Barbarism by an educated and cultured people’ — Dawayima massacre was worse than Deir Yassin

After the massacre, a letter was sent to the editor of the leftist affiliated newspaper Al-Hamishmar, but never published.

Yair Auron

As Auron notes, there are still many archives of the time which are classified. Auron also states that there was an investigation that was never concluded and “died out” as a massive amnesty was provided to military personnel in February 1949.

This is a very exhaustive article, but I found it useful enough to translate this letter in full on its own. The letter, which first “disappeared,’ was provided to Auron by historian Benny Morris. Although these matters have been referred to in passing in historical summaries, the letter has never been published before in full.

The letter is brought forth by a member of the MAPAM leftist party, S. Kaplan, who got the letter of testimony from the soldier. It is written to Eliezer Peri, editor of Al Hamishmar, and dated 8th November 1948 (18 days after the massacre):

To comrade Eliezer Peri, good day,

Today I have read the editorial of “Al Hamishmar” where the question of our army’s conduct was aired, the army which conquers all but its own desires.

A testimony provided to me by an officer which was in [Al] Dawayima the day after its conquering: The soldier is one of ours, intellectual, reliable, in all 100%. He had confided in me out of a need to unload the heaviness of his soul from the horror of the recognition that such level of barbarism can be reached by our educated and cultured people. He confided in me because not many are the hearts today who are able to listen.

There was no battle and no resistance (and no Egyptians). The first conquerors killed from eighty to a hundred Arabs [including] women and children. The children were killed by smashing of their skulls with sticks. There was not a house without dead. The second wave of the [Israeli] army was a platoon that the soldier giving testimony belongs to.

In the town were left male and female Arabs, who were put into houses and were then locked in without receiving food or drink. Later explosive engineers came to blow up houses. One commander ordered an engineer to put two elderly women into the house that was to be blown up. The engineered refused and said he is willing to receive orders only from his [own] commander. So then [his] commander ordered the soldiers to put the women in and the evil deed was performed.

One soldier boasted that he raped an Arab woman and afterwards shot her. An Arab woman with a days-old infant was used for cleaning the back yard where the soldiers eat. She serviced them for a day or two, after which they shot her and the infant. The soldier tells that the commanders who are cultured and polite, considered good guys in society, have become vile murderers, and this occurs not in the storm of battle and heated response, but rather from a system of expulsion and destruction. The fewer Arabs remain – the better. This principle is the main political motive of [the] expulsions and acts of horror which no-one objects to, not in the field command nor amongst the highest military command. I myself was at the front for two weeks and heard boasting stories of soldiers and commanders, of how they excelled in the acts of hunting and “fucking” [sic]. To fuck an Arab, just like that, and in any circumstance, is considered an impressive mission and there is competition on winning this [trophy].

We find ourselves in a conundrum. To shout this out in the press will mean to assist the Arab League, which our representatives deny all complaints of. To not react would mean solidarity with moral corruption. The soldier told me that Deir Yassin [another massacre, by Irgun militants, April 1948] is not the peak of hooliganism. Is it possible to shout about Deir Yassin and be silent about something much worse?

It is necessary to initiate a scandal in the internal channels, to insist upon an internal investigation and punish the culprits. And first of all it is necessary to create in the military a special unit for the restraint of the army. I myself accuse first of all the government, which doesn’t seem to have any interest to fight the phenomena and perhaps even encourages them indirectly. The fact of not-acting is in itself encouragement. My commander told me that there is an unwritten order to not take prisoners of war, and the interpretation of “prisoner” is individually given by each soldier and commander. A prisoner can be an Arab man, woman or child. This was not only done at the exhibition windows [major Palestinian towns] such as Majdal and Nazareth.

I write this to you so that in the editorial and in the party the truth will be known and something effective would be done. At least let them not indulge in phony diplomacy which covers up for blood and murder, and to the extent possible, also the paper must not let this pass in silence.

Kaplan

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Perpetual War, Indefinite Detention, And Torture: The U.S. And Israel’s Shared Values

The United States and Israel have “shared values” but not when it comes to upholding democracy and the rule of law. Their shared values are perpetual war, torture, indefinite detention, and military courts.

Israeli soldiers arrest Palestinian
minors in the West Bank city of Jenin

Guantanamo is a perfect example of this. Both states have been in a state of perpetual war for quite some time with Israel against the Palestinians since its founding in 1948 while the U.S. can trace back its war to its founding in 1776 and the colonization of Native American lands. Today’s global war on terror is the latest chapter in that saga. Under perpetual war, the United States and Israel can justify a litany of draconian policies, such as indefinite detention, torture, and extrajudicial killing.

