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On September 15th 2009, the U.N. Fact-Finding Mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone released its report (executive summary can be found here) on the Israeli invasion of Gaza. The report concluded that there exists strong evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by Israel and Hamas during the Gaza conflict. The report emphasized that Israel and Hamas committed actions amounting to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.

Goldstonefacts.org is a project created by a group of individuals from around the globe who decided to dramatize portions of the Goldstone Report. We are all volunteers and amateurs. Our professional backgrounds are diverse as are our ethnic and national origins. In fact, most of us have never met each other.

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Did you know this about Gaza?

IDF admits war crime after months of heavy pro-israeli propaganda

SUMMARY OF THE MAIN TERRORIST ACTIONS AGAINST CUBA(1990-2000)

From 1959 on, counterrevolutionary groups created and run by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have carried out numerous terrorist activities which have cost our country valuable lives and vast amounts of resources.

Encouraged by the fall of the socialist camp at the beginning of the 90s, these groups intensified their violent actions against the Cuban people and its leaders from US territory and from other bases of operations in Central America.

Below are listed some of the most important of these actions, which are of public domain.

July 17, 1990. Following lobbying by Florida Republican Congresspersons, Ileana Ross and Connie Mack, U.S. President George H. Bush released from jail well-known terrorist Orlando Bosch, the man chiefly responsible for the October 1976 blasting of a Cuban civil airplane in mid-flight, killing all 73 on board.

October 14, 1990. Two armed terrorists sneaked into Santa Cruz del Norte as part of an action concocted in Miami. They had orders to carry out violent actions. Their weapons and false documents supplied in Miami were confiscated. They also carried literature urging people to join what they called “The Cuban Liberation Army” headed by Higinio Díaz Anne who had given them money and propaganda before they set out.

May 15,1991. José Basulto, an ex-Bay of Pigs mercenary and well-known terrorist and CIA agent founded the so-called “Brothers to the Rescue”. He asked U.S. President George H. Bush for three U.S. Air Force type 0-2 planes, the military version of the Cessna which had been used in the war in El Salvador. Congresswoman Ileana Ross started a public campaign and lobbied until the three planes were obtained. A photo of the planes received by this counterrevolutionary group appeared in the press for the first time with a July 19 article by the publisher of the Miami Herald, who flew with Brothers to the Rescue. The letters USAF (United States Air Force) are clearly visible on the planes.

September 17,1991. Two counterrevolutionaries from Miami infiltrated into Cuba. Their mission was to sabotage tourist shops to spread terror among foreign tourists. Their weapons and a radio transmitter were confiscated.

December 29, 1991. Three terrorists from the so-called Commandos L group in Miami entered Cuba illegally. Their weapons and other war materiel were confiscated. These three had received training with 50 or 60 other men in a camp on 168 Street in Miami.

May 8 1992. Cuba files a complaint with the United Nations about terrorist activities organized against its territory. At Cuba’s request, a June 23, 1989 decision of the U.S. Department of Justice is circulated as an official Security Council document. The decision states that Orlando Bosch is banned from entering the U.S. territory because there is substantial proof concerning his past and present terrorist activities, including the 1976 blasting off of a Cuban civil aviation plane in mid-flight.

Today this individual freely walks the streets of Miami after George H. Bush granted him a presidential pardon.

July 4, 1992. A group of terrorists set out from the United States to attack economic targets along the Havana coastline. Once detected by Cuban patrol boats, they moved to waters off Varadero, where U.S. coastguards rescued them after their boat had a mechanical failure.

The FBI released them after the confiscation of weapons, maps and videos made during their journey.

July 1992. An operation to infiltrate an U.S. based terrorist into Cuba with the mission to sabotage an economic target in Villa Clara province failed. He was carrying the weapons and explosives needed for the job and had the assistance of Brothers to the Rescue who kept him informed about the position of the U.S. coastguard to make it easier for him to reach Cuban territory.

September 9, 1992. The FBI for illegal possession of firearms and violation of the Law of Neutrality arrests a Cuban born terrorist. He is released without charges.

October 7, 1992. An armed attack against the Varadero Meliá Hotel is perpetrated from a vessel manned by four Miami terrorists who were later arrested and questioned by the FBI, then released.

