August 14, 2010

EDITOR: Another victory of Israeli war crimes

As suggested some time ago on this site, the Germans were not up to justice, when Israel is concerned, and managed to release the Mossad operative who has taken part in the Dubai murder, almost before he had a chance to have breakfast… How surprising… and how disgusting. Neither Europe, nor the US, are prepared to confront Israeli crimes, and therefor are also implicated in them.

UAE concerned over German release of suspected Mossad agent: Haaretz

Uri Brodsky extradited from Poland in relation with Hamas leader Mabhouh’s assassination in Dubai in January; released due to lack of evidence.
The United Arab Emirates voiced concern on Saturday over Germany’s release of a suspected Israeli spy on bail in a case over a falsified passport linked to the killing of a Hamas leader in Dubai.

On Friday, German authorities released Uri Brodsky, pending a decision on whether he was involved in the falsification of the German passport linked to the killing.

Abdurahim al-Awadhi, a top UAE Foreign Ministry official, “expressed concern that Brodsky has been released on bail and granted the freedom to return to Israel while the case against him continues”, the state news agency WAM said.

“The UAE seeks assurances that Brodsky is in no way connected with the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai,” Awadhi said in a statement cited by the agency.

A spokesman for state prosecutors in Cologne said on Friday that Brodsky would not have to stand trial in Germany. The court had a range of options it could pursue against Brodsky and that the most likely option was a fine, he said.

Brodsky was extradited from Poland on Thursday on suspicion of fraudulently obtaining a German passport believed to have been used by a member of the hit squad that Dubai says killed Mabhouh in a hotel room in January.

The hit squad used fraudulent British, French, Irish and Australian as well as German passports, according to Dubai.

Mabhouh, born in the Gaza Strip, had lived in Syria since 1989 and Israeli and Palestinian sources have said he played a role in smuggling Iranian-funded arms to militants in Gaza.

Germany frees Israeli ‘agent’ suspected in Hamas murder: BBC

Uri Brodsky is suspected of espionage but can only be charged with illegally procuring a passport
A German court has released on bail a suspected Israeli agent arrested in connection with the killing of a Hamas commander in Dubai.

German prosecutors said Uri Brodsky was free to travel while judicial proceedings in Germany continued.

He is accused of helping procure the German passport allegedly used in the January murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouth.

The UAE believes Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, was involved, though Israel insists there is no proof.

Dubai killing shines unwelcome spotlight on Mossad
Uri Brodsky, an Israeli citizen, was arrested in Poland in June on a warrant issued by Germany and extradited on Thursday.

After a closed hearing on Friday, a German judge decided he would not be detained while the case against him continues.

“He can return to Israel today if he wants to,” said Rainer Wolf, a spokesman for Cologne’s prosecutors’ office.

The warrant that he was arrested under accused him of espionage, though the court that granted the extradition said he could only be prosecuted for illegally procuring a German passport believed to have been used by one of the assassins.

Formal charges have not yet been filed against him.

Dubai police have said they are 99% sure that members of Mossad were involved in the killing of Mabhouh, one of the founders of Hamas’s military wing, who was found dead in a Dubai hotel on 20 January.

Forged passports from several Western countries were used by the 30 suspects identified, leading to a series of diplomatic rows with Israel.

The UK, Irish Republic and Australia have all expelled Israeli diplomats.

Did Ben Gurion sell his soul to Satan?: Shraga Elam

Original Hebrew from 5 August 2010
What else is there to hide about the kidnapping of Eichmann?
Isser Harel’s revolt against the nuclear “Old Man”
According to Tom Segev (Haaretz 28 Jul. 2010), one of the subjects for which the classified status of the relevant documents has been extended to seventy years is the kidnapping of Eichmann.
This appears strange on the face of it, for what secrets could still remain about an event that took place half a century ago and which has been the subject of an ocean of books, articles, films and so much more?