International human rights law prohibits torture and detention without charge or trial. The UN Convention Against Torture strictly forbids torture, even in “exceptional circumstances” like “a state of war or threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency.” Meanwhile, article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states, “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.” The rights to a fair trial, due process, and to be free from torture and inhumane treatment are basic human rights that governments are obliged to uphold. Yet, both the United States and Israel practice indefinite detention – also known as “administrative detention” in Israel – and torture.

Administrative detention and torture in Israel

Israel has detained thousands of Palestinians in the occupied territories without charge or trial over the years “for periods ranging from several months to several years,” according to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. B’Tselem figures also report that, “At the end of May 2014, 196 Palestinian administrative detainees were held in facilities run by the Israel Prison Service (IPS).” Israel recently locked up over 250 Palestinians in administrative detention as part of its operation to find the three missing but killed Israeli settlers, putting the current population at around 450.

Three Israeli laws allow and regulate Israel’s administrative detention powers – the Administrative Detention Order, theEmergency Powers (Detention) Law, and the Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law.

The Administrative Detention Order, which applies to the West Bank except East Jerusalem, allows military commanders to detain a person for a maximum of six months “for reasons to do with regional security or public security.” Commanders can repeatedly add six months of administrative detention, since there is no limit on extensions. The 1979 Emergency Powers Law allows the defense minister to detain a person for up to six months, like the Order, and extend the detention repeatedly six months at a time. It applies to Israeli residents, residents living in Israeli occupied territories, and residents of other countries, such as Lebanon. However, this law grants detainees more protections than the Order does. The 2002 Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law allows for the administrative detention of a civilian who directly or indirectly participates in hostilities against Israel or is a member of a force that does so. Under this law, persons can be detained for an unlimited period of time. This law is used to detain Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.

While the occupation is illegal and unjust, Israel, as an occupying power, has an international legal responsibility to uphold the welfare of Palestinians living under its control. International humanitarian law permitssome internment (or detention without charge or trial) in wartime but only “for imperative reasons of security,” according to Article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Internment [detention] also has to be done on a case-by-case basis rather than implemented widely.

B’Tselem names the numerous ways in which Israel’s use of administrative detention violates its international legal responsibilities as an occupying power. One is its “[e]xtremely extensive use” in contravention of international law. “Administrative detention has become routine practice, rather than an exceptional measure,” according to B’Tselem. Relatedly, administrative detention is used as “an alternative to criminal proceedings” with authorities using it “as a quick and efficient alternative to criminal trial, primarily when they do not have sufficient evidence to charge the individual, or when they do not want to reveal their evidence.” Administrative detention also lacks due process as detainees “are not provided meaningful information on the reasons for their detention and are not given an opportunity to refute the suspicions against them.” Additionally, detention periods are repeatedly extended, which leaves Palestinians detained for several months to years without charge or trial. Israel has also used administrative detention against political opponents, including non-violent political activists. Finally, many Palestinian administrative detainees are held inside Israel.

In 1999, Israel’s High Court of Justice issued a ruling that prohibited interrogators from using methods of torture as a means of interrogation. Before that ruling, Israeli security forces regularly “tortured thousands of Palestinian detainees each year,” according to the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. In 1987, an Israeli government commission, headed by former Supreme Court President Moshe Landau, issued a report that provided a framework for Israel’s torture regime. The Landau Commission recommended Shin Bet interrogators utilize torture methods, namely “psychological pressure” and a “moderate degree of physical pressure,” against people suspected of “hostile terrorist activity.” It argued that “an effective interrogation is impossible” without some physical force.

Despite the High Court’s 1999 ban on torture, rights groups like the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) point out that the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet and other law enforcement agencies still commit acts of torture. The PCATI largely relied on testimonies from Palestinian prisoners and forensic evaluations. In response, the Shin Bet denies it commits torture and argues that its interrogation methods are not only lawful but save lives.

Methods of torture and ill treatment of Palestinian prisoners since 1999, according to the PCATI, include “sleep deprivation, binding to a chair in painful positions, beatings, slapping, kicking, threats, verbal abuse and degradation,” special methods like “bending the body into painful positions,” “forcing the interrogee to crouch in a frog-like position (‘kambaz’), choking, shaking and other violent and degrading acts (hair-pulling, spitting, etc.),” and psychological torture. Prisoners, some of whom are children, in solitary confinement often face “sleep deprivation, exposure to extreme heat and cold, permanent exposure to artificial light, detention in sub-standard conditions.”

