Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Death to Iran!

From Anthony Loewenstein:

This is mainstream American news television, a discussion about how Iran should be bombed, when it should happen, if Israel should be assisted and if Israel should assassinate Iranian leaders to bring regime change. Can you imagine the outcry if Iranian television had the same kind of program, discussing the ways in which Israeli leaders should be murdered and how Israel should be bombed? Shameful:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Free Ezra Nawi!

Email alert from JVP:

As we celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, many of us wondered what the new year would hold for Ezra Nawi. A judge was expected to render her sentence on his case on Monday, the first day after the holiday.

Faced with over 20,000 of your signatures, Judge Eilata Ziskind decided to postpone the sentencing.

A few days before her ruling, the judge got another call to conscience. Boaz Okun, a prominent judge and legal authority in Israel, published an op-ed in an Israeli daily, stating that Ezra deserved 'defense from justice':

The penal code allows the canceling of a guilty verdict against a criminal if the crime committed shrinks vis-a-vis the arbitrary behavior of the state. This is called 'defense from justice.' (1)

Ezra Nawi's sole crime was trying to stop a military bulldozer from destroying the homes of Palestinian Bedouins in the South Hebron region.

Mr. Okun quoted from the hearing proceedings, where Yehudit Karp, a former Israel Attorney General, stated in reference to Ezra Nawi:

Those people that break the law in order to save others and to defend human rights are the ones that get written on golden pages.

But Ezra's troubles are not over yet.

The judge has offered him an impossible "deal." She is willing to reduce his expected sentence from jail time to community service, but only if Ezra waives any further appeals--in fact acknowledging that he is guilty without any way to exonerate himself.

This is far from a golden page, far from a defense from justice.

We will keep you updated of future developments in his case.

In the meanwhile, we have just learned that Kobi Snitz, a long-time activist with the Israeli group Anarchists Against the Wall, begins a 20-day prison term for an arrest in 2004 in which he tried to prevent a home demolition in the Palestinian village of Kharbatha, in the Ramallah District. He is the first Israeli activist to serve time for a demonstration in the Occupied Territories. In prison, he will now join countless Palestinians who are in administrative detention -- without benefit of trial -- simply for exerting their rights as well.

Only yesterday Mohammad Othman was arrested on the Allenby Bridge Crossing, the border from Jordan to Palestine. Mohammad, 33 years old, has dedicated the last ten years of his life to the defense of Palestinian human rights. His village, Jayyous, has lost most of its land to the Wall and the settlements. You can learn more about Mohammad and take action here.

Sydney Levy
Jewish Voice for Peace

(1) Boaz Okun. Defense from Justice. Yedi'ot Ahronot, Sep 13, 2009.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

AJC's 'The Button': anti-Iranian agit-porn...

Watch the AJC's latest bit of excrement on the Iranian nuclear issue. Apparently it's been removed from YouTube for violations of terms. Watch it here at AJC. Not long ago they had another one in that 'line of work', but this one takes the biscuit.

H/T to and analysis by Richard Silverstein.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tony Greenstein Uncensored: on the Goldstone Inquiry

Tony Greenstein (Letter to The Guardian.)

The reaction of Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to the United Nation’s Goldstone Inquiry (Israel rejects UN criticism over Gaza war, Guardian 17 September) speaks volumes. Using biblical metaphor, the report was apparently ‘conceived in sin and is the product of a union between propaganda and bias.’

The clear message from Israel’s very own propaganda chief is that despite being authored by a liberal Zionist and former South African judge, Richard Goldstone, the Inquiry’s findings are motivated by anti-Semitism. There was a time when such accusations might have had some political purchase but those days have long since gone.

The historic vote at the Trade Union Congress this week to support a boycott of Israeli goods tells its own story. No section of British society was as supportive of Zionism as that of British trade unionism which saw socialism being put into practice in Israel’s kibbutzim.

Mark Regev speaks about bias and he is correct. Just as those who condemned the pogroms against Europe’s Jews were biased against anti-Semitism, so those who were opposed to the one-sided war against the Palestinians of Gaza were biased. Bias in favour of justice is surely no offence?

Supporters of Israel seem to be in denial. For 6 months before the Gazan invasion they honed their media strategies and trained their internet warriors but no amount of hasbara can substitute for pictures of UN schools and ambulances being bombed with white phosphorous and dead children. A war crime is not diminished by a silver tongue.

The reality is that the Israeli army has refused to countenance any criticism or inquiry. They first barred reporters from seeing what was happening in Gaza, then they banned the UN Inquiry from entering Gaza, then they derided the reports of their own soldiers as to what had happened and ignored criticism of the activities of the military rabbis. Now they have turned their fire upon the messenger.

Those who learn nothing from the past are condemned to repeat its mistakes.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Greenstein

The letter was heavily censored by The Guardian, with the italicised bits redacted out.

Great letter, Tony.
More on his stance on Goldstone here.

Big H/T: JSF.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The New Statesman: Hamas leader interview

What follows are excerpts from the interview of Khaled Meshal by Ken Livingstone, published in The New Statesman.


Ken Livingsone (KL): What is the situation in Gaza today?

Khaled Meshal (KM): Gaza today is under siege. Crossings are closed most of the time and for months victims of the Israeli war on Gaza have been denied ¬access to construction materials to rebuild their destroyed homes. Schools, hospitals and homes in many parts of the Gaza Strip are in need of rebuilding. Tens of thousands of people remain homeless. As winter approaches, the conditions of these victims will only get worse in the cold and rain. One and a half million people are held hostage in one of the biggest prisons in the history of humanity. They are unable to travel freely out of the Strip, whether for medical treatment, for education or for other needs. What we have in Gaza is a disaster and a crime against humanity perpetrated by the Israelis. The world community, through its silence and indifference, colludes in this crime.

KL: Why do you think Israel is still imposing the siege on Gaza?

KM: The Israelis claim that the siege is for security reasons. The real intention is to pressure Hamas by punishing the entire population. The sanctions were put in place soon after Hamas won the Palestinian elections in January 2006. While security is one of their concerns, it is not the main motivation. The primary objective is to provoke a coup against the results of the democratic elections that brought Hamas to power. The Israelis and their allies seek to impose failure on Hamas by persecuting the people. This is a hideous and immoral endeavour. Today, the siege continues despite the fact that we have, for the past six months, observed a ceasefire. Last year, a truce was observed from June to December 2008. Yet the siege was never lifted, and the sanctions remained in place. Undermining Hamas is the main objective of the siege. The Israelis hope to turn the people of Gaza against Hamas by increasing the suffering of the entire population of the Strip.

