News Releases

Key Author of War Powers Resolution: “Attack on Iraq Violates Constitution”

CNN is reporting: “Two U.S. F/A-18 jet fighters bombed artillery of Sunni Islamic extremists in Iraq on Friday, escalating America’s military involvement more than two years after President Barack Obama brought home forces from the country.”

PAUL FINDLEY, findley1 at frontier.com
Available for a limited number of interviews, Findley served as a member of United States House of Representatives for 22 years. He was a key author of the War Powers Resolution and a leader in securing its enactment by overriding the veto of President Richard Nixon. He is also the author of six books. The federal building in Springfield, Ill. is named for him. He said: “Just as with threats to attack Syria last year, an attack on Iraq today would violate the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. As with any president, he [President Obama] commits an impeachable offense if he does not follow the Constitution. Some observers misread a section of the War Powers Resolution as giving the president 60 days to make war without a declaration from Congress. The section cited actually limits even war making in the event of an attack upon the United States, its territories, or armed forces, which is not the case in Iraq. In my view, a tight rein on presidential war making is more important today than ever before.”

ICC and Israel: Claims of Genocide and the Means to Stop It

Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights recently had a piece titled “UN’s Investigation of Israel Should Go Beyond War Crimes to Genocide,” in which he states that the actions by Israel in Gaza fit the legal definition of genocide under the convention.

There have been a series of calls for genocide or ethnic cleansing of Palestinians among Israeli officials and in the Israeli media. See from the Daily Mail (UK): “Israeli official calls for concentration camps in Gaza and ‘the conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters’” about Moshe Feiglin, deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset.

The Guardian reports: “Palestinian leaders poised to join ICC in order to pursue Israel for war crimes.”

JOHN QUIGLEY, quigley.2 at osu.edu
Professor emeritus of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley’s books include The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict and Genocide in Cambodia. Quigley was an expert witness in the trial of Pol Pot.

Quigley believes that the Palestinians should appeal to the International Criminal Court, but he does criticize the ICC, noting for example that the ICC claimed in a statement on Tuesday that it had not “received any official document from Palestine indicating acceptance of ICC jurisdiction.” Quigley noted that the Palestine National Authority had done so in 2009, the letter is on the ICC’s website. [PDF]

Quigley’s view was also articulated by John Dugard, the former UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, on Wednesday’s “Democracy Now!“: “It is possible for the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to exercise jurisdiction, to initiate an investigation already, without any more due. And this is confirmed by the fact that in the last few weeks the minister of justice and the deputy minister of justice of Palestine have submitted documents to the International Criminal Court indicating that, as far as they are concerned, the 2009 declaration is still valid. So, I must confess that I hold the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court partly responsible for the fact that no proceedings have been initiated against Israel and Hamas before the International Criminal Court.”

Quigley stressed that the manner in which the Palestinians entered into the ICC in 2009 would cover violations of law going back to 2002.

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of Palestine, Palestinians, and International Law and The Tamil Genocide by Sri Lanka. He said today: “The ICC has shown that the hope that many of us had for it was not deserved, it’s been a tool of the pro-Israeli Western powers. Under no circumstances must the Palestinians accede to the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court. ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is ‘Black Skin, White Masks’ a la Frantz Fanon. She will decapitate the entire Palestinian political leadership. The Palestinians will be back to where they were before the founding of the PLO in 1964.”

Instead, Boyle recommends that nations that are signatory to the Genocide Convention invoke it against Israel at the World Court. Numerous world leaders, including the presidents of Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Pakistan and Iran have referred to Israel’s actions as genocidal.
Says Boyle: “An appropriate legal remedy is to apply the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide against Israel at the World Court. Palestinians have been victims of genocide by that treaty’s definition. In 1993 I won two World Court Orders on the basis of the 1948 Genocide Convention that were overwhelmingly in favor of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina against Yugoslavia to cease and desist from committing all acts of genocide against the Bosnians in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention. I won the first emergency order in three weeks.

