Friday, 7 September 2012

Israeli defence minister Barak says Israel may reoccupy parts of Gaza Strip

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel may reoccupy parts of the Gaza strip in the future, while speaking at a meeting of the Fisher Institute on "Operation Cast Lead" Friday.

Barak also spoke about considerations of military operations in the future, commenting: "Wherever possible, we dot not go to war or perform military operations unless we have to - this is how it should be."

However, he asserted that there are also cases where the opposite is true; it seems as though an attack is not necessary at that moment, yet the consequences of delaying it would be very grave.

Speaking at the same conference, former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi said that the political leadership must involve the military leadership in decision making over possible future wars.

"Strategic decisions must be taken into consideration in the dialogue between the political and military echelons before a war," he said, stressing that this discourse ultimately shapes goals of a war and whether or not they are realistic. more (subscription may be required)

Gaza governent lifts traveller registration restrictions for Friday

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Travelers will be able to use the Rafah crossing on Gaza's border with Egypt on Friday without registering in advance, the Interior Ministry said Thursday.

Since the crossing reopened after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was deposed, Palestinians have had to register at the Hamas ministry before traveling, sometimes weeks in advance.

The ministry said in a statement Thursday that the registration process would be scrapped on Friday, allowing Palestinians to cross to Egypt without advance permits. It was not immediately clear if restrictions would continue to be lifted after Friday. more

Video: In caving on Jerusalem, Democrats pulled back the curtain on the lobby

Last night was an amazing moment at the Democratic National Convention; for an instant, we saw the Israel lobby naked on the national stage. When party bosses stuffed the phrase, "Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel," back into the platform, reportedly at the command of the president himself, and the Democratic rank-and-file on the floor bridled at the command and booed, and even the convention chair, Mayor Villaraigosa, looked to be following orders, the curtain was pulled back on the wizard of Oz-- to use the great conspiratorial figure of a previous American century-- and the press and the informed public were left to discuss what we had all just seen.

The moment will be remembered for the two attractive and disgusted Arab-American delegates featured on-camera in the video of the botched votes above, at :25 and 1:00 -- and in the report on NBC Nightly News last night: the man with his "Yalla the Vote" (Get out the Vote!) tshirt, and the woman with her Arab-Americans sign.

Most of the press subsequently performed damage control. Larry O'Donnell of MSNBC poohpoohed it as routine platform-management. Andrea Mitchell changed the subject to the weather shifting tonight's venue, and balloons. Only one commentator truly distinguished himself. Chris Hayes of MSNBC said that it was a "craven" moment and went right to the policy implications, that Israel's claim to Jerusalem is "untenable" and one cause of the endless conflict in the Middle East. Rachel Maddow quickly turned the subject to the other word the Dems had reinserted in the platform-- God-- to get the conversation back on safe ground.

Here is a roundup of some of the reporting and some of the responses: more

Abusing children "part and parcel" of Israeli ideology, says rights defender

By Adri Nieuwhof

Rifat Kassis is the director of Defence for Children International-Palestine Section. In 2010, I interviewed Kassis about about his organization’s work and the special situation of Palestinian children growing up under occupation. I interviewed him again this week on the Israeli soldiers’ confessions about the mistreatment of Palestinian children, published in a new booklet from the Israeli veterans’ organization Breaking The Silence. The disturbing violations of children’s rights by soldiers took place between 2005 and 2011.

Adri Nieuwhof: Have you read the Breaking the Silence report with testimonies about the abuse of Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers? What was your first impression when you read it?

Rifat Kassis: As an organization working in the field, and as one that works to monitor and document Israeli violations of Palestinian children’s rights, the information revealed by the Breaking the Silence report is not news to me. But my first impression was — as I often reflect during my work with DCI-Palestine — that these practises do not just affect Palestinian children. Rather, they also affect the Israeli soldiers themselves, as well as Israeli society at large: at the end of the day, these soldiers will return home and deal with their own children or their own siblings as changed men and women. They will invariably be affected by their roles in the occupation, and they may display their consequences in a number of ways: they may be more violent in dealing with their children, for example, or they may find themselves behaving in two distinct and contrary ways, which may affect their overall psychological wellbeing.


Two rockets from Gaza hit Israel in retaliation for killings

Palestinian militants in Gaza fired two rockets at southern Israel, which exploded in open fields early on Friday and caused no damage, a military spokesman told AFP.

“Two rockets hit the Sdot Negev region this morning. Nobody was hurt and there was no damage,” he said.

Earlier this week, six Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in Gaza, three by a tank shell east of Beit Hanun and three in an air strike on a car in the al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza.

Palestinians said all of the dead were civilians. The Israeli military said it had targeted militants preparing strikes.

Palestinian militants have recently stepped up rocket fire on southern Israel, causing damage but no casualties.

Hardline Islamist members of a Salafist group have claimed responsibility for some of the attacks. more