Posts Tagged ‘crime’
The most interesting aspect of the Guardian/AP report on Oct. 17, ‘Israel used calorie count to limit Gaza food during the blockade,’ in addition to the extremely misleading headline, is that there is little if anything in the story which demonstrates that Israel did anything improper whatsoever.
However, as we’ve seen time and again, the mere absence of information pointing to Israeli villainy is often no obstacle for Guardian editors.
Though Israel maintains a legal blockade on Gaza to prevent deadly weapons from entering the strip, thousands of tons of supplies for Palestinians in Gaza arrive weekly from Israel, aid which includes medical supplies, food, and consumer goods, and there is simply no humanitarian crisis to speak of in the strip.
However, the Guardian, in classic propagandistic style, begins by employing the requisite photo of a Palestinian boy crying,
Yet, the strap line begins to provide a clue that there is, in fact, no real story here:
Unpacking this strap line, it seems to acknowledge that Israel was careful to “avoid” civilian malnutrition in Gaza.
So, what exactly is Israel’s crime?
The report begins, thus.
“The Israeli military made precise calculations of Gaza’s daily calorie needs to avoid malnutrition during a blockade imposed on the Palestinian territory between 2007 and mid-2010..” [emphasis added]
So far, we have a story corroborating Israeli claims that, since the blockade was launched, Israeli officials were careful to allow in enough food to avoid malnutrition.
Again, what is Israel’s crime?
Here’s where it gets strange:
Major Guy Inbar, an Israeli military spokesman, said the calculation, based on a person’s average requirement of 2,300 calories a day, was meant to identify warning signs to help avoid a humanitarian crisis…” [emphasis added]
The average recommended calorie intake according to the UK National Health System is 2500 for men and 2000 for women, indicating that Israel was making sure they supplied Gaza with enough food for Palestinians to consume the the calories necessary for proper nutrition.
So, what’s Israel’s crime?
Indeed, further in the report, Israel is again vindicated.
“The food calculation, made in January 2008, applied the average daily requirement of 2,279 calories per person, in line with World Health Organisation’s guidelines, according to the document.
“The stability of the humanitarian effort is critical to prevent the development of malnutrition,” the document said.
Further in the report, we learn the following:
“…at no point did observers identify a food crisis developing in the territory, whose residents rely heavily on international food aid.” [emphasis added]
Ok, in summary:
Israel maintained a blockade of deadly weapons sent to the Hamas run territory to protect their citizens from harm, but carefully avoided a humanitarian crisis from developing in the enemy territory by ensuring the availability of the recommended number calories as determined by international health organizations.
Again, I ask, what’s Israel’s crime?
To understand the complex conflicts in the Middle East was always a challenge. You need, for instance, to know how the various factions inside the world of Islam interacted. And you need to resist the exaggerated, ideology-driven simplifications of people like the former US president, Jimmy Carter (on his way back to this area this week) who pontificated in his notorious 2006 book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” that “Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Middle East.”
Treating a multidimensional problem as simple is generally easier than analyzing it in all its complexity. Thus, Carter is hardly alone in boiling the turbulence of our neighbourhood down into a problem with a single cause. But reality, as always, has a way of creeping up behind and whacking us across the head. We’re at such a moment now.
Hezbollah, by most calculations, is the military force that has the largest deployment of weapons pointed at Israel today. It’s Iran’s proxy, and is funded and armed by Iran and also by Syria. In much of the Arab and Moslem world, it has long been called a resistance movement [see this Asia Times analysis from 2006]. Among Western countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and of course Israel, it’s been classified as a terrorist organization for years and remains so.
Very recent events have caused a significant review of what people think and say – even, and perhaps mainly, in the Arab and Moslem world. A good example:
Hizbollah’s naked aggression strips away resistance facade
Hussain Abdul Hussain [The National, published in the United Arab Emirates]. The writer is Washington bureau chief for a Kuwaiti newspaper
Oct 22, 2012 [Excerpts]
The praise that Hezbollah wins from its supporters for fighting Sunni groups makes it easier for the party to commit crimes like the recent assassination of General Wissam Al Hassan, Lebanon’s intelligence chief [“20-Oct-12: Do the Lebanese comprehend what they’re up against?“] Hizbollah denies any role in Friday’s car-bomb attack, but its record makes it exceedingly likely that the “Party of God” was somehow involved in this recent murder… If Gen Al Hassan was killed by Hezbollah, as many have argued, he was not their first Sunni victim. Before him, former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, a bigger-than-life figure, was also assassinated, in 2005 by four Hezbollah operatives, according to the indictment issued by the UN-created Special Tribunal for Lebanon
Between the two murders, much has changed in Lebanon, and so has Hezbollah’s style. In 2005, Hezbollah took painstaking measures to hide its involvement in the crime: a cover-up video showing a purported suicide attack was produced and delivered to satellite TV stations. The party sent its most senior figures – including Hassan Nasrallah’s wife – to offer condolences to the Hariri family. The Hezbollah propaganda machine made sure that Hariri would be always described as a martyr.
