Archive for June, 2007

A 10-Step Plan for Antiwar Activists…
June 18, 2007

I often hear from people asking me, “What should we do about all this? How can we stop Bush?”

I would first say that we must move beyond blaming Bush. The fact of U.S. empire is bigger than Bush. Hopefully by now, all of us are more clear how the Democrats have been, and are now, involved in enabling the whole U.S. military empire building plan. It is about corporate domination. Bush is just the front man for the big money.

So to me that is step #1.

Step #2 is to openly acknowledge that as a nation, and we as citizens, benefit from this U.S. military and economic empire. By keeping our collective military boot on the necks of the people of the world we get control of a higher percentage of the world’s resources. We, 5% of the global population in the U.S., use 25% of the global resource base. This reality creates serious moral questions that cannot be ignored.

Step #3 is to recognize that we are addicted to war and to violence. The very weaving together of our nation was predicated on violence when we began the extermination of the Native populations and introduced the institution of slavery. A veteran of George Washington’s Army, in 1779, said, “I really felt guilty as I applied the torch to huts that were homes of content until we ravagers came spreading desolation everywhere….Our mission here is ostensibly to destroy but may it not transpire, that we pillagers are carelessly sowing the seed of Empire.” The soldier wrote this as Washington’s Army set out to remove the Iroquois civilization from New York state so that the U.S. government could expand its borders westward toward the Mississippi River. The creation of the American empire was underway.

Our history since then has been endless war. Two-Time Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Major General Smedley D. Butler, U.S. Marine Corps, told the story in his book War is a Racket. Butler recalls in his book, “I spent 33 years and 4 months in active military service….And during that period I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism….Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street….I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927, I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.”

Step # 4 We have to begin to change how we think about our country. We have to learn to understand what oligarchy means. I’ll save you the trouble of having to look up the definition – A government in which power is in the hands of a few. When you have lost your democracy then what do the citizens do? They must fight (non-violently) to take it back. This of course means direct action and sometimes civil disobedience. Virtually everything good in our nation (abolition of slavery movement, women’s suffrage, civil rights movement, anti-war movements, etc) have come from people stepping up when they were needed. Calling for impeachment by the Congress becomes imperative today. Are you in or out?

Step #5 Forget the “every man for himself” mythology. We are all brainwashed in this country to believe in the rugged individualism story. But movement for change can only happen in community – working with others. So forget the ego centric notion that “one great man” is going to come save us. It’s going to take a village – in fact all the villages. Just like an addict goes to a group to seek help for addiction, knowing they can’t do it themselves, so we must form community to work for the needed change if we are to protect our children’s future.

Step # 6 What about my job? Another smothering myth in America is success. Keep your nose clean and don’t rock the boat. Don’t get involved in politics, especially calling for a revolution of values (like Martin Luther King Jr. did) or you will get labeled and then you can forget about owning that castle on the hill you’ve always dreamed of. In a way we become controlled by our own subservience to the success mythology. We keep ourselves in line because success and upward mobility become more important than protecting free speech, clean water, clean air, and ending an out of control government bent on world domination. Free our minds, free our bodies and we free the nation.

Step #7 Learn to work well with others. Sure we all want to be stars. But in the end we have to learn to set aside our egos if we want to be able to work with others to bring about the needed changes. Cindy Sheehan should not be hammered just for telling the truth about the Democrats playing footsie with Bush on the war.

Step # 8 It’s the money. How can I do this peace work when I have to work full-time just to pay the mortgage? I’d like to help but I’ve got bills to pay! Maybe we can begin to look at the consumerist life we lead and see that our addiction to the rat race keeps us from being fully engaged in the most important issue of our time – which is protecting the future generations. How can we begin to explore cooperative living arrangements, by building community, that free us up economically to be able to get more involved?

Step # 9 Learn to read again. Many of us don’t read enough. We spend our time in front of the TV, which is a primary tool that the power structure uses to brainwash us. We’ve got to become independent thinkers again and teach our kids to think for themselves. Reading and talking to others is a key. Read more history. All the answers and lessons can be found there.

