GAZA FREEDOM FLOTILLA: Brave Israeli Commandos Slaughter Aid Activists at Sea

Even America’s major media can’t duck a crime this grave – attacking and slaughtering up to 20 Gaza Freedom Flotilla activists and injuring dozens more.

New York Times writer Isabel Kershner headlined “At Least 10 Killed as Israel Intercepts Aid Flotilla, saying:

“The Israeli Navy raided a flotilla carrying thousands of tons of supplies for Gaza in international waters on Monday morning….The incident drew widespread international condemnation, with Israeli envoys summoned to explain their country’s actions in several European countries….The killings also coincided with preparations for a planned visit to Washington on Tuesday (June 1) by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Late word is it’s postponed.

Read more at SteveLendmanBlog

ISRAHELL BANALITY UPDATE: Not guilty. The Israeli captain who emptied his rifle into a Palestinian schoolgirl

An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday.

The soldier, who has only been identified as “Captain R”, was charged with relatively minor offences for the killing of Iman al-Hams who was shot 17 times as she ventured near an Israeli army post near Rafah refugee camp in Gaza a year ago.

The manner of Iman’s killing, and the revelation of a tape recording in which the captain is warned that she was just a child who was “scared to death”, made the shooting one of the most controversial since the Palestinian intifada erupted five years ago even though hundreds of other children have also died.

After the verdict, Iman’s father, Samir al-Hams, said the army never intended to hold the soldier accountable.

“They did not charge him with Iman’s murder, only with small offences, and now they say he is innocent of those even though he shot my daughter so many times,” he said. “This was the cold-blooded murder of a girl. The soldier murdered her once and the court has murdered her again. What is the message? They are telling their soldiers to kill Palestinian children.”

The military court cleared the soldier of illegal use of his weapon, conduct unbecoming an officer and perverting the course of justice by asking soldiers under his command to alter their accounts of the incident.

Capt R’s lawyers argued that the “confirmation of the kill” after a suspect is shot was a standard Israeli military practice to eliminate terrorist threats.

Following the verdict, Capt R burst into tears, turned to the public benches and said: “I told you I was innocent.”

The army’s official account said that Iman was shot for crossing into a security zone carrying her schoolbag which soldiers feared might contain a bomb. It is still not known why the girl ventured into the area but witnesses described her as at least 100 yards from the military post which was in any case well protected.

A recording of radio exchanges between Capt R and his troops obtained by Israeli television revealed that from the beginning soldiers identified Iman as a child.

In the recording, a soldier in a watchtower radioed a colleague in the army post’s operations room and describes Iman as “a little girl” who was “scared to death”. After soldiers first opened fire, she dropped her schoolbag which was then hit by several bullets establishing that it did not contain explosive. At that point she was no longer carrying the bag and, the tape revealed, was heading away from the army post when she was shot.

Although the military speculated that Iman might have been trying to “lure” the soldiers out of their base so they could be attacked by accomplices, Capt R made the decision to lead some of his troops into the open. Shortly afterwards he can be heard on the recording saying that he has shot the girl and, believing her dead, then “confirmed the kill”.

“I and another soldier … are going in a little nearer, forward, to confirm the kill … Receive a situation report. We fired and killed her … I also confirmed the kill. Over,” he said.

Palestinian witnesses said they saw the captain shoot Iman twice in the head, walk away, turn back and fire a stream of bullets into her body.

On the tape, Capt R then “clarifies” to the soldiers under his command why he killed Iman: “This is commander. Anything that’s mobile, that moves in the [security] zone, even if it’s a three-year-old, needs to be killed.”

At no point did the Israeli troops come under attack.

The prosecution case was damaged when a soldier who initially said he had seen Capt R point his weapon at the girl’s body and open fire later told the court he had fabricated the story.

Capt R claimed that he had not fired the shots at the girl but near her. However, Dr Mohammed al-Hams, who inspected the child’s body at Rafah hospital, counted numerous wounds. “She has at least 17 bullets in several parts of the body, all along the chest, hands, arms, legs,” he told the Guardian shortly afterwards. “The bullets were large and shot from a close distance. The most serious injuries were to her head. She had three bullets in the head. One bullet was shot from the right side of the face beside the ear. It had a big impact on the whole face.”

The army’s initial investigation concluded that the captain had “not acted unethically”. But after some of the soldiers under his command went to the Israeli press to give a different version, the military police launched a separate investigation after which he was charged.

Capt R claimed that the soldiers under his command were out to get him because they are Jewish and he is Druze.

The transcript

The following is a recording of a three-way conversation that took place between a soldier in a watchtower, an army operations room and Capt R, who shot the girl

From the watchtower [three-way conversation between watchtower soldier, the operations room in another location, and finally, Captain R, the officer on the ground near watchtower “It’s a little girl. She’s running defensively eastward.” “Are we talking about a girl under the age of 10?” “A girl about 10, she’s behind the embankment, scared to death.” “I think that one of the positions took her out.” “I and another soldier … are going in a little nearer, forward, to confirm the kill … Receive a situation report. We fired and killed her … I also confirmed the kill. Over.”

From the operations room “Are we talking about a girl under the age of 10?”

Watchtower “A girl about 10, she’s behind the embankment, scared to death.”

A few minutes later, Iman is shot from one of the army posts

Watchtower “I think that one of the positions took her out.”

Captain R “I and another soldier … are going in a little nearer, forward, to confirm the kill … Receive a situation report. We fired and killed her … I also confirmed the kill. Over.”

Capt R then “clarifies” why he killed Iman

“This is commander. Anything that’s mobile, that moves in the zone, even if it’s a three-year-old, needs to be killed. Over.”

• This article was amended on 1 September 2010, to make explicit that the opening watchtower conversation is between three participants.

WORLD PRESS IMAGES FROM GAZA & WEST BANK

WORLD PRESS PHOTO CONTEST 2010

ALSO SEE THE PHOTO SERIE  “Gaza – landscape of destruction”

ISRAHELL: The Gaza Massacre

A MASSACRE IS A MASSACRE IS A MASSACRE

ISRAHELL DESTRUCTION DOCTRINE (bizness as usual)

Read the AFTER MATH of the ISRAHELL´S MASSACRE from the very soldiers with the guns in the mission for zionism and about the IDF – purity of slaughter!

Also see Gaza Massacre




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Amnesty: Israel repeatedly violated rules of war in Gaza

A new Amnesty International report has accused Israel of repeatedly violating the laws of armed conflict during the three-week Israel Defense Forces offensive in the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009.

The report claims that 1400 Palestinians died in the offensive – including 300 children – and that 5000 people were wounded.

The Amnesty report accuses IDF soldiers of violating the laws of armed conflict over and over again by directly attacking civilians and civilian structures and by causing an immeasurable number of civilian casualties when attacking Palestinian fighters.

It also mentions Israel’s justification for the offensive: that it attacked Gaza to prevent war and to stop armed Palestinians from shelling cities and towns in southern Israel with rockets. The report goes on to detail that three Israeli civilians were killed during the Gaza operation, adding to seven Israeli civilians killed by home-made rockets and other Palestinian attacks launched from Gaza in 2008.

According to the Amnesty International report, the sudden conflict came following a period of a year-and-a-half in which the IDF imposed an uncompromising blockade on the residents of Gaza, which almost completely prevented the movement of people and goods into the Gaza Strip and led to a humanitarian crisis.

