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The Legal Flaws of the Palmer Commission Flotilla Report

The latest United Nations report on last year’s lethal flotilla incident – in which nine people were killed and many injured by Israeli commandos on board a humanitarian ship bound for Gaza – was released at the beginning of September, and generated much controversy. On the one hand, the report makes clear that Israel’s use of force on board the Mavi Marmara and in the treatment of those detained on the ship was excessive and unreasonable. It acknowledges that forensic evidence indicates at least seven were shot in the head or chest, five of them at close range, and recognizes that Israel still refused to provide any accounting of how the nine people were killed. It calls on Tel Aviv to compensate the families of those killed, eight Turks and one American, and also those who were seriously injured during and after the incident, passengers roughed up while in Israeli custody and whose cameras, cell phones and other belongings were confiscated.

The unusually small inquiry panel itself lacked credibility. It was chaired by former New Zealand prime minister and international environment law expert Geoffrey Palmer. Astonishingly, the only other independent member was its vice-chair, the former president of Colombia. Alvaro Uribe’s notorious history as a human rights abuser who called human rights advocates such as Amnesty International “rats,” as well as his legacy of seeking out the closest possible ties to and defense of Israel while in office, make him wildly inappropriate for such an assignment. The panel was rounded out with two members appointed by Israel and Turkey, each of whom appended a partisan dissent to the report.

It is therefore particularly significant that the report, despite several notable shortcomings, still confirmed several longstanding criticisms of Israel’s policies, especially the habitual reliance on excessive and unreasonable force when dealing with Palestinian issues.
Overall, however, the report of the Palmer Commission is severely flawed from an international law perspective. The most significant finding of the report is its most dangerous and legally dubious: the conclusion that Israel’s blockade of Gaza, in effect since mid-2007, was somehow, despite being severely harmful to the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza, a legitimate act of self-defense. The report gives considerable attention to the illegal rockets fired into Israel by Palestinian militants mainly associated with Hamas, and notes, appropriately, that “stopping these violent acts was a necessary step for Israel to take in order to protect its people.” But while that justifies protective action, it does not make the case for a valid claim of self-defense under international law.

The report ignores altogether the crucial fact that a unilateral ceasefire had been observed by Hamas ever since the end of the Gaza War in early 2009. An earlier joint Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire had been declared in July 2008, and had led to a virtual halt in rocket attacks until it was broken by Israel in November of that year, in a lethal assault on Gaza that led to a crumbling of the ceasefire and thereafter to Israel’s Operation Cast Lead on December 27, 2008. The Palmer report cannot be legally persuasive on the central issue of self-defense without addressing the relevance of these ceasefires that gave Israel a viable security alternative to blockade and force. The fact that the word “ceasefire” does not even appear in the 105-page document underscores why this report is so unconvincing except to Israel’s partisans.

Instead of trying diplomacy, which had shown itself effective, Israel relied on a naval blockade, which prevented every boat from reaching the Gaza Strip, establishing a military siege, cruelly confining all Gazans, children, women and men (more than 50 percent of Gaza’s population is below the age of 15) living under occupation in what amounts to an open-air prison. Such a blockade is a massive and sustained example of collective punishment, unequivocally prohibited by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The main goal of the flotilla was to bring desperately needed humanitarian goods, primarily medical equipment, to Gaza’s hospitals and clinics. But a second important goal was to challenge the illegal blockade, end the siege, and protect the rights of the people of Gaza. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every human being has the right to freedom of movement both within and between all countries yet for more than four years Israel’s siege of Gaza has denied Gazans their right to leave this crowded, impoverished territory, and denied entry to foreign visitors and even to family members. With all land borders closed and the UN and neighboring states unwilling to do more than call repeatedly but futilely on Israel to fulfill its obligation toward an occupied people, the flotilla movement was a peaceful and powerful way to expose the criminality of the siege and blockade of Gaza.

We should not lose sight of the essential nature of the incident. Israel launched a naval attack in the middle of the night on a humanitarian flotilla in international waters, whose six ships had been publicly inspected by harbor and police officials in a number of European countries to ensure there were no weapons on board before heading into international waters and had been tracked from the time they left port. It was neither reasonable nor necessary to mount such an attack for the sake of Israeli security.

Allowing a naval blockade – which the Palmer Commission acknowledges to be an act of war – to be imposed by Israel against the helpless civilian population of Gaza and then accepted as ‘legal’ by the UN, it is a sad day for both the global rule of law and the well-being of some of the most vulnerable and abused people on the planet.

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About the Author

Richard Falk

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Richard Falk
Richard Falk is an international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He is the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. 
  • David

    I am sorry, but anyone willing to bring “humanitarian” aid to Gaza can do so via Egypt, OR Israel. There is not a siege on Gaza, just an attempt to control the quantity of weapons they are accumulating.
    As far as the nine dead on the flotilla. We all saw the video. The soldiers were attacked with metal rods and knives. They fast roped down with paint-ball guns and pistols, not with assault rifles or sub-machine guns. They were prepared to “mark” agitators. The “activists” were attempting to kill or seriously harm them. I am sorry, but when you try to stab or club someone with a gun, you might get shot.
    How is it that no one else on the other ships was injured?
    If they really wanted to kill people, it would have been easier to just shoot them from the helicopters no?
    And who “benefits” from the death of those people? Certainly not Israel.

    • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

      “There is not a siege on Gaza”. That about sums up the ignorance and dishonesty of your comment, David.

      • Murray of Montreal

        You have a lot of nerve to refer to David as being ignorant.

        A siege is: The surrounding and blockading of a city, town, or fortress by an army attempting to capture it.

        The Israelis are not trying to capture Gaza.

        Here are various definitions of the word siege: Here they are so perhaps you will not remain ignorant: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/siege

        • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

          You are just as ignorant as David.

          The siege on the Gaza Strip: 1.5 million people imprisoned
          http://www.btselem.org/gaza_strip/20100531_the_siege_on_gaza

          • Murray of Montreal

            Words have meanings, as I have shown. Only the ignorant (and worse) will ignore that.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            Only the ignorant will ignore Israel’s collective punishment of the civilian population of Gaza by debating a point of semantics.

          • Murray of Montreal

            And only the ignorant (and worse) refuse to believe history and archeology as to who was where and when.

            $1 million has been offered to anyone who can show “Jerusalem” (Iliya, Al-Quds, Bayt al-Maqdis), in the Koran. For several thousand years before the Koran was even written, Jerusalem was the centre of the Jewish world, but of course this does not suit your revisionist history, so goes unmentioned.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            Your comment doesn’t in any way address what I said.

        • Murray of Montreal

          Only the ignorant refuse to agree to Israel’s right to exist and thus bring upon themselves what they experience.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            Only the ignorant thinks states have a “right to exist”, and only the immoral reject the Palestinian’s right to self-determination (the proper framework, not this “right to exist” of states nonsense) while insisting they recognize Israel’s “right to exist” in an effort to legitimize Israel’s theft of Arab land and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

          • Murray of Montreal

            Jeremy; Why is it that at a certain point in the discourse the ability to reply directly to what you have written disappears but the ability to respond directly to me remains? Aha! I see that this site belongs to you!

            You maintain that Gaza is under siege. Siege (as mentioned above) denotes capture of an area by an opposing force, but as history shows, Israel did the exact opposite, as six years and one week ago today, Israel disengaged from Gaza, even leaving the Philadelphi Route. Under the Oslo Accords it was to remain under Israeli control to prevent the smuggling of materials (such as ammunition) and people across the border with Egypt.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            Israel remains the Occupying Power by virtue of the fact it controls the borders, the territorial waters, and the airspace of Gaza, and it is a siege because Israel permits only a limited amount of goods into and no goods out of the territory, and also does not allow Palestinians in or out.