“In the event the United States were to exercise a veto at the Security Council against the enforcement of this World Court Cease-and-Desist Order against Israel, you can then invoke the General Assembly’s Uniting for Peace Resolution of 1950 in order to have the World Court Order turned over to the United Nations General Assembly for enforcement measures against Israel.” Boyle was legal advisor to Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi, chair of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace negotiations from 1991-1993.

See: “If It’s a Genocide in Gaza, then Invoke the Convention to Stop it” by Sam Husseini.

War Crimes in Gaza? Genocide?

LIA TARACHANSKY, [in Israel] lia at therealnews.com, @liatarachansky
Tarachansky is a Jaffa-based filmmaker and the Israel-Palestine correspondent for The Real News. See her recent piece “Inside Israel’s Pro-War Nationalist Camp.”

See from The Real News: “Deputy Speaker of Israeli Knesset Calls for Expulsion and Jewish Reoccupation of Gaza: Max Blumenthal tells Paul Jay that Moshe Feiglin’s program is part of a growing incitement to genocide against Palestinians.”

See from the Electronic Intifada: “Israeli lawmaker’s call for genocide of Palestinians gets thousands of Facebook likes.”

Israeli Hannibal Directive: “A Breach of Democracy and Morality”

RICHARD SILVERSTEIN, richards1052 at comcast.net, @richards1052,

Silverstein has written on security and other issues for a number of outlets and blogs at Tikun Olam.

He said today: “The Hannibal Directive is a secret procedure that is invoked when an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier is captured by enemy forces. The Directive is portrayed by the Israeli media and officials in one fashion but implemented on the ground quite differently. The official version is that Hannibal allows Israeli forces to take enhanced measures to prevent the capture of its soldiers, including endangering the lives of those engaged in the capture by firing at a getaway vehicle, etc.

“In practice, Hannibal is a shoot to kill order designed either to prevent abduction or to kill the abductors and IDF soldier who’s been apprehended. It was implemented during Operation Cast Lead in 2009 when a soldier was captured in a home in Gaza. Israel media reported that the IDF shelled the building, killing both the soldiers and his captors. Apparently the Hannibal Directive was invoked twice in the recent conflict, in the cases of Sgt. Guy Levy and Lt. Hadar Goldin.”

“According to my highly-placed Israeli source, during Operation Protective Edge, Hannibal was invoked twice, in the cases of Sgt. Guy Levy and Lt. Hadar Goldin. In both cases, they were killed after their unit was ambushed by Gaza militants. As they were being dragged away by Hamas fighters the remaining Israeli soldiers fired on them. In the case of Goldin, the IDF wounded him and killed the militant who was taking him away. But other fighters retreated with Goldin through a tunnel to Rafah.

“The IDF proceeded to inundate Rafah with heavy artillery fire and air strikes which destroyed all ambulances and vehicles approaching the nearest hospital (where presumably the Palestinian fighters might take Goldin to treat his wounds). In this fashion, 60 Palestinians were killed in indiscriminate fire designed to kill Goldin (and his captors). At first, the IDF said Goldin may have been captured. Later they said he appeared to have been killed by examination of ‘trace amounts of DNA’ found in the tunnel. Later still, the IDF announced they’d recovered his body. He was buried the next day and no one in the media except for me asked for an autopsy to be performed to determine how he died. The IDF did not want such an examination.

“The history behind Hannibal is that it was written to address the political and social trauma created when Israeli soldiers were captured by the enemy. In order to gain their freedom, Israel had to negotiate with either Hezbollah or Hamas to gain the release of their personnel. In the case of Gilad Shalit, who was held in captivity for five years, Israel released 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. The extreme Israeli right-wing complained bitterly at the ‘price’ the country had to pay for Shalit’s return, saying the freeing of ‘terrorists’ with ‘blood on their hands’ was an unforgivable act. The current right-wing government would prefer not to be seen as ‘weak’ on terror, so it accedes to a police which essentially eliminates any chance there will be future Gilad Shalits.