KL: How many supporters of Hamas and elected representatives of Hamas are there in prison in Israel? Have they all been charged and convicted of crimes?

KM: Out of a total of 12,000 Palestinian captives in Israeli detention, around 4,000 are Hamas members. These include scores of ministers and parliamentarians (Palestinian Legislative Council members). Around ten have recently been released, but about 40 PLC members remain in detention. Some have been given sentences, but many are held in what the Israelis call administrative detention. The only crime these people are accused of is their association with Hamas's parliamentary group. Exercising one's democratic right is considered a crime by Israel. All these Palestinians are brought before an Israeli system of justice that has nothing to do with justice. The Israeli judiciary is an instrument of the occupation. In Israel, there are two systems of justice: one applies to Israelis and another applies to the Palestinians. This is an apartheid regime.


KL: Israel says that the bombing and invasion of Gaza last year was in response to repeated breaking of the ceasefire by Hamas and the firing of rockets into southern Israel. Is this the case?

KM: The Israelis are not telling the truth. We ¬entered into a truce deal with Israel from 19 June to 19 December 2008. Yet the blockade was not lifted. The deal entailed a bilateral ceasefire, lifting the blockade and opening the crossings. We fully abided by the ceasefire while Israel only partially observed it, and towards the end of the term it resumed hostilities. Throughout that ¬period, Israel maintained the siege and only intermittently opened some of the crossings, ¬allowing no more than 10 per cent of the basic needs of the Gazan population to get through.
Israel killed the potential for renewing the truce because it deliberately and repeatedly violated it.

I have always informed my western visitors, including the former US president Jimmy Carter, that the moment Hamas is offered a truce that
includes lifting the blockade and opening the crossings, Hamas will adopt a positive stance. So far, no one has made us any such offer. As far as we are concerned, the blockade amounts to a declaration of war that warrants self-defence.


KL: What are your principal goals? Is Hamas primarily a political or a religious organisation?

KM: Hamas is a national liberation movement. We do not see a contradiction between our Islamic identity and our political mission. While we engage the occupiers through resistance and struggle to achieve our people's rights, we are proud of our religious identity that derives from Islam. Unlike the experience of the Europeans with Christianity, Islam does not provide for, demand or recognise an ecclesiastical authority. It simply provides a set of broad guidelines whose detailed interpretations are subject to and the product of human endeavour (ijtihad).

KL: Are you committed to the destruction of Israel?

KM: What is really happening is the destruction of the Palestinian people by Israel; it is the one that occupies our land and exiles us, kills us, incarcerates us and persecutes our people. We are the victims, Israel is the oppressor, and not vice versa.

KL: Why does Hamas support military force in this conflict?

KM: Military force is an option that our people resort to because nothing else works. Israel's conduct and the collusion of the international community, whether through silence or indifference or actual embroilment, vindicate armed resistance. We would love to see this conflict resolved peacefully. If occupation were to come to an end and our people enabled to exercise self-determination in their homeland, there would then be no need for any use of force. The reality is that nearly 20 years of peaceful negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis have not restored any of our rights. On the contrary, we have incurred more suffering and more losses as a result of the one-sided compromises made by the Palestinian negotiating party.

Since the PLO entered into the Oslo peace deal with Israel in 1993, more Palestinian land in the West Bank has been expropriated by the Israelis to build more illegal Jewish settlements, expand existing ones or construct highways for the exclusive use of Israelis living in these settlements. The apartheid wall that the Israelis erected along the West Bank has consumed large areas of the land that was supposed to be returned to the Palestinians according to the peace deal.

The apartheid wall and hundreds of checkpoints turned the West Bank into isolated enclaves like cells in a large prison, which makes life intolerable.

Jerusalem is constantly tampered with in order to alter its landscape and identity, and hundreds of Palestinian homes have been destroyed inside the city and around it, making thousands of Palestinians homeless in their own homeland. Instead of releasing Palestinian prisoners, the Israelis have arrested an additional 5,000 Palestinians since the Annapolis peace conference in 2007 - actions that testify to the fact they simply aren't interested in peace at all.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Birth of a Whackjob Far Right Cult: introducing the English Defense League...

This latest batch of 'defenders of the realm' (all five of 'em) also supports Israel, for added comical effect I'm guessing.

(Oh, and turn off the sound: the music is about as pleasing as Japanese torture...)

Ehud Barak: Iran no existential threat to Israel

This isn't the first time Barak has made statements to this effect although in fairness he appears to have made contradictory statements on this subject too.


"Right now, Iran does not have a bomb. Even if it did, this would not make it a threat to Israel's existence. Israel can lay waste to Iran," Barak said in a transcript of a newspaper interview obtained by Reuters before publication Friday.

…”I don’t think we are on the brink of a new Holocaust.”

…”Now is the time for a diplomatic effort and toughened-up sanctions.”

Does the statement signify some Israeli government acceptance (Barak is after all Defense Minister) of the fact that preventing Iran from getting the Bomb (assuming Iran wants it; this is far, far from clear) will be very difficult but that a nuclear Iran is not quite as dangerous as some self-servingly make out?

Let's face it: only a suicidal nation would try and take on a country that's armed to the teeth with an estimated 200 - 300 nuclear warheads and simultaneously possesses second strike capability (in the form of two Dolphin submarines, courtesy of Germany, and capable of launching ballistic missiles).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Under siege: Lebanon’s Palestinians 27 years after the Sabra Shatila Massacre


Franklin Lamb Martyr’s Square, Shatila Camp

Author’s note: Yesterday, this observer, along with British surgeon Dr. Swee Ang Chai and Nurse Marion Looi Pok, true global medical heroines during and following the 1982 Massacre at Sabra-Shatila had the honor to pass the afternoon with our longtime friend, Dr. Bayan al Hout whose husband Shafiq, one of the most respected and loved founders of the Palestine Liberation Organization passed away quite suddenly on August 2, 2009.

