Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR#‘s 1316 & 1317 Fireside Rant about the Gaza War and Israeli Palestinian Conflict Parts 1 and 2

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FTR#1316 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

FTR#1317 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: Mr. Emory has long found dis­cus­sion of the Israeli-Pales­tin­ian con­flict deeply frus­trat­ing. Attacked by par­ti­sans from both sides, he deliv­ers an inci­sive analy­sis of some key points.

This will be the last two pro­grams in which he deals with this issue.

Key Points of Analy­sis and Dis­cus­sion Include: A link to a pro­gram record­ed in 1983, dis­cussing fas­cist-Zion­ist con­nec­tions; Dis­cus­sion of a Gehlen-Dulles mis­sion to staff the Egypt­ian intel­li­gence ser­vice with Nazi war crim­i­nals, includ­ing Adolf Eich­mann; Dis­cus­sion of “Bor­mann Jews;” Read­ing of the Hamas Char­ter, which is undi­lut­ed Nazi ide­ol­o­gy; A break­down of Netanyahu’s con­nec­tions to the milieu of the remark­able and dead­ly Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion; Dis­cus­sion of the con­cen­tra­tion of eco­nom­ic pow­er in Israel; Dis­cus­sion of Shel­don Adel­son’s bankrolling of the Israeli right-wing; Dis­cus­sion of Adel­son’s Macau casi­no busi­ness as the ori­gin of his mon­ey; Dis­cus­sion of Macau as an inter­na­tion­al gold laun­der­ing cen­ter; Dis­cus­sion of Por­tuguese fas­cism (Macau was a Por­tuguese colony until the late 1990s); Dis­cus­sion of short-sell­ing in the Israeli stock mar­ket in the run-up to the Octo­ber 7 attacks; Dis­cus­sion of the Likud par­ty’s send­ing of an emis­sary to the nation­al con­gress of Gian­fran­co Fini’s Ital­ian fas­cist par­ty; Review of the Grand Mufi’s rank of Major Gen­er­al in the Waf­fen SS and his role as the first leader of the Pales­tin­ian nation­al move­ment.

1a. https://emory.kfjc.org/archive/misc/m_30a.mp3

1b. One pos­si­ble rea­son for the CIA’s reluc­tance to dis­close Eichmann’s where­abouts is the fact that Eich­mann worked for the CIA as a “con­tract agent” in Egypt! (A con­tract agent is an oper­a­tive who signs on to per­form an indi­vid­ual assign­ment for the CIA—as opposed to a career employ­ee or CIA “offi­cer.”) Eich­mann was one of a num­ber of SS war crim­i­nals who worked to devel­op the Egypt­ian secret ser­vice and gen­er­al staff on a mis­sion that was launched under the aus­pices of Gen­er­al Rein­hard Gehlen and his CIA boss, Allen Dulles. In charge of intel­li­gence for the East­ern Front dur­ing World War II, Gehlen jumped to the CIA with his entire orga­ni­za­tion, which became the CIA’s depart­ment of Russ­ian and East­ern Euro­pean affairs, the de fac­to NATO intel­li­gence orga­ni­za­tion and, ulti­mate­ly the BND—the intel­li­gence ser­vice for the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many. The Gehlen orga­ni­za­tion retained all of its Nazi char­ac­ter, uti­liz­ing many of the most noto­ri­ous SS offi­cers and war crim­i­nals. The Gehlen/Dulles oper­a­tion that employed Eich­mann was real­ized under the aus­pices of SS colonel Otto Sko­rzeny. Sko­rzeny had been in charge of com­man­do oper­a­tions for the Third Reich, was one of Hitler’s per­son­al favorites and was a leader of the post­war ODESSA network—the dead­ly SS under­ground that oper­at­ed around the world. For more about Sko­rzeny, ODESSA, Gehlen and oth­er ele­ments of dis­cus­sion, use the search func­tion avail­able on this web­site. Note how Sko­rzeny, oper­at­ing under the aus­pices of CIA and Gehlen, was able to pro­mote a Nazi and fas­cist agen­da in Egypt! As we shall see below, the Gehlen orga­ni­za­tion was a Tro­jan Horse for the Under­ground Reich.

. . . If there were any doubts that Skorzeny’s alle­giance to the Unit­ed States was of an oppor­tunist nature and tem­po­rary, they were dis­pelled by his actions in Egypt and the Mideast. Even his deep hatred of the Sovi­ets was for­got­ten when it inter­fered with his per­son­al ambi­tions. Egypt pre­sent­ed Sko­rzeny the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pro­mote fas­cism; to estab­lish a Nazi clique whose influ­ence would be felt by the West Ger­man gov­ern­ment to restore Ger­man pres­tige in the Mideast, and to become a wealthy man. He didn’t allow the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pass . . .


Sko­rzeny: Hitler’s Com­man­do; by Glenn Infield; St. Martin’s Press [HC]; Copy­right 1981 by Glenn B. Infield; ISBN; 0–312-72777–1; p. 205.

1c. A CIA-sup­port­ed coup in Egypt oust­ed King Farouk and replaced him with Gen­er­al Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nass­er. The lat­ter even­tu­al­ly became Egypt’s head of state. Dulles want­ed to retain U.S. influ­ence in Egypt and turned to Gehlen to recruit per­son­nel suit­able for the job. Gehlen turned to Sko­rzeny and his father in law Hjal­mar Horace Gree­ley Schacht, the Amer­i­can-born for­mer finance min­is­ter of Ger­many. 

. . . The CIA, under the influ­ence of Allen Dulles, select­ed Egypt­ian army Gen­er­al Mohammed Naguib to head the gov­ern­ment. . . . The takeover of the coun­try by Naguib, with Nass­er play­ing the role of a shad­owy dic­ta­tor in the back­ground, opened the door wide for the three silent con­spir­a­tors of Hitler’s regime: Gehlen, Schacht, and Sko­rzeny. As Gehlen stat­ed in his mem­oirs: ‘We found Arab coun­tries par­tic­u­lar­ly will­ing to embrace Ger­mans with an osten­si­bly ‘Nazi’ past.’ And Naguib was quick to ask for help. Since his revolt had the back­ing of the CIA and he was aware that Gehlen was col­lab­o­rat­ing with the U.S. intel­li­gence agency, his request for some­one to train his secu­ri­ty forces went to Pul­lach, Gehlen’s head­quar­ters south of Munich. Gehlen and Schacht were in com­plete agree­ment that the man for the job was Otto Sko­rzeny. Dulles, aware of Skorzeny’s anti-Sovi­et role dur­ing the imme­di­ate post­war years when the West­ern nations des­per­ate­ly need­ed help, con­curred. Sko­rzeny went to Egypt as Naguib’s mil­i­tary advi­sor. It was a deci­sion the Unit­ed States would regret in lat­er years.

Ibid.; pp. 205–206.

1d. Again, note that the Gehlen/Skorzeny/Schacht milieu was able to pur­sue an essen­tial­ly Nazi agen­da under the aus­pices of CIA/Dulles. As will be seen below, many U.S. offi­cials were unaware of the Sko­rzeny mis­sion, and report­ed on devel­op­ments in Egypt with great alarm.

There was, of course, anoth­er rea­son for­mer Nazis were quick to accept the Egypt­ian invi­ta­tion. It once again pit­ted them against the Jews and the new­ly estab­lished Israeli nation. As the Jud­is­che Rund­schau stat­ed in 1951: ‘As for Skorzeny’s anti-Semit­ic and fas­cist propen­si­ties, this is undoubt­ed­ly true. Sko­rzeny read­i­ly admits his strong anti-Semi­tism.’ Gehlen, too, had reser­va­tions about the rela­tion­ship between the new West Ger­man gov­ern­ment and Israel. ‘I have always regard­ed it as some­thing of a tragedy that West Ger­many was inevitably dragged into an alliance with the state of Israel against the Arab coun­tries,’ he stat­ed in his mem­oirs. ‘I always regard­ed their [Arabs] tra­di­tion­al friend­ship for Ger­many as of immense val­ue for our nation­al recon­struc­tion. And at the request of Allen Dulles and the CIA, we at Pul­lach did our best to inject life and exper­tise into the Egypt­ian secret ser­vice, sup­ply­ing them with the for­mer SS offi­cers I have men­tioned.’

(Ibid.; p. 207.)

1e. The per­son­nel with whom Skorzeny’s Nazis worked were open­ly admir­ing of the Third Reich.

. . . . If there was any doubt that Naguib was pro-Ger­man, his pub­lic state­ments cleared up the mis­un­der­stand­ing. ‘I want you to believe me when I say that I have not changed the great admi­ra­tion I have for the Ger­mans. Their effi­cien­cy, their extra­or­di­nary gifts as sci­en­tists and tech­ni­cians, and their loy­al­ty are quite unique. I have been notic­ing all these qual­i­ties in recent times, watch­ing the work of the Ger­man offi­cers and experts in my army.’ Dr. Nored­dine Tar­raf, one of Naguib’s most impor­tant sup­port­ers and lat­er Min­is­ter of Health, was even more explic­it when speak­ing of the Ger­mans, par­tic­u­lar­ly the Nazis. ‘Hitler is the man of my life. The Ger­man dic­ta­tor had been an ide­al leader who ded­i­cat­ed his life to the real­iza­tion of his noble ambi­tion. He nev­er lived for him­self but for Ger­many and the Ger­man peo­ple. I have always wished to live like him.’

Idem.

1f. 

. . . . Sko­rzeny felt at ease among Egypt­ian offi­cials with this atti­tude. His first task was to orga­nize a staff of for­mer SS and Wehrma­cht offi­cers to train the Egypt­ian army and secu­ri­ty forces. He select­ed care­ful­ly, mak­ing cer­tain that each offi­cer he brought to Egypt was a diehard Nazi, an expert mil­i­tary tac­ti­cian, and was anti-Semit­ic. Among those recruit­ed by Sko­rzeny were SS Gen­er­al Oskar Dirlewanger, who had com­mand­ed a brigade com­posed of poach­ers, crim­i­nals, and men under the sen­tence of court-mar­tial dur­ing the War­saw ghet­to upris­ing and whose actions against the Jews had earned him the nick­name ‘Butch­er of War saw’; SS Colonel Adolf Eich­mann, the offi­cer Himm­ler charged with the destruc­tion of mil­lions of Jews and who lat­er would be kid­napped from Argenti­na by the Israeli secret ser­vice and smug­gled back to Israel to stand tri­al [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s]; SS Gen­er­al Wil­helm Farm­bach­er; Panz­er Gen­er­al Oskar Mun­zel; Leopold Gleim, for­mer chief of Hitler’s per­son­al guard and Gestapo secu­ri­ty chief of Ger­man-occu­pied Poland; and Joachim Daem­ling, for­mer chief of the Gestapo in Dus­sel­dorf. To han­dle med­ical prob­lems, Sko­rzzeny recruit­ed Dr. Hans Eise­le, who had been chief med­ical offi­cer at Buchen­wald con­cen­tra­tion camp, and Hein­rich Willer­man, for­mer med­ical direc­tor at Dachau. . . .

Ibid.; pp. 207–208.

1g.  The para­graphs that fol­low are of great sig­nif­i­cance. Indica­tive of the mul­ti-polar tex­ture of the U.S. polit­i­cal and nation­al secu­ri­ty bureau­cra­cies, many Amer­i­can oper­a­tives report­ed with great alarm on the Nazi recrude­s­cence in Egypt. They were unaware of the CIA/Dulles/Gehlen/Skorzeny col­lab­o­ra­tion.

. . . . U.S. offi­cials, many of them unaware that Allen Dulles had encour­aged Gehlen to pro­vide Naguib with Ger­man mil­i­tary advis­ers, became wor­ried when so many infa­mous Nazi offi­cers appeared in Egypt. Even Dulles became con­cerned when it was report­ed to him that Sko­rzeny was meet­ing often with Gamal Abdel Nass­er, the Egypt­ian army lieu­tenant colonel who seemed to be giv­ing more orders than Naguib. A secret let­ter, Embassy Dis­patch 2276, from Jef­fer­son Caf­fery of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to the Depart­ment of State in Wash­ing­ton, indi­cates that inquiries con­cern­ing Skorzeny’s activ­i­ties in Egypt were being con­duct­ed. ‘On June 14, the local press announced that Otto Sko­rzeny had an hour’s inter­view with Gamal Abdel Nass­er on June 12. Aside from recall­ing that he was in charge of the spe­cial com­man­do unit which kid­napped Mus­soli­ni and point­ing out his expe­ri­ence in the train­ing of com­man­dos, the press gave no fur­ther details. The Coun­sel of the Ger­man Embassy states that he and his col­leagues had no pre­vi­ous infor­ma­tion con­cern­ing the vis­it. They are try­ing now through con­tacts among the Ger­man Mil­i­tary Mis­sion to find out what Sko­rzeny is up to. The Ger­man Coun­selor remarked that it was dif­fi­cult to keep track of this indi­vid­ual because he resides in Spain, but the Ger­man Embassy knew that when he was here the last time, four or five months ago, he talked to the Egyp­tians about the sup­ply­ing of small arms and the train­ing of the com­man­dos. On the gen­er­al sub­ject of the activ­i­ties of Ger­man offi­cers in Egypt, the Ger­man Coun­selor said that a for­eign office offi­cial came to Egypt recent­ly to inves­ti­gate them fol­low­ing Sir Win­ston Churchill’s speech in which he men­tioned their activ­i­ties. . . .’

Ibid.; pp. 208–209.

1f.  Note that the Ger­man gov­ern­ment, under Kon­rad Ade­nauer and his emi­nence grise Hans Globke (see para­graph 4), active­ly pro­tect­ed the Sko­rzeny oper­a­tion. And Eich­mann was used as part of the Sko­rzeny oper­a­tion! It is fas­ci­nat­ing to note that the first Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist unites were formed under the tute­lage of Sko­rzeny!

 . . . . This secret dis­patch and oth­ers that fol­lowed from Egypt indi­cate that U.S. offi­cials and even CIA agents were woe­ful­ly unaware of what the Nazis were real­ly doing in Egypt. The Ade­nauer gov­ern­ment was well aware of Skorzeny’s pres­ence in Egypt and con­doned his actions on behalf of the new Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many. The pre­tend­ed ‘igno­rance’ of the Ger­man Coun­selor was mere­ly a face-sav­ing move and an effort to deceive the U.S. Embassy. . . . Sko­rzeny was already train­ing an Arab for­eign legion in com­man­do tac­tics. This secret unit was com­prised of 400 for­mer Nazis and Gestapo vet­er­ans and used a train­ing base at Bil­beis in the Delta. He also helped orga­nize and train the first Pales­tine ter­ror­ists and planned their ini­tial for­ays into Israel by way of the Gaza Strip about 1953–1954. . . . [Empha­sis added.]

Ibid.; p. 209.

2. Bor­man­n’s busi­ness oper­a­tions have includ­ed Jew­ish par­tic­i­pants as a mat­ter of strate­gic intent. In turn, this has giv­en the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion con­sid­er­able influ­ence in Israel.

. . . . Since the found­ing of Israel, the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many had paid out 85.3 bil­lion marks, by the end of 1977, to sur­vivors of the Holo­caust. East Ger­many ignores any such lia­bil­i­ty. From South Amer­i­ca, where pay­ment must be made with sub­tle­ty, the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion has made a sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tion. It has drawn many of the bright­est Jew­ish busi­ness­men into a par­tic­i­pa­to­ry role in the devel­op­ment of many of its cor­po­ra­tions, and many of these Jews share their pros­per­i­ty most gen­er­ous­ly with Israel. If their pro­pos­als are sound, they are even pro­vid­ed with a spe­cial­ly dis­pensed ven­ture cap­i­tal fund. I spoke with one Jew­ish busi­ness­man in Hart­ford, Con­necti­cut. He had arrived there quite unknown sev­er­al years before our con­ver­sa­tion, but with Bor­mann mon­ey as his lever­age. Today he is more than a mil­lion­aire, a qui­et leader in the com­mu­ni­ty with a cer­tain share of his prof­its ear­marked, as always, for his ven­ture cap­i­tal bene­fac­tors. This has tak­en place in many oth­er instances across Amer­i­ca and demon­strates how Bor­man­n’s peo­ple oper­ate in the con­tem­po­rary com­mer­cial world, in con­trast to the fan­ci­ful non­sense with which Nazis are described in so much ‘lit­er­a­ture.’ So much empha­sis is placed on select Jew­ish par­tic­i­pa­tion in Bor­mann com­pa­nies that when Adolf Eich­mann was seized and tak­en to Tel Aviv to stand tri­al, it pro­duced a shock wave in the Jew­ish and Ger­man com­mu­ni­ties of Buenos Aires. Jew­ish lead­ers informed the Israeli author­i­ties in no uncer­tain terms that this must nev­er hap­pen again because a rep­e­ti­tion would per­ma­nent­ly rup­ture rela­tions with the Ger­mans of Latin Amer­i­ca, as well as with the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion, and cut off the flow of Jew­ish mon­ey to Israel. It nev­er hap­pened again, and the pur­suit of Bor­mann qui­et­ed down at the request of these Jew­ish lead­ers. He is resid­ing in an Argen­tine safe haven, pro­tect­ed by the most effi­cient Ger­man infra­struc­ture in his­to­ry as well as by all those whose pros­per­i­ty depends on his well-being. Per­son­al invi­ta­tion is the only way to reach him. . . .

Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Man­ning; Copy­right 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stu­art Inc.; ISBN 0–8184-0309–8; pp. 226–227.

3. The pro­gram relates an inci­dent in which orga­nized crime king­pin Mey­er Lan­sky tried to black­mail the Bor­mann group, which result­ed in his removal from Israel.

. . . . A reveal­ing insight into this inter­na­tion­al finan­cial and indus­tri­al net­work was giv­en me by a mem­ber of the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion resid­ing in West Ger­many. Mey­er Lan­sky, he said, the finan­cial advi­sor to the Las Vegas—Miami under­world sent a mes­sage to Bor­mann through my West Ger­man SS con­tact. Lan­sky promised that if he received a piece of Bor­man­n’s action he would keep the Israeli agents off Bor­man­n’s back. ‘I have a very good rela­tion with the Israeli secret police’ was his claim, although he was to be kicked out of Israel when his pres­ence became too noted—and also at the urg­ing of Bor­man­n’s secu­ri­ty chief in South Amer­i­ca. At the time Lan­sky was in the pent­house suite of Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, in which he owned stock. He had fled to Israel to evade a U.S. fed­er­al war­rant for his arrest. He sent his mes­sage to Bor­mann through his bag man in Switzer­land, John Pull­man, also want­ed in the Unit­ed States on a fed­er­al war­rant. Lan­sky told Pull­man to make this offer ‘which he can’t refuse.’ The offer was for­ward­ed to Buenos Aires, where it was greet­ed with laugh­ter. When the laugh­ter died down, it was replaced with action. Mey­er was evict­ed from Israel and was told by Swiss author­i­ties to stay out of their coun­try, so he flew to South Amer­i­ca. There he offered any pres­i­dent who would give him asy­lum a cool $1 mil­lion in cash. He was turned down every­where and had to con­tin­ue his flight to Mia­mi, where U.S. mar­shals, alert­ed, were wait­ing to take him into cus­tody. . . .

Ibid.; pp. 227–228.

4. Next, the pro­gram presents the read­ing of long text excerpts con­tained in this post.

5. Then again, this should come as no sur­prise. Exam­ine the Hamas char­ter. The doc­u­men­t’s text has very lit­tle at all to do with Islam and is, for all intents and pur­pos­es, undi­lut­ed Nazi ide­ol­o­gy.

For our strug­gle against the Jews is extreme­ly wide-rang­ing and grave, so much so that it will need all the loy­al efforts we can wield, to be fol­lowed by fur­ther steps and rein­forced by suc­ces­sive bat­tal­ions from the mul­ti­far­i­ous Arab and Islam­ic world, until the ene­mies are defeat­ed and Allah’s vic­to­ry pre­vails. …The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Mus­lims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Mus­lim! there is a Jew hid­ing behind me, come on and kill him!

The ene­mies have been schem­ing for a long time, and they have con­sol­i­dat­ed their schemes, in order to achieve what they have achieved. They took advan­tage of key ele­ments in unfold­ing events, and accu­mu­lat­ed a huge and influ­en­tial mate­r­i­al wealth which they put to the ser­vice of imple­ment ing their dream. This wealth [per­mitted them to] take over con­trol of the world media such as news agen­cies, the press, pub­li­ca­tion hous­es, broad­cast­ing and the like. [They also used this] wealth to stir rev­o­lu­tions in var­i­ous parts of the globe in order to ful­fill their inter­ests and pick the fruits. They stood behind the French and the Com­mu­nist Rev­o­lu­tions and behind most of the rev­o­lu­tions we hear about here and there.

They also used the mon­ey to estab­lish clan­des­tine orga­ni­za­tions which are spread­ing around the world, in order to destroy soci­eties and car­ry out Zion­ist inter­ests. Such orga­ni­za­tions are: the Freema­sons, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, B’nai B’rith and the like. All of them are destruc­tive spy­ing orga­ni­za­tions. They also used the mon­ey to take over con­trol of the Impe­ria ist states and made them col­o­nize many coun­tries in order to exploit the wealth of those coun­tries and spread their corrup­tion there­in. As regards local and world wars, it has come to pass and no one objects, that they stood behind World War I, so as to wipe out the Islam­ic Caliphate. They col­lect­ed mate­r­i­al gains and took con­trol of many sources of wealth. They obtained the Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion and estab­lished the League of Nations in order to rule the world by means of that orga­ni­za­tion. They also stood behind World War II, where they col­lect­ed immense ben­e­fits from trad­ing with war mate­ri­als and pre­pared for the estab­lish­ment of their state. They inspired the estab­lish ment of the Unit­ed Nations and the Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil to replace the League of Nations, in order to rule the world by their inter­me­di­ary. There was no war that broke out any where with out their fin­ger prints on it…

Their scheme has been laid out in the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion, and their present [con­duct] is the best proof of what is said there… With­in the cir­cle of the con­flict with world Zion­ism, the Hamas regards itself the spear head and the avant-garde. It joins its efforts to all those who are active on the Pales­tin­ian scene, but more steps need to be tak­en by the Arab and Islam­ic peo­ples and Islam­ic asso­ci­a­tions through out the Arab and Islam­ic world in order to make pos­si­ble the next round with the Jews, the mer­chants of war.

“The Hamas, MI5, BBC Axis” by Melanie Philips; 6/19/2007.

7. “Right Before Hamas Attacked Some­one Short­ed Israeli Stocks And Funds;” Moon of Alaba­ma; 12/04/23 

The Israeli Haaretz head­lines:

Did Hamas Make Bil­lions Bet­ting Against Israeli Shares Before Octo­ber 7 Mas­sacre?
Giant gam­bles against Israel on the mar­kets in Tel Aviv and Wall Street days before Hamas’ attack made bil­lions. Some­body seems to have known about the plan in advance

An archived ver­sion is now avail­able.

We know that Bat­teridge’s law of head­lines says:

Any head­line that ends in a ques­tion mark can be answered by the word no.

It was there­by not Hamas which prof­it­ed from unusu­al short posi­tions but like­ly some­one else.

The Haaretz sto­ry is based on a very recent study by two law pro­fes­sors with expe­ri­ence in mar­ket reg­u­la­tions from New York Uni­ver­si­ty and Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty.

A PDF file of the study, Trad­ing on Ter­ror?, is avail­able at the Haaretz site.

Its abstract says:

Recent schol­ar­ship shows that informed traders increas­ing­ly dis­guise trades in eco­nom­i­cal­ly linked secu­ri­ties such as exchange-trad­ed funds (ETFs). Link­ing that work to long­stand­ing lit­er­a­ture on finan­cial mar­kets’ reac­tions to mil­i­tary con­flict, we doc­u­ment a sig­nif­i­cant spike in short sell­ing in the prin­ci­pal Israeli-com­pa­ny ETF days before the Octo­ber 7 Hamas attack. The short sell­ing that day far exceed­ed the short sell­ing that occurred dur­ing numer­ous oth­er peri­ods of cri­sis, includ­ing the reces­sion fol­low­ing the finan­cial cri­sis, the 2014 Israel-Gaza war, and the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic.

Sim­i­lar­ly, we iden­ti­fy increas­es in short sell­ing before the attack in dozens of Israeli com­pa­nies trad­ed in Tel Aviv. For one Israeli com­pa­ny alone, 4.43 mil­lion new shares sold short over the Sep­tem­ber 14 to Octo­ber 5 peri­od yield­ed prof­its (or approx­i­mates avoid­ed loss­es) of 3.2 bil­lion NIS on that addi­tion­al short sell­ing. Although we see no aggre­gate increase in short­ing of Israeli com­pa­nies on U.S. exchanges, we do iden­ti­fy a sharp and unusu­al increase, just before the attacks, in trad­ing in risky short-dat­ed options on these com­pa­nies expir­ing just after the attacks.

We iden­ti­fy sim­i­lar pat­terns in the Israeli ETF at times when it was report­ed that Hamas was plan­ning to exe­cute a sim­i­lar attack as in Octo­ber. Our find­ings sug­gest that traders informed about the com­ing attacks prof­it­ed from these trag­ic events, and con­sis­tent with pri­or lit­er­a­ture we show that trad­ing of this kind occurs in gaps in U.S. and inter­na­tion­al enforce­ment of legal pro­hi­bi­tions on informed trad­ing. We con­tribute to the grow­ing lit­er­a­ture on trad­ing relat­ed to geopo­lit­i­cal events and offer sug­ges­tions for pol­i­cy­mak­ers con­cerned about prof­itable trad­ing on the basis of infor­ma­tion about com­ing mil­i­tary con­flict.

3.2 bil­lion New Israeli Shekel are about $800+ mil­lion. And, as I under­stand it, those only were the prof­its from a small part of the whole oper­a­tion.

I am not qual­i­fied suf­fi­cient­ly to judge the study but the quot­ed sources and data seem rea­son­able.

EIS is an exchange-trad­ed fund that tracks Israeli shares in New York. The spike in shorts vol­ume of EIS was indeed hefty.

The short options were only for a very lim­it­ed peri­od. At least some would have expired on Octo­ber 13.

So it def­i­nite­ly looks as if on Mon­day, Octo­ber 2, some­one was sure enough on that soon some­thing ‘bad’ would hap­pen to Israel. That some­one had enough mar­ket knowl­edge and mon­ey to take the risk of a false alarm in exchange for a huge poten­tial prof­it.

Who that per­son or group was is for any­one to guess.

8. “Israelis Aban­don Polit­i­cal Left Over Secu­ri­ty Con­cerns After Octo­ber 7” by Sheera Frenkel; The New York Times; 12/19/2023.

9. “Israel Found the Hamas Mon­ey Machine Years Ago. Nobody Turned It Off” by Jo Beck­er and Justin Scheck; The New York Times; 12/16/2023.

. . . . That mon­ey, Amer­i­can and Israeli offi­cials now say, helped Hamas build up its mil­i­tary infra­struc­ture and helped lay the ground­work for the Oct. 7 attacks. . . .

Discussion

10 comments for “FTR#‘s 1316 & 1317 Fireside Rant about the Gaza War and Israeli Palestinian Conflict Parts 1 and 2”

  1. 80 per­cent of famine cur­rent­ly being expe­ri­enced around the globe is tak­ing place in Gaza. That’s the chill­ing sta­tis­tic recent­ly shared by Arif Husain, chief econ­o­mist for the UN World Food Pro­gram, who described the hunger being expe­ri­enced by Gazans as unprece­dent­ed in its sever­i­ty. It’s a cat­a­stro­phe. And also, seem­ing­ly, part of the plan of Israel’s far right gov­ern­ment. At least that’s what we can rea­son­ably con­clude based on the dis­turb­ing state­ments recent­ly made by Israeli Finance Min­is­ter Beza­lel Smotrich, who explained in an inter­view how the only long-term hope for Gazan is to per­ma­nent­ly reduce the pop­u­la­tion of 2 mil­lion peo­ple down to about 100,000–200,000. Through ‘vol­un­tary’ per­ma­nent relo­ca­tion to neigh­bor­ing coun­tries. “Let’s think out of the box,” as Smotrich put it.

    As we’re going to see, while the Israeli gov­ern­ment insists that the star­va­tion tak­ing place is due to a com­bi­na­tion of Hamas’s theft of aid sup­plies and the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty not deliv­er­ing enough aid in the first place, Philippe Laz­zari­ni, the head of the Unit­ed Nations agency that aids Pales­tini­ans, calls that “base­less mis­in­for­ma­tion” and points to the enor­mous logis­ti­cal hur­dles imposed by Israel on the deliv­ery of that aid. Beyond that, Israeli offi­cials actu­al­ly warned that they were going to be block­ing aid from enter­ing Gaza as the war was unfold­ing, with Defense Min­is­ter Yoav Gal­lant stat­ing on Octo­ber 9, “I have ordered a com­plete siege on the Gaza Strip: There will be no elec­tric­i­ty, no food, no fuel, every­thing is closed...We are fight­ing human ani­mals, and we are act­ing accord­ing­ly.” And while Israel has, in recent weeks, allowed for 100 to 120 trucks to enter a day, that’s just a frac­tion of the esti­mate 500 trucks that are need­ed.

    So with star­va­tion grow­ing in Gaza, it appears that the Netanyahu gov­ern­ment has adopt­ed a strat­e­gy of using hunger to encour­age the ‘vol­un­tary’ mass relo­ca­tion of the Gazan pop­u­lace. Which is the kind of plan, at best, will result in the war crime of mass eth­nic cleans­ing. But keep in mind that if it does­n’t work, the end result is still going to be the mass depop­u­la­tion of Gaza in the form of dead starved Gazans. And this can only go on for so long before that phys­i­o­log­i­cal break­ing point is reached across that pop­u­la­tion of 2 mil­lion peo­ple. We’re enter­ing the third month of this war. That’s three months of intense star­va­tion already, with no real end in sight. And as Finance Min­is­ter Smotrich made obvi­ous, the worse that human­i­tar­i­an cri­sis gets the more we’re going to be hear­ing about the need for a mass ‘vol­un­tary’ relo­ca­tion plan:

    The Jerusalem

    Smotrich: Day after is dif­fer­ent with only 200,000 Arabs in Gaza

    “What needs to be done in the Gaza Strip is to encour­age emi­gra­tion,” Smotrich told Army Radio.

    By TOVAH LAZAROFF
    DECEMBER 31, 2023 18:52
    Updat­ed: JANUARY 1, 2024 13:50

    The best option for Gaza would be for the Pales­tini­ans to vol­un­tar­i­ly immi­grate to oth­er coun­tries, leav­ing only a small Arab minor­i­ty that sup­ports Israel, Finance Min­is­ter Beza­lel Smotrich told Army Radio on Sunday.“If in Gaza there will be 100,000 or 200,000 Arabs and not 2 mil­lion the entire con­ver­sa­tion on ‘the day after’ will look dif­fer­ent,” he said.

    “Let’s think out of the box,” urged Smotrich who heads the Reli­gious Zion­ist Par­ty. He is among those who believe it’s imper­a­tive to recon­struct Israel set­tle­ments in Gaza as the best way to ensure that ter­ror groups such as Hamas do not return to that enclave to threat­en Israel.

    Gaza can’t con­tin­ue to be a “hot­house” in which 2 mil­lion peo­ple are nur­tured by hatred of Israel and fed with the idea of destroy­ing it, he said.

    “This is what has been hap­pen­ing in Gaza for 75 years,” he said.

    Smotrich has made sim­i­lar com­ments in the past

    What needs to hap­pen is emi­gra­tion through an inter­na­tion­al plan, by which the res­i­dents of Gaza would be vol­un­tar­i­ly relo­cat­ed, Smotrich said.

    “They [Pales­tini­ans] want to go. They have been forcibly held against their will in a ghet­to for 75 years” in pover­ty and told that the only res­o­lu­tion to the sit­u­a­tion is to destroy Israel and return to Haifa and Tiberias, Smotrich said.

    “I think that we have to solve the prob­lem of Gaza and to reha­bil­i­tate its res­i­dents” in oth­er coun­tries, Smotrich said.

    ...

    Israel had with­drawn from Gaza in 2005, destroy­ing 21 Jew­ish set­tle­ments there, and hand­ing the area over to the Pales­tin­ian Author­i­ty. Hamas forcibly seized con­trol of the enclave in 2007 in a bloody coup, forc­ing the depar­ture of the Pales­tin­ian Authority’s Fatah par­ty.

    The Unit­ed States and the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty want to see a return of the PA to Gaza and have reject­ed any plans to relo­cate Pales­tin­ian res­i­dents. The PA, Egypt, and Jor­dan have issued sim­i­lar con­dem­na­tions.

