CPC(M-L) HOME TML Daily Archive Le Marxiste-Léniniste quotidien E-Mail Us

January 15, 2009 - No. 11

Israel's Criminal Campaign of Death and Destruction

Long Live the Palestinian Resistance!

United Nations headquarters in Gaza City after being bombed by Israeli Occupation Forces, January 15, 2009.

Death and Destruction in Gaza City
Criminal Bombing of UN Headquarters
Unprecedented Crimes Committed by Occupation Forces
My Message to the West -- Israel Must Stop the Slaughter - Ismail Haniyeh
Hamas: IOF Troops Must Get out of Gaza, Siege Must Be Lifted
Emergency Session of UN General Assembly Convoked
Suit Filed in the Hague for Crimes against Humanity 
Israel May Face UN Court Ruling on Legality of Gaza Conflict
Bolivia Cuts Ties with Israel
Canadian Jewish Activists Condemn Attempts to Smear Critics of Israeli Atrocities
Possible Israeli War Scenarios on Gaza and Lebanon
Demonstrations in Palestine, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Cuba

Death and Destruction in Gaza City

On the 20th day of its criminal "Operation Cast Lead," Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) are intensifying their campaign of death and destruction as they push deeper into Gaza City and the surrounding areas of Jabaliya and Beit Hanoun.

John Ging, director of operations for the UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), appealed to the international community on January 14 to protect Gaza's civilians, saying nowhere in the territory of 1.5 million people was safe any longer with the conflict becoming "a test of our humanity." "All the people, the first thing they say to me and the last thing they say to me is 'Please, we need protection, nowhere is safe.'"

The UN reports that Gaza hospitals are near collapse trying to cope with the nearly 5,000 injured. As of today 1,100 Palestinians have been killed, including more than 670 civilians. Al Jazeera reports more than 80,000 Palestinians have fled their homes.

The IOF also continues to attack civilian and humanitarian facilities. These include the UN Headquarters in Gaza City and offices of media and press organizations on January 15 and a hospital in Tal al-Hawa on January 14. The UN headquarters had just taken in 700 refugees when it was attacked, while the hospital had about 500 people taking shelter inside when it came under attack. "The last hit was on the Red Crescent's operations building and destroyed the pharmacy. There's a hole in the roof and a fire is still burning," hospital volunteer Sharon Locke told Al Jazeera in the aftermath on January 14.

Left: smoke rises from a tower block (at left) in Gaza City that houses the offices of Reuters and other media organizations after being shelled by the IOF, forcing an evacuation and disrupting coverage, January 15, 2009. Right: Lebanese journalists protest against the killing of journalists in Gaza in front of the UN headquarters in Beirut, January 15, 2009.

A UN official said January 14 that an Israeli shell had hit one of its cars used to ferry senior UN officials in Gaza. The car was clearly marked, emblazoned with the UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) initials and carrying a UN flag lit with a spotlight. The driver was wounded. "I'm sure it was an Israeli shell targeting the vehicle." said UNRWA spokesperson Chris Guinness.

Shelling also continues during the daily three-hour so-called humanitarian corridor or "lull" in IOF attacks to allow Gazans to find food and medical supplies, Al Jazeera reports.

Al Jazeera 's Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting today from Gaza City, said that the Israeli shelling was the closest it had been to the city centre. "There have, no doubt, been a series of air strikes that have destroyed so many of the buildings here in the heart of Gaza City, but this is the first time we have seen this kind of shelling," he said. "We are getting some very horrific accounts from people trapped in buildings unable to leave."

Elsewhere, the town of Rafah near the Egyptian border suffered extensive Israeli bombardment on January 13 causing several thousand residents to flee their homes on Tuesday. Israel is using "bunker-busting" bombs in the area, attempting to destroy underground tunnels which have been used to circumvent the blockade of Gaza.

"They used bombs that went deep into the tunnels and shook the whole Rafah refugee camp. The land trembled beneath our feet," local Palestinian cameraman Bassam Abdallah said.

The Israeli attacks have completely reduced a large part of Rafah to rubble, with Al Jazeera's Gaza correspondent saying, "It has been described as hell on earth by some of the witnesses we have met."

On Wednesday, January 14 various UN agencies and aid organizations issued statements about the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

"Pregnant women and their newborn babies are some of the unseen victims of the current crisis in Gaza," said UN Population Fund (UNFPA) executive director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. "Without attention to their special needs, including safe access to proper care and nutrition, many of them could suffer from silent deaths."

"Putting an end to violence and civilian casualties is not an option, it is an obligation," said Charles Clayton of World Vision Jerusalem. "We cannot stress enough that the current situation needs to be addressed without further delay. Too many people have died already."

A joint statement from Save the Children, Oxfam International, World Vision Jerusalem, Christian Aid and CARE International added that the three-hour "lull" in the fighting for the delivery of aid, which is now restricted to Gaza City, diverts attention away from the immediate need for a ceasefire.

David Bourns, director for Save the Children in Palestine said, "With shelters overflowing, food shortages, inadequate facilities and the general sense of panic and abandonment felt, we must be allowed to sufficiently assist the needy population of the Gaza Strip at once."

Last week, CARE International staffers were forced to flee a food distribution site when heavy bombing hit the area. Distribution of food takes at least five hours per delivery. A daily delivery of medical supplies took 11 hours last week -- far longer than the three-hour "lull" promised by the Israeli Occupation Forces.