Her now classic volume, "Sabra and Shatila: September 1982" by Bayan Nuwayhed Al-Hout, 2004, available from Pluto Press, London, is highly recommended by the Sabra Shatila Foundation for those who seek a deeper understanding of the exact sequence of events during and surrounding the Massacre.

For more than 15 years Bayan painstakingly interviewed survivors and eye witnesses, sometimes furtively and ignoring threats while trying to avoid the swarms of intelligence agents who moved into West Beirut and the Palestinian camps in late 1982,part of whose work was to create the correct narrative and suppress the truth. She succeeded in piecing together the precise events during the 43 hours of slaughter and its aftermath, as well as to present the reader with the Massacre’s political context.

Bayan proved that the massacre was a continuous uninterrupted slaughter lasting a full 43 hours, from 6 pm on Thursday September 16 to 1 pm Saturday September, 18 and that it did not end as the Kahan Commission claims at 8 a.m. on Saturday September 18. As in many instances with its flawed Inquiry, Bayan exposed the Kahan Commissions bias including its failure to challenge Sharon’s comment, delivered with a smirk, to the Kahan Comission on the morning of October 25, 1982:
“I want, in the name and on behalf of the entire Israeli defense establishment, to say that no-one foresaw-nor could they have seen-the atrocities committed in the neighborhood of ‘Sabra and Shatia”…“If I were to be asked, on oath, who committed the crimes, I should have to reply that I don’t know. The Israeli Army wasn’t there. There were two entrances to the camp that we didn’t control. I know who went in and out, but I don’t know exactly who did the killing. It remains a great mystery.”

Bayan’s is the most authoritative book on the Sabra Shatila Massacre. Part of her motivation in researching her book, she explained yesterday, came from frustration with the 1983 Israeli Kahan Commission report, widely considered a whitewash of Israeli responsibility for this Crime against Humanity. The Kahan Report, along with the now completely rejected and disappeared fraudulent Lebanese Government Jermanos Report sought to create a misleading narrative about the who, what, and why of the slaughter. Bayan al Hout questioned, exposed and then demolished the Kahan Report with her detailed investigation and presentation of irrefutable evidence.

The Israeli government has yet to answer the indictment Bayan tabled before the international community or to compensate the hundreds of survivors who lost their loved ones and who today live shattered lives. International humanitarian law, specifically the Geneva Convention (IV) and the Rome Statue, with its universal jurisdiction, and people of good will everywhere, demand that this indescribably horrendous crime, the Massacre at Sabra Shatila, planned and executed 29 years ago this week, is heard in The Hague.

Meandering the alleys and ground vapors of the wet fetid stench in Beirut’s Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp, 27 years after the 1982 Sabra Shatila Massacre, one witnesses a Dystopia. This shanty ground, the most squalid of the World’s 59 Palestinian Refugee Camps, including the eight in Gaza, is reminiscent less of Huxley’s horrifying Brave New World than Kafka’s 1914 novel, Penal Colony.

The Camp is an island society of misery characterized by poverty, oppression, tension, nearly 40 percent unemployment, depression, rising domestic violence rising student dropout rates, deep frustration among many youth today because it is time to enroll in University for Fall semester and there is neither tuition money or places for most Palestinians. The camp families are experiencing rising numbers of respiratory disease cases, nonexistent health care for the majority, pollution and the near total abridgement of civil rights. Many see an advancing explosion on the horizon.

Among the many Lebanese laws that straight jacket Palestinians is a 2002 law that forbids people with no recognized state -- Palestinians -- to own property outside the camps. So with no room for expansion laterally, the Camp residents are forced to build upward with cinder blocks and this also is illegal unless one has enough money to bribe a series of government officials. According to Salah M. Sabbagh, a Palestinian-Lebanese lawyer in Beirut. ''If Jesus Christ comes here he cannot own property, because he was born in Bethlehem. He would be better off in that stable.”

Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp, like Lebanon’s other 11, is a place of widespread sorrow, mass suffering and pain. As in Kafka’s short story, it is as if the inhabitants wear their sentences on their foreheads written in script, having run afoul of local or regional Commandants.

The camps fundamental dystrophic feature is the injustice of the refugees having been expelled from their homes in occupied Palestine and forced into Lebanon six decades ago where increasingly, here under siege, or there under brutal occupation, there is little tolerance for Palestinians or even much concern for their survival.

An immediate dystrophic factor is the political reality that the 410,000 UNRWA registered refugees are increasingly becoming sub-human ponds in Lebanon’s and the regions political maneuvers without political, social or human rights. About 25% of Lebanon’s Palestinians have already emigrated from Lebanon which suits the US-Israel project which wants Palestinians anywhere but Palestine and Lebanese parties which want them anywhere by Lebanon. Local sectarian warlords (Zaiim) may eventually accept about 40,000 or rougly10 % to be naturalized (Tawteen) in Lebanon and who after 10 years or longer could theoretically receive citizenship including voting rights. This number would mainly come from those Palestinian women who already have citizenship or those who have at least some civil rights thru marriage with Lebanese men. A recent survey showed that 93% of Lebanon’s Palestinians want no part of naturalization in Lebanon but want to return to their own country. So much for some local politicians gibberish that giving anything to the refugees “runs the risk of making them comfortable so they will try to stay.”

A Lebanese woman can convey no rights by marrying any foreign national including Palestinians, a defect in Lebanese law that has been the object of an intermittent corrective campaign by progressive civil organizations here for the past 12 years. They, along with some international NGO’s are seeking to bring Lebanese domestic relations law into line with most of the rest of the World. Legal experts at La Masion des Avocats in Beirut do not foresee significant near term changes in Lebanon’s law for either woman or Palestinians.

Internationals express solidarity with families of Massacre victims

Each year, during mid-September a week of events is held in Lebanon to commemorate the approximately 3000-3400 victims of the 1982 Israeli facilitated Sabra-Shatila Massacre. In recent years, more and more people from the international community arrive to participate. This year many have arrived from Italy Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the UK whose solidarity with the cause of Palestine spans nearly half a century. Again, this year, Canadians and Americans and several from Asian countries and south American countries participated including black clergymen from New York City, citizens from Oregon, California, Illinois, Florida, Massachusetts and Washington DC among others.

