Gaza & Hamas
- Une roquette tirée de Gaza sur le sud d'Israël (AFP) - "Le dernier tir remontait au 16 juillet". Vraiment ? Voir plus bas...
"Une roquette tirée depuis la bande de Gaza s'est abattue dans le sud d'Israël sans faire de victime, a indiqué vendredi l'armée israélienne. Une seconde est retombée dans l'enclave palestinienne ont rapporté les médias israéliens, mais l'armée israélienne n'a pas confirmé ce deuxième tir.
Un groupe se faisant appeler "les Petits-fils des compagnons du Prophète" a revendiqué les tirs de vendredi, affirmant qu'ils étaient "la première réponse des salafistes jihadistes aux attaques des juifs contre Al-Aqsa", troisième lieu saint de l'islam, à Jérusalem-Est [...] Le dernier tir remontait au 16 juillet. [...]"
- Trois roquettes ont été tirées depuis Gaza sur Israël (i24) - "Jeudi soir, deux roquettes tirées depuis Gaza avait explosé dans le territoire palestinien". Autrement dit, l''AFP ne compte que les roquettes qui atteignent Israël (et encore, pas toutes), mais pas celles qui retombent en territoire gazaoui. Comme si ces tentatives de tuer des civils israéliens n'avaient pas d'importance quand elles échouent aussi piteusement. Et comme si ces roquettes ne pouvaient pas atteindre les civils palestiniens eux-mêmes (comme cela arrive parfois)...
- Israël riposte aux tirs de roquette et frappe une infrastructure du Hamas à Gaza (i24)
- Amnesty's Twitter obsession with Israel by the numbers, part 2 (Elder of Ziyon) - "it looks really bad when you see it graphically. Here is the past month of tweets from @AmnestyOnline, the official Amnesty International Twitter account, and how many times various words/topics occurred. About 10,000 Syrians were killed in the past two months- but Syria was only mentioned four times. Saudi Arabia continues to bomb Yemen, killing civilians. Barely a blip. If I would include only tweets from Amnesty itself, and not retweets from others, the numbers would be even more lopsided".
"Processus de paix"
- Palestinian religious leaders challenge Jewish presence atop Temple Mount, Khaled Abu Toameh (JP) - "Palestinian religious leaders – both Muslims and Christians – signed a declaration stating that Jews have no right to enter the Temple Mount at a press conference in east Jerusalem on Wednesday".
- Political football in the PA (Elder of Ziyon) - "Jibril Rajoub, whose only interest in sports is to use it to demonize Israel, canceled the trip - and postponed the match - in order to get news headlines saying that Israel blocked them from leaving".
- Murdering Jewish children is for Allah, according to the Palestinian Authority, Itamar Marcus (director of Palestinian Media Watch) - "Since the PA was established Israelis have murdered two Palestinian children. The Israeli government presents these murderers of Palestinian children as immoral outcasts. In the same period Palestinian terrorists have murdered close to 200 Israeli children. The PA presents these murderers of Israeli children as heroes and role models and as fulfilling Islam".
"Every society has murderers and extremists who would kill even children. The test of a society’s morality is how it responds to those murderers.
Israel loathes, ostracizes and prosecutes Israeli terrorists who murder Palestinian children. The Palestinian Authority honors, embraces and rewards Palestinian terrorists who murder Israeli children.
Last Friday, a terrorist, apparently an Israeli, set fire to a Palestinian home, killing an 18-month-old boy. The arson and murder has been condemned by Israel’s prime minister, president, political and religious leaders and everyone who has spoken about it. When the murderer is found he will be prosecuted and will spend the rest of his life in prison.
On March 11, 2011, five members of the Fogel family were killed in their home by Palestinian terrorists from the Awad family. Hakim Awad led the attack, killing the parents, Ehud and Ruth, and three of their children, aged 11, four and two months.