Step #10 Learn to trust again and have fun. Some of the nicest people in the world are doing political work. Meet them and become friends with them and your life will change for the better.
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By: Bruce K. Gagnon on 06/13/07
Resource: Information Clearing House

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Willful Killing of 72-Year-Old Civilian by Israeli Forces
June 11, 2007

 

 

At approximately 12:20 am on Wednesday, 6 June 2007, a large Israeli military force, comprising at least 50 soldiers, came to the house of Yehia al-Jabari. Yehia, who was 72-years-old, lived with his family in a two-storey house in the B’er Haram area of Hebron city. Upon opening the front door of the house to the soldiers, Rajih al-Jabari, the 26-year-old son of Yehia, was dragged outside. Without any warning or justification, the Israeli soldiers began to beat Rajih, violently hitting his head against the wall of the house. At this point, Yehia, who had only moments earlier returned home from visiting a relative, came outside with his wife Fatima to see what was happening. Seeing the soldiers attacking his son, Yehia, who was unarmed, attempted to intervene and protect his son. While doing so, he was shot once in the forehead by an Israeli soldier; the bullet exiting the rear of his head. He then fell to the ground, where he lay motionless, presumably having been killed instantly. Immediately afterward, his wife, who was also unarmed, began screaming and attempted to reach Yehia’s body. An Israeli soldier, however, opened fire on her, hitting her six times. Fatima, who was hit in numerous parts of her body, including the head and chest, fell to the ground.

At this time, two of Yehia’s sons, 24-year-old Kamil and 36-year-old Radi, exited the front door of the house. There, they found their parents lying in pools of blood on the ground, surrounded by a large number of Israeli soldiers. In attempting to move their father’s corpse from the front steps, where it was lying, the two brothers were screamed at by an Israeli soldier who ordered them to stop. Radi ignored the soldier, pushing him away. In response, however, the soldier opened fire on the brothers, hitting Kamil in the foot. After Kamil had fallen to the ground, Radi knelt beside his father’s body and began to cry. The soldiers, however, began to beat him in an attempt to move him away.

Watch The Video

By this stage, a number of other family members and neighbours had gathered nearby. They were prevented from reaching the injured persons by the Israeli soldiers who forced them back violently, in some instances, beating the men and women with the butts of their guns.

Soon after the aforementioned events had taken place, the injured were transferred to ambulances that had arrived at the scene. Despite the serious condition of several of the wounded, the Israeli soldiers refused to allow the ambulances to leave the area for a full 15 minutes after they were ready to do so.

Once the injured persons were eventually transferred to hospital, the soldiers gathered the remaining family members, as well as a number of other individuals who were present, inside the house. There, the women were kept in a single room, while the men were kept under guard in the corridor outside. They remained there for 45 minutes while the Israeli soldiers carried out an extensive search of the house, in the course of which they found no weapons, nor did they arrest any individuals. Only after the soldiers had completed the search did they inform the Palestinians present that they were looking for Salih al-Jabari, the 17-year-old son of Yehia. At approximately 2:30 am, the soldiers finally agreed to leave the area after receiving assurances that Salih would present himself to the Israeli authorities the following day.

Regarding those Palestinians taken to hospital for treatment, a number of individuals were released after being treated for shock and/or for the injuries they sustained having being beaten by the Israeli soldiers. More worryingly, 57-year-old Fatima al-Jabari is presently in a critical condition, while her son, Rajih al-Jabari, remains in an extremely serious condition.

Al-Haq is deeply disturbed by the nature of this and other recent military operations in the OPT where the intention to kill and/or the indifference to preserving civilian life on the part of the Israeli forces has been all too evident. Al-Haq strongly condemns this morning’s unprovoked and unjustifiable attack on civilians as an egregious violation of the fundamental principles of international law. The non-derogable right to life, that most basic of human rights from which all others stem, was brazenly disregarded by the Israeli soldiers involved.

Under customary international humanitarian law, the Israeli army is obliged to distinguish at all times between civilians and combatants, and to in all circumstances refrain from directing attacks against civilians. The use of force in a situation such as this, whereby the Israeli soldiers were met with no resistance, cannot be justified on the grounds of military necessity and is clearly unlawful.

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Resource:

Electronic Intefada

Design:

What’s Wrong With Them

Fallujah..The Hidden Massacre….
June 11, 2007

 

 

“Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre,” a documentary by Sigfrido Ranucci and Maurizio Torrealta. Broadcast today on the Italian state television network RAI.

This documentary featuring interviews with U.S. soldiers, Iraqi doctors and international journalists on the U.S. attack on Fallujah. Produced by Italian state broadcaster RAI TV, the documentary charges U.S. warplanes illegally dropped white phosphorus incendiary bombs on civilian populations, burning the skin off Iraqi victims. One U.S. soldier charges this amounts to the U.S. using chemical weapons against the Iraqi people.

