US To Sell Israel Massive Military Fuel Stocks Worth $2 bn – More Than Normal

On Aug. 6, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, DSCA, informed Congress of the sale to Israel of 60 million gallons of unleaded gasoline, 284 million gallons of JP-8 aviation jet fuel and 100 million gallons of diesel fuel at an estimated cost of two billion dollars. Read more of this post

Palestinians Should Perish From This World: Ovadia Yosef

Just ahead of renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestine, an influential Israeli spiritual leader has denounced the move, dubbing the Palestinians and their leader “an evil and bitter enemies of Israel” who should ” perish from this world.” Read more of this post

Obama’s Plan To Fund £140m Israeli Rocket Defence

The “Iron Dome” defence system uses small radar-guided missiles to blow up rockets and mortar bombs in mid-air. Read more of this post

Israel Police Uncovers Organ Trafficking Ring In North

Police on Tuesday arrested six men suspected of being involved in an organ trafficking ring in northern Israel. Among the suspects are an IDF reserves brigadier-general and two lawyers. Read more of this post

Israel Shrugs Off Calls For Arrest Of Top Spy

Israel on Friday shrugged off calls for its top spy to be be arrested in the killing of a Hamas commander, as pressure mounted after Interpol issued arrest warrants for 11 suspects in the Dubai hit. Read more of this post

Baroness Sacked For Anti-Israel Comments

Baroness Jenny Tonge, a Liberal Democrat frontbencher in Britain, has been sacked as the party’s health spokeswoman after urging an inquiry into charges that Israeli forces in Haiti harvested the organs of victims, British media outlets reported Saturday. Read more of this post

Israeli Nuclear Whistleblower Under House Arrest

Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu arrives at a Jerusalem court. Photograph: Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images

Mordechai Vanunu, who served 18 years in prison after he revealed Israel’s secret nuclear programme, has been placed under house arrest pending criminal charges for allegedly breaching the terms of his 2004 release, which includes a ban on contacts with foreigners.

A police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, said Vanunu was accused of meeting with “a number of foreigners”. The spokesman, however, did not specify who the foreigners were or where they came from. Read more of this post

Israel Harvested Organs Illegally

Israel has admitted that in the 1990s, its forensic pathologists harvested organs from dead bodies, including Palestinians, without their families’ permission.

The issue emerged with publication of an interview with the then-head of Israel’s Abu Kabir forensic institute, Jehuda Hiss. The interview was conducted in 2000 by an American academic, who released it because of a huge controversy last summer over an allegation by a Swedish newspaper that Israel was killing Palestinians to harvest their organs. Israel hotly denied the charge. Read more of this post

Turkey Warns Israel Against Using Airspace

If Israel were to violate Turkish airspace in order to conduct reconnaissance operations on Iran, Ankara’s reaction would resemble an “earthquake,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with Egyptian journalist Fahmi Huwaidi published Thursday morning.

Erdogan also alluded during the interview to last winter’s Operation Cast Lead, saying that Israel could not reasonably have expected to participate in a joint military drill with Turkey after “sweeping” the people of Gaza. Read more of this post

Israel Faked Francop Claims – Iran

Israeli photos depicting shipping documents pointing to an alleged Iranian arms delivery to Hezbollah are forgeries, Iranian media claims.

The Israeli army in early November said it unloaded 36 containers of weapons at the Israeli port of Ashdod from the Antigua-flagged vessel Francop.

Thirty tons of weapons, rockets, missiles, hand grenades and ammunition were hidden behind thousands of plastic polyethylene bags, the army said. Read more of this post

‘If Israel Strike Iran, US Would Likely Join’

The United States would find it difficult not to join an Israeli air strike in the event that Jerusalem decides to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, a former top-ranking U.S. Air Force officer told participants at a conference this weekend organized by a Washington think tank.

Charles F. Wald, former deputy commander of United States European Command, said a military strike on Iran could set back the Islamic Republic’s alleged nuclear weapons program by several years, but cautioned, “I don’t think Israel can do it alone.”

The former commander’s remarks were made at an annual gathering of financial backers of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who were joined by diplomats, journalists and analysts. Read more of this post

Chavez Accuses Israel Of Genocide

gaza-strip-warVenezuelan President Hugo Chavez has accused Israel of genocide against the Palestinian people, telling a French newspaper that the bombing of Gaza late last year was an unprovoked attack.

“The question is not whether the Israelis want to exterminate the Palestinians. They’re doing it openly,” Chavez said in an interview with Le Figaro published on Wednesday.

