on turkey. Maybe enough arms to secure thier independance, if not in turkey, than in iraq. That way, israel will get to do one really good thing before it’s destroyed by it’s own evil.
Undemocratic groups can win democratic elections. I’m sure you know this. Liberman is about to do just that.
A group that uses violance against it’s political enemies is NOT democratic.
Duck, I’m curious as to where you get your information on Hamas, especially your assertions about their being “thugs.” Do you not think that the Israeli government is also made up of “thugs,” and would you go one step further in comparing the human rights records of the two governments, and then tell us what you come up with? Thanks.
Ok, we’ll do it your way.
Hamas isn’t as bad as israel, therefore I realy shouldn’t complain.
Israel isn’t as bad as n.korea, so I shouldn’t complain either, right?
They are violant thugs who use violance as a political tool. Israel’s own evil is no excuse for that.
Help! I’m lost. I don’t know who’s replying to whom anymore. This was an interesting discussion though.
From Yisra’el Hayom 19/11/10
You have said that you think you have found your calling in participating in the kind of exposures that the Israeli press can’t print. I think you’re right. I hope you track down the whole lot of them Richard.
And did you see that Eli Clifton just tied Aish to the Clarion Fund and “Obsession” based on outing a hasbarist arguing with him on his own board? It was a beautiful thing.
Do you have a link for this?
Now, a few years later, most every argument commented in Erdogans defense has ceased to be valid.
he arrests or disappear any general or reporter with opinions he don’t like ,
after the bombs that killed pro kurdish activists was blamed on PKK , the ONLY non Gov militia that actually fights AGAINST Turkish supported ISIS/AlCIAida, The Violence against Kurds have been resumed.