From the day Awad was arrested the PA rewarded him with a monthly salary, which eventually will reach $3,000 a month, four times the average Palestinian civil servant’s salary. Official PA TV then invited his mother and aunt to talk on the PA TV program dedicated to honoring and sending greetings to imprisoned terrorists. They referred to Awad and his accomplices as “heroes” and Hakim Awad himself was called “the hero, the legend.” The PA TV host added: “We, for our part, also convey our greetings to them.”
Dalal Mughrabi led a terrorist attack in which 12 children and 25 adults were murdered in a bus hijacking. To teach Palestinian children the value it places on murdering a large number of Israeli children the PA has named dozens of places in her honor, including three schools, summer camps, sporting events, a town square and much more.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas himself funded a computer center named after her and sponsored a birthday party in her honor, as the banner shown on PA TV highlighted: “Under the auspices of President Mahmoud Abbas: The Political and National Education Authority Ceremony on the anniversary of the birth of the bride of the cosmos, The Martyr Dalal Mughrabi.”
On March 29, 2002, 17-year-old suicide bomber Ayyat Akhras murdered a 17-year-old Israeli girl named Rachel Levy. To make sure Palestinian children understand how valuable it is to murder Israeli teens, the PA placed a picture of Akhras over the door of the Artas High School for Girls near Bethlehem. The caption to the picture reads: “The Heroic Martyr.”
In May 2013, Palestinian Media Watch reported that official PA TV had honored three Palestinian terrorists responsible for many gruesome suicide bombings that in all claimed the lives of 156 Israeli civilians, including many children. The bombings included the Passover Seder bombing, killing 31; Sbarro restaurant bombing, 15 (eight children); Hebrew University, nine; Cafe Moment, 12; Cafe Hillel, seven; Zion Square in Jerusalem, 11.
PA TV responded the next week with outrage at PMW: “Palestinian Media Watch... slandered these heroes and claimed that they are terrorists... If they see Abdallah Barghouti [67 life sentences] as a terrorist, Abbas al-Sayid [35 life sentences] as a terrorist and Ibrahim Hamed [54 life sentences], if they see all these prisoners as terrorists – we see them as heroes... I salute you, all you heroic fighter prisoners, and of course, I always wish you freedom” (PA TV [Fatah], June 27, 2013).
Last October a Palestinian terrorist drove his car into a light-rail station in Jerusalem, killing three-month-old Chaya Zissel Brown and 22-year-old Karen Mosquera of Ecuador, and wounding seven others. He was shot and killed by police while attempting to escape. The next day Fatah, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, honored the murderer as a hero on its Facebook page: “The Palestinian National Liberation Movement, Fatah... accompanies to his wedding the heroic Martyr Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shaloudi, who carried out the Jerusalem operation, in which settlers in the occupied city of Jerusalem were run over. Rest in peace, we are loyal to you.”
Describing his death as a wedding indicates that Fatah believes that killing three-month-old Jewish children is what Allah wants and Islam demands, and that the murderer is being rewarded with 72 dark-eyed virgins in paradise.
A few weeks later, four rabbis were butchered in a synagogue during morning prayers by two Palestinian terrorists. Abbas’s adviser, Sultan Abu Einein, immediately posted pictures on his personal Facebook page of the pools of blood and the murdered rabbis still wearing their bloodied prayer shawls, which he captioned as “pictures from the scene of the heroic operation.” The next day, to assure Palestinians understood that murdering Jews is not only a “heroic” Palestinian nationalist act but also an Islamic imperative, he added these words: “Blessed be your quality weapons, the wheels of your cars, your axes and kitchen knives... it’s according to Allah’s will. We are the soldiers of Allah.”
Since the PA was established Israelis have murdered two Palestinian children. The Israeli government presents these murderers of Palestinian children as immoral outcasts. In the same period Palestinian terrorists have murdered close to 200 Israeli children. The PA presents these murderers of Israeli children as heroes and role models and as fulfilling Islam.
This by itself captures the essence of the immorality of the PA and highlights the myth of a “moderate” PA. As long as the PA teaches its children and adults that it is heroic, rewarded and ordered by Islam to murder Jews, a Palestinian peace partner has yet to emerge, Palestinian terrorism will continue and a peace process has yet to begin."
