Collective Punishment: Official Israeli Policy

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Collective Punishment: Official Israeli Policy
by Stephen Lendman
Israel gives rogue state lawlessness new meaning. Rule of law principles don’t matter. Repeated breaches occur.
Unaccountably because Western leaders support its worst crimes. International law is clear and unequivocal. Collective punishment violates Fourth Geneva’s Article 33, stating:
“No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed.” 
“Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”
Throughout over 47 years of militarized occupation harshness, Israel willfully, maliciously and consistently spurned virtually all humanitarian and human rights laws. 
With impunity. Getting away with mass murder and then some. Genocide by any standard.
Agreements Israel signs aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Violations occur straightaway.
Operation Protective Edge ceasefire terms are meaningless. Virtually no enforcement mechanisms exist. Israel violates its obligations unaccountably.
The latest incident involves breaching its pledge to ease Gaza’s blockade. Palestinians report business as usual. Virtually no promised change occurred.
On Friday, Israel closed its Erez and Kerem Shalom Gaza border crossings. It did so indefinitely. Allegedly after a projectile was fired toward the Eshkol Regional Council. 
Three other border crossing aren’t operating. Part of longstanding Israeli collective punishment. For political reasons, not security.
Possibly a mortar shell or rocket was fired. Striking an open field. Causing no injuries or damage. A virtual non-incident.
No claim of responsibility followed. Israel blew what happened way out of proportion. Minor compared to its repeated high crimes.
On Thursday, IDF Chief of Staff/unindicted war criminal Benny Gantz said “quiet achieved in the south of the country is the product of continuous and strenuous work, and it could be interrupted at any time.”
IDF forces must keep their “eyes open in the different fronts, from Lebanon to the Golan Heights, to the West Bank, to Gaza. We remain alert and ready for action at any intensity needed.”
Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities notified Palestinians of closure. At the same time, Rafah crossing to Egypt remains closed.
Allegedly because of a Sinai attack killing 33 soldiers. Wrongfully blamed on “Palestinian militants.” 
Major General Sameeh Beshadi claimed “no doubt that Palestinian elements had taken part in the attacks.”
Coup d’etat president Abdel Fattah al-Sissi blamed “foreign forces.” Without elaboration. Beshadi lied claiming Gazans infiltrated via tunnels linking Gaza to Sinai.
Booby-trapped a vehicle reportedly used to attack an army checkpoint near El Arish in northern Sinai. Used rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and mortars in a second attack.
Wrongfully blamed “Palestinian elements” for other attacks earlier. Why wasn’t explained. 
How could Hamas or other Gazan resistance groups benefit from attacking Egypt? Every reason to avoid doing so is clear.
Egypt postponed Israeli/Hamas talks following Sinai’s attack. They’re rescheduled after mid-November.
Cairo intends establishing a buffer zone between Sinai and Gaza. Displacing thousands of residents. Some leaving voluntarily. Others forcibly removed.
At the same time, using military courts for civilians accused of attacking public property, blocking roads, or other civil offenses.
Part of Sissi’s war on freedom. Usurping police state powers. Prohibiting dissent. Imprisoning thousands of political opponents. 
Banning Muslim Brotherhood membership. Sentencing hundreds to death in kangaroo tribunal proceedings.
Imposing martial law unilaterally. Replacing it days earlier with a three-month northern Sinai state of emergency. 
Rogue states operate this way. Washington provides support and encouragement. So does Israel. 
Partners in crime govern extrajudicially. State repression opponents suffer hugely.
On Sunday, senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq condemned Israeli Gaza crossing closures. Calling it “collective punishment.”
Saying “justifications given…are unacceptable.” Criticizing PA officials for not reacting responsibly. Failing to assure entry of vital goods into Gaza.
“Where does the PA come in regarding this Israeli closure,” he asked? “And where does it come in regarding its responsibilities, especially after PA employees have resumed work at Gaza crossings?”
Instead of closing crossings, more need opening. To facilitate free movement of people and goods in an out of Gaza.
Isolation exacerbates dire humanitarian conditions. Arab League countries held an emergency Sunday meeting.
