Will Israel be held accountable for War crimes?

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 20, 2012

The question above is one that always comes to mind whenever a more powerful military force uses its might to destroy livelihoods anywhere in the planet. In the case of the Israeli regime, its despise for live, especially that of Arab people is simply horrendous, and that is why it is just fair to ask. During the latest attacks carried out by the Israeli army, almost 50 percent of innocent victims are children and women.

The sum of civilian deaths in Operation Defensive Pillar continues to rise inexorably. On Monday morning there was a score, and throughout the day another dozen were killed in different parts of the Gaza Strip. The total number of deaths already exceeds one hundred.

“What is happening here is a war crime,” said Salah Abed Alaty, a representative of the Independent Commission for Human Rights in the north of the Gaza Strip. “The international community can not remain indifferent to a massacre like this, especially women and children,” he adds, when suddenly leaps up to feel the rumble and flare caused by a Qassam rocket launched from a hundred yards of the Omar el Moktar Avenue.

Statistics are never the best way to provide an account of the damage and destruction caused by war, but according to the numbers compiled by the Ministry of Health in Gaza, most of the fatalities in the territory are children, women and the elderly. The same three groups are also an important minority among the wounded, which already hit 700. The indiscriminate killing of civilians in Gaza caused the official condemnation by the UNICEF and international NGOs present in the area. Such condemnation has never been heard so publicly in the past, which is why is relevant to ask whether this time, the murder carried out by the Israeli army will be punished.

On  Monday, four members of a family, including two children under four years of age, were killed in an Israeli air strike on a house in the town of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza. “Although a senior officer of the Qassam Brigades Ezadín had been in the building, there was no justification to destroy it,” said Abed Alaty, a lawyer who witnessed the attack. In his opinion, the alleged “extrajudicial execution” of a militia leader of Hamas is not enough to launch several missiles at the  building in which he was assumed to be.

Israel’s Air Force bombed a second time the building in Shuruq, Gaza City, which until Monday harbored Al Aqsa TV, which was linked to Hamas. In the same venue also operated crews from foreign channels such as Sky News and Al Arabiya.

Palestinian sources reported that at least two people died, one Ramiz Harb, leader of Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad. The Israeli military said in a statement that Harb was “responsible for the propaganda” of the militia. At least three other people were injured, including two journalists.

The tower was converted into a column of black smoke, and in dozens of soil and debris from broken glass objects. On Sunday, the tower next to the Al Shawa, which also hosted television producers serving international channels, was hit by an air to land missile. The director of the press office of the Hamas government, Ihab Al Ghusain says that the antennas were used exclusively for television. “The Israelis say masts served as the communications signal of our security forces,” he says. “But that’s silly, because these antennas are in the barracks and police stations, which are also being systematically bombed,” the spokesman stressed.

“We have come to the Beach Hotel,” said Mahmoud Jaber, the CEO of Palestinian Media Productions, the production company that was attacked on Monday for the second time. The new headquarters is a constant bustle of journalists, some are quick to come out with cameras, others stay glued to computer screens and connected to the radio, the most reliable source of information on the Strip.

“We believe that hotels are the safest, as host to foreign journalists and aid workers, so we have temporarily changed to Hotel Beach” concluded Jaber. The crisis is generating great benefits for the many direct connections prompted for foreign television. From the hotel, journalists follow the last-minute attempts in Cairo to reach a ceasefire through Egyptian mediation. The leader of the political wing of Hamas abroad, Khaled Meshal, and other members of the intelligence apparatus of the military require guarantees that Israel’s bombings will be halted.

Palestinians also called for an end to targeted killings against members of their militias and other armed groups in Gaza. The Israelis want to maintain control over the security zone near the border with Israel, which covers between 300 meters and a kilometer, but Hamas leaders have refused to accept such a request.

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United States plays along with Israel, sends warships to Mediterranean

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 20, 2012

Even though it is obvious that Israel’s goal is to use the military intervention in Gaza as a ploy to delay or postpone elections, the United States has decided to play the same game that the Israeli leadership started last week. The U.S. has now sent warships to the Middle East region in case it is necessary to evacuate people before and during an eventual attack from Gaza.