Even with an increase in the number of workers packing and dispatching, the needs of clinics and hospitals can't be met in the short time frame, the group said.

Oxfam International said it is "impossible" to perform its work within the Gaza Strip during the three-hour lull. Oxfam's seven staff members in Gaza, most whom have themselves been displaced due to the violence, are also struggling to deliver food to thousands of civilians in such a tight space of time.

"The lulls are barely long enough to distribute a minimum of aid to the people who need it. In most cases, it's simply not sufficient time to provide adequate assistance," said Oxfam's John Prideaux-Brune. "It's akin to putting a band-aid on a bullet wound when surgery and life support is what is needed," he added.

Meanwhile, during his regular televised briefing from Gaza on January 14, the chief of the UN relief operation in Gaza, John Ging, said: "Everywhere here there is death and destruction. Everyone I met in the [UN] shelter, everyone has a traumatic story to tell. It's horrifying."

Despite the Israeli onslaught, the alleged aim of which is to stop Palestinian rocket fire, more than a dozen rockets were fired from Gaza into Israeli territory on January 14.

Meanwhile, a Greek-flagged vessel Spirit of Humanity with the U.S.-based Free Gaza Movement trying to break the blockade was forced to turn back to Cyprus by an Israeli naval vessel after being intercepted about 160 km northeast of Gaza today. Huwaida Arraf, an organizer with Free Gaza, told Reuters that the Israeli ship "got very close and they threatened that if we continued they would open fire on us. They surrounded us with about four warships making it very difficult to navigate. They said they would use all means to keep us out of Gaza." Spirit of Humanity was carrying doctors, journalists, human rights workers and parliamentarians. The ship also carried over a ton of medicines donated by the European Campaign to Break the Siege. The latest attempt by Free Gaza to breech the blockade comes after another of its vessels, the Dignity, was rammed and severely damaged by an Israeli naval vessel on December 30.

Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Naeem Qassem, speaking January 14 at a forum at the Lebanese University's faculty of law said, "Israel is heading towards defeat, while the resistance (Hamas) and the people of Gaza are heading towards victory. I can say that we are now in the age of resistance and there is no going back." The war in Gaza has produced a sharp divide between popular and official stances, Qassem said. "Those who stand next to Gaza, its resistance and the Palestinians are the product of the resistance culture, while those who stand next to America and Israel are the Arab losers who follow the camp of surrender," he explained.

"The Israelis wish to accomplish two things via their aggression on Gaza; either to finish the resistance off and end the Palestinian cause forever, or to place the entire region in the framework of the new Middle East," said Qassem.

Qassem added that the successes of the Palestinian resistance meant the revival and continuation of the Palestinian cause and all other causes in the region. More than 200 people have been killed since the UN called for a ceasefire on January 8 and many more are still dying, they said.

(Sources: Al Jazeera, Reuters, Agence France Presse, Inter Press Service, Naharnet, Free Gaza)

Return to top

Criminal Bombing of UN Headquarters

United Nations workers and Palestinian firefighters try and put out fires and save bags of food aid at the UN headquarters in Gaza after it was bombed by Israeli Occupation Forces, January 15, 2009.

Israeli Occupation Forces shelled the UN headquarters in the Gaza Strip today, engulfing the compound and a warehouse in fire. Thousands of pounds of food and humanitarian supplies for distribution to Palestinian refugees by the UN Works and Relief Agency (UNRWA), also housed in the compound, were destroyed in the attack. Just that morning, the compound had also become a makeshift shelter for 700 Gaza City residents.

Israeli shells first hit the courtyard filled with refugees, then struck garages and the UN's main warehouse, sending thousands of tons of food aid up in flames, said John Ging, director of UNRWA operations in Gaza. Later, fuel supplies went up in flames, sending a thick black plume of smoke into the air.

Ging said the attack on the compound caused a "massive explosion" that wounded three people.

"It's a total disaster for us," Ging said, adding that the UN had warned the Israeli military that the compound was in peril from shelling that had begun overnight. The refugees have now been moved to a school away from the immediate fighting, he added.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in Israel to negotiate a truce, said, "I conveyed my strong protest and outrage to the defense minister and foreign minister and demanded a full explanation." The Israeli defense minister told him there had been a "grave mistake," said Ban.

UNRWA Director John Ging at UN headquarters in Gaza, January 15, 2009.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resorted to a claim of self-defence, saying the Israeli military only fired artillery shells at the UN compound after militants allegedly opened fire from the location. "It is absolutely true that we were attacked from that place, but the consequences are very sad and we apologize for it," he said. "I don't think it should have happened and I'm very sorry."

Ging, present in the compound at the time dismissed the explanation as "nonsense."

Even though UN officials provide the IOF with GPS coordinates for all UN installations in Gaza, Israeli shells also landed next to a UN school in another Gaza City neighbourhood, wounding 14 people who had sought sanctuary there, medics and firefighters said. An Israeli attack on a UN school in Jabaliya in northern Gaza January 5 killed more than forty people.

Elsewhere in Gaza City, Israeli shells also struck a hospital, five high-rise apartment buildings and a building housing media outlets, injuring several journalists. Bullets also entered offices of the Associated Press. The Foreign Press Association, representing journalists covering Israel and the Palestinian territories, demanded a halt to attacks on press buildings. The Associated Press reports that like the UN facilities, the Israeli army had been given the locations of media organizations at the outset of fighting to prevent such incidents.

