A MUST READ: The grand Zionist façade

Assertions without substance, prejudice without apology, violence without regret; these are the foundations of the Zionist dream of Israel, writes Shahid Alam*

On 12 January, The New York Times carried an article by David Brooks on Jews and Israel. It so caught my eye that I decided to bring it to my class on the economic history of the Middle East. I sent my students the link to the article and asked them to read it carefully and come to class prepared to discuss and dissect its contents.

My students recalled various parts of the New York Times article, but no one explained its substance. They recalled David Brooks’ focus on the singular intellectual achievements of American Jews, the enviable record of Israeli Jews as innovators and entrepreneurs, the mobility of Israel’s new class of innovators, etc. One student even spoke of what was not in the article or in the history of Jews — centuries of Jewish “struggle” to create a Jewish state in Palestine.

But they offered no insights on Brooks’ motivation.

Why had he decided to brag about Jewish achievements, a temptation normally eschewed by urbane Jews? In my previous class, while discussing Edward Said’s critique of Orientalism, I had discussed how knowledge is suborned by power, how it is perverted by tribalism, and how Western writers crafted their writings about the Middle East to serve the interests of colonial powers. Not surprisingly, this critique had not yet sunk in.

I coaxed my students, asking them directly to explore if David Brooks had an axe (or more than one) to grind. Was there an elephant in the room they had missed? What was the subtext of the op-ed?

At last, one student moved in the direction of the missing elephant. David Brooks had not mentioned the “aid” that Israel had received from the United States. Did my class know how much? Several eyebrows rose when I informed my students that Israel currently receives close to $3 billion in annual grants from the US, not counting official loan guarantees and tax- deductible contributions by private charities. Since its creation, Israel has received more than $240 billion in grants from the US alone.

We had grasped the elephant’s ear, but what about the rest of it, its head, belly, trunk, tail and tusks? My students did not have a clue — at least, so it appeared to me.

My students did not understand — or perhaps did not show it — that no discussion about Israel, especially in the New York Times, could be innocent of political motives. Israel is a contested fact, a colonial-settler state, founded on ethnic cleansing, a state of the world’s Jews, but not of its Arab population. It continues to marginalise its Palestinians “citizens”, to dispossess the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and strangulate them in Gaza.

Supported and coddled by the United States and other Western governments, Israel now faces growing protests from diverse segments of Western civil society. Churches, labour unions, professors, students and other activist groups are calling on corporations and governments to divest from, boycott and sanction Israel. As always, but now more than ever, advocates of Israel continue to manufacture myths, opinions, and “facts” that can cover for its crimes against the Palestinians and other Arabs in its neighbourhood.

Isn’t that what David Brooks was doing, I asked my class, by painting Jews and Israel in the colours of pure glory?

I saw a few nods of recognition. But one student demurred. “Doesn’t everyone glorify his own country? The US too had engaged in ethnic cleansing. What is the difference?”

There are two differences, I submitted. David Brooks is glorifying Israel but he is not Israeli. More to the point, he is glorifying Israel to cover up for Israel’s present and projected crimes against Palestinians. He is covering up for Israeli apartheid that exists here and now.

At this point, many in my class gasped at what they heard. It appeared to be a voice quarried from the past. It was a defence of genocide quite commonly advanced in previous centuries when European settlers were exterminating natives in the Americas, Oceania and Africa. “We had done so much better with the land than the natives.” Occasionally, such repugnant ideas from the past, which we think we have buried forever, leak into public discourse. Perhaps it is good that they do: they remind us that the past is not dead.

David Brooks starts his article with statistics to show that the Jews “are a famously accomplished group”. Do we need to be convinced of the accomplishments of the Jews? Is there anyone who contests this? So why does Brooks feel the need to support this with statistics? “They make up 0.2 per cent of the world population,” he informs us, “but 54 per cent of world chess champions, 27 per cent of Nobel physics laureates and 31 per cent of medicine laureates.” Just in case these comparisons fail to clinch the point, David Brooks offers more comparative statistics.

Does Brooks aim to belabour the point, or is he saying, ‘Look at all the great things we have done for you Gentiles. We are indispensable. Don’t you criticise what we do. Don’t you go against us’? Or does he feel so personally inadequate that this forces him to seek comfort not in Jewish accomplishments — as he claims — but in Jewish superiority?