    • Hagi Sakir

      If these people were killed because the soldiers were trying to defend themselves, then Israel would have revealed that video. But they have not. Also 5 of these people were shot from the head in close range according to medical reports. How can you explain that?

      • Murray of Montreal

        Here is a video if the Israelis being attacked as they rappelled onto the ship. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYjkLUcbJWo

        Note how close the Turks and Israelis are to each other. If anyone shot anyone it would obviously be at very close range.

        • Joshua

          excellent find, thank you.

        • Hagi Sakir

          As I said before the soldiers are being attacked in the video, which I agreed before. Coming back to my question: How were the civilians on board shot and killed?

  • Scott Creek

    If 1 rocket / missile is fired after a ceasefire has been signed, the ceasefire has been broken by the side that fired it. How can you say that Hamas kept it’s side of the ceasefire when it was still sending missiles into Israel, albeit fewer than prior to the ceasefire?

    • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

      Hamas fired precisely 0 rockets into Israel from the beginning of the ceasefire on June 19 until November 4, when Israel violated the ceasefire.

      • Murray of Montreal

        What year are you referring to?

        Here are the records for 2010: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Palestinian_rocket_attacks_on_Israel,_2010

        For 2009: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Palestinian_rocket_attacks_on_Israel,_2009#July

        For 2008: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Palestinian_rocket_attacks_on_Israel,_2008#July

        Oops! Hamas never fires rockets. It is always Islamic Jihad or the Mickey Mouse Club!

        • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

          The answer to your question is in the context (but you know that). I was referring to the fact, as Prof. Falk pointed out, that Israel and Hamas had a ceasefire beginning June 19, 2008, which Hamas honored and Israel did not, and which Israel ultimately ended on November 4, with airstrikes and a ground incursion into Gaza, just as it had also been Israel that had violated the previous ceasefire, as Prof. Falk also pointed out. Spare us your dishonest strawman arguments (“Hamas never fires rockets.”)

          • Murray of Montreal

            So in other words; no rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel from June to November in spite of the fact that many were, but that is in the context of what Mr. Falk wrote. Even Noam Chomsky would pee in his pants if he heard your explanation.

            So what happened on or just before Nov 4, 2008 that would cause Israel, who had in your mind obviously not been attacked by the peace loving Gazans to end a truce?

            Aha! Here it is! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_War#November_4_incident Hamas was digging a tunnel in order to get into Israel and kidnap Israelis. “November 4 incident

            On November 4, 2008, Israel launched a military strike on Hamas to destroy what Israel said was a tunnel on the Gaza-Israel border dug by militants to infiltrate into Israel and abduct soldiers. According to Israel, the raid was not a violation of the ceasefire, but a legitimate step to remove an immediate threat. Israeli infantry, tanks, and bulldozers entered 250 m into the Gaza Strip, the first major incursion since the June truce.”

            Newton’s third law of motion is “for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction”. If the Gazans were not caught digging a tunnel for the purpose of invading Israel, Israel would likely not have invaded Gaza in order to destroy the tunnel.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            Hamas fired no rockets from June 19 until November 4, when Israel violated the ceasefire. Hamas actively promoted the ceasefire and cracked down other other groups firing rockets, including with arrests, and the ceasefire was remarkably effective, with very few rockets fired during this period.

            As for Israel’s November 4 violation, Israel’s claimed justification is just that, an Israeli claim.

          • Murray of Montreal

            Sorry but that does not wash. Hamas is the government of Gaza and it is up to them as the government to disarm any groups that can attack a third party. If they do not, and they don’t then they are condoning the actions of the groups and that makes them complicit. What the H is the use of a government that has no control over the territory that it is suposed to govern (and of course I am referring to armed gangs within its midst).

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            Facts are facts. Hamas fired no rockets, and it actively tried to prevent other groups from firing rockets, including with arrests. That task was made impossible by Israel, which stepped up operations in the West Bank, including assassinations, in order to provoke a violent response from militants in Gaza. It was Israel that violated the ceasefire, not Hamas.

          • Murray of Montreal

            In response to: “Facts are facts. Hamas fired no rockets, and it actively tried to prevent other groups from firing rockets, including with arrests. That task was made impossible by Israel, which stepped up operations in the West Bank, including assassinations, in order to provoke a violent response from militants in Gaza. It was Israel that violated the ceasefire, not Hamas.”

            There are sooooooooo many splinter groups of Hamas that it is hard to keep track. And then there are the splinter groups of the splinter groups. In a small area the size of Gaza with the type of government that Hamas is, it is very difficult for Hamas NOT to be aware of what is going on. Below you included: “The political leadership of Hamas is probably the most highly qualified in the world. Boasting more than 500 PhDs in its ranks, the majority are middle-class professionals—doctors, dentists, scientists and engineers.” If they are so highly qualified how do you explain their civil war with the PA and the fact that they can not manage to control their tiny territory?

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are the two groups who fired rockets during the ceasefire. These are not splinter groups of Hamas. In fact, the latter is the armed wing of Fatah. Again, Hamas fired no rockets, and it actively tried to prevent other groups from firing rockets, including with arrests. That task was made impossible by Israel, which stepped up operations in the West Bank, including assassinations, in order to provoke a violent response from militants in Gaza. It was Israel that violated the ceasefire, not Hamas. These are the facts.

            The civil war with the PA is easy to explain. The US and Israel conspired and pressured Abbas to commit a coup to overthrow the elected Hamas government, by force if necessary, and Abbas went along with the plan, and Hamas responded to the coup attempt and Abbas’s illegal measures by expelling Fatah from Gaza. The law was on Hamas’s side.

  • Dov

    Another biased report against Israel. Facts are subtly twisted and words are conveniently changed to make out that Israel is the aggressor – when it is clear that the Palestinians are the real aggressors. Who else celibrates, on mass, by partying in the streets, where the adults hand out candys to the kids when an Israeli bus or restaurant gets blown up? These very same ‘innocents’ under (or over) the age of 15 are taught in schols from infancy to hate and are trained fro the word go to kill every Jew and every Israeli. The Israeli commandos did not attack the ship – they came to INSPECT it and THEY were the ones who were attacked!

    • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

      Right. Everything Israel does is “self-defense” by definition. So when Israel attacks and kills 9 civilians aboard a ship on a humanitarian mission in international waters, that is “self-defense”. When Israel attacks homes, schools, and hospitals, that is “self-defense”. When Israel collectively punishes the entire population of Gaza, that is “self-defense”.

      • Murray of Montreal

        A humanitarian mission? If that is the case how do you explain the attacks upon the Israelis as they landed on this ship?

        Since when do humanitarians attack soldiers with clubs and knives?

        From a newspaper story (link below)

        “The allegation came as Turkish newspapers reported that three of the four Turks killed in the onslaught had declared their readiness to become martyrs.

        “I am going to be a martyr. I dreamed about it,” Ali Haider Banjinin, 39, from Kurdistan, told his family before leaving to join the flotilla, according to one report.

        The brother-in-law of retired engineer Ibrahim Bilgen, 61, told another paper that “martyrdom suited him very much. Allah gave him a death he desired.”

        A third Turkish casualty, Ali Akbar Yertilmis, a father of four from Ankara, had “dreamt of becoming a martyr”, a friend was quoted as saying.

        “Roughly 40 people on board were jihadis who came for violence,” a government official said. “They were preparing to attack, to kill and to be killed.” The boat was carrying more than 600 passengers, around half of them Turkish nationals.”

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/02/flotilla-raid-turkish-jihadis-troops-israel-claims

        Somehow I have a feeling that if you had been around 60-65 years ago that you would have been very happy to work at Auschwitz!

        • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

          The question isn’t how do you explain passengers defending themselves against armed commandos storming their ship, the question is how do you explain the armed commandos storming a vessel on a humanitarian aid mission in international waters. I don’t personally agree with the actions of the Turkish activists, but they had a right to defend themselves against an illegal attack upon their vessel.