The blockade almost completely strangled economic life, the report goes on to accuse, claiming that even those on their death bed were not permitted to leave the Strip for medical attention.

The report also accuses Israeli security forces of destroying many Palestinian homes in the West Bank on the pretext that they were built illegally.

erusalem-based watchdog NGO Monitor responded to the report by accusing Amnesty International of focusing disproportionately on Israeli policy in Gaza and of not paying enough attention to the firing of rockets at Israel civilians.

The watchdog, headed by Bar Ilan University Professor Gerald Steinberg, added that Amnesty’s biased and disproportionate obsession with Israel reached its peak during the latest conflict in Gaza.

According to NGO Monitor, Amnesty International published more than 20 declarations during the Gaza offensive, most of them critical of Israel, even while violations of human rights included a massacre of more than 600 villagers by Ugandan rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo to which Amnesty devoted minimal attention.

Ref. Haaretz

Amnesty.org

Also read: “Israeli war crimes were daily and too numerous to count”

Ask your sons (“The most moral killing machine in the world”)

t is behavior well known to every police investigator: First the suspect denies everything, then attacks his interrogators, then admits to a small portion of the accusations (saying he merely did what everyone does), and finally breaks down and confesses.

The Israel Defense Forces returned from Operation Cast Lead and, of course, denied everything. The people applauded it for its bogus victory and no one paid much attention to the awful price paid by the Palestinians. But after the smoke (in this case, white phosphorus) cleared a bit, the blood began crying out from the ground. Foreign journalists and human rights groups investigated and reported their findings. The United Nations said the IDF intentionally targeted its facilities, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International accused the army of illegally using phosphorous bombs, the International Red Cross reported on the injured being denied medical attention and strikes on medical crews, officers at a premilitary course spoke of civilians killed, and Amira Hass wrote for Haaretz about the killing of people flying white flags, the use of flechette shells and the annihilation of entire families.

The ground began trembling beneath Israel’s feet when it started attacking the emissaries of these organizations. The country’s gates were closed to the UN fact-finding mission headed by Jewish South African Richard Goldstone, as if it were Zimbabwe or North Korea, as if it had much to hide. The president brusquely rebuked the UN’s Ban Ki-moon and suggested he visits Auschwitz, until eventually the secretary general was forced to shrink from supporting his organization’s damning report.

Anyone who dared investigate and report was branded anti-Semitic. Little has changed since the early-1970s report by a group of American lawyers on the Shin Bet security service’s alleged torture methods. These attorneys were immediately labeled anti-Semites. We deny, repress, lie, attack and compare ourselves to others, and our conscience remains clear. Even when the IDF admits to killing 300 civilians – 90 of them children, 50 women and 160 whose identities the army says is unclear – our story remains the same: the most moral army in the world. Not the third most, not the second – the most. After all, Yedioth Ahronoth gave that view its seal of approval in a special propaganda supplement entitled “The most moral in the world.

But let’s assume Amnesty is lying, Human Rights Watch is fabricating, B’Tselem is embellishing, the UN is anti-Israel and the media is full of hatred against us – isn’t there enough in the IDF’s own figures to shake us to the core? Three hundred civilians killed, including 90 children – isn’t that enough to expose the propagandistic lie of “the most moral” army? How many innocent people must be killed for that to happen?

The IDF conducted five “investigations” (in which, naturally, only soldiers’ actions were examined), lamented one family’s tragedy, and the military correspondents applauded again. The IDF Spokesman’s Office sent battalion commanders to recite declarations on their own lofty battle ethics – with faces concealed, of course, as suspects often are – and the media didn’t burden them with questions. No one believes this war should be subjected to a serious investigation because in this war, unlike its predecessors, not enough soldiers were killed to justify that.

But the truth cries out even from the collapsed and perforated rubble of what was once a home: The soldiers who were in Gaza know, as do their friends, that something terrible happened there – just as those who served in the West Bank know. Ask your sons; they know the truth – the truth is sitting in your own home. And ask the friends of your sons, and the sons of your friends – they know. Many of them are brainwashed, and for now are keeping mum. Israel is holding back the tide of reports and investigations, and putting its head in the sand of propaganda and victimization, but in the end the truth will emerge.

Even the excuse “everyone does it” will not do any good, as it does no good for a driver caught speeding. The Americans kill more? The French slaughtered more? That may do for the Foreign Ministry’s automatic statements. We deserve more, we deserve the full truth – what exactly our soldiers did in our name, each of our names, on the streets of Gaza, imprisoned and bleeding for the 22 days of a useless war.

Ref: Haaretz

War and Empire Are and Always Have Been the American Way of Life

Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth…could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio…If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. – Abraham Lincoln, 1838

Introduction

When President Bush announced the war on terror in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, a majority of American citizens, according to opinion polls, strongly supported the president’s invasion of Iraq based on their faith in the president’s mendacious assertions that Saddam Hussein’s regime was complicit in the atrocities, and was also planning more, thus leaving the nation no alternative. Despite all claims that Bush is departing radically from American tradition, there is nothing new about this. Presidents have deceived the American people time and again about justifications for war. Speaking of Franklin Roosevelt during World War II, the historian Thomas A. Bailey said that FDR was “like the doctor who must tell the patient lies for the patient’s own good?” It has long been a central tenet of the American national ideology that warfare is an aberration from the normal pursuits of our democratic society. Accordingly, only the perfidy of evildoers compels us to take up the sword.

Though historians have known for a half-century that significant information indicating Japan’s plans to go to war with the U.S. was pouring into Washington throughout the fateful year 1941 as a result of U.S. possession of the code-breaking development “Magic,” as well as radio tracking stations around the Pacific rim, and American spies in Tokyo, the Japanese “sneak” attack on Pearl Harbor that initiated U.S. entry into World War II is still the quintessential paradigm employed to illustrate and justify such doctrine. Though lesser known, the popular expositions of the Mexican and the Spanish-American Wars, and World War I, and many other examples, also suit the creed. Leaders have consistently employed duplicity to lead the nation into war in order to carry out agendas radically different from the rhetorical ones employed to justify the wars.

As serious scholars know well, the real history of the nation is far removed from what James Loewen would call the “disneyfied” notions of American exceptionalism. An honest appraisal of the nation’s past obliges us to conclude that warfare and empire are and have always been the American way. The facts of history clearly contradict the national ideology. Are the ideals we instill in the nation’s public schools only fairy tales for children; or is the vaunted commitment to proclaimed American values something that can be salvaged?

The conquest and colonization of North America by the British, and French and Spanish, was the result of bitter competition between the Atlantic maritime nations for control of the newly discovered lands in the western hemisphere, as well as in Asia and Africa. Indeed, the origins of the 20th century’s global wars can be found in those conflicts five centuries ago. The stable global system that appeared to have taken shape by 1900 was the direct result of armed strife between European rivals over the previous centuries, who by the turn of the 20th century had wrested dominion over most of the arable land surface and peoples of the planet, with Britain the dominant player upon whose empire the “sun never set.” Having just reached a plateau of homeostasis in the late 19th century, this world system’s balance was severely upset by the growing power of arrivistes hungry for their “place in the sun,” Germany, Japan and the United States.