A Jewish initiative to lift the Lebanese siege of its Refugees

A group of American Jews arrived from Washington DC last Sunday and announced a US based Jewish initiative to break the siege of the Palestinians in the camps of Lebanon. Their initiative was well received on 9/15/09 by the Palestinian and International delegations, NGO’s and camp residents, during a conference at the new PLO Embassy in Beirut. The, group, representing several American Rabbi’s and Synagogues also participated in laying a wreath on the resting place of some of the victims of the Hula Club massacre of June 6, 1982, when Israeli forces killed 51 women and children inside the eastern part of Burj Shemali Palestinian Refugee camp near Tyre at the start of their 75 day bombing of Lebanon. The Hula Club itself was named for the October 24-29 1948 machine gunning by Israeli forces of at least 50 civilians at Hula near the border with Palestine.
Hula experienced yet another massacre by Israel in July 2006 when Israeli forces bombed a civilian shelter killing 29 and destroying approximately 20% of Hula’s housing.

The morning of 9/15/09, members and guests of the Sabra Shatila Foundation, the Palestinian NGO Beit Aftal Assumoud, other NGO’s and international visitors met with relatives of those who perished during the 43 hours of slaughter between 9/15- 9/18, 1982.
The gathering took place in an orphanage along some of the barely three foot wide alleys of Shatila Camp, where the sun has not shined since the camps construction by the International Red Cross in 1949.

“Today I was silent”

Umm Ali Edelbi welcomed Stephanie, an Italian woman she met years earlier as the ‘foreigners’ and the Mothers embraced and Umm Jamal kissed a Jewish nurse, Ellen, from Washington DC who was a witness to the 1982 massacre while working in Shatila’s Gaza hospital.
The scene was quite emotional for Antonio, from Rome, who is visiting a Palestinian camp for the first time. He paused, and watching the more than a dozen surviving mothers, several carrying framed photos of their loved ones, dried his eyes and said: "I never imagined that there is a place on earth where people are living like this. My shock is not just due to the nature of life inside this camp, it is because seeing parents who lost their children in such a brutal way is very upsetting."
A few moments later, the official meeting started. Abdel Nasser spoke on behalf of the Shatila families and thanked "the foreigners’ who have come to support us" while criticizing the Arabs "of which I never saw anyone offering support.” Abdel Nasser is gently interrupted by a soft spoken woman from near the back of the crowded room, who explains “I am an Arab, Moroccan, and Muslim. I came from my country to support you." He thanked her for the clarification and continued his talk by explaining the parents' demands that the international community “finally prosecute and punish those who committed these awful crimes.”

The next speaker was the glamorous Sarah Palin look alike, Italian academic Stephanie Lemettie, the Italian delegation's spokesperson. Holding back tears, she told the gathering: "The toughest moments are those of our meeting with you. Words cannot begin to express how much love and solidarity we have for you. We will never forget and we will never cease our work for your return to Palestine."
She was followed by Ms. Stephanie Karnini, sister of the Italian committee's founder Stephano, a legend in Shatila and the other 11 camps in Lebanon for his nine years of solidarity work with the camps before his tragic untimely death two years ago. She told the assembly that she hopes "that God gives us the strength to fight the second ongoing massacre, that of the memory that they are trying to erase."

One man, maybe in his seventies and who did not speak carried a framed photo of his teenage son. He remained behind as the crowd dispersed. He sat slumped quietly against the pale green wall of the classroom of the orphanage and stared at the toddlers ‘cubbies’ with their cute brightly colored tooth brushes and plastic cups. His shirt was saturated in perspiration, and the gentleman looked unwell and very tired and weak from three weeks of daily Ramadan fasting, Beirut’s September heat, and his profound grief.

He softly introduced himself to me: “My name is Kamal Ma'rouf, and this is my son Jamal. We don't know if he's a martyr or just missing. For twenty seven years, I am waiting and talking about my son. Today I was silent. Maybe it is better that way” and be began to sob.
Who were the victims of the Sabra Shatila Massacre?

27 years after the massacre we know more about many of those who perished but not all. Only 68% of the bodies were ever identified. Israel’s vaunted game theory would have preferred none were identified, but many of the killers panicked and Israeli bulldozer operators got cold feet and were watched as they left their vehicles and fled, leaving incriminating evidence.
147 families’ lost at least 1 member each while 34 families lost between 2 and eleven members. 51 families had members abducted or who disappeared.

Where are they or their remains? Hauled away from Israel and Lebanese Forces interrogation centers set up in the UNESCO building and Sports Stadium outside the camp and buried somewhere in the East Beirut race track or Pine forest as the late American journalist Janet Stevens theorized? In the sewers of surrounding neighborhoods like Bir Hassan where we now know manhole covers were lifted and bodies stuffed in—yet more bones and remains discovered as recently as this summer?
We also now know that 6 unborn babies killed inside their mothers, 18 less than one year, 13 less than 3 years, 58 less than 12 years old. Roughly 12.24 percent of the refugees emigrated following the massacre.

78% of those killed or abducted have living witnesses from the family. 48% believe the killers were Lebanese Forces (now led by Samir Geagea who continues to deny his militias involvement while calling for peace negotiations with “our enemy” Israel). We now know that within hours of the massacre, Phalange leader Sheik Pierre Gemayel ordered that “under no circumstances should the Lebanese forces admit to any participation.” He apparently wanted to protect his son Amin who he hoped would soon be appointed President of Lebanon by the Reagan administration following his brother Bashir’s assassination ( indeed he was).

Pierre did later tell friends privately, but always denied publicly, that “a few of our people were in on the massacre”, describing these as ‘Israeli agents’ not under my orders: “Sharon had a good many Judas Iscariots in our ranks”, Pierre would explained.

52% of the survivors indicated they “could not tell” who the abductors they observed taking camp residents were.

There are no headstones to identify those buried, approximately 1000, in Shatila’s Martyr’s Square but we now know their professions included Jockey, doorman, doctor, nurse, tailor, weaver, teachers shoemakers plumbers fish vendors, vegetable venders, electricians, masons, peddlers and home makers.