    In a speech on Sun­day, Pales­tin­ian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Abbas said, “We will not allow dis­place­ment, whether from the Gaza Strip or the West Bank.”

    Smotrich pushed back stat­ing that in the after­math of the Hamas-led Octo­ber 7 mas­sacre against South­ern Israel, in which over 1,200 peo­ple were killed and some 250 were tak­en hostage, the only way to ensure Israeli secu­ri­ty was vol­un­tary relo­ca­tion of many of the Pales­tini­ans in Gaza.

    Once the war is over and Hamas has been destroyed, set­tle­ments must be rebuilt, he explained.

    “We have to con­trol the ter­ri­to­ry and to con­trol the ter­ri­to­ry there must be a civil­ian pres­ence there,” he said.

    ...

    ————–

    “Smotrich: Day after is dif­fer­ent with only 200,000 Arabs in Gaza” By TOVAH LAZAROFF; The Jerusalem; 12/31/2023

    ““Let’s think out of the box,” urged Smotrich who heads the Reli­gious Zion­ist Par­ty. He is among those who believe it’s imper­a­tive to recon­struct Israel set­tle­ments in Gaza as the best way to ensure that ter­ror groups such as Hamas do not return to that enclave to threat­en Israel.”

    ‘Think­ing out of the box’. That’s how Finance Min­is­ter Beza­lel Smotrich, of the far right Reli­gious Zion­ist Par­ty, spun his plan for the per­ma­nent eth­nic cleans­ing of 90 per­cent of Gaza. But that was­n’t his only spin. Smotrich kept empha­siz­ing how this need­ed to be a “vol­un­tary” process. As if there was any­thing vol­un­tary about the deci­sions civil­ians make in a war zone:

    ...
    Gaza can’t con­tin­ue to be a “hot­house” in which 2 mil­lion peo­ple are nur­tured by hatred of Israel and fed with the idea of destroy­ing it, he said.

    “This is what has been hap­pen­ing in Gaza for 75 years,” he said.

    ...

    What needs to hap­pen is emi­gra­tion through an inter­na­tion­al plan, by which the res­i­dents of Gaza would be vol­un­tar­i­ly relo­cat­ed, Smotrich said.

    “They [Pales­tini­ans] want to go. They have been forcibly held against their will in a ghet­to for 75 years” in pover­ty and told that the only res­o­lu­tion to the sit­u­a­tion is to destroy Israel and return to Haifa and Tiberias, Smotrich said.

    “I think that we have to solve the prob­lem of Gaza and to reha­bil­i­tate its res­i­dents” in oth­er coun­tries, Smotrich said.
    ...

    So get a bet­ter sense of how the Netanyahu gov­ern­ment is like­ly going to impose this ‘vol­un­tary’ man­date on the Gazan pop­u­la­tion to just per­ma­nent­ly leave, here’s a reminder that the Gazan pop­u­la­tion is cur­rent­ly expe­ri­enc­ing the worst star­va­tion in the world today, with half of Gazans already at risk of star­va­tion. Half may not be the 90 per­cent fig­ure Smotrich is shoot­ing for, but it’s progress. It’s also a war crime and one with no end in sight:

    The New York Times

    Half of Gazans Are at Risk of Starv­ing, U.N. Warns

    More than 90 per­cent of Pales­tini­ans in the ter­ri­to­ry say they have reg­u­lar­ly gone with­out food for a whole day, accord­ing to the Unit­ed Nations.

    By Liam Stack, Gaya Gup­ta and Abu Bakr Bashir
    Jan. 1, 2024

    Walaa Zaiter’s four chil­dren have been hun­gry for weeks, but she can bare­ly find them food.

    They ask for sand­wich­es, fruit juice and home­made Pales­tin­ian dish­es like she used to cook before the war began. In a fleet­ing moment of inter­net access, she said, she once caught the chil­dren hud­dled around her phone to watch a YouTube video of some­one eat­ing French fries.

    The most they can hope for these days, she said in a recent tele­phone inter­view, is a can of peas, some cheese and an ener­gy bar dis­trib­uted as a family’s rations by the Unit­ed Nations once a week in Rafah, a city in south­ern Gaza where they fled to in ear­ly Decem­ber to escape Israeli bom­bard­ment far­ther north. It is not near­ly enough to feed her fam­i­ly of sev­en.

    ...

    Israel’s war in Gaza has cre­at­ed a human­i­tar­i­an cat­a­stro­phe, with half of the pop­u­la­tion of about 2.2 mil­lion at risk of star­va­tion and 90 per­cent say­ing that they reg­u­lar­ly go with­out food for a whole day, the Unit­ed Nations said in a recent report.

    Arif Husain, chief econ­o­mist at the World Food Pro­gram, said the human­i­tar­i­an dis­as­ter in Gaza was among the worst he had ever seen. The ter­ri­to­ry appears to meet at least the first cri­te­ria of a famine, with 20 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion fac­ing an extreme lack of food, he said.

    “I’ve been doing this for about 20 years,” Mr. Husain said. “I’ve been to pret­ty much any con­flict, whether Yemen, whether it was South Sudan, north­east Nige­ria, Ethiopia, you name it. And I have nev­er seen any­thing like this, both in terms of its scale, its mag­ni­tude, but also at the pace that this has unfold­ed.”

    Eylon Levy, an Israeli gov­ern­ment spokesman, con­tend­ed that Israel did not stand in the way of human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and blamed Hamas, the Pales­tin­ian group that rules Gaza, for any short­ages. He accused Hamas of seiz­ing some of the aid for its own uses. He did not pro­vide evi­dence, but West­ern and Arab offi­cials have said that Hamas is known to have a large stock­pile of sup­plies, includ­ing food, fuel and med­i­cine.

    ...

    More than 20,000 Pales­tini­ans have been killed in the war, accord­ing to the Gaza Health Min­istry, and it has destroyed much of the territory’s civil­ian infra­struc­ture and econ­o­my. Israel has also imposed a siege on Gaza for months now, cut­ting off most water, food, fuel and med­i­cine.

    Philippe Laz­zari­ni, the head of the Unit­ed Nations agency that aids Pales­tini­ans, said he recent­ly saw des­per­ate­ly hun­gry Gazans stop the organization’s aid trucks in Rafah, raid their food sup­plies and devour them on the spot.

    “I wit­nessed this first­hand,” he told a news con­fer­ence in Gene­va two days after vis­it­ing Rafah at the south­ern end of Gaza. “Every­where you go, peo­ple are hun­gry, des­per­ate and ter­ri­fied.”

    Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of col­lec­tive­ly pun­ish­ing Gaza civil­ians for the actions of Hamas and of “using star­va­tion of civil­ians as a method of war­fare.” Both are poten­tial war crimes.

    “For over two months, Israel has been depriv­ing Gaza’s pop­u­la­tion of food and water, a pol­i­cy spurred on or endorsed by high-rank­ing Israeli offi­cials and reflect­ing an intent to starve civil­ians as a method of war­fare,” said Omar Shakir, the Israel and Pales­tine direc­tor at Human Rights Watch.

    “World lead­ers should be speak­ing out against this abhor­rent war crime, which has dev­as­tat­ing effects on Gaza’s pop­u­la­tion,” he said.

    At the begin­ning of the war, Israeli offi­cials vowed to deny human­i­tar­i­an aid to Gaza.

    “I have ordered a com­plete siege on the Gaza Strip: There will be no elec­tric­i­ty, no food, no fuel, every­thing is closed,” Defense Min­is­ter Yoav Gal­lant said on Oct. 9. “We are fight­ing human ani­mals, and we are act­ing accord­ing­ly.”

    Noth­ing was allowed in for the first two weeks. Then some deliv­er­ies began to flow, but no fuel was allowed in until Nov. 18.

    In recent weeks, Israel has allowed 100 to 120 trucks to enter Gaza each day, said Dr. Guillemette Thomas, a Jerusalem-based med­ical coor­di­na­tor for Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders. That is still far less than the 500 trucks that entered each day before the war, and far below what is need­ed, she said.

    Mr. Levy, the gov­ern­ment spokesman, pushed back recent­ly against the idea that Israel was pre­vent­ing or slow­ing the flow of aid.

    “We cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly reject the despi­ca­ble and libelous alle­ga­tions that Israel is some­how obstruct­ing the deliv­ery of human­i­tar­i­an aid into Gaza,” he said on Dec. 20.

    “If they want more food and water to reach Gaza, they should send more food and water to Gaza,” he added, refer­ring to inter­na­tion­al aid groups. “And while they’re send­ing more aid, they should con­demn Hamas for hijack­ing aid deliv­er­ies and divert­ing them to its fight­ers. Their silence is shame­ful. We will not accept inter­na­tion­al offi­cials deflect­ing blame onto us to cov­er up the fact they’re cov­er­ing up for Hamas.”

    But Mr. Laz­zari­ni said on Fri­day that it was “base­less mis­in­for­ma­tion” to blame the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty for the lack of aid into Gaza. He said deliv­er­ies were “lim­it­ed in quan­ti­ties and rid­dled with logis­ti­cal hur­dles” imposed by Israel.

    Those include a com­pli­cat­ed and lengthy ver­i­fi­ca­tion process, a ban on the deliv­ery of com­mer­cial goods to mar­kets and pri­vate busi­ness­es, and restrict­ed access to much of Gaza, either because of airstrikes, fight­ing or Israeli mil­i­tary check­points.

    Gaza spi­raled so quick­ly into human­i­tar­i­an cat­a­stro­phe when the war began because it had already been deep in cri­sis for many years.

    Israel and Egypt imposed a block­ade on the ter­ri­to­ry after Hamas seized pow­er in 2007, large­ly cut­ting off Gaza’s eco­nom­ic activ­i­ty with the out­side world. The block­ade made up to 80 per­cent of Gazans reliant on human­i­tar­i­an aid even before the war, the Unit­ed Nations said.

    Azmi Keshawi, an ana­lyst for the research orga­ni­za­tion Inter­na­tion­al Cri­sis Group, said that even if Israel says it does not view its war as one against Gaza’s pop­u­la­tion, it is civil­ians who are pay­ing the heav­i­est price.

    “Our dai­ly night­mare is to go hunt for food,” said Mr. Keshawi, who fled his home in Gaza City in the north and now lives in a tent on a side­walk in Rafah with his chil­dren. One of his chil­dren was injured by an Israeli airstrike, he said.

    “You can­not find flour,” he said. “You can­not find yeast to make bread. You can­not find any kind of food — toma­toes, onions, cucum­bers, egg­plant, lemon, orange juice.”

    When food can be found for sale, he said, the prices have sky­rock­et­ed. In Rafah, a sack of flour that might have cost $13 before the war now sells for $138 to $165.

    Thou­sands of dis­placed peo­ple who fled to Rafah, one of the few so-called safe zones in Gaza today, now strug­gle to pay for a can of tuna, which once cost less than 30 cents and is now more than $1.50, or a can of corned beef, which once cost about $1.40 but now is more than $5.50, he said.

    “These peo­ple left home with no mon­ey,” Mr. Keshawi said. “Sur­viv­ing becomes a chal­lenge.”

    Tahrir Muqat, 46, said she had fled her home in Gaza City and now lived with four rel­a­tives, includ­ing a baby, in a school in Mag­hazi refugee camp in cen­tral Gaza. There is vir­tu­al­ly no reg­u­lar run­ning water, and on the rare occa­sions when it does turn on, peo­ple stock­pile it in the toi­let bowl and drink from that, she said.

    She waits in line for hours each day to get two packs of feta cheese and three crack­ers from aid work­ers at a shel­ter. Then she and her rel­a­tives go from door to door, beg­ging for scraps at ruined hous­es crammed with dis­placed peo­ple.

    “Most of the time we get a ‘No!’ with insult­ing com­ments like ‘Go back to Gaza City! Every­thing has become too expen­sive since you arrived!’” Ms. Muqat said.

    She said she had once seen chil­dren eat­ing rot­ten toma­toes that they had found in the street.

    ...

    ———–

    “Half of Gazans Are at Risk of Starv­ing, U.N. Warns” by Liam Stack, Gaya Gup­ta and Abu Bakr Bashir; The New York Times; 01/01/2024

    “Arif Husain, chief econ­o­mist at the World Food Pro­gram, said the human­i­tar­i­an dis­as­ter in Gaza was among the worst he had ever seen. The ter­ri­to­ry appears to meet at least the first cri­te­ria of a famine, with 20 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion fac­ing an extreme lack of food, he said.”

    With half of Gazans already at risk of star­va­tion, we should­n’t be sur­prised to learn that 1 in 5 are already starv­ing. With that num­ber grow­ing by the day. 90 per­cent of Gazans now report reg­u­lar­ly going a whole day with­out food. Is this the ‘out of the box’ per­sua­sion Smotrich was refer­ring to? Because it’s hard not to notice how mass star­va­tion is accom­plish­ing his stat­ed goal. Gazans are inevitably going to be forced to ‘vol­un­tar­i­ly’ leave giv­en the alter­na­tive of sim­ply starv­ing to death:

    ...
    Israel’s war in Gaza has cre­at­ed a human­i­tar­i­an cat­a­stro­phe, with half of the pop­u­la­tion of about 2.2 mil­lion at risk of star­va­tion and 90 per­cent say­ing that they reg­u­lar­ly go with­out food for a whole day, the Unit­ed Nations said in a recent report.

    ...

    “I’ve been doing this for about 20 years,” Mr. Husain said. “I’ve been to pret­ty much any con­flict, whether Yemen, whether it was South Sudan, north­east Nige­ria, Ethiopia, you name it. And I have nev­er seen any­thing like this, both in terms of its scale, its mag­ni­tude, but also at the pace that this has unfold­ed.”

    ...

    More than 20,000 Pales­tini­ans have been killed in the war, accord­ing to the Gaza Health Min­istry, and it has destroyed much of the territory’s civil­ian infra­struc­ture and econ­o­my. Israel has also imposed a siege on Gaza for months now, cut­ting off most water, food, fuel and med­i­cine.

    ...

    At the begin­ning of the war, Israeli offi­cials vowed to deny human­i­tar­i­an aid to Gaza.

    “I have ordered a com­plete siege on the Gaza Strip: There will be no elec­tric­i­ty, no food, no fuel, every­thing is closed,” Defense Min­is­ter Yoav Gal­lant said on Oct. 9. “We are fight­ing human ani­mals, and we are act­ing accord­ing­ly.”

    Noth­ing was allowed in for the first two weeks. Then some deliv­er­ies began to flow, but no fuel was allowed in until Nov. 18.

    In recent weeks, Israel has allowed 100 to 120 trucks to enter Gaza each day, said Dr. Guillemette Thomas, a Jerusalem-based med­ical coor­di­na­tor for Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders. That is still far less than the 500 trucks that entered each day before the war, and far below what is need­ed, she said.
    ...

    The Israeli gov­ern­ment dis­miss­es crit­i­cism that Israel’s actions are cre­at­ing these con­di­tions and insist­ing that it’s both Hamas steal­ing aid and the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty not send­ing enough:

    ...
    Eylon Levy, an Israeli gov­ern­ment spokesman, con­tend­ed that Israel did not stand in the way of human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and blamed Hamas, the Pales­tin­ian group that rules Gaza, for any short­ages. He accused Hamas of seiz­ing some of the aid for its own uses. He did not pro­vide evi­dence, but West­ern and Arab offi­cials have said that Hamas is known to have a large stock­pile of sup­plies, includ­ing food, fuel and med­i­cine.

    ...

    Mr. Levy, the gov­ern­ment spokesman, pushed back recent­ly against the idea that Israel was pre­vent­ing or slow­ing the flow of aid.

    “We cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly reject the despi­ca­ble and libelous alle­ga­tions that Israel is some­how obstruct­ing the deliv­ery of human­i­tar­i­an aid into Gaza,” he said on Dec. 20.

    “If they want more food and water to reach Gaza, they should send more food and water to Gaza,” he added, refer­ring to inter­na­tion­al aid groups. “And while they’re send­ing more aid, they should con­demn Hamas for hijack­ing aid deliv­er­ies and divert­ing them to its fight­ers. Their silence is shame­ful. We will not accept inter­na­tion­al offi­cials deflect­ing blame onto us to cov­er up the fact they’re cov­er­ing up for Hamas.”
    ...

    But Philippe Laz­zari­ni, the head of the Unit­ed Nations agency that aids Pales­tini­ans calls those Israeli claims of inad­e­quate inter­na­tion­al sup­port as “base­less mis­in­for­ma­tion” that obscures the enor­mous logis­ti­cal hur­dles being imposed by Israel on the deliv­ery of that aid. The Israeli gov­ern­ment spokesman was trolling the world in the face of this unfold­ing cat­a­stro­phe:

    ...
    Philippe Laz­zari­ni, the head of the Unit­ed Nations agency that aids Pales­tini­ans, said he recent­ly saw des­per­ate­ly hun­gry Gazans stop the organization’s aid trucks in Rafah, raid their food sup­plies and devour them on the spot.

    “I wit­nessed this first­hand,” he told a news con­fer­ence in Gene­va two days after vis­it­ing Rafah at the south­ern end of Gaza. “Every­where you go, peo­ple are hun­gry, des­per­ate and ter­ri­fied.”

    Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of col­lec­tive­ly pun­ish­ing Gaza civil­ians for the actions of Hamas and of “using star­va­tion of civil­ians as a method of war­fare.” Both are poten­tial war crimes.

    “For over two months, Israel has been depriv­ing Gaza’s pop­u­la­tion of food and water, a pol­i­cy spurred on or endorsed by high-rank­ing Israeli offi­cials and reflect­ing an intent to starve civil­ians as a method of war­fare,” said Omar Shakir, the Israel and Pales­tine direc­tor at Human Rights Watch.

    “World lead­ers should be speak­ing out against this abhor­rent war crime, which has dev­as­tat­ing effects on Gaza’s pop­u­la­tion,” he said.

    ...

    But Mr. Laz­zari­ni said on Fri­day that it was “base­less mis­in­for­ma­tion” to blame the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty for the lack of aid into Gaza. He said deliv­er­ies were “lim­it­ed in quan­ti­ties and rid­dled with logis­ti­cal hur­dles” imposed by Israel.

    Those include a com­pli­cat­ed and lengthy ver­i­fi­ca­tion process, a ban on the deliv­ery of com­mer­cial goods to mar­kets and pri­vate busi­ness­es, and restrict­ed access to much of Gaza, either because of airstrikes, fight­ing or Israeli mil­i­tary check­points.
    ...

    And don’t for­get that it’s not just the lack of food. There’s no reg­u­lar run­ning water either. And as bad as star­va­tion is, dehy­dra­tion will kill you soon­er:

    ...
    Tahrir Muqat, 46, said she had fled her home in Gaza City and now lived with four rel­a­tives, includ­ing a baby, in a school in Mag­hazi refugee camp in cen­tral Gaza. There is vir­tu­al­ly no reg­u­lar run­ning water, and on the rare occa­sions when it does turn on, peo­ple stock­pile it in the toi­let bowl and drink from that, she said.

    She waits in line for hours each day to get two packs of feta cheese and three crack­ers from aid work­ers at a shel­ter. Then she and her rel­a­tives go from door to door, beg­ging for scraps at ruined hous­es crammed with dis­placed peo­ple.

    “Most of the time we get a ‘No!’ with insult­ing com­ments like ‘Go back to Gaza City! Every­thing has become too expen­sive since you arrived!’” Ms. Muqat said.

    She said she had once seen chil­dren eat­ing rot­ten toma­toes that they had found in the street.
    ...

    And then there’s all the dis­ease that comes with both no food and bad water. If the Gazans don’t flee, they are going to die. Those are the con­di­tions that have been cre­at­ed on the ground. Con­di­tions seem­ing­ly designed to encour­age as much ‘vol­un­tary’ emi­gra­tion as pos­si­ble. The sit­u­a­tion is dis­turbing­ly going accord­ing to the plan Smotrich seemed to be hint­ing at. The only ingre­di­ent that’s still need­ed is a place for them to flee to, with none of Israel’s neigh­bors yet will­ing to take in mil­lions of now starv­ing Gazans. Will the deep­en­ing of this human­i­tar­i­an cri­sis change those stances or solid­i­fy them? Time will tell, but not too much more time. Peo­ple need to eat. We’re either going to see a surge in aid deliv­er­ies. A surge in peo­ple flee­ing to oth­er coun­tries. Or a surge in death. Or maybe all of the above.

    But no mat­ter what hap­pens in the short run, it appears Israel is plan­ning on a depop­u­lat­ed Gaza in the long-run. Which is going to be a long-term war crime that’s only going to fes­ter for decades to come and erode what’s left of Israel’s inter­na­tion­al sup­port. It’s often point­ed out that, while you can mil­i­tar­i­ly defeat Hamas, you can’t mil­i­tar­i­ly defeat the idea of Hamas. And, while true, it’s also worth keep­ing in mind that the eth­nic cleans­ing of Gaza and oth­er war crimes envi­sioned by the cur­rent Israeli gov­ern­ment do actu­al­ly rep­re­sent a great way to defeat the idea of Israel. Or at least the idea of a non-fas­cist Israel that any non-fas­cist gov­ern­ment would want to sup­port.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 3, 2024, 5:38 pm
  2. It’s not real­ly a sur­prise, but it was treat­ed as such: Ben­jamin Netany­hu has been pub­licly rul­ing out any sort of “two-state solu­tion” for Pales­tine, much to the cha­grin of the Biden admin­is­tra­tion. And while it’s not hard to imag­ine that this has only increased the Biden admin­is­tra­tion’s desire to see Netanyahu replaced as soon as pos­si­ble, it’s worth not­ing that oppo­si­tion to a two-state solu­tion is no longer just what Netanyahu and his sup­port­ers back. Israeli, as a whole, has grown far more con­ser­v­a­tive since the Octo­ber 7 attack, with a grow­ing con­sen­sus that a much hard­er line needs to be tak­en with respect to the Pales­tini­ans which now includ­ed wide­spread oppo­si­tion to any sort of two-state solu­tion. It’s just part of what appears to be a pro­found social trans­for­ma­tion that’s tak­en place inside Israel, with the Israeli left see­ing its sup­port basi­cal­ly col­lapse.

    And this is all hap­pen­ing at the same time Netanyahu’s polls con­tin­ue to drop and more and more Israelis lose faith in his abil­i­ty to faith­ful­ly pros­e­cute this war. It’s the grim real­i­ty fac­ing any sort of prospects of a long-term peace deal emerg­ing from this: the Israelis by and large aren’t inter­est­ed in long-term peace deals at this point. Long-term peace­ful solu­tions have been tak­en off the table.

    But there’s anoth­er angle to this sto­ry that could end up being increas­ing­ly impor­tant over the long run: the Israeli left was increas­ing­ly giv­ing up on Israeli and con­sid­er­ing mov­ing abroad well before the Octo­ber 7 attacks. Netanyahu’s gov­ern­ment of extrem­ists and his push to defang the judi­cia­ry was the final straw for a grow­ing num­ber of Israelis, with large num­ber of doc­tors, aca­d­e­mics, and tech work­ers start­ing to look into mov­ing abroad. As ex-Mossad chief Tamir Par­do put it, “If we lose high tech, if we lose the doc­tors, if we lose the aca­d­e­mics, the coun­try won’t be here,” he said, while clar­i­fy­ing that Israel may end up look­ing like a cen­tral African coun­try “that’s stuck in the ’60s of the last cen­tu­ry.” Par­do went on to char­ac­ter­ize the new gov­ern­ment of extrem­ists as “worse than the KKK” in their racism and big­otry.

    That’s all part of the grim con­text of pub­lic spar­ring between Netanyahu and the Biden White House in recent days over a two state solu­tion. The real­i­ty is a grow­ing por­tion of Israeli has no inter­est in a two state solu­tion. And the part of Israeli soci­ety that is inter­est­ed is shrink­ing and pos­si­bly going to be giv­ing up and leav­ing the coun­try entire­ly in com­ing years as this dark trend plays out.

    Ok, first, here’s a NY Times excerpt from just over a month ago about the pro­found shifts in the Israeli psy­che. Shifts all in one direc­tion, towards a hyper-con­ser­v­a­tive state and mil­i­ta­rized solu­tions:

    The New York Times

    Israelis Aban­don Polit­i­cal Left Over Secu­ri­ty Con­cerns After Oct. 7

    Dis­en­chant­ed by the prospect for peace after a dev­as­tat­ing ter­ror­ist attack, Israelis are becom­ing more con­ser­v­a­tive in their pol­i­tics.

    By Sheera Frenkel
    Report­ing from Tel Aviv
    Dec. 19, 2023

    Maya Mizrachi gri­maced at the group of eight Israelis call­ing for peace with Pales­tini­ans in front of Israel’s mil­i­tary head­quar­ters this month in Tel Aviv.

    A year ago, Ms. Mizrachi, 25, had protest­ed along­side them, car­ry­ing a sign that called for Israel to end its mil­i­tary occu­pa­tion of the West Bank. Now, she had bumped into them by acci­dent, on her way home from a near­by ral­ly call­ing for the return of Israeli cit­i­zens held hostage in the Gaza Strip.

    “I don’t think there are more than eight peo­ple in all of Israel who would protest against the army right now,” said Ms. Mizrachi, who is a stu­dent. “I can’t even bring myself to do it.”

    She is one of a grow­ing num­ber of Israeli cit­i­zens eschew­ing the pol­i­tics of the left — ideas that include pro­mot­ing peace talks with the Pales­tini­ans, end­ing Israel’s occu­pa­tion of the West Bank and sup­port­ing a two-state solu­tion — since Oct. 7, when Hamas gun­men crossed into Israel in a sur­prise attack and killed rough­ly 1,200 peo­ple.

    In the well­spring of sad­ness, anger and fear that has gripped Israel since that day, a con­sen­sus has emerged that Israel needs to take a hard­er line with the Pales­tini­ans and embrace an even more mil­i­ta­rized state. And while pub­lic opin­ion of Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu is fal­ter­ing, sup­port for the poli­cies upheld by his right-wing gov­ern­ment is grow­ing.

    If the left has lost main­stream sup­port, Israel’s peace camp has been dri­ven vir­tu­al­ly under­ground. Activist groups say many mem­bers have aban­doned the cause, and those who remain com­mit­ted have strug­gled to find pub­lic places will­ing to accom­mo­date anti­war protests.

    ...

    Accord­ing to polls con­duct­ed in the two months since Oct. 7, Israelis have moved decid­ed­ly to the right on a num­ber of polit­i­cal issues, includ­ing sup­port for set­tlers in the West Bank, endorse­ments for far-right politi­cians, and even the re-estab­lish­ment of a mil­i­tary occu­pa­tion of Gaza.

    “The trau­ma of what hap­pened on Oct. 7 shift­ed Israeli soci­ety. It made them ques­tion the most basic tenets of whether they were safe in their homes,” said Tal Schnei­der, a polit­i­cal colum­nist for The Times of Israel. “They are call­ing now for more — more mil­i­tary, more pro­tec­tion, more hard-line poli­cies.”

    Left-wing par­ties in Israel have seen a steady decline over the past 20 years. In Israel’s last elec­tion cycle, the cen­ter-left Labor Par­ty won only four seats in the Knes­set, Israel’s Par­lia­ment, a sig­nif­i­cant decrease from the 19 seats it held in 2015. The Meretz Par­ty, one of the few left-wing Israeli par­ties to have held a seat in the past decade, failed to get enough votes to qual­i­fy in the last elec­tion.

    Last week, the head of the Labor Par­ty, Mer­av Michaeli, announced that she was step­ping down amid crit­i­cism that she was respon­si­ble for the party’s poor poll num­bers.

    “Nobody in this coun­try wants to talk about peace right now,” Ms. Schnei­der said. “Being a left­ist has become a dirty word,” she said, adding that while social­ly pro­gres­sive caus­es, like gov­ern­ment-backed wel­fare, remain pop­u­lar in Israel, they are increas­ing­ly divorced from Israel’s left-wing move­ments. “Many Israelis want more gov­ern­ment wel­fare pro­grams, but a con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal lead­er­ship.”

    Polls con­duct­ed in Israel since Oct. 7 show the extent of the polit­i­cal shift. A sur­vey by Israel’s Chan­nel 12, one of the country’s most pop­u­lar broad­cast­ers, found that rough­ly one third of Israelis described them­selves as “mov­ing to the right” in the month after the Oct. 7 attacks, while far few­er report­ed that their pol­i­tics had shift­ed more to the left.

    In anoth­er poll, Israel’s Tel Aviv Uni­ver­si­ty found in Novem­ber the share of Israelis in favor of a two-state solu­tion was down from just a month ear­li­er, falling below one third of respon­dents.

    If the war has accel­er­at­ed the left’s decline, it has also hurt Mr. Netanyahu’s pop­u­lar­i­ty.

    For months before the war, the prime min­is­ter held togeth­er an unruly coali­tion of far-right par­ties that con­trolled 64 seats in Israel’s 120-seat Knes­set. Recent­ly, vig­ils for slain Israelis have turned into protests over Mr. Netanyahu’s lead­er­ship and calls for him to resign.

    “The coun­try has lurched to the right, but they no longer want Netanyahu as the leader of the right,” Ms. Schnei­der said. “It is a ques­tion of who can rep­re­sent the new right-wing views held by so many Israelis today.”

    Long­time Israeli peace activists said Israel’s lurch to the right is tan­gi­ble. In the offices of Stand­ing Togeth­er, an orga­ni­za­tion joint­ly found­ed by Israelis and Pales­tini­ans, the mood has been somber since Oct. 7.

    Mem­ber­ship has dropped, said Alon-Lee Green, a founder of the orga­ni­za­tion. When the group has tried to hold sol­i­dar­i­ty ral­lies between Israelis and Pales­tini­ans in pub­lic places, they have found them­selves turned away by local munic­i­pal­i­ties and the police.

    “We are being banned from pub­lic places,” Mr. Green said. “We are being told there isn’t an audi­ence for our mes­sage today,” he added. “There has nev­er been a more dif­fi­cult time to call for peace.”

    ...

    The towns and agri­cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ties that line Israel’s bor­der with Gaza were once bas­tions of the left. Many vil­lages there were found­ed as kib­butz­im, social­ist agri­cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ties. Over the years, many res­i­dents used their prox­im­i­ty to the Pales­tini­ans in Gaza to help deliv­er aid and run sol­i­dar­i­ty cam­paigns.

    On Oct. 7, the close­ness of those com­mu­ni­ties to the bor­der made them vul­ner­a­ble to the attack by Hamas ter­ror­ists. Well-known peace activists, includ­ing Vivian Sil­ver, a founder of Women Wage Peace, were among those killed. The attack made the sur­vivors rethink poli­cies they had pre­vi­ous­ly cham­pi­oned.

    Before Oct. 7, Lar­ry But­ler, 73, a res­i­dent of Nir Oz, con­sid­ered him­self a left­ist. As a mem­ber of Peace Now, he par­tic­i­pat­ed in ral­lies call­ing for the evac­u­a­tion of Israeli set­tle­ments in Gaza, which were dis­as­sem­bled in 2005.

    Now, dis­placed in a hotel in Eilat, a resort town on the Red Sea, Mr. But­ler has ques­tioned his beliefs. “I guess I’m some­where in the mid­dle,” he said, “but I’m def­i­nite­ly not left and I’m def­i­nite­ly not right.”

    In Tel Aviv, Ms. Mizrachi’s turn against the left came soon after Oct. 7, when she dis­cov­ered that a high school friend was among those killed at the Tribe of Nova music fes­ti­val.

    “The irony is that she was the biggest peace activist I knew,” Ms. Mizrachi said. “She was the one who got me involved in the move­ment to begin with,” she added. “I used to joke that she made me a left­ie. Now I can’t say that I am.”

    ————

    “Israelis Aban­don Polit­i­cal Left Over Secu­ri­ty Con­cerns After Oct. 7” By Sheera Frenkel; The New York Times; 12/19/2023

    “In the well­spring of sad­ness, anger and fear that has gripped Israel since that day, a con­sen­sus has emerged that Israel needs to take a hard­er line with the Pales­tini­ans and embrace an even more mil­i­ta­rized state. And while pub­lic opin­ion of Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu is fal­ter­ing, sup­port for the poli­cies upheld by his right-wing gov­ern­ment is grow­ing.