But if we take into account the fact that the German intelligence agency BND is also struggling with clenched teeth to conserve the classified status of over 3,500 Eichmann documents, then Segev’s claim takes on an additional dimension and it is reasonable to assume that the issues are related. According to the BND the aforementioned documents, which are in its possession and not in the Federal Archives, will be declassified in 2017 at the earliest, or 2025 at the latest.
A ruling by the German Federal Administrative Court (the full decision in German) stated that some of the classified documents contain the secrets of “a foreign public authority,” most likely Israeli, but apparently not received from it officially. At least some of the documents are supposed to be disclosed at the end of August by order of the court, but we can already draw some conclusions about the nature of the secrets.
The German journalist Gaby Weber, who submitted the appeal for the declassification of the documents, believes that there was nuclear cooperation between West Germany, Israel and Argentina in the 1960s, and allegedly because Adolf Eichmann was hampering the German project in Argentina, he was handed over to Israel by the Germans and not in fact kidnapped by an Israeli secret service as the official Israeli story would have it.
While Weber’s theory about the kidnapping seems completely fantastical, illogical and lacking serious grounding in facts, she has nevertheless succeeded in raising a very interesting matter: the fact that there are indeed in the public domain German and Argentine documents that indicate the existence of such a German-Israeli-Argentinian nuclear triangle. Uranium was sent to Israel from Argentina and from Germany Israel apparently received important technology, and especially financing for the Israeli project in the amount of at least 500 million deutschemarks.
And whereas much of the history of the Israeli nuclear project is indeed known, the question of the financing of such an expensive undertaking has not been solved and to all intents and purposes has not been investigated.
There is a link between Germany’s support for the project and the kidnapping of Eichmann, but it appears to be completely different from what Weber fantasizes.
On 14 March 1960 West German chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Israeli prime minister David Ben Gurion met in New York. German documents show that at that meeting Adenauer promised to pay Israel the sum of 200 million deutschemarks a year over 10 years, including at least 500 million for the nuclear project.
Two months later, on 11 May 1960, Eichmann was kidnapped in Argentina and on 23 May Ben Gurion announced that the Nazi criminal was already in Israel.
Is it possible that the two incidents were linked?
There is no doubt that the kidnapping of Eichmann put a strain on the agreement between Adenauer and Ben Gurion: the German Chancellor was furious and suspended the first payment until the end of Eichmann’s trial. He also sent a representative to Israel who received a personal promise from Ben Gurion that there would be no “campaign of incitement” against West Germany, and an Israeli representative in Germany further promised the chancellor that Israel would not pursue the 2,000 criminals who were mentioned in the Ludwigsburg Archives.
And indeed Ben Gurion is known to have intervened in at least two matters under deliberation in court. In the words of the historian Prof. Yechiam Weitz:
“On two occasions Ben Gurion intervened in trials relating to the same subject: our relations with West Germany. The first time he requested that the prosecution not raise in court the matter of Hans Globke, a close advisor to Chancellor Adenauer who had been involved in the passing of the ‘Nuremberg Laws’ during the Nazi period. The second time it was at the initiative of Hausner. In a measure that was characterized as ‘an irregular procedure’ he sent him the draft of the opening speech and Ben Gurion raised a single point: the question of Germany. He requested that the word ‘Nazi’ be added after the word ‘Germany’ [in Hebrew the adjective follows the substantive it modifies – trans.] in order to distinguish between Nazi Germany and the new Germany, which in his eyes was ‘different.’ ” (Haaretz, 23 Jan. 2009)
Ben Gurion knew very well that Globke was a Nazi criminal who obviously was connected to Eichmann and also that the German establishment at that time was swarming with Nazi criminals like him. In other words, at that time it was certainly too early to speak of a “different” Germany.
In her book on the Eichmann trial, Prof. Hanna Yablonka entitles the chapter that deals with the then prime minister “Ben Gurion, an enigma.” The historian points to some of Ben Gurion’s contradictory behaviour but she does not resolve the contradiction.
The most logical explanation, which is supported by additional facts, is that the kidnapping of Eichmann should be seen as a mutiny by the head of the intelligence services, Isser Harel, against Ben Gurion. That is, the “head” attempted to sabotage Israel’s rapprochement with West Germany. According to this analysis the kidnapping of Eichmann was a maneuver against Ben Gurion, who was then forced to walk between raindrops in order to control the damage that had been done to his policy towards Germany.
Without going into all the facts that support this theory, we would do well to point out that not only is it clear that there was no formal discussion within the government to authorize the kidnapping and even Ben Gurion looked surprised. Indeed in 1966 Uri Paz, a journalist who was close to Isser Harel, published a fascinating novel that constitutes an indictment of Ben Gurion for his relations with Germany. “Demoncracy – the rule of Satan” is the title of the novel (The “demon” can be read in Hebrew also as Dimona, the place in the Negev desert where the nuclear reactor was built), which combines fiction with provable facts. “Satan” is Ben Gurion, who was willing to decree Nazi vermin to be whitewashed and to permit Germany to develop a nuclear bomb program of its own in return for aid in the amount of 500 million deutschemarks and German technicians for Dimona.
My findings so far in the German archives do indeed corroborate the claims about financial assistance, and an interview with a German nuclear scientist who was sent to Israel during the 1960s strengthens the suspicion that the Israel availed itself of the expertise of German physicists who had worked on the Nazi nuclear project.
Even if there if only a part of the theory that has been proposed here is true, not only does that put the Eichmann trial in a different light, but it could also explain why both Israel and Germany are keeping documents on the kidnapping of Eichmann secret.
Below is a link to a conversation I had on the subject on Moshe Timor’s program “Shishi Ishi” [personal Friday – trans.] on Israeli state radio’s Station 2 on 7 August 2010: (in Hebrew)