(Sources: Associated Press)

Return to top

Unprecedented Crimes Committed
by Occupation Forces

The following item was posted by IslamOnline.net, January 13.


"Oh, God! I have never seen such a terrible scene," cried Kayed Abu Aukal. The emergency doctor could not believe himself seeing the remains of what was days back Shahd, a full-fleshed 4-year-old Palestinian girl.

She died when an Israeli shell was fired at the backyard of her home in the Jabalya refugee camp northern Gaza strip where she was playing.

When her parents attempted to rush to the rescue of their child, who fell to the ground amid a pool of her blood, a hail of Israeli bullets kept them a distance. For the next five days Shahd's body was left lying in the open left for dogs to tear out.

"The dogs did leave one single part of the poor baby's body intact," said a tearful Abu Aukal. "We have seen heart-breaking scenes over the past 18 days. We picked up children whose bodies were torn or burnt, but nothing like this."

For five days Shahd's brother, Matar, and cousin, Mohamed, tried in vain to reach her body. They were fired at by the Israeli occupation forces every time.

Seeing the body of the little angel torn to piece by the assaulting dogs, the two made one final attempt, and it was their last. They were showered by Israeli bullets before they could reach Shahd's body, joining a long list of more than 920 Palestinians killed by Israel since December 27.


Omran Zayda, a young neighbor, said the Israelis knew very well what they were doing.

"They chased her family and prevented them from reaching to her body, knowing that the dogs would eat it," he said. "They are not just killing our children, they are intentionally doing so in the most heinous and inhuman ways."

Zayda said words, and even cameras, can not describe the horrific scene. "You can never imagine what the dogs have done to her innocent body," he said, fighting back his tears.

Many Palestinians insist Shahd was not the first or only such case.

In Jabalya, when Abd Rabu's family was trying to bury three of its dead, the Israeli forces started firing at them, witnesses said. They then released their dogs at the bodies, deserted by mourners who sought shelter from the Israeli gunfire, they added.

"What happened was awful and unthinkable," Saad Abd Rabu, the deceased uncle, told IOL.

"Our sons died before our eyes and we were even prevented from burying them," he cried. "The Israelis just released their dogs at their bodies, as even they have not done enough."

(IslamOnline.net, January 13, 2009)

Return to top

My Message to the West --
Israel Must Stop the Slaughter

I write this article to Western readers across the social and political spectrum as the Israeli war machine continues to massacre my people in Gaza. To date, almost 1,000 have been killed, nearly half of whom are women and children. Last week's bombing of the UNRWA (UN Relief Works Agency) school in the Jabalya refugee camp was one of the most despicable crimes imaginable, as hundreds of civilians had abandoned their homes and sought refuge with the international agency only to be mercilessly shelled and bombed by Israel. Forty-six children and women were killed in that heinous attack while scores were injured.

Evidently, Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 did not end its occupation nor, as a result, its international obligations as an occupying power. It continued to control and dominate our borders by land, sea and air. Indeed the UN has confirmed that between 2005 and 2008, the Israeli army killed nearly 1,250 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children. For most of that period the border crossings have remained effectively closed, with only limited quantities of food, industrial fuel, animal feed and a few other essential items, allowed in.

Despite its frantic efforts to conceal it, the root cause of Israel's criminal war on Gaza is the elections of January 2006, which saw Hamas win by a substantial majority. What occurred next was that Israel alongside the United States and the European Union joined forces in an attempt to quash the democratic will of the Palestinian people. They set about reversing the decision first by obstructing the formation of a national unity government and then by making a living hell for the Palestinian people through economic strangulation. The abject failure of all these machinations finally led to this vicious war. Israel's objective is to silence all voices that express the will of the Palestinian; thereafter it would impose its own terms for a final settlement depriving us of our land, our right to Jerusalem as the rightful capital of our future state and the Palestinian refugees' right to return to their homes.

Ultimately, the comprehensive siege on Gaza, which manifestly violated the Fourth Geneva Convention, prohibited the most basic medical supplies to our hospitals. It disallowed the delivery of fuel and supply of electricity to our population. And on top of all of this inhumanity, it denied them food and the freedom of movement, even to seek treatment. This led to the avoidable death of hundreds of patients and the spiralling rise of malnutrition among our children.

Palestinians are appalled that the members of the European Union do not view this obscene siege as a form of aggression. Despite the overwhelming evidence, they shamelessly assert that Hamas brought this catastrophe upon the Palestinian people because it did not renew the truce. Yet we ask, did Israel honour the terms of the ceasefire mediated by Egypt in June? It did not. The agreement stipulated a lifting of the siege and an end to attacks in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Despite our full compliance, the Israelis persisted in murdering Palestinians in Gaza as well as the West Bank during what became known as the year of the Annapolis peace.

None of the atrocities committed against our schools, universities, mosques, ministries and civil infra-structure would deter us in the pursuit of our national rights. Undoubtedly, Israel could demolish every building in the Gaza Strip but it would never shatter our determination or steadfastness to live in dignity on our land. Surely, if the gathering of civilians in a building only to then bomb it or the use of phosphorous bombs and missiles are not war crimes, then what is? How many more international treaties and conventions must Zionist Israel breach before it is held accountable? There is not a capital in the world today where free and decent people are not outraged by this brutal oppression. Neither Palestine nor the world would be the same after these crimes.

