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Monday, November 19, 2012

Survival screams! Facing military omnipotence, Gazans crouch helplessly in fear ─ UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights

Protests in Scotland

Grotesque reality passing under radar of world conscience because of the geopolitical shield behind which Israel is given a free pass to do whatever it wishes ─ this morally unendurable circumstance should be politically unacceptable.
It must be actively opposed, globally: by every person, government, and institution of good will, says Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights  
Re-reporting, editing by Carolyn Bennett
From Falk’s opinion and Stop the War Coalition (UK) Newsletter
Yemenis protest
U.S. drone strikes

 Commander in chief of Mendacity and Dissembling

The United States under the present leadership in Washington, the Guardian at UK reports, “has used drones in hundreds of attacks in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.”

Pakistanis protest
U.S. drone strikes
The lead of an article “The full horrific impact of U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan” posted late last month at Stop the War UK (David Rose) notes, “Those who push the buttons to fire the missiles call these strikes ‘bug-splats’ [and] bereaved relatives are forced to gather their loved ones’ dismembered body parts in the aftermath.”

Yet, given his murderous actions during his four years in office, the U.S. president acts as if his violent, repeated breach of Pakistan's and Yemen's and Somalia’s sovereignty is somehow other than what it is; and in the face of Israel’s raw, violent, irrational aggression against Palestinians in Gaza, he makes this ridiculously absurd statement:

Somalis suffer
U.S. drone strikes
There’s no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.


n the latest edition of its newsletter, Stop the War Coalition responds, “This [statement] from a U.S. president whose first term was characterized by raining down missiles on citizens from outside U.S. borders − in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia ─ and was comfortable enough with the atrocity to make jokes about his use of pilotless drone attacks. (See http://bit.ly/Sg2Ift)

“As for the possibility of a land invasion, which Benjamin Netanyahu is intimating could be imminent; [U.S. President Barack] Obama says it would be ‘preferable’ if this could be avoided ‘because if Israeli troops are in Gaza, they’re much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded.’ 

U.S. drone launch
“[The U.S. President] will give his unqualified support to Israel ─ whatever carnage and mass slaughter is inflicted on the people of Gaza.

“As will the British government with David Cameron and William Hague both parroting Barack Obama in supporting Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’, using the world’s fourth most powerful military to bombard a defenseless population of 1.7 million Palestinians trapped in a strip of land which across its narrowest point is barely six miles wide.”

Since the start of this latest raw aggression by Israel, scores of Palestinians have died unspeakable deaths, schools and other structures have been destroyed; and responding “hundreds of towns and cities across the world have begun demonstrating against Israel’s onslaught.” (See excellent video of London protest: http://bit.ly/S7yMmA)

Unacceptable tactics

AFP image of Gaza at Al Jazeera
n an opinion piece at Al Jazeera posted over the weekend, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights wrote …

The intensity of air and sea strikes against the helpless people of Gaza strikes terror in the hearts and minds of every person living in the Strip, a form of indiscriminate violence against the spirit and mental health of an entire people that cannot be measured in blood and flesh, but by reference to the traumatizing fear that has been generated.

Professor Richard Falk continued: “We hear many claims in the West as to a supposed decline in international warfare since the collapse of the Soviet Union twenty years ago. Such claims are to some extent a welcome development.”
Rafah protests

However, “the people of the Middle East have yet to benefit from this trend ─ least of all the people of Occupied Palestine; and of these, the people of Gaza are suffering the most acutely.

This spectacle of one-sided war in which Israel decides how much violence to unleash, and Gaza waits to be struck, firing off militarily meaningless salvos of rockets as a gesture of resistance, represents a shameful breakdown of civilization values. These rockets do spread fear and cause trauma among Israeli civilians even when no targets are struck, and represent an unacceptable tactic.

“Yet such unacceptability must be weighed against the unacceptable tactics of an Israel that holds all the cards in the conflict.

“It is truly alarming that now even the holiest of cities, Jerusalem, is threatened with attacks.

