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May 08, 2007

"Peace & Justice" Doesn't Do Justice to the Truth

Seems the reps from the Peninsula (Greater-San Fran, CA) "Peace and Justice" Center (PPJC) have very little actual knowledge of the issues they feel so righteous about! A just person might consider checking his facts before he unfairly smears an entire country, but the error-filled discussion by PPJC activists that appeared on the local public access cable station includes mischaracterizations of UN resolutions and wild overstatements of the amount of land in Palestine owned by Arabs in 1948. They describe Hamas and Hezbollah leaders as "reasonable" and acting in "self defense", even though Haniyeh calls for the destruction of Israel and Nasrallah calls for "death to America" and the murder of Jews all over the world. And in their discussion of the causes of last summer's Hezbollah/Israel war, they make no mention of Hezbollah's Katyusha attacks on Israeli towns (wounding 5 Israeli civilians) that took place as a diversionary tactic during Hezbollah's abduction of two Israeli soldiers by another Hezbollah unit.

Here is a transcript (provided by Sheree Roth) of a portion of the PPJC discussion, along with my analysis in brackets. I include this analysis on our blog because there have been letters published this month (May 2007) in the Palo Alto Weekly that refer to what was said in this particular program by PPJC activists regarding Hezbollah. It's important for the public to know that the PPJC is not a source for reliable, factual or fair information.

Peninsula Peace and Justice Center taping

Other Voices

Lebanon and Gaza under Siege

August 1, 2006

9:20

Khalil Barhoum:

The iron fist policy of Israel over the past 2-3 decades in Lebanon has produced Hezbollah…. They are radicalizing the whole region over and over.

15:14

KB:

In terms of Israel insisting that they’re there (Lebanon) to help implement Resolution 1559, the hugest irony is that this comes from a country that has 10’s of Security Council resolutions against it that are waiting to be implemented.

[ All of the UN resolutions concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict fall under Chapter Six, and are therefore non-binding. Only Chapter Seven resolutions are binding. Even though they are non-binding, Israel has complied with resolution 1559 and 1701, while Lebanon has not. Lebanon has failed to assert its authority in southern Lebanon and has not disarmed Hezbollah. And Hezbollah obviously has not unconditionally released Israel's abducted soldiers.]

15:35

Paul George:

They’re the all time record holder in violating U.N. resolutions. We’re well aware of that.

[ They have not violated any resolutions, since they have all been non-binding. Nevertheless, Israel complies with any agreements it enters into. However, under the legal principle of estoppel, if there is an agreement between party I and P, and party P fails to comply materially with the agreement, then party I is no longer bound to fulfill its part of the bargain. ]

15:57

KB:

Another irony is that you have Hezbollah which is ingrained in Lebanese society. So what is it that the Israelis wish to do?... They represent 30-40% of Lebanon.


17:06

Rachelle Marshall:

Hassan Nasrallah spoke with Noam Chomsky recently. He’s not a radical.

Khalil Barhoum:

He’s not a lunatic

RM:

He’s not an Osama bin Laden. He’s a reasonable person. The same is true of Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister. He said whatever Hamas has pledged to destroy Israel, it’s not written in the Koran, he said. I think Nasrallah would go along with that. That’s a very significant statement.

[ Haniyeh has called for the destruction of Israel repeatedly. That's reasonable? Nasrallah has called for death to America and to all the Jews of the world repeatedly. And he frequently quotes a passage from the Hadith about judgement day not coming until even the rock cries out when a Jew is hiding behind it, "A Jew is hiding behind me. Come kill him!"

And just because Rachelle Marshall "thinks Nasrallah would go along with that," means absolutely nothing. Her belief that Nasrallah supposedly won't destroy Israel because "it's not in the Koran," is not supported by any facts, and it is in fact contradicted by Nasrallah's own words (that he does indeed want to destroy Israel) .]

28:40

KB:

Let’s assume that Hezbollah actually crossed the armistice line and captured these (Israeli) soldiers. Considering that Hezbollah is in a state of war with Israel still; considering that this is a legitimate military operation; you don’t have to be pro-Hezbollah to recognize that reality on the ground. You have to wonder about the reaction of the Israelis… It’s more like an eye for an eyelash. You have 2 Israeli soldiers who have been captured in combat.



[ They conveniently forget that Hezbollah launched rockets into Israeli communities, not just at military positions, during the attack on the soldiers. 5 Israeli civilians were wounded and Israelis in the north had to hide in bomb shelters, disrupting the lives of the entire north of Israel. If terrorists in Mexico sent Katyusha bombs into Texas and wounded 5 Texans, and the government of Mexico did nothing to arrest or stop the terrorists, I think the U.S. would take similar action as Israel to take care of the terrorists themselves.