          • Murray of Montreal

            Sorry but the naval blockade has been shown to be perfectly legal, and that will stand up in court, because the law is perfectly clear.

            Armed commandos? I don’t see any of the initial IDF rappelling down the ropes with guns blazing. Do you? Meanwhile those same armed commandos went onto other ships and were met with no violence. The result of that was no violence on any of the other ships, but you knew that.

            You must get a real kick out of twisting facts, and the obvious.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            The law is indeed perfectly clear, that the blockade, as an act of collective punishment, is illegal. This, as I have already shown, is the judgment of numerous human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Gisha, and B’Tselem, and the U.N. Human Rights Council. Richard Falk addresses the legal flaws in the Palmer Commission above.

            I repeat: The question isn’t how do you explain passengers defending themselves against armed commandos storming their ship, the question is how do you explain the armed commandos storming a vessel on a humanitarian aid mission in international waters. I don’t personally agree with the actions of the Turkish activists, but they had a right to defend themselves against an illegal attack upon their vessel.

      • Murray of Montreal

        When Israel is enforcing a legal naval blockade of a belligerent entity whose raison d’etre it is to destroy it, it has the right to board a ship running the blockade. When the boarders are attacked (as the videos show) the boarders have a right to defend themselves, and that is exactly what they did. When Hamas and Hezbollah use schools, homes, mosques and hospitals, as they have, in order to launch attacks against civilians, etc, is Israel supposed to stand down and not attack the source of the rockets/shooting? (Feel free toi deny this.) Sorry, but Israel’s enemies did not abide by international law in conflict and when children play with fire they get burned.

        • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

          When Israel is enforcing an illegal blockade that collectively punishes the civilian population, attacking a civilian vessel in international waters is an additional war crime.

          • Murray of Montreal

            You just don’t seem to get it through your thick skull. The Massacre at Jenin, the Al Dura Affair, the same man orchestrating things for the media in South Beirut, the doctored photos, ad infinitum. Eventually when the dust settles, Israel is more often than not vindicated.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            You just don’t seem to get it through your thick skull. The massacre at Deir Yassin, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the occupation of the Palestinian territories, the Sabra-Shatila massacre, the ’08-’09 Gaza massacre, the illegal siege, the illegal attack on civilians in international waters, ad infinitum. Israel is a criminal state that perpetually violates international law.

          • Murray of Montreal

            So are you saying that the Zionists were in cahoots with the Grand Mufti in order to clense Israel of all its Palestinian Arabs? Jeez they did a lousy job as well over 1 million remain.

            Incidentally, are you familliar with a poll of the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion January 12, 2011? I can’t find it upon their site, but supposedly the poll showed that 70% of those asked in East Jerusalem answered that they would prefer to live in Israel, rather than an independent Palestinian state.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            You sound like Benny Morris, arguing that the problem with the Zionist’s ethnic cleansing of more than 700,000 Arabs from Palestine was that they didn’t go far enough. Some people just have no shame, no decency, no humanity, no morality. Evil does exist in this world, as your comments illustrate.

          • Murray of Montreal

            I hate to be the one to inform you but the Sabra-Shatila massacre was carried out by Phalangists (Lebanese Christians). I had a cute letter to the ed published regarding that. It went something like: On Sept 1, 200,000 Israelis protested the massacre of 2,000 Palestinians. I wonder if as many as 2,000 Palestinians would ever protest the massacre of 200,000 Israelis.”

            As far as the ’08-09 massacre”, I hate to be the one to burst your bubble but Hamas sort of precipitated Cast Lead by sending a few rockets into Israel. I realize that no country but Israel would ever stoop to defending their civilians from such an attack, but Israel is an awful country that always over-reacts when its enemies try and kill its people.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            I’m well aware that the Sabra-Shatila massacre was carried out by Phalangists under the orders and watchful eye of Israel. And once again, it was Israel, not Hamas, that violated the ceasefire that existed prior to Operation Cast Lead.

          • Murray of Montreal

            So now Sabra/Shatila was carried out at the orders of the Israelis? You have an amazing insight to everything and all falls into place as you move along. It is almost as if you invent things as you move along. Hmmm I know a few Lebanese Christians in St Laurent (Montreal) that emigrated from Lebanon that would disagree.

            As far as “Some people just have no shame, no decency, no humanity, no morality. Evil does exist in this world, as your comments illustrate.” My extensive record of altruism speaks for itself and is matched by very few, if any at all.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            The IDF had the camps surrounded and sent the Phalangists in. Israel was just as responsible as the Phalangists for the Sabra-Shatila massacre.

          • Murray of Montreal

            I suspect that you received your totally unbiased information re Sabra/Shatilla from this impeccable source http://www.counterpunch.org/2001/11/28/at-last-the-truth-about-sabra-and-chatila-massacres/

            Interesting how the same two wrote the above expose. :o)

            What brought on the civil war in the first place? “There is no consensus among scholars and researchers on what triggered the Lebanese Civil War. However the militarization of the Palestinian refugee population, with the arrival of the PLO guerrilla forces did spark an arms race amongst the different Lebanese political factions.” “…. However by 1975, the presence of a foreign armed force in the form of the PLO guerrillas, who exercised a veto on Lebanese politics and exercised the foreign policy of other states within a period of regional polarization, had a visible effect on Lebanon.”

            “Syria’s wars against Lebanon’s Christians

            Syria had since the late 1960′s covertly armed Palestinian guerrillas stationed in Lebanon. In 1976, a Palestinian-Syrian brigade called “Al Yarmook” crossed the Lebanese border and invaded the Christian town of Damour on the coast of the Chouf district, massacring thousands of its inhabitants. However, regional strategies shifted with 1978′s Israel-Egypt Camp David agreement, and Syria changed its apparent role in Lebanon from a member of the Arab Peace keeping force (Green Helmets) into an open supporter of Palestinian/Leftist coalition, thus in summer 1978 Syrian troops started harassing the Lebanese Army (LAF) and Christian Militias. A major incident with the LAF in Hadath 1978 erupted into an all out confrontation with the Christian Militias, including the Phalanges and Chamoun’s Ahrar forces. Syrian troops moved to invade strategic East Beirut and were countered by Christian forces in one of the bloodiest chapters of the civil war, known as the “100 Days War.” Christian militias defeated elite troops of the Syrian army and kept them from occupying the vital regions of Ain el Remmaneh, Achrifiyeh, Sodeco, Karantina, and Gemayze, leading to an all out siege and a relentless bombardment of the city that lasted for three months killing thousands of innocent civilians. Eventually, international pressure mounted on Assad’s regime, forcing a withdrawal of Syrian troops from Christian regions surrounding East Beirut, in a major victory to young Bachir Gemayel and a heavy defeat to Syria’s occupation attempt.

            Another chapter of Syria’s open war on Lebanese Christians was the conflict of Zahle. In April 1981, Syrian forces attempted to invade the capital of the Bekaa’s valley Zahle, famous for its largest concentration of Christian inhabitants in the entire Asian Continent. The Christian militias now know as the Lebanese Forces (LF), sent a force of 65 elite commandos on foot through the snowy peaks of Mount Lebanon to the encircled city where they organized local defenses. A relentless shelling of the city lasted for three months during which Syrian troops’ several attempts to invade the city failed. Eventually, Israel intervened and shot down two Syrian helicopters that landed troops on Christian Mount Sannin, an incident that led Syria to set up anti-aircraft missiles in the Bekaa valley, leading to an international crisis that ended with the a ceasefire, a Syrian pullout from areas around Zahle, and the withdrawal of the 65 christian commando; another defeat to Syria, and another victory to Bashir Gemayel who had become the symbol of the Lebanese resistance.”