Palestinian Refugees as political footballs for all Parties in Lebanon

One particularly egregious recent example of Lebanese politicians continuing to pressure the Palestinian refugee community for personal political gain that is building anger, occurred this month, when one self proclaimed ‘defender of the rights of our Palestinian Arab brothers’, the Free Patriotic Movement’s Michel Aoun took an initiative to “help Lebanon.” Political ally of Hezbollah and Syria, Aoun was able to miraculously arrange for Lebanon’s Court of Cassation , which is closed tight for the Judicial vacation with empty courtrooms and offices, to issue a special injunction, freezing any and all rebuilding of the Nahr al Bared Palestinian Refugee Camp near Tripoli.

Nahr al Bared’s nearly 35,000 residents fled to Bedawi Camp seven miles down the road, and to other Camps including Shatila, causing more overcrowding, following the 15 week, May-August 2007 Fatah al Islam-Lebanese army battle which destroyed the camp. Nahr al Bared,where bus loads of international visitors are visiting today, has become a symbol for the condition of Palestinians in Lebanon and is closely watched for tell tale signs of how events are moving. Nahr al Bared has yet to see any reconstruction despite two years of international meetings and pledges. Aoun apparently wants to keep it that way and his lawsuit is anchored in the fact that in part of Narh al Bared there appear to be some relics and artifacts from history which the reconstruction would cover again.
Aoun’s action has sent a chill throughout Lebanon’s Palestinian Camps and currently it is unsure if the Nahr al Bared will be rebuilt. If rebuilt, Palestinian sources indicate the plan is for only 10,000 Palestinians or 25% of the April 2007 population to return to Nahr al Bared and these not until 2020.
This latest use of Lebanon’s Palestinians as fodder in the continuing struggle to form a government is ludicrous on its face. Assuming, that there are some Roman remnants in a small part of the camp, yet unproved but claimed by Aoun in his the lawsuit, this is not grounds for stopping all reconstruction. Every school child in Lebanon knows there are Phoenician, Egyptians, Greek, Roman, Ottoman, and all sorts of others ruins all over Lebanon and construction anywhere is Lebanon is routinely allowed after a survey with a permit issued by the Ministry of Culture. During the Hariri build- a- thon in the early 1990’s, the Hariri family Solidaire Corporation simply used huge US D9 (935 hp), 104 ton Caterpillar (think occupied Palestine) or the Japanese Komatsu D 275A bulldozers to excavate as they pleased and to shove mountains of Lebanon’s antiquities into Beirut Port (the area called Normandy) as a vast landfill for yet more lucrative commercial building projects.

Some political analysts view Aoun’s bizarre efforts to keep Nahr al Bared’s Palestinians homeless is linked to his struggle with the Sunni Muslims and fellow Maronite Christian and his nemesis, the Lebanon First leader Saad Hariri. Aoun is also moving to gain influence with the Sunni middle class in Tripoli by preventing the return of the very competitive Palestinian Nahr al Bared retail markets which drew customers from across North Lebanon and away from Tripoli merchants. Targeting the Palestinians also works politically in Akkar, across the Damascus highway from the Camp, because most of the nearly 250 soldiers killed fighting Fatah al Islam two summers ago are from nearby villages and they still want revenge against Palestinians whether or not they support Fatah al Islam. Aoun’s actions also appeal to right wing elements of the Christian community, some of whom continue to be apologists for the Sabra Shatila Massacre, and view favorably any effort targeting Muslim Palestinians
Aoun also wants to undermine the US ally, Maronite Archbishop Nasrallah Sfeir who yesterday Aoun accused of joining Samir Geagea’s fascist Lebanese Forces. It was the Lebanese Forces militia who Ariel Sharon arranged to lead other killing units into Shatila Camp following the Syrian assassination of their leader Bashir on 9/14/82. Archbishop Sfeir, as political as any in Lebanon despite his claims that the Church should avoid politics, has now come out against Aoun’s nephew being renamed a minister in the new government. Aoun’s Opposition ally Hezbollah, is mute. Some members shrug off Aoun’s antic and claim that that Hezbollah can’t control Aoun. Other Hezbollah members see an advantage for the Shia if Sunni Palestinian numbers decrease in order to maintain the Sunni-Shia roughly one third each balance. They know that 90% of Palestinians support Hezbollah due to its resistance to the occupation of Palestine and will overlook the fact that Hezbollah does not pick a fight with the quite mercurial Aoun.

This picture is further complicated by Druze leader Walid Jumblatt breaking with Washington due to his grave doubts that the US administration will or can deliver on more than three years of unfulfilled promises to him if he will oppose the Opposition and the Lebanese Resistance. Jumblatt has now decided to caste the Druze lot with Hezbollah and Syria candidly telling colleagues that the Resistance represents Lebanon’s future.

No sooner had Jumblatt dumped the US than the US dumped Phalange leader Amin Gemayal and Lebanon First leader Saad Hariri because the State Department needs someone “with bigger balls” according to one staffer.

Thirteen weeks after heralding the June 7 election results as a great victory for Democracy, the State Department views the election as a disaster. Not only did Hezbollah receive more than 100,000 votes that the US team, it has emerged stronger with its 57 seats than the US team with its 71 seats 10 of whom have now split.

This manhood need led US Ambassador Michele Sisson to charm the group who helped conduct the Sabra Shatila massacre, the Lebanese Forces, and its charismatic and very focused and ambitious leader Samir Geagea who intends to push aside his Phalange rivals, the Gemayals , and lead Lebanon into battle (with US and Israeli support) against Syria and if necessary Hezbollah. The US-Israel project for Lebanon now requires either a civil war in Lebanon or another Israeli invasion to recoup Lebanon from Iranian influence and the growing support for the Hezbollah led Resistance. The State Department finally appear to realize that the Lebanese public will no longer accept a forgive and forget, no compensation for six invasions over the past 40 years, peace deal with Israel and that it has entered the Era of Resistance. Senior Shiite Cleric Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, while Shia,has a large following among Christian and Sunni Muslims. Last week he warned against attempts to normalize ties with Israel and submit to its “humiliating” conditions. In a statement to a European delegation, Fadlallah accused Arab leaders of “attempting to fool” Muslims and the Arab world. He said Arab leaders were negotiating the normalization of ties with Israel, “while the Palestinian people are getting exhausted and becoming further subdued.” Days later he issued a Fatwa (religious ruling) forbidding yielding Jerusalem and Palestine to Zionist colonizers.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Sisson has met five times in the past several weeks with Geagea and his supreme spiritual guide, Archbishop Sfeir. They are quickly forming the nucleus of Welch Club II and are trying to make sure they can continue to count on Saudi Arabia for the kind of financial largesse that ran up the price of votes in the June 7th 2009 election, according to Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah, to as high as $ 5,000 per vote in key areas.

