Co-editors: Seán Mac Mathúna • John Heathcote
Consulting editor: Themistocles Hoetis
Field Correspondent: Allen Hougland

State Terrorism in the Occupied Territories

John Heathcote

Independent Media Center

Stop the War Coalition

Protest Net

United Kingdom: Concern over anti-terrorist arrests

Centre for Peace in the Balkans

A Report on United States War Crimes Against Iraq to the Commission of Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal

Highway of Death

Depleted Uranium in Afghanistan


War Crimes in Occupied Territories

We have become the Jews of the Jews. Palestinian official interviewed on BBC Newsnight, 08.04.02

The Israeli Defence Force has begun to withdraw from some of the areas on the West Bank and in the Occupied Territories amidst allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Reports of large scale destruction of the civilian properties and infrastructure in those areas invaded by the IDF are emerging; as well as more worrying allegations of massacre, summary execution, demolition of houses containing civilian families, the mass burial of bodies in sewers by the retreating Israeli forces, the wholescale detention of civilian males under brutal conditions and the denial of medical treatment to the wounded, sick, dying and women in labour.

There are calls already from senior representatives of the United Nations, as well as other leading human rights organisations to investigate these aspects of the latest Israeli war on the Palestinian people, and subject those responsible to the strictures of international law.

So much has been made in recent months of the trial of Slobodan Milosevic in the Hague for war crimes comitted in the civil war in Yugoslavia.

Despite undoubted atrocities being perpetrated on all sides, there was never any real belief that Milosevic himself was in any direct control of the paramilitary forces of the Bosnian Serbs; indeed evidence points to the opposite conclusion - that he realised they were doing more harm than good to the Yugoslav and Serbian cause.

This is why the sight of 'Lord' David Owen ( in an interview broadcast on UK Channel 5 News on 19.04.2002 ) defending Israel and its rights to pursue its 'war on terror' by any means; rejecting any calls for prosecution of Sharon as head of a State guilty of directing the above crimes, makes one realise the amount of double-standards and hypocrisy applied in different circumstances.

Owen, a man already known by the soubriquet of 'Dr. Death' in Britain, who supervised the dismeberment of the state of Yugoslavia into a number of ethnically pure bantustans and pursued the case against Milosevic, despite recognising him as a legitimate negotiating partner- seems to forget that he was one of the cheerleaders for the recent NATO war on Yugoslavia.

If I remember rightly, this was launched in response to a crackdown on the KLA, an armed terrorist group funded by major foreign powers, operating from a neighbouring territory, and carrying out indiscriminate acts of terror against civilian targets to pursue their goal of an independent state. At no time did the admittedly heavy-handed actions of the Yugoslav army in Kosovo ever breach the basic international laws of conflict and treatment of civilians to the extent listed above.

Even as this is being written the IDF have about 200 people including monks, nuns and civilians under siege in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

In a superb demonstration of the respect paid by this Israeli Government to the religion and culture of any other people; they are prepared to transform the supposed birthplace of the Prophet Jesus into a charnel house of death.

The leader of the besieged Palestinian people is himself trapped in a few rooms of his headquarters in Ramallah, starved of food, water, medicine and contact with the outside world.

Outside he can see rings of soldiers and battle armour, supplied or indirectly paid for by the United States of America - a country thousands of miles away.

The only country with the pwer to demand that its negotiator is allowed to see Arafat seems incapable of exerting any power over the Government of Sharon.

Is this, one wonders, beacause the ownership of the ultimate weapon - and an obvious willingness to use them -negates any control that the US can affect over its client state in terms of defence policy.

It would be naive to pretend that the disproportionate strength of the pro-Israel lobby in the US Senate and Congress also means that Sharon need not fear any curtailment of the vast 'aid' budget received every year from the US coffers.

It is worth remembering that the first shots fired in this present war were into the body of the Prime MInister of Israel, Rabin.

His killer is currently living in a state of luxurious confinement - compared to the fate of the kidnapped Israeli technician , Mordechai Vannunu, who has spent the best part of the last fifteen years in solitary confinement in a cell in the desert for having revealed the 'secret ' of Israels Jericho nuclear missiles.