October 19, 1992. Three Miami based counterrevolutionaries entered Cuba illegally with plenty of weapons and military equipment that were confiscated. At the same time, three other terrorists were arrested in the Bahamas with weapons and explosives apparently destined for Cuba, which were also seized from them. These terrorists had left Miami on October 17.

January 1993. Five terrorists on board a vessel armed with heavy machine guns and other weapons were arrested by the U.S. coastguard as they were heading toward the Cuban coastline. They were soon released.

January 7, 1993. At a press conference in Miami, Tony Bryant, leader of the terrorist group “Commandos L” announced plans to carry out more attacks against targets in Cuba, especially hotels. He said: “from now on we are at war with Cuba” and warned foreign tourists to “stay away from Cuba.”

April 2, 1993. The tanker ship “Mikonos” sailing under the Cypriot flag was fired on 7 miles north of Matanzas from a vessel crewed by Cuban born, U.S. based terrorists.

May 18, 1993. A violation of Cuban airspace by a plane registered to “Brothers to the Rescue” with the number N8447.

May 21, 1993. Nine terrorists arrested by the U.S. Customs Service on board a vessel as they prepared to sail for Cuba to launch attacks on that country. Their weapons and explosives were seized. On August 21, Judge Lawrence King dismissed charges against them.

May 1993. “Brothers to the Rescue” planned to blow up a high-tension pylon near San Nicolás de Bari in Havana province.

October 1993. “Brothers to the Rescue” publicly encouraged attempts on the life of President Fidel Castro and violence against Cuba. It also confirmed its readiness to accept “the risks that come with doing this”. Andrés Nazario Sargén, head of terrorist group Alpha 66, makes an announcement in the United States that his organization has recently carried out five operations against Cuba.

October 18, 1993. A terrorist living in the United States is arrested on his arrival in Cuba. His orders were to carry out acts of violence on Cuban soil.

November 7, 1993. Humberto Pérez, spokesperson for Alpha 66, said in a press conference in Miami that their war against Cuba would soon be extended to any tourist visiting the island: “We consider anyone staying in a Cuban hotel to be an enemy “, he affirmed.

1993. A Cuban citizen visiting the United States is recruited by a terrorist organization to carry out sabotage in Cuba against the tourism and agricultural sectors. He was supplied with some of the materials needed for such actions and was offered the sum of 20,000 US dollars.

March 11, 1994. A terrorist group from Miami fires on the “Guitart Cayo Coco Hotel.”

April 17, 1994. Planes owned by “Brothers to the Rescue” fly at extremely low altitude over Havana and drop smoke bombs. In the following months of 1994 the same group carried out at least seven other similar violations of Cuba’s airspace.

September 4, 1994. Two U.S. based terrorists infiltrated into the area around Caibarién, Villa Clara, with the aim of carrying out sabotage in that province. A number of weapons and large amounts of military equipment were seized.

October 6, 1994. Another armed group fired automatic weapons at the “Guitart Cayo Coco Hotel” from a boat that set out from Florida.

October 15, 1994. A group of armed terrorists coming from the United States landed on the causeway to “Cayo Santa María” near Caibarién, Villa Clara, and murdered comrade Arcelio Rodríguez García.

October 1994. “Brothers to the Rescue” uses one of its planes to train members of a Florida based counterrevolutionary organization to carry out acts of sabotage on the Cienfuegos oil refinery.

In November of that same year, they also planned to make an attempt on the life of President Fidel Castro and other leaders of the Revolution and to smuggle arms and explosives into Cuba.

November 1994. Terrorist Luis Posada Carriles and five of his accomplices smuggled weapons into Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, during the IV Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government in order to make an attempt on the life of President Fidel Castro. However, the security belt keeps him at a distance thus thwarting his aim. Posada Carriles later told the New York Times: “I was standing behind some journalists and I saw Castro’s friend, García Márquez, but I could only see Castro from a long way away.”

November 11, 1994. Four terrorists were arrested in Varadero, Matanzas. After sneaking into Cuba, they were relieved of weapons and munitions.

March 2, 1995. Two terrorists from the United States sneaked into the coast near Puerto Padre, Las Tunas. They were carrying 51 pounds of C – 4 explosives and other munitions.