“The IDF military censor invoked an unprecedented demand on the New York Times when it demanded that the newspaper’s reporters pre-clear any reporting on the case of Lt. Goldin. The excuse they offered was that a distant familial relation between the dead soldier and Defense Minister Bogie Yaalon might provide a security weakness for Hamas to exploit. This was a smokescreen to conceal the censor’s need to suppress any discussion of Hannibal that might expose the real events involved in Goldin’s death.

“There is an unspoken agreement among the Israeli government, Israeli citizens, and even the surviving family of victims, that IDF victims under Hannibal will be treated as war heroes in return for concealing the true circumstances of their death.

“Only a few days ago, Gili Cohen of Haaretz described Hannibal as an attempt to free Goldin from his captors. The Israeli media knows, but cannot say, that Hannibal is invoked to eliminate captured soldiers, not to free them. It is only invoked once it is impossible to free the captive, not before.

“This conspiracy of silence relieves Israeli citizens of having to think about the moral issues of killing one of their own soldiers in an attempt to relieve society of the burden of negotiating with the enemy over their return. It is an unpardonable breach of democracy and morality.”

CIA Spies on Investigation of CIA Torture

McClatchy reports: “An internal CIA investigation confirmed allegations that agency personnel improperly intruded into a protected database used by Senate Intelligence Committee staff to compile a scathing report on the agency’s detention and interrogation program, prompting bipartisan outrage and at least two calls for spy chief John Brennan to resign.”

RAY MCGOVERN, rrmcgovern at gmail.com
McGovern is a former CIA analyst whose responsibilities included chairing National Intelligence Estimates. He just wrote the piece “Will Obama Fire CIA Director John Brennan?” available at his website: raymcgovern.com.

MELVIN GOODMAN, goody789 at verizon.net
Goodman is director of the National Security Project at the Center for International Policy. He was an analyst at the CIA for 24 years. His most recent book is National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism and he is also the author of The Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA. He recently wrote the piece, “Obama’s Failure to Rein in CIA and NSA.”

He said today: “The Senate’s report documents the lies and the deceit of the CIA and its leaders over the past decade, including lies to the Congress, the American people, and even the President of the United States. The CIA director, George Tenet, and the deputy director, John McLaughlin, were directly responsible for orchestrating the campaign.”

Gaza: As Cease-fire Collapses, Death Toll Passes 1,400

AP is reporting: “A Gaza cease-fire quickly unraveled Friday as violence erupted in and around the southern town of Rafah [in Gaza], with 35 Palestinians killed by Israeli shelling and the military saying one of its soldiers may have been abducted.”

Time magazine reports “White House: Shelling Of U.N. School in Gaza ‘Totally Indefensible’” while Stars and Stripes notes: “DOD releases arms to Israel, official says.”

Middle East Eye reports: “The death toll in Gaza surpassed 1,370 on Thursday. 1,417 Palestinians were killed during Israel’s three week long Operation Cast Lead during 2008-9.

FARAH BAKER, [in Gaza] farah.basil1998 at gmail.com,
Baker is a 16-year-old Palestinian. Millions have seen her posts on Twitter in the last week: @Farah_Gazan.

REFAAT ALAREER, refatr17 at gmail.com, @ThisisGaza
Currently in Malaysia, Alareer’s wife and children are in Gaza. He recently wrote “The story of my brother, martyr Mohammed Alareer” for the ElectronicIntifada.net. His brother played a well known character on a children’s television program in Gaza — the Palestinian equivalent of Big Bird — and was killed in an Israeli attack. Alareer is editor of the book Gaza Writes Back. His blog is thisisgaza.wordpress.com.

MOHAMMED ALQATTAWI, [in Gaza] alqattawi at live.com, @m_alqattawi
Alqattawi is an English-speaking cousin of Salem Shammaly, who was killed in an Israeli attack. He is profiled in “When you find your missing son getting murdered on Camera.”

NOURA ERAKAT, [in U.S.] nourae at mac.com, @4noura
Erakat just wrote the piece “Israeli operation not about security” for USA Today. She is a human rights attorney, an assistant professor at George Mason University and a co-founder of Jadaliyya, an e-zine that focuses on the Middle East.

