31 May 2010:

An American solidarity activist was shot in the face with a tear gas canister during a demonstration in Qalandiya, today. Emily Henochowicz is currently in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem undergoing surgery to remove her left eye, following the demonstration that was held in protest to Israel’s murder of at least 10 civilians aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters this morning.

21-year old Emily Henochowicz was hit in the face with a tear gas projectile fired directly at her by an Israeli soldier during the demonstration at Qalandiya checkpoint today. Israeli occupation forces fired volleys of tear gas at unarmed Palestinian and international protesters, causing mass panic amongst the demonstrators and those queuing at the largest checkpoint separating the West Bank and Israel.

“They clearly saw us,” said Sören Johanssen, a Swedish ISM volunteer standing with Henochowicz. “They clearly saw that we were internationals and it really looked as though they were trying to hit us. They fired many canisters at us in rapid succession. One landed on either side of Emily, then the third one hit her in the face.”

Henochowicz is an art student at the prestigious Cooper Union, located in East Village, Manhattan.

The demonstration was one of many that took place across the West Bank today in outrage over the Israeli military’s attack on the Gaza freedom flotilla and blatant violation of international law. Demonstrations also took place in inside Israel, Gaza and Jerusalem, with clashes occurring in East Jerusalem and Palestinian shopkeepers in the occupied Old City closing their businesses for the day in protest.

Tear gas canisters are commonly used against demonstrators in the occupied West Bank. In May 2009, the Israeli State Attorney’s Office ordered Israeli Police to review its guidelines for dispersing demonstrators, following the death of a demonstrator, Bassem Abu Rahmah from Bil’in village, caused by a high velocity tear-gas projectile. Tear-gas canisters are meant to be used as a means of crowd dispersal, to be shot indirectly at demonstrators and from a distance. However, Israeli forces frequently shoot canisters directly at protesters and are not bound by a particular distance from which they can shoot.

Israeli occupation forces boarded the Mavi Marmara, one of six ships on the Freedom Flotilla at 5 a.m. this morning, opening fire on the hundreds of unarmed civilians aboard. No-one aboard the ships were carrying weapons of any kind, including for defense against a feared Israeli attack in international waters. At least 9 aid workers aboard the ship have been confirmed dead, with dozens more injured. The assault took place 70 miles off the Gaza coast in international waters, after the flotilla was surrounded by three Israeli warships. The Freedom Flotilla, carrying 700 human rights activists from over 40 countries and 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid, was headed for the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip. The Israeli blockade on Gaza, combined with the illegal buffer zone, has put a stranglehold on the territory. 42% of Gazans are unemployed, and food insecurity hovers around 60% according to figures from the Palestine Centre for Human Rights.

Palestinian Solidarity

Paul Craig Roberts discusses the legal definition of a police state.

Anti-Arab racism and ongoing imperial savagery

Killing on Tape and the Broader War Criminality
by Paul Street

Dissident Voice
November 18, 2004

Why do they hate us? Because “we” are, among other things, war criminals. If you are Arab and/or Muslim today, chances you have been watching, hearing about, discussing, and feeling deep rage over some terrible film footage. It’s been the story of the day on Al-Jazeera, played and discussed and denounced over and over again.

The white imperial Marines walk into a mosque in ravaged Fallujah, where the bodies of dead and injured resistance fighters lay prone on the floor. We hear one Marine speak to another, talking about one of the wounded: “He’s f**king faking that he’s dead.” Response: “yeah, he’s breathing.” The American release video goes black but we are permitted to hear a rifle shot. “He’s dead now.”

The Arab-release video is more graphic, showing the full imperial snuff job. The American corporate state censors — the masters of imperial war propaganda — might have helped construct an Orwellian and therefore officially amnesiac society but they are not entirely ignorant of history. They don’t want to repeat the notorious imagery of 1968, when American television viewers watched a “Viet Cong” resistance fighter fall to the ground with blood spurting out of his head after being crudely executed by a “free world” South Vietnamese officer.

Sorry Semper Fi: that’s a war crime.

But probably not all that out of the ordinary… probably closer to standard operating procedure in a bloody occupation that has designated key parts of Iraq as de facto “free fire zones.”

What’s out of the ordinary is that the atrocity has been caught on tape and released for partial public view.

The action we see is certainly consistent with the training and rhetoric handed down from the higher-level military authorities, from the much bigger war criminals, who speak of the Fallujah “enemy” as “Satan” (never forget that this is a “new crusade,” as Rahul Mahajan says). The bigger mafiosi tell the smaller US military personnel that they are avenging 9/11 in Iraq (despite the fact that Iraqis and 9/11/al Qaeda had nothing to do with one another). The big dons certainly encourage the GIs to kill as many “sandniggers” and “ragheads” as they can.

Anti-Arab racism is critical to this ongoing imperial savagery, making it possible for the White House and the military authorities to easily blend Osama and Saddam, al-Qaeda and Iraq, 9/11 and Baghdad in the first place and providing the essential moral lubricant of dehumanization that makes it possible for supposed moral agents of “freedom” and “democracy” to kill more than 100,000 of their fellow human beings in a distant land. These damaged men and women, these hit-men of American empire, will return home as dangers to themselves and others, bearing evil inner demons that will carry a considerable cost in the imperial “homeland” (lovely word that).

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Gazatalk.com
Now we’ve all seen through the Israeli government’s excuses

If the Hamas rockets are so lethal, why doesn’t Israel swap an F-16 for some?
By : Mark Steel

The worrying part about whether the ceasefire in Gaza can hold together will be whether the international community can stop the flow of arms to the terrorists. Because Israel’s getting their planes and tanks and missiles from somewhere and until this supply is cut off there’s every chance it could start up again.