http://www.esnips.com/doc/52f1d5be-43b6-4030-ae11-567e210ef008/se-eichmann-timor

Peace summit or the height of folly?: The Guardian CoF

Can an activists’ peace summit at the top of Mont Blanc help bridge the abyss of Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
Peace activists from Israel’s University of Haifa on the summit of Mont Blanc. Photograph: AP
With Israel-Palestine diplomacy leading nowhere and the situation steadily worsening in recent years, even the most optimistic doves have had their wings clipped by the hawks who prey on every fledgling initiative, often before it has had a chance to hatch.

Against the backdrop of this political vacuum, a group of young Israelis and Palestinians (all of whom are citizens of Israel) have quite literally held their own peace summit – at the top of Mont Blanc.

Backed by the Swiss NGO Coexistences, the eight young men and women scaled Europe’s highest mountain after months of rigorous training as part of an initiative called Breaking the Ice, which seeks to thaw relations between ordinary Palestinians and Israelis. According to the organisers, mountaineering was chosen because it is an activity that requires a lot of trust and co-operation. Mountains, being imposing and seemingly insurmountable edifices, are also highly symbolic. This is not the first time Palestinians and Israelis have joined forces: for example, a similar group journeyed all the way to Antarctica in 2003 – but their gesture has largely been lost in the wilderness of conflict.

Drawing on an all together different set of symbols, sceptics may wonder whether such small-scale stunts aren’t slightly futile. Do those intrepid activists have their heads so high in the clouds that they’ve lost sight of the conflict grinding on relentlessly in the valley below?

At this point, it may be worth asking what the young people involved took from their experience. Well, some were sceptical too, to begin with. “I used to think this sort of programme romanticised the reality, and the reality is not good,” admits Lobna Agbaria, a Palestinian-Israeli law student. “But I live in this reality; this is the situation, so what can I do to help improve [it]?” The experience of such intimate proximity also helped to reshape their perspectives. “This project actually changed my political opinion,” acknowledges Tomer Ketter, an Israeli postgraduate student of geophysics. “Now that I have real friends who are Arabs, I think it opens an entire other world to me.”