There is only one way forward and no other. Our condition for a new ceasefire is clear and simple. Israel must end its criminal war and slaughter of our people, lift completely and unconditionally its illegal siege of the Gaza Strip, open all our border crossings and completely withdraw from Gaza. After this we would consider future options. Ultimately, the Palestinians are a people struggling for freedom from occupation and the establishment of an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital and the return of refugees to their villages from which they were expelled. Whatever the cost, the continuation of Israel's massacres will neither break our will nor our aspiration for freedom and independence.

* The writer is the Prime Minister of Gaza. This item was published in the Independent.

Return to top

Hamas: IOF Troops Must Get out of Gaza,
Siege Must Be Lifted

The Hamas Movement in the West Bank has reiterated Wednesday its rejection to any solutions and initiatives that don't clearly stipulate the immediate halt of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) aggression on Gaza, the swift withdrawal of the IOF troops, and the instant lifting of the unjust economic siege on the Gaza Strip.

In a statement it issued on the matter, and a copy of which was obtained by the PIC, the Movement deplored the stand of a number of Arab countries refusing to attend the extraordinary Arab summit in the Qatari capital Doha on Friday to discuss Gaza, stressing, "If the blood of 1000 Palestinian martyrs and the blood of 4,500 Palestinians wounded is not enough for Arab leaders to hold a summit, what else could stimulate those leaders [to meet]."

It also lashed out at Mahmoud Abbas for not endorsing lawsuits filed by concerned agencies before the International Criminal Court against Israeli officials accused of war crimes in Gaza.

"The behavior of Abbas shows how cheap is the Palestinian blood for him," the Movement added in the statement, condemning at the same time the torturing of Hamas cadres in Abbas's jails in the West Bank despite the war on Gaza.

According to records of the Movement, around 200 Hamas cadres were rounded up by Abbas's security forces in different parts of the West Bank in concert with the ongoing Israeli genocidal onslaught in Gaza.

"In day one of the Israeli brutal attack on Gaza, detained Hamas cadres in Abbas's jails were freed in handcuffs, and believed they would be released and go home after what had happened to Gaza; but they were surprised at being gathered together and subjected to humiliating torture sessions at the hands of Abbas' men who expressed joy over the Israeli attack on Gaza," the Movement pointed out.

However, the Movement reiterated its call on the Palestinian people throughout the West Bank to go in massive demonstrations against the invasion, and to support the steadfastness of their fellow Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

"This coming Friday would be the day of the Palestinian rage in addition to massive demonstrations at the Aqsa Mosque and the rest of the West Bank mosques in support of Gaza that is making victory for the Palestinian people and the Arab Ummah," the Movement stressed in the statement.

Return to top

Emergency Session of UN General Assembly Convoked

An emergency special session of the UN General Assembly has been convoked for today by Assembly president Miguel d'Escoto. "The number of victims in Gaza is increasing by the day... The situation is untenable. It's genocide," d'Escoto told Al Jazeera television January 13. "It's unbelievable that a country that owes its existence to a General Assembly resolution could be so disdainful of the resolutions that emanate from the UN," he said, referring to Israel.

D'Escoto's spokesman Enrique Yeves said the General Assembly president decided to convene the emergency meeting after a number of member states, disappointed with the Israeli defiance of the latest Security Council resolution, asked him to do so.

The General Assembly may call for an international inquiry into the Israeli killing of hundreds of innocent Palestinian men, women and children in Gaza, diplomatic sources told Inter Press Service (IPS). "A number of countries are in favour of the idea that Israel must be held accountable for its war crimes in Gaza," said an Asian diplomat who did not want to be named. "Most of those countries are from Africa and Asia and Latin America." However, there is resistance to such a move on the part of certain European and Arab countries. "The Arab world has a divided opinion," he said. "Countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt do not want such measures against Israel."

Intense discussions took place yesterday at UN headquarters in New York to prepare the text of a resolution for a vote at the emergency session, IPS says.

On January 13, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said accountability "must be ensured for violations of international law." She suggested the UN Human Rights Council should consider setting up a commission to assess violations by both sides in the conflict.

The former chief of UN relief operations in Palestine, Peter Hansen, told IPS: "Yes, [the Israelis] must be held accountable for what they are doing in Gaza."

Diplomatic observers told IPS that had Israel demonstrated its willingness to comply with Security Council resolution 1860, there would have been no need to convene the emergency session of the General Assembly.

Non-Aligned Movement Condemns Israeli Aggression

Also on January 13, the 118-member Non-aligned Movement (NAM) issued a statement deploring "the massive military aggression" being carried out by Israel against the civilian population in Gaza and its "blatant disregard" of the Security Council's resolution, IPS reports. The report continues:

"NAM called for the 'immediate implementation' of the resolution, including in particular its call for an immediate ceasefire leading to the withdrawal of the Israeli occupying forces from Gaza as well as for measures to address the pressing humanitarian and economic needs of the Palestinian people.

"The largest political bloc in the General Assembly described the Israeli military incursion into Gaza as 'a grave breach' of international humanitarian and human rights law. It demanded that Israel 'unconditionally comply' with its obligations as the occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of Aug. 12, 1949.

"NAM said it fully supports all diplomatic and political efforts and initiatives being exerted at the international and regional levels to address this crisis, including by the UN system, stressing once again that there is no military solution to this crisis or to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a whole.

