Be informed on things that matter: 6 recommended reads on Palestine & Israel

Be informed on things that matter: 6 recommended reads on Palestine & Israel

Read up on facts about Gaza, Gazans, Israel, Biden, and colonialism that mainstream media do not reveal (scroll down to read 6 selected recent articles)

Torture, executions, babies left to die, sexual abuse… These are Israel’s crimes

IDF Officer Reprimanded for Gaza University Demolition May Become Netanyahu’s Military Secretary

Doctors justify genocide in a prestigious journal

How the uncommitted vote against Biden’s Gaza policy is going ‘national’

There’s no protection from genocide in the colonial framework of international law

How Biden’s port in Gaza will help Israel outsource its occupation

Torture, executions, babies left to die, sexual abuse… These are Israel’s crimes

Why is the same western media obsessively reheating five-month-old allegations against Hamas so reluctant to focus on Israel’s current, horrifying atrocities?

by Jonathan Cook, excerpt reposted from Middle East Eye, March 15, 2024

Hostages tortured to death. Parents executed in front of their children. Doctors beaten. Babies murdered. Sexual assault weaponized.

No, not Hamas crimes. This is part of an ever-growing list of documented atrocities committed by Israel in the five months since 7 October – quite separate from the carpet bombing of 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza and a famine induced by Israel’s obstruction of aid.

Last week, an investigation by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz disclosed that some 27 Palestinians seized off Gaza’s streets over the past five months are known to have died during interrogations inside Israel.

Some were denied medical treatment. But most are likely to have been tortured to death.

Israeli TV channels have been excitedly taking viewers on tours of detention centers, showing the appalling conditions Palestinians are kept in, as well as the psychological and physical abuse they are subjected to.

An Israeli judge recently called the makeshift cages in which Palestinians are held “unsuitable for humans”.

Remember, a large proportion of the 4,000 or so Palestinians taken hostage by Israel since 7 October – probably the vast majority – are civilians, like the men and boys paraded through Gaza’s streets or held in a stadium stripped of clothing before being dragged off to a dark cell in Israel.

Women abused

According to Israeli media, many dozens of Palestinian women – including pregnant women – have been seized too, but in their case off camera.

Presumably, Israel has wished to avoid undermining its careful messaging that only Hamas weaponizes violence against women.

But Palestinian women and girls in detention were reportedly being subjected to “multiple forms of sexual assault, such as being stripped naked and searched by male Israeli army officers.

“At least two female Palestinian detainees were reportedly raped while others were reportedly threatened with rape and sexual violence.”

Soldiers are also believed to have taken photos of female detainees in degrading circumstances and then uploaded them online.

Beatings, waterboarding

A separate report by the UN last week revealed that 21 of its staff – humanitarian aid workers – had been snatched by Israel. They were then tortured to extract confessions, most likely false, of involvement in Hamas’ 7 October attack. Their torture included beatings, waterboarding and threats to family members.

Those confessions were cited by western allies as the grounds – in fact, the only known grounds – for cutting off funding to the UN relief agency UNRWA, the last lifeline for Gaza’s starving population. It was these claims, extracted through torture, that helped Israel rationalize its imposing of a famine on Gaza.

Of the 1,000 detainees subsequently released, 29 were children, one as young as six, and 80 women. Some were reported to have cancer and chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s.

According to the UN investigation, Palestinians reported severe punishment beatings, being caged with attack dogs, and suffering sexual assault. Physical evidence – such as broken ribs, dislocated shoulders, bite marks, and burns – was still visible many weeks later...[more]


IDF Officer Reprimanded for Gaza University Demolition May Become Netanyahu’s Military Secretary

Netanyahu appears to be rewarding this military officer after he ordered the demolition of a houseful of Israelis and a university in Gaza.

by Jonathan Lis and Michael Houser Tov, excerpt reposted from Ha’aretz, March 11, 2024

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently interviewed for the position of his military secretary Brig. Gen. Barak Hiram, who on October 7 ordered a tank to shell a home in Kibbutz Be’eri in which Hamas terrorists were holding hostages. Thirteen Israelis were killed in the incident, along with their captors.

The Israeli army’s chief of staff reprimanded Hiram on Monday for ordering the demolition of a building at Israa University in southern Gaza City without proper authorization approximately two months ago. Hiram said that soldiers perceived a threat based on intelligence indicating a tunnel system passing beneath the university.

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office refused to comment, and the military said it does not provide details on how appointments are made in the Israel Defense Forces…[more]


Doctors justify genocide in a prestigious journal

The Journal of the American Medical Association published four letters rife with racist anti-Palestinian tropes. The prestigious platform created the appearance of intellectualism and expertise, but it’s all just racism with a ribbon on it.

by Karim Sariahmed, excerpt reposted from Mondoweiss, March 19, 2024

I’m a primary care physician based in Boston. For the past five months, my colleagues and I, along with the rest of the world, have seen countless videos and reports documenting the most barbaric kinds of violence and inhumanity by Israeli Defense Force soldiers. This past week, several people were killed when Israel bombed an UNRWA aid site in Gaza.

In the same week, the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association published four letters to the editor challenging an argument about international humanitarian law previously published by Gostin and Goodwin.

The responses are rife with Orientalist anti-Palestinian tropes borrowed from the playbook for the “war on terror,” which marked the entirety of my youth and young adulthood. They rely on disputed, if not fully debunked claims to justify genocide. The claim put forth most egregiously and repeatedly in multiple letters is that Palestinian hospitals are used for military purposes.

The technical argumentation style in the letters focused on a narrow set of legal claims, and the prestigious platform created the appearance of intellectualism and expertise. But it’s all just racism with a ribbon on it.

