An Issue Of Justice: Origins Of The Israel/Palestine Conflict – Norman Finkelstein

The best lecture I’ve heard on the creation of Israel and how we’ve arrived at the present day situation. Mostly about the Israel/Palestine conflict but also covers the invasion of Lebanon. Interestingly the title of this blog was inspired by this lecture where Finkelstein advises calling solidarity groups “justice for Palestine” groups.

Informing Finkelstein’s analysis is a universal ethics… He…is following the example set by the great Jewish prophets.” —The Nation
“Norman Finkelstein is one of the most radical and hard-hitting critics of the official Zionist version of the Arab-Israeli conflict and of the historians who support this version…” —Avi Shlaim, St. Anthony’s College, University of Oxford
The facts are not complicated. Finkelstein dispels the ideological fog surrounding this historic conflict.
Finkelstein lays out the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict with clarity and passion, arguing that any other similar conflict would be perfectly understood, yet this one exists beneath a blanket of ideological fog. Finkelstein cuts through the fog with indisputable historical facts, optimistic that the struggle is winnable, and that it is simply an issue of justice.
Norman Finkelstein was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1953. He is the son of two holocaust survivors. He received his doctorate from Princeton University, for a thesis on the theory of Zionism. He is the author of four books, including The Holocaust Industry, his writings have also appeared in many prestigious journals. Currently, he teaches political science at DePaul University in Chicago.



Two Kidnapped Youths Found Slain, Tension High

The dead bodies of two youths kidnapped four days ago were found at the Jadra district south of Beirut Thursday, security sources said.
The sources said the two were found around 200 meters off the main highway linking Beirut with south Lebanon.

One security source said preliminary tests indicate Ziad Ghandour and Ziad Qabalan were killed “a few hours after they were kidnapped.”

Local television and radio stations blared the news about finding bodies of the two, which sparked fears across Beirut and its environs of possible reprisals by their relatives and Walid Jumblat’s Progressive Socialist Party with which they were affiliated.

However, Jumblat, in a statement broadcast live by TV stations, called for maximum restraint, stressing that only state authorities should handle the issue.

The crime was denounced and condemned by the various factions in Lebanon, especially that it involved the kidnapping of 12-year-old Ghandour.

Shortly after the bodies of the two were found, streets were deserted in most of Beirut as residents sought refuge to avoid possible violence.


Use of Napalm-Like White Phosphorus Bombs in Lebanon

The following is a documentary on the use of white phosphorus bombs in Iraq followed by an article were Israel admit to using these munitions in the July war. While the documentary is not strictly about Lebanon, its useful to see the effects of these weapons to put Israels use of them into context.

Lebanon had accused Israel of using the weapons but at the time Israeli officials said they were only for marking.

Lebanese President Emile Lahoud said in late July: “According to the Geneva Convention, when they use phosphorus bombs and laser bombs, is that allowed against civilians and children?”

Doctors in hospitals in southern Lebanon had said they suspected some of the burns they were seeing were being caused by phosphorus bombs.

BBC News, link bellow

Israel admits using phosphorus bombs during war in Lebanon

By Meron Rappaport, Haaretz Correspondent

Israel has acknowledged for the first time that it attacked Hezbollah targets during the second Lebanon war with phosphorus shells. White phosphorus causes very painful and often lethal chemical burns to those hit by it, and until recently Israel maintained that it only uses such bombs to mark targets or territory.

The announcement that the Israel Defense Forces had used phosphorus bombs in the war in Lebanon was made by Minister Jacob Edery, in charge of government-Knesset relations. He had been queried on the matter by MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz-Yahad).

“The IDF holds phosphorus munitions in different forms,” Edery said. “The IDF made use of phosphorous shells during the war against Hezbollah in attacks against military targets in open ground.”

Edery also pointed out that international law does not forbid the use of phosphorus and that “the IDF used this type of munitions according to the rules of international law.”

Edery did not specify where and against what types of targets phosphorus munitions were used. During the war several foreign media outlets reported that Lebanese civilians carried injuries characteristic of attacks with phosphorus, a substance that burns when it comes to contact with air. In one CNN report, a casualty with serious burns was seen lying in a South Lebanon hospital.

In another case, Dr. Hussein Hamud al-Shel, who works at Dar al-Amal hospital in Ba’albek, said that he had received three corpses “entirely shriveled with black-green skin,” a phenomenon characteristic of phosphorus injuries.

Lebanon’s President Emile Lahoud also claimed that the IDF made use of phosphorus munitions against civilians in Lebanon.

Phosphorus has been used by armies since World War I. During World War II and Vietnam the U.S. and British armies made extensive use of phosphorus. During recent decades the tendency has been to ban the use of phosphorus munitions against any target, civilian or military, because of the severity of the injuries that the substance causes.

Some experts believe that phosphorus munitions should be termed Chemical Weapons (CW) because of the way the weapons burn and attack the respiratory system. As a CW, phosphorus would become a clearly illegal weapon.

The International Red Cross is of the opinion that there should be a complete ban on phosphorus being used against human beings and the third protocol of the Geneva Convention on Conventional Weapons restricts the use of “incendiary weapons,” with phosphorus considered to be one such weapon.