JOE CATRON, [in Gaza] joecatron at gmail.com, @jncatron
A U.S. citizen in Gaza, Catron was recently profiled in “Inside a Gaza Hospital Under Israeli Rocket Fire.” He was at the El-Wafa geriatric Hospital in Gaza City when it was bombed by the Israeli military. He just highlighted a video on his Twitter feed: “War crime: video shows sniper killing of wounded” and wrote “Now diplomacy has failed, boycotting Israel might be the only way we can protect the people of Gaza.”

YOUSEF AL-HELOU, al-helou.y at hotmail.com, @YousefAlhelou
Yousef Al-Helou is the Gaza-based correspondent for The Real News and a freelance reporter. He just completed his masters in journalism at Oxford University. He just tweeted: “Rafah is isolated, under heavy random tank shelling, aerial bombardments.”

YONATAN SHAPIRA, [now in Norway] yonatanemail at gmail.com
Shapira is a former Israeli captain and Air Force pilot. In 2003 spearheaded a letter signed by 27 Israeli pilots who refused to participate in military operations against Palestinians. He was recently on “Democracy Now!

Why Have Office Computers in Congress Been Blocked From Access to “Hackers on Planet Earth” Website?

“Congress members and their staffers are blocked from accessing the website for the annual Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference, according to a screen shot Firedoglake obtained,” Kevin Gosztola reports.

“A staffer in Congress tried to access the website on July 28, more than a week after the tenth annual conference was held, and got a screen indicating the site had been categorized as a prohibited website,” Gosztola writes. “The screen that appeared informed users, ‘The website you attempted to visit contains content inappropriate for business use.’”

The recent HOPE conference included the first-ever public discussion between Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The following are available for interviews:

KEVIN GOSZTOLA, kevin.gosztola at firedoglake.com, @kgosztola
Gosztola is a journalist for the online media organization Firedoglake. He said today: “The pop-up screen indicates it has to do with ‘hacking,’ but it is still not entirely clear why the site is blocked. It is not like the website would be used as a launch pad by hackers to break into the House of Representatives network.”

Gosztola added: “Previously, it has been reported that federal workers were banned from accessing WikiLeaks on government computers. And now, employees are prohibited from accessing a page for a prominent hacker conference. This appears to be another example of a culture of enforced ignorance being maintained.”

TREVOR TIMM, trevor at pressfreedomfoundation.org, @trevortimm
Timm is executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He said today: “It was an honor to moderate the first public discussion between the two most influential whistleblowers in American history. They offer lessons for government officials who witness wrongdoing, and for the public, who must hold those officials’ feet to the fire.”

Voices of Israelis “Outraged over Genocide in Gaza”

[Please note the change in the title of this news release. Responding to requests from rape survivors, including Palestinian and Israeli feminists, the Institute for Public Accuracy has decided to refrain from using the word "rape" as an example or a metaphor. Though there are similarities between political violence and sexual violence, we recognize the need to use language in ways that do not cause further suffering to survivors of violence.]


SIMONA SHARONI, simona.sharoni at gmail.com
Sharoni is professor of gender and women’s studies at SUNY Plattsburgh and the author of Gender and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Politics of Women’s Resistance. She just wrote the piece “A Feminist Perspective on Israeli Aggression.”

She said today: “I participated in my first demonstration against Israeli aggression 32 years ago, after the massacre of Sabra and Shatila. Over the past three decades, successive Israeli governments continued to use military aggression rather than diplomacy as the centerpiece of their foreign policy. As an Israeli citizen, a daughter of a holocaust survivor, and a conflict resolution expert, I feel a strong obligation to speak up against the ongoing military onslaught inflicted on Gaza. This genocide, perpetrated by Israel in the name of security has claimed the lives of over 1,200 Palestinians in Gaza and completely destroyed their infrastructure. Notwithstanding the heavy toll this massive attack has taken on Palestinians in Gaza, it is obvious that it will not only undermine Israel’s security but also severely harm its foreign relations.”