"It also endorsed yesterday's Human Rights Council resolution on the grave violations of human rights committed by the Israeli military in Gaza and called for a 'speedy dispatch of the independent international fact-finding mission' to investigate violations of human rights and of international law by Israel.

(Source: Inter Press Service)

Return to top

Suit Filed in the Hague for Crimes against Humanity

Protest outside UN offices in Amman Jordan, January 15, 2009.

Lawyers and jurists from several countries filed on Wednesday a lawsuit before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

This is the first in an expected string of suits against the Israeli government and senior political and military officials for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide stemming from the current military operation against the Gaza Strip.

As part of a series of claims against the Israelis, the "Palestinian Forum" in the Netherlands and the Brussels-based "European Campaign to Lift the Siege on Gaza" are involved in the cooperative effort. In conjunction with the date of the lawsuit the "Palestinian Forum" called for a mass protest and sit-in in front of the International Criminal Court, affirming the need for leaders to condemn the Israeli occupation for crimes against humanity in Gaza.

Amin Abu Rashid, Secretary General of the Palestinian Forum in the Netherlands and a founding member of the European Campaign, said the move comes in light of the actions of Israeli forces including "the ugly massacres." He also noted the "collective rights of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip," drawing attention to the nearly 1,000 killed and over 4,000 wounded.

Abu Rashid stressed that "the continuation of this war imposes obligations on all human rights defenders and those involved in justice." He called for the intensification of collective efforts to stop this aggression and to ensure that those involved in perpetration will be held accountable.

"It is no longer possible for people of conscience to stand idly by in the face of this chilling aggression and these rising massacres. Now is the time for urgent moves in every direction to curb the aggression and to curb the Israeli war machine that in the past has committed mass murder with impunity."

The Netherlands-based Palestinian Forum leader added that inaction "makes us witnesses to the brutal aggression perpetrated by the most powerful military force in the Middle East."

Suits are planned to be filed for all of the one and half million residents of the Gaza Strip.

Return to top

Israel May Face UN Court Ruling
on Legality of Gaza Conflict

Israel faces the prospect of intervention by international courts amid growing calls that its actions in Gaza are a violation of world humanitarian and criminal law.

The UN general assembly, which is meeting this week to discuss the issue, will consider requesting an advisory opinion from the international court of justice, the Guardian has learned.

"There is a well-grounded view that both the initial attacks on Gaza and the tactics being used by Israel are serious violations of the UN charter, the Geneva conventions, international law and international humanitarian law," said Richard Falk, the UN's special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories and professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University.

"There is a consensus among independent legal experts that Israel is an occupying power and is therefore bound by the duties set out in the fourth Geneva convention," Falk added. "The arguments that Israel's blockade is a form of prohibited collective punishment, and that it is in breach of its duty to ensure the population has sufficient food and healthcare as the occupying power, are very strong."

A Foreign Office source confirmed the UK would consider backing calls for a reference to the ICJ. "It's definitely on the table," the source said. "We have already called for an investigation and are looking at all evidence and allegations."

An open letter to the prime minister signed by prominent international lawyers and published in today's Guardian states: "The United Kingdom government ... has a duty under international law to exert its influence to stop violations of international humanitarian law in the current conflict between Israel and Hamas."

The letter argues that Israel has violated principles of humanitarian law, including launching attacks directly aimed at civilians and failing to discriminate between civilians and combatants.

The letter follows condemnation earlier this week from leading QCs of Israel's action as a violation of international law, and a vote by the UN's human rights council on Monday on a resolution condemning the ongoing Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip.

"The blockade of humanitarian relief, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and preventing access to basic necessities such as food and fuel are prima facie war crimes," a group of leading QCs and academics, including Michael Mansfield QC and Sir Geoffrey Bindman, wrote in a letter to the Sunday Times.

Israel has already been found to have violated its obligations in international law by a previous advisory opinion of the ICJ, and is likely to vigorously contest arguments that it is an occupying power. It previously stated that occupation ceased after disengagement from Gaza in 2005.

Its stance raises questions as to the utility of an advisory opinion by the ICJ after Israel rejected its finding in a previous case, which found the wall being constructed in the Palestinian territories to be a violation of Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law.

Questions are also being raised as to whether the International Criminal Court, which deals with war crimes and crimes against humanity, would have any jurisdiction to hear cases against perpetrators of the alleged crimes on both sides of the conflict. Neither Israel nor the Palestinian territories are signatories to the Rome statute, which brings states within the jurisdiction of the ICC.

More likely, experts say, is the establishment of ad-hoc tribunals of the kind created to deal with the war in the former Yugoslavia and the genocide in Rwanda.

"If there were the political will there could be an ad-hoc tribunal established to hear allegations of war crimes," Falk said. "This could be done by the General Assembly acting under article 22 of the UN charter which gives them the authority to establish subsidiary bodies."

Return to top

Bolivia Cuts Ties with Israel

Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, said on Wednesday his country is breaking off ties with Israel in protest against its war in Gaza. Morales said he would seek to get top Israeli officials, including Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, charged with "genocide" in the International Criminal Court. Morales also decried the UN and its "Insecurity Council" for its "lukewarm" response to the crisis and said the General Assembly should hold an emergency session to condemn the invasion.

"Considering these grave attacks against ... humanity, Bolivia will stop having diplomatic relations with Israel," Morales told diplomats in the Bolivian capital, La Paz.

He also said that Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, should be stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize for failing to stop the invasion.