The Pentagon has ordered three of its warships in the Mediterranean to head for Israel in case people need to be evacuated. Those people include U.S. citizens, of course, who would be in danger should an escalation of violence occurred in the next few days. Although such escalation is unlikely to begin from the Palestinian side, Israel is acting as if the rocket launchers posted in Gaza pose a tantamount threat to the security of the country, when it is quite the opposite. Since the exchange of fire began last week, more a 100 Palestinians have died as a result of Israeli bombing on Gaza, and some 600 people were injured. Meanwhile, on the Israeli side, the number of dead did not reach a dozen.

Official U.S. sources said that the need to evacuate U.S. nationals is still “remote” and that the decision to send warships to the region was a “precautionary measure”. “It is better to be prepared if there is a need,” said the source, who insisted that the ships would be used only to help Americans and would have no combat role.

Currently, citizens who want to leave the region still can using commercial airlines, although this action demonstrates the increasing concern about the length that the conflict between Israel and Gaza may have. Egypt has volunteered to work as mediator and called both sides to be careful in the use of force, however, Egypt has already thrown its support behind the Palestinian people and Hamas, the terrorist organization fighting from within Gaza.

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on how to curb the escalating conflict in the Palestinian Gaza Strip, which has caused over a hundred deaths.

Repositioned vessels – the USS Iwo Jima, USS New York and USS Gunston Hall, were located west of the Straits of Gibraltar last week before being ordered by the Pentagon to change the course in the direction to the eastern Mediterranean, where they will remain for now.

Besides Egypt, Turkey and Iran have also spoken openly about their support for the Palestinian people. Both regimes have called Israel the “usual aggressor” and have said they will not stand calm if Israel launches full attacks or invades Gaza. The current conflict between Jews and Arabs began early last week, after Israel murdered one of Hamas’ leaders and threatened to take out all the other heads of the terrorist organization. The Israeli strike came in anticipation of the United Nations vote to allow Palestine to become an observer state in the organization, which the Israeli leadership opposes vehemently.

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Israel attacks Gaza and mercilessly murders innocent Arabs

The Israeli army uses white phosphorus bombs on the Arab population.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 19, 2012

While Israeli warships bombarded Gaza from the sea, other Israeli forces pounded the headquarters of several media outlets in Gaza. In the meantime, from the West, usual supporters of the murderous Israeli leadership, have been warning that more attacks against defenseless Arabs on the Gaza Strip will result in more deterioration of the Jewish cause in the world. Both London and Washington asked the government led by Benjamin Netanyahu to show restraint.

However, the United States has also said that Israel has the right to defend itself from attacks carried out by Islamic terrorists, such as Hamas. This support from Washington has emboldened the Israeli leadership to take its military offensive to another level. The destruction of the Gaza Strip advances at a fast pace, as numerous and more frequent attacks pound the civilian population.

A supposed ceasefire brokered by the Egyptians gave some hope that the attacks against Gaza would stop, but Israel not only did not stop its large-scale attacks, but also enhanced the scope of its military operation called Defensive Pillar. Late last week, Egypt itself said it would stand with the Arabs in this conflict, but has not issued any direct warning about what will the country do if Israel does not stop the murder of Arabs in Gaza.

After Israel lit the match that made the latest round of attacks turn into a blood bath on the Arab side — with children bearing the brunt — by striking and killing a leader of Hamas last week, the terrorist organization initiated attacks that sought to avenge the death of its leader. In the last few hours seven Arab children have been killed by bombs, four of which were members of the same family. They are part of at least 26 Palestinians, many of them civilians, who have died this Sunday during the latest terrorist campaign by the Israeli regime on the population of Gaza.

Meanwhile, Palestinian rockets have again flown over the border separating Israel from the Palestinian territory, in the direction of Tel Aviv. The attacks have gone from being scarce and localized to turning into a shower of rockets that arrive from almost anywhere in the Gaza Strip. The number of people dead or injured in Israel is not even close to the result of the attacks led by the Israeli army, and neither is the destruction.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the Cabinet ministers that he is may unilaterally “expand the operation.” He did not offer many details, but the possibility of a ground invasion is gaining strength as the hours go by. In the afternoon, you could see clouds of soldiers hanging around southern Israel. The military has called some 75,000 army reservists to take part of the operation.

Operation Defensive Pillar also includes the mobilization of  tanks which are being loaded on trucks to be transported to the border. The  sound of sirens when a Palestinian rocket is shot from across the border warned Jewish people it was time to seek shelter, which at times turns the cities located near Gaza into ghost towns. The Palestinian people do not have the luxury to run underground and so more innocent civilians are so exposed to Israeli attacks. Both territories are now war zones.

