Thursday, July 31, 2014

Letter to my MP about the Gaza crisis and the new funding going to Hamas

(As on previous occasions I am not naming the MP)

Dear XXX

I am sorry to have to write to you again about my concerns with respect to the way politicians (across the board, but especially in the Labour party)  and the media are dealing with Israel's conflict with Hamas.

The media coverage almost universally amounts to a campaign of propaganda and lies on behalf of the terrorist organisation Hamas who have been allowed to dictate the news agenda. There has been no attempt to consider the Israeli perspective. if you want to get a feel for how this coverage is effecting British Jews please see this:

http://edgar1981.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/being-jew-in-uk-how-medias-false.html

(the article provides important links at the end to the critical information that the main stream media is simply covering up because it does not fit their 'Israel aggressor/Gaza victim' narrative).

and here is a report of what happened to my friend in Oxford Street as a result of the antisemitic hatred generated:

http://edgar1981.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/today-in-london-my-best-friends-wife.html

I would also like you to read and distribute to your colleagues the following brief first hand report from an Israeli soldier about what he found in one of the Hamas tunnels in Gaza (note: you will not see this type of report in any of the main stream media - perhaps you can answer why?):
"We went into Shuja’iya, to discover and destroy the Hamas’ terrorist tunnels. We discovered there an entire underground city, with multi-shaft, wide tunnels, with Wi-Fi & air-conditioning systems, concrete walls, and stocked to the ceiling with weapons and explosives. Some of the tunnels are so wide, that they can ride back and forwards on Vespa-type scooters. And then came the worst! The Hamas “fighters” started sending towards us 13- and 14-year-old Palestinian children, running at us, wearing explosive-laden suicide-bomber belts!! Those children were death-trapped, and became human bombs, by the community’s adults!! We were trained to fight adult soldiers or any other skilled adults, enabling us to defend our families and countrymen. But this?? We had no other option but, in self-defense, to shoot them at as far a range from us as we could, before the “responsible adult” that sent them used his mobile phone to detonate the belts, and kill us.” One of the Israel injured soldiers ended up by saying, “I do not know if I’ll ever be able to sleep again; the pictures of those poor children, killed by my gun, will probably never leave me!”
In the light of the evidence I am astonished to hear today that the Government is rewarding "Gaza" with yet more millions of pounds of British cash. If that money stood a chance of going to the genuinely needy civilians of Gaza then I would not have a problem. But every penny that goes to Gaza from charities or in aid goes either to Hamas directly or through UNWRA which is 100% staffed by Hamas people or people approved by Hamas. That is why they were able to build one of the world's the most sophisticated network of tunnels under the whole of Gaza (some of which
lead two kilometres into Israel) for the sole objective of murdering Israeli civilians. Just the tunnels that are known of so far are estimated to have cost over $1billion. All that was funded by aid money and much of the concrete was actually provided by Israel after the "International Community" forced Israel to do so 'to help build the civilian infrastructure".

Israel did not start the war, yet Israel is bearing a terrible cost in addition to the loss of many young conscript soldiers - just our of school - who have been sacrificed to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties. Israel is suffering one of the most sustained and comprehensive rocket attacks against one country's civilian population in world history (Hamas has been firing around 150-200 each day now for over 3 weeks against all Israel's cities).  Over 80% of Israel's population has been living in or near to shelters. This includes 2 million children. Everybody seems to care for the children of Gaza but nobody cares for the children of Israel. Apparently the world is angry that Israel does everything possible (through the Iron Dome system and the use of shelters) to minimize civilian casualties because everybody repeats the mantra that "only 3 Israeli civilians have died so far". In fact, all normal economic and social life has come to a halt in Israel and tens of thousands of businesses have gone-  or are about to go - bust. Yet nobody ever considered aid to Israel.

Yours

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Edgar,

Your report from an IDF soldier is truly shocking. Would you be able to provide the citation? If so, you could then send it to the papers and get it published as this seems an important incident to have covered in the press.

I don't believe there is much doubt that Hamas have murderous intentions, but I think what you see as an imbalance in reporting is due to a dramatic asymmetry in capability, reflected in the casualty numbers.

