Ebrahim Moosa – Cii News | 01 September 2014/06 Dhul Qa’dah 1435

“Imagine the worst, most foul thing you have ever smelled. An overpowering mix of rotting meat, old socks that haven’t been washed for weeks – topped off with the pungent waft of an open sewer. . .Imagine being covered in the stuff as it is liberally sprayed from a water cannon. Then imagine not being able to get rid of the stench for at least three days, no matter how often you try to scrub yourself clean.”

This is how BBC reporter Wyre Davies, in 2008, described the new Israeli weapon that until today is still kicking up a stink in the Occupied Palestinian territories.

The Skunk, as it is known in Israeli military circles, may seem an innocuous armament in a Zionist arsenal that includes lethal F-16′s, drones, hellfire missiles, stun grenades, tear gas and rubber coated metal bullets; but for Palestinians it is simply the latest ugly manifestation of a putrid, decades-long Israeli strangulation of their daily lives.

Developed by researchers at the Israeli Rafael Armament Development Authority Ltd. in 2004, the “skunk bomb” is described by the IDF as a ‘non lethal’ weapon that could be used by security forces in riot control situations.

Rafael scientists reportedly analyzed and created a synthetic version of the liquid squirted by skunks when they are under stress. The device, designed to be fired from a distance in order to disperse crowds, has a disgusting smell that lingers in its victim’s clothing for up to five years.

Palestinians on the receiving end of the stench know this too well.

Rubhiya Abd al-Rahman Darwish was taking a nap on the couch of her family home in June when she was awoken with a start by the sound of shattering glass.

“I saw a burst of water breaking through the window, when suddenly an intense odor hit and I passed out from the smell, so they had to take me to the hospital,” the 75-year-old woman told the Ma’an News Agency during an interview in her small apartment in Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp.

Although she is used to Israeli soldiers throwing tear gas canisters into the alleyway beside her home, Darwish was surprised to find that this time they had come with a cannon to hose down the sides of local homes with putrid-smelling water.

“I went to the hospital and they gave me a shot, but the poison started coming out of my mouth and nose. I started screaming because my back was hurting, and it hasn’t stopped,” the elderly woman, who said she suffers from diabetes, hypertension, and a heart condition, told Ma’an.

“All my clothes were ruined, and we had to throw all the quilts and mattress out,” she said.

“Why do they do this to us?”

Israel says the Skunk is among a bouquet of new ‘harmless’ options it is making available to troops for controlling Palestinian demonstrations. It says the recipe for the foul-smelling water is based entirely on natural organic ingredients, including yeast and baking powder, and does not include any harmful materials. It may even be ingested without any ill effects, it claims.

Human rights organizations however claim that skunk liquid can cause pain and redness if it comes into contact with eyes, irritation if it comes into contact with skin and if swallowed can cause abdominal pain requiring medical treatment. Children and the elderly are also particularly vulnerable to nausea and vomiting if sprayed.

Contrary to Israeli claims that the weapon is only deployed in compromising situations, there are allegations that the skunk is being used punitively against villages where regular weekly demonstrations are held. There are also incidents on record of Israeli forces targeting schoolchildren and even animals with the substance in jest.

The recent upsurge in suppression of Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, the largest since the outbreak of the Second Intifada, also witnessed a marked increase in Israeli use of “Skunk” water in heavily populated Palestinian neighborhoods.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has documented  incidences of Skunk water being used on the second floor of commercial and residential buildings in densely populated areas of Jerusalem like Saladin and Zahra Street during times when there were no riots, leaving behind a foul-smelling stench for days.

The aftermath of such raids are equally vexing for residents to handle with a stench hanging over affected neighborhoods days after the initial shower occurred.

“People don’t even know what the substance in is in order to clean it,” one resident told Ma’an, “and we do not know what the chemicals are made of. We tried to clean it with chlorine but there was a chemical reaction, giving off an even more killer smell,” he added.

In winter the smell allegedly stays put for almost 2 weeks. Adverse effects have also reportedly been observed on plants and trees in the vicinity.

“This chemical could have effects that we don’t know about, on the nature in the camp, and on the future generations,” the resident conveyed.

The big stink is that having been repeatedly ‘tested’ on the Palestinians, the inventors now plan to market the Skunk to other forces worldwide.  The BBC reports of Israeli police plans to commercialise the skunk spray and sell it to law-enforcement agencies around the world.

Yet again, another compelling case for isolating Israel before its putrid gangrenous ways go viral.


Israel’s ‘land for lives’ is theft. Pure and simple

World View: Israel takes land, Palestine loses land; that’s the way it works

So a bit more of Palestine has slidden down the plughole. A thousand more acres of Palestinian land stolen by the Israeli government – for “appropriation” is theft, is it not? – and the world has made the usual excuses. The Americans found it “counter-productive” to peace, which is probably a bit less forceful than its reaction would be if Mexico were to bite off a 1,000-acre chunk of Texas and decided to build homes there for its illegal immigrants in the US. But this is “Palestine” (inverted commas more necessary than ever) and Israel has been getting away with theft, albeit not on quite this scale – it is the biggest land heist in 30 years – ever since it signed up to the Oslo agreement in 1993.

