Saturday, June 26

Human Rights and Human Rights Activists in the Middle East

Over the last three weeks we witnessed the flotilla debacle and condemnation of Israel for the deaths of 9 Turkish citizens because of Israeli Commando action in a botched operation to prevent the Nawe Marmara from entering the territorial waters of Gaza.

Israel had become the polecat of the world and hardly a country supported Israel's actions. Despite this, one can say that the motive was achieved - a partial easing of the siege on Gaza and the allowing of essential goods to enter. Ironically had there not been the Gaza bound flotillas, there would not have been the easing of restrictions on essential goods, let alone lifting of the siege.

Collective punishment against the citizens of Gaza never achieved the release of Gilad Shalit, the captive Israeli soldier; it only increased the price for his release. Apart from that, it also strengthened Hamas resilience. They also made a large profit from goods smuggled illegally via tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border.

A question mark remains as to whether the human rights activists on the ship were aware of the presence of the IHH terrorist group on the Gaza bound flotilla. This is not clear and there are many conflicting reports.

Nevertheless, most of these human rights activists aligned themselves with the left. The left is often associated with communism which has an anti-religious ideology. How does this fit in with Islamist fanatic religiosity with which they have aligned themselves. This is paradoxical as they see themselves fighting for human rights of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation as well as the lifting of the siege on Gaza and strengthening the legitimacy of Hamas. The former was partially achieved and time will tell as to its significance.

On the other hand, these human rights activists had also served the interests of Hamas, Hezbollah, IHH and the Ahmadinajad regime of Iran. These organizations are not concerned with human rights of the Palestinians - on the contrary, they are oppressive regimes who show no mercy towards people who oppose them. Hamas should end its attacks on political opponents and suspected collaborators in Gaza, which have killed at least 32 Palestinians and maimed several dozen more during and since the recent Israeli military offensive, Human Rights Watch called on Hamas authorities in Gaza to hold those responsible accountable.

The 26-page report, "Under Cover of War: Hamas Political Violence in Gaza," documents a pattern since late December 2008 of arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, maiming by shooting, and extrajudicial executions by alleged members of Hamas security forces. The report is based on interviews with victims and witnesses in Gaza and case reports by Palestinian human rights groups.

Beatings, abuse of women, shooting Fatah supporters in the legs as was witnessed in Gaza when Hamas took over are all part of their stock in trade to remain in power by eradicating opposition to their rule. The indefinite holding of Gilad Shalit is also human rights abuse and is illegal. He has been held for four years now and even the Red Cross has been denied visiting rights to see him. Why do these so-called human rights activists not mention this in their concern for human rights abuses?

How this dovetails into the human rights activists’ sense of morality remains a serious question that deserves an answer. Their "human rights" activities are playing into the hands of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East and are giving legitimacy to terror which is not only directed against Israel but also the West.

It makes one wonder as to the seriousness of their intentions when they have the support of these anti-democratic regimes in the Middle East. Has the world forgotten the ill-fated Iranian opposition to Ahmadinajad's forged election? A certain amount of legitimacy has been given to these Islamic terrorist organizations by human rights activists who identify with the suffering of the Gaza Palestinians by default.

Now there are threats of sending more flotillas from Lebanon, Iran and Turkey. It is not known for certainty whether these ships will carry arms and terrorist cells. The sweet coating on the Gaza bound flotillas will naturally be more naive human rights activists! It is sad that these people will once more be manipulated to bolster terrorism.

The terrorist organizations did not succeed in carrying out the "ethnic cleansing" of Israel by Quassam rocket fire, suicide, bombings and other forms of terror and have adopted a new tactic - manipulation of human rights activists to delegitimize Israel! They intend to do this by cynical propaganda based on lies and fantasies. It is not about concern for alleviating Palestinian suffering which does not interest them. The power players' circle is widening. The core is pseudo - Nazi Islamist, racist, terrorist organizations which are interested in dominating the Middle East. Naïve human rights activists with good intentions are excellent material that adds legitimacy to their evil intentions of domination. The siege on Gaza, as ineffective and morally questionable as it is, is a great starting point for these evil terrorist organizations to begin. Israel had created the blockade of Gaza as the starting point and because of international pressure has now rescinded it.