I am sure for both of us the primary concern is that civilians are not killed in this conflict, whoever they are. As you know, Israel is very well equipped and fortunately has an Iron Shield, and many other means to defend Israeli citizens, whereas people in Gaza, particularly civilians, but also charity workers, UN, and NGO workers, are in a place that has no control over its borders and no army or other means of defense against sustained aerial and ground attack. Presumably it is for this reason that such a murderous and extreme organisation as Hamas receive much popular support within Gaza, something that is otherwise difficult to comprehend. Similarly, some find it difficult to comprehend the enthusiastic Israeli support for the current bombings and invasion, given the casualties, but if one understands how threatened people in Israel feel perhaps the mindset is more understandable.

Whilst the Israeli government insists it is trying to minimise civilian casualties there is compelling evidence the IDF have used flechette shells (h. sherwood, guardian, 20 July) which spray out darts indiscriminately in a 300 x 90m conical arch, which cannot be used in a built-up area without being anticipated to kill civilians. The UN has deemed the bombing of its UNRWA refuges as violations of international law and stated that the latest attack on a school housing thousands of refugees was carried out despite 17 notifications to Israel of its coordinates and status.

I don't agree, as your Martin Luther King Jr quote suggests, that criticism of Israel always amounts to anti-semitism. I don't think any state, let alone a democracy, should be considered immune from criticism. Israel does receive huge military assistance from the US and to a lesser extent the UK so is less isolated than you seem to feel.

I sincerely hope all parties will be welcomed into a peace process, regardless how they feel about each other, and that dialogue and mutual concessions can replace the need for violence as a means of communication for the sake of the majority on all sides whose lives are effected by the ongoing conflict.

Best wishes

Oliver

Edgar Davidson said...

Oliver

The citation regarding the soldier is here:

http://israelwatcherasecondopinion.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/when-some-of-wounded-idf-soldiers-open.html

I have sent it to some media outlets. What's the betting it is never published in the UK main stream media?

Regarding the Guardian's "compelling evidence" about the use of flechette shells and the fact they "cannot be used in a built-up area without being anticipated to kill civilians". First of all, there is no reason to trust a Guardian journalist who is under Hamas's control (see e,g, http://elderofziyon.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/spanish-journalist-off-record-explains.html) and secondly if terrorists are firing from that "built-up" area then the 'laws' you mentioned do not apply.

Regarding your statement:

"..people in Gaza, particularly civilians, but also charity workers, UN, and NGO workers, are in a place that has no control over its borders and no army or other means of defense against sustained aerial and ground attack. Presumably it is for this reason that such a murderous and extreme organisation as Hamas receive much popular support within Gaza"

That is completely ludicrous and exposes a woeful lack of understanding of very recent history. When Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in 2005 the people had the opportunity and resources to build a flourishing society. Israel was prepared and willing to provide amazing help had they chosen to live in peace. Instead, the people of Gaza voted overwhelmingly (68%) for Hamas in knowing exactly what this meant. Hamas has never stopped firing rockets and Israel has never stopped proving that it has no agenda in Gaza other than to stop the attacks. Why can't clearly intelligent people like you understand that? The so-called 'siege' is nothing more than an attempt to stop the weapons flow into Gaza. Israel has always allowed all non-lethal stuff in and has made it clear there would be no embargo at all if the Gazans renounced their intent to destroy Israel. What do you suggest Israel does in the absence of such a declaration?

Anonymous said...

Dear Edgar,

Thank you very much for your response. I had a look at the link you offered regarding the use of Child soldiers. That is very worrying. I know Hamas have been documented and criticised by human rights groups in the past for recruiting child soldiers but cannot find anything else on this in regards to the current conflict. I notice the report you refer to was on Israeli radio. I cannot read Hebrew but there is nothing on it in the Israeli press I have access to. Perhaps if you can find an example in the Israeli press you would have more luck having it reported here. I could understand that a blog-posting repeating something heard on a radio talk show is insufficient information for an article in press. The use of Child soldiers is a very serious issue and any suggestion of it is worth knowing about so thank you for sending me to that page.

In regards to the attack on the UNWRA refuge in a school - one of 6 such attacks - you suggested that if terrorists were using the area to launch rockets then International Law did not apply. I should say, International Humanitarian Law always applies, but I presume you mean that the attack was not in violation. Under IH Law, the use of force is in violation if the military objective knowingly results in civilian casualties, destruction of civil facilities, and the environment, that are disproportionate in relation to the direct and concrete military advantage that can be anticipated. Israel were made aware on 17 occasions of the exact coordinate location and purpose of the facility, with over 3,000 refugees from the conflict inside, predominantly women and children, and Israel hit the site 5 times. The rocket attacks Israel says it was targeting are very militarily ineffective such that, of the two and a half to three thousand fired, there have been three fatalities within Israel. The UN itself has deemed this a violation of international law. Even the US, who are usually unwavering in their support and advocacy of Israel, including billions of dollars of military aid, and often being alone in voting against UN resolutions concerning Israel, has described the attack as ‘totally indefensible’. If we are concerned to minimise civilian casualties on both sides, an attack on a building in which thousands of refugees are sleeping, having nowhere else to escape to, is not justified.