Pressure building in the Camps

Lebanon’s Palestinian leadership is being used by domestic and foreign interests and so far has pretty much kept quiet and out of Lebanese politics. Some of the Camp leaders have been accused of collaborating with the army’s wanton destruction and continuing siege of Nahr al Bared and sealing off more than half of the Camps on orders from Ramallah so as to retain civil relations with their host country.

But the pressure is building this hot summer and fall in Lebanon’s refugee camps with warnings coming from Palestinian, that 27 years after the Sabra Shatila massacre, explosive conditions exist in nearly all of Lebanon’s camps.

After Aoun’s reconstruction injunction succeeded earlier this month, Khalil Mekawi of the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee held an urgent meeting with lame duck prime minister Fouad Siniora and warned that this decision to freeze plans to rebuild Narh al Bared is causing outrage among Lebanon’s estimated 250,000 Palestinian camp residents that could, in his words, spill out across the country, leading to major chaos, at any time. While not claiming Palestinian involvement, he implied that more katyusha rockets might be launched into Palestine.


Franklin Lamb is Interim Director of the Washington DC-Beirut Lebanon based Sabra Shatila Foundation. He can be reached at Sabrashatila.org.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

No real settlement freeze...

For twenty odd years I believed that the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories were essentially bargaining chips and that Israel would eventually 'make good' on the Palestinian question. But around the time of the Gaza offensive I began to realise I had been fooling myself: the sheer scale and numbers of the settlements operation strongly point to Israel playing for keeps. The recent Israeli reaction to the first mild pressure applied from Washington in about a decade also speaks volumes to that effect.

Does anybody still realistically believe that Israel is serious about withdrawal its settlers? Sorry, but I can't. And with each passing day I feel sadly more vindicated (as well as embarrassed about my previously held position):


JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that a complete halt of Jewish settlements will not happen, according to a parliament source.

Netanyahu said at a closed-door Knesset committee meeting that Israel would agree only to a partial reduction of housing construction and for a limited time, not the year the United States would like, said a government official who was not authorized to speak about the meeting and did not want to be identified.
Netanyahu said no agreement had been reached on the length of time for the building hiatus, the source told CNN. Netanyahu has said in the past that a moratorium would not apply to East Jerusalem, which Israel claims as part of its sovereign capital since taking the territory away from Jordan during the Six Day War in 1967. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Point of No Return?


It’s too late

The evacuation of 8,000 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip and their absorption in Israel cost taxpayers NIS 10 billion. Those interested in turning back time and evacuating Israelis from the areas beyond the 1967 borders would have to invest NIS 600 billion for that end. An unreal figure.

Without the Palestinians grasping the process, and without most of Israeli citizens giving it some thought, the areas beyond the 1967 borders have become the main absorption area for new Israeli citizens: New immigrants from the former Soviet Union, young Jerusalemites, haredim facing economic distress, etc. The “territories” served as Israel’s territorial backbone, and played this role with great success.

Israel’s Leftist camp believes that it has the upper hand, referring as ultimate proof to Likud Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau’s declaration in favor of a Palestinian state, albeit with some conditions. Yet the Left is wrong: While it was engaged in the futile “diplomatic process,” the active Rightist camp, with the backing and assistance of all of Israel’s governments with the exception of one, engaged in developing Jewish settlements in the territories.

Half a million Jews beyond the Green Line constitute the point of no return. The talk about a “construction freeze” or “construction suspicion” at certain settlements are a joke and an insurance policy for the leaders – in Israel, in Palestine, and in the world – who know deep in their hearts that the decision had been made.

What we have here is two peoples that cannot be divided: A mixture of Jews and Palestinians that cannot be separated. It’s too late.

H/T Mondoweiss

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Madonna with Bibi...

"[...] I found out that there is a lot of discrimination against Gypsies in Eastern Europe, and that makes me very sad, especially because we believe in acceptance, Gypsies, homosexuals, people that are different. Everyone must be treated the same, don't forget that!"

As commenter Hulkagaard at JSF remarked, perhaps she was advising the Netanyahus on the Roma?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Settling towards one state?

Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert was one of the first to warn against 'Israel sleepwalking into fully fledged Apartheid' and how this would be the end of the Jewish State. Commentators since have often brought up the idea that the momentum for a two state solution may have been irrevocably lost.

Now President Jimmy Carter, always a staunch supporter of the two state solution ('Peace, not Apartheid'), seems to have undergone a bit of a change of heart:

We saw considerable interest in a call by Javier Solana, secretary general of the Council of the European Union, for the United Nations to endorse the two-state solution, which already has the firm commitment of the U.S. government and the other members of the "Quartet" (Russia and the United Nations). Solana proposes that the United Nations recognize the pre-1967 border between IsraelPalestine, and deal with the fate of Palestinian refugees and how JerusalemPalestine would become a full U.N. member and enjoy diplomatic relations with other nations, many of which would be eager to respond. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad described to us his unilateral plan for Palestine to become an independent state. and would be shared.

A more likely alternative to the present debacle is one state, which is obviously the goal of Israeli leaders who insist on colonizing the West Bank and East Jerusalem. A majority of the Palestinian leaders with whom we met are seriously considering acceptance of one state, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. By renouncing the dream of an independent Palestine, they would become fellow citizens with their Jewish neighbors and then demand equal rights within a democracy. In this nonviolent civil rights struggle, their examples would be Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

Recently, the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad had indicated that Jewish settlements in the West Bank, under Palestinian jurisdiction, were not out of the question.

In the mean time, Israel seems indeed intent on carrying on its somnambulism:


The Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, is scheduled to announce that he will allow the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank by several hundred units before implementing a temporary six-month hold on further expansion. But Israeli settlers, who live on Palestinian territory in contravention of international law, have called the plan a 'mockery', arguing that they should have a right to expand without restrictions.