Herein lies the most valuable contributions of such efforts. What critics fail to grasp is that those initiatives do not pretend to entertain grand objectives; they are not about waving a wand to magically bring peace to the Holy Land. In a world where Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs rarely meet, any effort to build a modicum of understanding and empathy is welcome. In this regard, the idea behind a group like Combatants for Peace is doubly poignant. It not only brings together Israelis and Palestinians in a common cause, its members are all ex-fighters who have laid down their arms and reject violence, thereby dispelling two common stereotypes: that the other side only understands the language of violence, and that they cannot work with one another.

Some do find that dialogue and co-operation for their own sake are not enough. “I think most efforts [like these] are to be praised,” says Labeeb Baransi, a Palestinian who left his native land to study in the UK and now runs an ICT company in Jordan. “If they carried out the joint effort to support a two-state solution I do feel they have just wasted a tremendous amount of energy. They would have gained a great deal more if they spent it on promoting the one state solution.” Baransi advocates a single secular state for all Israelis and Palestinians, and founded a Facebook group which counts Palestinians, Israelis, Arabs, Jews and other supporters as members.

With top-level talks consistently proving to be dismal failures, direct contact between Israelis and Palestinians can establish grassroots dialogue and trust. Diplomacy has failed to deliver partly because of the disparity in power between the two sides and the absence of visionary and honest leadership, but also because of the almost complete lack of understanding between people. That is why I have, over the years, become convinced that Israelis and Palestinians need to start a bottom-up peace movement based on dialogue and civil rights issues: both sides are increasingly finding common cause over civil rights questions, as evidenced during regular joint protests held in Bil’in.

Although I am in favour of a bi-national, secular state eventually emerging, I do not hold out much hope of any final resolution – one or two states – occurring any time soon. For the time being, the most we can hope for is to help Palestinians and Israelis learn to walk together. As Heskel Nathaniel, who led the 2003 Antarctica expedition, put it: “We want people to see that even enemies can find a way to do great things if they decide to take on the challenge together.”

UNRWA calls Israeli TV portrayal of Palestinian refugees a ‘stack of lies': Haaretz

UN relief agency lashes out at Israel Broadcasting Authority for airing on national TV what it branded a dishonest portrayal of the organization.

The United Nations’ relief agency for Palestinian refugees, lashed out Tuesday at the Israel Broadcasting Authority for airing what it called a a dishonest portrayal of the organization on Saturday in “Ro’im Olam” on Channel 1 television.

The news magazine’s anchor and the journalist behind the segment have fired back.
Right-wing journalist David Bedein’s “For the Nakba”, UNRWA said, contains numerous inaccuracies about its operations in Palestinian refugee camps and educational institutions. It depicts large graffiti that lionize Palestinian suicide bombers and includes an interview with Palestinian children who profess a desire to become “martyrs.”

“Ro’im Olam” presenter Yaakov Ahimeir sought comment from UNRWA’s Christopher Gunness, who watched the segment before it aired. Gunness said he warned of numerous inaccuracies, which were never corrected.

In a letter written prior to the airing, Gunness said UNRWA schools do not contain murals of suicide bombers, and that the textbooks shown are for use by 12th graders, while UNRWA schools do not go beyond ninth grade.

Gunness said students making derogatory statements about Israel are not enrolled at UNRWA schools, whose pupils are identifiable by their school uniforms. The spokesperson added that UNRWA does not sanction events that officially mark the Nakba, as the segment suggested. Gunness denied the film’s assertion that a student in an agency-run school was an 18-year-old suicide bomber.

Gunness accused Channel 1 of airing “a stack of lies,” and said editing the errors was “a matter of integrity.”

In response, Ahimeir said: “Chris Gunness viewed the film before the broadcast, and his response was broadcast in full.” After he sent me additional material, Ahimeir said, “This was also read on the air by me as UNRWA’s response.”

