January 26, 2010

Haiti Hypocrisy Hides Yet Another War Crime

The human catastrophe gripping Haiti since a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated that nation on January 12 rightfully dominated nearly every newscast for a week. With devastation of such unimaginable proportions, there are the riveting stories of despair and courage, along with a relatively new and hideous phenomenon: politicization of the disaster and its aftermath.

Media opportunists have reached new depths of hypocrisy and ineptitude in covering the tragedy. Mainstream television networks and newspapers touted the overwhelming US military response, as well as other countries that were among the first to reach the victims in Haiti, including Israel.

Conspicuously absent from the kudos list were two of the first responders, Cuba and Venezuela.

On January 13, one day after the quake, a C-130 transport plane was dispatched to Port-au Prince loaded with supplies, food and doctors. To date, six massive shipments from Venezuela have reached Haiti, totaling 5,000 metric tons of foodstuffs, as well as humanitarian aid teams and heavy machinery for reconstruction. Additionally, President Hugo Chavez pledged that his country will provide Haiti with free gasoline and diesel.

Cuba has maintained approximately 400 doctors who provide free medical services throughout Haitian communities for the last several years. Therefore, Cuban medical teams were first on the scene to set up two emergency hospitals. A group of 38 Haitians currently completing medical internships in Cuba returned to their homeland to assist in the relief efforts, along with an additional three Cuban surgical teams. The Associated Press reported on January 20 that Ena Zizi, a 69 year-old pulled from the rubble after a week, was taken to the Cuban hospital for treatment. Reportedly, Cuban teams are working 18-hour shifts in order to save as many of the injured as possible.

Meanwhile, in the most poignant outpouring of compassion for the Haitian people, Palestinians—themselves no strangers to widespread death and destruction—lined up at the Red Cross headquarters in Gaza to donate toiletries, toys, sweets and blankets. Unfortunately, none of the goods will be shipped to Haiti due to the Israeli siege. Some Gazans were able to donate money, apparently the only commodity allowed to leave the Strip.

While ignoring the contributions of political and ideological rivals, American media gave Israel special recognition at every turn. The field hospital set up by the Israeli army warranted an entire segment of NBC’s nightly newscast on January 19. One senior Israeli officer stated “If we save one life, it’s as if we save the whole world.”

So let us get this straight: it is imperative to give Israelis singular credit in saving Haitian children, while ignoring the fact that last year’s assault on Gaza killed hundreds of children and maimed thousands more, not to mention the 360 Lebanese children slaughtered during Israel’s 2006 offensive.

With the American media locked in fierce competition as to who could lavish the most praise on the Israeli military for saving Haiti, another disaster was brewing in Gaza. Israeli officials opened the Al-Wadi dam east of Gaza in the wake of torrential rainfall in the region, flooding the refugee camp of Al-Nusseirat, Johr al-Deek village and al-Mughraqa, a suburb of Gaza City. Villagers provided eyewitness accounts that Israeli forces stationed in the area opened the dam without warning and without coordination with Palestinian civil agencies. Media outlets from Brunei to China to Iran reported the disaster.

According to China’s Xinhua news agency, Israel had constructed the dam to hoard rain water, depriving Gazan farms and villages of this precious resource for years. As the dam was opened, houses that had been built along the dried-up ditch were inundated with flood waters, displacing approximately 100 Gazan families and drowning cattle and poultry. Palestinian Civil Defense Chief Yousef al-Zahar stated “…what happened was a deliberate act by Israel.”

Israeli officials were quick to deny opening any dams, or that a dam even existed in the area. Israel’s Eshkol regional council bordering Gaza dismissed the claims as “silly,” maintaining they knew nothing of such a dam.

Pro-Israeli bloggers took up the cries of “water libel,” adding that there were no coordinates on any map indicating the presence of a dam and that Palestinians had made up the whole story. Of course, the Israelis would do well not to acknowledge the presence of such a dam, else admit to years of denying water to Gazan farmers.
However, pictures show that the deluge in Gaza could not have resulted merely from flash flooding. According to the Israeli Meteorological Service, up to five inches of rain fell in the area. The Gaza valley where the floods occurred runs nearly five miles from its eastern border with the Jewish state, descending to the Mediterranean Sea. The downgrade would allow for more severe flooding, but not to the levels seen in Gaza. Therefore, some other factor had to contribute to such massive amounts of water rushing into the area, i.e. Israel’s opening of the Al-Wadi dam.

Another instance of Israel’s disregard for environmental consequences—even more sinister given what happened in Haiti—took place in August 2009. Israel National News reported that tremors were created in the southern Negev in a joint project with the University of Hawaii and funded by the US Department of Defense. In the experiment, Israelis detonated 80 tons of explosive material to simulate the intensity of a magnitude 3.0 earthquake. Supposedly, this will help scientists improve seismological and acoustic readings to predict future earthquakes. It was not explained why the US Department of Defense was involved.