April 4, 1995. A C – 337 light plane violates Cuban airspace north of Havana between Santa Fé and Guanabo beach.

May 20, 1995. The “Guitart Cayo Coco Hotel” was once again attacked by terrorists manning a fast launch coming from the United States.

July 12, 1995. Three terrorists were arrested in the United States as they were preparing to sneak into Cuba using an act of provocation just off the Cuban coast as cover. Despite confiscation of their weapons and explosives, U.S. authorities released them.

July 13, 1995. Organized by “Brothers to the Rescue” eleven vessels, six light planes and two helicopters coming from the United States enter Cuban territorial waters and airspace. One of the light planes flew over the heart of Havana and dropped propaganda material.

December 16, 1995. Two terrorists were arrested in the United States as they readied to sneak into Cuba through Pinar del Río to carry out subversive actions. Despite confiscation of their weapons and explosive, U.S. authorities released them.

January 9, 1996. Two light planes departing from Opa-locka airport in Florida violated Cuban airspace.

January 12, 1996. A Cuban immigrant living in the United States was arrested while trying to transport explosives from the City of Havana to Pinar del Río.

January 13, 1996. Several “Brothers to the Rescue” planes violated Cuban airspace over the City of Havana. Later, terrorist Basulto said: “They say I was flying over Cuban airspace, something everybody knows and which I have never denied.”

January 23, 1996. U.S. authorities intercepted a vessel in Marathon Key with five armed terrorists on board. It was headed for Cuba. The FBI released the five that same day.

February 11, 1996. After firing on our coastline, a vessel coming from the United States carrying three terrorists was captured by the Cuban a cost guard patrol.

February 24, 1996. “Brothers to the Rescue” launched a new foray. Three light planes violated Cuban airspace over the heart of Havana and two of them were shot down. In the 20 months prior to this incident there had been at least 25 other violations of Cuban airspace.

June 26, 1996. At a session of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Chairman of the Investigating Committee acknowledges that at least one of the “Brothers to the Rescue” planes in Opa-locka airport still has the insignia of the U.S. Air Force on it: “the ‘F’ is a little pale, it looks as if it is beginning to fade, but you can still see it”.

August 21, 1996. An U.S. citizen is arrested in Cuba. He had clandestinely brought military equipment into the country and was planning to carry out terrorist actions on Cuban soil.

September 16, 1996. A person is arrested who was sneaking into Cuba through Punta Alegre, Ciego de Ávila, on a boat carrying weapons and a great deal of military equipment.

21 October 1996. An SS-RR light plane, registration number N3093M owned by the U.S. State Department sprays a substance containing the pest “Thrip Palmi Karny” as it flies over the “Girón” international corridor about 25-30 kilometers south of Varadero.

November 1996. Miami television channel 23 carried a live interview with Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch where they stressed their intentions of continuing with their terrorist activities against Cuba.

April 12, 1997. An explosive device was detonated in the “Meliá Cohíba” Hotel in the City of Havana.

April 30, 1997. Discovery of an explosive device in the “Meliá Cohíba” Hotel.

July 12, 1997. Bombs blasted in the “Capri” and “National” hotels.

August 4, 1997. Another bomb exploded in the “Meliá Cohíba” Hotel.

August 11, 1997. The Miami press published a statement from the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) giving unconditional support to the terrorist bomb attacks against civilian and tourist targets in Cuba. The chairman of this organization claimed: “We do not think of these as terrorist actions” and went on to say that any action against Cuba was legitimate.

August 22, 1997. Bomb exploded in the “Sol Palmeras” Hotel in Varadero.

September 4, 1997. Several bombs exploded in the “Tritón”, “Chateau Miramar” and “Copacabana” hotels. The explosion in the latter killed young Italian tourist Fabio Di Celmo. On that same day another bomb exploded at “La Bodeguita del Medio ” restaurant.

September 10, 1997. The Cuban Government announced the arrest of Salvadoran national Raúl Cruz León, the person responsible of placing six of the bombs that exploded in various hotels in the Cuban capital, including the one that killed Italian tourist Fabio Di Celmo. Cruz León admitted that he had been paid 4,500 US dollars for each bomb.

October 19, 1997. An explosive device was found in a tourist van.