            Unfortunately many Muslims seem to have a real problem living together in peace with not only themselves, but with Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Jews as well. How many Lebanese Christians were massacred? Its interesting to see that there is absolutely no mention of them. There were as many as 230,000 civilian fatalities on both sides but only 1% seem to be important to you, as the IDF did not stop the Phalangists. There was already a civil war in Lebanon. Was it for the IDF to start shooting Phalangists to keep them from murdering Palestinians? Nothing can justify the massacre of civilians? Have you ever condemned any terrorist attacks on Israelis?

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            No, actually, I hadn’t read Robert Fisk’s article. Thanks for the link. You’re trying to change the subject. I repeat that Israel was responsible for the Sabra-Shatila massacre.

          • Murray of Montreal

            And I maintain that the Sabra/Shatilla massacre was a direct result of the massacres perpetrated on the Lebanese Christians by the Muslims. Would you go in and massacre women and children indiscriminately unless you had been a victim of the same?

            I couldn’t and I really do not see the point of such revenge, as it does not bring back the dead.

            Meanwhile, I look forward to your posting of an article calling for the recognition of Israel.

  • Sceptique

    Anoter report by two authors whose bias on Israel is well-known to all. How can these simpletons believe their opinion is better than an international panel selected by the same UN Richard Falk boast to be one expert (although his bias he drew harsh criticism from the UN Secretary General).
    These people express here theire personal opinions on a subject no one asked them to talk about.
    The Gaza naval blockade is legal. Therefore, attempts to breach it is an aggression. This means the “humanitarians” were the aggressors here. Full stop.
    But I doubt someone as prejudiced as Richard Falk can understand it.

    • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

      Richard Falk as a UN Special Rapporteur, and I would also direct you to the UN Human Rights Commission report on Israel’s attack on the flotilla, which found the blockade to be part and parcel of Israel’s policy of collective punishment, and thus illegal.

  • Murray of Montreal

    The UN Human Rights Commission report on Israel’s attack on the flotilla, which found the blockade to be part and parcel of Israel’s policy of collective punishment, and thus illegal, does not take into consideration that international law does allow for a naval blockade of a belligerent state, which there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Gaza is.

    (A defense that Gaza is not a state, and is thus exempt does not wash.)

    Are the people of Gaza starving? No.
    What is there a shortage of in Gaza?
    Is this Israeli propaganda or fact? http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=221934

    • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

      International law allows for a naval blockade, but it must not be used to effect the collective punishment of a civilian population, which is why the UNHRC report found the blockade to be illegal, inasmuch as it is part and parcel of Israel’s policy of collective punishment of the Palestinians of Gaza.

      • Murray of Montreal

        How is the blockade a collective form of punishment if Israel offered to accept the aid on the ships and transport it over land after inspection?

        What is there a shortage of in Gaza?

        Why are shopping centres being built in Gaza if there is not enough merchandise to stock the stores with? http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=221934

      • Murray of Montreal

        Sorry but the people of Israel did not vote into power a terrorist group (as the Gazans voted in Hamas). That of course is a HUGE difference.

        • Murray of Montreal

          And please spare us your hypocrisy and your immoral attempts to assist a terrorist entity (Gaza) to procure arms so that they can continue to indiscriminately attack and attempt to attack civilians.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            You embarrass yourself and expose your dishonesty and hypocrisy with such lying strawman arguments. One comment like that and you will be banned for trolling.

        • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

          The people of Israel voted into power terrorists, which is no different at all. Most members of Hamas are not terrorists.

          The political leadership of Hamas is probably the most highly qualified in the world. Boasting more than 500 PhDs in its ranks, the majority are middle-class professionals—doctors, dentists, scientists and engineers. Most of its leadership have been educated in our universities and harbour no ideological hatred towards the West…. The Bush-Blair response to the Hamas victory in 2006 is the key to today’s horror. Instead of accepting the democratically elected Government, they funded an attempt to remove it by force; training and arming groups of Fatah fighters to unseat Hamas militarily and impose a new, unelected government on the Palestinians. Further, 45 Hamas MPs are still being held in Israeli jails…. Two months ago the Israeli Defence Forces broke the ceasefire by entering Gaza and beginning the cycle of killing again — http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article5420584.ece

          • Murray of Montreal

            The people of Israel have never voted into power a party whose goal was the destruction of “Palestine”. There is no secret that is the goal of Hamas as I have already illustrated through their own covenant.

            I am very pleased to see that Hamas has so many highly educated individuals in its ranks. I look forward to them all coming to the logical/intelligent conclusion shortly, that the stated goal of Hamas to destroy Israel will bring only bring the people of Gaza more death and destruction, as Hamas attempts to fulfill its main mission in life.

            Unfortunately, for as long as I have been watching the goings on in that part of the world, I have learned to have very little faith, in the Palestinians as a group.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            That’s a remarkably hypocritical statement, given the fact Israel affected the “destruction” of Palestine by unilaterally declaring the existence of the “Jewish state” of Israel in its place, stealing Arab land, and ethnically cleansing more than 700,000 Arabs from the land; and a remarkably ignorant statement given the fact, already noted, that Hamas has for years expressed its desire to establish a state of Palestine alongside Israel on the ’67 borders.

          • Murray of Montreal

            Incidentally, having at the head of the PA a PhD whose thesis was written to deny the haulocaust, does not impress me. My son and daughter-in-law both have PhD’s. Somehow I do not believe that our government would be better run by a geologist and someone who can compare literature!

          • Murray of Montreal

            As far as the Jews unilaterally declaring a Jewish state, even the “dishonest, “ignorant” me recalls that the UN voted to partition Palestine into both Arab and Jewish states.

            Your choosing to ignore facts of history simply impacts greatly on your credibility as an objective journalist.
            http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/un-votes-for-partition-of-palestine

  • Ahmet Mustafa Osam

    Dear Professor Falk,

    We read your comments with interest, and declare that your findings are as disturbing as ours on different grounds.

    Firstly the voting rights of the panel was very concerning .

    Secondly this is a panel which reported to United Nations Secretary General in a blessed unawareness of the role of the office it played in the transformation of the juristic concept of self-determination initially meaning non subjugation of people , to international juristic precept and therefore to an international legal norm over a twenty one year period with the Matter of South West Africa 1949-1971 not to mention Western Sahara , Burkina Faso vs. Mali and East Timor 1996.

    How can such a panel over look the fundamental breach of every legal norm that forms modern international law of state creation, succession and annexation and deprivation of fundamental rights and legal liberties?

    Opposition to subjugation of people by alien power should be pacifically made. But when negotiated settlement since 1948 and all the UN good offices attempts since 1948 led to no where one remembers Namibia ruling of International Court of Justice (1971) . Court righty rejected the argument of the Mandatory that she was still suing for an agreement to transfer the mandated territory to UN Trusteeship by pointing out that the Mandatory by her actions and declarations since the dissolution League of Nations and Creation of the United Nations, had no intention to agree for the transfer. Conclusion Mandatory sought was an implied assumption of sovereignty when grant was rejected by UN General Assembly as the Mandate did no bestow sovereignty.

    The entire decolonisation era was literally was synonymous with cold war and it was a contest between those who rejected alien subjugation and those attempted to perpetuate it .
    Since the panel rejects peaceful demonstration in international waters against alien subjugation then it runs contrary to purpose and principles of international law asserted by UN Charter.
    The panel rightly focused on rights of self-defence yet its findings were not helpful. If greater powers then Israel gather to assert the rights of the Palestinian’s rights to self-defence , whose right for self-defence are legitimate; those who breach humanitarian laws of war, as well as human rights of laws of peace, or of those who attempt to uphold them?

    The panel’s findings are not helpful if it leads to an escalation of tension in the region.
    This it has succeeded in achieving it .

    Yours respectfully
    Ahmet Mustafa Osam
    Global Mediation Reconstruction and Reconciliation

  • Murray of Montreal

    With regard to Jeremy Hammond’s “And the people of Israel with a free vote put Menachem Begin, head of the terrorist organization Irgun at the time of the Kind David Hotel bombing, and Yitzhak Rabin, a member of the Stern Gang, a terrorist organization, and Avigdor Lieberman, was a member of Kach, a terrorist organization.