Bedein denied Gunness’ claims. Palestinian kids, he said, study the materials from the textbooks at a young age, and the mural of the suicide bomber was seen at the entrance of the UNRWA school at the Deheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem.

Just get out!: The Economist

The Israeli authorities try to expel Hamas’s MPs from East Jerusalem
Aug 12th 2010 | JERUSALEM

Perhaps they were too successful. Four years ago a more conciliatory Israeli government let East Jerusalem’s Palestinians, including Hamas, compete in the Palestinian legislative elections. Though still banned as a terrorist outfit, Hamas swept all four of East Jerusalem’s contested seats in the Palestinian parliament.

In the wake of Hamas’s triumph, Israel’s authorities imposed fines worth thousands of dollars for plastering campaign posters in the wrong places. Five months on, in retaliation for Hamas capturing an Israeli corporal, Gilad Shalit, they sent the men to jail. And on their release more than three years later, Israel declared them illegal residents and gave them 30 days to get out. Appeals that their families had lived in the city for generations fell on deaf ears. In June, one of them was jailed, prompting two others and a former Hamas minister who is also from the city to seek refuge in the Jerusalem offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

If Israel’s latest order to deport the Hamas MPs was intended to curb support for the movement, it has failed. An array of prominent figures—from Hamas’s rival Fatah group, from the worlds of business, diplomacy and the church, even from anti-Zionist Orthodox Jewry—have flocked to the Red Cross’s doors to offer solidarity. On Fridays the street outside doubles as an open-air mosque. The Hamas MPs, hitherto minor figures, have become celebrities.

They are popular partly because they are seen as symbols of a shared plight. The Jerusalem Centre for Social and Economic Rights, a Palestinian human-rights outfit, says that Israel, since occupying the city in 1967, has stripped more than 14,000 native Palestinians of their residency rights, including a good 5,000 in the past two years. Israel usually cites security reasons or says that after an absence of five years Palestinians lose their right to reside. This time it is expelling the Hamas MPs for disloyalty to the occupying state. Sensing a common threat, even a Christian MP from a rival faction voices support for the Hamas men. “Today Fatah is OK,” he says. “But who will defend us when it’s not?”

The flotilla as metaphor: Haaretz Editorial

The negligence and arrogance that characterize this government’s work, and which led to its military and diplomatic failures in handling the flotilla, are also reflected in subsequent developments.

The High Court of Justice yesterday rejected the government’s excuses for failing to include a woman on the committee investigating May’s raid on a Turkish flotilla to Gaza. In addition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, responsibility for ignoring the obligation to uphold the law on women’s equality rests with committee chairman Jacob Turkel, himself a former Supreme Court justice.

The negligence and arrogance that characterize this government’s work, and which led to its military and diplomatic failures in handling the flotilla, are also reflected in subsequent developments. They reveal a basic flaw in the way the government operates and in the conduct of its senior ministers, including Netanyahu, Neeman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (and it is puzzling that the latter has not been summoned to testify before the committee on the raid’s diplomatic aspects ).

The key government officials who formulated Israel’s position toward both the local and the international investigations failed, just as they failed in handling the flotilla itself. They established the Turkel Committee for a limited purpose: examining questions related to international law (imposition of the naval blockade, searching the ships, the use of force ). But the committee took the liberty of looking into other issues as well, which are more important from a public standpoint. The government decided that only Netanyahu, Barak and the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff would testify, but now it turns out that other generals will also be summoned.

It is good that the committee is doing so, but this in itself reveals the government’s limited control over planning and execution. The committee grew from three to five members even before the subsequent addition of a woman (if the government accedes to the High Court’s urging ). The two foreign observers are refusing to behave as puppets, and contrary to the government’s decision, they will have access to classified material.