Alas, the Jews in Israel have not matched the achievements of the Jews in the Diaspora. The Jewish state contains close to 40 per cent of the world’s Jewish population, but very few of the Jewish Nobel laureates are Israelis. Only nine Israelis in 61 years have won the Nobel Prize. If we exclude the three “Peace” laureates — and wouldn’t you, if you knew who they are — that leaves six. Only three of these six were born in Israel, and one was born there while his parents were visiting relatives in Tel Aviv. Hardly a great total. Ireland, with a smaller population, has six Nobel laureates.

David Brooks knows this. “The odd thing,” he writes, “is that Israel has not traditionally been strongest where the Jews in the Diaspora were strongest.” Why has Israel fallen short? Blame it on the Palestinians and the Arabs. “Instead of research and commerce, Israelis were forced to devote their energies to fighting and politics.”

That was in the past, however. Israel is now bubbling over with innovation and entrepreneurship. Tel Aviv is now “one of the world’s foremost entrepreneurial hot spots”. Once again, statistics are offered to establish Israel’s leadership in civilian research and development. Israel’s more ominous leadership in military technology is not mentioned.

Moreover — and this is David Brooks’ point — this technological success “is the fruition of the Zionist dream”. Then follows another piece of chauvinism. Israel was “not founded so stray settlers could sit among thousands of angry Palestinians in Hebron. It was founded so Jews would have a safe place to come together and create things for the world.”

David Brooks disguises Israel’s second round of colonial expansion that began in June 1967 as a diversion from the main goal of Zionism, a distraction created by “stray” settlers in Hebron. The close to half a million Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, supported, financed, and protected by the world’s fourth most powerful military are minimised as “stray” settlers in Hebron, who are a problem only because they are surrounded by “angry” Palestinians.

Israel was founded — David Brooks asserts, invoking the language of Zionism — so Jews could have a “safe place” and create “things for the world”. Has Israel been a safe place for the Jews? Safer than the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, or even the Arab world before 1917, when the Zionist movement gained official sponsorship from Britain? Plausibly, the answer is no.

One must also ask: What “things” has Israel created for the world? What “things” has Israel given to the Arab world, other than wars, massacres, ethnic cleansing, occupation, war crimes, and alibis to its rulers to create repressive regimes? What has it given to that other world — the Western world — that Brooks probably has in mind? Israel has jeopardised the strategic interests of Western powers in the Islamicate. On more than one occasion, it has brought the United States close to nuclear collision with the Soviet Union. The most valuable “things” that Israelis provide to Western powers, to the United States in particular as an occupying power in Iraq and Afghanistan, are the technologies and tactics they have been perfecting while crushing Palestinian resistance. But David Brooks does not wish to talk about that.

Then comes the coup de grace. This is the blow aimed to finish off Brook’s primary target, the Arabs. Jewish and Israeli accomplishments must finally be placed against the terrible paucity of Arab creativity in the sciences, technology and entrepreneurship. Arabs are asked to declare the patents they have registered in the United States. The astronomical gap between Arab and Israeli patents can only have one cause. The Arabs do not have the “tradition of free intellectual exchange and technical creativity”. In true Orientalist style, blame Arab failures on Arab culture.

Ironically, the two countries Brooks picks to make his point — Egypt and Saudi Arabia — are the closest Arab allies of the United States. The US never wags its finger at the despotic monarchy in Saudi Arabia or the repressive dictatorship that has controlled Egypt for decades. The United States works to bring “democracy” only to its enemies.

Yet for all its triumphalism and crude claims of superiority, the New York Times op-ed ends on a disappointing note. Israel’s innovators, the sons of Zionist dreamers, bring no real commitment to Israel. Just a little instability, and they will vote with their feet. “American Jews used to keep a foothold in Israel in case things got bad here. Now Israelis keep a foothold in the US.” As remarkable as it is, Israel’s success is “also highly mobile”.

Is Brooks the great friend of Israel that he must believe he is? All that any one has to do to destroy Israel’s economy, he writes, is “to foment enough instability so the entrepreneurs decide they had better move to Palo Alto, where many of them [Israelis] already have contacts and homes.”

What sad and strange thinking. Perhaps this is what happens when a person gets trapped inside the nightmare that was sold to the Jews as the great Zionist dream. Brooks confirms that this nightmare cannot be saved by Israel’s technological prowess. Apparently, Israel’s greatest success stories — its cutting-edge technology companies — are also footloose. They could be heading for the exits at the first sign of instability.

Technological prowess will not save Jewish apartheid. Nothing will. But Jews can shore up their lives and build a more promising future for themselves by discovering their common humanity with the Arabs, by making amends with the Palestinians, and learning to give back to the Palestinians what they have taken from them over the past nine decades.