    The moral of the story is spare us your hypocrisy and your immoral attempts to justify the collective punishment of civilians, a war crime.”

    The difference is that the above mentioned beat their swords into plowshares, while your friends at Hamas, Hezbollah, in Syria, etc, never have.

    As far as “collective punishment” is concerned; “we reap what we sow.” If the Gazans had voted for a party whose goal was peace and not war, the Gazans would have cruise ships docking and tourists plus several shopping centres and not only 2.

    In Montreal we suffer from a worthless mayor because voters made a choice. If Montrealers can suffer for voting in a jerk, why should Gazans not suffer for doing the same?

    • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

      Hamas has since at least 2005 called for a Palestinian state alongside Israel along the ’67 borders. And, again, it was Israel who repeatedly violates its ceasefires with Hamas.

      It’s instructive that you acknowledge Israel is collectively punishing the civilian population of Gaza, yet try to excuse and justify this crime.

      • Murray of Montreal

        BUT Hamas and the PLO/PA still both have it in their covenants that Palestine will include Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Eilat, all of Israel’s other cities and 100% of the land in between.

        I guess that you missed that part.

        Here for your info is Hamas’ covenant. I welcome you to cite any portion of it that calls for peace with Israel (or for that matter with Jews). http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp

        Oh and I refer you to Joshua’s comment below about the author being fired from the UN for essentially being an anti-Semite (anti-Jew). I guess that the revelation would come as a tremendous surprise to you.

        • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

          Ah, but the Zionists always sought Eretz Israel to include 100% of the land and thus unilaterally declared their state without borders before ethnically cleansing Palestine of its Arab inhabitants. I guess you missed that part.

          And, like I said, Hamas has for many years stated their willingness to accept an independent state of Palestine alongside Israel along the ’67 borders.

          Oh, and I would point out that Joshua is a liar. Prof. Falk remains Special Rapporteur, and the JP article does not say otherwise: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/countries/ps/mandate/index.htm.

          Also, Richard Falk on the cartoons, you dishonest hypocrite:

          http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/apology-for-unintentionally-posting-anti-semitic-cartoon-in-qaddafi-arrest-warrant-blog/

          http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/a-final-attempt-to-clarify-my-posting-of-the-cartoon/

          • Murray of Montreal

            100% of what land? I like how you left that open ended. Interesting to see that Falk was not fired. I figured that based on what transpired that Hoshua knew something that I had not. I guess that is what happens when the UN HR Commission has as its president someone from Syria, Iran, North Korea or whoever it is/was.

            Now I remember the cartoon story about Falk. Amusing how he denied what had happened and then removed the cartoon from his blog. Unfortunately for him the damage had been done. :o)

            Amusing Wikipedia paragraph about the UNHRC: Human rights groups say the council is being controlled by some Middle East and African nations, supported by China, Russia and Cuba, which protect each other from criticism.[71] This drew criticism from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the ineffectiveness of the council, saying it had fallen short of its obligations. He urged countries to ‘drop rhetoric’ and rise above “partisan posturing and regional divides”[72] and get on with defending people around the world.[71] This follows criticism since the council was set up, where Israel has been condemned on most occasions and other incidences in the world such as Darfur, Tibet, North Korea and Zimbabwe have not been discussed at the council.[71] Ban Ki-Moon also appealed for the United States to fully join the council and play a more active role.[72] The UNHRC was criticized in 2009 for adopting a resolution submitted by Sri Lanka praising its conduct in Vanni that year, ignoring pleas for an international war crimes investigation.[73]

            And to give the organization additional credibility and show its impartiality: As of 2010, Israel had been condemned in 32 resolutions by the Council since its creation in 2006. The 32 resolutions comprised 48.1% of all resolutions passed by the Council.[41] By April 2007, the Council had passed nine resolutions condemning Israel, the only country which it had specifically condemned.[42] Toward Sudan, a country with human rights abuses as documented by the Council’s working groups, it has expressed “deep concern.”.[42]

            The council voted on 30 June 2006 to make a review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel a permanent feature of every council session. The Council’s special rapporteur on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is its only expert mandate with no year of expiry. The resolution, which was sponsored by Organisation of the Islamic Conference, passed by a vote of 29 to 12 with five abstentions

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            100% of Palestine. As for credibility, the party that has none is Israel, and the Palmer Panel report has little, as Prof. Falk discusses above and I also have addressed.

          • Murray of Montreal

            Do you really believe that? Ethnic cleansing? The Grand Mufti al-Husayni (a good buddy of Adolph Hitler) called for the Arabs to leave in 1948 so that Arab armies from Saudi Arabia to Morocco could rid Israel of the Jews. Fortunately they failed though many Arabs did leave in anticipation of having the Jews dealt with. Meanwhile, many did not heed the Gramnd Mufti’s call. The Arab population of Israel in 2010 was estimated at 1,573,000, representing 20.4% of the population. So much for the myth of “ethnic cleansing”.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            It’s not a question of belief, but of fact. Israel ethnically cleansed more than 700,000 Arabs from Palestine. That is absolutely non-controversial.

      • Murray of Montreal

        So how many of the 700,000 left on their own volition and how many were ethnically clensed?

        Here is a bit of history for you: The 1948 Palestinian exodus of approximately 700,000 Palestinian Arabs who either fled or were expelled during the 1948 Palestine war that accompanied the establishment of the State of Israel has been described as an “ethnic cleansing.”[87][88][89][90]
        Between the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the Six Day War in 1967, there was a Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim lands. Many Jews living in Arab and Muslim nations were forcibly expelled by authorities, while others fled due to antisemitic pogroms which broke out during the conflict.[91][92][93][94][95] Between 800,000-1,000,000 Jews fled or were expelled from the Arab World, and another 200,000 Jews from non-Arab Muslim nations fled due to increasing insecurity and growing hostility. A number were also killed in antisemitic violence. Most migrated to Israel, where today, they and their descendants constitute about 40% of Israel’s population.

        Interesting how 40% of Israel’s population (including well over a million Arabs) are refugees from Arab/Muslim countries and that “most” not all went to Israel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_cleansing#1940s

        • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond
          • Murray of Montreal

            Just a friendly reminder: I am still waiting to hear what % of the 700,000 Arabs left because the Grand Mufti asked them to leave, and what % were actually ethnically cleansed by the far less number of Jews.

            And of course please do not forget that far more Jews were ethnically cleansed from Arab/Muslim lands, but of course we do not wish to dwell on that, as its a part of history that the Muslims do not recall.

          • Murray of Montreal

            Ilan Pappé is a very good example of an academic out of touch with reality. He is a strong proponent of the one state solution. Can you think of a single Muslim country that treats their minorities as well as Israel treats their Muslim minority. Is there any reason to believe that a single Palestine/Israel would be any different? A perfect illustration of this is the exodus of Christians from the West Bank and Gaza. The Islamists are poison to interfaith peace and good relations.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            That Jews were wrongfully expelled froom Arab countries does not make the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine right.

            More than 700,000 Arabs were ethnically cleansed from Palestine. They were forced from their homes or fled from fear of further massacres like the massacre at Deir Yassin.

            You are welcome to address the facts of what Ilan Pappe wrote rather than engage in ad hominem argumentation:

            http://www.palestine-studies.org/enakba/exodus/Pappe,%20The%20Ethnic%20Cleansing%20of%20Palestine.pdf

          • Murray of Montreal

            But you mentioned that the Arabs were ethnically cleansed in 1948 (even of course without mentioning the fact that likely most of them left at the urging of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem) so if anything it was the Arabs themselves that were justifying the ethnic cleansing of the Jews, after the Jews of Palestine/Israel had in your words, ethnically cleansed Israel of Arabs, which of course is untrue simply because there are well over 1 million Arab citizens of Israel.