The Turkel Committee was meant to repel outside pressure to establish a UN committee. Israel first opposed the UN committee, and then reversed itself and agreed, arguing that it had nothing to hide. But it agreed only on the understanding that IDF soldiers would not be questioned – or in other words, it does have things to hide. Now, the UN secretary general has repudiated this understanding, and Israel is in trouble: It must either give in or quit the committee.

A government that behaves this way cannot be fixed. Israel’s helm is not in good hands.

The “banality of evil” and Israel’s destruction of al-Araqib (with Video): Joseph Dana

In the early hours of 10 August, Israeli forces destroyed — for the third time — the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the northern Negev desert. Israel had first destroyed the village on 27 July as EI reported, and each time the villagers have attempted to rebuild.

We arrived in the darkness. The horizon was blurred from the desert night sky and all that could be seen was ruin. Piles of concrete, steel reinforcing bars and wood in places where the village once sat. In this maze of construction material there were small makeshift living spaces, barely suitable for the harsh desert climate. Simple tent structures consisting of four wood shafts and a black tarp was the only remains of this village.

We, Israeli and international activists, were invited to sit in these tents through the night and sip coffee in the cool desert night with the villagers. They told us about their livelihood now that the village is constantly facing demolition. Some talked about their military service in the Israeli army and their disbelief that the country they served could behave in such a way as to destroy their entire village. Others expressed hope that at least some Israelis understood the grave nature of their government and were standing arm in arm with them.

As the night closed and the light began to change, the first sounds of the demolition crew could be heard far off in the distance. Before we had time to blink, 200 fully clad police officers were on microphones telling us to leave and that any violence would be met with harsher violence. As soon as the voices on the microphones stopped, the bulldozers began to work. The place we had been sitting and having coffee through the night was leveled before our groggy, disbelieving eyes. We barely had time to register the fact that the village was being leveled, as the police began pushing us away from the living structures with extreme force.

A Bedouin woman sits in front of her rebuilt home in al-Araqib after it was destroyed by Israeli forces, again. (Joseph Dana)

The demolition crew worked efficiently and without pause. Every structure that served some form of life in the village was leveled and all the building materials from it were trucked away. As we were pushed further from the village, a couple of activists tried to sit inside or in front of the tents. This was met with violence by the police as people were thrown to the ground like rag dolls. At one point in the chaos, a professor of medieval history at Tel Aviv University was grabbed by a police officer, who quickly wrenched his hand behind his back. The professor was held like this for a number of minutes and then arrested. It is still unclear under what terms.

Finally, the police confined us to a hilltop and had us look over the village as it was destroyed. The water canisters, which are needed because Israel refuses to give the villagers water pipes, were broken and then placed on flat bed trucks to be carted away. The image of massive bulldozers flanked by heavily armed riot police destroying makeshift Bedouin living structures is something that no one would be able to forget. As soon as the forces left, the villagers began rebuilding what little they have left. Every week, their resources shrink and yet they rebuild. They have no choice.

All of the police officers and members of the demolition crew this morning were simply following orders. It was another day for them and due to the Israeli cultural understanding of the Bedouins and Palestinians as “nearly people,” they will probably not lose a wink of sleep this evening. However, the complete destruction of the village of al-Araqib is yet another powerful example of the Israeli banality of evil.

Turkey excludes Israel envoy from state dinner over Gaza flotilla raid: Haaretz

Ambassador Gabi Levi not invited to annual dinner marking end of Ramadan fast in what AK party official calls a message to Israel over its policies.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s religious party has excluded Israel’s envoy from the annual dinner marking the end of the Muslim month-long fast of Ramadan, over outrage regarding Israel’s deadly raid on the Gaza flotilla in May, Turkish media reported Saturday.

According to the reports, Ambassador Gabi Levi was not invited to the Eid al-Fitr dinner, to which the ruling party has invited all the diplomats in the country for the last four years.
During a press conference AK party chairman of foreign relations committee, Omer Çelik, said “the reason for not inviting the Israeli ambassador is not on a personal level,” but rather a symbolic act against Israel’s policies.