October 27, 1997. The U.S. Coastguard arrested a vessel West of Puerto Rico. They confiscated 2 high velocity rifles .50 caliber with their tripods, night vision gear, and military uniforms and communications equipment. These sophisticated weapons, strictly military in nature, are designed for long-range attacks on vehicles and aircraft. One of those on the vessel said that his aim was to assassinate President Fidel Castro when he arrived on Margarita Island, Venezuela, on November 7, 1997 to attend the Ibero-American Summit.

U.S. authorities found that the vessel was registered by a Florida company whose chief executive officer, manager, secretary and treasurer is José Antonio Llama, a director of the CANF and a Bay of Pigs mercenary.

One of the guns was registered in the name of José Francisco “Pepe” Hernández, CANF co-chairman. A member of Brigade 2506 had bought the other in 1994.

The four crew members on the vessel were identified as: a well-known CIA agent; the captain of a CIA boat used by Florida infiltration teams sneaking into Cuba; the chairman of a New Jersey counterrevolutionary group and a member of Alpha 66.

Despite their confessions and clear proof of the illegal possession of arms, false testimony and arms smuggling, these terrorists were acquitted by a Federal court of law in December 1999 after a rigged trial.

October 30, 1997. Discovery of an explosive device in a kiosk outside terminal 2 at the “José Martí” International Airport in the City of Havana. Two men originally from El Salvador and three originally from Guatemala would later be arrested for crimes against tourist facilities. They all were linked with terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.

November 16, 1997. Following a two months investigation, a Florida newspaper reported that the series of bomb explosions in Havana were bankrolled and directed by Miami anti-Cuban groups and that Luis Posada Carriles, a fugitive from justice for having blown up a Cuban plane in 1976, was at the heart of the operation.

May 1998. Two terrorists sneaked into Santa Lucía, Pinar del Río. They had set out from the United States with a great deal of weapons and war materiel.

June 16, 1998. After several meetings in which the Cuban Government gave information to the FBI and other U.S. Government agencies about terrorist activities concocted in the United States against Cuba, an official U.S. delegation traveled to Havana including two of FBI top brass, which was given precise details, even films, recordings and other material evidence on the activities of 40 terrorists who operated out of the United States.

July 12, 1998. An article in The New York Times for this date published statements by Cuban American Antonio Jorge Alvarez concerning the fact that the FBI had not investigated information he had volunteered related to an attempt on the life of President Fidel Castro that was being planned for the Ibero-American Summit in Venezuela. Alvarez claimed that the previous year he had provided information that Posada Carriles, and a group working in his factory in Guatemala, were preparing this attempt and the bomb explosions in Havana: “I risked my business and my life and they did nothing,” he said.

July 12 and 13, 1998. In an interview with The New York Times, Luis Posada Carriles admitted to having organized the bomb campaign against Cuban tourist centers. He also acknowledged that the leaders of the CANF had bankrolled his operations and that its chairman Jorge Mas Canosa was personally in charge of overseeing the flow of funds and logistic support to those operations: “Jorge Mas Canosa controlled everything, whenever I needed money he would say that he would give me 5 0000, 10 000, even 15 000 and he did.”

Posada also admitted to having paid Raúl Cruz León for placing the bombs in Havana hotels. Referring to the Italian tourist killed by one of those bombs, he told the Times: “… he was sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

In compiling these reports, the Times used CIA and FBI files, testimony from more than 100 people and more than 13 hours of recorded interviews with Posada Carriles and even documents signed by him.

July 23, 1998. The Miami press published an article entitled “In the United States anti-Castro plots rarely lead to jail”. The article mentions several cases, such as the 1990 acquittal of 6 terrorists who took guns and other weapons to Nicaragua for an attempt on the life of the Cuban President. It also mentions the Rodolfo Frómeta and Fausto Marimóm’s 1994 acquittals of charges of planning to use Stinger antiaircraft missiles and other weapons in terrorist attacks. The article quotes statements too from well-known terrorist Tony Bryant who said that in 1989 the FBI stopped him in a boat loaded with weapons and explosives and they let him go. He added that he had been intercepted in two of his 14 missions against Cuba, but they never did anything to him.