Note also that PPJC forgets that Hezbollah didn't just abduct 2 soldiers in the initial attack on the patrol; they also killed 3 Israeli soldiers, on Israeli territory, in the illegal cross border raid. ]

I mean they were fighting too and you have a country who believes that the lives of 2 Israelis is worth what is happening now…. And they still haven’t had enough of Lebanese flesh. They want another pound and another pound… The question is not really whether they crossed the border or did not cross the border. The question here is whether this plan was just hatched overnight or as Rachelle pointed out it was on the shelf waiting to be implemented.

[ Countries under theat typically have plans "on the shelf" to cover probable eventualities. Since Hezbollah abducted and killed soldiers before in a cross-border raid, Israel would have been remiss not to plan for the next similar attack. ]

37:22

PG:

There’s also the point that these Hezbollah rockets cannot be fired from apartment buildings. Just plain and simple.

[ Absurd. The ignorance (or willful blindness) that this statement demonstrates is extremely revealing. A rocket can be launched from any location as long as the rocket has the ability to get into the air unobstructed. No problem from beside an apartment building or from the roof of an apartment building. (Be sure to check out the links in the report mentioned below. It shows numerous examples of apartment buildings being used to store weapons, and it also documents many examples of Hezbollah firing from apartment roofs or from beside the building.

There is also documentation that Hezbollah built a whole series of sealed additions to civilian homes, to store rocket launchers in. Residents were paid money to have this addition that they couldn't even enter. During wartime, the plan was for Hezbollah fighters to break through one of the walls of each room addition to get to the rocket launcher. They would either drag it outside to launch rockets into Israel, or they would destroy part of the addition's roof to enable the rocket to be fired unobstructed from inside the room.

This would draw Israel's fire into Lebanese civilian areas, gaining Hezbollah PR points and making Israel look bad. Or, if Israel did not return fire because of fear of harming civilians, it would provide cover for the launchers to continue to fire into Israel. This is why Israel called upon the civilians to leave the area, because they knew they needed to take these rocket launchers out and they didn't want to harm the civilians.

In the report below, you can see numerous photos of launchers being fired from civilian areas.

http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/human_shields.htm ]

40:37

KB:

The minute on June 25 an Israeli soldier was captured, again in a military operation; all hell broke loose (in Gaza).

45:44

PG:

About congress. There’s just not the political will there yet. It’s up to you to give congress that political will. All of you in the studio have a flier on your seat. It’s about the newspaper ad campaign that we’re doing…. That has the congressional switchboard numbers on it. Put it next to your phone. Don’t call once, call every morning. Get up and call every morning. That’s what we’ve been doing in my house. Every morning – the White House or Congress and tell them you want an immediate cease fire. You’re tired of this. That’s what you have to do. You have to act on this information.

47:00

Audience member:

I’m outraged on who is calling who a terrorist. I think we need to take our language back. Hezbollah and Hamas definitely have the right to be armed.

[Actually they don't. Under agreements signed by the Palestinian Authority, only PA forces are supposed to be armed. Militant groups were supposed to be disarmed. And UN resolutions 1559 and 1701 call for Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah. Hezbollah is acting like a state within a state with its own foreign policy and that is in direct contradiction to Lebanon's sovereignty. ]

A great number of Israeli citizens all around the country are armed. And many of these racist, Zionist Jews go around and shoot and kill Palestinian citizens and are never held accountable for it.

[ Israelis are armed because so many are in the army. So many are in the army because they have been constantly attacked and terrorized by the Muslim supremacists who refuse to live in peace with their Jewish neighbors. And Israeli citizens or soldiers do not go around randomly killing Palestinians. There's absolutely no proof of this at all. This allegation is just more example of inflammatory propaganda that PPJC and their gullible fellow travelers have never bothered to fact-check before repeating. ]

Hezbollah and Hamas definitely have the right to self defend…

[ Hezbollah crossed the border to attack Israeli soldiers who were on a routine patrol guarding the border. Hezbollah sent rockets into Israeli communities without provocation. That is not self defense.

Similarly, Hamas abducting Gilad Shalit in a cross border raid is not self defense. Sending rockets into Israel on an almost daily basis is not self defense. And sending suicide bombers into Israel is not self defense. ]

52:50

RM:

You can’t have a new Middle East without dealing with old grievances and Palestinians want their own land. All they’re asking – Hamas even – is 22% of original Palestine; the West Bank; Gaza; control of their own borders; control of their own water and control of the sea coast in Gaza and Israel is refusing to give it.