The Zionists are prisoners of a bad dream: they must first free themselves — break free from the prison in which they can only play the part of tormentors — if they and especially their Palestinian victims are to live normal lives.

Ref: Al Ahram


* The writer is professor of economics at Northeastern University. He is author of Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilising Logic of Zionism .

Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilising Logic of Zionism

A small band of European Zionists enters the world stage in late 19th century,

determined to create a Jewish state in Palestine. This is their solution to the ‘abnormal’ condition of European Jews, who are without a land and are not a nation. To achieve this, they must seize Palestine; induce Western Jews to become colonists; and, above all, recruit Western powers to adopt their colonial project.

Zionists can only succeed by creating Islamicate enemies; they need resurgent

anti-Semitism to send Jewish colons to Palestine; and they must persuade/coerce the West to stand behind their colonial project. In succeeding, the Zionists merely transplant Jewish abnormality from Europe to the Middle East – and make it worse. In Europe, Jewish-Gentile frictions were local problems; in Israel, ominously, they have come to form the pivot of a global conflict that pits the West against the Islamicate.

Writing about Zionism has not been easy. The history of Zionism is history gone wrong, and not only for the Palestinians. The tragedy for the Palestinians is obvious, although, blinded by racism and the Zionist bias of their media, Westerners only recently have begun to see this tragedy for what it is. It has been a tragedy for the Jewish people too, who were co-opted by the Zionists to place their energy, their talent and their hopes on a project they should never have undertaken, and whose only chance of success lay in obliterating the hopes of another people. The more trapped this project becomes in its own logic, the greater the destruction it becomes willing to wreak. It chooses destruction in order to delay coming to terms with, and making amends for, the tragedy it has spawned.

This Is Zionism?

Bild 4

It had been at least 20 years since I was in New York for a Salute to Israel Parade. But it was a happy coincidence.

I was scheduled to be in New York on Monday for a meeting of the board of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America. I came into the city a day early with my wife and 20 year old daughter to enjoy the parade. My daughter marched with a delegation from the University of Maryland Hillel. My wife and I enjoyed being part of the crowd, hearing the Israeli music and watching the floats and delegations of students from synagogues and schools from all around the area.

After the parade we heard that there was going to be an Israel-themed concert in
Central Park so we decided to attend. It was a shock to the system.

I was not troubled by the fact that the crowd was predominantly Orthodox. I was raised in an Orthodox day school and I do a lot of work with Orthodox institutions under the auspices of PANIM, the organization that I run in Washington D.C. committed to training young Jews for a lifetime of leadership, service and activism.

Then one speaker launched into a tirade about how every American president since Jimmy Carter had betrayed Israel by courting the favor of Arab nations. Applause. Another speaker announced that Hillary Clinton cared more about Palestinian national aspirations than about Israel’s survival. Applause. Candidate for Congress, Elizabeth Berney, slammed Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), chairman of the House Sub-committee on the Middle East for his characterization of Israeli settlement activity in the territories as part of a “destructive dynamic” in the region. More applause.

Then a band launched into a rousing rendition of Am Yisrael Chai. I spent more than 25 years as an activist for Soviet Jewry. This was our theme song signaling solidarity both with the history of our people and with all those oppressed Jews in the world whose cause we championed. A group of young men in their 20’s with kippot and tziztzit were right in front of me dancing in a frenzy. But they alternated the verse that meant “the people of Israel lives” with “all the Arabs must die.” It rhymed with the Hebrew. Given the way all joined in, it was clear that this was not the first time it was sung.

I leaned over to a young man who was next to me, also wearing a kippah and tzitzit. I nodded at the dancers and asked: “Does this song bother you?” He looked at me with a suspicious look and replied: “This is Zionism.”

There were a dozen or so sponsors of the rally including the Zionist Organization of America, Americans for a Safe Israel and the National Council of Young Israel. Rally sponsors cannot control every statement of every speaker and they certainly can not control the actions of those in the audience. Yet the messages from the stage were all in ideological alignment and the MC was generously doling out yasher koachs after each presentation.

The joy of the earlier part of the day changed to outrage and then to deep sadness. I have devoted my entire life to Zionism, Israel and the Jewish people. I ran a Zionist think tank for academics in both Philadelphia and Washington D.C. I brought public officials to Israel as the executive director of the JCRC of Washington D.C. I led Solidarity Missions to Israel during Intifadah II under the auspices of UJC. All three of my children spent a gap year in Israel with Young Judaea Year Course. My organization trains thousands of young people to be proud of their Jewish identity and to be effective advocates for Israel in the public square.