 

And here’s some REALITIES appeared from this documentary…

JEFF ENGLEHART (ex-U.S. soldier): I was personally involved with escorting a commander to Fallujah for Operation Phantom Fury. We were told going into Fallujah, into the combat area, that every single person that was walking, talking, breathing was an enemy combatant. As such, every single person that was walking down the street or in a house was a target.

JEFF ENGLEHART: It seemed like just a massive killing of Arabs. It looked like just a massive killing.

REPORTER: Were any chemical weapons used in Fallujah?
JEFF ENGLEHART: From the U.S. military, yeah, absolutely. White phosphorus. Possibly napalm may or may not have been used; I do not know. I do know that white phosphorus was used, which is definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, a chemical weapon.
The gases from the warhead of the white phosphorus will disperse in a cloud. And when it makes contact with skin, then it’s absolutely irreversible damage, burning of flesh to the bone. It doesn’t necessarily burn clothes, but it will burn the skin underneath clothes. And this is why protective masks do not help, because it will burn right through the mask, the rubber of the mask. It will manage to get inside your face. If you breathe it, it will blister your throat and your lungs until you suffocate, and then it will burn you from the inside. It basically reacts to skin, oxygen and water.
REPORTER: Have you seen the effects of these weapons?
JEFF ENGLEHART: Yes. Burned. Burned bodies. I mean, it burned children, and it burned women. White phosphorus kills indiscriminately. It’s a cloud that will within, in most cases, 150 meters of impact will disperse, and it will burn every human being or animal.

JEFF ENGLEHART: I don’t doubt that American soldiers who are frustrated after being involved in combat for a year would have any problems with doing any kind of vandalism. I mean, it’s very common. Indiscriminate vandalism was found – I mean, there was carvings in the walls at Babylon, an ancient structure, a historical monument. It was common for soldiers to carve, you know, “Hello, mom, I’m from Texas,” on these walls. I just think there’s a certain lack of respect within the American military ranks, especially when dealing with soldiers who are frustrated. I personally did not witness any mosque vandalism. Our brigade was good about keeping that very controlled. But I did hear stories. Places such as Samarra, Baghdad, Mosul, mosques being attacked, mosques being vandalized, the Koran being damaged. I think it’s very common.

ALICE MAHON (a Labour parliamentarian from 1987 until a few months ago, until she decided to walk out on Westminster: I didn’t lose my seat. I deliberately stood down, because I didn’t want to be part of a government that was conducting an illegal and bloody war against people who had done us no harm whatsoever. Well, I heard from the American military at the beginning of the war, at the beginning of the bombardments of Iraq, there was an admission by the American military that they had used a substance similar to napalm when they first went into Iraq. I put the question down. And as you can see, the reply was “No, they hadn’t.” My government were not aware of it. Now, I’m afraid some of us do not believe everything we’re told at the moment, and so I did pursue it, even when I stood down from Parliament. And months later, we did get an admission from the Ministry of Defense, from the minister himself, that a similar substance to napalm had been used in the bombardments of Iraq.

And you can find more and more when you watch the documentary….
Fallujah..The Hidden Massacre….

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Resources:
U.S. Broadcast Exclusive – “Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre” on the U.S. Use of Napalm-Like White Phosphorus Bombs

Fallujah..The Hidden Massacre….

 

Design:

Weapon of Mass Distruction

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May 14… Day of Independence..Or The NAKBA Anniversary..
June 11, 2007

 

Why do some people have the power to remember, while others are asked to forget? That question is especially poignant at this time of year, as we move from Holocaust Remembrance day in early spring to Monday’s anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence on May 14, 1948.

 

 

 

In the months surrounding that date, Jewish forces expelled, or intimidated into flight, an estimated 750,000 Palestinians. A living, breathing, society that had existed in Palestine for centuries was smashed and fragmented, and a new society built on its ruins.

Few Palestinian families lack a personal narrative of loss from that period — an uncle killed, or a branch of the family that fled north while the others fled east, never to be reunited, or homes, offices, orchards and other property seized. Ever since, Palestinians worldwide have commemorated May 15 as Nakba (Catastrophe) Day.