While the conquest of North America was the outgrowth of Europe’s economic and military expansion, once the nascent United States had thrown off British rule, the nation began to compete directly with the former “mother country” for hegemony in the western hemisphere, and then throughout the 20th century in the world at large. The Monroe Doctrine, announced in 1823 to assert American predominance in the western hemisphere, has been progressively amplified ever since by succeeding administrations to encompass the entire planet. American military forces are deployed in over 140 nations, more than two-thirds of the states comprising the United Nations, on a scale that dwarfs anything ever seen in history. American arms patrol all the oceans and skies, including outer space, in what the Pentagon calls its intent to achieve “full-spectrum dominance” on a planetary scale.

The only thing really new about all of this is the scale but even that was fully predictable after World War II.

Neo-Conservatives aver that their motives are altruistic and that they are performing a vital service for the world community by forcibly spreading “democracy” because no other nation is capable of defeating rogue states and dictatorships. Yet the most cursory examination of the self-serving economic boons being reaped by the the well-connected patrons of the Bush Administration give the lie to their claims of global benefaction. Numerous liberals also assert that the United States is not embarked upon an imperial mission, comparing the American present to the Greek, Roman and British past, and highlighting the obvious differences. Yet the American experiment was calculated to settle land already known to be inhabited by others, under circumstances that required the bloody conquest of those peoples and the annexation of their land. Once embarked upon nationhood the United States immediately began to wrest territory from the Spanish, French, British and other native peoples, and within little more than half a century conquered and took from Mexico approximately one-quarter of our present continental territory, an expansion unprecedented in history, and which dwarfed imperial Rome in scale. Private individuals known as filibusters, encouraged by politicians at home, even dreamt of annexing all of Mexico, and attempted to annex Nicaragua and Santo Domingo but were halted when the logistics of ruling over an immense non-white majority were realized.

So war and empire were the realities of the first two centuries of the American nation. At the dawn of the 20th century the U.S. emerged onto the world stage to compete with the great powers of Europe and Asia, employing methods that did not involve outright annexation, but which were calculated to assert dominance over the resources, labor, and markets of as much of the planet as could be managed for the benefit of the United States. That process, the process of neo-empire, continues now on a planetary scale.

But what has impelled these wars, and the establishment of this new form of empire? From the outset, the British colonists who forcibly took control of North America did so with the goal of enriching themselves as they could not hope to do in Europe. Profit was the primary motive, even among those who came as indentured servants, since a continent seemed ripe for their taking once such debts were paid. By the time of the American Revolution the colonies had developed to the point where they could challenge Britain itself for mastery, and retain the riches of the continent for themselves. Though both Jeffersonians and Hamiltonians had different plans for the expansion of the new nation, expansionism was the goal of both. A fusion of both approaches characterized the early Republic, which expanded across the continent ruthlessly, dislodging all who stood in the way, natives, Spanish, French, British, Mexicans. As we know, it was Hamilton’s vision of an industrial-financial capitalism that prevailed. By the turn of the 20th Century the U.S. had arrived as an international great power and articulated its central foreign policy goal: the Open Door. In pursuit of markets, resources and access to cheap labor, the U.S. has used every method and stratagem, including outright military intervention, covert intervention, assassination, toppling governments, torture, propping up friendly dictatorships, all to achieve the overarching goal of opening markets for American goods and services on American terms, and gaining access to vital resources to maintain American production and profit.

Read the full artical here…

Ref: Global Policy

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War

Israeli Violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention

Israel is a serial international law abuser. Specifically, it commits grave violations of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention that protects civilians in times of war and has done it for decades:

— Article 2 states that “the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them. The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory….even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance;”

— Article 3 prohibits all kinds of assaults on life or physical security;

— Article 27 refers to “protected persons” and states “They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence….,”

— Article 32 prohibits murder, torture and corporal punishment, and

— Article 33 prohibits collective punishment and “all measures of intimidation or….terrorism.”

Geneva and other international human rights laws guarantee what Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: that everyone “has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” It also affirms Article 6 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 stating that every “human being has the inherent right to life.” Violations of Geneva and other internationa laws are crimes of war and against humanity. Israel is a serial offender but has yet to be held to account.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights documented its extra-judicial executions from September 29, 2000 through December 2007 and updates it weekly on its web site – pchrgaza.org. Below are examples, but first some background.

Some Brief History of Israeli Targeted Killings

Without cause, these executions target specific individuals with explicit government approval, and Israelis have done it for decades. During the Mandatory Palestine period, Stern Gang (later renamed Lehi) and Irgun members were underground terrorists with very committed aims – to drive out the British (seen as occupiers), allow unrestricted Jewish immigration, remove indigenous Arabs, and establish the Jewish state of Israel. They carried out killings and bombings, some of which were notorious like Lehi’s 1944 assassination of Britain’s Lord Moyne, the military governor of Egypt. Another was Irgun’s infamous 1946 King David Hotel bombing killing 91 Brits, Arabs and Jews and injuring many more.

Two of their leaders became future prime ministers – Lehi’s Yitzhak Shamir (1983 – 84 and 1986 – 1992) and Irgun’s Menachem Begin (1977 – 1983), but they were wanted men before 1948. The New York Times called Irgun a “terrorist organization,” and the World Zionist Congress in 1946 strongly condemned “the shedding of innocent blood as a means of political warfare.” It was just beginning.

In the 1950s, targeted killings were common and were used to halt fedayeen resistance attacks from Egypt. In 1967, after Gaza and the West Bank were occupied, Palestinians became the favorite target, inside and outside the Territories, and by various means:

— car and mail bombs,

— air attacks,

— commando raids,

— undercover operations,

— poisoning,

— snipers, and

— various other methods, including proxy forces to do Israeli killing.

General Ariel Sharon commanded an “anti-terror” detachment in the early 1970s that targeted Palestinian resistance fighters in Gaza. Through undercover operations, the unit killed 104 Palestinians and arrested 742 others.

After Israeli athletes were killed at the 1972 Munich Olympics, Prime Minister Golda Meir and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan established “Committee X” that used Mossad operatives to find the kill the perpetrators. Thirteen deaths resulted, including a Moroccan busboy in Norway by mistake.

Throughout the 1970s, Palestinians in the Territories were targeted, especially its leaders, and in 1982 Israelis nearly killed Yasir Arafat with car bombs, air attacks and at least once when a sniper had him targeted but got no orders to shoot. His second in command, Abu Jihad (Khalil el-Wazir), was less fortunate. He was key to the first Intifada’s success, an irreplaceable leader, and had to be eliminated. Ehud Barak reportedly got the assignment and headed a commando operation that killed him.

Executions continued in the 1990s, including three major ones with mixed success. One killed Islamic Jihad leader, Fathi Shikaki, in Malta in 1995. Another eliminated Yahya Ayyash, a Hamas Izzaddin al-Qassam Brigades member who was known as “the Engineer” for his bomb-making skills. One embarrassing attempt failed. It targeted Hamas’ Amman, Jordan political bureau chief, Khaled Meshal. Two Mossad agents poisoned him but were captured by Jordanian authorities before they could flee. To secure their release, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to provide the poison’s antidote and release Hamas’ founder, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, from an Israeli prison.

With the outbreak of the second Intifada, killings escalated markedly. Below are examples, including several high-ranking Palestinians:

— Abu Ali Mustafa – head of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP),

— Mustafa Zibri – the PFLP’s Secretary-General,

— Raed al-Karmi – a Lebanese Tanzim movement leader, and

— many mid-level resistance fighters from various Palestinian groups opposing the occupation.