    As Ben­jamin Netanyahu’s polls grow worse, the pop­u­lar­i­ty for the kind tox­ic poli­cies he rep­re­sents has only grown more pop­u­lar. Surg­ing sup­port that’s come at the left­’s cost. Even as sup­port for left-wing poli­cies like gov­ern­ment-backed wel­fare remains. Israel is chang­ing as a result of the Octo­ber 7 attacks and the result­ing war and it’s not clear there’s a place for the Israeli left in its future:

    ...
    If the left has lost main­stream sup­port, Israel’s peace camp has been dri­ven vir­tu­al­ly under­ground. Activist groups say many mem­bers have aban­doned the cause, and those who remain com­mit­ted have strug­gled to find pub­lic places will­ing to accom­mo­date anti­war protests.

    ...

    Accord­ing to polls con­duct­ed in the two months since Oct. 7, Israelis have moved decid­ed­ly to the right on a num­ber of polit­i­cal issues, includ­ing sup­port for set­tlers in the West Bank, endorse­ments for far-right politi­cians, and even the re-estab­lish­ment of a mil­i­tary occu­pa­tion of Gaza.

    ...

    Left-wing par­ties in Israel have seen a steady decline over the past 20 years. In Israel’s last elec­tion cycle, the cen­ter-left Labor Par­ty won only four seats in the Knes­set, Israel’s Par­lia­ment, a sig­nif­i­cant decrease from the 19 seats it held in 2015. The Meretz Par­ty, one of the few left-wing Israeli par­ties to have held a seat in the past decade, failed to get enough votes to qual­i­fy in the last elec­tion.

    ...

    “Nobody in this coun­try wants to talk about peace right now,” Ms. Schnei­der said. “Being a left­ist has become a dirty word,” she said, adding that while social­ly pro­gres­sive caus­es, like gov­ern­ment-backed wel­fare, remain pop­u­lar in Israel, they are increas­ing­ly divorced from Israel’s left-wing move­ments. “Many Israelis want more gov­ern­ment wel­fare pro­grams, but a con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal lead­er­ship.”

    Polls con­duct­ed in Israel since Oct. 7 show the extent of the polit­i­cal shift. A sur­vey by Israel’s Chan­nel 12, one of the country’s most pop­u­lar broad­cast­ers, found that rough­ly one third of Israelis described them­selves as “mov­ing to the right” in the month after the Oct. 7 attacks, while far few­er report­ed that their pol­i­tics had shift­ed more to the left.

    In anoth­er poll, Israel’s Tel Aviv Uni­ver­si­ty found in Novem­ber the share of Israelis in favor of a two-state solu­tion was down from just a month ear­li­er, falling below one third of respon­dents.
    ...

    And while Netanyahu’s pop­u­lar­i­ty is in decline, all signs point towards some oth­er right-wing fig­ure who will ulti­mate­ly replace him. What kind of fig­ure is that going to be in this polit­i­cal cli­mate?

    ...
    If the war has accel­er­at­ed the left’s decline, it has also hurt Mr. Netanyahu’s pop­u­lar­i­ty.

    For months before the war, the prime min­is­ter held togeth­er an unruly coali­tion of far-right par­ties that con­trolled 64 seats in Israel’s 120-seat Knes­set. Recent­ly, vig­ils for slain Israelis have turned into protests over Mr. Netanyahu’s lead­er­ship and calls for him to resign.

    “The coun­try has lurched to the right, but they no longer want Netanyahu as the leader of the right,” Ms. Schnei­der said. “It is a ques­tion of who can rep­re­sent the new right-wing views held by so many Israelis today.”
    ...

    Also note the direct vic­tims of the Octo­ber 7 attacks: kib­butz­im that were tra­di­tion­al­ly bas­tions of the Israeli left. Plus, a youth music con­cert. Inten­tion­al­ly or not, the Octo­ber 7 attacks appear to be a kind of death blow to the Israeli left:

    ...
    The towns and agri­cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ties that line Israel’s bor­der with Gaza were once bas­tions of the left. Many vil­lages there were found­ed as kib­butz­im, social­ist agri­cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ties. Over the years, many res­i­dents used their prox­im­i­ty to the Pales­tini­ans in Gaza to help deliv­er aid and run sol­i­dar­i­ty cam­paigns.

    On Oct. 7, the close­ness of those com­mu­ni­ties to the bor­der made them vul­ner­a­ble to the attack by Hamas ter­ror­ists. Well-known peace activists, includ­ing Vivian Sil­ver, a founder of Women Wage Peace, were among those killed. The attack made the sur­vivors rethink poli­cies they had pre­vi­ous­ly cham­pi­oned.

    ...

    In Tel Aviv, Ms. Mizrachi’s turn against the left came soon after Oct. 7, when she dis­cov­ered that a high school friend was among those killed at the Tribe of Nova music fes­ti­val.

    “The irony is that she was the biggest peace activist I knew,” Ms. Mizrachi said. “She was the one who got me involved in the move­ment to begin with,” she added. “I used to joke that she made me a left­ie. Now I can’t say that I am.”
    ...

    And that brings us to the fol­low­ing report from back in July, two and a half months before the Octover 7 attacks, about the dire warn­ing being issue by form Mas­sod chief Tamir Par­do, who led the agency from 2011–2016. Par­do not only warns that the gov­ern­ment of extrem­ists was “worse than the KKK” in terms of their racist and big­ot­ed atti­tudes, but that the coun­try faced a threat far more dire than any mil­i­tary threat. That would be the threat of non-extrem­ist Israelis sim­ply choos­ing to leave the coun­try. In par­tic­u­lar doc­tors, aca­d­e­mics, and tech work­ers. As Par­do put it, “If we lose high tech, if we lose the doc­tors, if we lose the aca­d­e­mics, the coun­try won’t be here”:

    The Times of Israel

    Ex-Mossad chief: Netanyahu allies worse than KKK, over­haul is his ‘mas­ter plan’

    Tamir Par­do claims PM is in con­trol, it’s an ‘urban leg­end’ he’s under thumb of extrem­ist part­ners; says poten­tial flight of doc­tors more wor­ry­ing than reservist refusals

    By ToI Staff 27 July 2023, 4:39 pm

    For­mer Mossad direc­tor Tamir Par­do on Thurs­day offered a scathing cri­tique of Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu, charg­ing that Netanyahu brought par­ties worse than the Ku Klux Klan into his gov­ern­ment.

    In an inter­view with Kan radio, Par­do said Netanyahu’s gov­ern­ment includes “hor­ri­ble racist par­ties” that are not far from the world view of the rul­ing Likud par­ty, includ­ing Finance Min­is­ter Beza­lel Smotrich’s Reli­gious Zion­ism and Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Ita­mar Ben Gvir’s Otz­ma Yehu­dit.

    The ex-spy chief claimed that they are even “a lot worse” than the Ku Klux Klan, ref­er­enc­ing calls by law­mak­ers for Israel to destroy the West Bank Pales­tin­ian town of Huwara.

    “The nation is break­ing into two and it doesn’t move [Netanyahu], he doesn’t blink, and a sec­ond after the vote fin­ished, the look of hap­pi­ness on the faces of MKs was a hor­ri­ble thing in my eyes,” he said, ref­er­enc­ing Monday’s Knes­set vote approv­ing the “rea­son­able­ness law,” which lim­its judi­cial review of gov­ern­men­tal and min­is­te­r­i­al deci­sions.

    The bill was part of the government’s efforts to over­haul the judi­cia­ry, which have ignit­ed sus­tained, mass pub­lic protests, and oppo­si­tion from mil­i­tary per­son­nel, busi­ness lead­ers, for­eign allies, and oth­ers.

    “The leader has lost his mind. Noth­ing that has hap­pened would have hap­pened if the prime min­is­ter didn’t lead this process,” he said, claim­ing it is an “urban leg­end” that Netanyahu is being led by extrem­ists in the gov­ern­ment.

    “Some­one took the Ku Klux Klan and brought it into the gov­ern­ment, and this is what hap­pened,” he said, adding that the fact that Netanyahu placed Smotrich as a min­is­ter with­in the Defense Min­istry proves that their views on the future of Israel are not far apart.

    Smotrich is a staunch oppo­nent of a Pales­tin­ian state, and has a his­to­ry of mak­ing inflam­ma­to­ry state­ments against Pales­tini­ans, Arab cit­i­zens of Israel, non-Ortho­dox Jews, and the LGBTQ com­mu­ni­ty, includ­ing once declar­ing him­self a “proud homo­phobe.” In 2021, he said David Ben-Guri­on, Israel’s first prime min­is­ter, should have “fin­ished the job” and kicked all Pales­tini­ans out of the coun­try when it was found­ed. Ear­li­er that same year, he said mem­bers of Israel’s Arab minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties were cit­i­zens “for now at least.”

    “[Netanyahu] is like a horse run­ning to a goal with blind­folds and ear muffs,” Par­do said, adding that Netanyahu has changed from the cau­tious leader that he knew dur­ing his time as Mossad direc­tor in 2011–2016.

    ...

    While Par­do said there is no doubt that Netanyahu received a man­date to gov­ern in the last elec­tion, he stressed that no prime min­is­ter com­mands a man­date “to change the social con­tract” of the State of Israel.

    Asked about reservists refus­ing to per­form their vol­un­teer ser­vice in the mil­i­tary in protest of the over­haul, Par­do said that recent reports that thou­sands of doc­tors were seek­ing advice to relo­cate abroad were “more hor­ri­fy­ing and scary than the sto­ry of the army.”

    Par­do said that even if there is a major war in the region, “there is no way” that the coun­try faces an exis­ten­tial mil­i­tary threat.

    “If we lose high tech, if we lose the doc­tors, if we lose the aca­d­e­mics, the coun­try won’t be here,” he said, clar­i­fy­ing that Israel may end up look­ing like a cen­tral African coun­try “that’s stuck in the ’60s of the last cen­tu­ry.”

    ———-

    “Ex-Mossad chief: Netanyahu allies worse than KKK, over­haul is his ‘mas­ter plan’” By ToI Staff; The Times of Israel; 07/27/2023

    “The ex-spy chief claimed that they are even “a lot worse” than the Ku Klux Klan, ref­er­enc­ing calls by law­mak­ers for Israel to destroy the West Bank Pales­tin­ian town of Huwara.”

    Again, this was Par­do’s take back in July, months before the night­mare of Octo­ber 7. The nation was “break­ing into two”. And not just over the extrem­ist invit­ed in the gov­ern­ment. It’s also the fact that the extrem­ists were invit­ed in, in part, because only they would approve of Netanyahu’s cor­rupt attempts to defang the judi­cia­ry:

    ...
    “The nation is break­ing into two and it doesn’t move [Netanyahu], he doesn’t blink, and a sec­ond after the vote fin­ished, the look of hap­pi­ness on the faces of MKs was a hor­ri­ble thing in my eyes,” he said, ref­er­enc­ing Monday’s Knes­set vote approv­ing the “rea­son­able­ness law,” which lim­its judi­cial review of gov­ern­men­tal and min­is­te­r­i­al deci­sions.

    ...

    “The leader has lost his mind. Noth­ing that has hap­pened would have hap­pened if the prime min­is­ter didn’t lead this process,” he said, claim­ing it is an “urban leg­end” that Netanyahu is being led by extrem­ists in the gov­ern­ment.

    “Some­one took the Ku Klux Klan and brought it into the gov­ern­ment, and this is what hap­pened,” he said, adding that the fact that Netanyahu placed Smotrich as a min­is­ter with­in the Defense Min­istry proves that their views on the future of Israel are not far apart.

    Smotrich is a staunch oppo­nent of a Pales­tin­ian state, and has a his­to­ry of mak­ing inflam­ma­to­ry state­ments against Pales­tini­ans, Arab cit­i­zens of Israel, non-Ortho­dox Jews, and the LGBTQ com­mu­ni­ty, includ­ing once declar­ing him­self a “proud homo­phobe.” In 2021, he said David Ben-Guri­on, Israel’s first prime min­is­ter, should have “fin­ished the job” and kicked all Pales­tini­ans out of the coun­try when it was found­ed. Ear­li­er that same year, he said mem­bers of Israel’s Arab minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties were cit­i­zens “for now at least.”

    “[Netanyahu] is like a horse run­ning to a goal with blind­folds and ear muffs,” Par­do said, adding that Netanyahu has changed from the cau­tious leader that he knew dur­ing his time as Mossad direc­tor in 2011–2016.
    ...

    And then Par­do get to what he views as the real exis­ten­tial threat to the long-term via­bil­i­ty of Israeli: large num­bers of high­ly skilled Israelis might sim­ply give up on the coun­try and leave:

    ...
    While Par­do said there is no doubt that Netanyahu received a man­date to gov­ern in the last elec­tion, he stressed that no prime min­is­ter com­mands a man­date “to change the social con­tract” of the State of Israel.

    Asked about reservists refus­ing to per­form their vol­un­teer ser­vice in the mil­i­tary in protest of the over­haul, Par­do said that recent reports that thou­sands of doc­tors were seek­ing advice to relo­cate abroad were “more hor­ri­fy­ing and scary than the sto­ry of the army.”

    Par­do said that even if there is a major war in the region, “there is no way” that the coun­try faces an exis­ten­tial mil­i­tary threat.

    “If we lose high tech, if we lose the doc­tors, if we lose the aca­d­e­mics, the coun­try won’t be here,” he said, clar­i­fy­ing that Israel may end up look­ing like a cen­tral African coun­try “that’s stuck in the ’60s of the last cen­tu­ry.”
    ...

    That was just a snap­shot of the enor­mous ten­sions roil­ing Israeli soci­ety. Ten­sions that pre­sum­ably have been trans­formed in recent months. How has that grow­ing despair among many on the Israeli left changed as a result of this con­flict? As we saw above, many Israelis have indeed become more con­ser­v­a­tive. But that’s sure­ly not uni­ver­sal­ly the case. What is going to hap­pen to that remain­ing Israeli left if the coun­try effec­tive­ly becomes a per­ma­nent, increas­ing­ly con­ser­v­a­tive and mil­i­ta­rized soci­ety locked in what appears to be a kind of per­ma­nent zero-sum con­flict with all its neigh­bors? What hap­pens when the shock of the events of Octo­ber 7 and the con­flict sub­side but the real­i­ty of a new per­ma­nent hyper-con­ser­v­a­tive Israeli take hold? Will the Israeli left stick around in a coun­try where it has no real future or even accep­tance any­more? Time will tell, but all signs are going towards a far right “Fortress Israel” future. A fortress with a lot few­er doc­tors, aca­d­e­mics, and tech work­ers than it will prob­a­bly pre­fer.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 21, 2024, 5:44 pm
  3. Sniper shots to the head aren’t an acci­dent. So when you find chil­dren arriv­ing at the hos­pi­tal with sniper shots to the head, you can be pret­ty con­fi­dent some­one aimed and fired at the heads of chil­dren. Which brings us to the fol­low­ing extreme­ly dis­turb­ing piece that recent­ly showed up in the Los Ange­les Times, authored by an Amer­i­can doc­tor who trav­eled to Gaza in Jan­u­ary. Dr Irfan Galar­ia describes a med­ical sys­tem in such dire con­di­tions that they were forced to per­form ampu­ta­tions using a Gigli saw, a tool from the Civ­il War-era.

    But of all the hor­rif­ic details in the piece, it’s the sniper shots to the head that are by far the most dis­turb­ing. One day, mul­ti­ple chil­dren, all about ages 5 to 8, were brought to the ER, all with a sin­gle sniper shots to the head. Their fam­i­lies had been return­ing to their homes in Khan Yunis after Israeli tanks had with­drawn. So snipers were appar­ent­ly be left behind and decid­ed to snipe chil­dren. Again, that’s not an acci­dent. Some­one saw the heads of these kids in their sniper scope and repeat­ed pulled the trig­ger. And while this was just one hor­ri­ble wartime anec­dote, with over 10,000 Gazan chil­dren already dead, it’s not like we can assume this was an iso­lat­ed inci­dent. It’s open sea­son on the Gazans.

    So with Israel increas­ing­ly in the grip of far right theo­crat­ic fanat­ics intent on turn­ing this con­flict into an excuse to basi­cal­ly eth­ni­cal­ly cleanse Gaza, ques­tions about whether or not the tar­get­ing of chil­dren is being unof­fi­cial­ly (or even offi­cial­ly) tol­er­at­ed by the Israeli mil­i­tary is some­thing we have to ask. Which brings us to the fol­low­ing reports below about exact­ly that: the hor­rif­ic extrem­ist indoc­tri­na­tion tak­ing place inside Israel’s mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ties. In par­tic­u­lar, the explic­it­ly pro-Nazi lessons that were being taught at some of Israel’s elite pre-mil­i­tary acad­e­mies that have long served as a source for many of the IDF’s senior mil­i­tary offi­cers. It would be nice if this was as shock­ing as it should be.

    In par­tic­u­lar, back in 2019, it was dis­cov­ered that the Bnei David acad­e­my in Eli was teach­ing stu­dents that Hitler was cor­rect, with only one prob­lem. He tar­get­ed the wrong peo­ple. Or to put it in the words of Rab­bi Gio­ra Redler, “He was the most cor­rect per­son there ever was, and was cor­rect in every word he said… he was just on the wrong side.” Redler went on to argue that plu­ral­ism was the real geno­cide being per­pe­trat­ed against the Jews.

    Sim­i­lar lessons were taught by the head of the acad­e­my, Rab­bi Eliez­er Kashtiel, who instruct­ed stu­dents on how “The gen­tiles will want to be our slaves. Being a slave to a Jew is the best. They’re glad to be slaves, they want to be slaves...Instead of just walk­ing the streets and being stu­pid and vio­lent and harm­ing each oth­er, once they’re slaves, their lives can begin to take shape...All around us, we are sur­round­ed by peo­ples with genet­ic prob­lems. Ask a sim­ple Arab ‘where do you want to be?’ He wants to be under the occu­pa­tion. Why? Because they have genet­ic prob­lems, they don’t know how to run a coun­try, they don’t know how to do any­thing. Look at them.

    Jour­nal­ist David Sheen cov­ered this sto­ry in a 2019 lec­ture at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Zurich that also addressed the numer­ous awards and state acco­lades these fig­ures have received. At the end of the video (it’s less than 7 min­utes), Sheen dis­cussed the prize award­ed to some­one Sheen describes as prob­a­bly the most racist rab­bi in the coun­try: Rab­bi Yitzchak Gins­burgh, who actu­al­ly wrote a book jus­ti­fy­ing not just the killing of Pales­tin­ian adults but even the killing Pales­tin­ian babies. As we’re also going to see, Gins­burgh’s thou­sands of cult-like fol­low­ers have plans of their own for the future of Israel. Plans revolv­ing around over­throw­ing the gov­ern­ment and impos­ing a Jew­ish theoc­ra­cy led by a king, with Gins­burgh obvi­ous­ly as their king-of-choice.

    Here we are in 2024 with reports of child sniper vic­tims months into a con­flict that appears to being a not-exact­ly-covert eth­nic cleans­ing oper­a­tion. So we have to ask: how many rad­i­cal­ized sol­diers are there in the IDF at this point who have been put through what amounts to a Nazi mil­i­tary edu­ca­tion?

    And, yes, Hamas is guid­ed by a grotesque anti-sec­u­lar ide­ol­o­gy with roots in Nazism of its own. There was even that Hamas chil­dren’s pro­gram a decade ago that was encour­ag­ing audi­ences to “kill the Jews”. Hamas isn’t exact­ly a sym­pa­thet­ic enti­ty in this sit­u­a­tion. But kids sure are. Which is part of what makes this such a dark­ly dement­ed sit­u­a­tion. The more you look at the ide­olo­gies Hamas and these Jew­ish suprema­cists, the more sim­i­lar they appear. It’s increas­ing­ly turn­ing into a con­flict between mutu­al exter­mi­na­tion­ist move­ments. With kids in the crossfire...until there aren’t any more kids, which is kind of ide­o­log­i­cal point:

    Los Ange­les Times

    Opin­ion: I’m an Amer­i­can doc­tor who went to Gaza. What I saw wasn’t war — it was anni­hi­la­tion

    By Irfan Galar­ia
    Feb. 16, 2024 12:08 PM PT

    In late Jan­u­ary, I left my home in Vir­ginia, where I work as a plas­tic and recon­struc­tive sur­geon and joined a group of physi­cians and nurs­es trav­el­ing to Egypt with the human­i­tar­i­an aid group Med­G­lob­al to vol­un­teer in Gaza.

    I have worked in oth­er war zones. But what I wit­nessed dur­ing the next 10 days in Gaza was not war — it was anni­hi­la­tion. 28,000 Pales­tini­ans have been killed in Israel’s bom­bard­ment of Gaza. From Cairo, Egypt’s cap­i­tal, we drove 12 hours east to the Rafah bor­der. We passed miles of parked human­i­tar­i­an aid trucks because they weren’t allowed into Gaza. Aside from my team and oth­er envoy mem­bers from the Unit­ed Nations and World Health Orga­ni­za­tion, there were very few oth­ers there.

    Enter­ing south­ern Gaza on Jan. 29, where many have fled from the north, felt like the first pages of a dystopi­an nov­el. Our ears were numb with the con­stant hum­ming of what I was told were the sur­veil­lance drones that cir­cled con­stant­ly. Our noses were con­sumed with the stench of 1 mil­lion dis­placed humans liv­ing in close prox­im­i­ty with­out ade­quate san­i­ta­tion. Our eyes got lost in the sea of tents. We stayed at a guest house in Rafah. Our first night was cold, and many of us couldn’t sleep. We stood on the bal­cony lis­ten­ing to the bombs, and see­ing the smoke rise from Khan Yunis.

    ...

    Peo­ple also spilled into the hos­pi­tal: liv­ing in hall­ways, stair­well cor­ri­dors and even stor­age clos­ets. The once-wide walk­ways designed by the Euro­pean Union to accom­mo­date the busy traf­fic of med­ical staff, stretch­ers and equip­ment were now reduced to a sin­gle-file pas­sage­way. On either side, blan­kets hung from the ceil­ing to cor­don off small areas for entire fam­i­lies, offer­ing a sliv­er of pri­va­cy. A hos­pi­tal designed to accom­mo­date about 300 patients was now strug­gling to care for more than 1,000 patients and hun­dreds more seek­ing refuge.

    There were a lim­it­ed num­ber of local sur­geons avail­able. We were told that many had been killed or arrest­ed, their where­abouts or even their exis­tence unknown. Oth­ers were trapped in occu­pied areas in the north or near­by places where it was too risky to trav­el to the hos­pi­tal. There was only one local plas­tic sur­geon left and he cov­ered the hos­pi­tal 24/7. His home had been destroyed, so he lived in the hos­pi­tal, and was able to stuff all of his per­son­al pos­ses­sions into two small hand bags. This nar­ra­tive became all too com­mon among the remain­ing staff at the hos­pi­tal. This sur­geon was lucky, because his wife and daugh­ter were still alive, although almost every­one else work­ing in the hos­pi­tal was mourn­ing the loss of their loved ones.

    I began work imme­di­ate­ly, per­form­ing 10 to 12 surg­eries a day, work­ing 14 to 16 hours at a time. The oper­at­ing room would often shake from the inces­sant bomb­ings, some­times as fre­quent as every 30 sec­onds. We oper­at­ed in unster­ile set­tings that would’ve been unthink­able in the Unit­ed States. We had lim­it­ed access to crit­i­cal med­ical equip­ment: We per­formed ampu­ta­tions of arms and legs dai­ly, using a Gigli saw, a Civ­il War-era tool, essen­tial­ly a seg­ment of barbed wire. Many ampu­ta­tions could’ve been avoid­ed if we’d had access to stan­dard med­ical equip­ment. It was a strug­gle try­ing to care for all the injured with­in the con­structs of a health­care sys­tem that has utter­ly col­lapsed.

    ...

    I stopped keep­ing track of how many new orphans I had oper­at­ed on. After surgery they would be filed some­where in the hos­pi­tal, I’m unsure of who will take care of them or how they will sur­vive. On one occa­sion, a hand­ful of chil­dren, all about ages 5 to 8, were car­ried to the emer­gency room by their par­ents. All had sin­gle sniper shots to the head. These fam­i­lies were return­ing to their homes in Khan Yunis, about 2.5 miles away from the hos­pi­tal, after Israeli tanks had with­drawn. But the snipers appar­ent­ly stayed behind. None of these chil­dren sur­vived.

    On my last day, as I returned to the guest house where locals knew for­eign­ers were stay­ing, a young boy ran up and hand­ed me a small gift. It was a rock from the beach, with an Ara­bic inscrip­tion writ­ten with a mark­er: “From Gaza, With Love, Despite the Pain.” As I stood on the bal­cony look­ing out at Rafah for the last time, we could hear the drones, bomb­ings and bursts of machine-gun fire, but some­thing was dif­fer­ent this time: The sounds were loud­er, the explo­sions were clos­er.

    This week, Israeli forces raid­ed anoth­er large hos­pi­tal in Gaza, and they’re plan­ning a a ground offen­sive in Rafah. I feel incred­i­bly guilty that I was able to leave while mil­lions are forced to endure the night­mare in Gaza. As an Amer­i­can, I think of our tax dol­lars pay­ing for the weapons that like­ly injured my patients there. Already dri­ven from their homes, these peo­ple have nowhere else to turn.

    ———–

    “Opin­ion: I’m an Amer­i­can doc­tor who went to Gaza. What I saw wasn’t war — it was anni­hi­la­tion” By Irfan Galar­ia; Los Ange­les Times; 02/16/2024

    “I stopped keep­ing track of how many new orphans I had oper­at­ed on. After surgery they would be filed some­where in the hos­pi­tal, I’m unsure of who will take care of them or how they will sur­vive. On one occa­sion, a hand­ful of chil­dren, all about ages 5 to 8, were car­ried to the emer­gency room by their par­ents. All had sin­gle sniper shots to the head. These fam­i­lies were return­ing to their homes in Khan Yunis, about 2.5 miles away from the hos­pi­tal, after Israeli tanks had with­drawn. But the snipers appar­ent­ly stayed behind. None of these chil­dren sur­vived.

    Small chil­dren with sniper shots to the head are show­ing up in Gazan hos­pi­tals. That’s what this Amer­i­can doc­tor just report­ed wit­ness­ing in the Los Ange­les Times. As grue­some as it is to hear about bombs being dropped in areas known to be filled with civil­ians, even that’s not as delib­er­ate as the act of snip­ing chil­dren. But some­one in the IDF was appar­ent­ly doing this.

    And that grim sto­ry brings us to the fol­low­ing Times of Israel report from back in 2019 about the kind of theo­crat­ic extrem­ism that was being taught at Israeli pre-mil­i­tary reli­gious acad­e­mies. Not just Nazi-like extrem­ism but an actu­al­ly embrace of Nazism, includ­ing a deep respect for Adolf Hitler. He only got one thing wrong, which was that he tar­get­ed con­ser­v­a­tive Jews, but oth­er­wise he was cor­rect. Also, non-Jews want to be the slaves of Jews due to the genet­ic supe­ri­or­i­ty of the Jews. Yep. Those were the lessons being taught at these pre-mil­i­tary acad­e­mies in 2019. And the rab­bis behind these extrem­ist teach­ings are unam­bigu­ous­ly rad­i­cals, they aren’t exact­ly obscure rad­i­cals. Fig­ures like Rab­bi Eliez­er Kashtiel, the head of the Bnei David acad­e­my in Eli, whose grad­u­ates often go on to join Israel’s mil­i­tary elite.

    And, again, these reports are from 2019, almost 5 years ago. Israel’s far right theoc­ra­cy prob­lem has­n’t exact­ly got­ten bet­ter over the last five years. So when we find reports about Israeli snipers inten­tion­al­ly tar­get­ing small chil­dren, we have to ask: were any of these snipers by chance grad­u­ates of a school that gave them an edu­ca­tion in geno­ci­dal thought?:

    Times of Israel

    Embrac­ing racism, rab­bis at pre-army yeshi­va laud Hitler, urge enslav­ing Arabs

    Record­ings show instruc­tors at set­tle­ment acad­e­my open­ly pro­mot­ing Jew­ish suprema­cy; prin­ci­pal says Arabs want to live under Israeli occu­pa­tion due to their genet­ic infe­ri­or­i­ty

    By Tamar Pileg­gi
    30 April 2019, 10:17 am

    Two rab­bis at a pre-mil­i­tary reli­gious acad­e­my in a West Bank set­tle­ment were record­ed mak­ing deroga­to­ry and racist com­ments about Arabs, defend­ing Adolf Hitler’s world­view, and open­ly pro­mot­ing Jew­ish suprema­cy.

    In a series of undat­ed record­ings pub­lished by Chan­nel 13 news on Mon­day, Rab­bi Eliez­er Kashtiel, the head of the Bnei David acad­e­my in Eli, can be heard call­ing for the enslave­ment of the “stu­pid and vio­lent” non-Jews due to their genet­ic infe­ri­or­i­ty.

    “The gen­tiles will want to be our slaves. Being a slave to a Jew is the best. They’re glad to be slaves, they want to be slaves,” he told a class in one of the video clips. “Instead of just walk­ing the streets and being stu­pid and vio­lent and harm­ing each oth­er, once they’re slaves, their lives can begin to take shape.”

    “All around us, we are sur­round­ed by peo­ples with genet­ic prob­lems. Ask a sim­ple Arab ‘where do you want to be?’ He wants to be under the occu­pa­tion. Why? Because they have genet­ic prob­lems, they don’t know how to run a coun­try, they don’t know how to do any­thing. Look at them.”

    In the lec­ture, Kashtiel goes on to embrace racism against non-Jews.

    “Yes, we’re racists. We believe in racism… There are races in the world and peo­ples have genet­ic traits, and that requires us to try to help them,” he said. “The Jews are a more suc­cess­ful race.”

    In anoth­er clip from the Bnei David Yeshi­va pub­lished by Chan­nel 13, Rab­bi Gio­ra Redler can be heard prais­ing Hilter’s ide­ol­o­gy dur­ing a les­son about the Holo­caust.

    “Let’s just start with whether Hitler was right or not,” he told stu­dents. “He was the most cor­rect per­son there ever was, and was cor­rect in every word he said… he was just on the wrong side.”

    Redler goes on to say that plu­ral­ism is the “real” geno­cide being per­pe­trat­ed against the Jew­ish peo­ple, not Nazi Germany’s Final Solu­tion.

    “The real Holo­caust was not when they mur­dered the Jews, that’s not it. All these excus­es — that it was ide­o­log­i­cal or sys­tem­at­ic — are non­sense,” he said. “Human­ism, and the sec­u­lar cul­ture of ‘We believe in man,’ that’s the Holo­caust.”

    The com­ments drew wide con­dem­na­tion from oppo­si­tion law­mak­ers who called for pulling all state fund­ing to the Eli-based acad­e­my over Kashtiel’s and Redler’s remarks.

    ...

    After the footage was aired on Mon­day, Kashtiel and Redler, in a state­ment to Chan­nel 13, acknowl­edged mak­ing the remarks but claimed the com­ments were tak­en out of con­text.

    Kashtiel said he was “pained” that his “les­son on human rights” was mis­in­ter­pret­ed, telling the net­work he meant the pre­cise oppo­site, and was call­ing for “social respon­si­bil­i­ty and car­ing for the weak.” He said his ref­er­ences to slav­ery and racism were a “mod­ernist-social­ist inter­pre­ta­tion” of those con­cepts.

    In his les­son, Redler said he was sim­ply try­ing to “explain Hitler’s mor­bid log­ic,” and accused the media of a “cyn­i­cal smear” against him days before Holo­caust Remem­brance Day.

    Rab­bis teach­ing at the Eli acad­e­my — a dar­ling of the nation­al reli­gious camp for fun­nel­ing of thou­sands of reli­gious offi­cers into senior com­bat posi­tions in the IDF — have a his­to­ry of mak­ing con­tro­ver­sial and illib­er­al remarks.

    In 2016, the co-founder of the Bnei David acad­e­my, Yigal Levin­stein, was record­ed in class call­ing gay peo­ple “sick and per­vert­ed. In anoth­er lec­ture that year, Levin­stein claimed that draft­ing women to the IDF was mak­ing them “crazy” and stripped them of their Jew­ish­ness.

    Bnei David’s oth­er co-founder, Rab­bi Eli Sadan, preach­es against edu­cat­ing women, claim­ing that inde­pen­dent think­ing “neuters their most impor­tant capa­bil­i­ty… to build the home.”

    Last year, footage sur­faced of anoth­er Bnei David teacher, Rab­bi Yosef Kel­ner, lec­tur­ing stu­dents on women being “weak-mind­ed” and pos­sess­ing a reduced capac­i­ty for spir­i­tu­al­i­ty.