No ethical person would admonish Jews to “forget the Holocaust.” Indeed, recent decades have witnessed victims of that terrible era not only remembering, but also regaining paintings and financial assets seized by the Nazis — and justifiably so.

Other victims of mass wrongs — interned Japanese Americans, enslaved African Americans, and Armenians subjected to a genocide that may have later convinced Hitler of the feasibility of mass killings — receive at least respectful consideration of their cases, even while responses to their claims have differed.

Yet in dialogues with Israelis, and some Americans, Palestinians are repeatedly admonished to “forget the past,” that looking back is “not constructive” and “doesn’t get us closer to a solution.” Ironically, Palestinians live the consequences of the past every day — whether as exiles from their homeland, or as members of an oppressed minority within Israel, or as subjects of a brutal and violent military occupation.

In the West we are amply reminded of the suffering of Jewish people in World War II. Our newspaper featured several stories on local survivors of the Nazi holocaust around Holocaust Remembrance Day (an Israeli national holiday that is widely observed in the United States). My daughter has read at least one book on the Nazi holocaust every year since middle school. Last year, in ninth grade English literature alone, she read three. But we seldom confront the impact of Israel’s policies on Palestinians.

It is the “security of the Jewish people” that has rationalized Israel’s takeover of Palestinian lands, both in the past in Israel, and more recently in the occupied West Bank. There, most Palestinian children negotiate one of the 500 Israeli checkpoints and other barriers to movement just to reach school each day. Meanwhile, Israel’s program of colonization of the West Bank grinds ahead relentlessly, implanting ever more Israeli settlers who must be “protected” from those Palestinians not reconciled to the theft of their homes and fields.

The primacy of Jewish security over rights of Palestinians — to property, education, health care, a chance to make a living, and, also to security — is seldom challenged.

Unfortunately, remembering the Nazi Holocaust — something morally incumbent on all of us — has seemingly become entangled with, and even an instrument of, the amnesia some would force on Palestinians. Israel is enveloped in an aura of ethical propriety that makes it unseemly, even “anti-Semitic” to question its denial of Palestinian rights.

As Israeli journalist Amira Hass recently observed: “Turning the Holocaust into a political asset serves Israel primarily in its fight against the Palestinians. When the Holocaust is on one side of the scale, along with the guilty (and rightly so) conscience of the West, the dispossession of the Palestinian people from their homeland in 1948 is minimized and blurred.”

What this demonstrates is that memory is not just an idle capacity. Rather, who can remember, and who can be made to forget, is, fundamentally, an expression of power.

Equally importantly, however, memory can provide a blueprint for the future — a vision of a solution to seek, or an outcome to avoid. My Palestinian father grew up in Jerusalem before Israel was founded and the Palestinians expelled, when Muslims, Christians and Jews lived in peace and mutual respect. Recalling that past provides a vision for an alternative future — one involving equal rights and tolerance, rather than the domination of one ethno-religious group over others.

Thus, what Palestinians are really being commanded is not just to forget their past, but instead to forget their future, too. That they will never do.
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Written By:George Bisharat, A professor of law at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. He writes frequently about the Middle East.
Resource: http://www.sabbah.biz/mt/

Designs:

http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/49465690/

http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/32707729/

When Killing is Easy..Rachel, James, Tom,…& The List is Endless
June 11, 2007

In a seven-week period, two overseas observers were killed by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip, and a third left brain dead. But has the truth yet been told?

James Miller was not the first international witness to fall silent in Rafah. He was the third. This spring, in less than seven weeks, and within a radius of less than three miles, the American human-shield activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer; the British photographer and peace activist Tom Hurndall was shot in the head and rendered brain-dead; and James Miller was shot dead.

To understand what happened to James, it made sense to investigate the killing of Rachel and the maiming of Tom, whose family are currently discussing with doctors whether or not his life-support machine should be switched off. One day we filmed Tom lying in his hospital bed at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in Putney, south-west London. On the wall was a battery of photographs showing Tom with a whole life ahead of him. The bleep-bleep of the monitor was the only sound. That afternoon, we has traveled to a Devon village to film Sophy Miller, James’s widow, and their children, Alexander, three, and Lotte, not yet one.

Making our film, When Killing Is Easy, has been the most harrowing ordeal of my professional life. But it is vital that it isevidential – and that is really tough when the Israeli government and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) have refused to speak to us. From mid-August we faxed and telephoned the Israelis repeatedly, asking them to explain their actions. All we got was a series of old press releases.