He added that “anyone who is unjust or inequitable can not pass the threshold of the Justice and Development party’s headquarters.”

The Foreign ministry said in response that “once again it appears that Erdogan is initiating an escalation and searching for it,” adding that “we will behave responsibly and not be pulled into the Turkish sword dance.”

Israel’s May 31 raid on the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish-flagged lead ship in the flotilla, plunged relations between the erstwhile allies into deep crisis.

Turkey last week announced that it has set up its own inquiry into Israel’s raid on the Turkish-flagged ship that left nine Turkish citizens dead.

The probe will work under the office of Prime Minister’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and will “investigate the attack and the treatment the activists faced” before reporting on its findings, the ministry said in a statement.

After the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound aid convoy in May Turkey announced that it was recalling its ambassador to Israel putting a further strain on the two counties’ diplomatic ties.

Earlier this year, Israel sparked outrage when Turkish envoy Ahmet Oguz Celikkol, summoned by Ayalon over an anti-Israeli television show aired in Turkey, was made to sit in a chair lower than that of Ayalon, while the Turkish flag was deliberately not put on display.

Ayalon issued a formal apology to Ankara at President Shimon Peres’ request, and at the culmination of day-long consultations between Ankara and Jerusalem, after the Turks announced that Ayalon’s first apology was insufficient.

Hezbollah to hand over evidence it claims implicates Israel in Hariri assassination: Haaretz

Hezbollah says it will give information to Lebanese authorities; UN Hariri tribunal asked to see the evidence, following Hezbollah chief Nasrallah’s presentation on Monday.

Hezbollah said on Friday that it would hand over information it claims implicates Israel in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the French news agency AFP reported.

Earlier this week, the UN tribunal investigating the killing asked that it be provided with the information that was presented by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah at a press conference on Monday.

During that press conference, Nasrallah attempted to blame Israel for the assassination, citing an audio recording of an alleged Israeli agent as well as intercepted Israeli aerial drone footage.

On Friday, Hezbollah official Mohammed Fneish told AFP that, while Hezbollah still considers the UN tribunal to have “no credibility”, the Shiite militant group would provide whatever information Lebanese authorities asked for and that “what they [Lebanese authorities] do with that is their responsibility.”

Rafik Hariri was killed in a massive bomb blast in Beirut in 2005 and the UN tribunal was established two years later.

At first, Hariri’s allies accused Syria and its followers in Lebanon of being behind the murder, a charge Damascus has repeatedly denied.

In 2009, however, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported that there was evidence linking Hezbollah to the killing. And last month, Nasrallah said that he had been informed the UN tribunal would indict some Hezbollah members for the murder.

On Thursday, Saad Hariri, the current Lebanese prime minister and Rafik Hariri’s son, called on the UN tribunal to consider the information presented by Nasrallah this week.

From The Horse’s Mouth – Words of the Israeli Unhinged

EDITOR: A new contributor to this popular section is Professor Gerald M Steinberg, and we hope he can write some more twaddle soon, so we can include him again. As Israelis always wage war, he uses this militarised language here also. Israel is always waging war on someone, something, and somewhere.

The war on de-legitimization: YNet

Op-ed: We must name, shame hardcore anti-Israel activists who use façade of morality
Gerald M. Steinberg
The political war aimed at delegitimizing Israel, and at preventing the IDF from acting to stop terror attacks, is now recognized as a major threat. These are not the sentiments of alarmists; this is the conclusion drawn by Eitan Haber, a close advisor to prime ministers, including Yitzhak Rabin (“IDF isn’t enough in face of global de-legitimization campaign faced by Israel.”)

Haber’s analysis only scratches the surface of the de-legitimization campaign waged against Israel. These efforts are not new; since the 2001 UN “World Conference Against Racism” in Durban, South Africa – international NGOs and some within Israel have introduced into the public lexicon slogans referring to Israel as an “apartheid state” guilty of “war crimes” that does not have the right to exist.