    In 2017, then-defense min­is­ter Avig­dor Liber­man vowed to defund the Eli acad­e­my, but the move was blocked by the attor­ney gen­er­al for legal rea­sons. Instead, Liber­man announced that he would restrict the num­ber of stu­dents as a puni­tive mea­sure for the “con­stant sex­ism” at the Eli acad­e­my.

    ———-

    “Embrac­ing racism, rab­bis at pre-army yeshi­va laud Hitler, urge enslav­ing Arabs” By Tamar Pileg­gi; Times of Israel; 04/30/2019

    “Rab­bis teach­ing at the Eli acad­e­my — a dar­ling of the nation­al reli­gious camp for fun­nel­ing of thou­sands of reli­gious offi­cers into senior com­bat posi­tions in the IDF — have a his­to­ry of mak­ing con­tro­ver­sial and illib­er­al remarks.”

    A dar­ling of the nation­al reli­gious camp that fun­nels thou­sands of reli­gious offi­cers into senior com­bat roles in the IDF. That’s how this report described the Eli Acad­e­my. Hence the nation­al scan­dal when it was revealed that the acad­e­my is indoc­tri­nat­ing its stu­dents in gen­uine Nazi-like lessons in the genet­ic suprema­cy of the Jews and, in turn, the genet­ic infe­ri­or­i­ty of Arabs (LOL). And it’s not just overt racism but a kind of Jew­ish ver­sion of the “white man’s bur­den” call to col­o­nize peo­ple ‘for their own good’ we recent­ly heard from Erik Prince. The Pales­tini­ans need­ed the Jews to occu­py and enslave them due to their genet­ic infe­ri­or­i­ty. Those were the lessons com­ing from none oth­er than the mouth of Rab­bi Kashtiel, the head of the acad­e­my:

    ...
    “The gen­tiles will want to be our slaves. Being a slave to a Jew is the best. They’re glad to be slaves, they want to be slaves,” he told a class in one of the video clips. “Instead of just walk­ing the streets and being stu­pid and vio­lent and harm­ing each oth­er, once they’re slaves, their lives can begin to take shape.”

    “All around us, we are sur­round­ed by peo­ples with genet­ic prob­lems. Ask a sim­ple Arab ‘where do you want to be?’ He wants to be under the occu­pa­tion. Why? Because they have genet­ic prob­lems, they don’t know how to run a coun­try, they don’t know how to do any­thing. Look at them.”

    In the lec­ture, Kashtiel goes on to embrace racism against non-Jews.

    “Yes, we’re racists. We believe in racism… There are races in the world and peo­ples have genet­ic traits, and that requires us to try to help them,” he said. “The Jews are a more suc­cess­ful race.”
    ...

    But Kashtiel was­n’t the only rab­bi espous­ing Nazi-like lessons. There’s also Rab­bi Gio­ra Redler, who appeared to make the case that the real geno­cide being com­mit­ted against the Jews is sec­u­lar­ism. And also that Hitler was right. Or rather, Hitler was “the most cor­rect per­son there ever was, and was cor­rect in every word he said… he was just on the wrong side.” In oth­er words, had the Nazis specif­i­cal­ly just exter­mi­nat­ed sec­u­lar peo­ples that would have been jus­ti­fied:

    ...
    In anoth­er clip from the Bnei David Yeshi­va pub­lished by Chan­nel 13, Rab­bi Gio­ra Redler can be heard prais­ing Hilter’s ide­ol­o­gy dur­ing a les­son about the Holo­caust.

    “Let’s just start with whether Hitler was right or not,” he told stu­dents. “He was the most cor­rect per­son there ever was, and was cor­rect in every word he said… he was just on the wrong side.”

    Redler goes on to say that plu­ral­ism is the “real” geno­cide being per­pe­trat­ed against the Jew­ish peo­ple, not Nazi Germany’s Final Solu­tion.

    “The real Holo­caust was not when they mur­dered the Jews, that’s not it. All these excus­es — that it was ide­o­log­i­cal or sys­tem­at­ic — are non­sense,” he said. “Human­ism, and the sec­u­lar cul­ture of ‘We believe in man,’ that’s the Holo­caust.”

    The com­ments drew wide con­dem­na­tion from oppo­si­tion law­mak­ers who called for pulling all state fund­ing to the Eli-based acad­e­my over Kashtiel’s and Redler’s remarks.
    ...

    Jour­nal­ist David Sheen held a 2019 lec­ture at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Zurich that delves more into the Naz­i­fied pre-mil­i­tary edu­ca­tion tak­ing place at these acad­e­mies and the numer­ous awards and state acco­lades these fig­ures have received. At the end of the video (it’s less than 7 min­utes), Sheen dis­cussed the prize award­ed to Rab­bi Yitzchak Gins­burgh, who Sheen describes as prob­a­bly the most racist rab­bi in the coun­try. As Sheen goes on to describe, Gins­burgh actu­al­ly wrote a book jus­ti­fy­ing not just the killing of Pales­tin­ian adults but even the killing Pales­tin­ian babies.

    So with that kind of insti­tu­tion­al­ized extrem­ism per­co­lat­ing though the IDF in mind, here’s a 2016 piece in the For­ward with much more about Gins­burgh and his fol­low­ing. A cult-like fol­low­ing that wants to over­throw the gov­ern­ment and enshrine him as King of Israel:

    For­ward

    The Kab­bal­ist Who Would Be King of a New Jew­ish Monar­chy in Israel

    By Natan Oden­heimer
    Octo­ber 14, 2016

    The crowd was eclec­tic, from stern, black-garbed ultra-Ortho­dox men to youths of both sex­es bedecked in col­or­ful, hip­pie-like clothes. They hailed from homes as far as Safed, the kab­bal­ist cen­ter in Israel’s North, and as remote as iso­lat­ed hill­top set­tle­ments in the occu­pied West Bank. Even a few New Age types from sec­u­lar Tel Aviv were in evi­dence.

    The 3,000 men, women and chil­dren at Tel Aviv’s new­ly ren­o­vat­ed Habi­ma Square last Decem­ber were wait­ing anx­ious­ly to hear Rab­bi Yitzchak Gins­burgh, the St. Louis-born mys­tic and schol­ar whose qui­et demeanor belies incen­di­ary schol­ar­ly writ­ings that are inspir­ing a gen­er­a­tion of Jew­ish suprema­cists.

    The venue marked some­thing of a main­stream com­ing-out mile­stone for Gins­burgh. Every year since 2011, in coop­er­a­tion with the Chabad Hasidic sect, Gins­burgh has held an epic event on “Redemp­tion Hol­i­day,” a Chabad-Lubav­itch fes­tiv­i­ty set for the 19th of Kislev on the Hebrew cal­en­dar — the day in 1798 that czarist author­i­ties in Rus­sia released Chabad’s founder, Rab­bi Schneur Zal­man, from jail. After years of stag­ing the event in heav­i­ly Ortho­dox Jerusalem, this was the first time that Gins­burgh, a long­time Chabad adher­ent, held the event in Tel Aviv, in one of the city’s most promi­nent sec­u­lar venues.

    An Amer­i­can trans­plant to Israel, Gins­burgh is best known for his teach­ings that seem to give license to Jew­ish vengeance attacks against Pales­tini­ans. His crit­ics claim that Ginsburgh’s influ­ence lies behind the worst Jew­ish ter­ror attacks of the past 20 years, from the assas­si­na­tion of Prime Min­is­ter Yitzhak Rabin, to the mas­sacre in Hebron of 29 Pales­tini­ans by Baruch Gold­stein, who he hailed and endorsed in a book soon after the mur­ders.

    But Ginsburgh’s fol­low­ers view him as no less than a prophet.

    “Sec­u­lar Zion­ism is stag­nant and has noth­ing left to offer. Even Bibi [Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu] does not know how to cope with ter­ror,” said Tzvi­ki Basok, a 29-year-old res­i­dent of the tiny West Bank set­tle­ment of Aha­ia who iden­ti­fied him­self as a devot­ed Gins­burgh fol­low­er. A father of six, Basok wore a dark-brown flat cap on his head, slim glass­es on his nose, and a per­pet­u­al­ly friend­ly smile that his shag­gy beard could not quite hide. “Gins­burgh,” he said, is the “only one who is will­ing to take respon­si­bil­i­ty over the entire­ty of the Jew­ish nation, accord­ing to Torah.”

    But Gins­burgh is not just about vio­lence against Pales­tini­ans. His wide net­work of schools and com­mu­ni­ties has, until recent­ly, been finan­cial­ly sup­port­ed by the Israeli gov­ern­ment and con­tin­ues to receive fund­ing from pri­vate donors in the Unit­ed States and Israel. And he has a vision for the state’s future: He wants to dis­man­tle it. In its place, he seeks to estab­lish a Jew­ish monar­chy. Indeed, some of his fol­low­ers hope to crown Gins­burgh him­self as their king. And though the num­ber of Israelis open­ly advo­cat­ing this right now is rel­a­tive­ly small, they have a pen­chant for action that has giv­en them a dis­pro­por­tion­ate impact on events.

    Ginsburgh’s stu­dents include the so-called Hill­top Youth — gag­gles of Jew­ish teens who roam the West Bank hill­tops and intim­i­date Pales­tini­ans through acts of van­dal­ism, arson and even mur­der.

    Just a few weeks pri­or to Ginsburgh’s Tel Aviv event, two of these youths, now under indict­ment, alleged­ly fire­bombed the home of a fam­i­ly in the West Bank Pales­tin­ian vil­lage of Duma. Two young par­ents and their 18-month infant burned to death. On the walls of the Dawab­sheh family’s home, the arson­ists daubed the graf­fi­ti mes­sages “Revenge” and “Long Live King Mes­si­ah.”

    Gins­burgh has a pro­pos­al for address­ing such out­breaks. In a 2014 pub­lic let­ter to 100 rab­bis, he declared that the only way to stop Jew­ish ter­ror actions, which he referred to as “uncon­trolled reac­tions of young­sters who care about Israel,” is for the gov­ern­ment and army to inter­nal­ize that “the entire­ty of the State of Israel (includ­ing what is called ‘occu­pied ter­ri­to­ries’) belongs sole­ly to the Nation of Israel, that it’s every Jew’s right to set­tle any­where he pleas­es, and that the role of the army is only to pro­tect Jews.”

    ...

    Gins­burgh is the spir­i­tu­al leader of the Od Yosef Chai (“Joseph Still Lives”) yeshi­va — a West Bank sem­i­nary that has pro­duced suc­ces­sive cohorts of rad­i­cal stu­dents impli­cat­ed in vio­lence against Pales­tini­ans—and the cler­i­cal emi­nence behind a wide net­work of vil­lages, neigh­bor­hoods, ele­men­tary schools, yeshiv­as, pub­lish­ing hous­es. He directs a youth move­ment, a news web­site, a cen­ter for Jew­ish psy­chol­o­gy and even a polit­i­cal move­ment, called Derech Chaim, of about 4,500 activists who sup­port the idea that “the essence of the Jew­ish State is to become the King­dom of Israel,” accord­ing to the movement’s offi­cial web­site. One of Derech Chaim’s major projects is the Hebrew Labor cam­paign, a title that white­wash­es the real pur­pose of the project: to con­vince Jew­ish busi­ness own­ers not to hire Arab work­ers.

    For more than 20 years, many of Ginsburgh’s insti­tu­tions were sup­port­ed by the State of Israel through the Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion, the Min­istry of Reli­gious Affairs and the Min­istry of Wel­fare, receiv­ing mil­lions of shekels. Od Yosef Chai’s pub­lished finan­cial records, for instance, record bud­getary allo­ca­tions from the Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion total­ing over $221,000 in 2007, a lit­tle more than $265,000 in 2008 and almost $293,000 in 2010.

    In 2011 the flow of cash from the state to most of his orga­ni­za­tions was stopped after the Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion accept­ed a Shin Bet assess­ment that “lead­ing teach­ers” at Od Yosef Chai Yeshi­va fos­ter vio­lence by their stu­dents against the Israel Defense Forces and the Pales­tini­ans. Pub­lished records show that the Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion still funds two of Ginsburg’s ele­men­tary schools in Jerusalem, Torat HaY­im and Ye’elat Chen, and that the Min­istry of Wel­fare sup­ports a side project of Od Yosef Chai yeshi­va in the Galilee.

    A spokesper­son for the Min­istry of Reli­gion and the Chief Rab­binate told the For­ward that the min­istry does not allo­cate funds to Ginsburg’s yeshiv­as but it does con­sid­er grad­u­ates of those yeshiv­as as eli­gi­ble can­di­dates to become state-approved rab­bis.

    Pri­vate donors also hand­some­ly sup­port Ginsburgh’s orga­ni­za­tions through tax-exempt Amer­i­can and Israeli not-for-prof­its. As report­ed by Haaretz jour­nal­ist Uri Blau, the Cen­tral Fund of Israel, head­ed by the New York-based Mar­cus fam­i­ly, has giv­en Gins­burgh $100,000–$160,000 annu­al­ly for sev­er­al years now; the yeshiva’s official’s web­site still sug­gests that dona­tions in the Unit­ed States should be made to the Cen­tral Fund of Israel, c/o Mar­cus Broth­ers Tex­tile, 980 6th Ave. NYC. Od Yosef Chai’s finan­cial reports show that Keren Hayesod, an Israeli arm of the Jew­ish Agency, made a one-time con­tri­bu­tion of $117,000 to the yeshi­va in 2013.

    Gins­burgh also runs his own sep­a­rate not-for-prof­it edu­ca­tion­al out­let, the Gal Einai insti­tute — which works close­ly with his pub­lish­ing house of the same name — to fundraise in the Unit­ed States, although most of his dona­tions, pub­lic records show, come from pri­vate Israeli donors and small busi­ness­es such as the Israeli real-estate com­pa­ny ICOM.

    Gal Einai’s younger, more dynam­ic jour­nal­is­tic sis­ter is the Jew­ish Voice, a media out­let that gives Gins­burgh-inspired instant expla­na­tions for cur­rent events as they unfold. In late sum­mer 2015 the fire­bomb­ing of the Dawab­sheh family’s home in Duma moved Israeli secu­ri­ty forces to con­duct a sweep of sus­pect­ed Jew­ish ter­ror­ists. Quick­ly, the Jew­ish Voice pro­mot­ed a wide­ly cir­cu­lat­ed peti­tion call­ing for their release. Ginsburg’s name was the first in the long list of estab­lished rab­bis on the pub­lic peti­tion.

    ...

    Ginsburgh’s own path from a tra­di­tion­al Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty in St. Louis to the fore­front of Israel’s rad­i­cal reli­gious fringe is part­ly unknown, part­ly cloud­ed by myths. The way Ginsburgh’s fol­low­ers tell it, the future kab­bal­ist became a ba’al teshu­vah, or returnee to tra­di­tion­al Judaism, at the age of 14 after a strik­ing encounter with a Hasidic Jew. Oth­ers, who knew him lat­er in life, say that it was a rab­bi in Philadel­phia who paved Ginsburg’s path to Torah when he was 18 or 19.

    ...

    In 1965, Gins­burgh immi­grat­ed to Israel, where he lived in Jerusalem and con­tin­ued to immerse him­self in his stud­ies. Then, after the 1967 Six-Day War he was part of a small group that pio­neered the revival of the Jew­ish Quar­ter in the Old City of Jerusalem.

    It was also around this time that Gins­burgh dis­cov­ered Chabad. The encounter inspired him to jour­ney to the heart of the move­ment, in the Crown Heights sec­tion of Brook­lyn. He stayed in New York for a few months and stud­ied with Rab­bi Men­achem Mendel Schneer­son, the sect’s influ­en­tial grand rab­bi.

    The expe­ri­ence trans­formed him; to this day he con­sid­ers him­self part of Chabad even though, to a sig­nif­i­cant extent, he has diverged from the Chabad doc­trine and cre­at­ed one of his own.

    Today, Gins­burgh and Schneer­son resem­ble each oth­er. Ginsburgh’s long white beard, pale skin, black Chabad attire and even his ges­tures — like rais­ing a hand to empha­size a cru­cial point, or his con­cen­trat­ed nod when music is play­ing — are rem­i­nis­cent of Schneer­son. His ties with the sect remain close.

    There is anoth­er sim­i­lar­i­ty: Schneer­son was rou­tine­ly hailed by his acolytes as the Jew­ish mes­si­ah whose com­ing was pre­dict­ed by bibil­i­cal prophets, but nev­er pub­licly accept­ed or dis­avowed these beliefs. Sim­i­lar­ly, Ginsburgh’s fol­low­ers do not just sup­port his calls for an Israeli monar­chy; they believe he should hold the crown. But Gins­burgh has care­ful­ly avoid­ed either con­firm­ing or dis­avow­ing his inter­est in the posi­tion.

    In the late 1960s, Gins­burgh returned to teach in Jerusalem, where he got mar­ried and even­tu­al­ly moved to Kfar Chabad, the Chabad-only vil­lage near Lod in cen­tral Israel, where he even­tu­al­ly raised six chil­dren. And by the ear­ly 1970s, he was amass­ing a fol­low­ing. “He was kind of their guru,” said Dov, who moved to Israel him­self around that time and recon­nect­ed with his for­mer study part­ner. These ear­ly dis­ci­ples seemed to grav­i­tate toward Gins­burgh, who exud­ed a spir­i­tu­al self-con­fi­dence, Dov said.

    By the ear­ly 1980s, Gins­burgh was quick­ly becom­ing a leader among the West Bank rad­i­cal youth. In 1983 he helped found the Od Yosef Chai yeshi­va in the Pales­tin­ian city of Nablus. And in 1989, 30 of Ginsburgh’s stu­dents went on a ram­page in the vil­lage of Kifl Hares near Nablus shoot­ing and killing a 13-year-old Pales­tin­ian girl. Gins­burgh tes­ti­fied on their behalf in an Israeli court, say­ing, “It should be rec­og­nized that Jew­ish blood and a goy’s [non Jew’s] blood are not the same.” It is a phrase that he would repeat, in one iter­a­tion or anoth­er, time and again.

    In 1994, the Amer­i­can-born set­tler, Gold­stein, mur­dered 29 Pales­tin­ian Mus­lims in Hebron as they knelt in prayer at the Cave of the Patri­archs, where, accord­ing to tra­di­tion, the bib­li­cal fig­ures Abra­ham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives — all of them revered also in Islam — are buried. Soon after, Gins­burgh wrote his most infa­mous work: a pam­phlet titled “Baruch Ha Gev­er,” or “Blessed Is the Hero­ic Man,” that inves­ti­gates the spir­i­tu­al and moral virtues of Goldstein’s mas­sacre. The title, per­haps not inci­den­tal­ly, also invoked Goldstein’s own first name, sug­gest­ing he was the hero­ic man. “The life of Israel is more impor­tant than the life of goy­im,” Gins­burgh wrote there. “If there is a chance (even a slight one) that the goy will work (even indis­creet­ly) to harm the life of Israel, then you don’t care for the life of the goy — more­over the best goy is a dead one.”

    Ginsburgh’s pam­phlet inspired the pub­li­ca­tion of a col­lec­tion of arti­cles in a book, also enti­tled “Baruch Ha Gev­er,” that explored the per­mis­si­bil­i­ty of killing Arabs accord­ing to Jew­ish law. The edi­tors of the books were con­vict­ed of incite­ment for racism in 1996. In April of that same year, Gins­burgh gained notice in Amer­i­can Jew­ish cir­cles when he told the New York Jew­ish Week that Halacha, or tra­di­tion­al Jew­ish law, would “prob­a­bly per­mit” seiz­ing an unwill­ing non-Jew for a liv­er trans­plant to save the life of a Jew.

    “Jew­ish life has infi­nite val­ue,” he told the news­pa­per. “There is some­thing infi­nite­ly more holy and unique about Jew­ish life than non-Jew­ish life.”

    In March 1996, Gins­burg was detained with­out charge or tri­al — a prac­tice usu­al­ly reserved exclu­sive­ly for Arabs — for 60 days on the direct order of Prime Min­is­ter Shi­mon Peres. The state cit­ed him as an imme­di­ate threat when, after a spate of ter­ror­ist attacks, he alleged­ly told his stu­dents that it was “imper­a­tive under Jew­ish law to revenge the Arabs.” In his appeal, Gins­burgh didn’t deny these words; he instead argued that his prais­ing of revenge against Arabs, “… isn’t enough to assume — at least not to the need­ed degree of prob­a­bil­i­ty — that because of these words his stu­dents will harm Arabs.”

    Debrief­ing the Knes­set three days after the deten­tion order, Min­is­ter of Inter­nal Secu­ri­ty Moshe Sha­hal said: “Yitzchak Gins­burgh is one of the most extreme of the so-called rab­bis. He con­sis­tent­ly preach­es for revenge, he jus­ti­fied the mas­sacre at the Tomb of the Patri­archs…. He has influ­ence over his fol­low­ers, who see his inter­pre­ta­tion of Jew­ish law as a per­mis­sion, and even an instruc­tion, for action.”

    But less than three weeks lat­er, Supreme Court Judge Dalia Dorner ordered Ginsburgh’s release. She crit­i­cized Peres’s admin­is­tra­tive deten­tion order, say­ing that “it was nev­er proved that his state­ments… may bring his stu­dents to attack Arabs.”

    Since then, some of Ginsburgh’s stu­dents have been accused and jailed count­less times for attack­ing Arabs, in some cas­es, shoot­ing and seri­ous­ly wound­ing them. But author­i­ties have been frus­trat­ed in prov­ing a link between some­thing Gins­burgh said and a spe­cif­ic vio­lent action.

    “In my per­son­al opin­ion, [Ginsburgh’s] words count as incite­ment and he should have faced charges a long time ago,” Car­mi Gillon, a for­mer head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domes­tic secu­ri­ty and intel­li­gence ser­vice, told the For­ward in a phone inter­view. “The argu­ment against charg­ing him is that it is impos­si­ble to draw a direct line between some­thing he said and a spe­cif­ic ter­ror attack. But this is the crux of the issue: Often­times in the case of incite­ment, there is no smok­ing bar­rel and we need to trust oth­er evi­dence.”

    The rab­bi first moved to Yitzhar in 2001, when the Israeli army, as part of the Oslo peace agree­ment, with­drew from Nablus, where his Od Yosef Chai yeshi­va had pre­vi­ous­ly been locat­ed, at a site reput­ed by leg­end to be the bur­ial place of the bib­li­cal patri­arch Joseph. Yitzhar is known as one of the most extreme West Bank Jew­ish set­tle­ments, and as if in line with his new loca­tion, Gins­burgh pub­licly called at the time for a “rev­o­lu­tion” and a “new Jew­ish coun­try” where Jew­ish law would replace sec­u­lar gov­ern­ment. Israel’s secu­ri­ty ser­vices raid­ed the school in 2010, after pub­li­ca­tion of “The King’s Torah,” a book by two of Ginsburgh’s top dis­ci­ples there that jus­ti­fies the killing of non-Jews, includ­ing infants, if there is rea­son to believe they will grow up to harm Jews.

    For Gins­burgh, “The sec­u­lar Zion­ist enter­prise is the shell before the fruit,” mean­ing the redemp­tion, said Shlo­mo Fis­ch­er, an Israeli soci­ol­o­gist who has stud­ied his work. “The Israeli gov­ern­ment is basi­cal­ly evil. It is pre­vent­ing the redemp­tion. So what he is say­ing is that we need some­thing total­ly dif­fer­ent.” To Ginsburgh’s fol­low­ers, the rab­bi him­self is the only one who can bring that about.

    The extent of his fol­low­ers’ devo­tion is dis­played at his events. This past March, dur­ing Purim fes­tiv­i­ties on the third floor of a syn­a­gogue in the Nach­laot neigh­bor­hood in Jerusalem, some of his stu­dents were singing and danc­ing. “You know who this is?” one of them asked anoth­er. Before his friend could reply, he answered: “The rab­bi is the Mes­si­ah King! He is our king and our Mes­si­ah.” Eliyahu Pelee, the 22 year-old son of one of Ginsburgh’s clos­est stu­dents, who was raised in Yitzhar, told the For­ward that for his fol­low­ers, Gins­burgh is unques­tion­ably the per­son for the job of monarch.

    In the past 10 years, Gins­burgh has some­what toned down his vio­lent rhetoric, even decry­ing the use of vio­lence to achieve the tru­ly Jew­ish state of which he dreams. But his influ­ence con­tin­ues through his stu­dents. In June 2014, secu­ri­ty offi­cials were cit­ed in an arti­cle in the Israeli dai­ly Haaretz blam­ing a spate of vengeance attacks on a group of about 100 rad­i­cal activists in Yitzhar who based their actions on Ginsburgh’s teach­ings.

    Duma, site of the arson attack that killed the three Dawab­sheh fam­i­ly mem­bers, lies between Yitzhar and Kfar Tapuach, a strong­hold of fol­low­ers of Rab­bi Meir Kahane, the late right-wing Brook­lyn-born reli­gious nation­al­ist. Kahane advo­cat­ed mass expul­sion of all Arabs from Israel and the West Bank and, in a kind of fate­ful con­ver­gence, one of the prize stu­dents to emerge from Ginsburgh’s yeshi­va is Meir Ettinger, a Kfar Tapuach native and Kahane’s own grand­son. Today, Ettinger has come to promi­nence as a rad­i­cal anti-state ide­o­logue in his own right while remain­ing a close asso­ciate of Gins­burgh. In a blog post last year, Ettinger advo­cat­ed strate­gi­cal­ly dri­ving the Israeli Pales­tin­ian con­flict toward “expul­sion” of non-Jews. Israeli author­i­ties believe he is the leader of a group called The Revolt — a West Bank cell that aims to over­throw the state—and jailed him with­out charge or tri­al in July 2015. He was released only this past Feb­ru­ary.

    In a recent rare inter­view, Ettinger’s wife said, “All of [Ettinger’s] ideas are advised by the Torah’s opin­ion, espe­cial­ly by Rab­bi Yitzchak Gins­burgh; he gets all of his ideas from him [Gins­burgh] and tries to be his sho­far.”

    ————

    “The Kab­bal­ist Who Would Be King of a New Jew­ish Monar­chy in Israel” By Natan Oden­heimer; For­ward; 10/14/2016

    “But Gins­burgh is not just about vio­lence against Pales­tini­ans. His wide net­work of schools and com­mu­ni­ties has, until recent­ly, been finan­cial­ly sup­port­ed by the Israeli gov­ern­ment and con­tin­ues to receive fund­ing from pri­vate donors in the Unit­ed States and Israel. And he has a vision for the state’s future: He wants to dis­man­tle it. In its place, he seeks to estab­lish a Jew­ish monar­chy. Indeed, some of his fol­low­ers hope to crown Gins­burgh him­self as their king. And though the num­ber of Israelis open­ly advo­cat­ing this right now is rel­a­tive­ly small, they have a pen­chant for action that has giv­en them a dis­pro­por­tion­ate impact on events.”

    The for­mal impo­si­tion of a Jew­ish theoc­ra­cy ruled by a king. That’s the plan. Or at least, that’s the plan of Rab­bi Gins­burgh and his thou­sands of zeal­ous fol­low­ers. And based on the decades of state sup­port, it’s hard to avoid the sus­pi­cion that a lot more peo­ple are very open to tak­ing Israel in this direc­tion:

    ...
    Gins­burgh is the spir­i­tu­al leader of the Od Yosef Chai (“Joseph Still Lives”) yeshi­va — a West Bank sem­i­nary that has pro­duced suc­ces­sive cohorts of rad­i­cal stu­dents impli­cat­ed in vio­lence against Pales­tini­ans—and the cler­i­cal emi­nence behind a wide net­work of vil­lages, neigh­bor­hoods, ele­men­tary schools, yeshiv­as, pub­lish­ing hous­es. He directs a youth move­ment, a news web­site, a cen­ter for Jew­ish psy­chol­o­gy and even a polit­i­cal move­ment, called Derech Chaim, of about 4,500 activists who sup­port the idea that “the essence of the Jew­ish State is to become the King­dom of Israel,” accord­ing to the movement’s offi­cial web­site. One of Derech Chaim’s major projects is the Hebrew Labor cam­paign, a title that white­wash­es the real pur­pose of the project: to con­vince Jew­ish busi­ness own­ers not to hire Arab work­ers.

    For more than 20 years, many of Ginsburgh’s insti­tu­tions were sup­port­ed by the State of Israel through the Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion, the Min­istry of Reli­gious Affairs and the Min­istry of Wel­fare, receiv­ing mil­lions of shekels. Od Yosef Chai’s pub­lished finan­cial records, for instance, record bud­getary allo­ca­tions from the Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion total­ing over $221,000 in 2007, a lit­tle more than $265,000 in 2008 and almost $293,000 in 2010.

    In 2011 the flow of cash from the state to most of his orga­ni­za­tions was stopped after the Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion accept­ed a Shin Bet assess­ment that “lead­ing teach­ers” at Od Yosef Chai Yeshi­va fos­ter vio­lence by their stu­dents against the Israel Defense Forces and the Pales­tini­ans. Pub­lished records show that the Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion still funds two of Ginsburg’s ele­men­tary schools in Jerusalem, Torat HaY­im and Ye’elat Chen, and that the Min­istry of Wel­fare sup­ports a side project of Od Yosef Chai yeshi­va in the Galilee.

    A spokesper­son for the Min­istry of Reli­gion and the Chief Rab­binate told the For­ward that the min­istry does not allo­cate funds to Ginsburg’s yeshiv­as but it does con­sid­er grad­u­ates of those yeshiv­as as eli­gi­ble can­di­dates to become state-approved rab­bis.
    ...

    And it appears that one of Gins­burgh’s key skills is legal­ly get­ting away with advo­cat­ing what amounts to ter­ror against non-Jews. Bad faith legal argu­ments have served him well:

    ...
    In the late 1960s, Gins­burgh returned to teach in Jerusalem, where he got mar­ried and even­tu­al­ly moved to Kfar Chabad, the Chabad-only vil­lage near Lod in cen­tral Israel, where he even­tu­al­ly raised six chil­dren. And by the ear­ly 1970s, he was amass­ing a fol­low­ing. “He was kind of their guru,” said Dov, who moved to Israel him­self around that time and recon­nect­ed with his for­mer study part­ner. These ear­ly dis­ci­ples seemed to grav­i­tate toward Gins­burgh, who exud­ed a spir­i­tu­al self-con­fi­dence, Dov said.

    By the ear­ly 1980s, Gins­burgh was quick­ly becom­ing a leader among the West Bank rad­i­cal youth. In 1983 he helped found the Od Yosef Chai yeshi­va in the Pales­tin­ian city of Nablus. And in 1989, 30 of Ginsburgh’s stu­dents went on a ram­page in the vil­lage of Kifl Hares near Nablus shoot­ing and killing a 13-year-old Pales­tin­ian girl. Gins­burgh tes­ti­fied on their behalf in an Israeli court, say­ing, “It should be rec­og­nized that Jew­ish blood and a goy’s [non Jew’s] blood are not the same.” It is a phrase that he would repeat, in one iter­a­tion or anoth­er, time and again.

    In 1994, the Amer­i­can-born set­tler, Gold­stein, mur­dered 29 Pales­tin­ian Mus­lims in Hebron as they knelt in prayer at the Cave of the Patri­archs, where, accord­ing to tra­di­tion, the bib­li­cal fig­ures Abra­ham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives — all of them revered also in Islam — are buried. Soon after, Gins­burgh wrote his most infa­mous work: a pam­phlet titled “Baruch Ha Gev­er,” or “Blessed Is the Hero­ic Man,” that inves­ti­gates the spir­i­tu­al and moral virtues of Goldstein’s mas­sacre. The title, per­haps not inci­den­tal­ly, also invoked Goldstein’s own first name, sug­gest­ing he was the hero­ic man. “The life of Israel is more impor­tant than the life of goy­im,” Gins­burgh wrote there. “If there is a chance (even a slight one) that the goy will work (even indis­creet­ly) to harm the life of Israel, then you don’t care for the life of the goy — more­over the best goy is a dead one.”

    Ginsburgh’s pam­phlet inspired the pub­li­ca­tion of a col­lec­tion of arti­cles in a book, also enti­tled “Baruch Ha Gev­er,” that explored the per­mis­si­bil­i­ty of killing Arabs accord­ing to Jew­ish law. The edi­tors of the books were con­vict­ed of incite­ment for racism in 1996. In April of that same year, Gins­burgh gained notice in Amer­i­can Jew­ish cir­cles when he told the New York Jew­ish Week that Halacha, or tra­di­tion­al Jew­ish law, would “prob­a­bly per­mit” seiz­ing an unwill­ing non-Jew for a liv­er trans­plant to save the life of a Jew.