The Venezuelan president, who has just completed a tour of Middle Eastern and Arab countries, brushed aside Israeli assertions that its attack on Gaza was a response to rocket fire from Islamist group Hamas which rules the coastal enclave.

“What was it if not genocide? … The Israelis were looking for an excuse to exterminate the Palestinians,” Chavez said, adding that sanctions should have been slapped on Israel.

Israel launched an offensive against the Gaza Strip on December 27 2008 with the declared aim of curbing rocket fire from the region into southern Israel.

The land, sea and air assault lasted 22 days, and left some 1,300 Palestinians dead, according to medical sources.

Chavez said he recognized Israel’s right to exist, as with all countries, but added that the Jewish state must respect the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.

The Venezuelan president said he wanted more clarity from the United States on its foreign policy, adding that he was disappointed by recent U.S. dealings in South America, including the installation of military bases in Colombia.

“Sadly, the arrival of Obama brought with it a lot of hope, but little change,” he said.


UN’s Gaza War Crimes Investigation Faces Obstacles

    A veteran U.N. war crimes investigator acknowledged his probe of possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas — which included interviewing dozens of victims and poring through the files of human rights groups — is unlikely to lead to prosecutions.

Israel has refused to cooperate, depriving his team access to military sources and victims of Hamas rockets. And Hamas security often accompanied his team during their five-day trip to Gaza last week, raising questions about the ability of witnesses to freely describe the militant group’s actions.

But the chief barrier remains the lack of a court with clear jurisdiction to hear any resulting cases stemming from the investigation into Israel’s three-week offensive in Gaza which ended in January and was designed to stop years of Hamas rocket fire into southern Israel. Read more of this post

UN’s Ban Ki Moon Comes To The Defence Of Israel

   A United Nations inquiry concluded that Israel’s military forces carried out direct and intentional strikes on its premises during the assault on Gaza earlier this year. Israel was therefore responsible for the deaths and injuries of UN personnel and civilians, as well as extensive damage to its property.

The inquiry, led by Ian Martin, a former secretary general of Amnesty International, found that the Israel Defence Force (IDF) was “involved in varying degrees of negligence or recklessness with regard to United Nations premises and to the safety of United Nations staff and other civilians within those premises, with consequent deaths, injuries, and extensive physical damage and loss of property.”

This included:

• The deaths of three young men killed by a single IDF missile strike at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Asma school in Gaza City. Read more of this post

Israel ‘Used Boy, 11, As Human Shield’

Israeli soldiers used an 11-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield during the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, UN human rights experts said yesterday.

The Israeli Defence Force ordered the boy to walk in front of soldiers being fired on in the Gaza neighbourhood of Tel al-Hawa and enter buildings before them, said the UN secretary general’s envoy for protecting children in armed conflict. The boy also was told to open the bags of Palestinians — presumably to protect the soldiers from possible explosives — before being released at the entrance to a hospital, Radhika Coomaraswamy said.

She said the January 15 incident was a violation of Israeli and international law.
It was included in a 43- page report published yesterday, and was just one of many verified human rights atrocities during the three- week war between Israel and Hamas that ended on January 18, she said.

Coomaraswamy — who visited Gaza and Israel in February — accused Israeli soldiers of shooting Palestinian children, bulldozing a home with a woman and child still inside, and shelling a building they had ordered civilians into a day earlier.

“Violations were reported on a daily basis, too numerous to list,” she said.

Coomaraswamy said there also have been allegations that Hamas used human shields or fired from heavily populated areas, which UN officials are investigating.

Israel criticised the report as “unable or perhaps unwilling” to address Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza or the threat of terrorism.

“The report claims to examine Israel’s actions while it willfully ignores and downplays the terrorist and other threats we face,” Ambassador Aharon Leshno Yaar told the 47-nation Human Rights Council. He did not address the report’s specific allegation about the boy, but an army spokesman rejected the claim.

“We are an army to which morals and high ethical standards are paramount,” said Captain Elie Isaacson.

Coomaraswamy said “hundreds of Israeli violations have been documented and verified” by UN officials who were in the territory.


Israeli Army Ordered To Devise Iran War

As Israeli talks of war on Iran gain momentum, Israel’s military Chief of Staff says the army must prepare for a military aggression.

In a meeting with top US diplomats on Monday, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said Israel could not live with a nuclear Iran and that an Israeli military strike was a “serious” option in retarding the country’s progress.