Rachel Corrie was the first of the three victims. She was a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). They are young idealists, mainly European and American, who offer themselves as human shields. You could call them naive, even foolish. There is no doubting their guts. They stand between the Israeli bulldozers and their targets, the Palestinians’ homes that the IDF wants to flatten.

The Israelis have their reasons. Rafah is a stronghold of Islamic extremism in Gaza. The Palestinians dig tunnels underneath the Israeli-controlled border to their relatives in Egypt. The tunnels, the Israelis say, are used to smuggle guns and bombs. It is fair to point out that few, if any, suicide bombers have come from Gaza, for the simple reason that the Israelis have made it virtually impossible for ordinary residents to leave the strip. Even so, to make the tunneling more difficult the IDF has created a Berlin Wall-style “death strip”. The ISM people come along and get in the way. The Israeli government calls them “irresponsible”, “illegal” and “terrorist sympathizers”.

All of this must be seen in the context of the second intifada, where Israeli military actions have frequently occurred in response to Palestinian suicide bombings. So far, 800 Israelis have been killed and 2,200 Palestinians.

On 16 March this year, Rachel and her friends from the ISM were defending the home of Dr Samir Nasser Allah from the bulldozers. The human shields had been successful in getting in the way. Tom Dale and Alice Coy, fellow ISM activists, watched a bulldozer rumble straight towards Rachel. She stood her ground. The bulldozer didn’t stop. Dale, an Oxford undergraduate, had a clear view of the incident. “He [the driver] knew absolutely she was there. The bulldozer waited for a few seconds over her body and it then reversed, leaving its scoop down so that if she had been under the bulldozer, it would have crushed her a second time. Only later when it was much more clear of her body did it raise its scoop.”

Rachel was able to tell Coy: “My back is broken.” She died soon afterwards. A still photograph of the scene clearly shows the ISM activists gathered around the mortally wounded Rachel. In the background is the bulldozer. Connecting the two are straight bulldozer tracks.

The Israeli pathologist Dr Yehudah Hiss noted that Rachel appeared to have been run over by a bulldozer, and found the cause of death to be “pressure to the chest”. Rachel’s shoulder blades had been crushed, her spine broken in five places and six ribs broken. Her face was apparently slashed by the blade.

The IDF produced a field report that stated that “Corrie was not run over by an engineering vehicle”, and, for good measure, that she was “hidden from view of the vehicle’s operator”. The IDF backed up its version by allowing Israeli television to do a sound-only interview with the soldier who drove the bulldozer. He said: “When I was doing the earthworks, I picked up a load of earth and pushed it along. Nobody was there at the time. Maybe she was buried there. I don’t know. I didn’t see her.” There was a second soldier in the bulldozer. What did he see? We don’t know.

The IDF report goes on to assert that Rachel “was struck by dirt and a slab of concrete, resulting in her death”. But what about the Israeli pathologist’s finding of multiple crush injuries, which is not consistent with a single slab of concrete falling on her? Curiously, when the military police later carried out a criminal investigation, they concluded that she was not “hit by a bulldozer” but had stumbled on building waste.

The family of Rachel Corrie believe the Defense force’s version of events to be a blatant fabrication. The IDF wouldn’t talk to us about Rachel’s death; the Israeli military police’s investigation is complete and no Israeli soldier has been charged with any wrongdoing.

Tom Hurndall was shot in the head on 11 April. The IDF has admitted shooting Tom, but they imply that they had good reason to do so; he was wearing camouflage fatigues and firing a gun at an IDF outpost. The IDF’s field report even provides two diagrams showing the location of the gunman firing at them.

Tom’s father, Anthony Hurndall, a City of London property lawyer, has investigated his son’s shooting. The two diagrams in the IDF report locate Tom’s position when he was shot in two different places. The sites are contradictory. Thirteen eyewitnesses and two chains of photographs locate Tom in a different place, about 100 meters further away from the death strip. The eyewitnesses say that Tom was not firing a gun at the Israelis, but helping a Palestinian toddler who had frozen under Israeli fire.

Immediately after Tom was shot, he was moved out of the firing line by two Palestinian youths to a safer place where he could be given first aid. Two photographers took a series of stills showing Tom being picked up. Blood is spurting from his head, so you can tell the pictures were taken within seconds of him being shot. In the background of both sets of photographs are some distinctive Hamas graffiti, nailing the site of Tom’s shooting to the location identified by the eyewitnesses.