August 2, 1998. Posada Carriles, in an interview for the program Opposing Points of View for CBS news, said that he intended to launch more attacks on Cuban facilities, either inside or outside the island.

August 1998. Even before President Fidel Castro’s announcement that he would attend the Summit of Heads of State and Government of CARIFORUM in the Dominican Republic, several Cuban born terrorists had planned an attempt on his life to be carried out some time between August 20 and 25.

To that end, terrorist Posada Carriles arranged a meeting in the Guatemala City Holiday Inn Hotel one month before the summit to plan how to get weapons and explosives into Santo Domingo.

September 12 1998. Five Cuban patriots were arrested in Miami who were defending both Cuban and U.S. citizens from the terrorist actions which, with total impunity, are organized, prepared and launched against Cuba from the United States territory.

November 17, 2000. A group of terrorists headed by Posada Carriles was arrested in Panama. They had entered Panama with false documents to make an attempt on the life of President Fidel Castro during the X Ibero American Summit of Heads of State and Government. Their weapons, explosives and a sketch of Castro’s route and public meetings were seized from them. The Cuban American National Foundation is paying for the team of lawyers defending the terrorists.

April 26, 2001. Three terrorists of the Commandos Groups F-45 and Alpha 66 tried to land on the north coast of Villa Clara province and, after firing shots at Cuban coastguard troops who had spotted them, were taken prisoner. Four AKM rifles, one M-3 rifle with a silencer, 3 hand guns, a great deal of materiel, night vision equipment and communications equipment were confiscated to them, all of which they intended to use to carry out sabotage and terrorist actions on Cuban soil.

In addition to the plots listed above, our authorities learned of 16 other plots to assassinate the President of Cuba, 8 plots to try to kill other leaders of the Revolution and 140 other terrorist plots hatched between 1990 and 2001. These were foiled, discouraged or prevented by the work of the Cuban Security and Intelligence Services.

Despite everything, Hebron is still Palestinian

The Pachao family was out Saturday for a Sabbath walk. Sarah and Yosef pushed the baby carriage, and the little ones, Ahuva, Gershon, Hananel and Noah, crowded into the carriage or walked behind it. Why did you come to live here, I asked? “Because of the good air.” The Pachaos, who are members of the Bnei Menashe, immigrated from India, near the Myanmar border, 10 years ago.

They were returning from Sabbath prayers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, along with thousands of other Jews, who walked through the car-free street. This week’s portion was “Life of Sarah.” The Pachaos’ Asian appearance was not the only outstanding thing along the road connecting Kiryat Arba with Hebron, and its “House of Contention.”

A stranger coming to Hebron Saturday would be confused. Border Policemen speaking Amharic with settlers; their Druze friends chattering in Arabic; police, soldiers and settlers praying together in the Abraham hall; American and French Jews armed with machine guns; a sea of tents on the grass in front of the tomb structure. Above all, the surreal look of an abandoned Palestinian quarter, emptied of its inhabitants, a ghost town.

Through the protective wire fence erected to block settlers’ stones, occasionally the face of a terrified old woman, a frightened child or an embittered man would appear, shut up in their cage. It is not difficult to imagine what they felt Saturday on “Life of Sarah” Sabbath, which tells how Abraham purchased the cave for 400 pieces of silver.

The ridiculous visored cap I wore, which covered half my face to prevent the settlers from identifying me, failed in its duty. It is not good to be Gideon Levy on “Life of Sarah” Sabbath in Hebron. “Take your garbage and get out of here now,” thugs threatened here and there. But generally the Jewish quarter was very tranquil, and a “holiday atmosphere” prevailed, as they say. Only toward evening did menacing knots of young boys in their Sabbath white shirts begin to gather.

I entered the “House of Contention” – a huge, unfinished Palestinian apartment building. Saturday it was like an open house, a model home. There were three new washing machines and two solar heaters. For a model apartment, it was rather shabby. A paper sign on the wooden door read, “The Levinger Family.” Tents on the roof. Clutter and plastic tablecloths on shared dining tables. Groups of guests on the roof of the house, to see the wonder of dispossession.

They came here from all over the country. Even one of our colleagues from the Haaretz management left his wife at home to go. “I fantasize about this every year, and this year I came,” he said, his eyes gleaming. He paid for his dinner before Sabbath began, and ate shnitzel and salads in the abandoned Arab wholesale market.