[ They are confusing Israel with Jordan. It is Jordan that has 78% of the original Palestine. So Israel and the Palestinians are sharing the remaining 22%. Israel has offered numerous times to share the land, but it is the Arabs who have refused any reasonable agreement. The Palestinians could have had their own state created at the same time as Israel was created. They could have been prospering and living in peace. There wouldn't have been a single Palestinian refugee if the Arabs had just opted for peace instead of violence and terror. But they did not. And that's not Israel's fault. How many more people will have to senselessly die before the Arabs finally accept a reasonable and just two state solution? ]
53:52

KB:

(In answer to the 1 pro-Israel questioner) I have to say if the Israel government’s intentions were half as benign as you describe them I bet you that the problem would have been solved between the Palestinians and Israelis a long time ago…. I have yet to see the Israeli people pressure their ‘democratically elected’ government to in fact proclaim once and for all that they are willing to give the occupied territories – that is the whole occupied territories – not what they choose to give as charity or from their good heart but in implementation of UN Security Council resolutions which is the 22% of what’s left of Palestine…. The reality is not one Israeli government has ever come out on record to say that if the Palestinians recognize Israel. If ABC… we will give up all the occupied territories. Not we will negotiate but we will actually implement UN Security Council resolutions and give up the West Bank completely. And that would be the 22% of original Palestine. From the Palestinian vantage point – they gave up 78% of their land to begin with in ’48.

[ Again his figures are way off. And he forgets that in 1967, after the 6 day war, Israel did indeed offer to give back the entire West Bank and Gaza for a genuine peace agreement. The Arab League responded with their "3 no's" - no recognition (of Israel), no negotiations and no peace. It is the Arabs who have always rejected any agreement. See here for Over 100 Years of Arab Rejectionism" http://www.mythsandfacts.com/Conflict/6/Rejectionism.htm#A2 And he continues to misrepresent what UN Resolution 242 says. As the diplomats who wrote the resolution have repeatedly stated, the resolution did NOT call for Israel to withdraw from ALL the territories, since the ceasefire line was arbitrary and not conducive to a secure and lasting peace. ]

In ’47 the Partition Plan Resolution 181 from the General Assembly called for the partition of Palestine. At the time, the Palestinians had the majority of the land – 92%

[This is utter nonsense. Hardly any of the land in Palestine was privately owned by Jews or Arabs. Arabs owned no more than 15% of the land. The Jews owned about 8.5%. The rest of the land was government owned land. That government land was proposed to be split between the proposed Jewish State and the Arab State in the 1947 UN Partition Plan. Keep in mind that the majority of the land is desert, so on that basis alone it is just silly to believe that the Palestinian Arabs had purchased land in the desert. Of course after the 1948 war in which the Arabs attempted to destroy the newly reborn Jewish state, Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip and Jordan occupied the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. ]

and yet the United Nations against the will of a member nation, people said no, we’re going to partition it. Give 56% of the land to 1/3 of the population which was recent immigrants against the will of the majority who are the European Jews. So, they got the 56% and then they defeated the vaunted Arab armies in ’47-’48 and finished off the Palestinians and got 22% more. That’s how they ended up with 78% of Palestine and that is Palestine until 1967


[ The Arabs started the war, and aggressors who lose, traditionally lose land as a consequence, to deter them from going to war again. But at any rate, in 1948, it's not Israel that gained the West Bank or Gaza. Jordan took over the West Bank and Egypt took over Gaza ]

57:02

KB:

So the Palestinians in ’67 lost the ’67 war. Whatever is left of Palestine, all of Palestine, came under Israeli control. So, anytime you hear about negotiations and compromise – the Palestinians are asking not for Haifa and Jaffa and Tel- Aviv. They are asking for the implementation of Resolutions 242 and 338 which call for the return of the West Bank and Gaza, which is the 22% of the land…

[ Simply not true. Hamas is asking for ALL of the land. They refuse to compromise. They still are committed to the destruction of Israel. And Hamas is the democratically elected dominant part of the Palestinian Authority government. Furthermore, the UN resolutions do not call for Israel to withdraw from ALL of the territory gained in the war. And using the word "return" rather than "withdraw from" is also inaccurate, since the Palestinians were never the sovereign rulers of Gaza or the West Bank. Before Israel, the last legal sovereign rulers of Gaza and the West Bank were the British Mandate (1921 - 1948) and before that, for 400 years, the Turkish Ottoman Empire (1517-1917). The Ottomans were not Arabs, although they were Muslim.

See CAMERA's website for details about the actual meaning of UN Resolution 242. www.camera.org . Put 242 into the search engine there. ]

Posted by LG at May 8, 2007 10:55 AM

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