    “Jew­ish life has infi­nite val­ue,” he told the news­pa­per. “There is some­thing infi­nite­ly more holy and unique about Jew­ish life than non-Jew­ish life.”

    In March 1996, Gins­burg was detained with­out charge or tri­al — a prac­tice usu­al­ly reserved exclu­sive­ly for Arabs — for 60 days on the direct order of Prime Min­is­ter Shi­mon Peres. The state cit­ed him as an imme­di­ate threat when, after a spate of ter­ror­ist attacks, he alleged­ly told his stu­dents that it was “imper­a­tive under Jew­ish law to revenge the Arabs.” In his appeal, Gins­burgh didn’t deny these words; he instead argued that his prais­ing of revenge against Arabs, “… isn’t enough to assume — at least not to the need­ed degree of prob­a­bil­i­ty — that because of these words his stu­dents will harm Arabs.”

    Debrief­ing the Knes­set three days after the deten­tion order, Min­is­ter of Inter­nal Secu­ri­ty Moshe Sha­hal said: “Yitzchak Gins­burgh is one of the most extreme of the so-called rab­bis. He con­sis­tent­ly preach­es for revenge, he jus­ti­fied the mas­sacre at the Tomb of the Patri­archs…. He has influ­ence over his fol­low­ers, who see his inter­pre­ta­tion of Jew­ish law as a per­mis­sion, and even an instruc­tion, for action.”

    But less than three weeks lat­er, Supreme Court Judge Dalia Dorner ordered Ginsburgh’s release. She crit­i­cized Peres’s admin­is­tra­tive deten­tion order, say­ing that “it was nev­er proved that his state­ments… may bring his stu­dents to attack Arabs.”

    Since then, some of Ginsburgh’s stu­dents have been accused and jailed count­less times for attack­ing Arabs, in some cas­es, shoot­ing and seri­ous­ly wound­ing them. But author­i­ties have been frus­trat­ed in prov­ing a link between some­thing Gins­burgh said and a spe­cif­ic vio­lent action.

    “In my per­son­al opin­ion, [Ginsburgh’s] words count as incite­ment and he should have faced charges a long time ago,” Car­mi Gillon, a for­mer head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domes­tic secu­ri­ty and intel­li­gence ser­vice, told the For­ward in a phone inter­view. “The argu­ment against charg­ing him is that it is impos­si­ble to draw a direct line between some­thing he said and a spe­cif­ic ter­ror attack. But this is the crux of the issue: Often­times in the case of incite­ment, there is no smok­ing bar­rel and we need to trust oth­er evi­dence.”
    ...

    And then there’s the 2010 raid of his school fol­low­ing the pub­lic of “The King’s Torah”, a book that jus­ti­fied even the killing of non-Jew­ish infants. Infants grow up, after all!

    ...
    The rab­bi first moved to Yitzhar in 2001, when the Israeli army, as part of the Oslo peace agree­ment, with­drew from Nablus, where his Od Yosef Chai yeshi­va had pre­vi­ous­ly been locat­ed, at a site reput­ed by leg­end to be the bur­ial place of the bib­li­cal patri­arch Joseph. Yitzhar is known as one of the most extreme West Bank Jew­ish set­tle­ments, and as if in line with his new loca­tion, Gins­burgh pub­licly called at the time for a “rev­o­lu­tion” and a “new Jew­ish coun­try” where Jew­ish law would replace sec­u­lar gov­ern­ment. Israel’s secu­ri­ty ser­vices raid­ed the school in 2010, after pub­li­ca­tion of “The King’s Torah,” a book by two of Ginsburgh’s top dis­ci­ples there that jus­ti­fies the killing of non-Jews, includ­ing infants, if there is rea­son to believe they will grow up to harm Jews.

    For Gins­burgh, “The sec­u­lar Zion­ist enter­prise is the shell before the fruit,” mean­ing the redemp­tion, said Shlo­mo Fis­ch­er, an Israeli soci­ol­o­gist who has stud­ied his work. “The Israeli gov­ern­ment is basi­cal­ly evil. It is pre­vent­ing the redemp­tion. So what he is say­ing is that we need some­thing total­ly dif­fer­ent.” To Ginsburgh’s fol­low­ers, the rab­bi him­self is the only one who can bring that about.
    ...

    Again, we have to ask: is the sniper respon­si­ble for all those child head­shots by chance a big Rab­bi Gins­burgh fan? We don’t know and prob­a­bly won’t ever know. But we do know thou­sands of kids when through this kind of indoc­tri­na­tion and went on to serve in senior IDF posi­tions. What kinds of lessons are these kids get­ting today, now that the far right has effec­tive­ly cap­tured Israeli soci­ety? It’s not Israel cir­ca 2019. Things are even cra­zier now. What kind of ‘edu­ca­tion’ are these kids get­ting today? Kids who are prob­a­bly going to be hand­ed a rifle soon­er rather than lat­er in this con­flict.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 21, 2024, 5:58 pm
  4. Is a swasti­ka always anti­se­mit­ic? Or does it depend on the con­text? That’s the ques­tion at the heart of a inci­dent cap­ture on video on Lon­don last week that has many ask­ing whether or not Lon­don author­i­ties have allowed the city to be turned into a kind of ‘no-go zone for Jews’ as the mas­sive pro-Pales­tin­ian protests con­tin­ue over the con­flict in Gaza. The inci­dent cen­tered around a Jew­ish counter-pro­tes­tor, Amer­i­can doc­u­men­tary film­mak­er Joce­lyn Weiss, who saw a pro-Pales­tin­ian pro­test­er car­ry­ing a sign with a swasti­ka on it. Weiss then con­fronts a Lon­don police offi­cer to ask why this pro­tes­tor was­n’t being arrest­ed for a bla­tant dis­play of anti­semitism. The offi­cer attempts to explain why he isn’t arrest­ing the pro­tes­tor by cit­ing the need to assess the con­text in which a swasti­ka is used. The two get into a heat­ed exchange, with Weiss express­ing exas­per­a­tion about how any sort of con­text could excuse the use of a swasti­ka in pub­lic while the offi­cer — and his fel­low offi­cers — make rather inept attempts to explain how they rec­og­nize the his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of the sym­bol while refut­ing the idea that the use sym­bol, in and of itself, is nec­es­sar­i­ly an anti­se­mit­ic attack.

    It was an inci­dent that left many won­der­ing if Lon­don author­i­ties were some­how com­plic­it in cod­dling pro-Pales­tin­ian extrem­ists. And as part of the larg­er con­text over this ‘con­text ker­fuf­fle’, Britain’s counter-extrem­ism tsar, Robin Sim­cox, warned ear­li­er last month that pro-Pales­tine pro­test­ers are turn­ing Lon­don into a ‘no-go zone for Jews’.

    What are we look­ing at here? It’s a bit of a mess, in part because it’s been large­ly unclear what was actu­al­ly on the swasti­ka sign oth­er than a swasti­ka. After all, it’s one thing to cel­e­brate swasti­ka, but anoth­er to use a swasti­ka to some­how depict some­one as Nazi. The use of a swasti­ka in protest signs real­ly is pret­ty con­text spe­cif­ic. Is the swasti­ka being used for cel­e­bra­tion or con­dem­na­tion? And as we’re going to see in a fol­low up inter­view with Weiss, it appears it’s the lat­ter. The sign she saw depict­ed Ben­jamin Netanyahu with a Hitler mus­tache and a red tie con­tain­ing with a swasti­ka. So while a lot of the cov­er­age of this sto­ry left it ambigu­ous as to whether or not this was a sign cel­e­brat­ing the Nazis in the mid­dle of a pro-Pales­tin­ian protest, that’s not actu­al­ly the case. The swasti­ka was being used to equate Netanyahu with the Nazis.

    It’s also worth keep­ing in mind some of the oth­er the grim his­toric con­text behind this inci­dent: the fact that pow­er­ful ele­ments in both Israeli and Pales­tin­ian soci­eties have deep ties to not just fas­cism but Nazism. Whether we’re talk­ing about the exten­sive fas­cists con­nec­tions to the Jabotin­sky move­ment inside Zion­ism, or the inter­twined his­to­ry of fas­cism and mod­ern Islamist rad­i­cal­ism through groups like the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, there is no hon­est way to dis­as­so­ci­ate the lead­er­ship of either Israel or Gaza with fas­cism and Nazism.

    But we don’t have to look at his­to­ry to find these con­nec­tions to the Netanyahu gov­ern­ment. Don’t for­get how for­mer Mossad chief Tamir Par­do warned back in July of 2023 — months before Octo­ber 7 — that Netanyahu’s gov­ern­ment is “a lot worse” than the Ku Klux Klan in terms of its racism. Or there’s the very promi­nent rab­bis open­ly foment­ing Nazi-like poli­cies, like Rab­bi Eliez­er Kashtiel, who has open­ly expressed an admi­ra­tion for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis over­all goals. He only quib­bled with the part where the Nazis killed con­ser­v­a­tive Jews. Every­one else was appro­pri­ate­ly liq­ui­dat­ed. That gross con­tem­po­rary his­to­ry is part of the con­text of that sign too. Along with the hor­rif­ic con­text of the real­i­ty on the ground in Gaza, which appears to be in the mid­dle of an unde­clared eth­nic cleans­ing cam­paign.

    So it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see how many more swasti­ka inci­dents we see pop up in the still-mas­sive pro-Pales­tin­ian protests going for­ward. It’s not hard to imag­ine we’re going to see A LOT more at this point. What is sad­ly much hard­er to imag­ine is that any of these inci­dents will result in any mean­ing­ful explo­ration of the dis­turb­ing pro-Nazi his­to­ry found in the lead­er­ship of both sides of this gross con­flict.

    Ok, first, here’s a Dai­ly Mail piece describ­ing the back and forth cap­tured in video between Weiss and the Lon­don offi­cers. Note that, like most report­ing on this sto­ry, there was no actu­al descrip­tion of sign in ques­tion and how it specif­i­cal­ly depict­ed Ben­jamin Netanyahu as as Nazi. We’re only told that it had a swasti­ka:

    The Dai­ly Mail

    Fury over ‘absolute­ly gob­s­mack­ing’ footage show­ing Met Police offi­cer telling Jew­ish woman that swastikas ‘need to be tak­en into con­text’ and might not be anti-Semit­ic — after she com­plained about Nazi sym­bol being used in pro-Pales­tine march

    By Arthur Parashar
    Pub­lished: 08:04 EDT, 31 March 2024 | Updat­ed: 10:07 EDT, 31 March 2024

    The Met Police has sparked fury after ‘absolute­ly gob­s­mack­ing’ footage emerged of an offi­cer telling a Jew­ish woman that swastikas ‘need to be tak­en into con­text’ at a pro-Pales­tine march in Lon­don.

    Aston­ish­ing video shows the woman con­fronting offi­cers after she was alleged­ly told that the swastikas were ‘not nec­es­sar­i­ly anti-Semit­ic or a dis­rup­tion of pub­lic order’ when she report­ed them being dis­played at Sat­ur­day’s demon­stra­tion.

    Dur­ing the heat­ed inter­ac­tion, the furi­ous activist demands to know why the pro-Pales­tine pro­test­er show­ing a swasti­ka has not been arrest­ed.

    But two oth­er offi­cers seem­ing­ly defend the lack of action and refuse to acknowl­edge that parad­ing a swasti­ka sym­bol at the pro-Pales­tine march is anti-Semit­ic.

    After being shown the footage, a spokesper­son for Cam­paign Against Anti­semitism told MailOn­line: ‘This inter­ac­tion is absolute­ly gob­s­mack­ing.

    ‘The very notion that a British police offi­cer could imag­ine a con­text in which the Nazi swasti­ka is an accept­able image to be dis­played in pub­lic is dis­tress­ing enough, but for him to be uncer­tain about its mean­ing in the con­text of a march ooz­ing with anti-Semit­ic rhetoric and sig­nage is an indict­ment of the Met.

    ...

    ‘This is less the fault of a soli­tary offi­cer than it is of Met Com­mis­sion­er Sir Mark Row­ley, who has bent over back­wards to ratio­nalise and ‘con­tex­tu­alise’ calls for vio­lent Jihad and geno­ci­dal chant­i­ng.

    ‘If Sir Mark dis­agrees with this offi­cer’s assess­ment, he should come out and say so and explain what train­ing he will pro­vide to his offi­cers to ensure that they are clear that Nazism is bad.

    ‘But if he agrees that the swasti­ka is con­text-depen­dent, let him tell that to the hun­dreds of thou­sands of Britons who gave their lives to pre­vent that despi­ca­ble sym­bol from ever being flown on the streets of Lon­don.’

    After the woman tells the offi­cer that she has been told a swasti­ka ‘isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly anti-Semit­ic’, he starts to say ‘So I think the sym­bol in of itself...’ which prompts the activist to beg oth­ers to film the heat­ed inter­ac­tion.

    When those gath­er­ing around the pair tell the offi­cer ‘it is anti-Semit­ic’, the offi­cer responds: ‘I did­n’t say it was­n’t.’

    But the incensed woman then asks: ‘If some­one is car­ry­ing a sign with a swasti­ka, you said you would­n’t arrest them on the spot, it would have to be inves­ti­gat­ed online?’

    A sec­ond Met Police offi­cer then inter­rupts to say: ‘A swasti­ka on its own, I don’t think is...’.

    The offi­cers claim that ‘every­thing needs to be tak­en in con­text’ despite the Nazi sym­bol being parad­ed at a pro-Pales­tine march in the con­text of the Israel-Hamas war.

    It comes despite the Met assur­ing ahead of the demon­stra­tion that they would take ‘swift and deci­sive action’ against any­one break­ing the law. And ear­li­er this month, Robin Sim­cox, Britain’s counter-extrem­ism tsar warned pro-Pales­tine pro­test­ers are turn­ing Lon­don into a ‘no-go zone for Jews’.

    Dur­ing the video, the offi­cer tries to explain the Pub­lic Order Act and leg­is­la­tion they work under, but the woman shouts: ‘A swasti­ka is a swasti­ka!’

    The offi­cer con­tin­ues: ‘There are var­i­ous facets to the Pub­lic Order Act ok. So what in this sphere we’re work­ing under things called Sec­tion 5 of the Pub­lic Order Act and Sec­tion 4A of the Pub­lic Order Act. They are some of the pri­ma­ry leg­is­la­tion we’re using right.

    ‘If you go away and look at that and it’s all about if it’s some­thing like­ly to cause vast alarm and dis­tress if it is writ­ten words or there’s spo­ken words that are abu­sive.’

    The woman then inter­rupts: ‘So under what con­text is a swasti­ka not dis­rupt­ing pub­lic order? Could you just explain under what sym­bol that is not dis­rupt­ing pub­lic order?’

    The offi­cer answers: ‘I haven’t said any­thing about it that it is or it isn’t. Every­thing needs to be tak­en in con­text does­n’t it.’

    The per­son film­ing inter­rupts to say: ‘Yeah but it’s a con­text of a hate­ful march.’

    And the Jew­ish woman adds: ‘Why does a swasti­ka need con­text?’

    She con­tin­ues: ‘Why is a swasti­ka not imme­di­ate­ly anti-Semi­tism. Why does it need con­text? This is what I’m con­fused about. This isn’t even about Israel. In what con­text is a swasti­ka not anti-Semit­ic and dis­rup­tive to pub­lic order? That is my ques­tion.’

    The Met Police offi­cer replies: ‘I don’t have an in depth knowl­edge of signs and sym­bols. I know the swasti­ka was used by the Nazi par­ty dur­ing their incep­tion and the peri­od of them being in pow­er in Ger­many in 1934... I’m aware of that.’

    But the woman hits back, say­ing: ‘I just can’t believe this con­ver­sa­tion is actu­al­ly hap­pen­ing.’

    The offi­cer, seem­ing­ly get­ting frus­trat­ed, responds: ‘What exact­ly are you get­ting con­fused about?’

    And the woman replies: ‘I’m con­fused about in what con­text a swasti­ka is not anti-Semit­ic. This is what I want to know.’

    As the con­ver­sa­tion gets more heat­ed, the offi­cer says: ‘I sup­pose to some I don’t know how every­body would feel about that sign. Now if you came up to me and you felt mass alarm and dis­tress about a sym­bol that some­one was...’

    The woman then inter­rupts him to say: ‘I am extreme­ly dis­tressed and I am very alarmed.’

    She then claims she has offered to take the offi­cer to peo­ple who are hold­ing signs with swastikas.

    But the offi­cer insists on stay­ing where he is because there are oth­er offi­cers through­out the protest.

    He adds: ‘If you walk down the road and you see that per­son then there’s a police offi­cer...’

    The woman claims she did speak to an offi­cer who told her that it was ‘not their job to arrest peo­ple with swastikas’.

    The offi­cer replies: ‘I apol­o­gise that has hap­pened... It is not my respon­si­bil­i­ty unfor­tu­nate­ly to walk down the road. If you walk down the road and you see some­body then we can send some oth­er offi­cers with you back.’

    A spokesman for the Met Police said: ‘We’re aware of an online clip from today’s protest in cen­tral Lon­don show­ing an inter­ac­tion between an offi­cer and a woman dur­ing which there is an exchange over con­cern around pro­tes­tors dis­play­ing offen­sive ban­ners, includ­ing swastikas.

    ‘The online clip is a short excerpt of what was a 10-minute con­ver­sa­tion with the offi­cer. Dur­ing the full con­ver­sa­tion, the offi­cer estab­lish­es that the per­son the woman was con­cerned about had already been arrest­ed for a pub­lic order offence in rela­tion to a plac­ard.

    ‘The offi­cer then offered to arrange for oth­er offi­cers to attend and accom­pa­ny the woman to iden­ti­fy any oth­er per­sons she was con­cerned about amongst the pro­tes­tors, but after turn­ing to speak to his super­vi­sor, she then unfor­tu­nate­ly left.

    ...

    Four peo­ple were arrest­ed, includ­ing one man on sus­pi­cion of a ter­ror­ism-relat­ed offence, at yes­ter­day’s protest.

    More than 200,000 peo­ple took part in the demon­stra­tion on Sat­ur­day call­ing for an imme­di­ate cease­fire in Gaza, accord­ing to esti­mates by organ­is­ers.

    Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, thou­sands of pro-Pales­tin­ian sup­port­ers have marched through the streets of Lon­don.

    There has also been a huge increase in anti-Semi­tism in the cap­i­tal since Hamas’s hor­rif­ic Octo­ber 7 attacks that saw 1,139 peo­ple slaugh­tered and 240 tak­en hostage.

    ...

    Prime Min­is­ter Rishi Sunak has pre­vi­ous­ly called for the Met Police to take tougher action against pro­test­ers.

    Sunak also promised to deal with the ‘root caus­es’ of the prob­lem and ensure that ‘no extrem­ist organ­i­sa­tions or indi­vid­u­als are being lent legit­i­ma­cy by their actions and inter­ac­tions with cen­tral gov­ern­ment’.

    But Met Police Com­mis­sion­er Sir Mark Row­ley lat­er defend­ed the force’s polic­ing of protests, declar­ing ‘we have to police the law as it is, not as oth­ers would wish it to be’.

    A fort­night ago, Michael Gove com­piled a list of extrem­ist groups and barred them from gov­ern­ment meet­ings and fund­ing.

    The Com­mu­ni­ties Sec­re­tary unveiled a new def­i­n­i­tion of extrem­ism, warn­ing that divi­sions in the wake of Hamas’s ter­ror attack on Israel pose a ‘real risk’ to British democ­ra­cy.

    Groups meet­ing the mul­ti-pronged def­i­n­i­tion – even if they are non-vio­lent – will be banned from receiv­ing tax­pay­ers’ mon­ey and from con­tact with min­is­ters or senior civ­il ser­vants. It will also apply to the hon­ours sys­tem and pub­lic appoint­ments.

    ———–

    “Fury over ‘absolute­ly gob­s­mack­ing’ footage show­ing Met Police offi­cer telling Jew­ish woman that swastikas ‘need to be tak­en into con­text’ and might not be anti-Semit­ic — after she com­plained about Nazi sym­bol being used in pro-Pales­tine march” By Arthur Parashar; The Dai­ly Mail; 03/31/2024

    “It comes despite the Met assur­ing ahead of the demon­stra­tion that they would take ‘swift and deci­sive action’ against any­one break­ing the law. And ear­li­er this month, Robin Sim­cox, Britain’s counter-extrem­ism tsar warned pro-Pales­tine pro­test­ers are turn­ing Lon­don into a ‘no-go zone for Jews’.”

    Have reg­u­lar mas­sive protests over the war in Gaza turned Lon­don in a ‘no-go zone for Jews’, as the UK counter-extrem­ism tsar warned last month? That’s part of the larg­er con­text over the con­text ker­fuf­fle over a protest sign con­tain­ing a swasti­ka. Was ‘swift and deci­sion action’ war­rant­ed in the case of the pro­tes­tor hold­ing a sign with a swasti­ka? The answer, accord­ing to the Lon­don metro police, appears to be that it depends on the con­text of the sign. Because every­thing needs to be tak­en in con­text:

    ...
    After the woman tells the offi­cer that she has been told a swasti­ka ‘isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly anti-Semit­ic’, he starts to say ‘So I think the sym­bol in of itself...’ which prompts the activist to beg oth­ers to film the heat­ed inter­ac­tion.

    When those gath­er­ing around the pair tell the offi­cer ‘it is anti-Semit­ic’, the offi­cer responds: ‘I did­n’t say it was­n’t.’

    But the incensed woman then asks: ‘If some­one is car­ry­ing a sign with a swasti­ka, you said you would­n’t arrest them on the spot, it would have to be inves­ti­gat­ed online?’

    A sec­ond Met Police offi­cer then inter­rupts to say: ‘A swasti­ka on its own, I don’t think is...’.

    The offi­cers claim that ‘every­thing needs to be tak­en in con­text’ despite the Nazi sym­bol being parad­ed at a pro-Pales­tine march in the con­text of the Israel-Hamas war.

    ...

    As the con­ver­sa­tion gets more heat­ed, the offi­cer says: ‘I sup­pose to some I don’t know how every­body would feel about that sign. Now if you came up to me and you felt mass alarm and dis­tress about a sym­bol that some­one was...’

    The woman then inter­rupts him to say: ‘I am extreme­ly dis­tressed and I am very alarmed.’

    She then claims she has offered to take the offi­cer to peo­ple who are hold­ing signs with swastikas.

    But the offi­cer insists on stay­ing where he is because there are oth­er offi­cers through­out the protest.

    He adds: ‘If you walk down the road and you see that per­son then there’s a police offi­cer...’

    The woman claims she did speak to an offi­cer who told her that it was ‘not their job to arrest peo­ple with swastikas’.

    The offi­cer replies: ‘I apol­o­gise that has hap­pened... It is not my respon­si­bil­i­ty unfor­tu­nate­ly to walk down the road. If you walk down the road and you see some­body then we can send some oth­er offi­cers with you back.’
    ...

    Also note that this does­n’t appear to be a rogue offi­cer who was mak­ing up his own con­text-cen­tric pol­i­cy. Met Police Com­mis­sion­er Sir Mark Row­ley has already been defend­ing his police force against sim­i­lar crit­i­cisms from the UK gov­ern­ment about tak­ing too light a hand against the pro­tes­tors:

    ...
    ‘This is less the fault of a soli­tary offi­cer than it is of Met Com­mis­sion­er Sir Mark Row­ley, who has bent over back­wards to ratio­nalise and ‘con­tex­tu­alise’ calls for vio­lent Jihad and geno­ci­dal chant­i­ng.

    ‘If Sir Mark dis­agrees with this offi­cer’s assess­ment, he should come out and say so and explain what train­ing he will pro­vide to his offi­cers to ensure that they are clear that Nazism is bad.

    ‘But if he agrees that the swasti­ka is con­text-depen­dent, let him tell that to the hun­dreds of thou­sands of Britons who gave their lives to pre­vent that despi­ca­ble sym­bol from ever being flown on the streets of Lon­don.’

    ...

    A spokesman for the Met Police said: ‘We’re aware of an online clip from today’s protest in cen­tral Lon­don show­ing an inter­ac­tion between an offi­cer and a woman dur­ing which there is an exchange over con­cern around pro­tes­tors dis­play­ing offen­sive ban­ners, includ­ing swastikas.

    ‘The online clip is a short excerpt of what was a 10-minute con­ver­sa­tion with the offi­cer. Dur­ing the full con­ver­sa­tion, the offi­cer estab­lish­es that the per­son the woman was con­cerned about had already been arrest­ed for a pub­lic order offence in rela­tion to a plac­ard.

    ‘The offi­cer then offered to arrange for oth­er offi­cers to attend and accom­pa­ny the woman to iden­ti­fy any oth­er per­sons she was con­cerned about amongst the pro­tes­tors, but after turn­ing to speak to his super­vi­sor, she then unfor­tu­nate­ly left.

    ...

    Prime Min­is­ter Rishi Sunak has pre­vi­ous­ly called for the Met Police to take tougher action against pro­test­ers.

    Sunak also promised to deal with the ‘root caus­es’ of the prob­lem and ensure that ‘no extrem­ist organ­i­sa­tions or indi­vid­u­als are being lent legit­i­ma­cy by their actions and inter­ac­tions with cen­tral gov­ern­ment’.

    But Met Police Com­mis­sion­er Sir Mark Row­ley lat­er defend­ed the force’s polic­ing of protests, declar­ing ‘we have to police the law as it is, not as oth­ers would wish it to be’.
    ...

    So what is the actu­al­ly con­text of this sign? It’s a lit­tle dif­fi­cult to assess based on almost all of the arti­cles about this inci­dent since we don’t typ­i­cal­ly get to see one of the biggest pieces of con­text in this whole sto­ry: the sign itself. But it looks like we do now know what the sign was, thanks to the fol­low­ing inter­view in the Jew­ish Chron­i­cle with Joce­lyn Weiss, woman in the video argu­ing with the police offi­cer. As Weiss describes, “I’m not a fan of Bibi [Netanyahu] but he shouldn’t be depict­ed with a Hitler mous­tache and a swasti­ka. I saw Sunak and Starmer both depict­ed with horns – it’s bla­tant anti­se­mit­ic imagery.” So it appears that the swasti­ka was specif­i­cal­ly used in an image of Netanyahu with a Hitler mous­tache and a swasti­ka. The inter­view includes a pho­to of a protest poster with exact­ly that image, with Netanyahu wear­ing a red tie with a swasti­ka. That’s the key con­text of this whole inci­dent. A poster depict­ing Natanyahu as Hitler. It was­n’t a cel­e­bra­tion of Nazism, but rather a Nazi-cen­tric con­dem­na­tion of the Israeli Prime Min­is­ter:

    The Jew­ish Chon­i­cle

    Police should apol­o­gise after an offi­cer told me that swastikas ‘need to be tak­en in con­text’

    Woman who chal­lenged a police­man dur­ing an anti-Israel march in Lon­don has com­plained to the Met

    BY Jane Prins­ley
    April 02, 2024 16:35

    A woman has com­plained to the Met after she was told by a police­man patrolling an anti-Israel march that the ques­tion of whether or not hold­ing up a swasti­ka was an offence depend­ed “on con­text”.

    “A swasti­ka does not depend on con­text,” Amer­i­can doc­u­men­tary mak­er Joce­lyn Weiss told the JC after a video of her chal­leng­ing the Met offi­cer about a pro­test­er car­ry­ing a swasti­ka went viral.

    Over the course of a ten-minute con­ver­sa­tion on Sat­ur­day after­noon in cen­tral Lon­don, Weiss tried to appeal to the offi­cer, explain­ing that a swasti­ka was anti­se­mit­ic. The offi­cer said swastikas were not ille­gal in cer­tain con­texts and refused to leave his post.

    The Met has since said that they arrest­ed the pro­test­er, one of two arrests made under sec­tion 5 of the Pub­lic Order Act for caus­ing harass­ment, alarm and dis­tress at the anti-Israel march on Sat­ur­day.

    Shad­ow for­eign sec­re­tary David Lam­my crit­i­cised the offi­cer on LBC: “It doesn’t need con­text. It’s an out­ra­geous sym­bol to use on a protest, and we’ve got to bear down hard on those that have used it.

    “Of course the man should have been arrest­ed but it does seem to me that the offi­cer should have known this isn’t about con­text. It’s about vile anti­semitism on the streets of Lon­don mak­ing peo­ple feel unsafe. It’s a hate sym­bol and it’s got to be treat­ed as such.”

    ...

    Weiss had been at a counter-demo on Sat­ur­day where anti-Hamas demon­stra­tors waved Israeli flags and signs that said “Hamas is ter­ror­ist” towards a large crowd of anti-Israel pro­test­ers. She had not want­ed to draw atten­tion to her­self, and so had left her use­ful “rape is resis­tance” sign at home. In the anti-Israel crowd, she saw numer­ous offen­sive ban­ners, includ­ing one with Nazi sym­bols.

    Weiss was aston­ished by the police officer’s com­ments when she com­plained about the swasti­ka. “I could­n’t believe it hap­pened, I am still in shock,” she said.

    The Amer­i­can has lived in Lon­don for a year and a half and prefers the UK cap­i­tal city to her pre­vi­ous home­towns of Boston and New York. “It’s safe in Lon­don, it’s a beau­ti­ful city with a thriv­ing Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty. This inci­dent doesn’t do the city jus­tice [...] it’s not this law­less city that it’s depict­ed as.”

    Weiss describes her­self as a “left-lean­ing free­lance doc­u­men­tary mak­er and researcher” and said she has been left feel­ing like a “polit­i­cal foot­ball”, not­ing that peo­ple have used her video to fur­ther their polit­i­cal aims.

    She has con­sid­ered print­ing “leaflets that say swastikas are bad and see if they respond to them.”

    Weiss objects to the idea that anti­semitism needs to be con­tex­tu­al­ized. She said: “It’s like this Clau­dine Gay bullsh*t.

    I’m not a fan of Bibi [Netanyahu] but he shouldn’t be depict­ed with a Hitler mous­tache and a swasti­ka. I saw Sunak and Starmer both depict­ed with horns – it’s bla­tant anti­se­mit­ic imagery.”

    “It’s not about Israel, it’s about swastikas and swastikas are bad.”

    Weiss thinks “peo­ple have no lit­er­a­cy on this issue” and there is a “lack of bias train­ing” in the UK about anti­semitism.

    ...

    As the video con­tin­ued cir­cu­lat­ing on social media, the Met released a state­ment: “This video clip is a short excerpt of a 10-minute con­ver­sa­tion with an offi­cer. Dur­ing the full con­ver­sa­tion, the offi­cer estab­lished that the per­son the woman was con­cerned about had already been arrest­ed for a pub­lic order offence in rela­tion to a plac­ard.

    “The offi­cer then offered to arrange for oth­er offi­cers to attend and accom­pa­ny the woman to iden­ti­fy any oth­er per­sons she was con­cerned about amongst the pro­tes­tors, but after turn­ing to speak to his super­vi­sor, she had unfor­tu­nate­ly left.”

    ————

    “Police should apol­o­gise after an offi­cer told me that swastikas ‘need to be tak­en in con­text’” by Jane Prins­ley; The Jew­ish Chon­i­cle; 04/02/2024

    “Weiss had been at a counter-demo on Sat­ur­day where anti-Hamas demon­stra­tors waved Israeli flags and signs that said “Hamas is ter­ror­ist” towards a large crowd of anti-Israel pro­test­ers. She had not want­ed to draw atten­tion to her­self, and so had left her use­ful “rape is resis­tance” sign at home. In the anti-Israel crowd, she saw numer­ous offen­sive ban­ners, includ­ing one with Nazi sym­bols.

    There does­n’t appear to have been a sea of swastikas. It was a sin­gle sign, based on Weis­s’s descrip­tion. A sign fea­tur­ing Netanyahu with a Hitler mous­tache and swasti­ka. So while Weiss equat­ed the ‘con­tex­tu­al­iz­ing’ of the offi­cer with ‘Clau­dine Gay bullsh*t’, it’s impor­tant to rec­og­nize that the swasti­ka was­n’t be used in a ‘Riv­er to the Sea’ calls that could be inter­pret­ed as an endorse­ment of eth­nic cleans­ing that was at the cen­ter of the Clau­dine Gay con­tro­ver­sy. This is a sign depict­ing Netanyahu as a geno­ci­dal Nazi. An unpleas­ant image, no doubt. But, con­tex­tu­al­ly, it does­n’t appear to be a call for eth­nic cleans­ing. If any­thing, it’s a con­dem­na­tion of eth­nic cleans­ing, albeit a pret­ty inflam­ma­to­ry con­dem­na­tion:

    ...
    Weiss objects to the idea that anti­semitism needs to be con­tex­tu­al­ized. She said: “It’s like this Clau­dine Gay bullsh*t.

