Law and Disorder Radio – Philip Weiss and Andrew Kadi on Israeli Attacks on Gaza – Hosts: Heidi Boghosian, Michael Steven Smith & Michael Ratner – Produced by Geoff Brady

Law and Disorder Radio

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Israel’s Continued Disproportionate Use of Force Against Palestinian Civilians

In an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army launched “Operation Protective Edge” earlier this month as Israeli jets dropped hundreds of bombs on the impoverished coastal enclave of nearly 2 million Palestinians. At this time, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,400 injured. According to the United Nations, 77 percent of those killed are civilians, and yet the massacre sadly continues. The vicious attacks are framed as a mutual conflict or exchange of fire. The reality is that the low quality rockets hitting Israel are not comparable to Israel’s powerful military strikes.

Phil Weiss:

  • In a nutshell I think Israel is trying to destroy the unification agreement between Hamas and Fatah. They don’t want diplomacy; they want to end that unification deal.
  • It’s a great danger to Israel that the Palestinians are united; they want them divided.
  • They’ve used any pretext they can in the last month, including the horrifying abduction and killing of these Israeli teens in the West Bank. They’ve used any pretext they can to try to break up that understanding.
  • The goals of a unified Palestinian government are to achieve some type of Palestinian freedom.
  • They would go on to the International Criminal Court, other international bodies and say, hey, this occupation has been going on nearly 50 years–are you finally going to give us a state, sovereignty? If we can’t get sovereignty, we’ll move to an equal rights struggle.
  • I think the good thing is that it shows there’s no green line. Israel operates with impunity, with complete autonomy all over historic Palestine. Netanyahu has said we’re never giving up the West Bank. It’s sort of an announcement to the world, this is already one state.
  • The legal response and the one you demonstrated, Michael, against Cast Lead was, international human rights law applies here and Israel should be brought up before international bodies for violating those laws.
  • The one form of progress is there’s no ground invasion at this time.
  • Michael Ratner, you and I have a somewhat different relationship to the mainstream press in that I used to be part of it and now and then I have fantasies of getting back in.
  • With that proviso, I think there has been a little bit of progress in the mainstream. So you have on NBC News, a report saying these people are trapped, they have nowhere to go and it’s a lopsided conflict. I didn’t hear that around Cast Lead.
  • I’m not trying to defend the mainstream so much to say that I feel that there is some real shift going on.
  • The Jewish American community is highly responsible for this behavior, for this conduct that’s going on there.
  • How useful was Israel as an “American aircraft carrier” when we were occupying Iraq and we were invading Afghanistan? It wasn’t at all useful to us.
  • I think it’s a burden, Israel, I think it’s a millstone around the US government’s neck because it says the United States’s stance is slaughtering brown people.
  • You look at J Street, this great liberal Zionist organization. They’re justifying everything Israel is doing now.
  • There’s only a couple of Jewish organizations that stood up and said this is wrong: Jewish Voice for Peace and Jews Say No.
  • I think there’s an implicit understanding around the world now about why these people are firing rockets.
  • One of things you hear in Israel is the existential threat, in that “people are delegitimizing us,” and I think that’s great news.
  • I see more voices talking about this conduct as just beyond the pale. I feel that the world is regarding this as a central human rights issue.

Guest – Philip Weiss, founder of Mondoweiss, longtime journalist, regular contributor to The Nation and a fellow at the Nation Institute. Philip is the author of two books: a political novel, Cock-A-Doodle-Doo, and American Taboo, an investigative account of a 1976 murder in the Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Tonga. He is one of the editors of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.

 Andrew Kadi:

  • I don’t necessarily know that Israel has any real goals that will benefit Israeli society, other than possibly the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza, forcing them to move out.
  • They’re leaving Gazans in deplorable conditions. They have unilaterally absolved themselves of their legal obligation under International law to the population in Gaza and have instead declared something that I think nobody else recognizes, that Gaza is somehow a hostile territory or an enemy territory.
  • It’s counter-productive if you believe that the end goal for the Israeli government is peace.
  • The majority of these rocket attacks are pretty small projectiles, as anyone who has seen them knows, and they have very little chance of actually injuring anyone or causing damage. Some of them are as small as a Coke can.
  • Hamas has deployed larger rockets in last 4 years that can fire through a building. ‘
  • By and large these attacks are being carried out by other groups round the clock. The ones that Israel is referring to are usually other groups that have nothing to do with Hamas.
  • I would say the rocket attacks are a cry for help from Gaza.
  • In the end, Gazans are isolated, there’s a siege, a blockade that Israel’s carrying out. Gazans don’t want to be subjected to it anymore.
  • They want to be able to live like any other population.

The American Foreign Services Committee published a list of American companies directly involved and complicit in the attacks on Gaza.

  • Those companies include Boeing, Hewlitt Packard, Elbit Systems, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, General Electric, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon.
  • In 2005, Palestinian civil society called for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with 3 tenets of international law: end the occupation, equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of refugees to return to their homes.
  • Other companies that folks can boycott: Sodastream, Ahava cosmetics, Strauss Group, Osem (Tribe hummus), Sibeon Company.

Guest – Andrew Kadi, a human rights activist and digital media specialist currently serving on the Steering Committee of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. He’s contributed to The Guardian’s Comment is Free, Electronic Intifada, Mondoweiss, Left Turn and other publications.