The High Court’s ruling has loopholes for Israeli intelligence to circumvent the torture ban. One is the “necessity defense”, which, according to PCATI, “under certain circumstances, exempts interrogators who employ illegal interrogation techniques, including physical violence, from criminal responsibility.” Another is well-known the “ticking bomb” scenario, where torture is allowed to prevent an imminent threat, such as a bomb about to explode. PCATI argues that the government exploited this loophole to declare more detainees ticking time bombs and overstepping the court’s intended scope. PCATI also accused the Shin Bet “taking advantage of the fact that only sleep deprivation for the sake of deprivation is illegal, not sleep deprivation indirectly caused from an extended interrogation,” according to the Jerusalem Post.

Guantanamo, U.S. global war on terror

The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed shortly after 9/11, authorizes the President of the United States “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons” who “planned, authorized, committed, or aided” the 9/11 terrorist attacks “or harbored such organizations or persons.” This bill gives the United States wide power to wage perpetual war around the world against alleged terrorist groups.

When the Obama administration entered office, it not only kept the AUMF in place, but expanded the bill’s scope to continue the global war on terror. The Obama administration interprets the AUMF to include “associated forces” – essentially co-belligerents – of al-Qaeda, even though the bill does not include those words. Last year, the Washington Post reportedthat Obama administration officials were debating whether the AUMF could be stretched to include “associates of associates” of al-Qaeda, including groups like al-Nusra Front in Syria or Ansar al-Sharia in North Africa. Thus, Obama has shifted the war on terror’s goalposts and continued its perpetuity.

The AUMF is the legal linchpin for the United States’ global war on terror. It justifies the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, indefinite detention, kill-or-capture raids, extraordinary rendition, and drone strikes. But it is not the only legal measure for doing so. Last year, a week before President Obama’s national security speech, Obama administration officials told the Senate that even without AUMF, the government could use other laws to continue lethal operations against suspected terrorists, such as self-defense under international law. While both states engage in perpetual war under the language of “fighting terror,” Israel’s battlefield mostly extends to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while the United States’ is the entire world.

The Guantanamo Bay detention facility was opened in 2002, as the global war on terror began. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, it provided bounties to tribal allies and Pakistani security forces to capture anyone believed to be connected with al-Qaeda or the Taliban and send them to American forces. This led to large swaths of low-level fightersand guys at the wrong place at the wrong timegetting snatched up thanks to informants looking for money or scores to settle with their enemies. ASeton Hall study pointed out that only 5 percent of Guantanamo detainees were captured by U.S. forces, while 86 percent were captured by Pakistan or the Northern Alliance and handed to the United States.

Presently, there are 149 men detained in Guantanamo. Of those, 79 are cleared for release, 37 are designated for indefinite detention without charge or trial, 6 currently being tried in military commissions, and 36 who could go to trial. However, Guantanamo chief prosecutor Brig. Gen. Mark Martins told reporters last summer that 20 could be “realistically prosecuted.”

Recently, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Congress that the military intends to release six Guantanamo detainees to Uruguay – four of whom are Syrian, one is Palestinian, and the other is Tunisian. All six have been cleared for release for over four years. This would bring the number of detainees cleared for release down to 73 and total Guantanamo inmate population to 143. Meanwhile, the U.S. government deems the indefinite detainees too difficult to prosecute, as there is little to no admissible evidence against them (some was obtained through torture), but too dangerous to release. According to Martins, these indefinite detainees will remain in Guantanamo “until the end of hostilities” against al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and “associated forces.” Thus making them prisoners of war in an endless war.

In 2012, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), sections of which allow the military to indefinitely detain American citizens on US soil who allegedly “substantially supported al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces.” When Obama stepped into office, he pledged to close the U.S. prison in Guantanamo. But the other half of his plan was less advertised. In order to close Guantanamo, Obama’s original plan was to to move some Guantanamo detainees to an Illinois prison. Moreover, his administration decided, early on, to continue utilizing indefinite detention, much to the chagrin of civil liberties groups. However, Congress, particularly members of the Republican Party, fought against this plan not out of opposition to indefinite detention but because they did not want “terrorists” on American soil. This past May, the Obama administration’s legal team told Congress that if Guantanamo detainees “were relocated to a prison inside the United States, it is unlikely that a court would order their release onto domestic soil,” reported The New York Times.