            You mention the Deir Yassin Massacre of 1948. How many massacres were there of Jews by Arabs before Deir Yassin (not that I am trying to justify massacres)? 110 years before, in 1838 there was the massacre of Jews in Safed. In 1929 there were massacres of Jews by Arabs in both Hebron and Safed. As you have so much information at your fingertips, were there any massacres of Arabs by Jews, prior to 1929 and 1838? Did the ethnic cleansing of Jews by Arabs commence prior to the ethnic cleansing of Arabs by Jews?

            As far a Pappe is concerned, unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world and to support a one state solution, in view of the fact that Arabs have a great problem getting along with Christians, Jews and even themselves, without a generally unmatched level of violence anywhere else that I can think of, is idealistic, and unfortunately not realistic.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            I needn’t repeat myself on the fact that more than 700,000 Arabs were ethnically cleansed from Palestine.

      • Murray of Montreal

        But of course Hamas never agreed to recognize Israel and their covenant explicitly condemns peace talks. Hamas speaks with a forked tongue. :o)

        • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

          Why should Hamas recognize Israel when Israel refuses to recognize Palestine, occupies Palestinian land, and builds illegal colonies on Palestinian land? And which Israel should Hamas recognize? The Israel of the never implemented partition plan? Israel according to pre-June ’67 borders? Israel including land effectively annexed by the illegal separation wall? Israel including all of the West Bank and Gaza, all of the envisioned “Eretz Israel”? It is you who speak with a forked tongue.

          • Murray of Montreal

            I beg your pardon, but where is it mentioned by Israel, that Israel does not recognize the right of Palestine to exist as a peaceful state alongside Israel?

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            The real question is: Where is Israel’s rejection of self-determination NOT self-evident?

          • Murray of Montreal

            Your clamming up when you can not justify the points you made (such as Deir Yassin and when did massacres actually begin and by whom) and inability to appreciate international law regarding lands captured in a defensive war illustrate exactly why there is no peace in the middle east. You pull out bits and pieces of history in order to justify your position and ignore the major parts of history that do not support your position. In other words you like to censor history in order to suit your cause. How you can have any self-respect whatsoever escapes me but then I come across individuals that like to think that they know it all frequently. Consequently I laugh very often and I am laughing at you.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            Wow. You accuse me of ignorance of international law while arguing that under international law, territory conquered by war may be legally considered spoils. Your hypocrisy is as astounding as your ignorance. It is inadmissible under international law to acquire territory by war. That principle happens to be cited in Resolution 242, which calls upon Israel to withdraw from the territories it occupied in the ’67 war.

          • Murray of Montreal

            Re: “Wow. You accuse me of ignorance of international law while arguing that under international law, territory conquered by war may be legally considered spoils. Your hypocrisy is as astounding as your ignorance. It is inadmissible under international law to acquire territory by war. That principle happens to be cited in Resolution 242, which calls upon Israel to withdraw from the territories it occupied in the ’67 war.”

            Thank you for putting words into my mouth and again using thin slivers of history that may prove your case, and ignoring everything else. :o)

            Since Israel withdrew from 91% of the territories when it gave up the Sinai, it has already partially, if not wholly, fulfilled its obligation under 242.

            What about the parts of the resolution that apply to the Arabs? Israel has returned all of the land captured to the parties that made peace with it. (The West Bank and Gaza were not Jordanian or Egyptian territory and we can all see Syria now for what it is.)

            The second unambiguous clause of 242 calls for “termination of all claims or states of belligerency” and the recognition that “every State in the area” has the “right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

            The first point addressed by the resolution is the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”. The reference clearly applies only to an offensive war. If not, the resolution would provide an incentive for aggression. If one country attacks another, and the defender repels the attack and acquires territory in the process, the former interpretation would require the defender to return the land it took. Thus, aggressors would have little to lose because they would be insured against the main consequence of defeat.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            242 calls upon Israel to withdraw from all the territories, plural — the Golan Heights, Sinai Penninsula, Gaza Strip, and West Bank — that it occupied in ’67. The inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war applies to war, period, but, for the record, Israel was the aggressor who launched the June war when it launched a surprise attack on Egypt on the morning of June 5, destroying it air force while most of its planes were still on the ground.

          • Murray of Montreal

            Re: “Israel was the aggressor who launched the June war when it launched a surprise attack on Egypt on the morning of June 5, destroying it air force while most of its planes were still on the ground.”

            You conveniently forgot the part about Egypt blockading the Straits of Tiran (an act of war that Israel had warned Egypt about as far back as 1956 I believe), Egypt throwing out the UN peackeepers and the massing of Egyptian troops in the Sinai. Jordan was advised by Israel after the hostilities commenced that Israel would not attack Jordan unless Jordan attacked Israel. Jordan’s response was to attack Israel.

            There you go again, ignoring the parts of history that do not suit you. :)

            “In 1967, Israeli leaders repeatedly threatened to invade Syria and overthrow the Syrian government if Palestinian guerrilla actions across the border did not cease.[74] In addition, the Soviet Union fed the Syrian government false information that Israel was planning to invade Syria.[75] On May 13, the Soviets informed Egypt officially that Israel was massing troops and was planning on invading Syria.[76] On May 22, Egypt responded by announcing, in addition to the UN withdrawal,[75] that the Straits of Tiran would be closed to “all ships flying Israeli flags or carrying strategic materials”, with effect from May 23.[77]“

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            We can discuss the blockade, but the fact remains that the war began on the morning of June 5, when Israel launched a surprise attack on Egypt. As for the troop movements, you conveniently forgot that Israel’s own intelligence assessed that there was no threat of an Egyptian attack, an assessment shared by U.S. intelligence. And what other parts of history that don’t suit you should we discuss? Israel’s attack on Samu? Israel’s invasion of Egypt in 1956? Bottom line: the June war began on the morning of the 5th with an attack by Israel on Egypt, an act of aggression in an offensive war. Don’t take my word for it:

            “I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to the Sinai would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it.” — Yitzhak Rabin

            “In June 1967 we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” — Menachem Begin

          • Murray of Montreal

            You are incorrigible. :o) I had just written how you mention things that prove your case, but essentially ignore what does not.

            I simply Googled the 2nd of your quotes, and what do I find, another example of what I had just pointed out. http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Foreign%20Relations/Israels%20Foreign%20Relations%20since%201947/1982-1984/55%20Address%20by%20Prime%20Minister%20Begin%20at%20the%20National

            If anything I must thank you for causing me to research things. This brings to mind the first letter that I ever had published in a newspaper (and I have had dozens and dozens). Someone wrote a letter to the editor about a civilian plane that Israel had shot down. I found what he wrote difficult to believe so I went to the local library (before the days of the internet) and checked the book “Facts on File”. Low and behold the letter was entirely lies, except for the fact that Israel had indeed shot down the plane.

            In what I do, my most important asset is credibility, even if people frown on my methods. (I am a highly accomplished activist.) Does having credibility mean anything at all to you?

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            You didn’t actually produce an argument there, apart from the ad hominem, so nothing to respond to.

          • Murray of Montreal

            Ha! Meanwhile, you simply took the quote completely out of context in order to illustrate something, that had you not taken out of context, it would not have proved a thing.

            Taking snippets here and there continually, in order to prove your case, simply shows your modus operandi, and really does nothing to establish any credibility for you.