[Continued in subsequent post due to word limit]

Anonymous said...

[Continued from previous post due to word limit]

...

I don’t have much time to write more just now, and you raise some other very big issues, particularly historically. I was actually thinking of the 2006 elections in my comments on the support for Hamas within Gaza. I will share what I think when I have more time as it’s a complicated issue.

You suggest that Harriet Sherwood, a Guardian journalist, is ‘under Hamas’ control’, on the basis that a different journalist may have been intimidated about directly filming Hamas militants firing rockets. It seems very plausible that a journalist might avoid going too close to Hamas or directly filming them firing rockets. I don’t see that this equates to the nullity of Sherwood’s claim about flechette shells. The reports and photos provided seem credible and, though as yet unconfirmed, Human Rights Watch have documented the Israeli use of white phosphorus in past conflicts, so it is not out of keeping with military strategy. I expect we could write to her and ask her if she reported the claims under Hamas duress; I think it is wildly improbable but I will ask her what she thinks of the idea if you like. I am concerned that you may be using an article, whose citation is a facebook post, which makes a very modest claim that wouldn't affect journalistic impartiality, in order to dismiss all journalism critical of Israel, which, with respect, doesn’t seem a rational way to pursue information about what is going on.

I write this hoping all the best for civilians on both sides overnight and that there will be less violence to be reported on the news tomorrow morning, but given the actions of both sides at present, there is unfortunately little reason for optimism.

Thank you again for your reply and for sharing your perspective with me.

Best wishes

Oliver

Edgar Davidson said...

Oliver

I have come to the conclusion that everything the UN/UNWRA says or does in Gaza is to further the interests of Hamas. As explained very well in these two articles:

http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/dgreenfield/reminder-most-gaza-unrwa-staff-are-hamas-supporters/

http://abuyehuda.com/2014/07/kill-the-cancerous-un/

UNWRA actually IS Hamas. They are willingly storing rockets in their hospitals and allowing them to be fired from inside or nearby. Like Hamas they are delighted to exploit civilian casualties that result when Israel is eventually forced to respond.

Human Rights Watch have a strong anti-Israel agenda that is well documented. They employ known anti-semites and anti-Zionist explicitly to report on Israel (which they are disproportionately obsessed with. Check out
http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/human_rights_watch_hrw_

and they were completely wrong about their claim of illegal use of phospherous. See
http://honestreporting.com/media-war-crimes-2/

EVERY journalist in Gaza sees only what Hamas wants them to see and most of those there already had decided on the narrative they were going to tell anyway.

As for 'even the US' criticising Israel, perhaps you have not noticed that Obama and Kerry have been trying to force Israel to surrender on Hamas' terms. Read this article and tell me why you feel any of it is not true?

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/obamas-gaza-game.html

Also what a hypocrite Obama is:

http://edgar1981.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/obama-double-standards.html

Edgar Davidson said...

Oliver

I forgot to mention - you should check out the latest first hand account from the Gaza tunnels:

http://edgar1981.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/an-insight-into-what-is-really-going-on.html

I actually know the source here (you can call it a scoop) but he needs to remain anonymous and I have actually had to censor/anonymise some of it.

Edgar Davidson said...

Oliver

It turns out that your 'reliable source' at the Guardian - Harriet Sherwood has plenty of history when it comes to making up lies against Israel. Here is just one example:

http://cifwatch.com/2013/05/19/harriet-sherwood-and-the-myth-of-olive-oil-shortages-in-gaza/

So there is nothing left of your original points....

Anonymous said...

I stumbled on this by accident, and your one sided opinions have motivated me to write a more balanced letter to my MP.

Hamas firing rockets at the Israeli civilian population is a clear war crime, but I believe that the collective punishment that Israel is responding with is outrageous.

I think the 'human shield' argument is largely propaganda to justify the killing of civilians. Do we expect them to march in columns across fields like in battles from the 1800's?