The campaign is gaining strength, and as Haber notes the importance of mobilizing the Jewish people “to fight back against the ubiquitous de-legitimization process, against the indifference, and possibly also against the despair among us.”

Examples of NGO campaigns are, unfortunately, plentiful. The recent “Free Gaza” flotilla incident demonstrated the sophisticated use of the “humanitarian,” “peace” and “non-governmental” labels to cover a preplanned attack on IDF soldiers, resulting in injuries and deaths. Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation) – a Turkish “charity” with close links to Hamas, jihadist groups, and the Turkish government – led the efforts in this instance.

Working with European and American anti-Israel campaigners, including the confrontational International Solidarity Movement (ISM), they tapped into a wider diplomatic and political campaign driven by the false charges of “war crimes” and “collective punishment.”

NGOs orchestrate these incidents, stripping away the context of terror and hate, and placing Israel and its supporters on the defensive. This strategy is coupled with ongoing efforts, such as the boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, to single out and isolate Israel.

A parallel tactic, promulgated by Israeli-Arab NGO Adalah (funded by the New Israel Fund -NIF and the European Union) portrays “Israel as an inherent undemocratic state.” Similarly, NGO “lawfare” cases against Israeli officials in foreign courts attempt to delegitimize the Israeli justice system.

Detailed research reports published by NGO Monitor document the damage caused by powerful NGOs that use the façade of liberal agendas, and the funders that enable these campaigns. European governments provide tens of millions of dollars annually, without the necessary transparency, to many of these NGOs.

‘Soft power’ war
Many of these groups, including the NIF, are attempting to prevent the Knesset from adopting legislation that would provide transparency regarding how and where NGOs receive their funding. These groups fear that they too would lose their funding and impact, and placed their private agendas and interests above the right of the public to know who is paying for the de-legitimization efforts.

Haber’s is a welcomed voice, joining the growing mainstream chorus that has highlighted the power of NGOs in the “soft power” war against Israel. Other prominent liberals in the US – including NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who echoed the criticism of Human Rights Watch by founder Robert Bernstein -have criticized the “foul… trend, both deliberate and inadvertent, to delegitimize Israel – to turn it into a pariah state, particularly in the wake of the Gaza war.”

Criticism and debate on particular policies is an appropriate part of all democratic societies. Blanket de-legitimization is not. The fact that Friedman, Bernstein, Haber, and others are calling attention to this danger shows that the mainstream Left and Right in Israel and the Diaspora have found an issue around which they can unify.

It also means those who care about Israel should follow their lead and take action. This includes demanding the implementation of NGO funding guidelines based on transparency and assurance that their donations will not be used for de-legitimization. Other guidelines reject the BDS campaign and international “lawfare” cases in all forms and arenas; offer criticisms of Israel in proper context; and use the vast resources available to assist those whose human rights truly are being infringed upon, in Iran, Sudan, Europe, and elsewhere, but are overshadowed by the obsessive emphasis on Israel

Haber’s call for a military-type effort and a “huge body” to “fight back” against the de-legitimization process is understandable. But size is less important than intelligence, in both senses of the word. Israel and the Jewish people, working in partnership, need to think and act strategically, to name and shame the hardcore anti-Israel activists who use the façade of morality to promote their racism.

The funders and enablers, particularly the anonymous officials in European governments, need to be similarly exposed. In parallel, we need alliance with those who agree on the wider principles of Israel’s place among the nations, despite polity differences, including on settlements and other issues.

The alternative to this war strategy would consign us to watching from the sidelines as Israel’s place among the nations erodes further, and our ability to defend citizens against mass terror becomes more difficult. This alternative, as Eitan Haber has discovered, is unacceptable.

Prof. Gerald Steinberg is president of NGO Monitor and professor of Political Science at Bar Ilan University

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