Hezbollah treated [Friday’s] bombing in Beirut’s historic Ashrafiyeh district with nonchalance. Hezbollah’s ally, the Christian MP Michel Aoun, went on TV to counsel Lebanese (read: Sunnis) against taking on Hizbollah’s Shiites. He argued that civil strife should be avoided in what sounded like an implicit threat…
Whatever the cost, Hezbollah now calculates that an open conflict with Lebanon’s Sunnis justifies turning its arms inward and away from Israel. And if Shiites are at war with Sunnis, that would rationalise the killing of Gen Al Hassan and the Hezbollah members fighting alongside Assad forces inside Syria.
Meanwhile, wiping Israel off the map can wait. Conflict with Sunnis gives Hezbollah and its patrons in Damascus and Tehran a regional role; war with Israel is costly and unrewarding, a lesson that Hafez Al Assad learnt some 40 years ago… Hezbollah militants – hardened by the 2006 war – fight in Homs pretending it is part of their war for the “liberation of Jerusalem”
Hezbollah turning its guns away from Israel and against the predominantly Sunni Free Syrian Army… sounds about right to many Shiites. After all, that conflict goes back 14 centuries; the one with Israel is only a few decades old.
Next, from Asharq Al-Awsat, “the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper“, an article headlined “Hezbollah firing hundreds of rockets into Syria on daily basis” which quotes a Syrian opposition leader, Mohamed al-Homsi. Hezbollah, he says, is
“intervening in the fighting alongside the Syrian regime with all of its power… firing its rockets – the same rockets that it claims are to fight Israel – into Syrian territory to kill Syrian people… Between 100 and 150 rockets and mortar shells are being fired by Hezbollah into the Syrian town of al-Qaseer and the surrounding villages on a daily basis… It has become clear that Hezbollah is taking part, with all of its strength, in this battle, which it considers itself to be a part of. Hezbollah has sent thousands of its troops, along with military equipment and arms, into Syria, deploying them throughout Homs and the surrounding areas, in addition to Hama, Aleppo, Zabadani and Damascus. They are engaging in fierce clashes with rebel forces”.
Asharq Al-Awsat extends Hezbollah a right of reply. One of its Lebanese parliamentarians, Walid Sakaria, denies Hezbollah is firing rockets into Syria with this claim:
“it would be impossible to fire such rockets without people in the surrounding area hearing or seeing this… The accusations being leveled against us clearly demonstrate that Hezbollah is being targeted simply because it is an enemy of Israel and the US project in the region, and so we are not surprised to be facing such accusations.”
As brazen as his claims are, there are others (inevitably) who toe the same Hezbollah-uber-alles line. Take for instance this item published yesterday under the heading “Hezbollah condemns Beirut bombing: Effort to destabilize Lebanon underway” by Mick Kelly [online]:
“Hezbollah, the largest anti-imperialist political party in Lebanon, condemned the Oct. 19 Beirut bombing that took the life of Brigadier General Wissam Al-Hasan and others. In a statement, Hezbollah declared, “This hideous crime is a vicious attempt to target stability and national unity,” and urged the “security and judicial apparatuses to use all efforts to control the crime, uncover its committers, and bring them to justice.” Much of the western media is implying that supporters of Syria are behind the blast. There is no evidence that this is the case… Hezbollah and other progressive political forces, including Lebanese communists, have worked hard to build a powerful national resistance project that is capable of standing up to imperialism and Zionism.”
Well done, Comrade Mick, whose passion for peace and annihilation of imperialism most likely puts him in the same tin box as the people who publish the following progressive cant:
Hezbollah and Lebanon’s Baath Party have called for the annihilation of Israel, blaming the Jewish state for spearheading a “conspiracy” against the Syria-Iran-Hezbollah axis, Daily Star reports. In a joint statement, the two sides emphasized the need “to unify ranks in the face of the big conspiracy hatched against the resistance-rejectionist axis… The main enemy in Lebanon and the region is the Zionist entity and we must exert every effort and our energy to eradicate this arrogant entity,” they said.