    I’m not a fan of Bibi [Netanyahu] but he shouldn’t be depict­ed with a Hitler mous­tache and a swasti­ka. I saw Sunak and Starmer both depict­ed with horns – it’s bla­tant anti­se­mit­ic imagery.”

    “It’s not about Israel, it’s about swastikas and swastikas are bad.”
    ...

    Is it inher­ent­ly anti­se­mit­ic to depict an Israeli prime min­is­ter as a Nazi? Well, it cer­tain­ly would be nice if we lived in a world where the Israeli prime min­is­ter was­n’t lead­ing a far right gov­ern­ment seem­ing­ly engaged in an eth­nic cleans­ing cam­paign. If we lived in that world then, sure, this could be seen as an inher­ent­ly anti­se­mit­ic image. But how are we to inter­pret it giv­en the gross and dis­turb­ing world we actu­al­ly live in? That ques­tion, unfor­tu­nate­ly, has basi­cal­ly been glossed over as this sto­ry has played out.

    So we’ll see if we hear about more sto­ries of Lon­don pro­tes­tor sport­ing swasti­ka signs. But it’s worth not­ing that, should we end up see­ing protest and counter-protests both hold­ing up mutu­al­ly incrim­i­nat­ing signs up that depict the lead­er­ship of Israel and Hamas as a bunch of fas­cist-sym­pa­thiz­ing wannabes, that may not make for a pleas­ant envi­ron­ment but it would at least be his­tor­i­cal­ly ground­ed. It’s not great con­text but it’s our con­text, whether we want to rec­og­nized it or not.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 3, 2024, 5:27 pm
  5. It’s not real­ly a ques­tion whether or not the Israeli gov­ern­ment is vio­lat­ing inter­na­tion­al law with its con­duct of the war in Gaza. That’s been obvi­ous for months now, if only from the scenes of urban rub­ble where mil­lions of civil­ians used to live. The big ques­tion is what will the world do about the sit­u­a­tion. And, in turn, will the US do some­thing it’s high­ly ret­i­cent to do and reign in its close ally. Well, we got an update of sorts on that front: the Biden admin­is­tra­tion just released a report con­clud­ing there is “rea­son­able” evi­dence that Israel has vio­lat­ed inter­na­tion­al law with its use of US-pro­vid­ed weapons.

    Now, the “rea­son­able” lan­guage is impor­tant here because its also an admis­sion that the US does­n’t have con­clu­sive proof that US weapons were specif­i­cal­ly used in par­tic­u­lar instances. And that ambi­gu­i­ty might be enough to allow the US to con­tin­ue deliv­er­ing weapons despite this find­ing. Still, it’s a step clos­er to the US break­ing off a sup­ply of bombs that the Israelis will undoubt­ed­ly need soon­er or lat­er to con­tin­ue wag­ing this war in this man­ner.

    Inter­est­ing­ly, while Repub­li­cans are pre­dictably slam­ming the Biden admin­is­tra­tion for issu­ing the report at all, some Con­gres­sion­al Democ­rats, includ­ing Sen­a­tor Chris Van Hollen, are still crit­i­cal of the Biden admin­is­tra­tion for not doing enough. As Van Hollen put it, “they’re duck­ing a deter­mi­na­tion on the hard cas­es. Polit­i­cal­ly incon­ve­nient cas­es.”

    And those allu­sions to polit­i­cal­ly incon­ve­nient cas­es brings us to a sec­ond report that just came out. This time from CNN, which is report­ing on a set of tru­ly dis­turb­ing alle­ga­tions com­ing from mul­ti­ple anony­mous whistle­blow­ers who have spent time work­ing at the secret Israeli mil­i­tary deten­tion facil­i­ties that have been set up since Octo­ber 7. The camps are a result of the Unlaw­ful Com­bat­ants Law passed fol­low­ing the attacks that allow for 45 days of deten­tion with­out an arrest war­rant, after which they must be trans­ferred to Israel’s prison sys­tem or released. It sounds like they’re being used as a ‘fil­tra­tion sys­tem’ for cap­tured Gazans.

    And while It sounds like it’s basi­cal­ly Israel’s short-term ver­sion of Guan­tanamo Bay, with ram­pant sys­tem­at­ic human rights vio­la­tions, it’s impor­tant to keep in mind that Guan­tanamo Bay was pri­mar­i­ly pop­u­lat­ed by sus­pect­ed ter­ror­ists picked up on ‘the bat­tle­field’. In this case, ‘the bat­tle­field’ is Gaza, a for­mer­ly civil­ian area. In oth­er words, detained Gazans are poten­tial­ly being sub­ject­ed to a month and a half of tor­tur­ous con­di­tions as part of the screen­ing process for assess­ing whether or not they are a mem­ber of Hamas.

    This is also a good time to keep in mind that the US’s Guan­tanamo Bay deten­tion facil­i­ties are still in oper­a­tion and have held some peo­ple for over two decades now. It’s anoth­er grim facet of this sto­ry.

    The con­di­tions include long peri­ods in stress posi­tions dur­ing the day while being blind­fold­ed and near­ly naked. At night, teams with large dogs are sent in to ‘inspect’ the detainees. Patients are report­ed­ly hand­cuffed at the ankles and wrists and in some cas­es ampu­ta­tions have been per­formed on limbs due to exces­sive zip-tying.

    We’re also told by these whistle­blow­ers — who face pos­si­ble pros­e­cu­tion for their whistle­blow­ing — that they were asked to per­form med­ical pro­ce­dures for which they were unqual­i­fied. They were also instruct­ed not to sign forms per­mit­ting med­ical pro­ce­dures. So med­ical pro­ce­dures are being per­formed by peo­ple with­out the prop­er train­ing and who have been instruct­ed to not keep records. It’s a con­scious­ness of guilt sit­u­a­tion. The kind of sit­u­a­tion that sug­gests it’s even worse than what we know about.

    We’ll see if the Biden admin­is­tra­tion does ulti­mate­ly end up with­hold­ing more weapons for Israel. It may not hap­pen imme­di­ate­ly. But giv­en the steady stream of increas­ing­ly hor­rif­ic reports of a grow­ing human­i­tar­i­an dis­as­ter, it’s not hard to imag­ine those weapons will be with­held even­tu­al­ly. So at this point, it’s less a ques­tion of whether or not the Biden admin­is­tra­tion will even­tu­al­ly with­hold those weapons and more a ques­tion of how large will this human­i­tar­i­an cat­a­stro­phe get before that hap­pens:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    US says Israel’s use of US arms like­ly vio­lat­ed inter­na­tion­al law, but evi­dence is incom­plete

    By ELLEN KNICKMEYER, AAMER MADHANI and MATTHEW LEE
    Updat­ed 8:42 AM CDT, May 11, 2024

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden admin­is­tra­tion said Fri­day that Israel’s use of U.S.-provided weapons in Gaza like­ly vio­lat­ed inter­na­tion­al human­i­tar­i­an law but that wartime con­di­tions pre­vent­ed U.S. offi­cials from deter­min­ing that for cer­tain in spe­cif­ic airstrikes.

    The find­ing of “rea­son­able” evi­dence to con­clude that the U.S. ally had breached inter­na­tion­al law pro­tect­ing civil­ians in the way it con­duct­ed its war against Hamas was the strongest state­ment that the Biden admin­is­tra­tion has yet made on the mat­ter. It was released in a sum­ma­ry of a report being deliv­ered to Con­gress on Fri­day.

    But the caveat that the admin­is­tra­tion wasn’t able to link spe­cif­ic U.S. weapons to indi­vid­ual attacks by Israeli forces in Gaza could give the admin­is­tra­tion lee­way in any future deci­sion on whether to restrict pro­vi­sions of offen­sive weapons to Israel.

    The first-of-its-kind assess­ment, which was com­pelled by Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s fel­low Democ­rats in Con­gress, comes after sev­en months of airstrikes, ground fight­ing and aid restric­tions that have claimed the lives of near­ly 35,000 Pales­tini­ans, most­ly women and chil­dren.

    While U.S. offi­cials were unable to gath­er all the infor­ma­tion they need­ed on spe­cif­ic strikes, the report said that giv­en Israel’s “sig­nif­i­cant reliance” on U.S.-made weapons, it was “rea­son­able to assess” that they had been used by Israel’s secu­ri­ty forces in instances “incon­sis­tent” with its oblig­a­tions under inter­na­tion­al human­i­tar­i­an law “or with best prac­tices for mit­i­gat­ing civil­ian harm.”

    ...

    Inter­na­tion­al human rights groups and a review by an unof­fi­cial pan­el of for­mer State and mil­i­tary offi­cials, aca­d­e­m­ic experts and oth­ers had point­ed to more than a dozen Israeli airstrikes for which they said there were cred­i­ble evi­dence of vio­la­tions of the laws of war and human­i­tar­i­an law. Tar­gets includ­ed aid con­voys, med­ical work­ers, hos­pi­tals, jour­nal­ists, schools and refugee cen­ters and oth­er sites that have broad pro­tec­tion under inter­na­tion­al law.

    They argued that the civil­ian death toll in many strikes in Gaza — such as an Oct. 31 strike on an apart­ment build­ing report­ed to have killed 106 civil­ians — was dis­pro­por­tion­ate to the val­ue of any mil­i­tary tar­get.

    ...

    Rep. Michael McCaul, the Repub­li­can chair­man of the House For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee, said the review “only con­tributes to polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed anti-Israel sen­ti­ment” and should nev­er have been done.

    “Now is the time to stand with our ally Israel and ensure they have the tools they need,” he said in a state­ment.

    But Sen. Chris Van Hollen, the Mary­land Demo­c­rat who led the push in Con­gress, told reporters that even even though the admin­is­tra­tion had reached a gen­er­al find­ing, “they’re duck­ing a deter­mi­na­tion on the hard cas­es. Polit­i­cal­ly incon­ve­nient cas­es.”

    The U.S. “treats the gov­ern­ment of Israel as above the law,” Aman­da Klas­ing of the Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al USA rights group said in a state­ment.

    Biden has tried to walk an ever-fin­er line in his sup­port of Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu’s war against Hamas. The U.S. leader is a tar­get of grow­ing ran­cor at home and abroad over the soar­ing Pales­tin­ian death toll and the onset of famine, caused in large part by Israeli restric­tions on the move­ment of food and aid into Gaza. Ten­sions have been height­ened fur­ther in recent weeks by Netanyahu’s pledge to expand the Israeli military’s offen­sive in the crowd­ed south­ern city of Rafah, despite Biden’s adamant oppo­si­tion.

    ...

    Biden, in the clos­ing months of a tough reelec­tion cam­paign against Don­ald Trump, faces demands from many Democ­rats that he cut the flow of offen­sive weapons to Israel and denun­ci­a­tion from Repub­li­cans who accuse him of waver­ing on sup­port for Israel at its time of need.

    The Demo­c­ra­t­ic admin­is­tra­tion took one of the first steps toward con­di­tion­ing mil­i­tary aid to Israel in recent days when it paused a ship­ment of 3,500 bombs out of con­cern over Israel’s threat­ened offen­sive on Rafah, a south­ern city crowd­ed with more than a mil­lion Pales­tini­ans, a senior admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial said.

    The pres­i­den­tial direc­tive that led to the review, agreed to in Feb­ru­ary, oblig­at­ed the Defense and State depart­ments to con­duct “an assess­ment of any cred­i­ble reports or alle­ga­tions that such defense arti­cles and, as appro­pri­ate, defense ser­vices, have been used in a man­ner not con­sis­tent with inter­na­tion­al law, includ­ing inter­na­tion­al human­i­tar­i­an law.”

    Noth­ing in the pres­i­den­tial direc­tive would have trig­gered any cut­off of arms if the admin­is­tra­tion had more defin­i­tive­ly ruled that Israel’s con­duct had vio­lat­ed inter­na­tion­al law.

    The agree­ment also oblig­at­ed the State and Defense depart­ments to tell Con­gress whether they deemed that Israel has act­ed to “arbi­trar­i­ly to deny, restrict, or oth­er­wise impede, direct­ly or indi­rect­ly,” deliv­ery of any U.S.-supported human­i­tar­i­an aid into Gaza for starv­ing civil­ians there.

    On this ques­tion, the report cit­ed “deep con­cerns” that Israel played a sig­nif­i­cant role in pre­vent­ing ade­quate aid from reach­ing starv­ing Pales­tini­ans. How­ev­er, it said Israel had recent­ly tak­en some pos­i­tive steps, although still inad­e­quate, and the U.S. gov­ern­ment did not cur­rent­ly find Israel restrict­ing aid deliv­er­ies in a way that vio­lat­ed U.S. law gov­ern­ing for­eign mil­i­taries that receive U.S. mil­i­tary aid.

    Van Hollen accused the admin­is­tra­tion of gloss­ing over what he said were clear Israeli blocks on food and aid deliv­er­ies dur­ing much of the war. “That’s why we have hun­dreds of thou­sands of Pales­tini­ans that have noth­ing to do with Hamas on the verge of star­va­tion,” he said.

    Law­mak­ers and oth­ers who advo­cat­ed for the review said Biden and pre­vi­ous Amer­i­can lead­ers have fol­lowed a dou­ble stan­dard when enforc­ing U.S. laws gov­ern­ing how for­eign mil­i­taries use U.S. sup­port, an accu­sa­tion the Biden admin­is­tra­tion denies.

    Their oppo­nents argued that a U.S. find­ing against Israel would weak­en it at a time it is bat­tling Hamas and oth­er Iran-backed groups. It’s not clear how much Friday’s more in-between ver­dict would add to pres­sure on Biden to curb the flow of weapons and mon­ey to Israel’s mil­i­tary or fur­ther height­en ten­sions with Netanyahu’s hard-right gov­ern­ment.

    ...

    Israel launched its offen­sive after an Oct. 7 assault into Israel, led by Hamas, killed about 1,200 peo­ple. Two-thirds of the Pales­tini­ans killed since then have been women and chil­dren, accord­ing to local health offi­cials. U.S. and U.N. offi­cials say Israeli restric­tions on food ship­ments since Oct. 7 have brought on full-fledged famine in north­ern Gaza.

    Human rights groups long have accused Israeli secu­ri­ty forces of com­mit­ting abus­es against Pales­tini­ans and have accused Israeli lead­ers of fail­ing to hold those respon­si­ble to account. In Jan­u­ary, in a case brought by South Africa, the The agree­ment ordered Israel to do all it could to pre­vent death, destruc­tion and any acts of geno­cide in Gaza, but the pan­el stopped short of order­ing an end to the mil­i­tary offen­sive.

    Biden in Decem­ber said “indis­crim­i­nate bomb­ing” was cost­ing Israel inter­na­tion­al back­ing. After Israeli forces tar­get­ed and killed sev­en aid work­ers from the World Cen­tral Kitchen in April, the Biden admin­is­tra­tion for the first time sig­naled it might cut mil­i­tary aid to Israel if it didn’t change its han­dling of the war and human­i­tar­i­an aid.

    Pres­i­dents Ronald Rea­gan and George H.W. Bush, in the 1980s and ear­ly 1990s, were the last pres­i­dents to open­ly hold back weapons or mil­i­tary financ­ing to try to push Israel to change its actions in the region or toward Pales­tini­ans.

    ——-

    “US says Israel’s use of US arms like­ly vio­lat­ed inter­na­tion­al law, but evi­dence is incom­plete” By ELLEN KNICKMEYER, AAMER MADHANI and MATTHEW LEE; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 05/11/2024

    The find­ing of “rea­son­able” evi­dence to con­clude that the U.S. ally had breached inter­na­tion­al law pro­tect­ing civil­ians in the way it con­duct­ed its war against Hamas was the strongest state­ment that the Biden admin­is­tra­tion has yet made on the mat­ter. It was released in a sum­ma­ry of a report being deliv­ered to Con­gress on Fri­day.”

    A find­ing of “rea­son­able” evi­dence of vio­la­tions of inter­na­tion­al law using US weapons. Is this the begin­ning of a shift in US pol­i­cy towards Israel? Or just sabre rat­tling? Time will tell, but we appear to be see­ing a num­ber of loop­holes that will allow the US to con­tin­ue mak­ing these arms ship­ments for the time being:

    ...
    But the caveat that the admin­is­tra­tion wasn’t able to link spe­cif­ic U.S. weapons to indi­vid­ual attacks by Israeli forces in Gaza could give the admin­is­tra­tion lee­way in any future deci­sion on whether to restrict pro­vi­sions of offen­sive weapons to Israel.

    The first-of-its-kind assess­ment, which was com­pelled by Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s fel­low Democ­rats in Con­gress, comes after sev­en months of airstrikes, ground fight­ing and aid restric­tions that have claimed the lives of near­ly 35,000 Pales­tini­ans, most­ly women and chil­dren.

    While U.S. offi­cials were unable to gath­er all the infor­ma­tion they need­ed on spe­cif­ic strikes, the report said that giv­en Israel’s “sig­nif­i­cant reliance” on U.S.-made weapons, it was “rea­son­able to assess” that they had been used by Israel’s secu­ri­ty forces in instances “incon­sis­tent” with its oblig­a­tions under inter­na­tion­al human­i­tar­i­an law “or with best prac­tices for mit­i­gat­ing civil­ian harm.”

    ...

    The Demo­c­ra­t­ic admin­is­tra­tion took one of the first steps toward con­di­tion­ing mil­i­tary aid to Israel in recent days when it paused a ship­ment of 3,500 bombs out of con­cern over Israel’s threat­ened offen­sive on Rafah, a south­ern city crowd­ed with more than a mil­lion Pales­tini­ans, a senior admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial said.

    The pres­i­den­tial direc­tive that led to the review, agreed to in Feb­ru­ary, oblig­at­ed the Defense and State depart­ments to con­duct “an assess­ment of any cred­i­ble reports or alle­ga­tions that such defense arti­cles and, as appro­pri­ate, defense ser­vices, have been used in a man­ner not con­sis­tent with inter­na­tion­al law, includ­ing inter­na­tion­al human­i­tar­i­an law.”

    Noth­ing in the pres­i­den­tial direc­tive would have trig­gered any cut­off of arms if the admin­is­tra­tion had more defin­i­tive­ly ruled that Israel’s con­duct had vio­lat­ed inter­na­tion­al law.
    ...

    And note how the report has­n’t just con­clud­ed that US weapons were like­ly used in vio­la­tion of inter­na­tion­al law. It also con­clud­ed that Israel is play­ing a major role in block­ing aide to starv­ing Pales­tini­ans. In oth­er words, it’s pret­ty rea­son­able to con­clude that US weapons are being used to impose a famine too:

    ...
    The agree­ment also oblig­at­ed the State and Defense depart­ments to tell Con­gress whether they deemed that Israel has act­ed to “arbi­trar­i­ly to deny, restrict, or oth­er­wise impede, direct­ly or indi­rect­ly,” deliv­ery of any U.S.-supported human­i­tar­i­an aid into Gaza for starv­ing civil­ians there.

    On this ques­tion, the report cit­ed “deep con­cerns” that Israel played a sig­nif­i­cant role in pre­vent­ing ade­quate aid from reach­ing starv­ing Pales­tini­ans. How­ev­er, it said Israel had recent­ly tak­en some pos­i­tive steps, although still inad­e­quate, and the U.S. gov­ern­ment did not cur­rent­ly find Israel restrict­ing aid deliv­er­ies in a way that vio­lat­ed U.S. law gov­ern­ing for­eign mil­i­taries that receive U.S. mil­i­tary aid.

    Van Hollen accused the admin­is­tra­tion of gloss­ing over what he said were clear Israeli blocks on food and aid deliv­er­ies dur­ing much of the war. “That’s why we have hun­dreds of thou­sands of Pales­tini­ans that have noth­ing to do with Hamas on the verge of star­va­tion,” he said.

    ...

    Israel launched its offen­sive after an Oct. 7 assault into Israel, led by Hamas, killed about 1,200 peo­ple. Two-thirds of the Pales­tini­ans killed since then have been women and chil­dren, accord­ing to local health offi­cials. U.S. and U.N. offi­cials say Israeli restric­tions on food ship­ments since Oct. 7 have brought on full-fledged famine in north­ern Gaza.
    ...

    But also note how, while Repub­li­cans are pre­dictably call­ing for no restric­tions at all an arms ship­ments or even any crit­i­cisms of how Israel is con­duct­ing this war, some Democ­rats are open­ly accus­ing the Biden admin­is­tra­tion of “duck­ing a deter­mi­na­tion on the hard cas­es. Polit­i­cal­ly incon­ve­nient cas­es.” It’s the kind of of back and forth that sug­gests that is going to get much ugli­er as this plays out, with more and more evi­dence of even worse war crimes and out­cries from Democ­rats paired with more and more denials from Repub­li­cans that any­thing wrong is hap­pen­ing at all. With civil­ian deaths and star­va­tion pil­ing up the entire time:

    ...
    Rep. Michael McCaul, the Repub­li­can chair­man of the House For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee, said the review “only con­tributes to polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed anti-Israel sen­ti­ment” and should nev­er have been done.

    “Now is the time to stand with our ally Israel and ensure they have the tools they need,” he said in a state­ment.

    But Sen. Chris Van Hollen, the Mary­land Demo­c­rat who led the push in Con­gress, told reporters that even even though the admin­is­tra­tion had reached a gen­er­al find­ing, “they’re duck­ing a deter­mi­na­tion on the hard cas­es. Polit­i­cal­ly incon­ve­nient cas­es.”

    The U.S. “treats the gov­ern­ment of Israel as above the law,” Aman­da Klas­ing of the Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al USA rights group said in a state­ment.
    ...

    And that report on the US final­ly start­ing to for­mal­ly rec­og­nize the war crimes under­way brings us to the fol­low­ing CNN report. Mul­ti­ple whistle­blow­ers work­ing at secret Israeli mil­i­tary deten­tion camps have come for­ward detail­ing abus­es that might even exceed the hor­rif­ic con­di­tions of Guan­tanamo Bay (maybe). Not only did these whistle­blow­ers wit­ness con­di­tions like ampu­ta­tions caused by exces­sive zip-typ­ing of wrists, but they were instruct­ed not to sign forms approv­ing med­ical pro­ce­dures. In oth­er words, these whistle­blow­ers are describ­ing a deten­tion sys­tem where it’s known by the peo­ple run­ning the camps that they are engag­ing in the kinds of crimes that should­n’t be doc­u­ment­ed:

    CNN

    Strapped down, blind­fold­ed, held in dia­pers: Israeli whistle­blow­ers detail abuse of Pales­tini­ans in shad­owy deten­tion cen­ter

    By CNN’s Inter­na­tion­al Inves­ti­ga­tions and Visu­als teams
    Updat­ed 10:23 AM EDT, Fri May 10, 2024

    Sde Teiman, Israel CNN — At a mil­i­tary base that now dou­bles as a deten­tion cen­ter in Israel’s Negev desert, an Israeli work­ing at the facil­i­ty snapped two pho­tographs of a scene that he says con­tin­ues to haunt him.

    Rows of men in gray track­suits are seen sit­ting on paper-thin mat­tress­es, ringfenced by barbed wire. All appear blind­fold­ed, their heads hang­ing heavy under the glare of flood­lights.

    A putrid stench filled the air and the room hummed with the men’s mur­murs, the Israeli who was at the facil­i­ty told CNN. For­bid­den from speak­ing to each oth­er, the detainees mum­bled to them­selves.

    “We were told they were not allowed to move. They should sit upright. They’re not allowed to talk. Not allowed to peek under their blind­fold.”

    Guards were instruct­ed “to scream uskot” – shut up in Ara­bic – and told to “pick peo­ple out that were prob­lem­at­ic and pun­ish them,” the source added.

    CNN spoke to three Israeli whistle­blow­ers who worked at the Sde Teiman desert camp, which holds Pales­tini­ans detained dur­ing Israel’s inva­sion of Gaza. All spoke out at risk of legal reper­cus­sions and reprisals from groups sup­port­ive of Israel’s hard­line poli­cies in Gaza.

    They paint a pic­ture of a facil­i­ty where doc­tors some­times ampu­tat­ed pris­on­ers’ limbs due to injuries sus­tained from con­stant hand­cuff­ing; of med­ical pro­ce­dures some­times per­formed by under­qual­i­fied medics earn­ing it a rep­u­ta­tion for being “a par­adise for interns”; and where the air is filled with the smell of neglect­ed wounds left to rot.

    Accord­ing to the accounts, the facil­i­ty some 18 miles from the Gaza fron­tier is split into two parts: enclo­sures where around 70 Pales­tin­ian detainees from Gaza are placed under extreme phys­i­cal restraint, and a field hos­pi­tal where wound­ed detainees are strapped to their beds, wear­ing dia­pers and fed through straws.

    “They stripped them down of any­thing that resem­bles human beings,” said one whistle­blow­er, who worked as a medic at the facility’s field hos­pi­tal.

    “(The beat­ings) were not done to gath­er intel­li­gence. They were done out of revenge,” said anoth­er whistle­blow­er. “It was pun­ish­ment for what they (the Pales­tini­ans) did on Octo­ber 7 and pun­ish­ment for behav­ior in the camp.”

    ...

    The IDF did not direct­ly deny accounts of peo­ple being stripped of their cloth­ing or held in dia­pers. Instead, the Israeli mil­i­tary said that the detainees are giv­en back their cloth­ing once the IDF has deter­mined that they pose no secu­ri­ty risk.

    Reports of abuse at Sde Teiman have already sur­faced in Israeli and Arab media after an out­cry from Israeli and Pales­tin­ian rights groups over con­di­tions there. But this rare tes­ti­mo­ny from Israelis work­ing at the facil­i­ty sheds fur­ther light on Israel’s con­duct as it wages war in Gaza, with fresh alle­ga­tions of mis­treat­ment. It also casts more doubt on the Israeli government’s repeat­ed asser­tions that it acts in accor­dance with accept­ed inter­na­tion­al prac­tices and law.

    CNN has request­ed per­mis­sion from the Israeli mil­i­tary to access the Sde Teiman base. Last month, a CNN team cov­ered a small protest out­side its main gate staged by Israeli activists demand­ing the clo­sure of the facil­i­ty. Israeli secu­ri­ty forces ques­tioned the team for around 30 min­utes there, demand­ing to see the footage tak­en by CNN’s pho­to­jour­nal­ist. Israel often sub­jects reporters, even for­eign jour­nal­ists, to mil­i­tary cen­sor­ship on secu­ri­ty issues.

    Detained in the desert

    The Israeli mil­i­tary has acknowl­edged par­tial­ly con­vert­ing three dif­fer­ent mil­i­tary facil­i­ties into deten­tion camps for Pales­tin­ian detainees from Gaza since the Hamas-led Octo­ber 7 attack on Israel, in which Israeli author­i­ties say about 1,200 were killed and over 250 were abduct­ed, and the sub­se­quent Israeli offen­sive in Gaza, killing near­ly 35,000 peo­ple accord­ing to the strip’s health min­istry. These facil­i­ties are Sde Teiman in the Negev desert, as well as Ana­tot and Ofer mil­i­tary bases in the occu­pied West Bank.

    The camps are part of the infra­struc­ture of Israel’s Unlaw­ful Com­bat­ants Law, an amend­ed leg­is­la­tion passed by the Knes­set last Decem­ber that expand­ed the military’s author­i­ty to detain sus­pect­ed mil­i­tants.

    The law per­mits the mil­i­tary to detain peo­ple for 45 days with­out an arrest war­rant, after which they must be trans­ferred to Israel’s for­mal prison sys­tem (IPS), where over 9,000 Pales­tini­ans are being held in con­di­tions that rights groups say have dras­ti­cal­ly dete­ri­o­rat­ed since Octo­ber 7. Two Pales­tin­ian pris­on­ers asso­ci­a­tions said last week that 18 Pales­tini­ans – includ­ing lead­ing Gaza sur­geon Dr. Adnan al-Bursh – had died in Israeli cus­tody over the course of the war.

    The mil­i­tary deten­tion camps – where the num­ber of inmates is unknown – serve as a fil­tra­tion point dur­ing the arrest peri­od man­dat­ed by the Unlaw­ful Com­bat­ants Law. After their deten­tion in the camps, those with sus­pect­ed Hamas links are trans­ferred to the IPS, while those whose mil­i­tant ties have been ruled out are released back to Gaza.

    CNN inter­viewed over a dozen for­mer Gazan detainees who appeared to have been released from those camps. They said they could not deter­mine where they were held because they were blind­fold­ed through most of their deten­tion and cut off from the out­side world. But the details of their accounts tal­ly with those of the whistle­blow­ers.

    “We looked for­ward to the night so we could sleep. Then we looked for­ward to the morn­ing in hopes that our sit­u­a­tion might change,” said Dr. Mohammed al-Ran, recall­ing his detain­ment at a mil­i­tary facil­i­ty where he said he endured desert tem­per­a­tures, swing­ing from the heat of the day to the chill of night. CNN inter­viewed him out­side Gaza last month.

    Al-Ran, a Pales­tin­ian who holds Bosn­ian cit­i­zen­ship, head­ed the sur­gi­cal unit at north­ern Gaza’s Indone­sian hos­pi­tal, one of the first to be shut down and raid­ed as Israel car­ried out its aer­i­al, ground and naval offen­sive.

    He was arrest­ed on Decem­ber 18, he said, out­side Gaza City’s Al-Ahli Bap­tist Hos­pi­tal, where he had been work­ing for three days after flee­ing his hos­pi­tal in the heav­i­ly bom­bard­ed north.

    He was stripped down to his under­wear, blind­fold­ed and his wrists tied, then dumped in the back of a truck where, he said, the near-naked detainees were piled on top of one anoth­er as they were shut­tled to a deten­tion camp in the mid­dle of the desert.

    The details in his account are con­sis­tent with those of dozens of oth­ers col­lect­ed by CNN recount­ing the con­di­tions of arrest in Gaza. His account is also sup­port­ed by numer­ous images depict­ing mass arrests pub­lished on social media pro­files belong­ing to Israeli sol­diers. Many of those images show cap­tive Gazans, their wrists or ankles tied by cables, in their under­wear and blind­fold­ed.

    Al-Ran was held in a mil­i­tary deten­tion cen­ter for 44 days, he told CNN. “Our days were filled with prayer, tears, and sup­pli­ca­tion. This eased our agony,” said al-Ran.

    ...

    A week into his impris­on­ment, the deten­tion camp’s author­i­ties ordered him to act as an inter­me­di­ary between the guards and the pris­on­ers, a role known as Shaw­ish, “super­vi­sor,” in ver­nac­u­lar Ara­bic.

    Accord­ing to the Israeli whistle­blow­ers, a Shaw­ish is nor­mal­ly a pris­on­er who has been cleared of sus­pect­ed links to Hamas after inter­ro­ga­tion.

    The Israeli mil­i­tary denied hold­ing detainees unnec­es­sar­i­ly, or using them for trans­la­tion pur­pos­es. “If there is no rea­son for con­tin­ued deten­tion, the detainees are released back to Gaza,” they said in a state­ment.

    How­ev­er, whistle­blow­er and detainee accounts – par­tic­u­lar­ly per­tain­ing to Shaw­ish – cast doubt on the IDF’s depic­tion of its clear­ing process. Al-Ran says that he served as Shaw­ish for sev­er­al weeks after he was cleared of Hamas links. Whistle­blow­ers also said that the absolved Shaw­ish served as inter­me­di­aries for some time.

    ...

    For that, al-Ran said he was giv­en a spe­cial priv­i­lege: his blind­fold was removed. He said this was anoth­er kind of hell.

    “Part of my tor­ture was being able to see how peo­ple were being tor­tured,” he said. “At first you couldn’t see. You couldn’t see the tor­ture, the vengeance, the oppres­sion.

    “When they removed my blind­fold, I could see the extent of the humil­i­a­tion and abase­ment … I could see the extent to which they saw us not as human beings but as ani­mals.”

    Al-Ran’s account of the forms of pun­ish­ment he saw were cor­rob­o­rat­ed by the whistle­blow­ers who spoke with CNN. A pris­on­er who com­mit­ted an offense such as speak­ing to anoth­er would be ordered to raise his arms above his head for up to an hour. The prisoner’s hands would some­times be zip-tied to a fence to ensure that he did not come out of the stress posi­tion.

    For those who repeat­ed­ly breached the pro­hi­bi­tion on speak­ing and mov­ing, the pun­ish­ment became more severe. Israeli guards would some­times take a pris­on­er to an area out­side the enclo­sure and beat him aggres­sive­ly, accord­ing to two whistle­blow­ers and al-Ran. A whistle­blow­er who worked as a guard said he saw a man emerge from a beat­ing with his teeth, and some bones, appar­ent­ly bro­ken.