Examples of Extra-Judicial Executions from September 29, 2000 Through December 2006

All three Israeli government branches support extra-judicial killings and require no evidence to justify them. Officials merely say those targeted are wanted, dangerous, and threaten State security. As a result, security forces kill with impunity and with no regard for the innocent, including women, children, the elderly or infirm.

Consider an egregious example. On July 12, 2006, IDF aircraft attacked the home of Dr. Nabeel Abu Silmiya in the Gaza City Sheikh Radwan neighborhood. The house was completely destroyed and Dr. Nabeel, his wife and seven children were killed – possibly in error, according to IDF. It claimed it targeted Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades leader, Mohammed al-Daif, and a number of his colleagues but struck the wrong house instead.

Multiple killings are common and are carried out against civilian homes, government buildings and structures, and by planting bombs in cars and targeted shootings on the ground. The death toll keeps rising, and PCHR documented specific examples below.

Examples of IDF Executions from January Through March 2007

Five targeted killings occurred in the period during which three others were injured.

On February 1, IDF soldiers killed Jaser Nader Ahmad Abut Zugheib in the Tulkarm refugee camp. In the same incursion, two Palestinians were wounded, one seriously with a bullet in the chest.

On February 21, an IDF undercover unit targeted the al-Bassatin area west of Jenin. It killed Mahmoud Ibrahim Qassem Obaid, an Islamic Jihad al-Quds Brigades leader, by shooting him in the head at close range.

On February 28, another IDF undercover unit executed three Islamic Jihad members as they tried to flee the Jenin refugee camp in a car.

In the examples above, arrests weren’t attempted, and victims were either wounded or unarmed when IDF soldiers executed them Mafia-style by point-blank shootings. PCHR stresses that with no due process and the absence of evidence, there’s no guarantee or even likelihood that targeted individuals committed crimes. They were simply Israeli vigilante justice victims targeting the innocent.

Selected IDF Executions from April Through June 2007

During the period, 25 killings occurred, but only 16 were actually targeted.

On April 21, an IDF undercover unit attacked a car in Jenin killing three Palestinians in it. Two were al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades members and the other belonged to the al-Quds Brigades. On the same day, an IDF aircraft-fired missile killed an innocent civilian in his vehicle who had no affiliation with Palestinian resistance groups.

On May 4, Seilat al-Harthiya village, west of Jenin was attacked. Two al-Quds Brigades members and a mentally disabled Palestinian civilian were executed.

On May 20, an IDF aircraft missile struck a Gaza City al-Shojaeya neighborhood meeting hall killing seven members of the al-Haya family and a Hamas activist as well as wounding three others.

On May 29, IDF undercover units killed two Palestinian activists in Ramallah and Jenin and wounded five others.

On June 1, the IDF assassinated an Islamic Jihad member in Khan Yunis.

On June 12, the IDF executed an al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades member in the north Tulkarm Saida village.

On June 24, the IDF killed three al-Quds Brigades members and wounded three civilians.

On June 30, IDF forces executed three al-Quds Brigades members in Khan Yunis.

Selected IDF Executions from July Through September 2007

On July 26, an IDF aircraft struck a vehicle south of Gaza City killing three activists in it.

On August 4, an aircraft-fired missile struck a civilian car near the Rafah International Crossing Point on the Egyptian border. Three al-Quds Brigades members in it were seriously wounded but managed to survive. Moments later, two other missiles hit another civilian car killing the driver and a civilian bystander and wounding 12 others.

On August 20, IDF forces executed four Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades members and two additional Palestinian Ministry of Interior Executive Force members in central Gaza’s al-Boreij refugee camp.

On August 21, IDF air and ground forces killed three Palestinians in al-Qarara village, northeast of Khan Yunis.

On August 22, the IDF executed an Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades member and wounded another east of Gaza City.

During the last week of August, three children were extra-judicially killed in Beit Hanoun. There was no evidence they had any affiliation with a local resistance group.

On September 26, IDF forces executed five Army of Islam members in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City.

Examples of IDF Executions from September through December 2007

On October 11, an IDF undercover unit killed one and wounded another al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades member near al-Hamam Square in Jenin.

On November 25, IDF forces executed an al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades member in the Tulkarm refugee camp, east of the town. Witnesses said he raised his hands to surrender but was shot in the neck. Seriously injured, two IDF soldiers beat him violently and let him bleed to death in a coffee shop. A second man was also seriously injured in the attack.

On November 29, IDF aircraft attacked and killed two Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades members northeast of Khan Yunis.

Attacks continue unabated – by air strikes and on-the-ground Mafia-style executions in violation of sacred international law explained above. And a Haaretz February 29 article suggests they threaten to escalate.

It quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak blaming Hamas for the increased violence and said it will “bear the cost of our response….(it’s) necessary and will be carried out.” On the same day, Knesset chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Tzachi Hanegbi, said IDF forces must “quickly….topple the Hamas terror regime and take over all the areas from which rockets are fired on Israel,” and they should remain in those areas for years.

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai went further and threatened a “shoah,” which is the Hebrew word for holocaust. On Israeli radio he said: “the more Qassam (rocket) fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger ‘shoah’ because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.” The comment is outrageous, it incites genocide, and it’s a punishable crime in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Gregory Stanton’s Genocide Watch site has a mission: to “predict, prevent, stop, and punish genocide and other forms of mass murder (by) rais(ing awareness and influenc(ing) public policy concerning potential and actual genocide.” Its aim “is to build an international movement to prevent and stop genocide,” and it’s badly needed in Occupied Palestine where Israel has conducted state-sponsored genocide for decades according to Israeli historian Ilan Pappe.

International law expert Francis Boyle agrees and proposed in a March 20, 1998 article that “the Provisional Government of (Palestine) and its President institute legal proceedings against Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague for violating the (Genocide Convention).” He categorically stated that “Israel has indeed perpetrated the international crime of genocide against the Palestinian people (and the) lawsuit would….demonstrate that undeniable fact to the entire world.” Boyle would likely agree that the case today is even more compelling at a time Israeli forces are ravaging Gaza and assaulting West Bank communities as well.

Genocide is hideous in concept and execution, and Stanton explains how it progresses in eight defined stages:

1. Classification – Cultures or societies distinguish between “us and them” to categorize people by race, religion, nationality or other distinguishing characteristic;

2. Symbolization – Classifications are given names or other symbols, such as Jews, Latinos, blacks or Muslims.

3. Dehuminization – A dominant group denies another’s humanity and equates its members with animals, vermin, insects, diseases or, in the case of Palestinian resistance fighters, gunmen or terrorists;

4. Organization – Genocide is always organized; most often it’s by the state using militias, the military and/or other security forces to target victimized groups;

5. Polarization – Extremists incite hate through propaganda and other communication methods, and laws and other measures often target the victims;

6. Preparation – Victims are identified, separated out and targeted for elimination;

7. Extermination – Once it starts, it escalates to mass killing that’s legally defined as “genocide;” and finally

8. Denial – The final stage assures continued genocide will follow with evidence of it suppressed or destroyed. Some genocidal regimes are brought to justice like the Nazis at Nuremberg. Others like Israeli governments since 1948 have gotten away with it for decades with no indication (so far) the Olmert or a future regime will be held to account.

Minister Vilnai affirms that killing may now escalate against a people who’ve been under a medieval siege for months. Talk of peace and ceasefire is hollow, Israel and Washington incite violence and want none of it, and IDF commanders are preparing a large-scale assault to target Hamas for removal. How much longer will this go on? When will the occupation end? How many more killings will be tolerated? When will world leaders take note? People who care want answers. It’s about time they got them.