But the continuation of oppressive conditions for the people of Gaza, inevitably leads to increasing levels of frustration; in effect, cries of help that world has ignored at its peril for decades. 

These are survival screams!

“To realize this is not to exaggerate! To gain perspective, it is only necessary to read a recent UN Report that concludes that the deterioration of services and conditions will make Gaza uninhabitable by 2020.

“Completely aside from the merits of the grievances on the two sides, one side is militarily omnipotent and the other side crouches helplessly in fear. Such a grotesque reality passes under the radar screens of world conscience because of the geopolitical shield behind which Israel is given a free pass to do whatever it wishes. Such a circumstance is morally unendurable and should be politically unacceptable.

“It needs to be actively opposed, globally: by every person, government, and institution of good will.”
Global protests

Entering the sixth day of Israel’s barbaric assault on Gaza, more than 80 have been killed, including at least 13 children,” Stop the War Coalition (UK) reports, “Hospitals are overwhelmed by hundreds more who have been wounded; 1,350 sites have been attacked, two media centers have been bombed, injuring eight journalists, including one who lost his leg.”

Ending the current week, global protests will rise in numbers. Among them will be the November 24  national demonstration in London called by Stop the War, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and British Muslim Initiative (BMI), and supported by a number of other organizations.

Source and notes

Newsletter #1260. 19 November 2012, 1b Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ
www.stopwar.org.uk | office@stopwar.org.uk | 020 7561 9311
twitter.com/STWuk | facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition

The London protest assembles at noon at Downing Street to show David Cameron and the UK government that its unstinting support for Israel’s assault on Gaza is not in our name. From there protesters will march to the Israeli embassy. (Details and updates at http://bit.ly/UzD4Br)

The global protests show the people of Gaza that they are not alone. We urge you to support this national demonstration and to encourage everyone you can to join us. Please use every available means you have ─ email, Facebook, Twitter etc ─ to publicize the demonstration as widely as possible.

Called by Stop the War, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, CND, BMI and others
Details and updates at http://bit.ly/UzD4Br

U.S. attacks Pakistan, reports October 21, 2012: http://stopwar.org.uk/index.php/usa-war-on-terror/1960-the-full-horrific-impact-of-us-drone-attacks-in-pakistan

“U.S. drone strikes listed and detailed in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen
Where has the U.S. been using drones in attacks - and how many people have died there?”

“Drones by country: who has all the UAVs? The U.S. has used drones in hundreds of attacks in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen - but which countries have UAVs and how many? Over 800 detailed here, http://www.democracynow.org/2012/11/19/un_special_rapporteur_calls_for_global

“The latest Gaza catastrophe − Many aspects of the current assault on Gaza pass under the radar screens of world conscience,” November 18, 2012 [The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy], http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/11/2012111874429224963.html

See also: http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/latest-gaza-catastrophe-085957587.html

Richard Falk is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights. In March 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Falk to a six-year term in this position.

In 2001, Professor Richard Anderson Falk served on a three-person Human Rights Inquiry Commission for the Palestine Territories that was appointed by the United Nations, and previously, on the Independent International Commission on Kosovo.

Falk is author or coauthor of numerous books, including Religion and Humane Global Governance; Human Rights Horizons; On Humane Governance: Toward a New Global Politics; Explorations at the Edge of Time; Revolutionaries and Functionaries; The Promise of World Order; Indefensible Weapons; Human Rights and State Sovereignty; A Study of Future Worlds; This Endangered Planet; coeditor of Crimes of War.

His latest book The Great Terror War [2003] considers the American response to September 11, 2001, including its relationship to patriotic duties of American citizens.

Falk chairs the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Board of Directors and is honorary vice president of the American Society of International Law. He was counsel to Ethiopia and Liberia in the Southwest Africa Case before the International Court of Justice.

His academic credentials his position as Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara.  His law degrees (LLB or JD, doctor of law or JSD) were taken at Yale Law School and Harvard University respectively; his undergraduate degree at University of Pennsylvania-Wharton School.


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy


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