IDF intelligence maps show Hezbollah weapons stored near schools, hospitals and residential buildings, marking a trend of using civilian villages as militant centers. [They have] turned over 100 Southern Lebanese villages into military bases. Now back to reality. The IDF has an operational understanding of Hezbollah considerably beyond that of almost anyone else. It went public with this reminder today of what the Hezbollah hordes actually do in the villages of southern Lebanon, including a video visualization [here at YouTube] of what it means to embed your fighters and munitions behind a human shield of Lebanese villagers:
* These maps and the 3D clip show how Hezbollah stores weapons near schools, hospitals, and residential buildings in the village of al-Khiam, which had been used as a rocket launching site during the Second Lebanon War. This same tactic of storing weapons near civilian buildings is being carried out by Hezbollah in villages all across southern Lebanon, essentially using the residents as human shields, in gross violation of UN Resolution 1701.
* Aerial photos of the al-Khiam village show that Hezbollah’s weapons have been stored near schools, hospitals, and residential buildings. During the Second Lebanon war, Hezbollah generally stored its weapons in open areas, enabling the IDF to locate and destroy these stores. In the four years since, Hezbollah has pursued a tactic of moving its weapons into civilian villages, essentially institutionalizing the tactic of using human shields on a large scale.
* IDF intelligence indicates that this village, with a current population of approximately 23,000 people, is one of several Hezbollah centers currently undergoing preparation for confrontation with the IDF. Today, about 90 Hezbollah militants, some of whom are part of the Special Forces prepared to confront IDF soldiers with explosive devices, mines and various types of antitank missiles, are operating in the village. According to intelligence, there are hundreds of rockets and mortar shells, with different ranges, already stored within the village.
* Four years after the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah has strengthened its capabilities and resources. It currently has an arsenal of some 40,000 rockets.
Under the present condition, if war were to break out, Hezbollah could launch between 500 to 600 rockets a day towards Israel.
* Col. Ronen Marley, Commander of the Western Division on the northern border, explained that Hezbollah has been collecting information on IDF activities and events in Israel…. [He] estimated that a renewed conflagration between Israel and Hezbollah could happen anytime between today and next year.
Visit This Ongoing War.
Israeli Police Illegal Arrest and Interrogation Fail to Pin Firebombing on 13- and 12-Year-Old Jewish Boys (Video)Monday, September 10th, 2012
Those of us who live in democratic societies have grown to see the limits placed on our naturally exuberant police forces as essential components of our civil freedoms. We know a person may not be interrogated without his or her attorney being present. We know a person must be arraigned and charged with a crime, or be set free. We know a minor may not be interrogated without his or her parent present.
Not in the wild-west territory of Judea and Samaria, where police is more likely to be brutal than not, especially to Jewish “settlers” (Hebrew for Pariah) and definitely not regarding Jewish boys of bar mitzvah age and younger.
Every week, it seems, we are treated to new evidence of Israel’s security forces in the “territories” appearing to merge with the Arab regime police forces all around us, employing brute force, intimidation, illegal incarceration and the occasional physical torture, because, frankly, they’ve run out of other ways to solve crimes.
A case in point is the recent testimony of two young teens, one 12, the other 13, who testified on video which was published by HaKol HaYehudi (The Jewish Voice).
At the end of last week, three young teens from Bat Ayin were released after spending six days in prison on suspicion of firebombing an Arab taxi, injuring six Arabs.
All three children withstood extremely difficult conditions and especially long interrogations, accompanied with threats and sophisticated tactics, utilizing relentless psychological pressure.
13-year-old M. told HaKol HaYehudi about the investigation methods employed by the Police Central Unit (Yamar) and the General Security Service (Shabak).
M. and his friends were on their way to Jerusalem Sunday morning, last week.
“At the Gush intersection (a hitchhiking post), a car stopped to give us a ride to Jerusalem. Two of us got in; the third boy wanted to get in too, but the driver said that he would only agree to take two. The driver and his wife started talking to us about ‘Price Tag’ (the clandestine retaliation movement against the left-wing and Arabs) and whether it was a good thing or not,” M. related.
“The driver turned on the radio and it was someone talking about ‘Price Tags’ and that we have to burn down mosques during the day, with the Arabs still inside, and that he tried to join the Price Tag movement and they wouldn’t agree with him. It seemed very strange, but we didn’t understand what was going on,“ M. described.
“When the radio piece was over, the driver started asking us who threw the firebomb, and that of course we knew who it is.” M. answered that he and his friend had no idea who did it.
The two children still didn’t realize that the innocent “hitch” was a actually a police trap.
“We reached Kiryat Moshe and asked to get out, but the driver said that he would pull over for us at a stop further down the road. When we got to that stop, the driver said that it’s illegal to stop at the bus stop and there’s an increased fine for it, so he would stop after the next turn. He stopped after the turn and two detectives immediately jumped on us and told us that we were under arrest for suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime.”
After several days under arrest, M. was led near the interrogation room when he suddenly heard loud shouts.