The  British foreign secretary, William Hague, has warned Israel of the danger of launching a ground invasion in Gaza. Hague said that such action would put Israel in a very uncomfortable position in the eyes of the International community. A ground attack of Gaza would certainly increase the number of civilian casualties. Even U.S. President Barack Obama, who reiterated his support for Israel also considered it “better” if Israel kept its heavy artillery inside its own territory.

News of a possible ground incursion caused the neighbors to the north of the Gaza Strip to flee in terror. The streets of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia, northern territory, offered on Sunday a ghostly image. There was not a soul. It was as if a bomb had fallen. A little further south, on the outskirts of Gaza City, was where the
Israeli air force had destroyed the house of Mohamed Dalu, a suspected member of the Islamist movement Hamas, which rules Gaza and whose leaders are seldom heard of these days. Nine members of Dalu’s family died with him, including four children.

The Israeli armed forces amounted to fifty the number of targets hit on Sunday. These “underground stations and tunnels are used for terrorist purposes”. In
total, at least 72 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed since Wednesday, which shows the disproportionate levels of the Israeli attacks. There are also more than 500 people wounded in Gaza, according to Palestinian hospital sources.

The Israeli chief of staff, Benny Gantz, had ordered the bombing to be intensified on Sunday over the Gaza Strip, amid rumors of a possible imminent ceasefire mediated by Egypt. The facts on the ground contradict — at least temporarily — what has been allegedly said from Cairo. What happened in Gaza on Saturday night and into Sunday was definitely nothing like a truce. The Israeli army attacked by sea and air. The bombings of the F-16 he accompanied the bombing of the Israeli navy, whose ships were just off the Gaza coast. Attacks on Gaza arrived in rounds of three or four shots, which after a few moments were followed by the impact of the bombs over Arab territory.

Israeli  Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said at a news conference that after talks with his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, he made it clear that the first
condition for any ceasefire agreement is the complete cessation of rocket attacks against Israel.

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Israeli bombings over Gaza kill 22 Palestinians

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 16, 2012

The number of Palestinians killed in the Israeli operation Defensive Pillar rose to 22 last night. Eleven of the victims were civilians, which included an eight year old boy.

The last three fatalities occurred in an air raid in the town of Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza, said Ashraf Al Qedra, spokesman of the Ministry of Health, Government of Hamas in Gaza.

The number of people wounded as a result of the attacks surpassed 150. The latest bombing on Beit Hanoun added six more people to the list. Previous air attacks over the Gaza Strip left more innocent victims dead.

Hours before, another Israeli attack had killed three Palestinian civilians, including an eleven year old girl and an eighteen-month-old child who died in the hospital as a result of the wounds he had after a bombing in the southern city of Khan Younis.

Rescue teams also found the body of a 52 year old man who was buried under the rubble of a building previously bombed by Israeli warplanes in the area of ​​Al-Amudi, in northern Gaza.

Five other Palestinians were killed: three militants in an Israeli attack on the town of Khan Yunis and two civilians in the town of Jabalia, in the north.

In Israel, three civilians (two females and one male) died due to the explosion of a rocket sent from Gaza, which landed near their home in Kiryat Malachi. The city is located 30 kilometers from Tel Aviv, whose suburbs have been attacked in 270 different times.

A total of 55 Israeli civilians and soldiers were wounded by shells, “two of them seriously, and three of whose prognosis is not very good,” reported Channel 1.

The new wave of violence began after Israel murdered the leader of an armed wing of Hamas during a cirurgically conducted aerial attack. The leader known as Ahmad Jabari, was the first victim of Israel’s  Operation Defensive Pillar. The Israeli leadership threatened other Hamas leaders afterwards and confirmed it is crafting plans to carry out a full ground invasion and attack over the Gaza Strip.

Since then, the Israeli Air Force attacked 300 targets in Gaza, the military said in a statement. Israel aggressive moves and speech prompted the Egyptian president to condemned the attacks and warn Israel about future aggression over the Palestinians. Mohamed Morsi said that Egypt stands next to Palestine and against any and all aggression coming from Israel. Morsi was elected president of Egypt after the demise of Hosni Mubarak.

The Egyptian Prime Minister, Hisham Qandil, who visited Gaza hours ago, also threw his support behind the Gazan militants saying that the Arab World saying they stand behind Palestine. “This tragedy cannot pass in silence and the world should take responsibility in stopping this aggression,” Qandil said. Israel halted its attacks over Gaza for the time the Prime Minister remained in the Strip, but the attacks continued immediately after the Egyptian delegation left the territory..