Ref: The populist party

“Traces of Poison (Israel’s use of biological weapons)”

Israel, not Iraq, holds that distinction of being the first country in the region to use weapons of mass destruction with genocidal intent. Salman Abu-Sitta* digs into a dark history

At a time when TV screens are filled with images of perceived weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq among people who are on the verge of starvation, the West turns a blind eye to the first biological terrorist in the Middle East, Israel, where the largest depot of WMD between London and Peking is located.

When confronted with the anomaly, the United States ambassador to the UN, John Negroponti, responds with typical cynicism, “Israel did not use these weapons against its people or its neighbours.” Assuming that the ambassador is well-informed, this statement is a patent lie. Israel used biological weapons even before it was created on Arab soil in 1948 and ever since. The purpose, according to Ben Gurion, is genocide, and if not complete, the purpose is not to allow the dispossessed Palestinians to return to their homes.

Click to view full caption
Acre Aqueduct feeding the city was poisoned by typhoid injected by Zionists in May 1948
POISONING ACRE WATER SUPPLY: In the wake of Haifa’s occupation on 23 April 1948 by the Zionists, under the nose of the British Mandate forces commended by General Stockwell, a man still historically discredited for this failure, thousands converged on Acre, a nearby city, which was still Arab under the “protection” of the British forces.

Acre was to be the next Zionist target. The Zionists besieged the city from the land side, and started showering the population with a hail of mortar bombs day and night. Famous for its historical walls, Acre could stand the siege for a long time. The city water supply comes from a nearby village, Kabri, about 10kms to the north, through an aqueduct. The Zionists injected typhoid in the aqueduct at some intermediate point which passes through Zionist settlements. (see map)

The story can now be told, thanks to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) files which have now become available, 50 years after the event. A series of reports, under the reference G59/1/GC, G3/82, sent by ICRC delegate de Meuron from 6 May to about 19 May 1948 describe the conditions of the city population, struck by a sudden typhoid epidemic, and the efforts to combat it.

Of particular importance are the minutes of an emergency conference held at the Lebanese Red Cross Hospital in Acre on 6 May, to deal with the typhoid epidemic. The meeting was attended by: Brigadier Beveridge, Chief of British Medical Services and Colonel Bonnet of the British Army, Dr Maclean of the Medical Services, Mr de Meuron, ICRC delegate in addition to other officials of the city. The minutes stated that there are at least 70 known civilian casualties, others may not be reported. It was determined that the infection is “water borne”, not due to crowded or unhygienic conditions as claimed by the Israelis. It was decided that a substitute water supply should now come from artesian wells or from the agricultural station, just north of Acre (see map), not from the aqueduct. Water chlorine solution was applied, inoculation of civil population started, movement of civil population was controlled (lest refugees heading north towards Lebanon will carry the typhoid epidemic with them, as intended by the Zionists).

In his other reports, de Meuron mentioned 55 casualties among British soldiers, who were spirited away to Port Said for hospitalisation. General Stockwell arranged for de Meuron to fly on a military plane to Jerusalem to fetch medicine. The British, who left Palestine in the hands of the Jews, did not want another embarrassing incident to delay their departure.

Brigadier Beveridge told de Meuron that this is “the first time this happened in Palestine”. This belies the Israeli story, including that of the Israeli historian Benny Morris, that the epidemic is due to “unhygienic conditions” of the refugees. If that was so, how come there was an almost equal number of casualties among British soldiers? Why did such conditions not cause epidemic in such other concentrations of refugees, under far worse conditions, in Jaffa, Lydda, Nazareth and Gaza?

ICRC delegate, de Meuron admired greatly the heroic efforts of Arab doctors, Al-Dahhan and Al-Araj from the Lebanese Red Cross hospital in Acre, Dr Dabbas from Haifa and Mrs Bahai from Haifa.

The city of Acre, now burdened by the epidemic, fell easy prey to the Zionists. They intensified their bombardment. Trucks carrying loudspeakers proclaimed, “Surrender or commit suicide. We will destroy you to the last man.” That was not a figure of speech. Palumbo, in The Palestinian Catastrophe, notes the “typical” case of Mohamed Fayez Soufi. Soufi with friends went to get food from their homes in a new Acre suburb. They were caught by Zionist soldiers and forced at gun point to drink cyanide. Soufi faked swallowing the poison. The others were not so lucky, they died in half an hour.

Lieutenant Petite, a French UN observer, reported that looting was being conducted in a systematic manner by the army, carrying off furniture, clothes and anything useful for the new Jewish immigrants and also part of “a Jewish plan to prevent the return of the refugees.” Lieutenant Petite also reported that the Jews had murdered 100 Arab civilians in Acre, particularly those who refused to leave.

More horrors have been reported by de Meuron. He spoke of “a reign of terror” and the case of the rape of a girl by several soldiers and killing her father. He also wrote that all male civilians were taken to concentration camps and considered “prisoners of war” although they were not soldiers. This left many women and children homeless, without protection, subject to many acts of violence. He also notes the absence of water and electricity. He demanded from the Zionists a list of civilians detained as “prisoners of war”, demanded to know their whereabouts and permission to visit them. More importantly he asked that Acre be placed under ICRC protection and care. Anyone who reads the familiar dry and matter-of-fact language of ICRC would not fail to notice the tone of abhorrence of Zionist actions in de Meuron reports from Acre.

This episode, which started with poisoning Acre water supply and ended with the collapse of the city, the depopulation of its inhabitants, and its occupation by the Jews, whetted their appetite to try this crime again.

GAZA POISONING: Two weeks later, after their “success” in Acre, the Zionists struck again. This time in Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of refugees had gathered after their villages in southern Palestine were occupied. The end however was different.

The following cable was sent from the commander of the Egyptian Forces in Palestine to General Headquarters in Cairo:

“15.20 hrs, 24 May [1948] Our Intelligence forces captured two Jews, David Horeen and David Mizrahi, loitering around army positions. They were interrogated and confessed they had been sent by Officer Moshe to poison the army [and the peoples’] water supply. They carried with them water bottles divided in the middle. The top part has potable water and the bottom part has a liquid contaminated with typhoid and dysentery, equipped with a rear opening from which the liquid can be released. They confessed they were members of a 20-strong team sent from Rehovot for the same purpose. Both have written their confession in Hebrew and signed it. We have taken the necessary medical precautions.”

In Ben Gurion’s War Diary, the following entry is found on 27 May 1948:

“[Chief of Staff Yigel Yadin] picked up a cable from Gaza saying they captured Jews carrying malaria germs and gave instructions not to drink water”. This is typical of Ben Gurion’s oblique writing of history. He was fully aware of the weight of history when such crimes are discovered. Nuremberg trials were held only three years before. More on the background of this cable was given in Yeruham Cohen’s book, In Daylight and Night Darkness, Tel Aviv, 1969, pp66-68 (in Hebrew).

The criminals were executed three months later. On 22 July 1948, the [Palestinian] Higher Arab Committee (AHC) submitted a 13-page report to the United Nations accusing the Jews of using “inhuman” weapons and waging a genocide war against the Arabs through the use of bacteria and germs, developed in specially-built laboratories. The report also accuses the Jews (the word Israel was not used) of spreading cholera in Egypt and Syria in 1947/48. The story was picked up by the award-winning journalist, Thomas J Hamilton of the New York Times and published on 24 July 1948. The story now has a new twist- adding Egypt and Syria to the Jewish field of operations.