Morales's move follows the decision of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to expel Israel's ambassador in the country because of the offensive, calling it a "holocaust."

A reliable source in Hamas said in a statement on Wednesday that Bolivia and Venezuela had taken honorable stands in face of this cruel aggression. He added that Hamas was surprised at the fact that a number of Arab countries are still insisting on retaining relations with Israel despite the savage crimes it was and still is committing against the Palestinian people.

In related news, Ma'an news agency reports that the city council in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is twinned with Bethlehem in the West Bank, voted on a resolution to condemn Israel's ongoing onslaught in Gaza. Home to both Harvard University and the Massachusetts School of Technology, Cambridge city council voted to become the first such American city to make official its condemnation of the Israeli assault on Gaza.

Lawyer Shawqy Al-Ayaseh, the two cities' twinning representative, said the council made its decision after a long meeting in the presence of citizens, where negotiations lasted some three hours.

In addition to condemning violence against civilians on both sides of the conflict, the city council insisted Israel end the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

"How could I not do something?" City Councillor Marjorie C. Decker, who authored the resolution with Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons, was quoted as saying in Harvard's student newspaper.

"To not say something feels very complicit," she added.

(Sources: Reuters, Palestinian Information Center, Ma'an News Agency)

Return to top

Canadian Jewish Activists Condemn Attempts to Smear Critics of Israeli Atrocities

Activists and concerned community members are voicing outrage that, in the context of an ongoing Israeli military assault which has killed more than 1,100 Palestinians, wounded nearly 5,000 and destroyed essential civilian infrastructure in the already devastated Gaza Strip, the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) is seeking to smear those who have protested these atrocities.

The CJC planned to screen video and images at a news conference January 14 from protests in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to show "pro-Hamas" demonstrations that are "uncivil, un-Canadian, that demonize Jews and Israelis," according to CJC CEO Bernie Farber. The CJC says it plans to ask both local police and the RCMP to investigate whether any crimes might have been committed.

To provide information regarding the CJC's connection to the propaganda campaign accompanying the latest Israeli assault, on January 14, some of these concerned community members assembled in front of Toronto's Sutton Place Hotel to denounce the CJC's attempts to distract people from ongoing Israeli crimes.

Judy Deutsch, a member of Independent Jewish Voices-Canada (IJV-Canada) and one of the eight Jewish women who recently occupied the Israeli consulate in Toronto to protest the Israeli attack on Gaza, emphasizes that the real scandal is the whitewashing of Israeli crimes as they transparently unfold. "The disinformation from Israel is transparently dishonest and shameless and is a travesty to all civilians caught up in this needless invasion," Deutsch says. "There is no excuse for these distortions of the facts as there is such reliable information from numerous human rights and medical witnesses to the atrocities."

Dan Freeman-Maloy, a graduate student at York University who researches Canadian-Israeli relations, notes that the CJC is directly connected to Israel's system of wartime diplomacy. "It is well known that Israel has established a National Information Directorate to justify its invasion of Gaza before world opinion, involving representatives of the IDF, key government ministries and the Jewish Agency," Freeman-Maloy explains. "The CJC, like the Canada-Israel Committee, is part of an advocacy system closely associated with the Jewish Agency, and its shameful apologetics for Israeli crimes amount to crass and cynical diplomacy," he said.

Andy Lehrer, a member of the IJV-Canada steering committee, adds that CJC smearing of anti-war demonstrations is wrought with hypocrisy. "Such charges are aimed at suppressing legitimate protest against Israeli war crimes," asserts Lehrer. "Ironically, the CJC has ignored repeated requests that they distance themselves from a bona fide hate group, the Jewish Defence League (JDL), which has had a high profile within the Jewish community, including at CJC-sponsored events. In addition, the JDL has engaged in verbal abuse and intimidation at Gaza solidarity events," Lehrer explains. "Last Thursday [January 8] we held a vigil across the street from the CJC's own pro-Israel rally and were subjected to a barrage of hate speech and vitriolic abuse from the JDL, who had come out to support the CJC rally. Among the things they yelled were 'you're not Jews, you're shit,' 'you're rats' and 'blow yourselves up.' The next day I talked to Farber and asked him to publicly denounce the JDL. He refused."

Foreign journalists have recently been barred from entering Gaza, multiple news offices within the Strip have been damaged by IDF attacks, and numerous journalists working from Gaza have been killed by IDF forces. While Israel wishes to see international perceptions shaped by its diplomats and their associates, Canadian journalists can hopefully adopt a more critical attitude, the activists said.

(Sources: Independent Jewish Voices-Canada, Canadian Press)

Return to top

Possible Israeli War Scenarios on Gaza and Lebanon

Lebanese military sources said that the Israeli decision to go to war against Lebanon is pre-determined adding that Israeli leaders are awaiting the necessary excuses and proper timing to launch their war. According to military reports, the Israeli army completed unannounced large-scale military manoeuvres weeks prior to launching its attack on Gaza.

The Israeli plan included two scenarios:

1. A full reoccupation of the Gaza Strip, the destruction of all underground tunnels (estimated to exceed 250) throughout the length of the Gaza-Egypt border.

2. A full war with both Lebanon and Syria that includes a deep penetration into Lebanese territories.

The Israeli manoeuvres were code named 'Integration of Arms' and are considered to constitute the second largest drills carried out by the Israelis since the July 2006 war with Hezbollah.

The main target for the manoeuvres is to prepare the military for attacking cities and residential areas.