    That whistle­blow­er and al-Ran also described a rou­tine search when the guards would unleash large dogs on sleep­ing detainees, lob­bing a sound grenade at the enclo­sure as troops barged in. Al-Ran called this “the night­ly tor­ture.”

    “While we were cabled, they unleashed the dogs that would move between us, and tram­ple over us,” said al-Ran. “You’d be lying on your bel­ly, your face pressed against the ground. You can’t move, and they’re mov­ing above you.”

    The same whistle­blow­er recount­ed the search in the same har­row­ing detail. “It was a spe­cial unit of the mil­i­tary police that did the so-called search,” said the source. “But real­ly it was an excuse to hit them. It was a ter­ri­fy­ing sit­u­a­tion.”

    “There was a lot of scream­ing and dogs bark­ing.”

    Strapped to beds in a field hos­pi­tal

    Whistle­blow­er accounts por­trayed a dif­fer­ent kind of hor­ror at the Sde Teiman field hos­pi­tal.

    “What I felt when I was deal­ing with those patients is an idea of total vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty,” said one medic who worked at Sde Teiman.

    “If you imag­ine your­self being unable to move, being unable to see what’s going on, and being com­plete­ly naked, that leaves you com­plete­ly exposed,” the source said. “I think that’s some­thing that bor­ders on, if not cross­es to, psy­cho­log­i­cal tor­ture.”

    Anoth­er whistle­blow­er said he was ordered to per­form med­ical pro­ce­dures on the Pales­tin­ian detainees for which he was not qual­i­fied.

    “I was asked to learn how to do things on the patients, per­form­ing minor med­ical pro­ce­dures that are total­ly out­side my exper­tise,” he said, adding that this was fre­quent­ly done with­out anes­the­sia.

    “If they com­plained about pain, they would be giv­en parac­eta­mol,” he said, using anoth­er name for aceta­minophen.

    “Just being there felt like being com­plic­it in abuse.”

    The same whistle­blow­er also said he wit­nessed an ampu­ta­tion per­formed on a man who had sus­tained injuries caused by the con­stant zip-tying of his wrists. The account tal­lied with details of a let­ter authored by a doc­tor work­ing at Sde Teiman pub­lished by Ha’aretz in April.

    “From the first days of the med­ical facility’s oper­a­tion until today, I have faced seri­ous eth­i­cal dilem­mas,” said the let­ter addressed to Israel’s attor­ney gen­er­al, and its health and defense min­istries, accord­ing to Ha’aretz. “More than that, I am writ­ing (this let­ter) to warn you that the facil­i­ties’ oper­a­tions do not com­ply with a sin­gle sec­tion among those deal­ing with health in the Incar­cer­a­tion of Unlaw­ful Com­bat­ants Law.”

    ...

    Whistle­blow­ers also said that med­ical team were told to refrain from sign­ing med­ical doc­u­ments, cor­rob­o­rat­ing pre­vi­ous report­ing by rights group Physi­cians for Human Rights in Israel (PHRI).

    The PHRI report released in April warned of “a seri­ous con­cern that anonymi­ty is employed to pre­vent the pos­si­bil­i­ty of inves­ti­ga­tions or com­plaints regard­ing breach­es of med­ical ethics and pro­fes­sion­al­ism.”

    “You don’t sign any­thing, and there is no ver­i­fi­ca­tion of author­i­ty,” said the same whistle­blow­er who said he lacked the appro­pri­ate train­ing for the treat­ment he was asked to admin­is­ter. “It is a par­adise for interns because it’s like you do what­ev­er you want.”

    CNN also request­ed com­ment from the Israeli health min­istry on the alle­ga­tions in this report. The min­istry referred CNN back to the IDF.

    Con­cealed from the out­side world

    Sde Teiman and oth­er mil­i­tary deten­tion camps have been shroud­ed in secre­cy since their incep­tion. Israel has repeat­ed­ly refused requests to dis­close the num­ber of detainees held at the facil­i­ties, or to reveal the where­abouts of Gazan pris­on­ers.

    Last Wednes­day, the Israeli Supreme Court held a hear­ing in response to a peti­tion brought for­ward by Israeli rights group, HaMoked, to reveal the loca­tion of a Pales­tin­ian X‑Ray tech­ni­cian detained from Nass­er Hos­pi­tal in south­ern Gaza in Feb­ru­ary. It was the first court ses­sion of its kind since Octo­ber 7.

    Israel’s high­est court had pre­vi­ous­ly reject­ed writs of habeas cor­pus filed on behalf of dozens of Pales­tini­ans from Gaza held in unknown loca­tions.

    The dis­ap­pear­ances “allows for the atroc­i­ties that we’ve been hear­ing about to hap­pen,” said Tal Stein­er, an Israeli human rights lawyer and exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Pub­lic Com­mit­tee Against Tor­ture in Israel.

    “Peo­ple com­plete­ly dis­con­nect­ed from the out­side world are the most vul­ner­a­ble to tor­ture and mis­treat­ment,” Stein­er said in an inter­view with CNN.

    ...

    “I was there for 23 days. Twen­ty-three days that felt like 100 years,” said 27-year-old Ibrahim Yas­sine on the day of his release from a mil­i­tary deten­tion camp.

    He was lying in a crowd­ed room with over a dozen new­ly freed men – they were still in the grey track­suit prison uni­forms. Some had deep flesh wounds from where the hand­cuffs had been removed.

    “We were hand­cuffed and blind­fold­ed,” said anoth­er man, 43-year-old Sufyan Abu Salah. “Today is the first day I can see.”

    Sev­er­al had a glassy look in their eyes and were seem­ing­ly ema­ci­at­ed. One elder­ly man breathed through an oxy­gen machine as he lay on a stretch­er. Out­side the hos­pi­tal, two freed men from the Pales­tin­ian Red Cres­cent Soci­ety embraced their col­leagues.

    For Dr. Al-Ran, his reunion with his friends was any­thing but joy­ful. The expe­ri­ence, he said, ren­dered him mute for a month as he bat­tled an “emo­tion­al dead­ness.”

    “It was very painful. When I was released, peo­ple expect­ed me to miss them, to embrace them. But there was a gap,” said al-Ran. “The peo­ple who were with me at the deten­tion facil­i­ty became my fam­i­ly. Those friend­ships were the only things that belonged to us.”

    Just before his release, a fel­low pris­on­er had called out to him, his voice bare­ly ris­ing above a whis­per, al-Ran said. He asked the doc­tor to find his wife and kids in Gaza. “He asked me to tell them that it is bet­ter for them to be mar­tyrs,” said al-Ran. “It is bet­ter for them to die than to be cap­tured and held here.”

    ———-

    “Strapped down, blind­fold­ed, held in dia­pers: Israeli whistle­blow­ers detail abuse of Pales­tini­ans in shad­owy deten­tion cen­ter” By CNN’s Inter­na­tion­al Inves­ti­ga­tions and Visu­als teams; CNN; 05/10/2024

    “Reports of abuse at Sde Teiman have already sur­faced in Israeli and Arab media after an out­cry from Israeli and Pales­tin­ian rights groups over con­di­tions there. But this rare tes­ti­mo­ny from Israelis work­ing at the facil­i­ty sheds fur­ther light on Israel’s con­duct as it wages war in Gaza, with fresh alle­ga­tions of mis­treat­ment. It also casts more doubt on the Israeli government’s repeat­ed asser­tions that it acts in accor­dance with accept­ed inter­na­tion­al prac­tices and law.

    This CNN report would be damn­ing enough if it was just based on the tes­ti­monies of the released pris­on­ers. But it’s the fact that there are whistle­blow­ers who worked at these secret mil­i­tary deten­tion facil­i­ties going to the press under threat of legal reper­cus­sions and reprisals that makes this such a damn­ing report. It’s not for­mer pris­on­ers telling us about ampu­ta­tions and tor­tur­ous con­di­tions. It’s these whistle­blow­ers telling us, describ­ing a sys­tem of mil­i­tary deten­tions that sounds like the Israeli ver­sion of Guan­tanamo Bay:

    ...
    CNN spoke to three Israeli whistle­blow­ers who worked at the Sde Teiman desert camp, which holds Pales­tini­ans detained dur­ing Israel’s inva­sion of Gaza. All spoke out at risk of legal reper­cus­sions and reprisals from groups sup­port­ive of Israel’s hard­line poli­cies in Gaza.

    They paint a pic­ture of a facil­i­ty where doc­tors some­times ampu­tat­ed pris­on­ers’ limbs due to injuries sus­tained from con­stant hand­cuff­ing; of med­ical pro­ce­dures some­times per­formed by under­qual­i­fied medics earn­ing it a rep­u­ta­tion for being “a par­adise for interns”; and where the air is filled with the smell of neglect­ed wounds left to rot.

    Accord­ing to the accounts, the facil­i­ty some 18 miles from the Gaza fron­tier is split into two parts: enclo­sures where around 70 Pales­tin­ian detainees from Gaza are placed under extreme phys­i­cal restraint, and a field hos­pi­tal where wound­ed detainees are strapped to their beds, wear­ing dia­pers and fed through straws.

    “They stripped them down of any­thing that resem­bles human beings,” said one whistle­blow­er, who worked as a medic at the facility’s field hos­pi­tal.

    “(The beat­ings) were not done to gath­er intel­li­gence. They were done out of revenge,” said anoth­er whistle­blow­er. “It was pun­ish­ment for what they (the Pales­tini­ans) did on Octo­ber 7 and pun­ish­ment for behav­ior in the camp.”

    ...

    The Israeli mil­i­tary has acknowl­edged par­tial­ly con­vert­ing three dif­fer­ent mil­i­tary facil­i­ties into deten­tion camps for Pales­tin­ian detainees from Gaza since the Hamas-led Octo­ber 7 attack on Israel, in which Israeli author­i­ties say about 1,200 were killed and over 250 were abduct­ed, and the sub­se­quent Israeli offen­sive in Gaza, killing near­ly 35,000 peo­ple accord­ing to the strip’s health min­istry. These facil­i­ties are Sde Teiman in the Negev desert, as well as Ana­tot and Ofer mil­i­tary bases in the occu­pied West Bank.

    The camps are part of the infra­struc­ture of Israel’s Unlaw­ful Com­bat­ants Law, an amend­ed leg­is­la­tion passed by the Knes­set last Decem­ber that expand­ed the military’s author­i­ty to detain sus­pect­ed mil­i­tants.

    The law per­mits the mil­i­tary to detain peo­ple for 45 days with­out an arrest war­rant, after which they must be trans­ferred to Israel’s for­mal prison sys­tem (IPS), where over 9,000 Pales­tini­ans are being held in con­di­tions that rights groups say have dras­ti­cal­ly dete­ri­o­rat­ed since Octo­ber 7. Two Pales­tin­ian pris­on­ers asso­ci­a­tions said last week that 18 Pales­tini­ans – includ­ing lead­ing Gaza sur­geon Dr. Adnan al-Bursh – had died in Israeli cus­tody over the course of the war.

    The mil­i­tary deten­tion camps – where the num­ber of inmates is unknown – serve as a fil­tra­tion point dur­ing the arrest peri­od man­dat­ed by the Unlaw­ful Com­bat­ants Law. After their deten­tion in the camps, those with sus­pect­ed Hamas links are trans­ferred to the IPS, while those whose mil­i­tant ties have been ruled out are released back to Gaza.
    ...

    Those whistle­blow­er accounts include being asked to per­form med­ical pro­ce­dures for which they were not qual­i­fied and per­formed with­out anes­the­sia. And then there’s the things they wit­nessed, like a hand get­ting ampu­tat­ed after con­stant zip-typ­ing at the wrists. They are depict­ing an ‘any­thing goes’ moral envi­ron­ment. Which sug­gests the sit­u­a­tion could get much worse as this con­tin­ues to fes­ter:

    ...
    Whistle­blow­er accounts por­trayed a dif­fer­ent kind of hor­ror at the Sde Teiman field hos­pi­tal.

    “What I felt when I was deal­ing with those patients is an idea of total vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty,” said one medic who worked at Sde Teiman.

    “If you imag­ine your­self being unable to move, being unable to see what’s going on, and being com­plete­ly naked, that leaves you com­plete­ly exposed,” the source said. “I think that’s some­thing that bor­ders on, if not cross­es to, psy­cho­log­i­cal tor­ture.”

    Anoth­er whistle­blow­er said he was ordered to per­form med­ical pro­ce­dures on the Pales­tin­ian detainees for which he was not qual­i­fied.

    “I was asked to learn how to do things on the patients, per­form­ing minor med­ical pro­ce­dures that are total­ly out­side my exper­tise,” he said, adding that this was fre­quent­ly done with­out anes­the­sia.

    “If they com­plained about pain, they would be giv­en parac­eta­mol,” he said, using anoth­er name for aceta­minophen.

    “Just being there felt like being com­plic­it in abuse.”

    The same whistle­blow­er also said he wit­nessed an ampu­ta­tion per­formed on a man who had sus­tained injuries caused by the con­stant zip-tying of his wrists. The account tal­lied with details of a let­ter authored by a doc­tor work­ing at Sde Teiman pub­lished by Ha’aretz in April.

    “From the first days of the med­ical facility’s oper­a­tion until today, I have faced seri­ous eth­i­cal dilem­mas,” said the let­ter addressed to Israel’s attor­ney gen­er­al, and its health and defense min­istries, accord­ing to Ha’aretz. “More than that, I am writ­ing (this let­ter) to warn you that the facil­i­ties’ oper­a­tions do not com­ply with a sin­gle sec­tion among those deal­ing with health in the Incar­cer­a­tion of Unlaw­ful Com­bat­ants Law.”
    ...

    And then there’s the instruc­tions these whistle­blow­ers report receiv­ing about not sign­ing med­ical doc­u­ments. It’s the kind of detail that points to a con­scious group coverup. Which, again, points to the kind of group moral envi­ron­ment where the worsts kinds of crimes can tran­spire. This is a night­mare sit­u­a­tion poised to get a lot worse:

    ...
    Whistle­blow­ers also said that med­ical team were told to refrain from sign­ing med­ical doc­u­ments, cor­rob­o­rat­ing pre­vi­ous report­ing by rights group Physi­cians for Human Rights in Israel (PHRI).

    The PHRI report released in April warned of “a seri­ous con­cern that anonymi­ty is employed to pre­vent the pos­si­bil­i­ty of inves­ti­ga­tions or com­plaints regard­ing breach­es of med­ical ethics and pro­fes­sion­al­ism.”

    “You don’t sign any­thing, and there is no ver­i­fi­ca­tion of author­i­ty,” said the same whistle­blow­er who said he lacked the appro­pri­ate train­ing for the treat­ment he was asked to admin­is­ter. “It is a par­adise for interns because it’s like you do what­ev­er you want.”

    CNN also request­ed com­ment from the Israeli health min­istry on the alle­ga­tions in this report. The min­istry referred CNN back to the IDF.
    ...

    On top of those those whistle­blow­ers, over a dozen for­mer detainees have described their expe­ri­ences, which are report­ed­ly con­sis­tent with the whistle­blow­er accounts. But we’re not entire­ly reliant on the tes­ti­monies of these whistle­blow­ers or for­mer detainees. Images post­ed on social media by Israeli sol­diers cor­rob­o­rate these accounts:

    ...
    CNN inter­viewed over a dozen for­mer Gazan detainees who appeared to have been released from those camps. They said they could not deter­mine where they were held because they were blind­fold­ed through most of their deten­tion and cut off from the out­side world. But the details of their accounts tal­ly with those of the whistle­blow­ers.

    “We looked for­ward to the night so we could sleep. Then we looked for­ward to the morn­ing in hopes that our sit­u­a­tion might change,” said Dr. Mohammed al-Ran, recall­ing his detain­ment at a mil­i­tary facil­i­ty where he said he endured desert tem­per­a­tures, swing­ing from the heat of the day to the chill of night. CNN inter­viewed him out­side Gaza last month.

    Al-Ran, a Pales­tin­ian who holds Bosn­ian cit­i­zen­ship, head­ed the sur­gi­cal unit at north­ern Gaza’s Indone­sian hos­pi­tal, one of the first to be shut down and raid­ed as Israel car­ried out its aer­i­al, ground and naval offen­sive.

    ...

    He was stripped down to his under­wear, blind­fold­ed and his wrists tied, then dumped in the back of a truck where, he said, the near-naked detainees were piled on top of one anoth­er as they were shut­tled to a deten­tion camp in the mid­dle of the desert.

    The details in his account are con­sis­tent with those of dozens of oth­ers col­lect­ed by CNN recount­ing the con­di­tions of arrest in Gaza. His account is also sup­port­ed by numer­ous images depict­ing mass arrests pub­lished on social media pro­files belong­ing to Israeli sol­diers. Many of those images show cap­tive Gazans, their wrists or ankles tied by cables, in their under­wear and blind­fold­ed.

    ...

    Al-Ran’s account of the forms of pun­ish­ment he saw were cor­rob­o­rat­ed by the whistle­blow­ers who spoke with CNN. A pris­on­er who com­mit­ted an offense such as speak­ing to anoth­er would be ordered to raise his arms above his head for up to an hour. The prisoner’s hands would some­times be zip-tied to a fence to ensure that he did not come out of the stress posi­tion.

    For those who repeat­ed­ly breached the pro­hi­bi­tion on speak­ing and mov­ing, the pun­ish­ment became more severe. Israeli guards would some­times take a pris­on­er to an area out­side the enclo­sure and beat him aggres­sive­ly, accord­ing to two whistle­blow­ers and al-Ran. A whistle­blow­er who worked as a guard said he saw a man emerge from a beat­ing with his teeth, and some bones, appar­ent­ly bro­ken.

    That whistle­blow­er and al-Ran also described a rou­tine search when the guards would unleash large dogs on sleep­ing detainees, lob­bing a sound grenade at the enclo­sure as troops barged in. Al-Ran called this “the night­ly tor­ture.”

    “While we were cabled, they unleashed the dogs that would move between us, and tram­ple over us,” said al-Ran. “You’d be lying on your bel­ly, your face pressed against the ground. You can’t move, and they’re mov­ing above you.”

    The same whistle­blow­er recount­ed the search in the same har­row­ing detail. “It was a spe­cial unit of the mil­i­tary police that did the so-called search,” said the source. “But real­ly it was an excuse to hit them. It was a ter­ri­fy­ing sit­u­a­tion.”

    “There was a lot of scream­ing and dogs bark­ing.”

    ...

    “I was there for 23 days. Twen­ty-three days that felt like 100 years,” said 27-year-old Ibrahim Yas­sine on the day of his release from a mil­i­tary deten­tion camp.

    He was lying in a crowd­ed room with over a dozen new­ly freed men – they were still in the grey track­suit prison uni­forms. Some had deep flesh wounds from where the hand­cuffs had been removed.

    “We were hand­cuffed and blind­fold­ed,” said anoth­er man, 43-year-old Sufyan Abu Salah. “Today is the first day I can see.”

    Sev­er­al had a glassy look in their eyes and were seem­ing­ly ema­ci­at­ed. One elder­ly man breathed through an oxy­gen machine as he lay on a stretch­er. Out­side the hos­pi­tal, two freed men from the Pales­tin­ian Red Cres­cent Soci­ety embraced their col­leagues.
    ...

    As dis­turb­ing as it is to learn about pris­on­ers released with deep flesh wounds on their wrists, at least they still had hands! Could have been worse and pre­sum­ably is worse for the hand­less peo­ple still detained. Peo­ple who, sta­tis­ti­cal­ly speak­ing, are prob­a­bly just civil­ians who were scooped up from ‘the bat­tle­field’ that was pre­vi­ous­ly a civil­ian area. It’s a sys­tem for the mass sys­tem­at­ic ter­ror­iza­tion of a pop­u­la­tion. Git­mo for Gaza.

    So are we on the cusp of see­ing the Biden admin­is­tra­tion cut off mil­i­tary sup­plies, or the cusp or more reports about how the US is fuel­ing an even worse vio­la­tion of inter­na­tion­al law? Time will tell, as always. But, again, let’s not for­get that Guan­tanamo Bay is still oper­at­ing. Time has told a chill­ing sto­ry in that at case. Let’s hope time tells a bet­ter sto­ry this time. At least bet­ter than the his­toric cat­a­stro­phe that appears to be unfold­ing.

    A his­toric cat­a­stro­phe for not just Gaza but Israel, whether the Israelis real­ize it or not. Along with the US, of course.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 11, 2024, 7:04 pm
  6. After lis­ten­ing for decades to Dav­e’s broad­casts, I am sur­prised to not see much about the Octo­ber 7th attack on Israel by Hamas. Is there some­thing I’ve missed? Please point me to it if so.

    I recall hear­ing about Haj Amin Al-Hus­sayni from Dav­e’s research and the his­toric con­nec­tions of Pales­tini­ans & Nazis, as well as the his­to­ry of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and its off­shoots to the Pales­tin­ian Author­i­ty, Fatah, Hamas, Islam­ic Jihad, Hebol­lah, et al.

    Seems like this would be a great time to start orga­niz­ing and bring­ing that infor­ma­tion out to the mis­in­formed pub­lic.

    Posted by Bruce | May 21, 2024, 8:54 pm
  7. @ Bruce–The pro­grams explain quite com­plete­ly why I will not dis­cuss this fur­ther, bar­ring fur­ther major devel­op­ments.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | May 22, 2024, 4:58 pm
  8. Dave,

    Please dis­re­gard my last com­ment, I found FTR@1316 and am cur­rent­ly lis­ten­ing to it. BTW, I am sor­ry to hear about your health chal­lenges. Same issues here with get­ting old­er.

    Is it accept­able to attempt ( civ­il & polite ) dis­cussing and express­ing opin­ions here on this site about this issue — as I am inter­est­ed in inter­act­ing with folks who have an under­stand­ing and ori­en­ta­tion to this infor­ma­tion whether they agree or dis­agree with me.

    I want to find some place to get some inter­ac­tions that are not bots or sock-pup­pets and who can actu­al­ly bring facts rea­son and human­i­ty to bear. I find myself in the odd posi­tion of oppos­ing the Ukraine war, and sup­port­ing Israel in its war against Hamas, while also try­ing to keep an open mind and avoid­ing extrem­ism.

    Posted by Bruce | May 23, 2024, 7:39 am
  9. @Bruce–

    Please lis­ten to FTR#1317 as well.

    In gen­er­al, this site is not con­ver­sa­tion­al.

    Sub­scrib­ing to the Patre­on site might pro­vide more of an oppor­tu­ni­ty.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | May 23, 2024, 3:37 pm
  10. It keeps get­ting worse. It was already hor­rif­ic but it’s worse now. The New York Times just issued a trou­bling new update to the sto­ries we’ve been hear­ing for weeks now about the abus­es tak­ing place at the Sde Teiman mil­i­tary deten­tion facil­i­ty where Gazans are being held and ‘processed’. As we saw in a CNN report almost a month ago, whistle­blow­ers were report­ing con­di­tions that includ­ed detainees wear­ing noth­ing but dia­pers and inex­pe­ri­enced staff per­form­ing med­ical pro­ce­dures. Ampu­ta­tions were even per­formed on pris­on­ers from wounds inflict­ed due to the overuse of hand­cuffs. And med­ical staff were instruct­ed not to sign their names on any doc­u­ments.

    The fol­low­ing NY Times report expands upon those alle­ga­tions, with one key dif­fer­ence: while the CNN report appeared to be based entire­ly on accounts from whistle­blow­ers and inter­views with for­mer detainees that had been released, the NY Times report was based on a three month long inves­ti­ga­tion that includ­ed on sight access and inter­views with staff. It’s an impor­tant detail to keep in mind with this report. It was done with the coop­er­a­tion of the Israeli mil­i­tary. Which strong­ly sug­gests the sto­ry pre­sent­ed here isn’t near­ly as bad as the real­i­ty. For exam­ple, there’s no men­tion of ampu­ta­tions in this report.

    We do learn about new abus­es, how­ev­er. A “dis­co room” with extreme­ly loud music is report­ed­ly part of the pre-inter­ro­ga­tion process, with music so loud it has caused bleed­ing from ears. We also got some clar­i­ty on why some detainees were wear­ing noth­ing but dia­pers: anal elec­tro­cu­tions were con­duct­ed that result­ed in the loss of blad­der con­trol. Yep.

    We also got more clar­i­ty on dura­tion of these deten­tions and who was being sent to the camps. It sounds like vir­tu­al­ly any adult male picked up on Gaza is get­ting sent to these camps, even peo­ple who have a very low prob­a­bil­i­ty of being a mem­ber of Hamas, includ­ing one man who has been breath­ing through a tube in his throat since he was a child. Under Israeli law, they can be held for up to 75 days with­out judi­cial pro­cess­ing and up to 90 days with­out a lawyer. Accord­ing to one law pro­fes­sor, the sys­tem “looks to me like a form of incom­mu­ni­ca­do deten­tion, which itself is a vio­la­tion of inter­na­tion­al law.”

    We’re told that rough­ly 70 per­cent of the 4000 detainees that have been held at the facil­i­ty have even­tu­al­ly been sent to oth­er pris­ons for fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion. The remain­ing 30 per­cent, around 1200, have been deter­mined to be civil­ians and returned to Gaza with­out charge, apol­o­gy, or com­pen­sa­tion. It’s a notable sta­tis­tic since it seems to imply that around 70 per­cent of adult males in Gaza are con­sid­ered to be ‘non-civil­ian’ in this con­flict. So 100 per­cent of cap­tured adult males are appar­ent­ly kept under tor­tur­ous con­di­tions for a weeks or months with­out a lawyer or and abil­i­ty to com­mu­ni­cate with their fam­i­lies, and after that around 70 per­cent are sent off to oth­er facil­i­ties where the con­di­tions are prob­a­bly even worse. And, again, this is the pre­sum­ably watered down ver­sion of sto­ry the Israeli mil­i­tary coop­er­at­ed in help­ing the NY Times share with the world:

    The New York Times

    Inside the Base Where Israel Has Detained Thou­sands of Gazans

    Since Israel invad­ed Gaza, the Sde Teiman mil­i­tary base has filled with blind­fold­ed, hand­cuffed detainees, held with­out charge or legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

    By Patrick Kings­ley and Bilal Shbair
    Patrick Kings­ley, from Israel, and Bilal Shbair, from Gaza, spent three months inter­view­ing Israeli sol­diers who worked at Sde Teiman and Pales­tini­ans held there. Patrick Kings­ley vis­it­ed the site.
    June 6, 2024

    The men sat in rows, hand­cuffed and blind­fold­ed, unable to see the Israeli sol­diers who stood watch over them from the oth­er side of a mesh fence.

    They were barred from talk­ing more loud­ly than a mur­mur, and for­bid­den to stand or sleep except when autho­rized.

    A few knelt in prayer. One was being inspect­ed by a para­medic. Anoth­er was briefly allowed to remove his hand­cuffs to wash him­self. The hun­dreds of oth­er Gazan detainees sat in silence. They were all cut off from the out­side world, pre­vent­ed for weeks from con­tact­ing lawyers or rel­a­tives.

    This was the scene one after­noon in late May at a mil­i­tary hangar inside Sde Teiman, an army base in south­ern Israel that has become syn­ony­mous with the deten­tion of Gazan Pales­tini­ans. Most Gazans cap­tured since the start of the war on Oct. 7 have been brought to the site for ini­tial inter­ro­ga­tion, accord­ing to the Israeli mil­i­tary.

    The mil­i­tary, which has not pre­vi­ous­ly grant­ed access to the media, allowed The New York Times to briefly see part of the deten­tion facil­i­ty as well as to inter­view its com­man­ders and oth­er offi­cials, on con­di­tion of pre­serv­ing their anonymi­ty.

    Once an obscure bar­racks, Sde Teiman is now a makeshift inter­ro­ga­tion site and a major focus of accu­sa­tions that the Israeli mil­i­tary has mis­treat­ed detainees, includ­ing peo­ple lat­er deter­mined to have no ties to Hamas or oth­er armed groups. In inter­views, for­mer detainees described beat­ings and oth­er abuse in the facil­i­ty.

    By late May, rough­ly 4,000 Gazan detainees had spent up to three months in lim­bo at Sde Teiman, includ­ing sev­er­al dozen peo­ple cap­tured dur­ing the Hamas-led ter­ror­ist attacks on Israel in Octo­ber, accord­ing to the site com­man­ders who spoke to The Times.

    After inter­ro­ga­tion, around 70 per­cent of detainees had been sent to pur­pose-built pris­ons for fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion, the com­man­ders said. The rest, at least 1,200 peo­ple, had been found to be civil­ians and returned to Gaza, with­out charge, apol­o­gy or com­pen­sa­tion.

    “My col­leagues didn’t know whether I was dead or alive,” said Muham­mad al-Kur­di, 38, an ambu­lance dri­ver whom the mil­i­tary has con­firmed was held at Sde Teiman late last year.

    “I was impris­oned for 32 days,” said Mr. al-Kur­di. He said he had been cap­tured in Novem­ber after his con­voy of ambu­lances attempt­ed to pass through an Israeli mil­i­tary check­point south of Gaza City.

    ...

    A three-month inves­ti­ga­tion by The New York Times — based on inter­views with for­mer detainees and with Israeli mil­i­tary offi­cers, doc­tors and sol­diers who served at the site; the vis­it to the base; and data about released detainees pro­vid­ed by the mil­i­tary — found those 1,200 Pales­tin­ian civil­ians have been held at Sde Teiman in demean­ing con­di­tions with­out the abil­i­ty to plead their cas­es to a judge for up to 75 days. Detainees are also denied access to lawyers for up to 90 days and their loca­tion is with­held from rights groups as well as from the Inter­na­tion­al Com­mit­tee of the Red Cross, in what some legal experts say is a con­tra­ven­tion of inter­na­tion­al law.

    Eight for­mer detainees, all of whom the mil­i­tary has con­firmed were held at the site and who spoke on the record, var­i­ous­ly said they had been punched, kicked and beat­en with batons, rifle butts and a hand-held met­al detec­tor while in cus­tody. One said his ribs were bro­ken after he was kneed in the chest and a sec­ond detainee said his ribs broke after he was kicked and beat­en with a rifle, an assault that a third detainee said he had wit­nessed. Sev­en said they had been forced to wear only a dia­per while being inter­ro­gat­ed. Three said they had received elec­tric shocks dur­ing their inter­ro­ga­tions.

    Most of these alle­ga­tions were echoed in inter­views con­duct­ed by offi­cials from UNRWA, the main U.N. agency for Pales­tini­ans, an insti­tu­tion that Israel says has been infil­trat­ed by Hamas, a charge the agency denies. The agency con­duct­ed inter­views with hun­dreds of return­ing detainees who report­ed wide­spread abuse at Sde Teiman and oth­er Israeli deten­tion facil­i­ties, includ­ing beat­ings and the use of an elec­tric probe.

    An Israeli sol­dier who served at the site said that fel­low sol­diers had reg­u­lar­ly boast­ed of beat­ing detainees and saw signs that sev­er­al peo­ple had been sub­ject­ed to such treat­ment. Speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to avoid pros­e­cu­tion, he said a detainee had been tak­en for treat­ment at the site’s makeshift field hos­pi­tal with a bone that had been bro­ken dur­ing his deten­tion, while anoth­er was briefly tak­en out of sight and returned with bleed­ing around his rib cage. The sol­dier said that one per­son had died at Sde Teiman from trau­ma injuries to his chest, though it was unclear whether his injury was sus­tained before or after reach­ing the base.

    Of the 4,000 detainees housed at Sde Teiman since Octo­ber, 35 have died either at the site or after being brought to near­by civil­ian hos­pi­tals, accord­ing to offi­cers at the base who spoke to The Times dur­ing the May vis­it. The offi­cers said some of them had died because of wounds or ill­ness­es con­tract­ed before their incar­cer­a­tion and denied any of them had died from abuse. Mil­i­tary pros­e­cu­tors are inves­ti­gat­ing the deaths.

    Dur­ing the vis­it, senior mil­i­tary doc­tors said they had nev­er observed any signs of tor­ture and com­man­ders said they tried to treat detainees as humane­ly as pos­si­ble. They con­firmed that at least 12 sol­diers had been dis­missed from their roles at the site, some of them for exces­sive use of force.

    In recent weeks, the base has attract­ed grow­ing scruti­ny from the media, includ­ing a CNN report lat­er cit­ed by the White House, as well as from Israel’s Supreme Court, which on Wednes­day began to hear a peti­tion from rights groups to close the site. In response to the peti­tion, the Israeli gov­ern­ment said that it was reduc­ing the num­ber of detainees at Sde Teiman and improv­ing con­di­tions there; the Israeli mil­i­tary has already set up a pan­el to inves­ti­gate the treat­ment of detainees at the site.