The capture of Gilad Shalit by Hamas and the high demands for his release is all part of their evil strategy. Even the Hamas prisoners sitting in Israeli jails have no chance of release in a prisoner exchange that does not materialize. Hamas also does not seem to be concerned about the Palestinian families who also wish to see members of their families released and returned to their homes in exchange for Gilad Shalit. It is a political power game. Gilad Shalit and the Palestinian prisoners are paying the price for Hamas folly.

If the Hamas regime really cared about the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, they would have clinched a deal for Gilad Shalit's release in a prisoner exchange long time ago.

Where are the human activists in East Jerusalem? Why are they not protesting the demolition of 22 Palestinian homes in Silwan in order to make way for a tourism centre? Their energies would be better spent there in protesting forced removals of Palestinian residents who have been living there for generations.

What about those Palestinian students who are citizens studying overseas for a profession? If they leave Israel for more than seven years they lose their right of return even though they were born in Jerusalem. Why are there no human rights activists to plead their justified cause for the right of return? On the other hand, Jewish Israelis and even Diaspora Jews can always return no matter how long they have been out of the country. Is this just? Even Israel has moral inconsistencies despite the claim of being the only democracy in the Middle East. Many Jewish immigrants (by no means all) arriving in Israel under the guise of the "Law of Return" have nothing to contribute and bring with them problems of alcoholism, drug addiction, trafficking in women, and broken families. Surely, educated Palestinians born in Israel, and whose families have lived here for many generations but were away for long periods of study overseas are a far more positive element. Why should they be denied entry?

These cases are in need of human rights activists rather than their alliance, unbecomingly or not, with extremist Islamist terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah and IHH which is just a small step from Al Qaeda and their ilk.

These so-called organizations are viewed as champions of the Palestinian cause for freedom from the Israeli occupation. Nothing could be further from the truth than that assumption and its cynical use of human rights activists.

Saturday, June 12

An International Inquiry on the Gaza bound Flotilla Fiasco is essential

What occurred on the high seas off Gaza was a terrible tragedy - a botched up Israel Commando operation that resulted in a severe diplomatic relations crisis with Turkey and unanimous condemnation of Israel throughout the world.

No matter how one views this flotilla fiasco leaving 9 dead and scores injured, including Israeli Commando soldiers, it has further ruined Israel's credibility and no matter what Israeli spokesmen say concerning the operation, will not lessen the hostility towards Israel. Israeli spokesmen are on the defense of Israel's actions. They emphasize Israel's right of defense and that the world is now carrying out a vendetta to delegitimize Israel based on modern anti-Semitism - an offshoot of traditional anti-Semitism which the Jews in the Diaspora suffered for generations.

Is it possible that under all the hubris surrounding this debacle, that assessment may be correct?

Israel pundits and professional PR spokesmen are giving reasons for Israeli Commando actions but it is ignored. It seems that nothing can justify Israel's actions internationally. This incident has once again proved that the use of force is counter productive as well as being morally questionable.

Israel had good relations with Turkey and this seems to be shattered beyond repair.

Is Israel's right to exist in question? Is it Israel's attitude to world opinion on the occupation and the blockade of Gaza that has resulted in this vendetta against Israel? There are many questions but no straightforward answers as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complicated by so many problems that raise emotional responses which defy rationality on all sides.

According to Aluf Benn of Haaretz in a thought provoking report, Erdogan of Turkey is striving for pan-Islamism and Netanyahu is trying to hold off the rest of the world while nurturing a Jewish Israeliness that hates minorities and foreigners, the clash was inevitable. Benn went on to write that the flotilla crisis exposed the prejudices and stereotypes that had been kept hidden during the years of friendship: anti-Semitic stereotypes in Turkey and Israel disdain for Muslims and their culture.

When one views the situation objectively, it does not take much imagination to realize that the Israeli leadership has chosen the worst people possible to represent Israel's interests to the world. Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, with his extreme right wing views tinged with his hate for the Arab people and the left is playing its part in destroying any positive image that Israel may still have. LIEBERMAN MUST GO! Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak is not even prepared to talk to him because of Lieberman's provocative statements made against him.