The tragedies of Haiti and Gaza are compounded by mainstream media’s exploitation of millions of innocent people in order to promote the US and Israel’s masquerade as benevolent societies. Good works done by governments at odds with the US-Israeli agenda are ignored, maintaining contempt for the very people who should be praised. And once again, while the world’s attention is elsewhere, Israel takes the opportunity to attack Palestinian lives and livelihoods, making a bleak existence even more unbearable.

January 11, 2010

Letter from an Ultra-Zionist: My Exchange with Congressman John Boehner (OH-8)

I received the following letter from Congressman John Boehner (Ohio-8th District):

Dear Tammy,

Thank you for contacting me regarding our Israel. (Yes, he did use the word “our.”) It is good to hear from you.

H.Res 867 was introduced by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on October 23, 2009 and referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. H. Res.867 would urge the President and the Secretary of State to oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration of the “Report on the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict” in multilateral fora. The resolution would further consider the “Report on the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict” or the Goldstone Report, to be biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy. The resolution further supports the Administration’s efforts to combat anti-Israel bias at the United Nations and reaffirms support for Israel and for Israel’s right to defend its citizens from violent militant groups and their state sponsors. This resolution passed through the House on November 3, 2009 by a vote of 344 to 36, with 22 Representatives voting present. I voted for this resolution.

I am a strong supporter of Israel and always have been. This besieged nation is the oldest democracy in the Middle East and its stability and ability to defend itself are essential to a lasting peace in the region. Israel is surrounded by many countries which have never recognized its right to exist (with the exception of Egypt and Jordan). These neighbors have gone to war with Israel five times with the sole purpose of annihilating the Jewish state and have pledged time and time again to maintain this adversarial position.

My support for Israel does not mean that I ignore the tragic loss of life on both sides. I can assure you I am closely monitoring this situation. This is a matter Congress is paying a great deal of attention to, and we will continue to suppport President Obama’s efforts to encourage and facilitate peace.

Please rest assured I will keep your thoughts in mind should I have the opportunity to vote on legislation addressing this issue. Thank you again for contacting me with your thoughts. Pelase don’t hesitate to inform me of your concerns in the future. To sign up for email updates, I invite you to visit my website at http://johnboehner.house.gov/Forms/Form/?ID=89.

John A. Boehner

I replied with the following:

Congressman Boehner:

Thank you for contacting me regarding Palestine.

Your support of HR 867, effectively dismissing the Goldstone Report as “biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy” is appalling. Judge Richard Goldstone serves as a trustee of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is a self-proclaimed Zionist. His report concluded both Israel and Hamas committed grave breaches of international law. Therefore, claims of bias are baseless, showing how far the House of Representatives will go to whitewash Israeli war crimes.
If you define democracy as a state with an elected government, then Israel may qualify. In the broader sense--the one where democratic ideals include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people, regardless of race or religion--then Israel falls painfully short.

Israel is currently holding over 10,000 Palestinian prisoners in its jails, including women and minors. Ha’aretz, a leading Israeli newspaper, published the report of a European fact-finding mission to the prisons. It was discovered that 88 percent of the inmates were being held without formal charges, trial or hearing. Is this your idea of a democracy?

In a true democracy, freedom of religion is extended to all citizens. Israel has often denied Christian and Muslim pilgrims alike from worshipping in their respective holy sites. Muslim boys and men aged 15-40 have at times been barred from Friday prayers by Israeli authorities arbitrarily.

Moreover, it is historical fallacy to cite Arab countries as the aggressors in Israel’s wars. Prior to 1948, the Irgun and Stern gangs waged a terror campaign against British forces in Palestine, as well as targeting Palestinian civilians. The King David Hotel bombing killed 91 British personnel, injuring 45. These same gangs, led by Menachem Begin (who would later serve as Israel’s Prime Minister) massacred over 100 Palestinian men, women and children in the village of Deir Yassin on April 9, 1948. Small wonder that when Israel was established the following month, Arab neighbors attempted to thwart the total depopulation and subsequent obliteration of some 500 Palestinian villages, courtesy of the new Israeli army.

In October 1956, Moshe Dayan launched combined air and land assaults into Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.

In 1967, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. It was during the six-day course of this war that Israel also attacked the USS Liberty, an American ship. Thirty-four American sailors died and an additional 172 were wounded. Israel claimed the Liberty was mistaken for the Egyptian El Quseir, a ludicrous excuse as El Quseir was 180 feet shorter and very differently configured. The Liberty had her name clearly written in English, while the Egyptian ship would have displayed Arabic script. Surviving sailors testified that it was a deliberate attack, unless you wish to doubt the words of the American servicemen you claim to so vehemently support. As an intelligence gathering vessel, Liberty was likely to intercept real time evidence of the massacres committed by Israel in the Golan Heights, enough motive to destroy the American ship.

The Yom Kippur War in 1973 stemmed from Egypt’s desire to regain the Sinai Peninsula lost in the 1967 conflict, as Syria tried to recapture the Golan Heights.
Israel launched a full-scale invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

It is apparent the only thing you are monitoring is the flow of money from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) into your coffer. Your position itself is not surprising; however, I was shocked by your audacity to spend 42 taxpayer cents on mailing me pro-Israel propaganda. Let me make it clear that I am not buying.