Israeli police approved a ceremony by settlers inaugurating a new settlement, Mevaseret Adumim, which will consist of 3 -5,000 new housing units constructed on Palestinian land in East Jerusalem. The settlement was initially approved by the Israeli government in 1999 as part of the 'E1 Plan' to encircle East Jerusalem with Israeli settlements in order to displace the indigenous Palestinian population of East Jerusalem and create 'facts on the ground' that will supercede any negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.

And J'Post:

In a move that transformed the undeveloped Maskiot settlement into a new Jordan Valley community, heavy-equipment crews have broken ground in the past few weeks on infrastructure work for 20 single-family homes.

The Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that the work was legal.

The new construction comes at a time when the US is pressuring Israel to freeze all settlement activity.

The government recognized Maskiot - located 15 km. over the pre-1967 armistice line - as a settlement in the mid-1980s. But a new community never formed there.

Meanwhile doubts about Israel's capability to effectively withdraw huge numbers of settlers keep nagging. According to Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland:

Almost seven years after he was introduced to Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, initiated the establishment of the Sela disengagement administration to aid evacuees from Gaza and northern Samaria, and became one of the central figures behind the scenes in carrying out the plan - the head of the National Security Council at the time of the 2005 disengagement, Maj. Gen (res.) Giora Eiland, is convinced that Israel is incapable of evacuating settlements on the West Bank.

In his testimony before the state commission of inquiry on the handling of the Gush Katif evacuees, Eiland said: "On the level of the state, is the state capable, yes or no, of taking steps which are certainly politically controversial - the answer is certainly not. We are a neutralized country. What, that isn't clear?"

Combined with what appears to be a newfound realism on the Palestinian side, including Hamas (with their near-complete Qassam freeze for instance), the question more than ever remains whether, no matter how 'messy', the one state solution isn't rapidly becoming the only solution in town...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Arutz Shameonya and the Israeli government

In the wake of the Aftonbladet scandalette, in which a journalist could be found guilty of nothing more than journalistic laziness but prompting the Israeli government nonetheless to call on the Swedish government to condemn Aftonbladet's piece, a new and far more pernicious case of blatant lying has very recently come from the Zionist side.

On 01/09 Arutz Sheva published a piece with the juicy title Ahmadinejad's Imam: Islam Allows Raping, Torturing Prisoners, which got picked up very quickly by large numbers of Ziobloggers and assorted Iran-baiters. At the core of the article sits the following damning piece of text:

"Can an interrogator rape the prisoner in order to obtain a confession?" was [one] question posed to the Islamic cleric.

Mesbah-Yazdi answered: "The necessary precaution is for the interrogator to perform a ritual washing first and say prayers while raping the prisoner. If the prisoner is female, it is permissible to rape through the vagina or anus. It is better not to have a witness present. If it is a male prisoner, then it's acceptable for someone else to watch while the rape is committed."

This reply, and reports of the rape of teen male prisoners in Iranian jails, may have prompted the following question: "Is the rape of men and young boys considered sodomy?"

Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi: "No, because it is not consensual. Of course, if the prisoner is aroused and enjoys the rape, then caution must be taken not to repeat the rape."

A related issue, in the eyes of the questioners, was the rape of virgin female prisoners. In this instance, Mesbah-Yazdi went beyond the permissibility issue and described the Allah-sanctioned rewards accorded the rapist-in-the-name-of-Islam:

"If the judgment for the [female] prisoner is execution, then rape before execution brings the interrogator a spiritual reward equivalent to making the mandated Haj pilgrimage [to Mecca], but if there is no execution decreed, then the reward would be equivalent to making a pilgrimage to [the Shi'ite holy city of] Karbala."

One aspect of these permitted rapes troubled certain questioners: "What if the female prisoner gets pregnant? Is the child considered illegitimate?"

Mesbah-Yazdi answered: "The child borne to any weakling [a denigrating term for women - ed.] who is against the Supreme Leader is considered illegitimate, be it a result of rape by her interrogator or through intercourse with her husband, according to the written word in the Koran. However, if the child is raised by the jailer, then the child is considered a legitimate Shi'a Muslim."

Scour the Arutz article for references to any credible source or a link to an authorative web page and you'll notice there isn't anything like that at all: nada, zilch, nothing.

To me, the whole thing sounded way too fantastical to be anything near true. Take for instance the sentence:

Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi: "No, because it is not consensual. Of course, if the prisoner is aroused and enjoys the rape, then caution must be taken not to repeat the rape."

It sounds like pastiche. And far too sexually explicit to come from the lips of an arch-conservative Ayatollah or Imam.

It turns out that that's exactly what it is: satire - black comedy, if you prefer.

As this web page amply proves. The satirical text, now pulled because too many mistook it for a real report, is a spoof piece published first in the 'Fun/Entertainment' section of the Farsi-based Balatarin site.

Arutz found it and printed it uncritically and self-servingly as "News". Countless Ziobloggers salivated at this piece of gefundenes fressen and followed suit. One of them, 'Elder of Ziyon', has been notified of this sorry state of affairs but refuses to retract, or even blurb his piece. 'Elder of Ziyon' (what's in a name? A Hasbara mouthpiece blog named after an well-known and widely circulated anti-Semitic conspiracy myth peddles... a satirical anti-Iranian hoax. It's enough to give you a pointy head) defends his piece in the comment section as follows:

And I made it very clear where it came from (Iranian dissidents), and that the sources were certainly biased.

But combined with what is known about the cleric, the fact of the rapes in Iranian prisons and the pseudo-sharia justification for raping virgin death-row inmates (which all had multiple sources,) it seemed worthwhile to post.

But not worthwhile enough to retract now you've been caught with your pants down?

Update: 'Elder of Ziyon' has now effectively retracted the piece. Thanks!

Now lets' go back a bit to Aftonbladet's peccadillo of reprinting hearsay (and clearly stating it was nothing more than hearsay) and their journalistic missed opportunity of not following up with some investigative journalism. This was met with some seriously heavy breathing by Ziobloggers hissing about 'blood libel' and venting no shortage of anti-Swedish feelings, as well as an astonishing Israeli government reaction (in the guise of Herr Lieberman, if I recall well), demanding their Swedish counterpart condemn the utterances of a member of its free press corps.