    In a lengthy state­ment for this arti­cle, the Israel Defense Forces denied that “sys­tem­at­ic abuse” had tak­en place at Sde Teiman. Pre­sent­ed with indi­vid­ual alle­ga­tions of abuse, the mil­i­tary said the claims were “evi­dent­ly inac­cu­rate or com­plete­ly unfound­ed,” and might have been invent­ed under pres­sure from Hamas. It did not give fur­ther details.

    ...

    Yoel Donchin, a mil­i­tary doc­tor serv­ing at the site, said it was unclear why Israeli sol­diers had cap­tured many of the peo­ple he treat­ed there, some of whom were high­ly unlike­ly to have been com­bat­ants involved in the war. One was para­plegic, anoth­er weighed rough­ly 300 pounds and a third had breathed since child­hood through a tube insert­ed into his neck, he said.

    “Why they brought him — I don’t know,” Dr. Donchin said.

    “They take every­one,” he added.

    How Detainees Are Cap­tured

    Fadi Bakr, a law stu­dent from Gaza City, said he was cap­tured on Jan. 5 by Israeli sol­diers near his fam­i­ly home. Dis­placed by fight­ing ear­li­er in the war, Mr. Bakr, 25, had returned to his neigh­bor­hood to search for flour, only to get caught in the mid­dle of a fire­fight and wound­ed, he said.

    The Israelis found him bleed­ing after the fight­ing stopped, he said. They stripped him naked, con­fis­cat­ed his phone and sav­ings, beat him repeat­ed­ly and accused him of being a mil­i­tant who had sur­vived the bat­tle, he said.

    ...

    The cir­cum­stances of Mr. Bakr’s arrest mir­ror those of oth­er for­mer detainees inter­viewed by The Times.

    Sev­er­al said they had been sus­pect­ed of mil­i­tant activ­i­ty because sol­diers had encoun­tered them in areas the mil­i­tary thought were har­bor­ing Hamas fight­ers, includ­ing hos­pi­tals, U.N. schools or depop­u­lat­ed neigh­bor­hoods like Mr. Bakr’s.

    You­nis al-Ham­lawi, 39, a senior nurse, said he was arrest­ed in Novem­ber after leav­ing Al-Shi­fa Hos­pi­tal in Gaza City dur­ing an Israeli raid on the site, which Israel con­sid­ered a Hamas com­mand cen­ter. Israeli sol­diers accused him of hav­ing ties to Hamas.

    ...

    All of the eight for­mer detainees described their cap­ture in sim­i­lar ways: They were gen­er­al­ly blind­fold­ed, hand­cuffed with zip ties and stripped naked except for their under­wear, so that Israeli sol­diers could be sure they were unarmed.

    Most said they were inter­ro­gat­ed, punched and kicked while still in Gaza, and some said they were beat­en with rifle butts. Lat­er, they said, they were crammed with oth­er half-naked detainees into mil­i­tary trucks and dri­ven to Sde Teiman.

    Some said they had lat­er spent time in the offi­cial Israeli prison sys­tem, while oth­ers said they were brought straight back to Gaza.

    ...

    How the Site Devel­oped

    Dur­ing pre­vi­ous wars with Hamas, includ­ing the 50-day con­flict in 2014, the Sde Teiman mil­i­tary base inter­mit­tent­ly held small num­bers of cap­tured Gazans. A com­mand cen­ter and ware­house for mil­i­tary vehi­cles, the base was select­ed because it is close to Gaza and hous­es an out­post of the mil­i­tary police, who over­see mil­i­tary deten­tion facil­i­ties.

    In Octo­ber, Israel start­ed using the site to detain peo­ple cap­tured in Israel dur­ing the Hamas-led attack, hous­ing them in an emp­ty tank hangar, accord­ing to the site com­man­ders. Once Israel invad­ed Gaza at the end of that month, Sde Teiman began receiv­ing so many peo­ple that the mil­i­tary refit­ted three oth­er hangars to detain them and con­vert­ed a mil­i­tary police office to cre­ate more space for inter­ro­ga­tions, they said.

    By late May, they said, the base includ­ed three deten­tion sites: the hangars where detainees are guard­ed by mil­i­tary police; near­by tents, where detainees are treat­ed by mil­i­tary doc­tors; and an inter­ro­ga­tion facil­i­ty in a sep­a­rate part of the base that is staffed by intel­li­gence offi­cers from Israel’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence direc­torate and the Shin Bet.

    Clas­si­fied as “unlaw­ful com­bat­ants” under Israeli leg­is­la­tion, detainees at Sde Teiman can be held for up to 75 days with­out judi­cial per­mis­sion and 90 days with­out access to a lawyer, let alone a tri­al.

    The Israeli mil­i­tary says these arrange­ments are per­mit­ted by the Gene­va Con­ven­tions that gov­ern inter­na­tion­al con­flict, which allow the intern­ment of civil­ians for secu­ri­ty rea­sons. The com­man­ders at the site said that it was essen­tial to delay access to lawyers in order to pre­vent Hamas fight­ers from con­vey­ing mes­sages to their lead­ers in Gaza, hin­der­ing Israel’s war effort.

    After an ini­tial inter­ro­ga­tion at Sde Teiman, detainees still sus­pect­ed of hav­ing mil­i­tant ties are usu­al­ly trans­ferred to anoth­er mil­i­tary site or a civil­ian prison. In the civil­ian sys­tem, they are sup­posed to be for­mal­ly charged; in May, the gov­ern­ment said in a sub­mis­sion to Israel’s Supreme Court that it had start­ed crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings against “hun­dreds” of peo­ple cap­tured since Oct. 7, with­out giv­ing fur­ther details about the exact num­ber of cas­es or their sta­tus. There have been no known tri­als of Gazans cap­tured since Octo­ber.

    Experts on inter­na­tion­al law say Israel’s sys­tem around ini­tial deten­tion is more restric­tive than many West­ern coun­ter­parts in terms of the time it takes for judges to review each case, as well as in the lack of access for Red Cross staff.

    Ear­ly in its war against the Tal­iban in Afghanistan, the Unit­ed States also delayed inde­pen­dent review of a detainee’s case for 75 days, said Lawrence Hill-Cawthorne, a law pro­fes­sor who wrote an overview of the laws gov­ern­ing deten­tion of non­state com­bat­ants. The U.S. short­ened that delay in 2009 to 60 days, while in Iraq cas­es were reviewed with­in a week, the pro­fes­sor said.

    Israel’s deci­sion to delay judi­cial review of a case for 75 days with­out pro­vid­ing access to lawyers or the Red Cross “looks to me like a form of incom­mu­ni­ca­do deten­tion, which itself is a vio­la­tion of inter­na­tion­al law,” Pro­fes­sor Hill-Cawthorne said.

    ...

    Where the Detainees Live

    Inside Sde Teiman, Mr. Bakr was held in an open-sided hangar where he said he was forced, with hun­dreds of oth­ers, to sit hand­cuffed in silence on a mat for up to 18 hours a day. The hangar had no exter­nal wall, leav­ing it open to the rain and the cold, and guards watched him from the oth­er side of a mesh fence.

    All the detainees wore blind­folds — except for one, known by the Ara­bic word “shaw­ish,” which means sergeant. The shaw­ish act­ed as a go-between the sol­diers and the pris­on­ers, dol­ing out food and escort­ing fel­low pris­on­ers to a block of portable toi­lets in the cor­ner of the hangar.

    Weeks lat­er, Mr. Bakr said, he was appoint­ed as a shaw­ish, allow­ing him to see his sur­round­ings prop­er­ly.

    His account broad­ly match­es that of oth­er detainees and is con­sis­tent with what The Times was shown at the site in late May.

    The com­man­ders at the site said detainees were allowed to stand up every two hours to stretch, sleep between rough­ly 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and pray at any time. For a brief peri­od in Octo­ber, they said, detainees were allowed to take off their blind­folds and move around freely with­in the hangars. But that arrange­ment end­ed after some detainees became unruly or tried to unlock their hand­cuffs, the com­man­ders said.

    Exhaust­ed after the jour­ney to Sde Teiman, Mr. Bakr fell asleep soon after his arrival — prompt­ing an offi­cer to sum­mon him to a near­by com­mand room, he said.

    The offi­cer began beat­ing him, Mr. Bakr said. “This is the pun­ish­ment for any­one who sleeps,” he recalled the offi­cer say­ing.

    Oth­ers described sim­i­lar respons­es to minor infrac­tions. Rafiq Yassin, 55, a builder detained in Decem­ber, said he was beat­en repeat­ed­ly in his abdomen after try­ing to peek from under­neath his blind­fold. He said he began vom­it­ing blood and was treat­ed at a civil­ian hos­pi­tal in the near­by city of Beer­she­ba. Asked about the claim, the hos­pi­tal referred The Times to the health min­istry, which declined to com­ment.

    The Israeli sol­dier who wit­nessed abus­es at a hangar said one detainee was beat­en so hard that his ribs bled after he was accused of peek­ing beneath his blind­fold, while anoth­er was beat­en after talk­ing too loud­ly too often.

    The Times did not wit­ness any beat­ings dur­ing the vis­it to the hangar, where some detainees were seen pray­ing while oth­ers were assessed by para­medics or brought by the shaw­ish to wash in a sink at the back of the hangar. One man could be seen peek­ing beneath his blind­fold with­out imme­di­ate pun­ish­ment.

    Like the oth­er for­mer detainees, Mr. Bakr recalled receiv­ing three mea­ger snacks on most days — typ­i­cal­ly bread served with small quan­ti­ties of either cheese, jam or tuna, and occa­sion­al­ly cucum­bers and toma­toes. The mil­i­tary said that the food pro­vi­sions had been “approved by an autho­rized nutri­tion­ist in order to main­tain their health.”

    Accord­ing to sev­er­al for­mer detainees, it was not enough. Three said they lost more than 40 pounds dur­ing their deten­tion.

    Some med­ical treat­ment is avail­able on site. The com­man­ders brought The Times to an office where they said medics screened every detainee on arrival, in addi­tion to mon­i­tor­ing them every day in the hangars. Seri­ous cas­es are treat­ed in a near­by clus­ter of tents that form a makeshift field hos­pi­tal.

    ...

    Two Israelis who were at the hos­pi­tal last year said that its staff mem­bers were much less expe­ri­enced and more poor­ly equipped dur­ing ear­li­er phas­es of the war. One of them, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to avoid pros­e­cu­tion, said that at the time patients were not giv­en enough painkillers dur­ing painful pro­ce­dures.

    Physi­cians for Human Rights, a rights group in Israel, said in a report in April that the field hos­pi­tal was “a low point for med­ical ethics and pro­fes­sion­al­ism.”

    The hospital’s cur­rent lead­er­ship acknowl­edged that it had not always been as well-equipped as it has become, but said its staff was always high­ly expe­ri­enced.

    Dr. Donchin said in some respects the treat­ment at the field clin­ic was now “a lit­tle bet­ter” than in Israeli civil­ian hos­pi­tals, main­ly because it was staffed by some of the best doc­tors in Israel. Dr. Donchin, a lieu­tenant colonel in the mil­i­tary reserve, was a long-serv­ing anes­the­si­ol­o­gist at a major hos­pi­tal in Jerusalem and now teach­es at a lead­ing med­ical school.

    The facil­i­ties and equip­ment seen by The Times includ­ed an anes­the­sia machine, an ultra­sound mon­i­tor, X‑ray equip­ment, a device for ana­lyz­ing blood sam­ples, a small oper­at­ing the­ater and a store­room con­tain­ing hun­dreds of med­i­cines.

    Doc­tors serv­ing at Sde Teiman who spoke to The Times said they were also told not to write their names on any offi­cial doc­u­men­ta­tion and not to address each oth­er by name in front of the patients.

    Dr. Donchin said that offi­cials feared they could be iden­ti­fied and charged with war crimes at the Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Court.

    Dur­ing The Times’s vis­it, three doc­tors said they did not fear pros­e­cu­tion but sought anonymi­ty to pre­vent Hamas and their allies from attack­ing them or their fam­i­lies.

    How the Inter­ro­ga­tions Work

    Rough­ly four days after his arrival, Mr. Bakr said he was called in for inter­ro­ga­tion.

    Like oth­ers who spoke to The Times, he remem­bered being brought to a sep­a­rate enclo­sure that the detainees called the “dis­co room” — because, they said, they were forced to lis­ten to extreme­ly loud music that pre­vent­ed them from sleep­ing. Mr. Bakr con­sid­ered it a form of tor­ture, say­ing it was so painful that blood began to trick­le from inside his ear.

    The Israeli mil­i­tary said that the music was “not high and not harm­ful,” played with­in earshot of Israelis and Pales­tini­ans alike, and was meant to pre­vent the detainees from eas­i­ly con­fer­ring with each oth­er before inter­ro­ga­tion. The Times was not shown any part of the inter­ro­ga­tion com­plex, includ­ing the area where music was played.

    ...

    The inter­roga­tors accused him of Hamas mem­ber­ship and showed him pho­tographs of mil­i­tants to see if he could iden­ti­fy them. They also asked him about the where­abouts of hostages, as well as a senior Hamas leader who lived near Mr. Bakr’s fam­i­ly home. When Mr. Bakr denied any con­nec­tion to the group or knowl­edge of the pic­tured men, he was beat­en repeat­ed­ly, he said.

    Mr. al-Ham­lawi, the senior nurse, said a female offi­cer had ordered two sol­diers to lift him up and press his rec­tum against a met­al stick that was fixed to the ground. Mr. al-Ham­lawi said the stick pen­e­trat­ed his rec­tum for rough­ly five sec­onds, caus­ing it to bleed and leav­ing him with “unbear­able pain.”

    A leaked draft of the UNRWA report detailed an inter­view that gave a sim­i­lar account. It cit­ed a 41-year-old detainee who said that inter­roga­tors “made me sit on some­thing like a hot met­al stick and it felt like fire,” and also said that anoth­er detainee “died after they put the elec­tric stick up” his anus.

    Mr. al-Ham­lawi recalled being forced to sit in a chair wired with elec­tric­i­ty. He said he was shocked so often that, after ini­tial­ly uri­nat­ing uncon­trol­lably, he then stopped uri­nat­ing for sev­er­al days. Mr. al-Ham­lawi said he, too, had been forced to wear noth­ing but a dia­per, to stop him from soil­ing the floor.

    Ibrahim Sha­heen, 38, a truck dri­ver detained in ear­ly Decem­ber for near­ly three months, said he was shocked rough­ly half a dozen times while sit­ting in a chair. Offi­cers accused him of con­ceal­ing infor­ma­tion about the loca­tion of dead hostages, Mr. Sha­heen said.

    Mr. Bakr also said he was forced to sit in chair wired with elec­tric­i­ty, send­ing a cur­rent puls­ing through his body that made him pass out.

    Released With­out Charge

    After more than a month in deten­tion, Mr. Bakr said, the offi­cers seemed to accept his inno­cence.

    Ear­ly one morn­ing in Feb­ru­ary, Mr. Bakr was put on a bus head­ing to Israel’s bor­der with south­ern Gaza: After a month of deten­tion, he was about to be released.

    He said he asked for his phone and the 7,200 shekels (rough­ly $2,000) that had been con­fis­cat­ed from him dur­ing his arrest in Gaza, before he reached Sde Teiman.

    In response, a sol­dier hit and shout­ed at him, Mr. Bakr said. “No one should ask about his phone or his mon­ey,” the sol­dier said, accord­ing to Mr. Bakr.

    The mil­i­tary said all per­son­al belong­ings were doc­u­ment­ed and placed in sealed bags after detainees arrived at Sde Teiman, and returned on their release.

    Around dawn, the bus arrived at the Kerem Shalom cross­ing point, near the south­ern tip of Gaza.

    Like oth­er returned detainees, Mr. Bakr walked for rough­ly a mile before being greet­ed by aid work­ers from the Red Cross. They fed him and briefly checked his med­ical con­di­tion. Then they brought him to a near­by ter­mi­nal where, he said, he was briefly inter­ro­gat­ed by Hamas secu­ri­ty offi­cials about his time in Israel.

    Bor­row­ing a phone, he called his fam­i­ly, who were still 20 miles away in Gaza City.

    ...

    ———-

    “Inside the Base Where Israel Has Detained Thou­sands of Gazans” By Patrick Kings­ley and Bilal Shbair; The New York Times; 06/06/2024

    “Once an obscure bar­racks, Sde Teiman is now a makeshift inter­ro­ga­tion site and a major focus of accu­sa­tions that the Israeli mil­i­tary has mis­treat­ed detainees, includ­ing peo­ple lat­er deter­mined to have no ties to Hamas or oth­er armed groups. In inter­views, for­mer detainees described beat­ings and oth­er abuse in the facil­i­ty.”

    This isn’t the first report we’ve got­ten about abus­es as Sde Teiman. But it’s the most com­pre­hen­sive so far, with the New York Times giv­en access to the facil­i­ty and even detainees. And it appears to not only back up those pre­vi­ous reports of abus­es but includes a few new ones we had­n’t pre­vi­ous­ly heard about. And based on what we’re hear­ing, it appears vir­tu­al­ly all Pales­tin­ian adult civil­ians detained by Israeli forces are forced to endure this treat­ment. Even peo­ple who were high­ly unlike­ly to be mem­bers of Hamas.

    We’re also hear­ing more about Israeli courts and even the Israeli mil­i­tary inves­ti­gat­ing the abuse claims, which is also part of the con­text of this high pro­file New York Times report. This is a major human rights scan­dal still tak­ing place:

    ...
    By late May, rough­ly 4,000 Gazan detainees had spent up to three months in lim­bo at Sde Teiman, includ­ing sev­er­al dozen peo­ple cap­tured dur­ing the Hamas-led ter­ror­ist attacks on Israel in Octo­ber, accord­ing to the site com­man­ders who spoke to The Times.

    After inter­ro­ga­tion, around 70 per­cent of detainees had been sent to pur­pose-built pris­ons for fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion, the com­man­ders said. The rest, at least 1,200 peo­ple, had been found to be civil­ians and returned to Gaza, with­out charge, apol­o­gy or com­pen­sa­tion.

    ...

    Of the 4,000 detainees housed at Sde Teiman since Octo­ber, 35 have died either at the site or after being brought to near­by civil­ian hos­pi­tals, accord­ing to offi­cers at the base who spoke to The Times dur­ing the May vis­it. The offi­cers said some of them had died because of wounds or ill­ness­es con­tract­ed before their incar­cer­a­tion and denied any of them had died from abuse. Mil­i­tary pros­e­cu­tors are inves­ti­gat­ing the deaths.

    Dur­ing the vis­it, senior mil­i­tary doc­tors said they had nev­er observed any signs of tor­ture and com­man­ders said they tried to treat detainees as humane­ly as pos­si­ble. They con­firmed that at least 12 sol­diers had been dis­missed from their roles at the site, some of them for exces­sive use of force.

    In recent weeks, the base has attract­ed grow­ing scruti­ny from the media, includ­ing a CNN report lat­er cit­ed by the White House, as well as from Israel’s Supreme Court, which on Wednes­day began to hear a peti­tion from rights groups to close the site. In response to the peti­tion, the Israeli gov­ern­ment said that it was reduc­ing the num­ber of detainees at Sde Teiman and improv­ing con­di­tions there; the Israeli mil­i­tary has already set up a pan­el to inves­ti­gate the treat­ment of detainees at the site.

    ...

    Yoel Donchin, a mil­i­tary doc­tor serv­ing at the site, said it was unclear why Israeli sol­diers had cap­tured many of the peo­ple he treat­ed there, some of whom were high­ly unlike­ly to have been com­bat­ants involved in the war. One was para­plegic, anoth­er weighed rough­ly 300 pounds and a third had breathed since child­hood through a tube insert­ed into his neck, he said.

    “Why they brought him — I don’t know,” Dr. Donchin said.

    “They take every­one,” he added.
    ...

    Also recall how we were pre­vi­ous­ly told about how the doc­tors work­ing at the facil­i­ty avoid­ed sign­ing their names to medi­al doc­u­ments and also that many inex­pe­ri­enced staff were car­ry­ing out were car­ry­ing out med­ical pro­ce­dures. Both of those claims were backed up in this report:

    ...
    Two Israelis who were at the hos­pi­tal last year said that its staff mem­bers were much less expe­ri­enced and more poor­ly equipped dur­ing ear­li­er phas­es of the war. One of them, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to avoid pros­e­cu­tion, said that at the time patients were not giv­en enough painkillers dur­ing painful pro­ce­dures.

    Physi­cians for Human Rights, a rights group in Israel, said in a report in April that the field hos­pi­tal was “a low point for med­ical ethics and pro­fes­sion­al­ism.”

    The hospital’s cur­rent lead­er­ship acknowl­edged that it had not always been as well-equipped as it has become, but said its staff was always high­ly expe­ri­enced.

    Dr. Donchin said in some respects the treat­ment at the field clin­ic was now “a lit­tle bet­ter” than in Israeli civil­ian hos­pi­tals, main­ly because it was staffed by some of the best doc­tors in Israel. Dr. Donchin, a lieu­tenant colonel in the mil­i­tary reserve, was a long-serv­ing anes­the­si­ol­o­gist at a major hos­pi­tal in Jerusalem and now teach­es at a lead­ing med­ical school.

    The facil­i­ties and equip­ment seen by The Times includ­ed an anes­the­sia machine, an ultra­sound mon­i­tor, X‑ray equip­ment, a device for ana­lyz­ing blood sam­ples, a small oper­at­ing the­ater and a store­room con­tain­ing hun­dreds of med­i­cines.

    Doc­tors serv­ing at Sde Teiman who spoke to The Times said they were also told not to write their names on any offi­cial doc­u­men­ta­tion and not to address each oth­er by name in front of the patients.

    Dr. Donchin said that offi­cials feared they could be iden­ti­fied and charged with war crimes at the Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Court.

    Dur­ing The Times’s vis­it, three doc­tors said they did not fear pros­e­cu­tion but sought anonymi­ty to pre­vent Hamas and their allies from attack­ing them or their fam­i­lies.
    ...

    We’re told detainees are clas­si­fied as “unlaw­ful com­bat­ants”, which is inter­est­ing giv­en that the facil­i­ty is osten­si­bly for deter­min­ing whether or not peo­ple are mem­bers of Hamas. They can then be held for up to 75 days with­out judi­cial per­mis­sion and up to 90 days with­out access to a lawyer or tri­al. We’re told this in in keep­ing with the Gene­va Con­ven­tions but as one law pro­fes­sor put it, arrange­ment “looks to me like a form of incom­mu­ni­ca­do deten­tion, which itself is a vio­la­tion of inter­na­tion­al law.”

    Also note how reporters weren’t actu­al­ly able to to inspect the part of the base where the inter­ro­ga­tions take place, which is pre­sum­ably where many of the abus­es take place. Abus­es like play­ing music so loud their ears bleed:

    ...
    In Octo­ber, Israel start­ed using the site to detain peo­ple cap­tured in Israel dur­ing the Hamas-led attack, hous­ing them in an emp­ty tank hangar, accord­ing to the site com­man­ders. Once Israel invad­ed Gaza at the end of that month, Sde Teiman began receiv­ing so many peo­ple that the mil­i­tary refit­ted three oth­er hangars to detain them and con­vert­ed a mil­i­tary police office to cre­ate more space for inter­ro­ga­tions, they said.

    By late May, they said, the base includ­ed three deten­tion sites: the hangars where detainees are guard­ed by mil­i­tary police; near­by tents, where detainees are treat­ed by mil­i­tary doc­tors; and an inter­ro­ga­tion facil­i­ty in a sep­a­rate part of the base that is staffed by intel­li­gence offi­cers from Israel’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence direc­torate and the Shin Bet.

    Clas­si­fied as “unlaw­ful com­bat­ants” under Israeli leg­is­la­tion, detainees at Sde Teiman can be held for up to 75 days with­out judi­cial per­mis­sion and 90 days with­out access to a lawyer, let alone a tri­al.

    The Israeli mil­i­tary says these arrange­ments are per­mit­ted by the Gene­va Con­ven­tions that gov­ern inter­na­tion­al con­flict, which allow the intern­ment of civil­ians for secu­ri­ty rea­sons. The com­man­ders at the site said that it was essen­tial to delay access to lawyers in order to pre­vent Hamas fight­ers from con­vey­ing mes­sages to their lead­ers in Gaza, hin­der­ing Israel’s war effort.

    ...

    Experts on inter­na­tion­al law say Israel’s sys­tem around ini­tial deten­tion is more restric­tive than many West­ern coun­ter­parts in terms of the time it takes for judges to review each case, as well as in the lack of access for Red Cross staff.

    Ear­ly in its war against the Tal­iban in Afghanistan, the Unit­ed States also delayed inde­pen­dent review of a detainee’s case for 75 days, said Lawrence Hill-Cawthorne, a law pro­fes­sor who wrote an overview of the laws gov­ern­ing deten­tion of non­state com­bat­ants. The U.S. short­ened that delay in 2009 to 60 days, while in Iraq cas­es were reviewed with­in a week, the pro­fes­sor said.

    Israel’s deci­sion to delay judi­cial review of a case for 75 days with­out pro­vid­ing access to lawyers or the Red Cross “looks to me like a form of incom­mu­ni­ca­do deten­tion, which itself is a vio­la­tion of inter­na­tion­al law,” Pro­fes­sor Hill-Cawthorne said.

    ...

    Rough­ly four days after his arrival, Mr. Bakr said he was called in for inter­ro­ga­tion.

    Like oth­ers who spoke to The Times, he remem­bered being brought to a sep­a­rate enclo­sure that the detainees called the “dis­co room” — because, they said, they were forced to lis­ten to extreme­ly loud music that pre­vent­ed them from sleep­ing. Mr. Bakr con­sid­ered it a form of tor­ture, say­ing it was so painful that blood began to trick­le from inside his ear.

    The Israeli mil­i­tary said that the music was “not high and not harm­ful,” played with­in earshot of Israelis and Pales­tini­ans alike, and was meant to pre­vent the detainees from eas­i­ly con­fer­ring with each oth­er before inter­ro­ga­tion. The Times was not shown any part of the inter­ro­ga­tion com­plex, includ­ing the area where music was played.
    ...

    But bleed­ing ears was­n’t the worst of the abus­es we’re learn­ing about. Rec­tal elec­tro­cu­tions are being used. So often that pris­on­ers are los­ing the abil­i­ty to con­trol their blad­der and forced to wear dia­pers. Recall how we got pre­vi­ous reports about pris­on­ers wear­ing dia­pers but we did­n’t get an expla­na­tion for why. Now we know. Anal elec­tro­cu­tions:

    ...
    The inter­roga­tors accused him of Hamas mem­ber­ship and showed him pho­tographs of mil­i­tants to see if he could iden­ti­fy them. They also asked him about the where­abouts of hostages, as well as a senior Hamas leader who lived near Mr. Bakr’s fam­i­ly home. When Mr. Bakr denied any con­nec­tion to the group or knowl­edge of the pic­tured men, he was beat­en repeat­ed­ly, he said.

    Mr. al-Ham­lawi, the senior nurse, said a female offi­cer had ordered two sol­diers to lift him up and press his rec­tum against a met­al stick that was fixed to the ground. Mr. al-Ham­lawi said the stick pen­e­trat­ed his rec­tum for rough­ly five sec­onds, caus­ing it to bleed and leav­ing him with “unbear­able pain.”

    A leaked draft of the UNRWA report detailed an inter­view that gave a sim­i­lar account. It cit­ed a 41-year-old detainee who said that inter­roga­tors “made me sit on some­thing like a hot met­al stick and it felt like fire,” and also said that anoth­er detainee “died after they put the elec­tric stick up” his anus.

    Mr. al-Ham­lawi recalled being forced to sit in a chair wired with elec­tric­i­ty. He said he was shocked so often that, after ini­tial­ly uri­nat­ing uncon­trol­lably, he then stopped uri­nat­ing for sev­er­al days. Mr. al-Ham­lawi said he, too, had been forced to wear noth­ing but a dia­per, to stop him from soil­ing the floor.

    Ibrahim Sha­heen, 38, a truck dri­ver detained in ear­ly Decem­ber for near­ly three months, said he was shocked rough­ly half a dozen times while sit­ting in a chair. Offi­cers accused him of con­ceal­ing infor­ma­tion about the loca­tion of dead hostages, Mr. Sha­heen said.

    Mr. Bakr also said he was forced to sit in chair wired with elec­tric­i­ty, send­ing a cur­rent puls­ing through his body that made him pass out.
    ...

    And then we get to what is per­haps the most remark­able part of this sto­ry: this report is based on a three month inves­ti­ga­tion by the New York Times that includ­ed access to the site and inter­views with Israeli mil­i­tary offi­cers. What kind of pub­lic rela­tions man­age­ment scheme are we look­ing at here? Because the sto­ry we’re get­ting is pret­ty hor­rif­ic, but it’s also a sto­ry the Israeli mil­i­tary is obvi­ous­ly will­ing to allow jour­nal­ists access to report on. It’s the kind of sit­u­a­tion that sug­gest the real­i­ty is even worse than this report:

    ...
    The mil­i­tary, which has not pre­vi­ous­ly grant­ed access to the media, allowed The New York Times to briefly see part of the deten­tion facil­i­ty as well as to inter­view its com­man­ders and oth­er offi­cials, on con­di­tion of pre­serv­ing their anonymi­ty.

    ...

    A three-month inves­ti­ga­tion by The New York Times — based on inter­views with for­mer detainees and with Israeli mil­i­tary offi­cers, doc­tors and sol­diers who served at the site; the vis­it to the base; and data about released detainees pro­vid­ed by the mil­i­tary — found those 1,200 Pales­tin­ian civil­ians have been held at Sde Teiman in demean­ing con­di­tions with­out the abil­i­ty to plead their cas­es to a judge for up to 75 days. Detainees are also denied access to lawyers for up to 90 days and their loca­tion is with­held from rights groups as well as from the Inter­na­tion­al Com­mit­tee of the Red Cross, in what some legal experts say is a con­tra­ven­tion of inter­na­tion­al law.

    Eight for­mer detainees, all of whom the mil­i­tary has con­firmed were held at the site and who spoke on the record, var­i­ous­ly said they had been punched, kicked and beat­en with batons, rifle butts and a hand-held met­al detec­tor while in cus­tody. One said his ribs were bro­ken after he was kneed in the chest and a sec­ond detainee said his ribs broke after he was kicked and beat­en with a rifle, an assault that a third detainee said he had wit­nessed. Sev­en said they had been forced to wear only a dia­per while being inter­ro­gat­ed. Three said they had received elec­tric shocks dur­ing their inter­ro­ga­tions.

    Most of these alle­ga­tions were echoed in inter­views con­duct­ed by offi­cials from UNRWA, the main U.N. agency for Pales­tini­ans, an insti­tu­tion that Israel says has been infil­trat­ed by Hamas, a charge the agency denies. The agency con­duct­ed inter­views with hun­dreds of return­ing detainees who report­ed wide­spread abuse at Sde Teiman and oth­er Israeli deten­tion facil­i­ties, includ­ing beat­ings and the use of an elec­tric probe.

    An Israeli sol­dier who served at the site said that fel­low sol­diers had reg­u­lar­ly boast­ed of beat­ing detainees and saw signs that sev­er­al peo­ple had been sub­ject­ed to such treat­ment. Speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to avoid pros­e­cu­tion, he said a detainee had been tak­en for treat­ment at the site’s makeshift field hos­pi­tal with a bone that had been bro­ken dur­ing his deten­tion, while anoth­er was briefly tak­en out of sight and returned with bleed­ing around his rib cage. The sol­dier said that one per­son had died at Sde Teiman from trau­ma injuries to his chest, though it was unclear whether his injury was sus­tained before or after reach­ing the base.
    ...

    It’s a chill­ing depic­tion on the con­di­tions inside this facil­i­ty, made all the more chill­ing by the fact that we have to assume this is a lim­it­ed hang­out to some extent. And, again, this is just the first of the facil­i­ties where appre­hend­ed, with 70 per­cent of detainees get­ting sent off for fur­ther inter­ro­ga­tions and pros­e­cu­tions. What are the con­di­tions in those facil­i­ties? We have no idea, but it’s hard to imag­ine it’s any bet­ter. It’s also hard to imag­ine a more effec­tive means of per­ma­nent­ly rad­i­cal­iz­ing the Gazan pop­u­la­tion. Mis­sion accom­plished?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 9, 2024, 3:44 pm

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