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Human Rights Consequences of Gaza Invasion; Arnie’s Saga continued…

March 1, 2009

1. British Medical Journal `The Lancet’ To Publish Findings on Human Consequences of Israeli Invasion on Gaza

Thanks to Irving Greenbaum of Boulder for alerting me to this. Doubt such findings would appear in the Intermountain Jewish News. Too bad. I’d be curious to see if they could justify Israel’s war in Gaza as `defensive’.

On 5 March 2009, a series on Palestinian health under occupation will be published by the highly-regarded scientific medical and public health journal, The Lancet. Although access to the journal is free, one must register first (http://www.thelancet.com/series/). I’ll cover the series in The Lancet as it unfolds.

Last month, The Lancet released the preliminary findings of two clinicians from the UK, Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah and Dr Swee Ang who had managed to get into Gaza during the Israeli invasion. (click here to read the preliminary findings). Their findings reveal an atrocity greater than any image can possibly convey and are a shocking revelation of just what was used by Israel in those fateful 22 days of precision bombing on Gaza. While there is plenty of evidence that white phosphorous was used, both doctors believe that the massive liver necrosis seen in patients cannot have been caused by white phosphorous alone. Furthermore, there is a real likelihood of toxic fumes from the white phosphorous residues that litter the entire Gaza Strip contaminating the air once it rains. They also found evidence of Tungsten DIME which truncates peoples’ limbs without bleeding and the possibility of experimental weapons like the silent bombs that vaporise everything and everyone in the vicinity of where they explode. The use of such weapons would constitute crimes against humanity not seen since Agent Orange was used by the US during its war on Vietnam. These weapons do not just kill and maim people, but their effects are felt in the bodies of survivors and the environment long after the attacks have ceased with no known end time. Israel’s targeting of Palestinians with such weapons is certainly contrary to the Geneva Convention, but also contrary to how we would expect a civilised army to behave, let alone the whole moral issue of subjecting any people to such atrocities.

There are calls now, and actions being taken around the world, for prosecuting Israeli officials for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Already lawyers in France, Spain, Belgium, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon as well as international organisations are beginning to file complaints against Israeli officials. Amongst the names submitted to the International Criminal Court in the Hague to stand trial are Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, former IDF Chiefs of Staff Moshe Yaalon and Dan Halutz, former GOC Southern Command Doron Almog, former National Security Council Head Giora Eiland and Brigadier-General (Res.) Mike Herzog. US international law expert Francis Boyle has called for an Israeli War Crimes Tribunal (ICT) and has asked the UN General Assembly to “immediately establish an (ICTI) as a ‘subsidiary organ’ under UN Charter Article 22” similar to the Security Council’s ICTY for Yugoslavia. Its purpose “would be to investigate and prosecute Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Peoples of Lebanon and Palestine.” Legal proceedings are also being brought against the UK government over a breach of legal obligations in relation to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. As the evidence mounts, more petitions are likely to be filed.

A fact-finding mission of the League of Arab Nations to investigate war crimes committed by Israel has just concluded. It consisted of 6 international experts, including John Dugard, former UN Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and it has gathered evidence and eyewitnesses’ testimonies for a report that will be submitted to the League.

2. Avigail Abarbanel’s Website

A new website by an Israeli ex-pat living in UK. Worth reading. (click here)

I am unfamiliar with her writing but she seems to know what she is talking about. Her insights about Israeli society (and its military) correspond to what other friends have been telling me who have been to Israeli recently. Again – thanks Irving G.

3. Arnie’s Saga

I remain fascinated with Arnie Zaler’s journey from SDS radical to Colorado’s mini-Madoff. True he only scammed somewhere between $20-25 million – a mere pittance compared to the great one – Madoff – but in no ways pocket change either. Have discussed it with several other friends who are also taken by the story. The result is that I’ve added a few touches here and there to the `Arnie’s Saga’ below. Has gotten me thinking of those days more than I have for some time. It is not so much that I am thinking of him personally. More specifically, I am remembering – or trying to remember – the evolution of the peace movement (mostly around Vietnam, the development of the Chicano and Native American movements in those days) and Zaler’s relationship with the Jewish Community throughout the decades.

What comes through is something like this…

A CU chapter developed in the late sixties under the leadership of John Buttney and Bruce Goldberg. There were others – a good dozen others that I knew and they will excuse me for not mentioning them by name. The SDS chapter split between those who went along with the Weathermen, including Buttney and those who didn’t, including Goldberg. But by the fall of 1969 – when I entered graduate school at CU – the organization had lost its way. Zaler splits rather than wear the leadership mantel, too heavy for him to support. There was still an SDS chapter and members, but they never got it together. Into that vacuum came two organizations – the Student Peace Union, in which CU student body president Pat Stimer was a key player, and the Student Mobilization Committee – the SWP (Socialist Workers Party) front organization. There was a certain tension between these two but they were, together, key in the anti war activities that continued and built during the next academic year culminating in the student occupation of the Administration Building (which led to the calling out of the Colorado National Guard) in April and the complete closing of the campus – in response to the massive student mobilization accompanying the US invasion of Cambodia in late April – early May of 1970. An anti-war demonstration on the campus the first days of May – if I remember correctly – brought out 15000 students and faculty, one of the largest political demonstrations in the university’s history. There was a similar upsurge at the University of Denver in those days – where students constructed a Tent City – on the site of what is now the library – only to have it dismantled by the Colorado National Guard – which was very busy in those years countering student activism.

After that, the anti-war movement on the campus ebbed some although it remained active until the war’s end some five years later. SDS never recovered though. By 1971-1972 – for those of us who didn’t have girl friends or boy friends with rich fathers – the discussion had shifted to which left group different activists would join…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen Briley-Balkan permalink
    June 14, 2011 10:31 pm

    Rob, I was a CU student from 1967-1971. Was a friend of Pat Stimer’s while he was student body president. What’s ever happened to him? Some time ago I learned that Steve Bride and Jon Hilson had both died–very sad to hear this. I am on FB with Corll Miller…..maybe the only one from our days of activism at CU. thanks Karen Briley-Balkan

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  1. Arnie Zaler – Former Executive Director of the Colorado Zionist Federation – Sentenced To 15 Years in a Federal Peniteniary for Wire and Mail Fraud « Rob Prince's Blog

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