- Gulf expert: Arab states oppose Iran deal but don't want to show agreement with Israel (JP) - "Obama sought to Isolate Israel as lone voice against Iran deal, but Arabs quietly agree".
- 5000 killed in Syria every month (Elder of Ziyon) - "You must have missed the headlines. Time for NGOs to spring into action and write more reports condemning Israel, [...] the source for all problems worldwide".
- Double-standards: The Gaza vs. Yemen conflicts (UN Watch) - "If anything, the moral and legal case for Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen is far weaker than Israel’s case for responding to Hamas in Gaza"; "Inexplicably, however, the UN’s response was dramatically harsher on the case having the least casualties and the legally and morally stronger basis for action"; "it is clear that the UN’s human rights office employs one kind of language, content and tone when dealing with Israel, and another set entirely with other comparable or even more intense situations".
"With its standing agenda item on Israel, one-sided reports, biased mandates, the UN Human Rights Council in its 10 years of operation has condemned Israel more times that the rest of the world combined.
Thus, while the 47-nation body convened an emergency session into Israel’s response to Hamas rockets last summer, condemned Israel for alleged war crimes in at least two separate resolutions while giving Hamas a free pass, and created a massive commission of inquiry headed by a paid PLO legal adviser, it has done absolutely nothing in response to the Saudi bombardment of Yemen and killing of civilians.
However, the latest statement on Yemen by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which as part of the Secretariat is supposed to be non-political and respect the “highest standards of integrity” (UN Charter, Art. 101), illustrates that the UN’s civil service fails its professional obligations, and follows the line of the politicized Council.
If anything, the moral and legal case for Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen is far weaker than Israel’s case for responding to Hamas in Gaza.
First, Israel can claim self-defense in responding to a barrage of thousands of rockets that targeted its cities. In the case of Yemen, Saudi Arabia is waging a military campaign without its own territory being attacked, acting instead for broader geopolitical interests.
Second, Gaza saw, according to UN tabulations relying on Hamas health ministry figures, 1,483 civilians killed. In Yemen, the figures are more than 30 percent higher: 1,916 civilians killed so far.
Inexplicably, however, the UN’s response was dramatically harsher on the case having the least casualties and the legally and morally stronger basis for action.
Let us contrast a statement on Gaza issued by then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in July 2014, with a statement on Yemen delivered yesterday by the High Commissioner’s spokesperson.
1. Alleging war crimes
On Gaza: Pillay’s statement alluded to the strong possibility that Israel was responsible for war crimes: “However, we have received deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes. Such reports raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law.”
On Yemen: The Yemen statement omits any mention of international law, war crimes or violations.
2. Attribution of responsibilities to the parties
On Gaza: High Commissioner Pillay made a direct demand to Israel: “For its part, the Government of Israel must take all possible measures to ensure full respect for the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack, during the conduct of hostilities, as required by international humanitarian law. In all circumstances, they must avoid targeting civilians.”
On Yemen: No demands made on, or even any mention of, the major warring parties of Iran and Saudi Arabia.
3. Call for investigations, reparations
On Gaza: Although in the third day into the conflict in Gaza, the OHCHR statement spoke about international law violations and called for investigations, justice and reparations for the victims: “Every alleged breach of international law must be promptly, independently, thoroughly and effectively investigated, with a view to ensuring justice and reparations for the victims.”
On Yemen: There is no such reference anywhere in the statement on Yemen.
In conclusion, it is clear that the UN’s human rights office employs one kind of language, content and tone when dealing with Israel, and another set entirely with other comparable or even more intense situations. This not only damages the credibility of the office, but more importantly harms the cause of victims around the world."
- Des élus démocrates américains hostiles à l'accord avec l'Iran (Reuters)
"Deux figures démocrates du Congrès américain ont pris position jeudi contre l'accord sur le programme nucléaire iranien, une mauvaise nouvelle pour le président Barack Obama qui tente d'obtenir l'aval des parlementaires pour pouvoir l'appliquer pleinement. L'hostilité de Chuck Schumer, sénateur influent de l'Etat de New York, et d'Eliot Engel, membre de la commission des affaires étrangères à la Chambre des représentants, pourrait ouvrir la voie à de nouvelles contestations de la part d'élus démocrates. [...]"