The Rabin-Arafat handshake, the promises and handovers of territory and military withdrawals, and the determination to leave everything important (Jerusalem, refugees, the right of return) to the end, until everyone trusted each other so much that the whole thing would be a doddle – no wonder the world bestowed its financial generosity upon the pair. But this latest land-grab not only reduces “Palestine” but continues the circle of concrete around Jerusalem to cut Palestinians off from both the capital they are supposed to share with Israelis and from Bethlehem.

It was instructive to learn the Israeli-Jewish Etzion council regarded this larceny as punishment for the murder of three Israeli teenagers in June. “The goal of the murders of those three youths was to sow fear among us, to disrupt our daily lives and to call into doubt our right [sic] to the land,” the Etzion council announced. “Our response is to strengthen settlement.” This must be the first time that land in “Palestine” has been acquired not through excuses about security or land deeds – or on God’s personal authority – but out of revenge.

And it raises an interesting precedent. If an innocent Israeli life – cruelly taken – is worth around 330 acres of land, then an innocent Palestinian life – equally cruelly taken – must surely equal the same. And if even half the 2,200 Palestinian dead of Gaza last month – and this is a conservative figure – were innocent, then the Palestinians presumably now have the right to take over 330,000 acres of Israeli land, in reality much more. But however “counter-productive” this might be, I’m sure America would not stand for it. Israel takes land, Palestinians lose land; that’s the way it works. And thus it has been since 1948, and that is how it will continue.

There will never be a “Palestine” and the latest territorial robbery is merely another small punctuation mark in the book of sorrow which the Palestinians must read as their dreams of statehood wither. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman for the Palestinian “President”, Mahmoud Abbas, said his boss and the “moderate forces” in Palestine had been “stabbed in the back” by the Israeli decision, which is putting it mildly. Abbas has a back covered in knife wounds. What else did he expect when he wrote a book about Palestinian-Israeli relations without once using the word “occupation”?

So we’re back to the same old game. Abbas cannot negotiate with anyone unless he speaks for Hamas as well as the Palestinian Authority. As Israel knows. As America knows. As the EU knows. But each time Abbas tries to put together a unity government, we all screech that Hamas is a “terrorist” organisation. And Israel says it cannot talk to a “terrorist” organisation which demands the destruction of Israel – even though Israel used to say the same of Arafat and, in those days, helped Hamas to build more mosques in Gaza and the West Bank as a counterweight to Fatah and all the other “terrorists” up in Beirut.

Of course, if Abbas speaks only for himself, Israel will tell him what it has told him before: that without his control of Gaza, Israel has no one to negotiate with. But does it matter any more? There should be a special strap headline above all reports of this kind: “Goodbye, Palestine”.

Hypocrisy, Double Standards, And The Politicisation Of Genocide

By William Hanna

01 August, 2014

An Extremely Dangerous Palestinian Terrorist Against Whom Israel
with its “most moral army in the world” is Defending Itself

On 17 July 1998, the international community reached an historic milestone — that has so far proved of little useful purpose — when 120 States adopted the Rome Statute (http://legal.un.org/icc/statute/romefra.htm), the legal basis for establishing a permanent International Criminal Court (ICC). The Court’s mandate was “to try individuals rather than States, and to hold such persons accountable for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely the crime of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression, when the conditions for the exercise of the Court’s jurisdiction over the latter are fulfilled.” Therefore on that basis and in view of the fact that Israel has for over 60 years painstakingly ensured qualification for all four of the aforementioned criminal categories, then why has the ICC failed to initiate proceedings against those Israelis who with impunity were and still are instrumental in the barbaric ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people?

Apart from the inevitable obstructionist pressures imposed by Israel — through its Western lapdogs led by the U.S. — forcing the ICC to refrain from doing so, there is a further consideration which was raised in the important book The Politics of Genocide by co-authors Edward Herman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_S._Herman) and David Peterson (an independent journalist and researcher based in Chicago) who document the double standards by which the U.S. government, the mass media, and the intellectual establishment label, or refuse to label, particular events as being “genocide.” In other words whether or not an action is labeled “genocide” is dependent on the simple fact of who committed the act in question? If for example the U.S. and/or its allies are the perpetrators, then then acts will most certainly not be labeled as “genocide.” If on the other hand the perpetrators are regarded as ostensible enemies of the U.S. alliance — even if their acts may may have resulted in massively less deaths than those caused by the U.S. or its allies — then there is every likelihood that the acts will be branded as “genocide.” Virtually all current “situations under investigations” or “preliminary investigations” by the ICC concern Third World countries.

As an example of this double standard, the authors cite U.S. wars and intervening sanctions against Iraq that resulted in the killing of approximately 1,800,000 Iraqis. But despite the fact that those killings were known to be the probable consequence of the U.S. conduct — including the deliberate targeting in the first Gulf War of soft civilian targets such as water treatment and sanitation facilities; electricity generating plants; roads and railways; hospitals and clinics; and the subsequent sanctions that prevented the repair of infrastructure essential to the survival of the Iraqi people —virtually on one has dared to label the U.S. actions as “genocide.”

