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Confused about Hamas, ‘rockets’, war in Gaza? Vital background facts

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Many Americans in social media and general conversation seem confused about the most important facts about Israel’s armed attacks upon Palestinians in Gaza. Robert Barsocchini (and here) and I discussed this, and will attempt to clarify:

  1. What is Hamas? Do they threaten Israel?
  2. Does Hamas shoot “rockets” at Israel?
  3. What does it mean Israel “occupies” Gaza? Is that legal?
  4. Are Israel’s armed attacks and military invasions of Gaza justified, or unlawful War of Aggression?
  5. Does Israel use unlawful weapons on Palestinians in Gaza?
  6. Can Israel target children, hospitals, schools, and other civilian-important infrastructure?
  7. What is Hamas? Do they threaten Israel?

Hamas is a political organization that won the most recent Palestinian elections in 2006 (new elections planned for 2014); called “completely honest and fair” by President Carter. Historically, Hamas was initially encouraged and supported by Israel in effort to divide Palestinian government from unified voice in having a two-state peace between Israel and Palestine. However, peaceful coexistence with Israel is what Hamas proposes (and here).

Americans receive rhetoric that Hamas threatens destruction of Israel, but without substantiation of this damning claim. This claim is often linked to Iran. One example of such rhetoric is US Senate Resolution 498: “Whereas Hamas is a United States-designated terrorist organization whose charter calls for the destruction of the State of Israel...” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Consul General Aharoni make this claim on US television repeatedly, in the most demonizing language imaginable.

Hamas’ Charter reveals US/Israel lies in omission, and more rationally provide direct refutation of this claim. In the section titled, “Our Attitudes Towards:” Section F, “Followers of other religions: the Islamic Resistance Movement is a humanistic movement,” Article 31:

“The Islamic Resistance Movement is a humanistic movement. It takes care of human rights and is guided by Islamic tolerance when dealing with the followers of other religions. It does not antagonize anyone of them except if it is antagonized by it or stands in its way to hamper its moves and waste its efforts.

Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions - Islam, Christianity and Judaism - to coexist in peace and quiet with each other. Peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam. Past and present history are the best witness to that.

It is the duty of the followers of other religions to stop disputing the sovereignty of Islam in this region [Palestine], because the day these followers should take over there will be nothing but carnage, displacement and terror. Everyone of them is at variance with his fellow-religionists, not to speak about followers of other religionists. Past and present history are full of examples to prove this fact.

"They will not fight against you in a body, except in fenced towns, or from behind walls. Their strength in war among themselves is great: thou thinkest them to be united; but their hearts are divided. This, because they are people who do not understand." (The Emigration - verse 14).

Islam confers upon everyone his legitimate rights. Islam prevents the incursion on other people's rights. The Zionist Nazi activities against our people will not last for long. "For the state of injustice lasts but one day, while the state of justice lasts till Doomsday."

"As to those who have not borne arms against you on account of religion, nor turned you out of your dwellings, Allah forbiddeth you not to deal kindly with them, and to behave justly towards them; for Allah loveth those who act justly." (The Tried - verse 8).

The charter continues argument that peaceful coexistence is possible despite a history from the Crusades forward to remove Palestinian political voice through foreign military invasions.

For current consideration that Hamas just wants Palestinian freedom and independence from Israel’s military occupation: What does Hamas really want? Israeli journalist Gideon Levy on ending the crippling blockade of Gaza.

In 2012, Israel assassinated Palestinian Ahmed Jabari, the second-in-command of those leaders in Palestine with military intent, while they were negotiating with him to end hostilities. If that had happened to Israel’s second-in-command of the IDF, Israel would use that rhetoric forever to justify armed attack upon Gaza.

1b. Ok, so the threat to Israel is... ? The part of the 1988 Hamas Charter apparently referenced as a threat is a quote in the preamble from Hassan al-Banna in 1948:

“Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.”

Let’s put the insertion of that quote into context; both from 1988 and 1948:

So, given the context that al-Banna was justified in opposing colonialism, spoke against the use of terror, made his quote in response to over 700,000 Palestinians removed from their homes when my own parents were in their early 20’s of age, and Hamas directly advocates for a peaceful two-state solution with honor to all religions, it seems most likely that this quote is being used as propaganda to demonize Hamas.