Apart from Lieberman's racism, there is also Shas Party racism coming from the mouth of Interior Minister Eli Yishai against Arabs, foreign workers and other non-Jews who he views as a danger to the Jewish people's identity. The right wing parties in the Netanyahu government are anti-Arab and anti-foreigner. They are an obstacle towards any peace agreement with the Palestinians. The rhetoric of Michael Ben Ari an extremist pseudo-Kahanist Knesset Member in the coalition is an example. There are many others.

If this is the best calibre of people that Israel can put forward to represent Israel's interests then it is very sad.

On the other hand, there are so-called left wing human rights supporters present on the flotilla whose agenda is to delegitimize Israel under cover of aid to the beleaguered people of Gaza. This can be seen as a strange alliance with the most repressive regimes in the world. They are giving legitimacy to Hamas tyranny not only against Israel but also against the Palestinian people of Gaza who through poor judgment had elected them to power in 2006. The tyrannical behavior of Hamas is conveniently overlooked for the sake of hypocritical expediency. This alliance of left wing humanitarians with repressive regimes such as Iran and terrorist organizations such as Hamas and IHH legitimizes terrorist Islamic terrorist organizations as well as the most heinous repressive anti-democratic regimes in the Middle East.

Iranian tyranny under the appalling Ahmadinajad regime with its poor and repressive human rights record has become an ally of these flotilla "peace seekers". Turkey also has climbed the bandwagon of whipping Israel with hate. MEAWHILE IT SEEMS THAT THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATHS OF 9 TURKISH CITIZENS WERE THE I.H.H PROVOCATION AGAINST THE ISRAELI COMMANDOS.

This is where it would be prudent to investigate the role and financial resources for the training of I.H.H. Also the cache of primitive weapons found on the Mave Marmara. Turkey's role in this should also be investigated to establish the truth. It was a planned attack on Israel's Commandos. The flotilla human rights groups legitimized Hamas and to a certain extent Iran's Ahmadinajad and denigrated Israel internationally even to the point of deligitimization!

It would be appropriate that an international inquiry be instituted to investigate the cause of the violence. It should be headed by internationally renowned jurists from Israel, Turkey, the US and other countries whose citizens were involved in the flotilla. These jurists should have impeccable reputations of impartiality to ensure transparency and fairness. All parties involved should cooperate with this investigation and no stone should be left unturned to arrive at the truth which is in everybody's interest. Those responsible for the provocation and deaths ought to be brought to justice.

To date Israel and the US agreed on the nature of the Israeli investigative committee that will investigate the Israeli Commando takeover of the Gaza bound flotilla. The point is whether it will be able to come to conclusions that will have credibility. I personally doubt it. Maybe the judicial commission should be more widely represented than that envisaged by Israel and the US.

Whatever conclusions are drawn from this tragic incident will not make much difference to the world attitude towards Israel. Israel must cooperate in finding a way to lift the Gaza blockade and allow non-military goods to enter Gaza. There should be a UN or NATO force patrolling the sea around Gaza to ensure that no weapons of any kind is smuggled into Gaza which would endanger Israel's security since the ruling Hamas tyranny has declared war on Israel and seeks Israel's total destruction - an irrefutable fact made even more convincing by Hamas rhetoric over the years and in the Hamas manifesto. This also coincides with Ahmadinajad's hateful speeches against Israel. It is unfortunate that those people who empathize strongly with the people of Gaza and claim to be peaceful human rights peace activists on board the flotilla refuse to accept this.

The bottom line underlying the cause of it all is the non-ending Israeli-Palestinian Conflict which is based on a number of factors:

  1. The continuing occupation of Israel with its colonization of Palestinian lands with Israeli settlers
  2. The ongoing 1948 Palestinian refugee problem defies a solution.
  3. Even if Israel does withdraw to the pre-June 1967 borders there will still be extremist Palestinian groups who will demand Israel's total destruction and will never accept Israel's right to exist let alone negotiate a peace treaty.

The world should be aware that Israel has a very severe existential problem, which is also a security problem with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Iran under Ahmadinajad and maybe even Turkey that is supporting the I.H.H terrorist group.