“I saw the driver of the car that we hitchhiked in, handcuffed inside the interrogation room, with a detective shouting at him, ‘what did you talk about with them during the ride? We already know everything about you!’ and stuff like that. I heard him tell the detective that he knows me only because he picked me up one day at the Gush intersection and that he has no connection to us.”
“After that, I was put into a holding cell and suddenly they put him in too. He started shouting at me: ‘What did you do? I am a married man and I don’t want to get involved in problems.’”
The investigating police officer then started to shout at M. that he and his friends must tell the detectives what they did in order to get the man released to his family.
“I didn’t really pay attention to him, so they took him out and I didn’t see him again,” said M.
From far away, it may seem surprising that Israelis still continue to seek normal relations with the Arabs with whom we share so many aspects of life. Anyone in doubt about this needs simply to walk into any Israeli hospital.
The lifting of a gag order yesterday (Sunday) about a criminal prosecution is a fresh cause for consternation about neighbourly relations. It’s a case that started out as a burglary – not an uncommon crime here. But it has become something much more unsettling.
In suburban Ra’anana, a few minutes drive north of Tel Aviv, the apartment of the Lerner family was robbed in October 2011. The Haaretz account yesterday says police established that entry had been achieved by the use of the front door key. It soon emerged that the building contractor on the property next door had been given the key. It then somehow ended up in the hands of one of the construction workers. Police were called to the scene, and while questioning him, Eyal Lerner collapsed and eventually had to be rushed to intensive care where his life was saved. Soon afterwards, his wife and two and a half year old son as well as one of the police needed urgent hospitalization as well. Suspecting poison, the police carried out tests; these established that bottle of grapefruit juice and of water along with other food items had been tampered with, and contaminated with large, probably lethal, doses of pesticide.
The suspects are Hossam Abd El-Rahim, 37, from the Israeli Arab town of Tira; and Otman Nas’ara, 47, from the town of Beit Furik in the West Bank. The name of the third suspect remains subject to the gag order. All were charged yesterday with conspiracy to commit a crime and burglary.
The authorities who went to Nas’ara’s home in the West Bank were attacked by rock-throwing locals. Undeterred, they found poison in his home and have charged him with attempted murder. He admitted the charge, citing – as Haaretz calls them – “nationalistic motives”. Everyone in our postal code understands that’s a common euphemism for terrorism.
El-Rahim who was arrested in Tira denied the murder allegations. They had nothing more serious in mind than “a routine burglary” and Nas’ara acted alone, said the accomplice.
Israel National News says the thieves had access to the home because the Lerner’s knew the contractor next door and trusted him, and gave him the keys. Eyal Lerner told Israeli radio: “It was not difficult to realize that we were burglarized, because the television was missing. Our camera also disappeared… We lock the apartment a lot better now.”
With most construction sites in Israel employing large numbers of Arab workers, it’s likely that more people will be locking their apartments better now too.
Levi Aron, who killed and dismembered 8 year old Leiby Kletzky in July 2011 pleaded guilty to kidnapping and killing Kletzky, in return he received 40 years to life in prison.
Leiby Kletzky had been walking home from his Brooklym camp when, after getting lost, asked Aron, a store clerk, for directions.
Aron then kidnapped Kletzky, drugged him, smothered him, and dismembered him. Part of the boy’s body were found in Aron’s freezer and the rest in a garbage bin.
Aron gave no explanation as to why he committed such a sick crime.
A Jewish student at Michigan State University said he was attacked at an off-campus party in what he is calling a hate crime.
But the East Lansing Police Department said Tuesday that a preliminary investigation has determined that the incident two days earlier likely was not a hate crime, The State News reported. The police reportedly spoke with two witnesses and have identified a potential suspect who does not live in the area.
Zach Tennen, 19, said that just before Sunday’s assault, his attackers asked him if he was Jewish and that he answered in the affirmative, according to reports. Tennen, a resident of suburban Detroit and a sophomore at the university, told WDIV-TV in Detroit that his attackers also “were making Nazi and Hitler symbols and they said they were part of the KKK.”
Tennen, whose jaw was broken in the attack near MSU’s East Lansing campus, was knocked unconscious. The assailants stapled his mouth shut through his gums.
Others at the party watched as Tennen called a taxi to take him to the hospital. His mouth was surgically wired shut.
His family has called the Anti-Defamation League regarding the assault. Tennen plans to return to classes in a week.
The university in an email statement referred all questions about the police investigation to East Lansing Police, as the incident occurred off campus.
“Michigan State University’s Student Affairs and Services office has reached out to the family of the student who said he was assaulted in East Lansing to provide the academic and other support the student needs,” the statement also said.