YONATAN SHAPIRA, yonatanemail at gmail.com
Shapira, a former Israeli captain and Air Force pilot, who in 2003 spearheaded a letter signed by 27 Israeli pilots who refused to participate in military operations against Palestinians. He recently said on “Democracy Now!“: “Gaza is the biggest open-air prison. People inside cannot go in and out. They can find their way through tunnels sometimes, but most of the population is locked there as prisoners. Israel controls the air. Israel controls the sea and the land. And the little strip that Egypt controls is basically coordinated with Israel and the United States to keep this a cage with those 1.8 million people. I myself tried, with different groups and a flotilla, to sail to Gaza and to symbolically break the blockade, but we were stopped by the Israeli occupation forces, claiming that we are dangerous because maybe we are bringing a weapon. So, just it’s so ridiculous to see now. You know, they stopped us from bringing the weapons, and I don’t think that Hamas had any problem to bring a weapon in. Maybe even in some paradoxical way it helps Netanyahu and his guys, these missiles, because I’m here in Tel Aviv, and I have a 10-month-old baby, and I have to hug her and go to the shelter when the missiles are falling, but it’s really nothing compared to what people in Gaza are experiencing. And I have family in Sderot, next to Gaza, and I have even relatives who are in Gaza as soldiers.”

See “Open Letter by 50 Israeli Army Reservists on Why They Refuse to Fight in Gaza.”

Why Won’t Administration Release Ukraine Evidence?

A group of retired intelligence officials have release a memorandum: “Obama Should Release Ukraine Evidence,” which states: “As veteran intelligence analysts accustomed to waiting, except in emergency circumstances, for conclusive information before rushing to judgment, we believe that the charges against Russia should be rooted in solid, far more convincing evidence. And that goes in spades with respect to inflammatory incidents like the shoot-down of an airliner. We are also troubled by the amateurish manner in which fuzzy and flimsy evidence has been served up — some of it via ‘social media.’

“As intelligence professionals we are embarrassed by the unprofessional use of partial intelligence information. As Americans, we find ourselves hoping that, if you indeed have more conclusive evidence, you will find a way to make it public without further delay. In charging Russia with being directly or indirectly responsible, Secretary of State John Kerry has been particularly definitive. Not so the evidence. His statements seem premature and bear earmarks of an attempt to ‘poison the jury pool.’” See the full letter at Consortium News.

The following signers, who are members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, are available for interviews:

COLEEN ROWLEY, rowleyclan at earthlink.net, @ColeenRowley
Rowley is a former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo described some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures and was named one of Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002.

RAY MCGOVERN, rrmcgovern at gmail.com
McGovern, who may not be available for interviews until Thursday, is a former CIA analyst whose responsibilities included chairing National Intelligence Estimates. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Other signers of the memorandum include William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.); Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.); Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.); David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.); Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.); Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.); and Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned).

Israel Bombs Power Plant; Water Going from “Undrinkable” to “Catastrophic”

NBC News reports: “The fuel tanks at Gaza’s only power plant came under attack early Tuesday, threatening to deepen an already dire humanitarian situation. The attack came hours after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a televised speech of a ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza against Hamas. Israel carried out 76 strikes overnight — one of the biggest bombardments in the nearly month-long campaign. …

“Jamal Dersawi, the plant’s general manager, told NBC News that the major fuel storage tanks supplying the facility took a hit before dawn. There was no immediate comment from Israel’s military about the attack. …

“Dersawi said that since the facility provides power to key infrastructure, including water sanitation facilities, Tuesday’s attack will have a devastating impact on the citizens of Gaza.”

The Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH), a coalition of 27 organisations working in the water and sanitation sector in the occupied Palestinian territories, recently released a statement: “Since the start of the Israeli assault on Gaza on July 8, 2014, the water and wastewater infrastructure in Gaza has been heavily affected by Israeli airstrikes. Main water supply and wastewater infrastructure has been hit and as a result the water supply or sewage services to 1.2 million (2/3 of the total population in Gaza) have been cut or severely disrupted. The targeting of civilian objects under situation of hostilities is prohibited according to International Humanitarian Law and is considered a war crime. …

“Prior to the current escalation, Gaza already suffered from a water crisis, with limited availability of water resources, fuel and the Israeli imposed blockade since 2007. The only water resource for Gaza is the coastal aquifer, which according to the UN may become unusable by 2016 due to over-abstraction.” See: Guardian report from 2013: “Gaza becoming uninhabitable as blockade tightens, says UN,” which states: “Destruction of smuggling tunnels and renewed ban on import of construction materials have exacerbated humanitarian crisis.”

