Monday, 4 April 2011

Gaza power plant engineer charged with attempted murder and weapon design

Ukraine still hasn't complained about Israel kidnapping a Palestinian engineer on its territory. Now Israel's courts have published their trumped up charges - he designed rockets. Basically, anyone with a scientific and engineering background could be part of the rocket-designing and manufacturing infrastructure. Only if Gaza is thrown back to some pre-industrial stone age will Israel be satisfied. Dirar Abu Sisi is being charged with attempted murder, being a member of a terrorist organisation and developing weaponry.
A Palestinian engineer has been charged with hundreds of counts of attempted murder and accused of developing missiles that the Islamist group Hamas fired from Gaza against Israelis.

Dirar Abu Sisi, a director of the Gaza Strip's sole power station, said he was kidnapped during a visit to Ukraine in February and transferred secretly to Israel.

A court in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba handed down a 15-page indictment, revealing the allegations at the heart of the case. Abu Sisi denies wrongdoing and Hamas has said he was not a member of their organisation. more

Egypt's ElBaradei says he would declare war and open Rafah crossing if Gaza attacked

Further evidence as to why Israel opposed the democratic revolution in Egypt as the real will of the Egyptian people will now likely be expressed, and it's all bad for Israel. not clear if he means that the Rafah crossing would only be opened if Israel attacked and not before. Of course, he needs to be elected first before any of his words can be turned into action.
Former International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who had previously announced his intetions to run for the presidency of Egypt, said Monday that “if Israel attacked Gaza we would declare war against the Zionist regime."

In an interview with the Al-Watan newspaper he said: "In case of any future Israeli attack on Gaza - as the next president of Egypt – I will open the Rafah border crossing and will consider different ways to implement the joint Arab defense agreement." more

Goldstone U-turn on war crimes as Israel requests dropping of UN Gaza report

On the basis of Goldstone's about turn on the Gaza war in which he now claims in a Washington Post article that 'civilians were not deliberately targeted as a matter of policy', the Israelis are asking for the Goldstone Report to be withdrawn. What has led Goldstone to change his mind on the matter?

He draws attention to the case of the al-Simouni family. Twenty nine members of the family were wiped out by IDF shelling. An investigation is underway by the IDF but no report has so far emerged. Goldstone describes this delay as 'frustrating' but then goes on to say, with no evidence to support his position, that"
While the length of this investigation is frustrating, it appears that an appropriate process is underway, and I am confident that if the officer is found to have been negligent, Israel will respond accordingly.
This is an incredible leap of faith given the extremely poor record of the Israeli military in disciplining or prosecuting its soldiers. It would appear the harassment, slurs and threats aimed at Goldstone have had an effect on his commitment to pursue justice. See the pertinent excerpt from the Washington Post article below:
We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”

Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy. more

Palestinian fighters vow revenge for weekend killings by Israeli forces

The killing of three Palestinian fighters on Saturday follows hard on the heels of the 15 people killed by Israel in the previous week. Representatives of all military groups in Gaza have vowed to avenge the killings. Meanwhile, medics are preparing their emergency plans to deal with an Israeli offensive as tension continues to rise.
GAZA — Thousands of Palestinians attended the funerals on Saturday of three senior Hamas militants killed by Israel in an overnight airstrike in southern Gaza, and Hamas leaders warned that Israel would bear the consequences.

But the area remained calm on Saturday, and Hamas, the Islamic group that controls Gaza, seemed wary of fueling a new round of hostilities.

The Israeli strike early Saturday came a week after the armed Palestinian groups in Gaza reaffirmed their commitment to an unofficial cease-fire with Israel. The agreement ended 10 days of heavy rocket and mortar fire from Gaza against southern Israel, repeated Israeli airstrikes in Gaza and fears of an escalation into all-out confrontation. more