The sheer irony of the current situation - with its complimentary resonances in the recent history of the Jewish people themselves - perhaps demonstrate quite clearly the central paradoxes concerning the formulation of the State of Israel.

Disregarding this paradox, which is dealt with elsewhere in detail on this site, makes the other 'intractable riddles' of the conflict incomprehensible, and ultimately unsolvable.

What other State sanctions assassination of foreign and domestic nationals ? Disregards all UN Resolutions concerning territory and the use of force in Occupied Territories ? Justifies its claim to land lived in and cultivated by other people on the assumption that "God" granted them exclusive ownership a few thousand years ago.

International socialism and Zionism in 20th century Europe

The danger in the current situation is of course omnipresent for both the Palestinian and Jewish people. It is perhaps a fact forgotten by the Zionists that the Jewish people survived cultural and literal persecution without a homeland for nearly two millennia. Their communiity thrived by learning to survive adversity, and in effect become truly international citizens.

It is this above all else which probably accelerated the development of humanistic philosophy in Jewish thought, and eventually resulted in the great influence of Jewish thinkers in the development of international socialism.

It was this, more than any traits of genetic 'Jewishness' ( always a debatable point, considering the diversity of 'tribes' containing Jewish community, stretching from Whitechapel to Chechenya, Ethiopia to China) that made the National 'Socialist' movements of Europe in the 20's and 30's so keen to target the Jews as internal opposition.

After the First World War the majority of European workers had returned from the greatest mass slaughter in history which, cock-up or conspiracy, was undoubtedly the result of the European ruling classes being unable to operate on an international level without resorting to conflict, with its subsequent massive loss of life.

Even more galling, modern warfare made it unnecessary for the better connected senior officers to go near the front, let alone onto the battlefield.

We can see the result of this today, where the last power with truly global pretensions is running its war in Afghanistan directly from computer terminals in Tampa, Florida. The results have been felt by both Afghan civilians wrongly targetted, and most recently a group of Canadian soldiers (four killed, eight others grievously wounded).

The result of this mechanised slaughter arranged and pursued by the ruling classes for the maintaining the vast profits from their overseas colonies might well have been to divert the working classes of Europe from their 300 year struggle to achieve human rights.

Feudalism had been replaced by slavery; Republicanism was diverted into Imperialism (as in Britain and France).

Finally, with the end of the carnage of WWI the disillusionment with the status quo threatened to produce a real revolution across Europe. In this country for instance,to encourage a feeling of social reform inevitably following the war, every working man was promised a house - a promise that has still not been kept, ninety years later.

In Germany, socialists and communists, inspired by the Revolution in Russia, soon began to replace the old order throughout the different regions as the impoverished population attempted to reconstruct a new life from the chaos.

The Prussian military and industrialists realised that it was a make-or-break situation, and quickly engaged the services of unemployed soldiers to act as the ironically named 'Freikorps'. Using tactics of brutal intimidation and murder, they 'eradicated' the left wing and replaced them with the same liberal bougoisie who had allowed the war to develop, and then profited from it.

Meanwhile, the Freikorps, funded by the resurgent ruling class, and soon even opportunist anti-semitic industrialists such as Henry Ford, slowly transformed themselves into the National Socialist party. The name itself was meant to attract the rank and file of the left-wing parties which had been decimated by the onslaught of the right-wing paramilitaries.

Russia, under attack from the allied armies of the West (yes, their war wasn't allowed to end in 1918) retreated into the isolationist State Socialism of Stalin, whose agent murdered Leon Trotsky, the last great Russian Jewish internationalist remaining from the original Bolshevik core.

Before long, the ruling classes were again ruthlessly pursuing their philosophy of international capitalism, whilst ensuring no comparable international social movement developed to challenge them.

The Crash of the Twenties briefly punctured that balloon; but ultimately only the poorer members of the real international aristocracy ever lost much in the grand lottery.

It is an inescapable fact that the European ruling classes welcomed Nazi Germany as a possible model for their own countries.

A happy compliant working class; their aspirations and fears engineered by the elite, with a restitution of the philosophy that died with the Napoleonic codes in most of Europe, and an axe blow in Britain - the divine right of Kings.