            With regard to Robert Fisk and your writing above: “No, actually, I hadn’t read Robert Fisk’s article. Thanks for the link.”, Robert Fisk recently apologized for writing a fictitious story and his newspaper paid damages: Saudi Arabia’s interior minister has accepted undisclosed damages over an article in The Independent newspaper accusing him of ordering police to shoot and kill unarmed protesters. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14390301

            Had you provided me with a link to a story by a discredited journalist, I would not have thanked you for providing me with a story written by a journalist that has lost credibility. I would have pointed out that the journalist had been discredited. I suppose that you had no idea of Fisk/Independent being sued for libel. I am not a journalist (as you apparently are) and even I knew. :)

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            I didn’t take the quote out of context in the least bit. It’s not a matter of interpretation. Begin stated plainly that Egypt’s troop presence in the Sinai did not prove there was a military threat to Israel, and that the honest truth was that Israel decided to attack Egypt. So there you have it, you don’t need to take my word for it, you have it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

          • Murray of Montreal

            Re: “I didn’t take the quote out of context in the least bit.”

            If you read the entire speech you would see that you did, so I encourage you to read the whole thing, because as a journalist I imagine that you would like to be objective and respected by your peers in the future.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            Murray, I’m starting to consider that you are engaging in trolling behaviors. I repeat: “I didn’t take the quote out of context in the least bit. It’s not a matter of interpretation. Begin stated plainly that Egypt’s troop presence in the Sinai did not prove there was a military threat to Israel, and that the honest truth was that Israel decided to attack Egypt. So there you have it, you don’t need to take my word for it, you have it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.” If you want to produce an actual argument to try to demonstrate that I somehow took the comment “out of context”, go ahead. But if you persist in this trolling behavior, you will be banned from commenting.

          • Murray of Montreal

            OK Jeremy, here is the line that you pulled out along with the rest that was said about attacking Egypt. Yep Israel could have not attacked and waited for the deck to be totally stacked against them but in the interest of self defense they attacked, just as had the French attacked Germany in 1936 there would have been no WWll according to him: “In June 1967 we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.

            This was a war of self-defence in the noblest sense of the term. The government of national unity then established decided unanimously: We will take the initiative and attack the enemy, drive him back, and thus assure the security of Israel and the future of the nation.

            We did not do this for lack of an alternative. We could have gone on waiting. We could have sent the army home. Who knows if there would have been an attack against us? There is no proof of it. There are several arguments to the contrary. While it is indeed true that the closing of the Straits of Tiran was an act of aggression, a causus belli, there is always room for a great deal of consideration as to whether it is necessary to make a causus into a bellum.

            And so there were three wars with no alternative – the War of Independence, the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War – and it is our misfortunate that our wars have been so. If in the two other wars, the wars of choice – the Sinai Campaign and the Six Day War – we had losses like those in the no alternative wars, we would have been left today with few of our best youth, without the strength to withstand the Arab world.”

            Had Israel decided to see what the Arabs would do back in 1967 rather than attack, it is very likely that the one state solution would have been implemented in 1967, and that the job that Hitler started would have been very happily finished by the Egyptians, Jordanians, Syrians and anyone else that decided to jump in.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            Murray, I know what he said. The fact remains that Begin stated plainly that Egypt’s troop presence in the Sinai did not prove there was a military threat to Israel, and that the honest truth was that Israel decided to attack Egypt. Nothing else he also said changes that fact.

          • Murray of Montreal

            “Well your honour, it goes like this: When I moved into the area and put up my new home, my neighbours all ganged up and attacked me saying that I did not belong there in spite of my great-great-grandfather having owned the land and never having sold it. I beat them all back. Then years later, one of them blocked my driveway and threw out an obstacle that sort of helped to keep him from attacking me. Then three of the other people bordering my property plus 2 others that are not even next to me all moved up to the property line, and they all had guns and were not yelling things to me like; “We like what you did with your place.” Then I learned from someone that they were going to actually attack me within 2 days and try to kill me!!! Fortunately some others convinced them not to try but they kept on conspiring against me. Then during the night I jumped over the fence and destroyed their offensive equipment and removed the threat. I am sorry for trespassing but my concern is that had I not done something, that they would have attacked and cut my head and arms off and then skin me as the Syrians recently did to an 18 yr. old Syrian girl. Your honour! I have 5 daughters and they are all 18 and under. I did it for them.”

            The point is that nobody has ever found fault for Israel doing as they did, and for a very good reason.

            Here is what one site had to say about what led up to the Six Day War. Are they correct or incorrect?

            1967:

            22 February: Syria announces it is time to move from “…defensive positions to offensive positions…” [2]

            7 April: Syria steps up its shelling, increasing attacks on border villages, leading to an air fight between the Syrians and the Israeli Air Force (IAF).

            12-13 May: A Russian report alleges that Israel is amassing troops along the Syrian border. Israel denies the build-up. U.N. Secretary General U Thant reports that UNTSO observers on the Syrian border “… have verified the absence of troop concentrations and absence of noteworthy military movements on both sides of the [Syrian] line.” [3] According to the Soviet media, the Russian accusations were part of a coordinated “Zionist-imperialist” plot to undermine the revolutionary regimes in the Middle East. [4] Today it is understood that this Soviet report, used to deliberately incite Egypt and Syria to form an active military alliance against Israel, was in fact, false. [5]

            14-15 May: Syria requests Egypt act to deter an Israeli attack, invoking a mutual defense treaty. Egyptian Field Marshal, Abd al-Hakim Amer orders the Egyptian Army in Sinai “To raise the level of preparedness to a full alert for war, beginning 14.30, 14 May 1967. [6] At the same time Israel clarifies that it does not have aggressive intentions against Egypt or any other Arab state. [7]

            18-19 May: Egypt requests that U.N. forces withdraw. U.N. Secretary General, U Thant orders a complete withdrawal of U.N. forces without consulting the U.N. General Assembly or Security Council

            20 May: Egypt dispatches at least 100,000 troops to Israel’s southwestern border, leading to a sweep in Arab nationalism against Israel

            22 May: Egypt closes the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, and any international assistance promised to Israel in case of such a violation in the region never materializes. [8] Arab troops continued to gather on Israel’s borders, reaching estimated levels of 450,000 or more.

            26-27 May: Israel learns of an Egyptian and Syrian plan to launch a war of annihilation against Israel within the next 48 hours. The initial Egyptian military offensive, dubbed “The Dawn,” was essentially a march straight to Jordan, cutting Israel in half and planned by Egyptian general, Abdul Hakim Amer. Only minutes before the attack was intended to begin, pressure by the United States and the Soviets, convinced President Nasser to call it off. [9]

            30 May: Egypt, Syria and Jordan sign a mutual defense pack, solidifying their alliance and putting Jordan’s military under Egyptian command.

            4 June: Egyptian troops in the Sinai now include seven divisions (four infantry, two armored and one mechanized), plus four independent infantry and four independent armored brigades. These forces are equipped with 950 tanks, 1,100 APCs and more than 1,000 artillery pieces. [10]

            2 June: Moshe Dayan, a former chief of staff known for his trademark eye patch, joins the Israeli cabinet as Minister of Defense.

            5-6 June: Early in the morning, the Israeli Air Force launches a series of raids against Egyptian airfields, attacking 19 bases and destroying 285-309 aircraft. The strikes eliminate 85% of the Egyptian air force. The Jordanian, Syrian and Iraqi air forces attack oil refineries in Haifa Bay and an airfield in Megiddo. By evening, Jordan’s air force is wiped out, the Syrians lose two-thirds of their total air strength, and the Iraqi air force loses several planes. After two days, Israel has destroyed 400 enemy aircraft, 94% of them on the ground. Israel loses 26 aircraft in action. During this time, Jordanian forces lob thousands of shells into Jewish West Jerusalem, destroying hundreds of buildings and killing 20 people. [11]

            7 June: After successful advances against the Jordanians in and around Jerusalem, and after 24 hours of internal debate and diplomatic outreach, the Israelis take over the Old City of Jerusalem. Before entering the city, Israel PM, Levi Eshkol sends a letter to King Hussein proposing that Jordan halt its attacks on Israeli territory, agree to a ceasefire, and begin peace talks. There is no response from Jordan. [12]

            9 June: Israel begins ground operations against Syrian, hoping to secure its northeastern border after nearly two decades of Syrian attacks on the Galilee.