Ashkenazi — whose request to meet with President Barack Obama and his American counterpart Admiral Mike Mullen was turned down — made the remarks in a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her designated US envoy to the Persian Gulf, Dennis Ross. The Israeli general and the American hosts discussed the Iranian issue shortly after reports revealed that the Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu plans a “major military confrontation” in the next few months.

Israel, believed by many to be the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, says Iran and its nuclear program pose an “existential threat” to Tel Aviv. Under the claim, Israeli officials in the military and the government regularly threaten to launch aerial strikes against Iranian nuclear infrastructure. Tehran is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and, according to the UN nuclear watchdog, has not opted to violate the treaty.

Iran says the only objective of its program is to make use of the civilian applications of the nuclear technology. The US, Israel and their European allies – Britain, France and Germany –, accuse the country of having military intentions in its pursuit.

Ashkenazi added that any final decision on Iran would be made by the government. He, however, said that he had been tasked with drawing up contingency plans since a military operation was a ‘concrete possibility’.


Hamas Negotiators Stopped With Stuffed $15m Suitcases

Hamas negotiators left Egypt without a long-term ceasefire with Israel on Thursday – but not before some members of the militant group’s delegation were stopped at the Gaza border with millions in cash.

The delegation walked away from the ceasefire talks because of disagreements over the blockage on Gaza, and over border security, but talks will continue at a later date. Egypt had set Thursday as an expected date for reaching a long-term truce deal. An Egyptian security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said the group initially refused to be searched by Egyptian authorities at the Rafah border crossing. When the group relented, authorities found $US7 million ($10.9 million) and 2 million euro ($4 million) in cash in their suitcases.

Another security official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said $US9 million and 2 million euro were found. The discrepancy could not be immediately explained. The money was later deposited in an account in Egypt by a Hamas member who stayed behind while the rest of the delegation was allowed to return to Gaza, the second security official said. It was not clear what would happen to the money. There was no immediate comment from Hamas. The incident is a sensitive one for Egypt, particularly now when Israel is demanding a halt to Hamas smuggling into Gaza as part of truce negotiations. Israel complains that Hamas – which gets funding from Iran, Syria and donations from supporters – smuggles money and weapons through Egypt into the Gaza Strip. Mostly the smuggling is done through tunnels at the border. But in the past – before border crossings were tightly sealed in 2007 – Hamas officials had brought in cash as well.

In 2006, a senior Hamas official bragged about successfully carrying $42 million across the border. Arab banks have generally refused to transfer money to Gaza for fear of running afoul of the United States, which considers Hamas a terrorist organisation. The money has helped keep afloat the Hamas government, which is generally shunned by foreign governments. Israel and Hamas do not talk directly, so Egypt has been mediating talks on solidifying the shaky ceasefire that went into effect on January 18, ending Israel’s three-week offensive on Gaza.


Hamas Grabs UN Supplies At Gunpoint

Armed Hamas police broke into a Gaza City warehouse packed with United Nations humanitarian supplies and seized thousands of blankets and food packages.

It was a rare public clash between the international agency that feeds much of the territory and the militant group that rules it.

The incident also highlighted difficulties facing donors seeking to bypass Hamas while helping Gazans to survive and rebuild after Israel’s punishing military operation. In New York, UN deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said the UN Relief and Works Agency “condemned in the strongest terms” the confiscation of its aid supplies. The UN demanded the items be returned, but they remained with Hamas yesterday.

The policemen took 3500 blankets and over 400 food parcels ready for distribution to 500 families, said UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness.

“They were armed. They seized this. They took it by force.”

The seizure took place after UNRWA staff refused to hand over the aid supplies to the Hamas-run Ministry of Social Affairs, he said. Similar aid packages were distributed to 70,000 residents over the past two weeks.



Israel Prepares Itself For Gaza War Crimes Charges


More than 1,300 Palestinians killed

Thirteen Israelis killed

More than 4,000 buildings destroyed in Gaza, more than 20,000 severely damaged

50,000 Gazans homeless and 400,000 without running water

Source: BBCNews

Israel’s prime minister has assembled a team to defend the country against charges of war crimes in its recent offensive against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

Ehud Olmert asked Israeli Justice Minister Daniel Friedman Thursday to lead an inter-ministerial team to prepare legal defenses for Israeli officials and military personnel.
Israeli Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz warned earlier this week that Israel may face a wave of international lawsuits over its 22-day offensive, which ended Sunday.