- Why I will vote against Iran deal, Charles Schumer (Senator from New York and member of the Democratic Party) - "Using the proponents’ overall standard – which is not whether the agreement is ideal, but whether we are better with or without it – it seems to me, when it comes to the nuclear aspects of the agreement within ten years, we might be slightly better off with it. However, when it comes to the nuclear aspects after ten years and the non-nuclear aspects, we would be better off without it". Une très pertinente (et claire) discussion des arguments en présence sur l'accord iranien.
"Every several years or so a legislator is called upon to cast a momentous vote in which the stakes are high and both sides of the issue are vociferous in their views. Over the years, I have learned that the best way to treat such decisions is to study the issue carefully, hear the full, unfiltered explanation of those for and against, and then, without regard to pressure, politics or party, make a decision solely based on the merits.
I have spent the last three weeks doing just that: carefully studying the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, reading and re-reading the agreement and its annexes, questioning dozens of proponents and opponents, and seeking answers to questions that go beyond the text of the agreement but will have real consequences that must be considered. Advocates on both sides have strong cases for their point of view that cannot simply be dismissed. This has made evaluating the agreement a difficult and deliberate endeavor, and after deep study, careful thought and considerable soul-searching, I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval.
While we have come to different conclusions, I give tremendous credit to President Obama for his work on this issue. The President, Secretary Kerry and their team have spent painstaking months and years pushing Iran to come to an agreement. Iran would not have come to the table without the President’s persistent efforts to convince the Europeans, the Russians, and the Chinese to join in the sanctions. In addition, it was the President’s far-sighted focus that led our nation to accelerate development of the Massive Ordinance Penetrator (MOP), the best military deterrent and antidote to a nuclear Iran. So whichever side one comes down on in this agreement, all fair-minded Americans should acknowledge the President’s strong achievements in combatting and containing Iran.
In making my decision, I examined this deal in three parts: nuclear restrictions on Iran in the first ten years, nuclear restrictions on Iran after ten years, and non-nuclear components and consequences of a deal. In each case I have asked: are we better off with the agreement or without it?
In the first ten years of the deal, there are serious weaknesses in the agreement. First, inspections are not “anywhere, anytime”; the 24-day delay before we can inspect is troubling. While inspectors would likely be able to detect radioactive isotopes at a site after 24 days, that delay would enable Iran to escape detection of any illicit building and improving of possible military dimensions (PMD) – the tools that go into building a bomb but don’t emit radioactivity. Furthermore, even when we detect radioactivity at a site where Iran is illicitly advancing its bomb-making capability, the 24-day delay would hinder our ability to determine precisely what was being done at that site.
Even more troubling is the fact that the U.S. cannot demand inspections unilaterally. By requiring the majority of the 8-member Joint Commission, and assuming that China, Russia, and Iran will not cooperate, inspections would require the votes of all three European members of the P5+1 as well as the EU representative. It is reasonable to fear that, once the Europeans become entangled in lucrative economic relations with Iran, they may well be inclined not to rock the boat by voting to allow inspections.
Additionally, the “snapback” provisions in the agreement seem cumbersome and difficult to use. While the U.S. could unilaterally cause snapback of all sanctions, there will be instances where it would be more appropriate to snapback some but not all of the sanctions, because the violation is significant but not severe. A partial snapback of multilateral sanctions could be difficult to obtain, because the U.S. would require the cooperation of other nations. If the U.S. insists on snapback of all the provisions, which it can do unilaterally, and the Europeans, Russians, or Chinese feel that is too severe a punishment, they may not comply.
Those who argue for the agreement say it is better to have an imperfect deal than to have nothing; that without the agreement, there would be no inspections, no snapback. When you consider only this portion of the deal – nuclear restrictions for the first ten years – that line of thinking is plausible, but even for this part of the agreement, the weaknesses mentioned above make this argument less compelling.