CHOLERA IN EGYPT AND SYRIA: The summer of 1947 was hot with diplomatic activity. The United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) was busy touring Palestine and Arab countries in order to propose the partition of Palestine such that the new Jewish immigrants to Palestine, who controlled only six per cent of Palestine under the British Mandate, be given a big chunk of Palestine (turned out to be 54 per cent) in order to establish a foreign state in the midst of Arab land.

The Arabs, still under the tutelage of Britain, were debating how to resist the Western-supported scheme to take away their land. The forces to reckon with were neighbouring countries with common borders with Palestine. Lebanon was weak. Trans-Jordan was still controlled directly by the British and King Abdullah was conciliatory to the Jews. This left Egypt, the stronger Arab country and Syria, recently freed from the clutches of the French Mandate. Syria was the centre of Arab resistance to the foreign occupation of Palestine. Training centres were established in Qatana to prepare Arab volunteers to enter Palestine under the banner of “The Arab Rescue Army”. Egypt and Palestine were thus the most important targets.

In his 220-page continually updated report, entitled: Bioterrorism and Biocrimes: The Illicit Use of Biological Agents since 1900, dated February 2001, Dr W Seth Carus of the Center for Counterproliferation Research, National Defence University, Washington, DC, lists the following subtitle, p.87: Case 1947-01: “Zionist” Terrorists 1947-1948.

Under this section, he mentions that the cholera outbreaks in Syria and Egypt received extensive attention in the international press. The first report about the cholera in Egypt was published in the Times of London on 26 September, 1947, p4. By the time the final cases appeared in January 1948, 10,262 people died.

He also states that the outbreak in Syria is much smaller. It was limited to two towns, about 60 kilometres south of Damascus, i.e. close to Palestine border. The first report appeared in the New York Times on 22 December, 1947, p5.

The Syrian army formed a cordon sanitaire and the casualties were limited to 44, including 18 deaths. Soon after, the Beirut French-language newspaper, Orient, reported that several Zionist agents, who employed cholera to disrupt the mobilisation of the volunteers’ army, were arrested. Their destiny is unknown.

These incidents, together with Gaza poisoning, Carus states, were described in the AHC complaint to the UN and quotes the report in saying that:

“The Jews plan to use this inhuman weapon against the Arabs in the Middle East in their war of extermination.”

Carus adds information from other sources about the Gaza poisoning. Rachel Katzman, Horeen’s sister, Carus stated, said: “I met one of [my brother’s] commanders in a lecture in Jerusalem. I asked him whether my brother had really attempted to poison wells. ‘These were the weapons we had’, he said, ‘and that’s that.'”

Carus also adds another source about Acre poisoning: This source sates, “This account also claims that the Israelis poisoned the water supply of the Arab town of Acre, causing a major outbreak, and other Arab villages to prevent the villagers from returning, citing military historian Uri Milstein as a source” [Wendy Barnaby, The Plague Makers: The Secret World of Biological Warfare, London, Vision Paperbacks, 1997, pp114-116].

The writer has obtained a copy of an e-mail in which an Israeli peace activist asked Uri Milstein about Acre poisoning story. Milstein, the military historian, is described in the e-mail as “very knowledgeable, intelligent, courageous, original, honest” — although his views belong to the Israeli far-right (!). Milstein replied:

“I am sorry to say it, but the story is true and the name of the operation was “Shlach Lachmecha” — that is “donate your bread”, which is a part of Hebrew saying: donate your bread because sooner or later you will get it back, meaning you have to be generous and one day, you will profit from it yourself. Is this not a cute name for an operation to use biological weapons?”

HOW DID BEN GURION START ALL THIS? On the fourth of March 1948, Ben Gurion wrote a letter to Ehud Avriel, one of the Jewish Agency operatives in Europe, ordering him to recruit East European Jewish scientists who could “either increase [our] capacity to kill masses or to cure masses; both are important”. This truncated quotation is given by Avner Cohen who cited an author in Ben Gurion Research Centre at Sdeh Boker.

To understand the meaning of this quotation we must recall Ben Gurion’s doctrine: the destruction of the Palestinian Society in Palestine is a necessary condition for the establishment of the state of Israel on its ruins. As a corollary to this doctrine, ethnic cleansing became an integral part of Zionism. If Palestinians cannot be removed by massacres and expulsion, they shall be removed by “extermination”. Such words were specifically used in AHC letter mentioned above. The significance of this word is that it was rarely used by Arabs regarding their fate. Europe’s horrors were either remote or not widely known then.

The caveat by Ben Gurion as “to cure the masses” is yet another twist by Ben Gurion with an eye on history. For it is inconceivable that the Arabs have the ability or the will in 1948 to cause “mass killing” of the Jews using biological weapons. As it happened, Ben Gurion was the first to use such weapons. His legacy, much more refined and expanded, remains true till today.

Avner Cohen, a senior fellow at the Center for International and Security Studies, and the Program on Security and Disarmaments at the University of Maryland, wrote a comprehensive paper on Israel’s chemical and biological weapons, which was published in the Non-Proliferation Review, Autumn 2001. Notwithstanding his background, which furnishes a sympathetic understanding of Israel’s motives, his paper traces in 50 pages of detail, from open sources and few interviews, the establishment and development of Israel’s centre for biological terrorism.

Thrusting Israel in the heart of the Arab world, Ben Gurion was determined to achieve this extraordinary objective against all odds. “We are inferior to other peoples in our number, but no other people is superior to us in intellectual prowess,” Ben Gurion remarked.

In the 1940s, he gathered around him Ernst David Bergmann, Avraham Marcus (Marek) Klingberg (from the Red Army) and the brothers Aharon and Ephraim Katachalsky (Katzir) — all experts in microbiology. They formed the nucleus of the Science Corps in the Haganah during the British Mandate. Ephraim Katachalsky was named commander of this new unit, renamed HEMED, in May 1948. A dispute arose between Chaim Weizmann who wished to establish a scientific institute for “clean” science, while Ben Gurion insisted on building a “dirty” centre for biological weapons. Both got their wishes realised. Weizmann Institute for scientific research was built in Rehovot. A new unit within HEMED, devoted to biological weapons and named HEMED BEIT, was formed as a branch of the Israeli Army. Its head was Alexander Keynan, a microbiologist from the medical school at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

With the depopulation of 530 Palestinian towns and villages in Al-Nakba of 1948, many buildings and homes became vacant and over half of the Jewish immigrants in the 1950s were housed in them. The Chief of Staff Yigal Yadin selected a home for the new biological weapons development unit in a mansion located within a large orange grove west of Nes Ziona. This unit, publicly known as Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), is still there today. The building was expanded, surrounded by a three metre wall, movement sensors and watch towers.

While IIBR represents the front of a scientific institution, producing a “clean” papers and receiving invitations to scientific conferences, the real biological weapons developed is carried within IIBR in a highly classified centre (Machon 2, one of four) funded and controlled directly by the Ministry of Defence.

IIBR Web site states that the institute’s staff comprises 300 employees, 120 of them PhD holders, in addition to 100 certified technicians. But these figures are misleading because there are many other scientists who hold positions in microbiology departments in faculties of medicine in Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Ephraim Katzir was rewarded for his service to the state by being elected as president of Israel in 1973. Aharon Katzir was killed in the Japanese attack on Lydda airport on 30 May, 1972.