The term “eliminated” likely means political removal of control much like elimination of British political imperialism.

Importantly, we know for sure that US/UK/Israel openly lies that Iran threatens to “wipe Israel off the map;” directly refuted by the crystal-clear text in question by Iranian President Ahmadinejad in 2005 (more on Iran).

This is game-changing history that proves US/UK/Israel LIES in the most egregious way to accuse another nation to wish destruction upon another nation!

Given this game-changing, objective, and easily verifiable history by taking five minutes to read a speech, we know US/UK/Israel official voice of another nation’s intent of destruction is unreliable testimony.

Another game-changer: Israel attacked the USS Liberty in 1967, despite her clear markings, five by eight foot US flag, and 10 hours of close-range Israel multiple aircraft observation. After the attack, Israeli helicopters with machine guns observed, pulled back, and allowed another attack by Israel fighter jets with torpedos (apparently the helicopter mission was to kill survivors in the water after sinking the Liberty). Eventually, the US Navy responded with fighter jets forcing the abort of Israel sinking the USS Liberty with deaths of over 300 Americans (34 were killed, 171 wounded). The apparent motivation was for Israel to create a false flag attack, and blame Egypt to manipulate US support of their war.

Another: Israel planted bombs to kill Americans in Egypt in 1954. This false flag operation, known today as the Lavon Affair, was to incite US alliance with Israel against a political enemy of Israel.

Another: Israel soldiers dressed as Palestinians to hurl rocks at Israeli soldiers in 2005 to incite public opinion against Palestinians.

Finally: The US government assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to prevent his 1968 summer “Occupy DC” to demand the end of the Vietnam War. This is the legal verdict of the King Family civil trial with overwhelming evidence. If you are not familiar with this game-changer of government to protect their wars of choice, read this now.

Because the US/UK/Israel so brazenly lie and kill to justify military action, does it seem likely they would search for other “threats” to justify wanted wars, such as accusing Hamas of threatening Israel?

You’re welcome to your own conclusions; I’m just providing more comprehensive historical background than you’ll ever receive from US/Israel government and corporate media.

2. Does Hamas shoot “rockets” at Israel?

Again, the repetitive rhetoric of US/Israel government and corporate media make this claim, based upon Israeli government testimony. The “Qassam rocket” is a homemade projectile that appears to have killed 28 Israelis since 2004.

Israel’s publications admit they don’t know the source of the reported “rockets;” guessing 22% are from Hamas.

Hamas denies launching rockets, affirms a peaceful two-state solution, and we know that Israel violated the last ceasefire agreement (see “Hamas” section).

If Israel is engaged in unlawful war on Gaza, such as subject to military siege by water and land as Israel does by sealing Gaza’s borders and imposing a naval blockade, then any Palestinian is lawfully able to act in defense of Israel’s war acts, including the shooting of homemade rockets. Let’s examine this next topic.

3. What does it mean Israel “occupies” Gaza? Is that legal?

The UN International Court of Justice found Gaza is an unlawful military occupied territory by a hostile Israel against the will of Palestine (other historical examples of unlawful military occupations). Israel and the US reject this court’s jurisdiction.

The Israeli naval blockade is a traditional act of war.

The military occupation to seal borders and navy blockade stops imports and exports, creating a type of concentration camp.

From Is Gaza still occupied and why does it matter?

Contrary to claims of humanitarian attentiveness, since 2007 Gaza has suffered a humanitarian crisis of staggering magnitude. Foodstuffs were restricted as a matter of policy, allowing in only so much (calculated in a ratio of gross calories to total population) to avoid massive malnourishment. The siege, enforced through a land-and-sea blockade and the aerial bombing of smuggling tunnels linking the Strip to the Sinai, deprived the population of access to medical supplies, building equipment, and all manner of essential goods.

The humanitarian impact of these deprivations intensified massively as a result of the wreckage and ruination of Operation Cast Lead, the full-scale military assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009. By the summer of 2012, as the siege was entering its sixth year, the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs reported that forty-four percent of Gazans are food insecure; a severe fuel and electricity shortage results in outages of up to twelve hours a day; and the economy has been so crippled that the GDP per capita is at least seventeen percent lower than in 2005 and the unemployment rate, especially for youth, is higher than ever.