MONTHER SHOBLAK, monthercmwu at hotmail.com
Available for a very limited number of interviews, Shoblak is director general of Coastal Municipalities Water Utility in Gaza. He stresses the importance of the water situation in Gaza and links it to water-borne diseases. One of their workers, Zeyad Al Shawi, was recently “killed by the Israeli forces while he was opening water to the people of Rafah.”

MARK ZEITOUN, M.Zeitoun at uea.ac.uk
Zeitoun is author of Power and Water in the Middle East: The Hidden Politics of the Palestinian-Israeli Water Conflict. He has been profiled in The New York Times.

He said today: “The quality of water in Gaza is undrinkable at the best of times, and so people generally rely on neighborhood water desalination plants provided by local entrepreneurs, and a mix of poor quality water blended with better quality provided by the water authorities (PWA [Palestinian Water Authority] and CMWU). All the sources depend on electricity or diesel to run the pumps.

“The targeting of power facilities and power lines and restrictions on fuel imports (before and after this latest assault) now combine with the inability for water authorities or entrepreneurs to operate, maintain or repair their water systems. Repair crews are generally prohibited from their work because of the threat of attacks, though risk their lives nonetheless. Last time I checked several days ago, four water technicians had been killed while trying to deliver safe water to the residents.

“Hospitals in particular need lots of good quality water, to operate effectively. The shortages in good water quality are guaranteed to reduce the capacity of the medical staff to respond to emergencies, as sterilization becomes out of reach. Increases in post-operation infection rates and the risk of water-borne diseases, threaten the wounded, elderly, and infants the most. (See letter from doctors and scientists to the medical journal The Lancet.)

DANNY MULLER, fugedaboutit at gmail.com, @MECAForPeace
Muller focuses on coordinating emergency aid in the Middle East and Haiti. He was most recently in Gaza after Operation Cast Lead in 2009 and immediately before and after Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012. He will be returning in the coming weeks to advance psychosocial support for traumatized Palestinian children and report on the status of over 50 water treatment units the Middle East Children’s Alliance has installed at UNRWA schools in Gaza.

He said today: “Today, 90 percent of people in Gaza do not have access to water that is safe to drink. We are talking about hundreds and hundreds of thousands of children. Gaza is at the precipice of a public health crisis where the rapid spread of water borne disease and illness will wreak further havoc on a population trying to survive under indiscriminate bombardment by the Israeli Defense Forces. Israeli airstrikes have intentionally targeted water wells, water pipelines and sewage stations. This has only exacerbated the severe water crisis that already existed in Gaza due to the Israeli blockade. Put simply: bombing civilian infrastructure that delivers and purifies water is murder.”

See, by Mohammed Omer: “Israeli jets destroying Gaza water and sewerage systems: officials.”

From NBC News: “Water ‘Catastrophe’ Looms in Gaza as Israel Steps Up Airstrikes.”

From the International Solidarity Movement: “Israel airstrike bombs major water line, sewage station and water wells in Gaza.”

See from ElectronicIntifada.net in 2013: “90 percent of Gaza’s water unfit for drinking, says Falk“: “Richard Falk, a UN special rapporteur on Palestine, has used a new report on corporate complicity with the Israeli occupation to sound the alarm over how Israel is blocking Palestinians from access to their rightful share of water resources. Falk says Israel must halt the demolition of water collection facilities on the pretext that they operate without valid permits. …

“Falk strongly condemns the targeting of water and sanitation facilities during Israeli military operations. Israel has destroyed at least 306 wells in Gaza since 2005. The repeated destruction of water and sanitation infrastructure has contributed to water scarcity in Gaza.