Considering that Aftonbladet and Arutz Sheva are of similar size but that the latter's sins far outweigh the former's, we should be comfortable in the knowledge that the Israeli government will now slam Arutz Sheva for serious slander and libel and perhaps even offer an note of apology to the Iranian government. No?

H/T The Hasbara Buster

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Norman Podhoretz: still crazy after all those years...

Watching the US Conservative movement descent into 'bizarre cult' status, I found that the NYT had some questions about Obama for arch-neocon Norman Podhoretz (condensed interview):

What you’re overlooking is that many American Jews on the left are passionately pro-Israel.
It’s true that many American Jews on the left are pro-Israel, but this isn’t true of the left in general. The ideology of the left, in the last 50 years roughly, has represented the Palestinians as a kind of dark-skinned oppressed people like the blacks in this country. Obama believes that.

You mean that the Palestinians are oppressed by Jewish settlements?
It’s a crazy idea, but the Palestinians have been identified with the putative victims of European colonialism. Obama has now returned to the old idea that Israel is the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

A "crazy" idea... the "old" idea...

H/T Angry Arab.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Racism and Zionism...

Gideon Levy.

All of a sudden, we can say "racism." A shock wave has struck complacent Israeli society. A few dozen Ethiopian children were not accepted to religious schools in Petah Tikva. That is truly terrible, everyone tsked-tsked at the heart-rending picture of Aschalo Sama, a boy without a school. Even President Shimon Peres expressed shock. Everyone is permitted to be shocked; it is politically correct.

Oh, how beautiful we are, how enlightened we seem to ourselves. Look how we fight racism, undaunted and uncompromising. And yet, in a twinkling, this shame will be forgotten, and we will be left with the many other manifestations of society's racism, to which we remain sleepily indifferent.

That's the way we are. From time to time, when the sewage overflows, and the stink spreads everywhere and we can no longer hold our noses, we all cry out against injustice until, once again, the cover is closed. The water underneath continues to froth and stink, but it will be covered and repressed.

It is difficult to know, for example, how many self-righteous and tsking parents would have agreed to register their children in a class with a majority of children of Ethiopian origin. And how many would rent an apartment to an Arab student? But far be it for them to count that as racism. And how many parents are shocked by the nightly selection at the clubs where their adolescent children go for a good time? Routinely, young "others" are excluded - Ethiopians, Arabs, Druze, and sometimes Mizrahim, too. Foreigners are barred for having dark skin, and no protest is heard.

Every day security guards check people entering Ben-Gurion International Airport on whether their accent sounds Arab, and no one complains. That is not racism. It's how we have organized for ourselves an ethical code of double and triple moral standards. We fight against a few manifestations and close our eyes to other, far worse, examples.

The case of the Petah Tikva pupils is the tip of the racism iceberg. Children engender special feelings; shameful revelations about the school system will always yield a scandal. But the very week the country was in a huff over the Ethiopians, Nir Hasson reported in Haaretz that Jerusalem invests NIS 577 a year in a pupil from East Jerusalem and NIS 2,372 in a pupil from West Jerusalem. Four times less, only because of the child's ethnicity. That does not count here as racism. Neither does the fact that East Jerusalem lacks about 1,000 classrooms, only because its residents are Palestinian. No one howls against these revelations, no one is infuriated by them, including the president, who fights against racism.

Now that we can use the term "racism," the time has come to admit our society is absolutely racist, that all its components are racist. The legal system, for example, is no less tainted than Petah Tikva's Morasha school. In many cases there is one law for a Jew and another for an Arab. The Bank of Israel, a state institution no less than the Morasha school, with 900 employees, has always been "clean" of Arab employees except sometimes one or two. Some 70,000 Israeli citizens, all Arab of course, are living in unrecognized villages, without electricity or running water, without an access road and sometimes without a school. Why? Because they are Arabs. Every week at soccer matches we hear racist epithets and chants, the kind teams in Europe are severely penalized for. Here, the referees do not even bother reporting them.

The latest incident occurred last week at the Doha Stadium in Sakhnin in a match between Bnei Sakhnin and Beitar Jerusalem.

And we have said nothing yet about the attitude toward foreign workers, the occupation (the greatest racist curse) nor about the attitude toward Mizrahim since the founding of the state. The list is long and shameful.

When the children of Petah Tikva have all found schools to attend , even though their skin is black, society will not stop being racist. It will return very quickly to business as usual and self-satisfaction. See how there was racism here, we fought it and it disappeared without a trace.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Palestinian girl, 15, seeks justice for Gaza in world court


THE HAGUE — A 15-year-old Palestinian girl who says Israeli troops killed her father and two siblings in Gaza in January, sought justice from the International Criminal Court on Monday.

"I am here to lodge a complaint against the occupying army," Amira Alqerem told journalists in The Hague, seven months after her family was killed in an early-morning assault in the Tal Al Hawa neighbourhood that also left her severely injured.

"I hope this complaint will succeed because it is the truth," the soft-spoken teenager said, seated next to her lawyer on his way to the ICC to file the complaint with the office of the prosecutor.

In her court filing, Alqerem says her 67-year-old father Fathi, 16-year-old-sister Ismat, and 14-year-old brother Ala, were killed by Israeli army fire in the early hours of January 14.

The three children were awoken by an explosion to find their father's body, covered in blood, next to a crater near their house, the document claims.

Ismat and Ala went off to seek help, but were killed in another explosion. Amira, who had stayed behind with her dead father, was hit in the right leg.

"This was a crime against humanity, that is why we brought it to the ICC," said her lawyer Gilles Devers, who claims the attacks were aimed at civilians.

"Israeli politicians and military leaders must be held responsible."

Israel's 22-day offensive on Islamist Hamas-controlled Gaza left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead before ceasefire took effect on January 18.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced in February he had begun a "preliminary analysis" of alleged crimes committed by Israel during the Gaza offensive.

He has to date received complaints and evidence from the Palestinian Justice Minister Ali Kashan, the Palestinian National Authority, and over 360 other individuals and non-governmental bodies, his office said on Monday.

Amira, meanwhile, is undergoing physical and psychological rehabilitation in France.

"I am doing this for all the children of Gaza," she said through an interpreter.

"I want to do something to change the situation."