But the Zionism that compels me includes the proposition that a Jewish state will honor the rights of all of its citizens and be true to the prophetic ideals of peace and justice that are elaborated on in the Torah. It does not include anti-Arab sentiments that Israel’s new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, wants to enshrine in Israeli law. It does not include a political stance that is destined to put the government of Israel on a collision course with an Obama Administration that seems committed to bringing about a just settlement to the Middle East conflict that has made Arabs and Jews enemies for more than a century. And it certainly does not include a fervor that turns a Jewish solidarity song into an anthem of prejudice and hate.

Jewish leaders are quick to demand that Muslim clergy condemn the extremism that has hijacked Islam into a religion of terrorism and death. We need to make the same demands of the rabbis of institutions whose students make a chillul hashem (a desecration of God’s name) by singing “all the Arabs must die”.

Finally, Jews who love Israel and who want peace need to ask themselves how we can reclaim the public discourse about the future of the Jewish state. Islam is not the only religion that is in danger of being hijacked.

Ref: Jewish week

Rabbi Sid Schwarz is the founder and president of PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values and the author of Judaism and Justice: The Jewish Passion to Repair the World (Jewish Lights).

Muslim immigrant claims US discrimination – 4 Jun 09 + Many Americans ’still mustrust’ Muslim world

In his landmark speech in Cairo on Thursday, Barack Obama, the US president, called for a “new beginning” with the Muslim world. But inside the US itself, deep suspicion regarding Muslims continues to exist.

Recently Youssef Megahed, an Egyptian immigrant to the US, was put on trial for charges related to “terrorism”. A jury found him innocent but no sooner was he released than the police arrested him again and supporters and family claim he is being discriminated against.

Arabic under fire

A child on Hamas TV talked of annihilating the Jews … or did she?
Memri, the “research institute” which specialises in translating portions of the Arabic media into English, has issued a video clip from a children’s programme on Hamas TV in which it claims that a Palestinian girl talked of becoming a suicide bomber and annihilating the Jews.

Memri – described by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman as “invaluable” – supplies translations free of charge to journalists, politicians and others, particularly in the US.

Though Memri claims to be “independent” and maintains that it does not “advocate causes or take sides”, it is run by Yigal Carmon, a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence. Carmon’s partner in setting up Memri was Meyrav Wurmser who in 1996 was one of the authors of the now-infamous “Clean Break” document which proposed reshaping Israel’s “strategic environment” in the Middle East, starting with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

In the Hamas video clip issued by Memri, a Mickey Mouse lookalike asks a young girl what she will do “for the sake of al-Aqsa”. Apparently trying to prompt an answer, the mouse makes a rifle-firing gesture and says “I’ll shoot”.

The child says: “I’m going to draw a picture.”

Memri’s translation ignores this remark and instead quotes the child (wrongly) as saying: “I’ll shoot.”

Pressed further by the mouse – “What are we going to do?” – the girl replies in Arabic: “Bidna nqawim.” The normal translation of this would be “We’re going to [or want to] resist” but Memri’s translation puts a more aggressive spin on it: “We want to fight.”

The mouse continues: “What then?”

According to Memri, the child replies: “We will annihilate the Jews.”

The sound quality on the clip is not very good, but I have listened to it several times (as have a number of native Arabic speakers) and we can hear no word that might correspond to “annihilate”.

What the girl seems to say is: “Bitokhoona al-yahood” – “The Jews will shoot us” or “The Jews are shooting us.”

This is followed by further prompting – “We are going to defend al-Aqsa with our souls and blood, or are we not?”

Again, the girl’s reply is not very clear, but it’s either: “I’ll become a martyr” or “We’ll become martyrs.”

In the context of the conversation, and in line with normal Arab-Islamic usage, martyrdom could simply mean being killed by the Israelis’ shooting. However, Memri’s translation of the sentence – “I will commit martyrdom” turns it into a deliberate act on the girl’s part, and Colonel Carmon has since claimed that it refers to suicide bombers.

The overall effect of this is to change a conversation about resistance and sacrifice into a picture of unprovoked and seemingly motiveless aggression on the part of the Palestinians. But why hype the content in this way? Hamas’s use of children’s TV for propaganda purposes is clearly despicable, as the BBC, the Guardian and others have noted, without any need to exaggerate its content.