Aerial military attacks from Israel have intensified after a rocket launched from Gaza landed near Tel Aviv. Israel conducted over 70 bombings in just an hour against supposed rocket launcher sights in Gaza.

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Mossad in South America

By WAYNE MADSEN | WMR | JUNE 2, 2010

“N”, a correspondent from an Iranian media agency, whom I met in the association of foreign journalists in Caracas, told me that he Israeli Mossadused to work in Buenos Aires for some time. Things were going well, N’s employer was satisfied with the job he did, and he planned to spend a few more years in Argentine, but eventually had to change his plans. After a while “N” noticed that he was under surveillance and that his mail regularly got stolen. Uninvited guests started to frequent his office. He talked to the local police and counterintelligence service, but both replied they had nothing to do with the problem. They did mention to “N” cautiously that he was in the sphere of interests of «the Zionists». He told me: «The people in my agency in Tehran knew that Iranian citizens often encounter such problems and concluded that the Mossad was planning a provocation against me. This is why I relocated to Venezuela. It is a country friendly to Iran, one enjoys a certain level of security guarantees here and can expect to be protected in case of need».

I had a similar conversation with “F”, a journalist from Syria. He told me frankly that he preferred to stay on the alert even in Venezuela because the Israeli intelligence service watches over all Syrians working in Latin America and often attempts to compromise them. Like most of his countrymen, “F” believes that hostile acts by the Mossad — drugs put in his pocket, allegations of links to Arab terrorists, the emergence of «documentary evidence» of connections to Colombian guerrillas — are likely. “F” said: «I am ready to face whatever happens. I’m not paranoid, I just look at things realistically. I even obtained a gun permit» and showed me a gun he wore under his jacket.

The Mossads’s objectives are listed on its official web site. They include secret collection of operative, political, and strategic information abroad, termination of terrorist activity targeting Israeli and other Jewish installations, prevention of development or acquisition of nuclear weapons by countries hostile to Israel, and covert operations abroad. The January, 2010 killing by the Mossad of the leader of the the paramilitary wing of Hamas Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel gives an idea of what the term «covert operations abroad» refers to.

A Mossad hit squad of 11 agents disguised as tourists blocked the corridor leading to the hotel room where al-Mabhouh stayed. Then the Israeli hitmen got inside, electroshocked and strangulated the man. In several hours the Mossad agents left the Emirates with fake British, Canadian, Irish, and Australian passports.

The demonstrative character of the act was supposed to highlight the Mossad’s capability to score with the enemies of Israel in any part of the world. The operation drew extensive coverage in Latin American media, most of which published the photos of the Mossad agents and, of course, that of their chief – the 64 year old Meir Dagan who has long deserved the nickname of «a man with a knife between his teeth». Among other operations, hundreds of killings of Iranian and Iraqi scientists who were involved in military-related research and were regarded as potentially dangerous to Israel are tracked to Dagan.

According to ALAI (Latin America Information Agency), the Mossad is using at least 40 Israeli companies (as well as embassies and other official institutions of the state of Israel) as fronts for its activity. The total number of the Mossad operatives in Latin America is not greater than 100-110, but an extensive network of agents and the cooperation with Jewish organizations and communities ensure the Mossad’s presence across Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Mossad’s interests gravitate to the regions south of the Rio Grande which are densely populated by Arab immigrants. The Mossad analysts believe that the epicenter of the potential «Muslim terrorism» in Latin America is located in the Zone of Three Borders between Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. Venezuela’s Isla Margarita, a place where Lebanese and Syrian immigrants hunting for pearls started to settle down in the early XX century, is viewed similarly. When a free trade zone was opened on Margarita Island, the Arab populations switched to selling shoes, textile, and bijouterie. The Venezuelan government was a number of times forced to disprove allegations that Chavez hosts Muslim terrorists. In reality, Margarita is a small island where more or less everybody knows everybody else and no secret activity — least the operation of Hezbollah training camps — is possible.

Over the years of spying on the above «terrorist centers» Mossad never discovered the networks that could present a threat to Israel. Nevertheless, the Mossad’s efforts were not wasted, at least since the Israeli «reliable» data were invariably used by Washington in planning its struggle against terrorism in Latin America. This is the mechanism of ideological support for the establishment of increasing numbers of US military bases on the continent in the proximity of the Latin American countries with «populist» regimes.