The IDF field report asserts that Tom was wearing camouflage fatigues. ISM activists deliberately wear bright fluorescent jackets, to identify themselves and to distinguish themselves from Palestinian terror groups. The South African photographer Garth Stead took black-and-white pictures, but one of them shows clearly that Tom is wearing a distinctive jacket. The second set of stills and an amateur video recording prove the jacket to be, not camouflage fatigues, but orange. I asked Stead whether it would be possible to mistake orange for camouflage. He replied: “Not unless he was an orange-picker.”

The family of Tom Hurndall also believes the IDF’s version of events to be a fabrication. His father, after six weeks of investigation, reluctantly came to the conclusion that “this is a case of attempted murder. If Tom dies, and that is a likelihood, then it will be murder.” A military investigation continues.

James Miller was shot on 2 May. He had been in Rafah for more than two weeks, for a good part of the time basing himself in a private home that the IDF called “the house of the journalists”. On the last night of filming there had been some gunfire, mainly or exclusively from the Israeli armored personnel carriers, at Palestinian targets.

Quiet followed, and then the troops in the personnel carriers addressed James and his reporter Saira Shah. (The pair had made two stunningly successful films in Afghanistan, winning many awards.) James’s camera recorded that the Israeli troops were calling out to them, not in Hebrew, but in Arabic. It is believed that they were from the Bedouin Desert Patrol Unit; Arab volunteers who fight for the Israelis for money. The Bedouin are not nervous Israeli reservists but battle-hardened volunteers who serve in Rafah for long periods of time.

They called out in Arabic: “Do you like Fairuz?” (a Lebanese folk singer) and: “Do you wear perfume?” – a catchphrase from an Egyptian sitcom. Saira Shah thought them so outspoken that they might have been high on something.

There were two cameras recording the scene; James’s and that of a Palestinian stringer working for Associated Press TV News (APTN). Two personnel carriers that had been in the area shut off their engines and switched off their lights. It’s an old soldier’s trick; to see in the dark you douse your lights and your natural night vision improves dramatically. You can see them; they can’t see you. Moreover, thanks to American military aid, the IDF has some of the best night-vision equipment in the world. The armored personnel carriers in Rafah routinely carry two rifles equipped with Aquila night-sights, which draw in the available light and give fourfold magnification. James and his team were sitting in a well-lit veranda. The soldiers in the personnel carrier would have seen them clearly with their natural night vision and brilliantly through their night-sights.

The IDF field report into James’s death remains confidential, but we have seen a leaked version. It clearly states that, after some shooting, the night fell quiet.

James had been filming in the hope of recording the Israelis dynamiting one of the abandoned homes on the edge of the death strip, but it looked as though the IDF had stopped work for the night. The team decided to leave the house from where they had been filming and return to their (much safer) flat in the center of Rafah. It was the last day of filming.

They decided to be open and straightforward; to approach one of the personnel carriers directly and ask for safe passage. James, Saira and their local fixer Aboud headed directly for the vehicle, shouting in English and Arabic. Saira was holding a British passport, Aboud held a white flag on to which James was shining a torch. From the veranda, the APTN cameraman filmed the scene. On tape you can clearly hear that the night is deathly quiet. There is no sound of crossfire. Had there been any, the team would not have taken the risk.

They had walked about 20 meters from the veranda when the first shot rang out. The team froze. For 13 seconds, there is silence broken only by Saira’s cry: “We are British journalists.” Then comes the second shot, which killed James. He was shot in the front of his neck. The bullet was Israeli issue, fired, according to a forensic expert, from less than 200 meters away.

Immediately after the shooting, the IDF said that James had been shot in the back during crossfire. It later retracted the assertion about where in his body he was shot, but until today it has maintained that he was shot during crossfire. There was no crossfire on the APTN tape.

The Israeli Defense Force and the government of Israel chose not to talk to us about James Miller’s case. A military investigation continues.

Since the start of the second intifada, 2,200 Palestinians have been killed. Nine Israeli soldiers have been indicted for various offenses, but none has been convicted of unlawful killing. But this, from the killing fields of the Occupied Territories, is something new: the killing and maiming of Western journalists and peace activists. And, unlike the Palestinians, the families of the international victims have been able to bring pressure to bear. They have, however, had precious few satisfactory answers.