Despite all these serious problems facing Israel there is still no excuse for justifying the occupation and Israel's colonization of occupied Palestinian lands with religious Zealots justifying their activities using the Tanah as their link to the "Greater land of Israel".

If Hamas is prepared to change its attitude and is prepared to accept Israel's right to exist as well as renounce terror, Israel must be prepared to negotiate with them and any agreement must include the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier, who has been held incommunicado for over 4 years.

One must bear in mind that the key to moving the peace process forward lies in the hands of Hamas no less than Israel - probably even more so than Fatah. There is no other option possible to break the deadlock. The two state solution is really the only game in town provided all parties to the conflict are prepared to work together to get there.

Wednesday, June 2

Lifting the Gaza Blockade

Maze cartoon of the Gaza Flotilla. The boat leaves in its wake violence, diplomatic crisis, sympathy for terrorist, lies, and of course an Israeli PR overhaul. Created by Yonatan Frimer

A flotilla of ships arrived just beyond the territorial waters of Gaza. What was their intention? Was it a true demonstration of identity for the people of Gaza or was it a provocation against Israel by a group of terrorists? Did the latter under sponsorship of IHH, Hamas and Iran make use of innocent peace loving passengers as pawns in their manipulation of world opinion against Israel? If the latter was the case, they certainly succeeded.

The ships were sponsored by the IHH (Insanni Yardim Vakfi humanitarian relief fund.) This is a radical Islamic organization established in 1992 and formally registered in Istanbul in 1995. It is headed by Bülent Yildirim. IHH, which plays a central role in organizing the flotilla to the Gaza Strip, is a Turkish humanitarian relief fund with a radical Islamic anti-Western orientation. Besides its legitimate philanthropic activities, it supports radical Islamic networks, including Hamas, and at least in the past, even global jihad elements.

The Europeans who supported the flotilla meant well but they were very naïve and did not fathom the consequences and dangers. The goods destined for the people of Gaza could land in the hands of Hamas and not in the hands of those to whom it is intended. This has happened in the past. One must also remember that Hamas is a terrorist organization that has been responsible for many acts of terror against innocent Israeli citizens whether by suicide bombings or the firing of Qassam rockets into Israeli towns in the south of Israel.

While nobody denies the rights of the people of Gaza to a decent quality of life and their basic human rights, those who so-called sponsor Gaza in its cause against the occupation are the most reactionary anti-democratic Islamic regimes in the world. Iran with its history of human rights abuse, beatings, and rapes against those Iranians who oppose the evil Ahmadinajad regime and racism against Israel's people is no safeguard or promoter of human rights in Gaza.

President Ahmadinajad has his own agenda for dominating the Middle East. He does not care for the Palestinians any more than does Israel - maybe even less. It serves his evil agenda to create unrest and promote strife in Gaza. His nuclear programme does not render Palestinians immune from Iranian nuclear fallout should he attack Israel using nuclear weapons when Iran has the nuclear capability in the future. His nuclear threats are there to enhance his influence and power mongering in the Middle East. Ahmadinajad wishes to dominate the Middle East and he is forming alliances with Hamas and Hezbollah as a starting point to achieve his wicked aims. The flotilla is one of the instruments to achieve that and it looks as if the world has fallen for that ruse.

Gaza deserves freedom - true freedom - freedom from Hamas tyranny and its Iranian backers as well as freedom from Israeli domination. This means the end of blockades and allowing non-military supplies to enter Gaza. One must face a realistic situation. There is a large amount of weapon smuggling reaching Gaza's shores from Iran. This poses a danger to Israel as it lands in the hands of Hamas and its terrorist allies. This has to be prevented and if there were a peace treaty between Israel and its Palestinian neighbours that would ensure that blockades would be ended.

To date there is no indication that Hamas is willing to negotiate a peace treaty with Israel or recognize Israel's right to exist. This suits Iran down to the ground as they stoke the fire without going to the brink at this stage. To date it seems that Turkey is aligning itself with Iran as well.

