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Israel’s announcement today that it is “allowing between 210 and 220” trucks into Gaza with humanitarian aid is a direct response to the pressure that the upcoming Freedom Flotilla II is creating. Continue reading →
Time is running out for Israel. And the Israeli government knows it. The Jewish Diaspora, especially the young, has a waning emotional and ideological investment in Israel. The demographic boom means that Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories will soon outnumber Jews. And Israel’s increasing status as a pariah nation means that informal and eventually formal state sanctions against the country are probably inevitable.
Global Condemnation of Israeli Armed Attack on Gaza-Bound Freedom Flotilla: At Least 10 Dead, Hundreds Remain in Detention
It was early Monday morning as Israeli soldiers stormed the Gaza-bound international aid convoy called the Freedom Flotilla in international waters about forty miles off the coast of Gaza. The six ships had nearly 700 international activists on board and 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid. They were aiming to break the three-year-long siege of the Gaza Strip. Israeli commandos landed on the lead ship in the convoy, the Turkish Mavi Marmara, which had about 600 activists on board. At least ten and as many as nineteen civilians on board the ship have been reported to have died in the attack. Israeli troops proceeded to seize the Mavi Marmara and the five other ships and take them to the port of Ashdod. Hundreds of activists are being detained in an Israeli prison, and nearly fifty others have been deported. The United Nations Security Council has condemned the attack and called for the immediate release of the ships and the civilians held by Israel and called for an impartial investigation. All the permanent members of the Security Council except for the United States explicitly called for Israel’s three-year blockade of the Gaza Strip to be lifted. Turkey has compared Israel’s actions to state terrorism. We speak to Adam Shapiro, Amira Hass, Ali Abunimah and Richard Falk. [includes rush transcript]
Interview with Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and author of “Crimes of War: Iraq” and “The Costs of War: International Law, the UN, and World Order after Iraq” recorded October 17, 2009 in Seattle.
Friday, 03 July 2009 01:13
Last Updated on Friday, 03 July 2009 01:14
2 July 2009
GENEVA – The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk, denounced the unlawful naval seizure by an Israeli gunboat on the high seas of a ship carrying medicine and reconstruction material to blockaded people of Gaza.
“This Israeli action implements its cruel blockade of the entire Palestinian population of Gaza, in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibits any form of collective punishment directed at an occupied people”, said the human rights expert.
Israeli’s assault on the Gaza Strip has caused havoc for the territorys residents. Even before the start of the offensive, a blockade on the region by Israel meant an humanitarian crisis was occurring in the Gaza Strip, which had meagre food and medical supplies. Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin reports from Gaza on the impact this war has been having on the people.
The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war.
Those violations include:
Collective punishment – the entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants.
Targeting civilians – the airstrikes were aimed at civilian areas in one of the most crowded stretches of land in the world, certainly the most densely populated area of the Middle East.
Disproportionate military response – the airstrikes have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza’s elected government, but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians; at least one strike reportedly hit groups of students attempting to find transportation home from the university.
Joel Brinkley: Does His Article on Richard Falk Demonstrate the Right “Frame of Mind” to Teach Journalism at Stanford?
In a companion essay, I discussed the response of some articles in the mainstream press to the claim, made by some defenders of Israel, that Professor Richard Falk should be removed from his current position of UN rapporteur on human rights abuses in the Palestinian Territories — a claim that was reflected in the refusal of Israel on December 14, 2008, to allow him to enter the country. I included in this essay a discussion of an article by reporter Joel Brinkley because, although it was published before Israel’s action against Falk, it could be read as a defense of that action. Brinkley, who had previously worked for the New York Times, argued that Falk did not have the right “frame of mind” for his UN position. In the present essay, I will focus on Brinkley’s argument for this charge, suggesting that it shows that he does not have the right frame of mind for his own current position as visiting professor of journalism at Stanford University.
Brinkley’s Discussion of 9/11 Brinkley’s charge that Falk is unfit for his UN role is quite remarkable, given Falk’s stature. He is Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University and currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He has had published (as author or editor) over 60 books by academic and other mainstream presses. He is also widely respected and sought after as a speaker and conference participant.
When I arrived in Israel as a UN representative I knew there might be problems at the airport. And there were
On December 14, I arrived at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Israel to carry out my UN role as special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories.
I was leading a mission that had intended to visit the West Bank and Gaza to prepare a report on Israel’s compliance with human rights standards and international humanitarian law. Meetings had been scheduled on an hourly basis during the six days, starting with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, the following day.
I knew that there might be problems at the airport. Israel had strongly opposed my appointment a few months earlier and its foreign ministry had issued a statement that it would bar my entry if I came to Israel in my capacity as a UN representative.
At the same time, I would not have made the long journey from California, where I live, had I not been reasonably optimistic about my chances of getting in. Israel was informed that I would lead the mission and given a copy of my itinerary, and issued visas to the two people assisting me: a staff security person and an assistant, both of whom work at the office of the high commissioner of human rights in Geneva.