By contrast there was no hesitation in applying the ‘“genocide” label to the killing of 4,000 in Kosovo, 33,000 Bosnia, 300,000 in Darfur, and 800,000 in Rwanda. The authors also noted that the only country in the world where more civilians were murdered than by U.S. and allied forces in Iraq, was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where an estimated 5.4 million civilians had been killed during that country’s ongoing hostilities. This estimate of DRC deaths, however, was to said to be closer to 7 million in a February 2010 report by Nicholas Kristoff in The New York Times. As with Iraq, the DRC is also hardly ever stigmatised with the “genocide” label because the U.S. and its allies — in their rapacious quest for the rare minerals in the DRC — are responsible for the bulk of those killings. But due to the fact that the Western Alliance controls the political discourse, such killings will never be afforded the “genocide” label.

On 4 April 2012 the prosecutor of the ICC rejected a request by the Palestinian Authority to recognise the court’s jurisdiction. The decision effectively blocked a move to have the war crimes tribunal based at The Hague investigate the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead (http://middleeast.about.com/od/c/g/Operation-Cast-Lead.htm). The prosecutor said it was up to “relevant bodies” at the UN or ICC member countries to determine whether Palestine qualified as a “state.” Only then could it sign the court’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute. In other words because of Israel’s barbaric ethnic cleansing policy designed to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state — that would end Israel’s ravenous theft of more Palestinian land on which more illegal Jewish settlements would be built — the “stateless” Palestinian people have no recourse to justice from the UN. An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman welcomed the decision while noting that Israel did not recognise the ICC’s jurisdiction. Though the U.S. and Israel signed the ICC accord in 2000, they both subsequently withdrew and have since opposed the ICC which could for example hold U.S. military and political leaders to a uniform global standard of justice.

“The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the occupying power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

The ICC founding charter’s description of a war crime

Having just caused Gaza’s biggest humanitarian crisis in many years; having savagely killed over 2,200 Palestinians; having caused hundreds of thousands to be left homeless; and having destroyed virtually all essential infrastructure, Israel with its supremacist, “God-chosen” impunity — and knowing full well that the rest of the cowardly world will do nothing — has added insult to injury by announcing plans to expropriate four square kilometres of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. This outrageous expropriation of land in the area of Gush Etzion south of Bethlehem, including many centuries-old Palestinian olive groves, is believed to be the largest illegal seizure by Israel in 30 years and will facilitate the expansion of a settlement named Gevaot.

As part of a continual effort to obtain a scintilla of justice for its people, the Palestinian Authority’s justice minister had in January 2009 lodged a declaration with the ICC unilaterally recognising its jurisdiction for “acts committed on the territory of Palestine since 1 July 2002.” Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC’s chief prosecutor’s response was that a decision on whether the Palestinian Authority was legally entitled to do so, could not be made immediately. The Office of the Prosecutor subsequently announced that it could not act on the Palestinian declaration because Article 12 of the Rome Statute established that only a “state” could confer jurisdiction on the court and deposit an instrument of accession with the UN secretary general. The announcement added that “in instances where it is controversial or unclear whether an applicant constitutes a ‘state,’ it is the practice of the secretary general to follow or seek the General Assembly’s directives on the matter . . . this is reflected in General Assembly resolutions, which provide indications of whether an applicant is a ‘state.’ Though Palestine has been recognised as a state in bilateral relations by more than 130 governments and certain international organisations, including UN bodies, the current status granted by the General Assembly to the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) is that of ‘observer,’ and not ‘non-member state.’ ”

Amnesty International said the decision by the ICC prosecutor meant Palestinian and Israeli victims of crimes allegedly committed during the Gaza war were unlikely to get justice. Marek Marczynski, head of Amnesty’s International Justice campaign, said that “This dangerous decision opens the ICC to accusations of political bias and is inconsistent with the independence of the ICC. It also breached the Rome Statute which clearly stated that such matters should be considered by the institution’s judges.” In September of that same year, the Palestinians submitted an application for admission to the UN as a member state, but the Security Council made no recommendation with Israel’s lapdog, the U.S., promising to veto any vote on the matter.

AIPAC/U.S.-led Western hypocrisy, double standards, and the politicisation of genocide have consistently undermined the main international institutions — the UN (http://www.un.org/en/index.shtml), the World Bank (http://www.worldbank.org), the OECD (http://www.oecd.org), and the ICC (http://www.icc-cpi.int/en_menus/icc/Pages/default.aspx) — that were established for the enforcement of human rights, the implementation justice, and the betterment of conditions for all humanity. Honest, self-respecting human beings — yes, including Jews — cannot on any grounds deny that Israel’s barbaric treatment of the Palestinian people warrants unconditional universal condemnation; Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions; and an unencumbered opening of investigations into Israel’s Gaza war crimes by the International Criminal Court. Anything less would constitute yet more contemptible criminal complicity.