Then, as I stood on Tel Rumeida, a huge noise drowned out everything: the muezzins of Hebron calling to afternoon prayers, a reminder that Hebron is forever, but it is still Palestinian, despite everything.

Ref: Haaretz, by Gideon Levy

ISRAEL’S ILLEGAL OCCUPATION


Bringing an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is as much a prerequisite for peace in the Middle East as is the Palestinian recognition of Israel. The Israeli occupation is not only inhuman and the cause of extreme suffering for the 3.5 million Palestinians living under its subjugation, but it is also illegal under international law. Attempts to claim otherwise have no legal validity and are morally bankrupt and politically dangerous since they basically preclude the achievement of peace.

 

While it is true that victorious powers can legally occupy hostile territories seized in the course of conflict – an example of which is the Allies’ occupation of the territory of Nazi Germany during World War II, foreign occupation should nevertheless be a temporary situation, pending a political settlement or solution. During the interim, the occupying Power must comply with relevant instruments of international humanitarian law with regard to its conduct in the territory it has occupied.

International law is very clear on two basic principles: the inadmissibility of the acquisition of  territory  by  war  and  the  prohibition  of  the  transfer  of  civilians of  the occupying Power to the occupied territory. Both are intended to prevent expansionism and the colonisation of occupied territories. Both complement another explicit principle of international law, namely the right of peoples to self-determination, a right that a colonial or occupying Power is obliged to respect.

The Israeli occupation has clearly violated all three of these principles of international law. In fact, throughout its prolonged occupation, Israel has persistently and aggressively breached international law.

Thus, what makes the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land illegal is not the fact that it occurred during the war of 1967 (regardless of the narrative concerning the causes of the war). What makes the Israeli occupation illegal is that it has existed for 35 years, during which time it transformed into a form of colonialism and suppressed and oppressed an entire people for decades, preventing them from the exercise of their right to self-determination and the establishment of their State, Palestine.

Israel, as an occupying Power, has undertaken countless measures attempting to change the legal status, demographic composition and character of the territory by confiscating land, exploiting natural resources, building more than 250 settlements, transferring more than 400,000 Israelis to the occupied territories, establishing a dual system of law and even annexing part of the territory.

These actions have been carried out in direct contravention of the Fourt Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, which, among other things, defines the rules of conduct and the obligations of the occupying Power. Clearly then, the active intent of the Israeli occupation has been to negate Palestinian rights, to create new facts on the ground and to illegally expand Israel’s borders.

Security Council resolution 242 (1967), which is the bedrock of the peace process and of any future peace settlement, is anchored in the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. The old and deceptive argument that the resolution calls for withdrawal from ‘territories’ and not ‘the territories’ not withstanding (in fact, the French text of the resolution does contain the article ‘the’). The call in the resolution for the withdrawal of Israel can only be read within the context of the above-mentioned principle.

Since the onset of the Israeli occupation in 1967, and in response to established, illegal policies and practices of the occupying Power, the Security Council has adopted 26 resolutions that affirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the territories occupied by Israel. Of those resolutions, several deal directly with the issue of Israeli settlements and several also specifically deal with Israeli violations in Occupied East Jerusalem.

The resolutions clearly address the illegality of Israel’s policies and practices with regard to both issues. For example, some of the resolutions affirm that the Israeli settlements ‘have no legal validity‘; call upon the government and people of Israel ‘to dismantle the existing settlements’; and call upon ‘all States not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connection with settlements in the occupied territories’.

 
As for Occupied East Jerusalem, which the Israeli government illegally annexed in 1980, the Security Council, in resolution 478 (1980), determined ‘that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and, in particular, the recent “basic law” on Jerusalem are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith’.

Similar affirmations were made by the Council in several other resolutions. Moreover, the General Assembly and other UN organs have adopted scores of resolutions on the illegal policies and practices of the Israeli occupation and on the legitimacy of, and the necessity for, the exercise of the right to self-determination by the Palestinian people.