It is obvious that this flotilla of ships is not serving the interests of the Palestinians but the Hamas tyranny. The latter are experts at making cynical use of this flotilla for their own purposes and the Palestinian people are not part of their agenda. I thought that I understood the motive for the flotilla that its aim was peaceful and I did give it tacit support until I learned the hard truth that its aim was not peaceful or in the interests of the people of Gaza whose conditions are shocking. The stockpile of crude weapons and the loutish behaviour of the IHH terrorists on board made me realize how the passengers were so cynically mislead and ill informed.

The flotilla arrived and the Israeli Commando boarded the ship, Nave Mamara. They were welcomed with clubs, beatings, lynchings and stabbings as well as sporadic pistol fire. The TV footage was horrifying and this lead many of us to ask questions as to whether the flotilla of ships were really peace ships as they claimed. Those peace people who boarded the ship from many European countries were cynically used by IHH, Hamas and Iran in order to create a provocation. The way the IHH terrorists behaved proves that they had undergone some training for a confrontation with Israeli Commandos. It was obvious that a confrontation with the Israeli Commandos was expected and this occurred with tragic consequences. Primitive weapons, iron bars, knives and clubs were found on the ships as well. They succeeded to surprise the Israeli soldiers and some were even injured. Nine people were killed in the incident and over 40 people were wounded.

This was no peace flotilla! If it were, it would not have responded with such brutal violence. The passengers were used as pawns by IHH, Hamas, Iran and sadly also the Turkish regime under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, under the guise of a “peace ship”, with a mission to alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza against the Israeli occupation and blockade.

As an Israeli who yearns for peace and who opposes the occupation, I do sense a double standard here. There is no doubt that the Israeli Commando operation was ill timed, badly organized and resulted in unnecessary deaths because the Israeli intelligence was faulty and incomplete. The tragic results served the interests of the evil players who organized the flotilla of “peace ships” to Gaza. It brought about a widespread condemnation of Israel for the tragedy that occurred. It must be emphasized that IHH and its Hamas and Ahmadinajad regime backers have an agenda of delegitimizing Israel and the cynical use of innocent naive peace ideology passengers as pawns in the name of peace is so obvious. A great tactic to whip Israel was achieved with success as world condemnation of Israel gains momentum at an astonishing rate. The terrorists did not succeed with the firing of Qassam and Katyusha rockets into Israel but have succeeded by using a flotilla of “peace ships”. Surely this is a crime against humanity!

I wonder how the Turkish Government would respond had the Kurds launched a flotilla into the Bosporus on its way to Istanbul with goods intended for the PKK. No doubt the Turkish Security Forces would respond mercilessly and sink the ship without questions asked. What would the Russians do if the Georgians launched a ship containing weapons or the Chechnyans for that matter destined for Russian shores under the guise of peace ships? The Russians have no history of mercy for anybody infiltrating into their territorial waters for smuggling goods or weapons. Why is Israel forbidden to defend her citizens especially as the goods intended for the people of Gaza would land in the hands of Hamas and not in the hands of the poor people of Gaza? Hamas is not a humane regime nor is democracy part of their lexicon. It is a racist, terrorist regime which has managed by stealth and lies to gain the support of NGO human rights groups even though it is allied closer to fascist, autocratic ideologies imbued with a blind, extremist, Islamist outlook.

Surely there is hypocrisy in the attitude of many of the world’s leaders towards Israel’s actions against the “peace flotilla” sponsored by the world’s most notorious terrorist groups such as Hamas under the sponsorship of the evil Ahmadinajad regime and of late the Erdogan Turkish regime.

Another problem regarding Israel is the occupation. Israel has captured territory after the Six Day War of June 1967, and colonized it for settlement by Israeli settlers. The Israeli settlers have also behaved very badly towards their Palestinian neighbours. They have destroyed much of their agricultural land for building palatial homes for themselves. They have also demolished Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and do not intend to withdraw from the territories captured. Human rights groups always have sympathy for the underdog and in this case, it is the Palestinians under Israeli occupation. I mention this in order that we can get a sense of proportion as to why Israel is becoming a pole cat in the eyes of the free world. The Israelis are viewed as the victors and the Palestinians are the victims. Colonialism today is not tolerated and the Israeli Government under the Netanyahu-Lieberman-Barak Axis has moved towards the right and this is destructive for Israel. This is really the reason for Israel’s poor standing in the world today.