UN human rights experts, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other authoritative sources have condemned the siege as illegal. The crux of these condemnations is the fact that Gaza is still occupied.

And according to Hamas did not reject a ceasefire, Israel did:

It’s the siege, stupid. Talk to virtually anyone in Gaza and they will tell you the same. The siege is living death, slowly crushing the life out of Gaza. It has to end.

4. Are Israel’s armed attacks and military invasions of Gaza justified, or unlawful War of Aggression?

With complete explanation and documentation from Given US/UK/Israel wars and lust for more, what do two ‘supreme Law’ treaties say about lawful and unlawful war?

The short answer is war is lawful only in self-defense from armed attack by another nation’s government, and lawful response is to arrest US/UK/Israel leaderships for unlawful Wars of Aggression.

They are unlawful Wars of Aggression because Hamas claims it wants peaceful two-state resolution, argues against rocket attacks, and therefore by law this security concern should be applied to the treaty Israel accepts: the UN Security Council.

Despite the UN Security Council having just the one legal jurisdiction over government armed attacks to prevent the scourge of war, Israel has broken nearly 100 legally-binding UN Security Council Resolutions regarding Gaza.

A “rogue state” means a country that threatens peace, restricts human rights, sponsors terrorism, and seeks weapons of mass destruction. Including the fact that Israel has ~200 nuclear weapons, do the facts argue that not only are Israel’s armed attacks on Gaza unlawful, but their government’s actions meet the definition of a rogue state?

As I write, Israeli military armed attacks have killed over 600 Palestinians; including more than 100 children.

Unlawful War of Aggression is the worst act a nation’s government can take. Israel’s leaders, as well as those in the US and UK, should be arrested by their own militaries with broad public support for waging unlawful war on our world. In fact, military Oaths of Service require those arrests.

5. Does Israel use unlawful weapons on Palestinians in Gaza?

Yes. They’ve used white phosphorus upon Gaza civilians, a burning chemical agent that is an unlawful weapon (and here).

In 2006, 2009, and now in 2014, Israel is using DIME (dense inert metal explosives) that contain cancer-causing tungsten, and flechette shells on Gaza since 2002: thousands of metal darts.

White phosphorus is a banned incendiary weapon upon civilians, DIME and flechette shells are not banned, but the targeting of civilians with any weapon is unlawful.

Israel claims it does not target civilians. However, given its history of lying testimony and unlawful war, that testimony should be rejected.

6. Can Israel target children, hospitals, schools, and other civilian-important infrastructure?

No. Israel is violating war law by targeting children, hospitals, and these civilian infrastructure (here, here). Norwegian doctor, Mads Gilbert, on duty in Gaza documents:

The last night was extreme. The "ground invasion" of Gaza resulted in scores and carloads with maimed, torn apart, bleeding, shivering, dying - all sorts of injured Palestinians, all ages, all civilians, all innocent.

The military occupation and blockade, along with bombardment, has destroyed Gaza water, electricity and food supplies. Protocol 1, Additional to the Geneva Conventions, 1977, makes such civilian infrastructure unlawful targets.

Israel again claims, such as with their armed attacks upon the USS Liberty, any such targets are only damaged by accident. You can conclude for yourself the reliability of such testimony.

Please also consider this visual media on Gaza water (and here),and olive trees destroyed by Israel.

In recent history, the US targeted and destroyed Iraq’s water treatment plants in 1991 to cause civilian epidemics and disease. This would be most dangerous to children and the elderly, with ~500,000 child deaths resulting. This policy would blame Saddam Hussein as the cause for unclean water and epidemics. Is Israel following the same strategy to cause widespread suffering to obtain political control of Gaza?

More resources:

Israel v. Gaza: The Big Picture

Who Wants All Your Attention on “Hamas” and “Rockets,” and Why

Facts All US Citizens Need to Know About Israel and Palestine

Knowing war law exposes ALL US/UK/Israel war ‘reasons’ as BS propaganda; Oaths require leaders’ arrests

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