There has therefore been absolutely no impropriety on the part of the UN Secretary-General concerning his recent statements with regard to the Israeli occupation. Kofi Annan’s call for an end to ‘the illegal occupation’ was not only legally correct but was also not a concept invented by the Secretary-General, as reflected in the numerous resolutions of the United Nations. It was, however, important for Mr Annan to add his moral authority to the urgent need for an end to that illegal occupation, particularly during this late stage in the perilous deterioration of the situation.

 
In that statement on 12 March 2002, the Secretary-General addressed both the Palestinian and Israeli sides. The Palestinian side probably did not like everything it heard. But, taken in its entirety, the statement was widely viewed as a necessary and responsible call that intended to, and should, help the parties to move forward towards a peaceful settlement. For this to happen, the Israeli people and the Israeli government must indeed come to terms, for once and for all, with the illegality of their occupation and the need for its termination. 

 

 Third World Network Features
About the writer: Dr Nasser Al-Kidwa is Ambassador and Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations.

 

The above article first appeared in Palestine & the UN (Vol. 7 Issue 8, mid-September 2002).

Syria accuses US of deadly raid

Syria has accused the United States of killing at least eight people in a helicopter raid in the country’s east, close to the border with Iraq.

The government condemned the act as “serious aggression” and summoned the senior US and Iraqi envoys to Damascus to protest against the raid, the Syrian Arab news agency (Sana) reported on Sunday.

A US military official speaking on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press in Washington that the raid by US special forces were targeting al-Qaeda-linked foreign fighters moving through Syria into Iraq.

“We are taking matters into our own hands,” AP quoted him as saying.

Syrian state television said American helicopters raided the village of Sukariya, which lies 550km northeast of Damascus, before flying back towards Iraqi territory.

“Four American helicopters violated Syrian airspace around 4:45pm local time [13:45 GMT] on Sunday,” state television and Sana news agency reported.

During the raids, two of the helicopters landed and dropped off eight US soldiers, who then entered a house, Syrian media reported.

“American soldiers … attacked a civilian building under construction and fired at workmen inside, causing eight deaths,” the reports said.

Children killed

The government said civilians were among the dead, including four children.

“Syria condemns this aggression and holds the American forces responsible for this aggression and all its repercussions”

Syrian government statement
“Syria condemns this aggression and holds the American forces responsible for this aggression and all its repercussions. Syria also calls on the Iraqi government to shoulder its responsibilities and launch and immediate investigation into this serious violation and prevent the use of Iraqi territory for aggression against Syria,” a government statement said.

Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, there have been some instances in which American troops crossed areas of the 600-km border in pursuit of fighters, or aircraft violating Syria’s airspace.

But Sunday’s raid, if confirmed, would be the first conducted by aircraft and on such a large scale.

Akram Hameed, one of the injured who said he was fishing in the Euphrates river, told Syrian television he saw four helicopters coming from the border area under a heavy blanket of fire.

“One of the helicopters landed in an agricultural area and eight members disembarked,” the man in his 40s said. “The firing lasted about 15 minutes and when I tried to leave the area on my motorcycle, I was hit by a bullet in the right arm about 20 metres away,” he said.

Syria TV showed what it said was the injured wife of the building’s guard, in bed in hospital with a tube in her nose, saying that two helicopters landed and two remained in the air during the attack.

US reaction

The alleged attack came just days after the commander of US forces in western Iraq said American troops were redoubling efforts to secure the Syrian border, which he called an “uncontrolled” gateway for fighters entering Iraq.

US Major-General John Kelly said on Thursday that Iraq’s western borders with Saudi Arabia and Jordan were fairly tight as a result of good policing by security forces in those countries but that Syria was a “different story”.

IN VIDEO

US raid on Syrian soil
“The Syrian side is, I guess, uncontrolled by their side,” Kelly said. “We still have a certain level of foreign fighter movement.”

However, Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Hughes, a spokesman for US forces in western Iraq, said the US division that operates on the Iraqi side of the border was not involved in Sunday’s incident.

A Pentagon spokesman in Washington said he had no immediate information on the reported strike but would check further while the White House and CIA declined to comment.

The US and the US-backed Iraqi government frequently say Damascus is not doing enough to stop anti-US fighters, including those from al-Qaeda, from crossing the border into Iraq.