In my opinion Hamas needs to be defeated, not by the cruel brutality and devastating military force against all in Gaza, but by tackling the underlying and historical wrongs committed against the Palestine people.

Talking about media propaganda, I believe in Israeli media there is little mention of Palestinian casualties. The most recent shelling of the UN school didn't make the front page of any daily newspapers.

There is no need for propaganda by the British media, a picture of a residential area raised to rumble tells the story. "We thought militants fired from that area" just doesn't cut it as a justification for the picture we can all clearly see.

James

Anonymous said...

Dear Edgar,

I do not wish to obscure James’s post above, which I hope you will respond to. It will take me a long time to respond to all of your claims. Here is a response to some.

Human Rights Watch’s work involves publicising evidence of both state and non-state perpetrations of human rights abuses and, prior to considering their work, it is relevant to consider that it is to be expected that this will attract bitter ad hominem attacks from many different places, and does. It is part and parcel of their work that it is available to public scrutiny to be judged on its own merit. HRW are, for example, one of the main sources of credible, rigorous documentation and evidence of human rights abuses by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, as well as on other Middle Eastern governments. In response to attacks by pro-Israeli pressure groups they point out that their work on other Middle eastern governments is actually more extensive than that on Israel. Do you consider their work on human rights abuses by Hamas and Hezbollah to lack credibility also, or do you only oppose their work concerning Israel?

My original post was in regard to Israel’s bombing of a building known by Israel to be housing thousands of refugees. Your response to this was the allegation that ‘UNRWA are Hamas’. The links one follows to substantiate this claim amount to the fact that the majority of UNWRA employees are Palestinian, and separately, that rockets have been fired from near UN facilities. (Neither article has any citations, so I have disregarded other claims that I had no way of verifying). The suggestion that UNRWA employees, because they are Palestinian, ‘are Hamas’, if acted upon is specifically what is proscribed under International Humanitarian Law, that is, the necessity for what’s called ‘distinction’. Moreover, to equate all Palestinans with combatants - that is to say - a whole people on the basis of their ethnicity and religion, is patently racist, and the psychological prelude to very large scale war crimes. I urge you to reconsider such postings. They are very dangerous ideas. UNWRA provide humanitarian services and facilities in an area of serious need. As to the matter of Hamas firing from near UN facilities, this the UN itself has reported and it is non-sequitous to charge UNWRA humanitarian workers as being combatants merely by physical proximity.

Again, perhaps you could write to some UN humanitarian workers and ask what their work involves. I feel it might humanise them for you, and dispel the monolithic conspiracy that underpins your ideas.

It will perhaps be instructive to tie together both our consideration of HRW, and Israel’s claims that its attacks on refugees are justified due to the alleged proximity of combatants, by considering an instance where HRW issued a report detailing multiple war crimes committed against Israeli civilians by Hezbollah in 2006. HRW dismissed Hezbollah’s defence that the killings were justified by the presence of combatants. Hezbollah had claimed that there were military targets in the vicinity where they had killed civilians. HRW concluded this defence was utterly baseless. That report was subsequently met with allegations, analogous to your own, that HRW was biased towards Israel. You might wish to study the attack, and the original report, and make an assessment of HRW work on an issue you already support. http://www.hrw.org/news/2007/10/09/response-hrw-caving-israeli-lobby

Anonymous said...

As regards the suggestion HRW were ‘completely wrong’ about the illegal use of white phosphorus, as always, I looked for the original source that your link based its claims on. This is an associated Press interview with a Red Cross employee who states that Israel have used WP, but that he has no evidence of its use as an incendiary weapon. To dismiss in entirety the possibility that IDF use of WP has ever been illegal on the basis that one observer hadn’t any evidence I think indicates an imbalance in how you are formulating judgements on this issue. As you dispute that Israel have used WP as an incendiary, presumably you feel it would be unethical if they were doing so. Israeli use of WP is just not controversial, as Israeli military officials themselves acknowledged their past use, even in built-up areas, claiming that it will desist from using it for these purposes in future. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/idf-to-stop-using-shells-with-white-phosphorus-in-populated-areas-state-tells-high-court.premium-1.523852 . The US and UK have used WP in Iraq and stated it was used as a smoke screen, the purpose for which Israel say it will now be used. I am not a military strategist, but I have always felt that if one wanted a smoke screen one would use a benign substance, not something that burns people’s skin off. Incidentally, the original article about the Red Cross concludes by reporting apparent WP burns to 10 civilians' bodies and faces.