            10 June: The war ends with Israeli forces in control of the Sinai Peninsula up to the Suez Canal, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.

            19 June: Israel offers Egypt and Syria return of the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights for a peace settlement to be negotiated directly. In the Golan, Israel offers to withdraw to the international border, not including territory conquered by Syria in 1948. The offer was transmitted through the United States, but turned down. Egypt and Syria refuse to negotiate with Israel. [13]

            27 June: Israel officially annexes East Jerusalem. Because of the numerous holy sites in the Old City, Israel pointedly decides to respect the sensitive nature of these sacred places, ceding civilian authority over the Temple Mount to the Islamic Wakf authority. That day, the Knesset passes the Protection of Holy Places Law, stating: “The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places.” [14]

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            The Israel Project timeline is false or misleading on numerous counts and omits critical context and key facts, such as the fact that Israeli intelligence assessed that Nasser would not launch a war on Israel, an assessment shared by U.S. intelligence, which characterized Egypt’s troop positions in the Sinai as defensive. The bottom line is that the war began on the morning of June 5, when Israel launched a surprise attack on Egypt. Like Rabin said, “I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to the Sinai would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it.” And like Begin said, “The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

  • Joshua

    Richard Falk: the author of this article, former U.N. rapporteur for the Palestinian territories, until he published what was referred to as an “overtly anti-semitic cartoon”, on a blog of his, thus ending his rapporteur career in the U.N.

    or as the UN Watch monitoring organization said that the cartoon was:
    “manifestly anti-Semitic” and incites “hatred against Jews as well as against Americans.”

    http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=228448

    Just fyi

  • Murray of Montreal

    Re: Jeremy R. Hammond

    September 16, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Only the ignorant will ignore Israel’s collective punishment of the civilian population of Gaza by debating a point of semantics.

    ******************************************************
    And only a person with an agenda would totally ignore the fact that the situation would not exist at all, IF the Palestinians/Arabs accepted Israel’s right to exist and actually made an attempt to live in peace.

    • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

      Only a person with no intellectual honesty or moral courage would totally ignore the fact that the situation would not exist at all IF the Zionists had not rejected the democratic solution offered by the Arabs, rejected the right to self-determination of the majority Arab inhabitants, unilaterally declared the existence of the “Jewish state”, ethnically cleansed Palestine, occupied Palestinian territory, committed daily violations of international law and international humanitarian law and daily humiliations of the Palestinian people, committed violence against the Palestinians on an incomparably greater scale, illegally built settlements in the occupied territory, destroyed Palestinian property, denied Palestinian statehood and continued to reject the right of the Palestinians to self-determination.

      • Murray of Montreal

        With regard to what you have just written Jeremy, you know as well as I do from my earlier response that mentioned the Grand Mufti, that ethnic cleansing is a myth that can best be illustrated by the fact that 20% of Israelis are Arabs.

        As far as the rest of your revisionist history please listen to this starting 2:55 into the following beautiful song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txlXcJDtDwM

        • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond
          • Murray of Montreal

            And you seem to know everything, but unfortunately have a very closed mind.

          • Murray of Montreal

            RE: “Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are the two groups who fired rockets during the ceasefire. These are not splinter groups of Hamas. In fact, the latter is the armed wing of Fatah. Again, Hamas fired no rockets, and it actively tried to prevent other groups from firing rockets, including with arrests. That task was made impossible by Israel, which stepped up operations in the West Bank, including assassinations, in order to provoke a violent response from militants in Gaza. It was Israel that violated the ceasefire, not Hamas. These are the facts.

            The civil war with the PA is easy to explain. The US and Israel conspired and pressured Abbas to commit a coup to overthrow the elected Hamas government, by force if necessary, and Abbas went along with the plan, and Hamas responded to the coup attempt and Abbas’s illegal measures by expelling Fatah from Gaza. The law was on Hamas’s side.”

            OMG HOW EASY IT IS TO BLAME ISRAEL/USA FOR ALL OF THE PROBLEMS THAT GAZA SUFFERS FROM. ACCEPTING ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT GOES ON IN GAZA IS FOREIGN TO HAMAS. HAMAS WAS ASKED TO RECOGNIZE ISRAEL, ACCEPT AGGREEMENTS MADE BY THE PA AND DENOUNCE VIOLENCE. THEY NEVER AGREED TO ANY OF THE ABOVE (PERMANENTLY) AS IT WOULD ACTUALLY MEAN PEACE.

            THE BORDER BETWEEN GAZA AND ISRAEL IS ONLY ABOUT 35 MILES LONG. IF HAMAS CANNOT KEEP ITS NON SPLINTER GROUPS FROM FIRING ROCKETS AT ISRAEL, IT IS SIMPLY BECAUSE IT CONDONES IT. REMEMBER, HAMAS NEVER AGREED TO DENOUNCE VIOLENCE OR RECOGNIZE ISRAEL. UNTIL THE TIME THAT IT DOES TRUCES MEAN “UNTIL THE NEXT TIME” AS HAMAS, BEING A PROXY OF IRAN, DOES NOT HAVE THE WORD “PEACE” IN ITS DICTIONARY.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            Facts are facts. I just stated the facts.

          • Murray of Montreal

            Unfortunately your “facts” do not reflect reality. Israel does a better job of dealing with the groups that Hamas welcomes (as illustrated by their lack of success in dealing with them) than does Hamas.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            If you think I’ve erred in any statement of fact, you are welcome to quote which statement I made you think is in error and explain where/how I erred.

          • Murray of Montreal

            Re: “If you think I’ve erred in any statement of fact, you are welcome to quote which statement I made you think is in error and explain where/how I erred.”

            It is simply a question of omission.

            Years ago I met with Guy Bouthillier, President of the Societe St. Jean Baptiste (nationalist/separatist organization in Quebec). By coincidence I met with a history professor who had gone to university with Guy, prior to meeting Guy. The history professor told me that Guy likes to take out the bits and pieces of history that prove his case, but ignores those, that do not. One has to look at the whole picture and not only bits and pieces that they like.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            If you think I’ve erred by omission, you are welcome to state what it is you think I’ve omitted and explain the relevance of how it would show any statement of fact or logical conclusion I made to be in error.

          • Murray of Montreal

            Sorry, but unlike you, some people actually do have lives. Go read a history book about Palestine from and underline the parts that you do not like seeing because they oppose your current viewpoint. I suggest that you go to Staples and get a large package of pens/pencils.

            By no means am I an expert, but when I look at what you write and Google it, there is sooooo much that you seem to ignore, and the result is a very slanted view on your part.

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            Ad hominem argumentation. Logical fallacy.

          • Murray of Montreal

            Hmmmmmm. This guy mentions how Israel came into existence. I wonder what is incorrect in what he wrote: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/23/opinion/makovsky-un-palestinian-state/index.html

          • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

            This guy writes, “But the resolution raises another question. If the United Nations created Israel in the past, why shouldn’t it create the state of Palestine today?”

            The question is invalid, because the U.N. did not create Israel. Had I not already given you this?

            The Myth of the U.N. Creation of Israel
            http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/10/26/the-myth-of-the-u-n-creation-of-israel/

  • Murray of Montreal

    So Jeremy; What is your solution to the entire Middle East problem?

    • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

      Let’s keep it to just the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for which the obvious first step must be an end of U.S. financial, military, and diplomatic support for Israeli violations of international law and human rights abuses. Without U.S. support, it could not continue.

      • Murray of Montreal

        My solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem (as I am confident that you are interested) is a peace treaty that recognizes the right for both parties to exist, and that would bring (as you put it) “an end of U.S. financial, military, and diplomatic support for Israeli violations of international law and human rights abuses.”