Israeli air force pilots were told to concentrate on destroying rocket launch pads and medium range missiles, while land forces were to focus on accomplishing deep penetrations within enemy territory to prevent the launching of any rockets towards Israel.

Israeli Chief of Staff General Gabi Ashkenazi closely followed up the Israeli manoeuvres from his Longbow Apache helicopter prior to moving to an Israeli submarine and joining President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Tel-Aviv is reportedly planning to execute the two scenarios either in parallel or in succession.

However, according to the report, Israeli military leaders want to carry out the operation as soon as possible due to intelligence data that Hezbollah has supplied Hamas with rockets that have a 37-km range.

According to Israel, Hezbollah possesses Russian 112 mm Grad rockets with a range of 20 to 40 Km. Hamas only owned the Iranian version of the 20-km range.

The supply of new rockets by Hezbollah to Hamas forced Israel to review its position and consider the occupation of Gaza, the report said.

In related news, Israel has warned Lebanon it will retaliate with aerial bombardment against southern Lebanon next time it is attacked by rockets from Lebanon. News reports on today said Israel's threat was relayed to Lebanon via international sides upon the firing of three Katyushas early Wednesday into northern Israel. Israel retaliated by shelling southern Lebanon with four rockets.

The daily As-Safir said it had learned that Israel informed the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) that it had intended to hit back at the source from where the rockets were fired with aerial bombardment, but that it had changed its mind upon international advice.

Israeli officials said 3 rockets fired from Lebanon slammed into northern Israel early on January 14 in the second such attack in less than a week that comes amid a devastating war in the Gaza Strip.

Hezbollah on January 14 reiterated its commitment to the stand adopted by the Lebanese government which rejected the launching of rockets from Lebanon towards Israel.

Cabinet Minister Mohammed Fneish, in answering a question about Hezbollah's reaction to the repeated launching of rockets against Israel from south Lebanon, said: "Hezbollah's stand has not changed."

"The cabinet's stand was clear and has not changed, and our stand is similar to that of the cabinet," Fneish said in answering a question.

(Source: Naharnet)

Return to top

Demonstrations in Palestine, Bangladesh,
Afghanistan and Cuba

Left: Muslim clerics pray for the Palestinians who were killed during Israel's offensive in Gaza during a protest in the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 15, 2009. Right: Nablus, West Bank, January 15, 2009.

Demonstration for Gaza, University of Dhaka campus January 15, 2009. Left: students shout slogans and burn effigies of U.S. President George W. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Hundreds of Afghans protest in the Ghani khil district of Ningarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, January 15, 2009. Demonstrators hold up an Israeli flag and an effigy of Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert before burning as they shout slogans against U.S. and Israel.


Havana, Cuba, January 14, 2009. Sign at right reads: "Israel, out of Gaza!"

Israel's genocide in Gaza was strongly condemned by thousands of young Cubans in Havana on January 14, in a protest against both the military attack and the complicit silence of powerful countries protecting the attackers.

Akram Samhan, Palestinian ambassador in Cuba addressed the demonstration, expressing his thanks for Cuba's friendship with the cause and affirming that the Palestinian people would remain steadfast because they are backed by international law, solidarity and justice.

Samhan referred to the 60-plus years of Zionist aggression against Palestine, and condemned the blockade that is preventing food, medicine and other basic necessities from reaching the 1.5 million people who live in those 360 square kilometers.

"Sometimes with guns, other times with stones, we will always fight firmly," declared the president of the Union of Palestinian Students in Cuba.

Camilo Rojo Alvarez, coordinator of the Committee of the Families of the Barbados Crime Victims (relatives of those killed in the bombing of the Cubana airliner over Barbados in 1976), criticized the unjust Israeli onslaught and said "We too have been victims of injustice and massacres. Because we know about bombs and other aggression, we defend the Palestinian people even more strongly."

"We want to reiterate that our country will not waver in defending the Palestinian cause, and the people's legitimate right to constitute a sovereign state," Rodrigo Alvarez Cambras, president of the Cuban-Arab Friendship Association (AACA), stated on Wednesday.

During an event organized by the AACA and the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) at the Frank País Hospital in Havana, Alvarez Cambras also spoke about the reasons for the conflict and the passivity of powerful nations in face of the massacre of Palestinians, including the United States.

In Santa Clara thousands of Cuban and foreign students of the Marta Abreu Central University took part in a similar action, where a resounding demand for an end to the Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip was expressed by Palestinian student Fouad Othman.

"From the land of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, an example of the heroic resistance against imperialism, we demand the immediate Israeli withdrawal and an end to the holocaust being committed against my people before the eyes of the world, under the protection of the United States and the inactivity of the UN Security Council," said Othman, who is studying for a master's in communications.

He denounced that more than a million people in the Gaza Strip are enclosed and on the verge of a humanitarian crisis, unable to receive water or foodstuffs, constituting a concentration camp that in no way differs from those created by German fascism in Europe.

Jose Angel Aguilera, professor in the Faculty of Construction, denounced the mainstream media that ignore the daily slaughter of innocent people. He recalled that the current situation in Gaza is similar to the crimes committed in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.

On behalf of the Cuban students, Daniel Guemechu, president of the Federation of University Students (FEU), expressed solidarity with the just cause of the Palestinian people and called for an end to the murderous aggression.