Among those misled by Memri’s “translation” was Glenn Beck of CNN, who had planned to run it on his radio programme, until his producer told him to stop. Beck informed listeners this was because CNN’s Arabic department had found “massive problems” with it.

Instead of broadcasting the tape, Beck then invited Carmon on to the programme and gave him a platform to denounce CNN’s Arabic department, and in particular to accuse one of its staff, Octavia Nasr, of being ignorant about the language.

Carmon related a phone conversation he had had with Ms Nasr:

She said the sentence where it says [in Memri’s translation] “We are going to … we will annihilate the Jews”, she said: “Well, our translators hear something else. They hear ‘The Jews are shooting at us’.”

I said to her: “You know, Octavia, the order of the words as you put it is upside down. You can’t even get the order of the words right. Even someone who doesn’t know Arabic would listen to the tape and would hear the word ‘Jews’ is at the end, and also it means it is something to be done to the Jews, not by the Jews.”

And she insisted, no the word is in the beginning. I said: “Octavia, you just don’t get it. It is at the end” … She didn’t know one from two, I mean.

Carmon’s words succeeded in bamboozling Glenn “Israel shares my values” Beck, who told him: “This is amazing to me … I appreciate all of your efforts. I appreciate what you do at Memri, it is important work.

It was indeed amazing, because in defending Memri’s translation, Carmon took issue not only with CNN’s Arabic department but also with all the Arabic grammar books. The word order in a typical Arabic sentence is not the same as in English: the verb comes first and so a sentence in Arabic which literally says “Are shooting at us the Jews” means “The Jews are shooting at us”.

I have written about Memri’s tweaking of translations before. One example was its manipulation of Osama bin Laden’s speech on the eve of the last American presidential election (details here, at the end of the article). Another was an Egyptian newspaper’s interview with the mufti of Jerusalem. Memri’s translators changed the question: “How do you deal with the Jews who are besieging al-Aqsa and are scattered around it?” to “How do you feel about the Jews?” They then heavily edited the mufti’s words to give an anti-semitic-sounding reply to the new question.

The curious thing about all this is that Memri’s translations are usually accurate (though it is highly selective in what it chooses to translate and often removes things from their original context). When errors do occur, it’s difficult to attribute them to incompetence or accidental lapses. As in the case of the children’s TV programme, there appears to be a political motive.

The effect of this is to devalue everything Memri translates – good and bad alike. Responsible news organisations can’t rely on anything it says without going back and checking its translations against the original Arabic.

Ref: Guardian

Michael Savage Savage spews vicious anti-Muslim hate speech on his national radio show.

* To “save the United States,” lawmakers should institute “outright ban on Muslim immigration” and on “the construction of mosques.”

* “90 percent of the people on the Nobel Committee are into child pornography and molestation, according to the latest scientific studies.”

* The U.S. Senate is “more vicious and more histrionic than ever, specifically because women have been injected into” it.

* Adherents of Islam would do well to “take your religion and shove it up your behind” because “I’m sick of you.”

*Ref: Mediamouse

: a

National radio!!!
Welcome to US racist A!
What a sick, racist and commercialised country!
Allah, buddha, shiva and all you Gods out there but the
american God – help us by saving us from them!

: a

The End Of The Matter – muslims becoming christian reborns program

Dear Friend, Islam leaves you high and dry with no way to deal with the corruptions of your heart here on earth or the record of your sins in heaven. It does not build a bridge between you and God. It does not have a mediator who is both God and man. With no Savior and no atonement, it can never give you any sure hope of heaven.
But all these things are found in the Gospel. Stop right now and ask Jesus to be your Mediator. Ask Him to come into your heart as your Lord and Savior. Receive forgiveness through His atoning work. Pray this simple prayer.

Lord Jesus, I ask you to reveal Yourself to me. Save me and cleanse me of my sins. Pay off my debt to God. Come into my heart and save me from hell and make a home in heaven for me. I acknowledge that you are the Son of God and that you died on the cross for me.
If you prayed this prayer, you have become a child of God by faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus has now cleared your record in heaven and the Holy Spirit will now come into your heart to deal with the corruptions found in it. God is no longer distant and far off. He is your Father and you are his child. Welcome to the family of God!

Contact us so we can share your joy.

Contact Robert Morey at: Faith Defenders
PO Box 7447
Orange, CA 92863
http://www.faithdefenders.com

Ref: Chick

What happened at Haditha?

Battle For Haditha UK DVD Trailer

Eyewitness reportage about haditha massacre

What happened at Haditha?