The Nazi's targetting of the Jews (and Romanies), alongside Communists, Socialists and other groups ranging from Freemasons to Jehovas Wiitnesses was a wish to eradicate 'foreign influence' on the German people; to ensure, like the leader of a cult, that his people's perception of the word was only seen through his own dark glass.

His hatred of Jewish art, culture and philosophy was because its humanistic rationalism, its international vision so challenged his own narrow power, balanced on top of a two-dimensional pyramid.

It also explains why the overwhelming Jewish population of Europe had no wish to emigrate to Palestine. They appreciated how their perception of the world had been an integral part of the rise of European socialism, and European thought and culture in general. They had improved their social standing in most parts of Europe by a rational resistance to injustice and by seeking common cause with the oppressed working classes in the countries they lived in.

Zionism was promoted by very few, as it instantly gave virtue to anti-semites, who also advocated expulsion of Jews; it became popular for instance amongst the upper middle-class Jews of Britain in the early twentieth century who feared that Jewish immigrants escaping the pogroms in Russia would produce a backlash against them. So some supported candidates standing on anti-immigration tickets, and recommended the refugees go to Palestine.

Meanwhile, the British, clinging on to the remains of their tattered Empire, were trying to live up to the spirit of the hastily produced Balfour Declaration to re-invent Palestine as a religous homeland for a people persecuted in Europe.

The paradoxes involved in the creation of the State of Israel and how those ghosts are still shaping the way the State moves are explored in the piece by Lenni Brenner.

Sharon's perception of the State of Israel is fundamentally the same as the extremists of the Zionist movement; his heart is closed to the whisperings of so many other ghosts

Those ghosts are not only from the victims of the suicide bombers, but also the resistors of the Warsaw Ghetto, the King David Hotel and the village of Deir Yassim.

By the sheer brittle intransigence of his approach to the Palestinians, he risks producing an unbeatable spirit of resistance in the Palestinian people, coupled with an implacable hatred of not only the Prime minister and the IDF, but all the civilians who justified what has been done in their name.

' War on Terror' used to distort political agenda

Meanwhile, the so called 'War on Terror" continues. Human Rights lawyers have brought a case to the US courts charging US Attorney General Ashcroft with serious infringements of the human rights of the thousands of detainees swept up and imprisoned without trial or charges following September 11th (a situation mirrored in the UK to a lesser extent).

No-one seems to remember Enron; and it is only now that we are remembering that the headlines before September 11th were largely concerned with the way that international protest against the forces of international capitalism had finally started to have an effect.

In Washington this weekend, the pretence of a fear of terrorism will allow the US authorities to suppress any meaningful dissent or popular protest against the meeting of the WTO - ostensibly to manage world poverty.

At the same time, the US - after effectively removing the head of one international body regulating climate control, on the orders of Exxon - are now, despite widespred protest, attempting to do the same with the convention for the control of chemical weapons . They apparently fear that his integrity is so widely respected, that he will be able to broker a deal with Iraq that would remove any US rationale for an attack on that country.

It is apparent that the Bush regime feels empowered to remove anyone who stands in the way of their imperial ambition.

In Venezuela,President Chavez survived an attempt by the military to remove him from office, force him to resign and fly into exile in Cuba - in a plane reportedly provided by that great 'friend of democracy', the United States.

His replacement by a US-friendly 'liberal businessman', who immediately dissolved congress and assumed total power, was short lived.

However, we can be sure that there must be a few people in the US State Department who have noticed a few blindingly obvious points.

That the US power; military and economic, rests on oil consumption - virtually all of which comes from abroad. Even Alaska, momentarily saved, could only supply 5% of North America's oil needs.

The worlds biggest oil producers are:

Venezuela - see above

Saudi Arabia - more unstable by the day, especially since the recent Israeli offensive in Palestine, and threat of war against Iraq

Iraq - in a state of siege, inherently unstable and under risk of all-out war;

And finally, Russia, who recently became the world's foremost oil exporter. With Putin's 'restructuring' of the vast power and energy firms, the Russian economy has grown by an amazing 4% in the last year.

There are still some there who probably realise that the pursuit of such an imperial agenda is storing up trouble for the future, just as Israel's treatment of the Palestinian people will return as tragedy to the Jewish people.