We showed the APTN film of James’s shooting to a serving Israeli soldier. He noted that the television team did not look like Islamic terrorists and concluded: “That’s murder.”
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Written By: John Sweeney
Resourse: http://www.commondreams.org/

This is Palestine…An overview
June 11, 2007

 

 

Palestine, historic region on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, also known as the Holy Land. It lies at the crossroads of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa. Palestine comprises three geographic zones: a part of the Great Rift Valley, a ridge, and a coastal plain. Palestine located in the Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

From earliest times many invaders have sought to control the land, port cities, trade routes, and people of Palestine. Apart from the Israelites, they included the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans and British. Each of these newcomers were either absorbed into the population through marriage, or killed or later deported. In the case of the original population, they remained in Palestine continuously until the middle of the 20th century when the invading Zionists expelled three-quarters of their number.

Whereas Christianity had previously been the principal religion of the Palestinian people, it was almost completely replaced by Islam in the 7th century. Although most of them became Muslims at the time, a small section of Christians and Jews continued to practice their faith there. By the end of the 19th century (1895) the population of Palestine was estimated at 500,000 of whom 400,000 were Muslims, 53,000 were Christians and 47,000 were Jewish. The Jewish presence had, by all accounts, declined over the years to a position of near nonexistence.

Palestine was inhabited many centuries before the arrival of the Israelite tribes from Egypt. When they invaded the land of Canaan in the 12th century BC. the population of the country included apart from the Canaanites, the Hittites, Ammonites, Edmites, Moabites and Philistines.

Its earliest known inhabitants were the Canaanites. Theirs was the first of a series of migrations that headed Northeast out of the Arab peninsula about 3,500 BC. Persistent famine and harsh climatic conditions forced successive waves of migrants northwards to the Bilad al Sham (presently known as Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan).

The Bible refers to the Arab tribes that settled west of the Jordan River as Canaanites and to the land as “the country of the Canaanites” (Exodus 3:17). About its capital city, Jerusalem, Josephus Flavious writing in the first century recorded that it was founded by the Canaanites. Melchiisadek, the Righteous king, built it. He was a contemporary of Prophet Abraham (Genesis 14:18).

The name Palestine stems from the Philistines who lived along the southern Mediterranean coast in the 12th century B.C. The Palestinians people of today are the descendant’s of the Philistines, Canaanites continued to inhabit their land.

Some information about Palestine
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Capital:

JERUSALEM

Major Cities:

Jerusalem (Local form, AlQuds) including Bethlehem (Bait lahem); Acre (Akka); Beersheeba (Beer Alsabea’); Beisan; Gaza; Haifa; Hebron (Alkhalil); Jaffa (Yafa); Jenin; Nablus; Nazareth (Al Naserah); Ramleh including Ludd; Ramallah; Safed; Tiberias (Tabareya); Tul Karem.

Population:

Total: 5,017,280 (2005)
West Bank: 2,385,615
Gaza Strip: 1,376,289
Occupied Lands: 1,255,376
density per sq mi: West Bank: 1,054, Gaza Strip: 9,902

Nationality:

noun: Palestinian(s)
adjective: Palestinian

Country name:

conventional long form: State of Palestine
conventional short form: Palestine
local long form: Dawlit Falasteen
local short form: Falasteen

Independence:

Still struggling and fighting for its total freedom from the ilegal and brutal Israeli occupation. The Palestine National Council however issued a Declaration of Independence of 15 November 1988.

Area:

West Bank: 5,844 sq km.
Gaza Strip: 365 sq km.
Occupied land: 91,971 sq km.
Slightly smaller than New Jersey.

Land boundaries:

total: 1,635 km
border countries: Egypt 266 km, Jordan 238 km, Lebanon 79 km, Syria 76 km.
Coastline: 300 km.

Terrain:

Negev desert in the south; low coastal plain; central mountains; Jordan Rift Valley

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: 1,208 m

Natural resources:

phosphates, potash, shale oil timber, copper ore, natural gas, phosphate rock, magnesium bromide, clays, sand

Natural hazards:

sandstorms may occur during spring and summer; periodic earthquakes

Environment :

limited arable land and natural fresh water resources pose serious constraints; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; groundwater pollution from industrial and domestic waste, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides that mainly caused by Israeli occupation industry.

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Resources:

http://www.prc.org.uk/palestine%2048/people.html

http://www.prc.org.uk/palestine%2048/coveted.html

http://www.palestina.com.mx/links.htm