Despite the fear-mongering of releasing “terrorist” from Guantanamo, according to a New America Foundation study, only 4 percent of released Guantanamo detainees engage in “militant activities against U.S. targets.”

Abuses in Guantanamo, according to a 2006 Center for Constitutional Rights report, include beatings, shackling, solitary confinement, sexual harassment and rape, sleep deprivation, medical abuse, and religious and cultural humiliation. Some Guantanamo detainees were detained in secret CIA prisons before arriving at the U.S. military prison in Cuba. An ICRC report on the treatment of 14 “high value” detainees held in CIA black sites revealed that torture techniques in the secret prisons included sleep and food deprivation, playing of loud music, waterboarding, beatings, stress positions, cold temperatures and water, prolonged shackling, threats, and forced shaving. Around 100 detainees were held in CIA black sites and themajority of them were tortured. More

 

 

 

 

Did US intelligence tie Israel to 9/11?

Jonathan Cook

29 AUGUST 2014 Good to have Justin Raimondo at Anti-war.com set out the hugely suppressed but growing indicators that Israeli intelligence knew of the 9/11 attacks but failed to alert the Americans (while the Saudis were probably more directly involved in the attacks).

The definitive evidence is likely to be found in the censored 28 pages of the joint report of the intelligence committees of the two houses of Congress, as Raimondo highlights.

As to the Israeli interests at work in allowing 9/11 to take place, Raimondo misses revealing comments made by the two most senior Israeli intelligence officials at the time, statements I noted in my book “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations” (p. 103):

Israel’s National Security Adviser, General Uzi Dayan, and the head of the Mossad, Ephraim Halevy … reportedly told that year’s Herzliya conference [in 2001] that the 9/11 attacks were a ‘Hanukkah miracle’, offering Israel the chance to sideline and punish its enemies. Halevy spoke of the imminent arrival of ‘a world war different from all its predecessors’ and the emergence after 9/11 of a common perception combining ‘all the elements of Islamic terror into one clear and identifi able format’, creating ‘a genuine dilemma for every ruler and every state in our region. Each one must reach a moment of truth and decide how he will position himself in the campaign.’

Dayan, meanwhile, identified the targets, after Afghanistan, for the next stage of the regional campaign: ‘The Iran, Iraq and Syria triangle, all veteran supporters of terror which are developing weapons of mass destruction.’ He argued: ‘They must be confronted as soon as possible, and that is also understood in the US. Hezbollah and Syria have good reason to worry about the developments in this campaign, and that’s also true for the organizations and other states.’

Sounds like a rather accurate prediction of how things turned out, no?

The Haaretz article on 18 Dec 2001 that quoted the pair, written by Aluf Benn, now the paper’s editor-in-chief, was originally titled “For Israel, September 11 was a Hanukkah miracle”. The version on Haaretz that can now be found has excised all references to “Hanukkah” and “miracles”, and is under the much blander – and misleading – headline “Israel strives to import America’s war on terror“.

More likely, as I explain in my book, Israel tried to export to Washington, care of the neocons, its own “war on terror” – and its long-term designs for breaking up the Middle East into feuding sects and tribes. More

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2014/08/28/did-certain-foreign-governments-facilitate-the-911-attacks/

 

 

 

 

USA-Israel vs. Arab-Muslim Worlds: What Happens? – by Johan Galtung

25 Aug 2014

Nothing good. But let us have a look at it in the standard peace studies way: Diagnosis-analyzing, Prognosis- forecasting, and Therapy–remedies, even solutions.

Johan Galtung

“Israel-Palestine” is the discourse Tel Aviv-Washington prefers. They have all the strong cards: overwhelming military power, political veto in the United Nations Security Council, the economic upper hand in interlocking economies–not just oil cash from Saudi Arabia-Qatar–and the idea of working for a solution with Washington as “mediator”–only USA can bring the two together, gently or roughly–toward a sustainable peace.

It is needed a great distance from reality to believe in that spin. USA and Israel are interlocked by a much deeper tie: they came into being in the same way; flagging a divine mandate for a land without a people for a people without a land. Goes one goes the other.

Palestine is also part of something much bigger than itself: the Arab people with its tortured history of 500 years of colonialism and imperialism, and the religion of Islam. Two nationalisms, carried by Fatah and Hamas in Palestine, both potentially giving rise to a much bigger state, Arabia (not only Saudi), and to a region, the Islamic Umma, beyond an organization of the Islamic Community (of states).