Haditha is an agricultural community of about 90,000 people on the banks of the Euphrates north-west of Baghdad.
It lies in the huge western province of Anbar, which became the heartland of the insurgency after US-led troops invaded Iraq in 2003.

It was a dangerous place for the US marines who control this part of Iraq – and for the inhabitants, caught between insurgents and American troops.

On the morning of 19 November 2005, the Subhani neighbourhood was the scene of an event that was then a regular occurrence – a roadside bomb targeting a US patrol.

It killed 20-year-old Lance Corp Miguel (“TJ”) Terrazas, driving one of four Humvee vehicles in the patrol, and injured two other marines.

A simple US military statement hinted at the bloody chain of events that the attack started – though subsequent scrutiny showed it to be far from the truth.

It said: “A US marine and 15 civilians were killed yesterday from the blast of a roadside bomb in Haditha.

“Immediately following the bombing, gunmen attacked the convoy with small arms fire. Iraqi army soldiers and marines returned fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding another.”

Video footage

The tragedy of Haditha may have been left at that – just another statistic of “war-torn” Iraq – a place too dangerous to be reported properly by journalists, where openness is not in the interests of political and military circles, and the sheer scale of death numbs the senses.

However, the following day a self-styled local journalist and human-rights activist, Taher Thabet al-Hadithi, got his video camera out and filmed scenes that – whatever they were – were not the aftermath of a roadside bombing.

Haditha is considered hostile territory for US marines
The bodies of women and children, still in their nightclothes, apparently shot in their own homes; interior walls and ceilings peppered with bullet holes; bloodstains on the floor.

A couple of months later, Mr Hadithi’s tape was passed to the US newsmagazine Time, which published an account based on the footage.

The magazine also handed a copy of the tape to US military commanders in Baghdad, who initiated a preliminary investigation.

See differing accounts of Haditha deaths
Following their findings, the official version was changed to say that, after the roadside bombing, the 15 civilians had been accidentally shot by marines during a gun fight with insurgents.

Nevertheless, on 9 March 2006 the top US commanders in Baghdad began a criminal investigation, led by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS).

On 7 April three officers in charge of troops in Haditha were also stripped of their command and reassigned.

‘Pretended to die’

Eyewitness accounts suggest that comrades of TJ Terrazas, far from coming under enemy fire, went on the rampage in Haditha after his death.

A US soldier came in and shot at us, I pretended to be dead and he didn’t notice me
Safa Younis
Twelve-year-old Safa Younis appears on video saying she was in one of three houses where troops came in and indiscriminately killed family members.

“They knocked at our front door and my father went to open it. They shot him dead from behind the door and then they shot him again,” she says in the video.

“Then one American soldier came in and shot at us all. I pretended to be dead and he didn’t notice me.”

There were eight bodies in the house, including Safa’s five siblings, aged between two and 14.

In another house seven people including a child and his 70-year-old grandfather were killed. Four brothers aged 41 to 24 died in a third house. Eyewitnesses said they were forced into a wardrobe and shot.

In the street, US troops gunned down four students and a taxi driver they had stopped at a roadblock set up after the bombing.

According to a witness, they were shot by the side of the road, as they stood with their hands on their heads.

Trials and inquiries

Events in Haditha have been the subject of several official investigations as well as criminal charges against some members of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment alleged to have carried out the killings.

Sgt Wuterich was the last man to have murder charges dropped
The alleged ringleader, Sgt Frank Wuterich, 28, was charged with voluntary manslaughter while L/Cpl Stephen Tatum was changed with involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.

Murder charges were dismissed against all the marines from Kilo Company, including Sgt Sanick Dela Cruz, who was granted immunity in exchange for giving evidence to the military court.

The defendants have stuck to their initial account, that the dead were either assailants or civilians killed unwittingly in the crossfire.

Their supporters in the US have accused Mr Hadithi of being an insurgent himself, and distorting or actually fabricating the evidence.

Meanwhile, the US-backed Iraqi government launched its own inquiry, saying there was a limit to the “acceptable excuses” by the US military for causing civilian deaths, in this as well as a string of other high-profile cases in Iraq.

A report by the US military in Iraq found that senior marine commanders had been negligent in their failure to properly investigate the Haditha killings, and four officers were initially charged with dereliction and failing to report and investigate the killings.

Two had their charges dismissed by a military court in the US, but Lt Col Jeffrey Chessani became the most senior US serviceman since the Vietnam War to face a court martial for actions in combat.

Ref. BBC