“Israel also blocks Gaza’s inhabitants from using water from Wadi Gaza, a natural stream that originates in the Hebron mountains and flows to the Mediterranean Sea.

“Israel denies Palestinians in the West Bank their rightful share of water from an underground mountain aquifer, according to Falk. It also prevents Palestinians from accessing water from the Jordan River. Under customary international law both water resources must be shared equitably. However, an estimated 500,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) enjoy approximately six times the amount of water used by the 2.6 million Palestinians living in the West Bank.”

Israel Using U.S. Weapons to Kill in Gaza

NBC News is reporting now: “Israeli strikes hit within yards of Gaza’s main hospital as well as at a refugee camp on Monday, leaving at least 30 dead and wounded.” NBC states that over 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been reported killed in the last three weeks while about 43 Israeli soldiers have been killed in fighting; three civilians within Israel have been killed by Hamas rockets.

JOSH RUEBNER, congress at endtheoccupation.org, @joshruebner
Ruebner is author of Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace and policy director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. He said today: “In its current attack on the occupied and besieged Palestinian Gaza Strip, Israel is misusing U.S.-supplied weaponry, in violation of U.S. laws such as the Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Act, to carry out massacres against Palestinian civilians and deliberate destruction of Palestinian civilian infrastructure. However, instead of holding Israel accountable for its violations of these laws, the United States is deeply complicit in Israel’s apparent war crimes by continuing to allow U.S. weapons to be employed in this manner.” See “Is U.S. Military Aid to Israel Legal?” — part of the the group’s policy paper on military aid to Israel.

The group will have a briefing on Capitol Hill on Friday, Aug, 1 that will include Tariq Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian-American teenager who was brutally beaten by Israeli police earlier this month. The group notes: “Congress has introduced H. Con. Res. 107 condemning the use of human shields by Hamas. The resolution of course fails to mention Israel’s well-documented use of Palestinians as human shields. The Israeli military has used Palestinian children to open bags it believed to be bomb-laden, held children in front of soldiers to prevent youth from throwing rocks, and forced children to enter homes believed to be rigged with explosives.”

KEN KLIPPENSTEIN, ken.klippenstein at riseup.net, @KenKlippenstein
Klippenstein recently co-wrote the piece “U.S. Provides Israel the Weapons Used on Gaza,” which states: “Even as the U.S. government claims to want to broker a ceasefire, it continues facilitating weapons exports to Israel. On July 14, the same day President Obama vowed that ‘We’re going to continue to do everything we can to facilitate a return to the 2012 ceasefire,’ the State Department approved a possible $544 million sale of AIM-9x sidewinder missiles and associated support services to Israel. These missiles can be used by F-16s to hit ground targets.

“Official U.S. military aid to Israel stands at about $3 billion per year due to a 10-year, $30 billion military aid package originally signed by former President George W. Bush and upheld under President Obama. This figure doesn’t, however, include the $504 million in funding dedicated to missile defense.

“Truthout asked Andrew Feinstein, former Member of Parliament in South Africa and currently an Open Society Institute fellow, to elaborate on the accuracy of official aid estimates. He replied:

“‘In reality, published military aid figures tend to be significant understatements. … Israel is the only country allowed to use its U.S. military aid to build its domestic military industry, a privilege that includes developing indigenous weapons systems based on U.S. designs and using U.S. grants to purchase materials, as well as research and development, from Israeli firms. Additional U.S. funds are spent on joint military research and production. Israel also enjoys ‘fast-track’ status for weapons sales, meaning it can make deals directly with manufacturers in the U.S. without having to go through the Pentagon.

“‘The billions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Israel have bought a stunning array of US weapons and military hardware for the IDF, including 226 F-16 fighter jets, more than 700 M-60 tanks, 6,000 armored personnel carriers, scores of transport planes, attack helicopters and utility and training aircraft, not to mention innumerable bombs and tactical missiles of all kinds.’”

Klippenstein also wrote the piece “U.S. Continues to Surreptitiously Supply Arms to Unelected Regime in Egypt.”

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