Israel and the United States are not signatories to the Third Protocol.

In November 2004 the U.S. Army used phosphorus munitions during an offensive in Faluja, Iraq. Burned bodies of civilians hit by the phosphorus munitions were shown by the press, and an international outcry against the practice followed.

Initially the U.S. denied that it had used phosphorus bombs against humans, but then acknowledged that during the assault targets that were neither civilian nor population concentrations were hit with such munitions. Israel also says that the use of “incendiary munitions are not in themselves illegal.”

Source Haaretz

More links

Beirut: before and after the July War

Possible new French President loves Israel, hates “terrorists”

What the possible new French President thinks of Israel and Lebanon….(thanks to the Fanonite)

It appears very likely that the far right Sarkozy (I was appalled to hear Al Jazeera International describe him as “somewhat reformirst, centre-right”. If even Sarkozy has claims on ‘centre’ I presume Atilla the Hun would qualify as ‘left-liberal’) will win the French election. From some of the coverage, I gathered that elections in France are no less image-driven than in the US. Personally, my already diminishing faith in Western-style democracy will vanish if this execrable creature is elected as the president of France.

It is rather sad that only four years after the French resisted US pressure to back its illegal invasion of Iraq, they should vote in a poodle who is vying for Tony Blair’s kennel. Following is from the Fanonite archives:

If you thought Blair was a disgrace, wait till you meet his new competitor for American affection. Nikolas Sarkozy, the French Interior Minister and future Premiereship hopeful is on a visit on the United States, and according to this NYT report he also seems to have a keen sense of where the power lies:

He told Jewish leaders of his love of Israel, American business leaders of his love of free enterprise, and Francophiles of his love of America. He confessed that he loves to read Hemingway and watch movies like “Miami Vice.”…

In a closed-door meeting with more than a dozen Jewish leaders on Monday, he said France should not have waited as long as it did to commit troops to Lebanon and went further than Mr. Chirac in criticizing Hezbollah, calling it a “terrorist” organization, according to one participant, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose what took place at the meeting.

Speaking on Turkey’s bid to join the EU, he added:

In the meeting with Jewish leaders, for example, he said Europe had a problem with its own Muslim population and asked, “So why is America advocating Turkish membership in the European Union?” according to one participant. He added, “We don’t have a model of handling Muslims in Europe, so why should we bring in the Turks?”

He said the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, had told him that one day Europe would be Muslim, and added that it would be “terrible” if such a thing happened with American help, the participant said.

Cluster Bombs: A Weapon out of Control – Human Rights Watch

Short film documenting the lethal effects of the use of cluster munitions worldwide, with commentary, new statistics and analysis from military experts at Human Rights Watch. Footage shows how cluster munitions have endangered civilian populations from the Vietnam era through current conflicts in Iraq and Lebanon. During the last THREE DAYS of the War on Lebanon, Israel fired up to 4,000,000 cluster bomblets according to UN estimates – twice the amount used by the US in the attack on Iraq in 2003.

Al Jazeera’s The War Of Lebanon

The War of Lebanon is a 15-part documentary produced exclusively by Al Jazeera Satellite Channel and distributed worldwide by Sabbah Media Corporation. This 2-year project cost several hundred thousand dollars and entailed filming over 150 hours of interviews with the major players in the events that took place in Lebanon between 1976 – 1990. Over 200 tons of equipment were shipped and transported during filming. More than 20 people took part in the production. In addition to interviews, the program relied heavily on archive material, over 26 hours of film footage were viewed to provide the 6 hours used in the program. In addition, still photographs were purchased from international photo agencies such as Gamma, and from Lebanese newspapers. Other historical materials in the program include declassified US State Department documents. Moreover, the program presents in the 1st two episodes the historical background of the major events that influenced the course of the 15-year war.
The War Of Lebanon – Episode 01 – Baptism of Fire
The War Of Lebanon – Episode 02 – The Roots of Conflict
The War Of Lebanon – Episode 03 – Explosion
The War Of Lebanon – Episode 04 – Death of a Country
The War Of Lebanon – Episode 05 – Damascus Intervenes
The War Of Lebanon – Episode 06 – Fire and Embers
The War Of Lebanon – Episode 07 – Zahle And The Indian Summer
The War Of Lebanon – Episode 08 – Sharon Invades
The War Of Lebanon – Episode 09 – Occupation Of An Arab Capital
The War Of Lebanon – Episode 10 – The Massacre
The War Of Lebanon – Episode 11 – Defeat of a Superpower
The War Of Lebanon – Episode 12 – Chaos
The War Of Lebanon – Episode 13 – Damascus Returns
The War Of Lebanon – Episode 14 – The Storm
The War Of Lebanon – Episode 15 – The Accord to End War

It can be purchased here

Or downloaded at One Big Torrent

(Thanks to Blacksmiths of Lebanon whom I copied the links from, I’d found the google videos and while searching for a review of the content to post with the links I found they’d already done all the work, no point in reinventing the wheel :D)