Soon after the poisoning of Acre and Gaza, Ben Gurion launched a crash project to develop “a cheap non-conventional capability” in 1955. Why the rush? As Cohen reports, Munya Mardor, the founder of Israel’s Weapons Development Authority (RAFAEL), says that Ben Gurion was “evidently concerned that we would not meet the deadline he had set, worrying that the enemy would have such capability and we would have nothing to deter or retaliate”. It turned out that the rush was to meet the deadline for the Suez Tripartite Aggression of 1956. Ben Gurion was prepared to bomb Egypt with biological weapons if his campaign failed. As if that was not enough, Israel signed an agreement with France to build a nuclear programme in the same year. Ben Gurion’s emissary to France was none other than the peace-loving diplomat Shimon Pensky (Perez).

Anver Cohen says that the location of IIBR is classified and not shown on maps or aerial photographs. It is still possible, however, to determine its location with accuracy.

WHERE IS IIBR? In the 1930s, the road from Ramleh to Nabi Rubin, a popular religious site visited annually, passes through Wadi Hunein, a good sandy soil with spots of marshes. The wealthy Al-Taji Al-Farouki family from Ramleh purchased large tracts of this land and developed it into successful citrus groves which exported hundreds of thousands of Jaffa orange boxes to Europe. Shukri Al-Taji built for himself a beautiful mansion (photo) — a two-storey rectangular building on top of a hill, on a plot of land, 134,029 m2 in area. The plot number is 549/32 and the property deed is entered in the Land Registry under E42/260 on 16 March 1932. He also built a mosque on the asphalt road from Jaffa to Qubeiba. On another hill, one kilometre to the west, his cousin Abdel-Rahman Hamed Al-Taji built a house which consists of several buildings. The mansions in the midst of vast orange groves depicted an idyllic scene in quiet surroundings.

This is the location chosen by Yigal Yadin for his biological weapons research. Shukri Al Taji mansion became the home of IIBR. The IIBR Web site (www.iibr.gov.il) proudly shows on the opening page its building entrance, which is nothing but Shukri’s mansion with its arched façade and tall lush trees (compare with photo). Shukri died broken hearted in Cairo some ten years later.

If you drive from Nes Ziona going west on road 4303, then turn left at road 42 heading south, you will find IIBR at your right at a distance of 500 metres. (see photo of the location). The coordinates of IIBR are:

According to Palestine/ Israel grid : 128.263 E, 147.022 N

New Israel grid : 178.263 E, 647.022 N

Geographical coordinates : E 34D 46′ 27 N 31D 55′ 7

The area is called “Ayalon” in Hebrew. Directly to the west on the sea coast is the missile launching pad of Palmahim.

Other Al-Taji buildings were expropriated and used. The mosque is transformed into a synagogue, named “gulat Israel”. Abdel-Rahman’s house became a mental hospital.

CHASING THE CULPRITS: Sara Leibovitz-Dar is a persistent investigative journalist. The trauma experienced by her parents in their native Lithuania left an indelible mark on her. She abhorred injustice and, particularly, the meek acceptance of it. She investigated the Gaza and Acre poisoning and shooting down of the civilian Libyan aircraft. The Israeli military historian, Uri Milstein, identified for her the names of the officers responsible for biological crimes.

In 1993, Sara tried to interview the commander who was responsible for Acre poisoning. He refused to talk. “Why do you look for troubles that took place 45 years ago?” he asked. “I know nothing about this. What would you gain by publishing?”

Again, Sara interviewed the officer responsible for Gaza poisoning. He refused to respond, “You will not get answers on these questions. Not from me and not from anyone.” Sara was persistent. She asked Colonel Shlomo Gur, former HEMED chief, whether he was aware of the secret operations in 1948. “We heard about the typhoid epidemics in Acre and about the Gaza operations. There were many rumours but I did not know whether they were true or not,” he responded.

Sara published her findings in Hadashot under the title “Microbes in State Service”, on 13 August, 1993, pp6-10. Sara, who now moved to Ha’aretz, concluded with the following comment,

“What was done then with deep conviction and zealotry is now concealed with shame.” True to the Israeli tradition, Sara declined twice to respond by e-mail to an enquiry from the writer.

Not all are afraid to talk. Naeim Giladi is an Iraqi Jew who was lured to Israel by Mossad agents in the early 1950s. Working with the zealotry and dedication of a new Zionist, he soon found out that within the Ashkenazi establishment “there was not much opportunity for those of us who were second class citizens”, he told the editor of The Link in New York where he immigrated after leaving Israel. “I began to find out about the barbaric methods to rid the fledgling state of as many Palestinians as possible. The world recoils today at the thought of bacteriological warfare, but Israel was probably the first to actually use it in the Middle East. Jewish forces would empty Arab villages of their population often by threats, sometimes by gunning down a half-dozen young men so that the Arabs could not return. The Israelis put typhus and dysentery bacteria in the water wells to prevent the refugees from returning”. [The Link, Vol. 31 Issue 2, April-May 1998].

Another witness who spoke, former Mossad agent, Victor Ostrovsky, claims that lethal tests have been performed on Arab prisoners inside the IIBR compound.

THE DUTCH INVESTIGATION: On 4 October, 1992 at 6.21pm, El Al Flight 1862 left Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on route to Tel Aviv, carrying three crewmen, one passenger and 114 tons of freight. Seven minutes later, it crashed in a high-rise apartment complex in Bijlmer. El Al Flight 1862 became the worst air disaster in Dutch history, killing at least 47 (the actual number is unknown because many victims were immigrants) and destroyed the health of 3000 Dutch residents. Cases of mysterious illnesses, rashes, difficulty in breathing, nervous disorders and cancer began to sprout in that neighbourhood and beyond.

The Dutch government, in collusion with Israel, lied to its citizens saying the plane was carrying perfumes and flowers. Some flowers! It took the energetic and persistent science editor in the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, Karel Knip, several years to discover the facts. Knip published on 27 November 1999 the most detailed and factual published investigation about the workings of biological terrorism housed in IIBR.

First he found out that the plane was carrying 50 gallons, among other things, of DMMP a substance used to make a quarter ton of the deadly nerve gas Sarin, 20 times as lethal as cyanide. It was carrying a shipment from Solkatronic Chemicals of Morrisville, Pennsylvania to IIBR in Israel, under a US Department of Commerce licence. This is contrary to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to which the US, but not Israel, is party.

With dogged determination, Knip reviewed the scientific literature produced by IIBR and the microbiology departments of the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Tel Aviv and the Hebrew University since 1950. He was able to identify 140 scientists involved in biological weapons (BW) research. The number could be more as scientists have dual positions or they move around. Many take their sabbaticals invariably in the United States. There are strong links with Walter Reed Army Institute, the Uniformed Services University, the American Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW) Center in Edgewood and the University of Utah.

Remarkably, Knip was able to identify three categories of IIBR production: diseases, toxins and convulsants, and their development in each decade of the five past decades. (See table)

The research moved from virus and bacteria to toxins because they are many times more poisonous. Nerve gases known as Tabun, Soman, Sarin, VX, Cyclo-Sarin, RVX and Amiton are all deadly gases and function in the same way.

Knip went further. He sought the assistance of experts in this field such as Professor Julian Perry Robinson, University of Sussex, Brighton, Dr Jean Pascal Zanders of SIPRI, Stockholm and Professor Malcolm Dando, University of Bradford. They guided his research and explained his findings.