Focusing on regional conditions. Especially relating to Palestine. Discussion included East Jerusalem tensions following Israeli “violations against the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Israel’s Operation Protective Edge aggression. The Sinai attack killing 33 Egyptian soldiers.
Palestinian officials blame East Jerusalem unrest on public anger and hopelessness. Leaving many Palestinian youths feeling resistance is their only option.
Israel countering with longstanding brutality. State-sponsored terrorism. Mass arrests and imprisonments. Blaming Palestinians for its crimes of war and against humanity.
Stealing more Palestinian land. Salfit residents say Israeli forces bulldozed district village lands. For more settlement construction and Jews-only roads.
Palestinian researcher Khaled Ma’ali said Israel intends expanding four settlements lawlessly. Ariel, Brukhin, Zafafa and Leshim.
Salfit district land theft is second only to East Jerusalem. Lawless expansion proceeds in 24 Israeli settlements surrounding the city.
Taking over 18 area villages. Dividing Salfit into four cantons. Weakening its economy, agriculture and societal viability. Aiming to steal over 70% of area lands. Perhaps more later on.
Salfit is valued for its water resources. The West Bank’s largest supply. Strategically located. 
Connecting northern and southern Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarim, and Qalqilya. Close to Israeli-occupied northern West Bank areas.
Israel egregiously breaches core international law. Prohibiting reconfiguring occupied lands. 
Ethnically cleaning them. Making room for Jews-only residency and development. Systematically displacing thousands of Bedouins.
Stealing their land. For a new Jordan Valley settlement. Named Ramat Nu’eimeh. Built near Jericho. Intended for about 12,500 Jews.
Plans were made without consulting affected residents. Or asking their consent. Ignoring their agrarian way of life. 
Relocating them multiple times since 1948. Issuing hundreds of demolition orders to expel them from their own lands.
Bedouin rights aren’t recognized. They’re denied access to power grid connections, water, healthcare, education and other vital services.
They’re virtual nonpersons. Earning meager income from shepherding. In limited areas Israel permits.
At issue is destroying their way of life. Displacing them for Jews-only development. Violating core international humanitarian and human rights laws in the process.
Occupying powers are required to provide for the welfare of residents they control. Forced displacement breaches their fundamental obligations. For their own self-serving interests.
Rule of law principles don’t matter. Rogue states ignore them entirely. On Sunday, Haaretz headlined “Netanyahu’s cabinet backs bill to jail stone-throwers up to 10-20 years.” For allegedly targeting vehicles.
“(E)ven without proof of intent to harm.” Or corroborating evidence proving guilt. Accusation alone suffices.
Militarized occupation gives no quarter. Cabinet approval precedes Ministerial Committee consideration. Followed by Knesset up or down voting.
Netanyahu is a world-class thug by any standard. Blaming Palestinians for Israeli crimes.
Calling legitimate self-defense “terrorism.” Considering premeditated Israeli aggression “self-defense.”
“Israel is operating aggressively against terrorists, against stone throwers, against hurlers of firebombs and firecrackers,” he said. 
“We will legislate more aggressive legislation to this regard, in order to return quiet and security to every part of Jerusalem.”
Hard-right wing Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit proposed legislation. Cracking down on legitimate Palestinian resistance.
Current legislation must prove stone-throwers intent to cause harm. Or base accusations on other laws to convict.
Mandelblit’s bill permits convictions and imprisonments without proof to commit harm. Dividing stone-throwing into two categories.
Minimal 10-year sentencing for throwing stones or other objects at vehicles in motion. Allegedly endangering public safety.
Maximum sentencing up to 20 years. For intending to cause serious bodily harm. 
By throwing stones or other objects at vehicles. No verifiable proof required. Guilt by accusation suffices.
A new offense involves stone or other object throwing at police vehicles or officers. Interfering with their duties. Punishment of five years imprisonment is mandated.
Mandelblit’s bill affects youths and children. Some aged 10 or less. 
Imagine a small boy incarcerated for up to 20 years. For justifiable resistance. Imagine police state harshness and then some.
Imagine intolerable conditions persisting. Racist hate. Extreme persecution. 
Premeditated wars at Israel’s discretion. Genocidal high crimes repeating with disturbing regularity. 
Police state justice writ large. Mandelblit’s legislation the latest example. Rogue states operate this way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.