USA is co-responsible for the current Israeli genocide in Gaza and seen as such by most of the world. Hate one hate the other.

Israeli expansion implies conflict with neighbors and their neighbors into the Arab-Muslim worlds. Your problems are my problems say the USA. So far. But one layer deeper is the US hyphenation of Judaism and Christianity to Judaeo-Christianity, leaving out the third Abrahamic religion. The stark reality is three religions hating and killing each other through millennia–but the hyphen, like in Israel-USA, calls for an alliance of 2 against 1. A political program.

Add to this the three imperialisms suffered by the Arab nation. Four centuries Ottoman Empire; four decades English-French imperialism from Sykes-Picot to Nasser; US-Israeli imperialism to make the Middle East region safe for Israel and democracy. However, democracy is rule by the consent of the ruled, not colonialism-imperialism by the consent–so far–of the demos in the rulers, USA and Israel.

The collisions are massive, involving ever more of the huge Muslim part of the world beyond the Arab part. How will this evolve?

More fear, more hatred; more terrorism, more state terrorism. USA-Israel will probably keep the military superiority for some time. But much else is happening. Both are heading downhill in the sense of losing the support they had. USA is losing its world hegemony–even within NATO where Germany de facto is siding more with Russia than with the USA over Ukraine–and Israel by its fall from the moral high grounds into the immoral abyss even among the many deeply touched by the shoa. Israel aggravates its own situation by gluing the etiquette “anti-Semitic” to its increasingly numerous and powerful critics.

But where are the Arab and Muslim worlds heading? Not downhill.

The Ottoman Empire was a relatively benign Sunni “family of nations” with a caliphate also centered in Istanbul. No effort to recreate an Arabia ruled by Turkey is acceptable to the Arab nation. But also unacceptable is Sykes-Picot Western colonialism with four colonies or “mandates”; Iraq-Palestine, Syria-Lebanon. Blindness, ignorance or stupidity is needed to be surprised at the Islamic State (IS). Sykes-Picot could not stand, but the US invasion from 2003 reified those artificial creations, one of them in the meantime divided by the UK into Israel-rump Palestine-Jordan. IS was highly predictable: extremist brutality bred by oppression, and a vision: An ottoman empire with a caliphate without a special role for Turkey.

Without Sykes-Picot no Balfour, without Balfour no Israel. The Ottoman Empire had no Israel. A problem of USA-Israel’s own making.

Patrick Cockburn in the London Review of Books 21 Aug 2014 points to a third of Syria and a quarter of Iraq, with a population beyond Denmark, quickly conquered, heading for Baghdad and Damascus–the capitals of two major Islamic dynasties. Assad may fall, so may al-Maliki’s successor(s). Al Qaeda will join IS. Their problem is Iran and the Kurds, possibly with US-engineered wars that may unravel as such. We will soon see. Imagine IS conquering Baghdad, what happens to the megalomaniac US embassy? IS uses Saddam Hussein assets like the Tikrit clan and his military. But Saddam reified Sykes-Picot as Iraq’s ruler installed by the USA till he turned against them in 1988 in the Arab-Persian Gulf.

Anyhow, stop the present IS and a new will emerge out of the same Arab nation holism and dialectic; much stronger forces in the longer run than USA-Israel on a downhill slope with the USA possibly heading for racist fascism at home and abroad. But how about Islam?

Two major factors in its favor. The counter-cyclical pendulum between Christian and Islamic dominance–up for one means down for the other being so similar–is moving from the Christian-secular toward the Islamic pole. One factor is Islam’s message of togetherness and sharing, very attractive to the victims of egocentrism, greed and inequality in the Western world. Add to that something similar to the IS factor: the long term move toward an Islamic umma, not a state system ruled by kings-emirs-sultans, even against theshahada.

And who created so much of that state system? The West, through its colonialism. What we witness today is not only IS but all over Muslim youth trying to be the umma, uniting across even colonial borders, between Iraq and Syria–like the Tutsi bridge between anglophone, francophone and afrophone Africa. Be the future you want.

Solutions beyond USA-Israel going down and the Arab-Muslim worlds up? Yes: dialogue, searching together for how all four could become masters in their own house and only that. The challenge of the century.

__________________________________

Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He is author of over 150 books on peace and related issues, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TRANSCEND Media Service-TMS, is included. Thank you.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 25 August 2014.

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