Knip also discovered close cooperation between IIBR and the British-American BW programme. This programme deals with viruses and bacteria spread by rodents and insects and covers smallpox, fungal diseases and Legionnaires disease. It is to be noted that there was a breakout of this disease in Philadelphia some years ago, and, surprisingly, in an Eilat hotel in mid- January this year.

The interest in the plant poison Elate-Ricin is confined to very few institutions beside IIBR. It will be recalled that amateur biologists were arrested in UK in January attempting to prepare Ricin.

The novel and dangerous trend in BW research in IIBR is the development of incapacitants which paralyse, disorient, cause uncontrollable movements and severe pain in the stomach. Most of these incapacitants have antidotes to repair the damage done. These incapacitants have been and are used against the Palestinians in the Intifada.

There is also extensive collaboration on BW research with Germany and Holland. That is probably the reason for the Dutch official silence over the deadly crash over Amsterdam.

The cooperation with the US is quite open. The Congress “Joint Medical, Biological and Nuclear Defence Research Programs” openly lists cooperation with Israel on nerve agents and convulsants under the guise of finding antidotes. It is plainly simple to realise that in order to develop the antidote it is necessary to identify the poison itself. Dr Avigdor Shafferman, IIBR director, is a frequent contributor to this programme. (see http://www.acq.osd.mil/cp/nbc98/annexd.pdf)- Annex D.

The Preparatory Commission for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague turns a blind eye to the Israeli criminal activities. Ironically, Israeli researchers guide OPCW on methods to detect Chemical Weapons. Israeli researchers R Barak, A Lorber and Z Boger of IIBR, CHEMO Solutions and Rotem Industries respectively propose methods to detect chemical warfare agents. No international body seems to be willing to apply these methods on Israel.

The mechanism to do this monitoring is available. The American Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center has the wherewithal to inspect suspect laboratories. But it is unlikely to see a team of inspectors headed by an American Blix searching the secret chambers of IIBR.

This may, however, not apply to conscientious scientists. Professor Keith Yamamoto, of the University of California and Dr Jonathan King of MIT criticised the American BW research and showed that attempting to modify toxins (as IIBR does) can hardly be considered “defensive” research. But Israel’s turn in such criticism seems far-off at present.

THE PALESTINIAN VICTIMS: The biological crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians in Acre and Gaza in 1948 are still being enacted today.

In 1997, Mossad agents tried to assassinate Khaled Mish’al, Hamas Political Bureau’s director in Amman. King Hussein was furious at the blatant violation of Jordan’s sovereignty and of the Peace Treaty with Israel. As the attempt failed, thanks to Mish’al’s bodyguard, Israel sent a lady doctor with the antidote. The toxin used is likely to be SEB applied through a special gun which has a range of 50 metres. and could inject the toxin in the neck.

The stories about nerve gas applied against school children abound. So are the cases in which CBW are used. Neil Sammonds lists these cases:

ï Chemical defoliants against Palestinian crops in Ain Al- Beida in 1968, Aqraba in 1972, Mejdel Beni Fadil in 1978 and Negev in 2002.

ï Chemical Weapons, including hydrogen cyanide, nerve gas and phosphorous shells in the 1982 war on Lebanon.

ï Lethal gas against Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners.

But the case which was widely publicised all over the world and fully documented by several international NGOs is the application of incapacitants, particularly in Khan Younis, in February 2001. The pictures of victims twisting with severe pain and uncontrollable convulsions were splashed on TV screens everywhere.

James Brooks of “Just Peace in Palestine/Israel” gave a detailed account of this BW attack on civilians day by day as it happened. First, the victims thought it was tear gas. It had a faint odour like mint. It smelled “like sugar”, one victim reported. It changed colour “like a rainbow”. Fifteen minutes later, the victim felt that his “stomach was torn apart, with burning sensation in [his] chest, could not breathe”. Soon convulsions started. The victim would jump up and down, left and right, thrashing limbs around, with a kind of hysteria. Some victims were unconscious. The victim would vomit incessantly and then pain would return. This would go on for days or, for some, weeks.

In addition to the numerous press and human rights reports, convulsing poison gas victims in Khan Younis were filmed by the American filmmaker James Longley, in a documentary that “pushes the viewer headlong into the tumult of the Israeli- occupied Gaza”. Longley compiled a 43-page document of interviews with 19 gas victims, their relatives, nurses and doctors.

These devilish incapacitants drew the protest of some NGOs but little else. No international investigation or censureship of any kind, even though this was repeatedly used in March in Al- Birch, Nablus and West Bank and yet again in Gaza later that month.

Just the contrary. There was a wide-spread Zionist- orchestrated condemnation and disapproval when, in November 1999, Suha Arafat, the president’s wife, charged the Israelis with the use of “poison gas” in the presence of the aspiring politician Hillary Clinton. The height of hypocrisy and cynicism was attained when the incensed Israeli authorities declared that Suha’s factual statement is “a violation of the peace process”!

There are as yet unseen and long-term effects of toxins and incapacitants. On 3 February, 2003, Dr Khamis Al-Najjar, director of Cancer Research Centre of the Ministry of Health in Ramallah reported an alarming increase in cancer cases, especially among women and children. The report covers the period 1995-2000 and shows 3646 cases, with more than half among females. The cases in Gaza are more than the West Bank. The report, citing the rate of increase, predicts that cases will triple in the near future. Taking note of the Israelis’ paranoia about Palestinian demography and judging by their previous record, it is possible that the accumulative effect of the Israeli application of toxins and incapacitants has produced the increased incidence of cancer cases. A similar study is yet to be made on fetus and newborn babies.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Israel has signed but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention and is not a party to the Biological Weapons Convention. Israel does not recognise the application of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Occupied Palestinian Territories of the West Bank and Gaza, as the rest of the world does. This is not surprising. Israel violates every rule in the book.

Article 147 of the Geneva Convention stipulates that to “willingly cause [civilians] great suffering or serious injury to body or health” is a “grave breach”, which, according to Article 146, requires all High Contracting Parties to “search for persons alleged to have committed or to have ordered to commit such grave breaches” and must “bring such person regardless of their nationality before their own courts”. If this is applied, Sharon and his officers will stand behind bars in a Belgian court for a long time.

There is a plethora of conventions which Israel constantly violated, starting with Geneva Protocol of 1925 on Poisonous Gas to the 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons.

With this background, it seems a mockery of justice to despatch hundreds of inspectors to destroyed workshops and private homes in Iraq, while huge tons of weapons of mass destruction are staring them in the eye in Israel. Perhaps the 10 million people in 600 cities around the world who demonstrated against the war on Iraq on 15 and 16 February were trying to point out this irony in refusing this war. Some placards said so in clear terms.

Perhaps the domestic voice in Israel may be listened to more attentively. The Mayor of Nes Ziona, located a mere 10 kilometres away from Tel Aviv centre, complained that the proximity of IIBR to his city poses a great danger to the population, in case of accident. He is right. The Science Committee in the Knesset reported 22 casualties including three fatal cases in the last 15 years. But these were mild cases.

What would be the situation if a big accident happens on a windy day, causing explosion of tons of toxics and its evaporation in the sky, in a congested neighbourhood, where three million people live in an area of barely 1000sqkms, that is 35X35 km? Ben Gurion, while cooking his evil plans to “exterminate” the Arabs, did not envisage this scenario in his wildest dreams.

* The writer is president of Palestine Land Society, London.