My medical colleagues and other commenters in this prominent journal continue to repeat all manner of Israeli state narratives about al-Shifa hospital, namely that it serves as a military “command center” and a place for militants to store weapons.

These have been debunked, and their repetition as fact helps to excuse egregious and regular attacks on healthcare — the latest of these is taking place as I write. The letters cite no sources other than the New York Times or the Israeli state itself to support many of their claims. This is despite substantial evidence of anti-Palestinian bias in Times coverage, which frequently minimizes the state’s violence and the barbarism of its military.

Continued debate over whether Palestinian hospitals are really hospitals is fundamentally about the right of Palestinians to exist as a society, and this racist framing offers a handy distraction for Israel’s continued massacres and destruction[more]


How the uncommitted vote against Biden’s Gaza policy is going ‘national’

After expectation-busting showings in US states like Michigan and Minnesota, organisers outline plans for the months ahead.

by Joseph Stepansky, excerpt reposted from Al Jazeera, March 18, 2024

The organizers of Listen to Michigan — an effort to protest Joe Biden’s policy towards Israel’s war in Gaza — have a message for the United States president: The conflict is not a “niche” issue for only some segments of the political left.

Listen to Michigan emerged earlier this year as a grassroots movement focused on the state’s primary. It called on voters to cast “uncommitted votes” instead of backing Biden’s reelection effort, in an attempt to signal displeasure over the president’s stance on the war.

But that movement has kicked off a domino effect in other key states, with similar “protest votes” emerging. On Monday, Listen to Michigan unveiled plans to take its campaign to the national stage.

“Since we launched our campaign in Michigan, critics have gone out of their way to minimize the momentum of ‘uncommitted’ and Listen to Michigan and what this movement has gained as a niche issue of the left,” Layla Elabed, a key Michigan organizer, said during a news conference on Monday.

“Today, we launched our national movement to let you all know uncommitted voters aren’t going anywhere, and we aren’t backing down until we achieve a permanent ceasefire.”

Organizers said the announcement serves to dispel perceptions that Listen to Michigan was a one-off phenomenon, only applicable to the state where it was founded.

They hope to mobilize voters in other state primaries, to send a strong message before the general election that the war is unacceptable…[more]


There’s no protection from genocide in the colonial framework of international law

The genocide in Gaza is exposing all that is wrong with the colonial concept of human rights and international law

by Ramona Wadi, excerpt reposted from Middle East Monitor, March 18, 2024

The entire Palestinian population in Gaza has been declared “acutely food insecure” by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification. “The famine threshold for household acute food insecurity has already been far exceeded,” explained the IPC.

Very belatedly, the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell has declared that Israel is provoking famine in Gaza, and that Israel is using starvation as a weapon of war. What happens now that Borrell has spoken? Palestinians spoke out long before this catastrophe, remember, and — quite intentionally — not a single EU diplomat listened.

What’s more, the statistics seemed to have influenced US Secretary of State Antony Blinken enough to make a statement acknowledging the famine as having affected all Palestinians in Gaza. “This only underscores both the urgency, the imperative, of making this [humanitarian aid] the priority,” Blinken said during a press conference in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. “We need more, we need it to be sustained, and we need it to be a priority if we’re going to effectively address the needs of people.” Of the US halting its weapons exports to Israel, or joining forces to stop Israel’s genocide in Gaza, not a single syllable, never mind word, was uttered.

Israel’s response, of course, was to weaponize starvation even further. As Al Jazeera reported yesterday, the settler-colonial state asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to refrain from issuing emergency orders as requested by South Africa, describing these as “an abuse of procedures”. South Africa’s legal recourse of 6 March, declared Israel’s lawyers, is “wholly unfounded in fact and law, morally repugnant, and represents an abuse both of the Genocide Convention and of the court itself.”

And there you have it in a nutshell: Israel’s twisted logic. The slightest measures to prevent genocide are “morally repugnant.” That tells you all you need to know about Israeli morality. It is probably only a matter of time before the apartheid state deems genocide to be in accordance with international law as long as it suits its own colonial interests…[more]


How Biden’s port in Gaza will help Israel outsource its occupation

Behind the humanitarian facade, Biden’s port plan is about appeasing voters while helping Israel occupy and forcibly displace Gaza

by Emad Moussa, excerpt reposted from The New Arab, March 18, 2024

In his State of the Union speech last week, President Biden announced that the US military will install a temporary port off Gaza’s shore to deliver large shipments of humanitarian aid to the besieged enclave’s 2.2 million people, as Israel continues to block aid.

He promised there would be no boots on the ground in Gaza, adding that Israel, “must also do its part.”

US officials hinted that Biden’s decision had come out of frustration with Netanyahu’s intransigence, amid the White House’s failure to pressure Israel into allowing aid to enter Gaza by land, mainly via the Rafah Crossing with Egypt.

“We are not waiting on the Israelis. This is a moment for American leadership. And we are building a coalition of countries to address this urgent need,” a White House senior official stated.

Israel did not oppose the plan. But reports have emerged revealing that Biden may well be implementing a plan by Netanyahu, not in spite of him.

Two weeks into the Gaza onslaught, Netanyahu discussed with Biden delivering aid to Gaza via a maritime route, provided Israel can inspect the shipments in Cyprus. The Israeli plan was brought up again in late January in a phone call between the two leaders.

What adds to the air of suspicion is that the maritime route seems like a revival of a 2017 plan by Yisrael Katz, now Israel’s Foreign Minister, to establish a seaport island off the Gaza coast to move goods in and out.


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