Israel has rejected UN demands for an external probe of the Gaza raid, and instead has announced that it is to administer an internal investigation. Israel, trying to somewhat appease the international community, has added “two foreign observers” to the commission. The observers include Irish Nobel Prize laureate David Trimble, and Canada’s former Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Forces Ken Watkin. David Trimble, one of the “foreign observers,” recently joined a Friends of Israel group. If Israel is to include outsiders in the internal probe, it should at least let them be chosen by an external party. The “observers” should also have an active participating role; simply observing the commission and not offering their input seems futile. The structure of the commission is inhibiting in other ways as well. The commission must use summaries of the events, as soldiers cannot be directly questioned. It can ask for more information if not satisfied, though there is no guarantee they will receive more information (BBC).
The purposes of the commission are to: examine the “security circumstances” of the naval blockade on Gaza and whether this conforms to international law, decide if the actions of May 31st, conform to the principles of international law, and consider the actions of those who organized and took part in the flotilla “and their identities” (BBC). The last requirement, not surprisingly, shifts the focus away from Israel and tries to make them the victims. This culture of victimization and no sense of accountability will no doubt result in another travesty of justice. (more…)
As early as this Wednesday, the UN could vote upon a new set of sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to punish it for continuing its nuclear program. As the vote approaches, US officials are confident that at least twelve states should vote for this new round of sanctions, although Turkey, Brazil and Lebanon are expected to vote against them.
Recently, there has been a lot of talk among the international community warning against sanctions. Russian President Vladimir Putin commented that the UN should be wary of passing a resolution that is too tough on Iran arguing that “This resolution should not be excessive, should not put Iran’s leadership, the Iranian people in a tricky situation that creates barriers on the way of development of Iran’s peaceful nuclear energy.” This being the case, it is still projected that Russia will vote in favor of sanctions. (more…)
Just a few minutes ago an interview with former CNI board member and frequent host of our radio show “CNI Jerusalem Calling”, Ambassador Edward Peck, was released by ABC News, giving an insider’s account of what actually occurred between the flotilla and the Israeli navy. In the interview, Ambassador Peck recounts his experience and deportation. He mentions that he and the other people captured were kept in isolation and knew very little about what was going on. He also mentions that another US citizen, Paul Larudee, was injured and remains in an Israeli hospital.
In addition, more countries have stepped forward to condemn the Israeli actions. The EU and Russia issued a joint statement earlier today condemning Israel’s actions and use of force, even going so far as to call for an end to the blockade on Gaza. Shortly after, France joined them in calling for the release of the civilian activists being held.
Even Hamas and Fatah seem united in condemning the attacks and urging the international community to open the borders into Gaza. Today, the PA’s Interior Ministry announced that the Rafah crossing has been opened and restrictions lifted. And Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, released a statement arguing that this attack could help unify Palestinians, stating
“Israel’s crime today is an opportunity for Palestinian unity on the right national platform. It is also an opportunity for the Arab world to re-take the initiative today and to take a strong position against the Israeli bullying and to open the Rafah crossing and to end the siege once and for all.”
Could this attack provide the catalyst for re-opening negotiations between Hamas and the PA? And could it possibly push the international community to get more involved in helping the Gazans and permanently lifting the blockade?
Israel claims the borders of Gaza are closed in order to block out violent forces and ensure protection of Israeli citizens. Why, then, does a Turkish-led convoy of international pro-Palestinian activists and humanitarian supply intimidate Israel?
Israel has said it would block the 9 fleet ship, which is carrying over 20 million Euros worth of supplies, and 700 activists. If allowed, the supplies would be the largest amount given to the Palestinian territories.
The convoy is spearheaded by the Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) of Istanbul, and the fleet includes ships from Britain, Greece, Algeria, Kuwait, Malaysia and Ireland. The fact that the parties are international and non-political in their advocacy of human rights shows how paranoid Israel is through its decision to block the IHH. (more…)
The worldwide movement for ‘BDS’– Boycott, divestment, and sanctions directed toward Israel in response to its misdeeds and crimes in the occupied territories– scored a significant, though still partial, victory in Belgium last June that got little notice in the U.S.
The victory concerned Dexia, a Belgian-French financial group that specializes in providing financing to municipalities and other public authorities. In June Dexia announced that its subsidiary Dexia Israel would no longer provide financing for public authorities in the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Previously, between 2003 and 2007, Dexia Israel had granted loans to seven settlements and three regional authorities in the West Bank.
Though Dexia (Belgium) made that announcement in June, apparently the Israeli media only noticed it a few days ago. And that disclosure provoked MK Uri Ariel from the hard-line pro-settler “National Union” party to demand that the finance minister take stern action against Dexia because of the “discrimination” it was exercising toward local authorities in “Judea and Samaria.”
Martijn Lauwens wrote on the International Solidarity Movement’s website (here), last June, that over the preceding year the discovery of Dexia Israel’s investments in the settlements had provoked