Second, we must evaluate how this deal would restrict Iran’s nuclear development after ten years.
Supporters argue that after ten years, a future President would be in no weaker a position than we are today to prevent Iran from racing to the bomb. That argument discounts the current sanctions regime. After fifteen years of relief from sanctions, Iran would be stronger financially and better able to advance a robust nuclear program. Even more importantly, the agreement would allow Iran, after ten to fifteen years, to be a nuclear threshold state with the blessing of the world community. Iran would have a green light to be as close, if not closer to possessing a nuclear weapon than it is today. And the ability to thwart Iran if it is intent on becoming a nuclear power would have less moral and economic force.
If Iran’s true intent is to get a nuclear weapon, under this agreement, it must simply exercise patience. After ten years, it can be very close to achieving that goal, and, unlike its current unsanctioned pursuit of a nuclear weapon, Iran’s nuclear program will be codified in an agreement signed by the United States and other nations. To me, after ten years, if Iran is the same nation as it is today, we will be worse off with this agreement than without it.
In addition, we must consider the non-nuclear elements of the agreement. This aspect of the deal gives me the most pause. For years, Iran has used military force and terrorism to expand its influence in the Middle East, actively supporting military or terrorist actions in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and Gaza. That is why the U.S. has labeled Iran as one of only three nations in the world who are “state sponsors of terrorism.” Under this agreement, Iran would receive at least $50 billion dollars in the near future and would undoubtedly use some of that money to redouble its efforts to create even more trouble in the Middle East, and, perhaps, beyond.
To reduce the pain of sanctions, the Supreme Leader had to lean left and bend to the moderates in his country. It seems logical that to counterbalance, he will lean right and give the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and the hardliners resources so that they can pursue their number one goal: strengthening Iran’s armed forces and pursuing even more harmful military and terrorist actions.
Finally, the hardliners can use the freed-up funds to build an ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] on their own as soon as sanctions are lifted (and then augment their ICBM capabilities in 8 years after the ban on importing ballistic weaponry is lifted), threatening the United States. Restrictions should have been put in place limiting how Iran could use its new resources. When it comes to the non-nuclear aspects of the deal, I think there is a strong case that we are better off without an agreement than with one.
Using the proponents’ overall standard – which is not whether the agreement is ideal, but whether we are better with or without it – it seems to me, when it comes to the nuclear aspects of the agreement within ten years, we might be slightly better off with it. However, when it comes to the nuclear aspects after ten years and the non-nuclear aspects, we would be better off without it.
Ultimately, in my view, whether one supports or opposes the resolution of disapproval depends on how one thinks Iran will behave under this agreement.
If one thinks Iran will moderate, that contact with the West and a decrease in economic and political isolation will soften Iran’s hardline positions, one should approve the agreement. After all, a moderate Iran is less likely to exploit holes in the inspection and sanctions regime, is less likely to seek to become a threshold nuclear power after ten years, and is more likely to use its newfound resources for domestic growth, not international adventurism.
But if one feels that Iranian leaders will not moderate and their unstated but very real goal is to get relief from the onerous sanctions, while still retaining their nuclear ambitions and their ability to increase belligerent activities in the Middle East and elsewhere, then one should conclude that it would be better not to approve this agreement.
Admittedly, no one can tell with certainty which way Iran will go. It is true that Iran has a large number of people who want their government to decrease its isolation from the world and focus on economic advancement at home. But it is also true that this desire has been evident in Iran for thirty-five years, yet the Iranian leaders have held a tight and undiminished grip on Iran, successfully maintaining their brutal, theocratic dictatorship with little threat. Who’s to say this dictatorship will not prevail for another ten, twenty, or thirty years?
To me, the very real risk that Iran will not moderate and will, instead, use the agreement to pursue its nefarious goals is too great.
Therefore, I will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because I believe war is a viable or desirable option, nor to challenge the path of diplomacy. It is because I believe Iran will not change, and under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear power. Better to keep U.S. sanctions in place, strengthen them, enforce secondary sanctions on other nations, and pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be. For all of these reasons, I believe the vote to disapprove is the right one."
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