U.N. human rights expert Richard Falk said Thursday there is evidence that Israel violated humanitarian law by conducting the offensive, “against an essentially defenseless population.” He called for an independent investigation to see if Israel committed war crimes.
Israel insists its troops did their best to limit civilian casualties in heavily-populated battle zones. It also accuses Hamas militants of hiding behind Palestinian civilians and firing at Israelis from civilian and U.N. buildings.

The Israeli military has banned publication of the names of Israeli commanders who took part in the offensive for fear they could face prosecution when traveling overseas.
Falk is the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. He made his comments in a phone call to reporters in Geneva from his home in the U.S. state of California.

Falk also accused Israel of trapping Gaza’s civilian population in the war zone and preventing children, the sick and wounded from fleeing the territory.
Israel says it launched the offensive as an act of self-defense against hundreds of indiscriminate Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli communities.  
Israel and Hamas both declared cease-fires Sunday, ending major combat. Thirteen-hundred Palestinians and 13 Israelis died in the violence.

Israel’s government says it will allow journalists free access to Gaza beginning Friday ( 22/01/09). Israel barred the media from entering the territory during its three-week offensive.

Israeli Soliders Shot Children Says Gaza Family

Souad Abed Rabbo was in her apartment on the edge of the Jabalya refugee camp near the Israeli border on January 7 when the call came from Israeli soldiers for everyone in the area to come outside.

 Her apartment had been bombed, and there was an Israeli tank unit approaching the building.

“We started coming outside of the apartment, and we were waving white flags to show that we were not fighters,” she said through a translator yesterday.

 Among the first to exit the building were one of her sons, Khaled, and his wife and three daughters, Amal, 2, Sammer, 4, and Souad, 7.  Two soldiers were standing on either side of the tank outside the house, she said. Another of her sons, Husam, told the Herald that one of the soldiers was an officer.

“They were standing there just looking at us, and they were eating chips and one had chocolate and they were talking to each other,” Husam said.  “We were waiting for about 10 minutes for directions on where we should go.”

Husam and another son, Ahmed, said a third soldier rose from inside the tank, holding his rifle.  Their mother says she did not see the third soldier until he started shooting.

“He did it very slowly,” Ahmed said. “He took careful aim at the little girls, and shot Amal and Souad three times. Sammer started running back up the steps toward the house and he shot her also.”

Their grandmother started shouting, trying to push her son, Khaled, the father of the two shot girls, and his wife, back into the house. She was also shot, three times.  One bullet passed through her upper arm, another passed through her torso underneath her rib cage, and another was lodged in her abdomen.  Ahmed, Husam, and another son, Farj, recall that their mother and the three girls were dragged inside the house. “When the soldiers realised that two of the girls were dead, they said Khaled could take her to the hospital,”

Khaled starting shouting for help. One neighbour who heard him was Ehab al-Asheikh, an ambulance driver, who told the Herald he went outside to see what had happened.

“I wanted to use the ambulance to drive Khaled to the hospital but I was prevented from doing so by the soldiers,” he said.

Khaled said the soldiers told him he could take his daughter to the hospital, and he set off on foot with Sammer in his arms. His wife walked with him, carrying one of the dead girls, and another brother, Ibrahim, carried the second dead girl. Sammer was taken to Shifa hospital, then transferred to a hospital in Egypt and is now in intensive care in a hospital in Belgium and reportedly has severe spinal injuries.  The Israeli Defence Forces later destroyed the building, and all the other residential buildings in the neighbourhood. Ehad al-Asheikh showed the Herald his ambulance which, was crushed almost beyond recognition underneath the rubble of his former home.

An Israeli military spokesman, Captain Benjamin Rutland, said the allegations were being treated seriously and being investigated.

“With regard to this particular incident, this is being investigated at the very highest levels of the IDF,” Captain Rutland said. “It is a very thorough investigation.”

Captain Rutland stressed that at no stage did the IDF target civilians.  Khaled Abed Rabbo showed pictures of the dead girls taken on his mobile phone. He also claims that he has video footage of the girls, taken after they had died, but this was not shown to the Herald . Khaled Abed Rabbo is on the payroll of the Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank city of Ramallah, as a policeman. The family is associated with the Fatah movement of the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, and is not believed to have any connections to Hamas.

He is demanding a full inquiry and wants the chance to present his own evidence. 

“Why do they come after us?” Khaled asked the Herald . “We are not militants here. We are not Hamas. We are just ordinary people.

“Somebody did this to my daughters and I want the world to know what is going on here.”


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