(Source: Granma)

Return to top

Calendar of Events

Jeff Halper Cross Canada Speaking Tour

Jeff Halper,an anthropologist, is co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (www.icahd.org), a non-violent group originally established to oppose and resist Israeli demolition of Palestinian houses in the Occupied Territories. He is making a cross Canada tour with upcoming events in Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Victoria. For details of events click here.


Film Screening: Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land
Saturday, January 17 -- 7:00 pm

Conserver House, 180 St. John St.
Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land is a 2004 documentary by Sut Jhally and Bathsheba Ratzkoff which provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and which analyzes and explains how -- through the use of language, framing and context–the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza remains hidden in the news media.
Donations will be taken for Gaza humanitarian relief efforts. Refreshments provided.
For information: Fredericton Palestine Solidarity, info@frederictonpeace.org, www.frederictonpeace.org


Saturday, January 17 -- 1:00 pm
Weekly Rally and Public Forum
Victoria Park, corner of Spring Garden and South Park.
Stand in solidarity with Palestine. Bring placards, banners and your voice.
For information: Ad Hoc Committee to Defend Gaza, 902-477-0470 or info@freepalestine.ca

Teach-In On Palestine
Saturday, January 24 and January 31 -- 1:00-6:00 pm
Suggested donation $5
Opening Session, January 24: Room 105, Weldon Law Building, Dalhousie University, University Ave.
Second Session, Saturday, January 31: same location
Detailed program to be announced shortly
To register or for information: Ad Hoc Committee to Defend Gaza,
info@freepalestine.ca or 902-477-0470

Since December 27, 2008 the world has witnessed an incessant and ever-widening attack on the Palestinians of Gaza. This has outraged international public opinion, resulting in massive mobilizations across the globe in defence of Gaza. On Saturday January 24th, from 1 to 6 pm, the Opening Session of the Halifax Teach-In on Palestine will be held. Among the themes: Testimonies of Palestinians; Understanding the Assault on Gaza; Zionism; Who Are The Palestinians; and the History of the Conflict.

Quebec City

Sunday, January 25 -- 10:00 am
Details TBA

Sunday, January 25 -- 1:00 pm

Cabot Square (corner St. Catherine and Atwater, metro Atwater)

Monday, January 19 -- 12:00 pm

125 Sussex, Foreign Affairs Ministry
Rally against the Canadian government’s unconditional support for Israel’s wars.
Organized by: The Association of Palestinian Arab Canadians (APAC), Independent Jewish Voices (IJV - Canada) and the Ottawa Palestine Solidarity Network (OPSN). www.apacottawa.com, www.independentjewishvoices.ca, and www.ottawapalestine.blogspot.com.


Stop the Siege : End the War Freedom for Palestine
Friday, January 16 -- 7:30 pm

Ryerson University, room LIB 72
Speakers include: Professor Judy Rebick - One of the Jewish women who occupied the Israeli Consulate in Toronto in oppostion to the recent attacks on Gaza / Rafeef Ziadah - Third generation Palestinian refugee / James Clark - Toronto Coalition to Stop the War. The event will also include Spoken Word & Musical Performances. Please come out , Show your support , and Spread the Word ...

Picket at Constituency office of Conservative MP Peter Kent
Saturday, January 17 -- 11:00 am-1:00 pm

7600 Yonge Street, north of Arnold Avenue, assemble on the sidewalk
Buses to the picket will depart from the following locations:

Downtown Toronto
Buses leave at 10:15am
Meet at: 720 Spadina Avenue (TTC: Spadina)

To book a seat, please e-mail stopthewar@sympatico.ca
Suggested donation: $5 to $10 (or pay what you can)

Car pooling will be arranged by Palestine House -- email info@palestinehouse.com in advance.

Picket called by: Not in Our Name – Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network Toronto, Independent Jewish Voices, Palestine House, Canadian Arab Federation, Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, For more information, please email info@palestinehouse.com or phone 416-795-5863 or 905-270-3622
For information: http://www.palestinehouse.com/

Vigil & Leafletting
Thursday, January 15 -- 12:00 noon

University Ave & Sterling, in front of Burke Science Building, McMaster University

Friday, January 16 -- 4:00 pm
King & James, in front of Jackson Square Entrance, downtown Hamilton

Gaza Fundraiser Cultural Night
Sunday, January 18 -- 4:30--8:00 pm

Carmen's Paizza Banquet Hall, 230 Anchor Road
Includes: Live Entertainment, Art Display by the Palestinian Canadian Painter Esam Safi, Refreshments & Arabic Dessert, Poetry Readings, & More!
$25 tickets. All money raised will be sent to Gaza through the Canadian registered charity, Medical Aid for Palestine. Tax reciepts are available.
Car pooling available from McMaster University. Contact us for details.
To RSVP: (905)921-7254 or defendgaza@gmail.com


Saturday, January 17 -- 2:00 pm

Federal Building (Water Ave. and Main St.)
Peace Alliance Winnipeg and CanPalNet will be holding a rally at the Federal Building this Saturday and on each successive Saturday until further notice.


Saturday January 17 -- 1:30 pm
Holland Park, 13428 Old Yale Rd, Sacross from King George Skytrain Station


Saturday, January 24 -- 2:00 pm
Vancouver Art Gallery, corner of Robson and Howe
For information: Mobilization Against War and Occupation, info@mawovancouver.org, 604-322-1764

Return to top

Read The Marxist-Leninist Daily
Website:  www.cpcml.ca   Email:  editor@cpcml.ca