In many cases, Israeli intelligence operatives are involved in legal arms trade business which they use to gain connections in local military circles and security services.

The Mossad also uses affiliated companies to advise its Latin American colleagues on fighting terrorism, «leftist extremism», guerrilla groups and their support networks, as well as to help intelligence services modernize their technical base. A company most often mentioned in the context is Israel’s Global CST, whose CEOs are retired high-ranking Mossad operatives. In July, 2009 the Peruvian government hired the company to help reorganize the country’s intelligence community in order to boost the efficiency of its struggle against «subversive and terrorist organizations» including the re-emerging Sendero Luminoso Maoist group. Global CST is also helping the Peruvian government create a joint system of control over mobile communications, Internet, and other communications media.

Global CST has grown notably more active in Colombia. The Israeli company familiarizes the country’s military intelligence and political police (DAS) officers with new techniques in the spheres of anti-terrorist activity and espionage. Over recent years, Columbia’s intelligence services have been increasingly assertive outside the country, evidently imitating the modus operandi of their CIA and Mossad peers. Columbia maintains intelligence networks in Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, and other Latin American countries. The FARC and ELN envoys are finding themselves under permanent surveillance, routinely kidnapped and sometimes — assassinated.

International Security Agency (ISA) mainly staffed by former Israeli special forces officers and intelligence operatives is also active in Latin America. The agency (in tight cooperation with the CIA and the Mossad) took part in the coup that displaced M. Zelaya, the legitimate President of Honduras. Currently ISA specialists are working in the security service of the current President of Honduras P. Lobo, who was propelled to presidency as the result of an imitation of free elections like those Washington realized in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is a consensus among experts that the Mossad’s number one adversary and target in Latin America is Hugo Chavez, the political leader condemning Israel’s attempts to resolve conflicts in the Middle East by force. Chavez suspended Venezuela’s diplomatic relations with Israel in August, 2006, following the Israeli aggression against Lebanon. At that time Israeli Ambassador Shlomo Cohen and the embassy staff (mostly Mossad operatives) left Caracas. In several months Chavez took steps to normalize the relations with Israel, largely in response to the requests made by Venezuela’s 12,000 Jewish community.

The diplomatic relations between Venezuela and Israel were severed again in January, 2009 when the former protested the crimes committed by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip, where the Israeli operation resulted in the killing of over 1,000 Palestinians, a third of them — children. In a televised address, Chavez criticized Israel as a country guilty of genocide and inhumane persecution of Palestinians. Not surprisingly, Israel’s reaction was negative. In November, 2009 Shimon Peres addressed a thinly veiled threat to Chavez by saying that «Chavez will soon disappear». The Venezuelan leader remarked that Perez had to undertake a long journey to Latin America to say the words and wondered publicly what would have happened if similar words were said about Peres in Venezuela.

TV commentator and former Venezuelan Vice President José Vicente Rangel often warns in his TV show that the Mossad is planning to assassinate Chavez. Agents with the corresponding qualifications were sent to Columbia, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Curacao Island. In Rangel’s view, the greatest threat emanates from Colombia as DAS — instigated by the CIA — already conspired quite a few times to kill Chavez. Alarming comments were also made by US journalist Eva Hollinger who is a renown expert in operations against Venezuela. Author of CIA in Venezuela Hose Sant Ross calls the Venezuelan authorities to be mindful of the Mossad’s operations in the country.

As a rule, the efforts of Venezuelan security services to identify the Mossad agents echo with carefully orchestrated protests staged by the country’s Jewish community and with «solidarity» campaigns across Latin America. Media synchronously respond by charging Chavez with antisemitism and collusion with Muslim extremism.

Actually, the theme of antisemitism recurs due to a range of causes, for example whenever the Venezuelan government takes measures to scrutinize the country’s financial sphere. For decades, there used to be a number of jewelry stores in La Francia building in downtown Caracas, not far from the Venezuelan Foreign ministry, where gold and jewelry were bought and sold with practically no fiscal control. The administration’s attempts to make the business take legal shape and to subject the accounting documents of the stores to the long-overdue audit were condemned by the opposition media as persecution of Jewish businessmen. Nevertheless, the announcement of the coming audit had an explosive effect: in a matter of hours La Francia building was completely abandoned. The most valuable stuff was evacuated secretly at night.

Venezuelan counterintelligence agents watched the process from a distance, occasionally taking pictures. They did not expect to learn anything new — it was known that the Mossad used La Francia to carry out its financial transactions.