The disregard for life from these terrorists and their supporters is shocking. For example Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, wrote that the purpose of the Israeli attack must be to “inflict a heavy death toll and heavy pain on the Gaza population”.

Replace “Gaza” with “western”, and that could have been written by al-Qa’ida. Maybe this is the problem: the Israelis are writing their policies by downloading statements from an Islamic Jihad website and just changing the place names. Also, if the Israelis think the Hamas rockets are as lethal as they say, why don’t they swap their F-16 fighters and Apachehelicopters for a few of them?

These things are capable of terrorising a whole nation for years apparently, yet the Israelis have neglected to buy any, wasting their money on gunboats and stuff. Given that their annual arms budget is $7.2bn plus $2.2 bn in “aid”, they’d save enough to buy a selection of banks in every country in the world.

The military advantages would be enormous because the Israelis’ complaint about Hamas is the use of tunnels to smuggle arms. But if Israel gave Hamas a few planes and tanks and helicopters, they could probably be persuaded to shut down those tunnels that seem to be the cause of such bad feeling.

Whatever you say about Israel, at least it moves its weapons about legally – except for when it secretly built a nuclear arsenal against an array of international agreements. But they did it above ground and not in a tunnel and that’s the main thing.

Watching the reports from Gaza, another reason why the ceasefire may break down becomes apparent. The Israelis might claim that their satellite pictures now show Palestinians in possession of huge mounds of rubble – lethal if thrown over the border. Luckily these weapons are easy to spot. Most of them are next to women howling, “Look what they’ve done to my house,” but perhaps the airforce should bomb them again – just in case. The Israelis say they fear Hamas will once again break the ceasefire by sending over those rockets. But the whole point of the operation was to make that impossible. Because they must have asked themselves the question, “If we slaughter 1,300 people, including 300 children, is that likely to make people: A. less cross or B. more cross?” And presumably they concluded it will make them much less likely to grow up full of hatred and determination to retaliate. Perhaps they saw medical research that shows when someone is suffering from anxiety and bouts of irascible ill-tempered behaviour, the best treatment is to pen them in with no food or medicine and then kill some of them, and that calms them down a treat.

Another way to allay their worries about Hamas breaking the ceasefire is to read the report from their government’s own Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre. This states that during the ceasefire “Hamas did not take part in any rocket fire and sometimes prevented other organisations from attacking.” Still, with all that’s been going on I suppose they haven’t had time for reading.

Despite all this there might be one cheery sign, which is that never before have so many people seen through the Israeli government’s excuses for handing out mass destruction. The demonstrations in support of Palestinians have been bigger than ever before, and even the United Nations and the Wall Street Journal have suggestedIsrael has committed war crimes. One poll in America suggested that 60 per cent of people opposed the bombardment, and the change of opinion reached the point that an Israeli diplomat has admitted that “The harm to civilians in Gaza is causing us huge damage.”

Maybe, best of all, was genetics expert Steven Rose who appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme to talk about a new study that’s located “morality spots”, the part of the brain that deals with our morality. Asked how we could know whether this was true, he said in a marvellously posh academic Radio 4 voice “Well we could test the brains of the Israeli cabinet and see if they’ve got no morality spots whatsoever.”

And the most immoral part of all is the perfectly cynical timing, as if three weeks ago Bush shouted: “Last orders please. Any last bombing, before time’s up? Come along now, haven’t you got homes to demolish?”

Norman Finkelstein speaks on why Israel incinerated four hundred children in Gaza with white phosphorous. Highly recommended.

What is the Israeli military objective in destroying hospitals, water supply, electricity, schools? It is a technique known as Shock and Awe. The Americans used this in Iraq.

But what exactly is “Shock and Awe”?

”Shock and Awe” is the code-name for a policy of deliberately targetting the civilian population. The aim is to crush the will to resist.

The plan explicitly calls for targeting of civilian infrastructure such as “water supplies, food processing and sanitation.” The destruction of Iraq’s water supply during the 1990-91 Gulf War resulted in a health and sanitation crisis, which was well-documented by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency while the crisis progressed. These important declassified documents are reviewed and cited in the context of Shock and Awe’s heavy emphasis on the destruction of an adversary’s water supplies, sanitation facilities, and power grids.

“Coupled with the fact that a fundamental tactic of Shock and Awe is to destroy non-military zones and facilities, suddenly the level of destruction takes on a new significance. Consider this excerpt from the text:

‘Shock and Awe are actions that create fears, dangers, and destruction that are incomprehensible to the people at large, specific elements/sectors of the threat society, or the leadership. Nature in the form of tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, uncontrolled fires, famine, and disease can engender Shock and Awe. The ultimate military application of Shock and Awe was the use of two atomic weapons against Japan in WW II.’”

more

Terrorism. Literally.

Arab News
US looking for ship to move arms to Israel
Stefano Ambrogi | Reuters

LONDON: The United States is seeking to hire a merchant ship to deliver hundreds of tons of arms to Israel from Greece later this month, tender documents seen by Reuters show.

The US Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) said the ship was to carry 325 standard 20-foot containers of what is listed as “ammunition” on two separate journeys from the Greek port of Astakos to the Israeli port of Ashdod in mid-to-late January.

A “hazardous material” designation on the manifest mentions explosive substances and detonators, but no other details were given.

“Shipping 3,000-odd tons of ammunition in one go is a lot,” one broker said, on condition of anonymity.

“This (kind of request) is pretty rare and we haven’t seen much of it quoted in the market over the years,” he added.

The US Defense Department had no immediate comment.

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