I had not brought up the blockade, and haven't read the Sherwood article referred to, but the criticisms seem interesting. Again, perhaps you could write to her. The point was that the foodstuffs were now unaffordable is I'm sure true. I'm not knowledgeable about the other matters but I'd be interested to have an overview of the blockade statistics. Most of what I've read regarded fishing.

A tragedy the ceasefire has broken down.

Best wishes

Oliver

Anonymous said...

[This part posted previously, but failed to appear]

Dear Edgar,

I do not wish to obscure James’s post above, which I hope you will respond to. It will take me a long time to respond to all of your claims. Here is a response to some.

Human Rights Watch’s work involves publicising evidence of both state and non-state perpetrations of human rights abuses and, prior to considering their work, it is relevant to consider that it is to be expected that this will attract bitter ad hominem attacks from many different places, and does. It is part and parcel of their work that it is available to public scrutiny to be judged on its own merit. HRW are, for example, one of the main sources of credible, rigorous documentation and evidence of human rights abuses by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, as well as on other Middle Eastern governments. In response to attacks by pro-Israeli pressure groups they point out that their work on other Middle eastern governments is actually more extensive than that on Israel. Do you consider their work on human rights abuses by Hamas and Hezbollah to lack credibility also, or do you only oppose their work concerning Israel?

My original post was in regard to Israel’s bombing of a building known by Israel to be housing thousands of refugees. Your response to this was the allegation that ‘UNRWA are Hamas’. The links one follows to substantiate this claim amount to the fact that the majority of UNWRA employees are Palestinian, and separately, that rockets have been fired from near UN facilities. (Neither article has any citations, but I consider the selected claims uncontroversial, so will respond to them). The suggestion that UNRWA employees, because they are Palestinian, ‘are Hamas’, if acted upon is specifically what is proscribed under International Humanitarian Law, that is, the necessity for what’s called ‘distinction’. Moreover, to equate all Palestinans with combatants - that is to say - a whole people on the basis of their ethnicity and religion, is patently racist, and the psychological prelude to very large scale war crimes. I urge you to reconsider such postings. They are very dangerous ideas. UNWRA provide humanitarian services and facilities in an area of serious need. As to the matter of Hamas firing from near UN facilities, this the UN itself has reported and it is non-sequitous to charge UNWRA humanitarian workers as being combatants merely by physical proximity.

Again, perhaps you could write to some UN humanitarian workers. I feel it might humanise them for you, and dispel the monolithic conspiracy that underpins your ideas.

It will perhaps be instructive to tie together both our consideration of HRW, and Israel’s claims that its attacks on refugees are justified due to the alleged proximity of combatants, by considering an instance where HRW issued a report detailing multiple war crimes committed against Israeli civilians by Hezbollah in 2006. HRW dismissed Hezbollah’s defense that the killings were justified by the presence of combatants. Hezbollah had claimed that there were military targets in the vicinity where they had killed civilians. HRW concluded this defense was utterly baseless. That report was subsequently met with allegations, analogous to your own, that HRW was biased towards Israel.
Perhaps you could study their rebuttal and original report and make an assessment of HRW based on their work on issues you already agree with:
http://www.hrw.org/news/2007/10/09/response-hrw-caving-israeli-lobby

Anonymous said...

In response to the sincere exasperation you expressed in your first reply, as to why I cannot understand that Israel's genuine intent was to create a prosperous Gaza, I submit the following quote about the withdrawal from Dov Weisglass, one of its architects:

"You know, the term `peace process' is a bundle of concepts and commitments. The peace process is the establishment of a Palestinian state with all the security risks that entails. The peace process is the evacuation of settlements, it's the return of refugees, it's the partition of Jerusalem. And all that has now been frozen.... what I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns. That is the significance of what we did."

origin:
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/top-pm-aide-gaza-plan-aims-to-freeze-the-peace-process-1.136686

I sincerely hope for a prosperous state and I am very glad that you do too. I think in this aspiration you will need to be more willing to criticise Israeli government policy and to hope it engages in the political process eschewed in the above quote, rather than maintaining the status quo, force, wherein all violent parties prosper, and wherein Israel overwhelmingly has the upper hand. As Weisglass says, the political process will mean compromise on the matters he mentions.

All the best

O