The area targeted by Sunday’s raid lies close to the Iraqi border city of Qaim, which in the past has been a crossing point for fighters, weapons and money used to fuel the armed Sunni opposition against Iraq’s Shia-led government.

Thabet Salem, a political analyst, told Al Jazeera that the US had appeared to have taken the building workers for infiltrators.

“The Syrian government will be very worried because from the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003 until now, nothing has happened [in Syria]. There have maybe been a few cases, but nothing like eight people killed inside Syria,” he said.

“It will raise questions as to why this is happening at this moment – towards the end of the current US administration.

“Syria has deployed large numbers [of security staff] and they have checkpoints every four kilometres along the border. The Syrians have, according to my information, stopped five or six thousand people trying to cross the Syria-Iraq border throughout the last few years.”

Iraq security

The raid comes 10 days after Iraqi forces arrested seven Syrian “terrorist” suspects at a checkpoint near the city of Baquba, a base for al-Qaeda fighters, the Iraqi government said.

But last month, Jalal Talabani, Iraq’s president, told his US counterpart George Bush that Iran and Syria no longer pose a problem to Iraqi security.

Syria’s first ambassador to Iraq in 26 years took up his post in Baghdad this month, bringing more than two decades of discord between the nations to an end.

In September, Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, said she had met Walid Muallem, Syria’s foreign minister, to discuss Middle East peace efforts.

Syrian and American diplomats said the talks touched on Iraq, Lebanon and Middle East peace negotiations.

Ref: Al Jazeera

Behind closed doors, police admit ‘turning a blind eye’ to settler violence

Police, soldiers and military officers prefer to “turn a blind eye” instead of handling incidents in which settlers attack Palestinians in the West Bank.

In a meeting held by West Bank precinct operations officer Ronen Yefet last week, participants – including a Shin Bet security service representative and a senior police and army officers – reported a recent increase in the number of violent incidents involving settlers.

The Shin Bet representative stated in the discussion that settler violence has been “intentional and planned,” adding that any Israel Defense Forces operations against settlers (eviction or demolitions) now comes with a violent “price tag.”

Police officers at the meeting criticized the IDF for reportedly saying they do not want to act against settlers, and purported comments like “Leave me alone, don’t get me mixed up with those guys.”

In response, chief of the West Bank precinct patrol unit said police also prefer not to confront settlers. “Sometimes cops also avoid acting against Jews. There are also instances where police have looked the other way in order to say ‘I didn’t see anything.'”

Palestinian actions were also criticized during the meeting. Police said Palestinians do not coordinate their farming plans with the police, which ends up causing friction with the settlers.

In the first half of 2008, particularly in the Samaria and Binyamin districts, there has been an increase in “disturbances of the peace” – the term used for harm caused by Israeli citizens to Palestinians and their property, as well as harm to Israeli security forces. Data presented in the meeting indicated that there were 429 such incidents in the first half of this year, compared with 587 incidents in all of 2006 and 551 in 2007.

At the end of the meeting, the Shin Bet representative expressed the opinion that discussions should be held with the settlers to decrease the instances of disturbing the peace. Security officials are also looking into restraining orders against known disturbers of the peace. Also, the police and IDF agreed to hold joint situation assessments. They will inform all command functions ahead of any police or military operations against settlers, in order to prepare for violent responses.

West Bank precinct spokesman Danny Poleg said in response that “In January-July 2008, 340 cases of Israelis (both right and left-wing) disturbing the peace were opened, compared to 313 cases in the parallel period last year.”

Poleg said the data covers case files, not incidents. Regarding the criticism voiced at the meeting, Poleg replied “This was a meeting, one of many held by the precinct with other entities with which police are in routine contact such as the IDF, so we have no intention of commenting on things said in internal discussions.” An IDF spokesman said “The IDF performs its role in cooperation with the police and Shin Bet.”

A military source added that “irregularities uncovered in police or soldier performance are handled appropriately.”

Ref: Haaretz


Wait…
What an old news – we all know this!!!
Israel is a colonial state which have clear ideology goals to suffocate another people
out of breath and territory. History as well as everyday practise reflects this. And finally
even the mighty IDF “confesses”. “Disturbance of peace” is nothing more than jewish
terrorism and shoah. Well funded and supported by Israel.

: a

“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.