US veto blocks UN anti-Israel resolution

The UN Security Council has been unable to force an end to Israeli attacks against Gaza due to the intervention of the United States.


bageri_d20081228113347218Washington once again used its veto powers on Sunday to block a resolution calling for an end to the massive ongoing Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip. 

The council has only been able to issue a ‘non-binding’ statement that calls on Israel to voluntarily bring all its military activities in the besieged region to an immediate end. 

The statement comes as Israel has begun a fresh wave of air strikes on Gaza on Sunday, killing at least six people. At least 230 people were killed and 800 wounded in similar attacks on Saturday. The number of Palestinians deaths has so far risen to 271. 

The council called on the parties to address the humanitarian crisis in the territory but has not criticized the Israeli air attacks. 

Croatian UN Ambassador Neven Jurica read out the non-binding statement on behalf of the 15-member body that “called for an immediate halt to all violence” and on the parties “to stop immediately all military activities.” 

“The members of the Security Council expressed serious concern at the escalation of the situation in Gaza,” he said, as the president of the council. 

The council also requested the opening of border crossings into Gaza to address the serious humanitarian and economic needs in Gaza and to ensure medical treatment and a continuous supply of food and fuel. 

US representative to the UNSC, Zalmay Khalilzad, defended the Israeli move, saying Tel Aviv has the right to self-defense. 

“I regret the loss of any of all innocent life,” he said, adding that Hamas rockets precipitated this situation. 

Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip fire rockets into Israel in retaliation for the daily Israeli attacks against them. Unlike the state-of-the-art Israeli weapons and ammunition, the home-made Qassam rockets rarely cause casualties. 

The US, a staunch ally to Israel, has so far vetoed over 40 anti-Israeli resolutions sought by the council since 1972. 

Since 2004, Washington has prevented the adoption of four other resolutions that called for Tel Aviv to halt its operations in the Gaza Strip. 

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Israel deports American academic

Israel has refused entry to the controversial Jewish American academic and UN envoy, Richard Falk who once compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews.

Falk flew into Tel Aviv on Sunday night and spent the night at Ben Gurion airport before he was deported this morning.

Earlier this year, when the Princeton University professor of international law was appointed as the UN’s special rapporteur in the Palestinian territories, Israel said it would deny him entry because in 2007 he said the Jewish nation’s blockade on the Palestinian coastal territory of Gaza was a “Holocaust in the making”.

In June this year, Israel allowed Falk to enter in a personal capacity to attend a conference in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Israel defended its decision to deport Falk, saying he had used his personal visit in June to write an official UN report and because of his “shameful comparisons to the Holocaust”.

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Israel also objects to the UN’s special rapporteur mandate which aims to document only the Jewish state’s abuses of Palestinian human rights. It does not include Palestinian abuses of Israeli human rights.

It’s the third time this year that Israel has barred a high-profile critic from entering.

In May, it deported Norman Finkelstein, a controversial Jewish American academic who has accused Israel of using the Holocaust to justify its actions against the Palestinians. Israel also refused Nobel peace laureate the Archbishop Desmond Tutu entry while on a UN fact-finding mission in Gaza the same month.

Toni O’Loughlin in Jerusalem –  guardian.co.uk

Depleted Uranium has Destroyed the Genetic Future of Iraq

Markthshark, Daily Kos

May 30, 2008

It’s not just the U.S. military, and it’s not just Iraq. The U.K. has also used depleted uranium in both Iraq and Afghanistan; NATO forces have used it in Kosovo, and Israel allegedly used it in Lebanon and on the Palestinians.

The use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions by the U.S. military may lead to a death toll far higher than that from the nuclear bombs dropped at the end of World War II.

A waste product from the enrichment of uranium, DU, contains nearly one-third the radioactive isotopes of uranium that occurs naturally. DU is generally used in armor-piercing ammunition; despite its classification as a weapon of mass destruction, and subsequent banning by the United Nations.

Incidental inhalation or ingestion of DU particles is very toxic and can remain so forever. To give you an idea of just how toxic: at the end of the first Gulf War, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority estimated that 50 tons remained in Iraq, and that amount could be responsible for 500,000 cancer deaths by the year 2000. Now, it’s not clear whether that prediction came true or not, but to date, an estimated 2,000 tons of DU dust have been generated in the Middle East in general.

In contrast, approximately 250,000 lives were claimed by the explosions and subsequent radiation released by the nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Natural News.com has the story:

“More than ten times the amount of radiation released during atmospheric testing [of nuclear bombs] has been released from DU weaponry since 1991,” said Leuren Moret, a U.S. nuclear scientist. “The genetic future of the Iraqi people, for the most part, is destroyed. The environment now is completely radioactive.”

Because DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, the Middle East will, for all practical purposes, be radioactive forever.

The two U.S. wars in Iraq “have been nuclear wars because they have scattered nuclear material across the land, and people, particularly children, are condemned to die of malignancy and congenital disease essentially for eternity,” said anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott. 

Since George H.W. Bush’s first Gulf War, birth defects and childhood cancer rates have increased seven fold in Iraq. And, our troops have paid a heavy price as well. More than 35 percent (251,000) of U.S. Gulf War veterans are dead or on permanent medical disability, compared with only 400 who were killed during the conflict.

It doesn’t have to be like this. We can’t change the past but we can fight to end the use of inhuman weapons in immoral wars of aggression. I believe Barack Obama said it best… (paraphrased)

We not only need to end the war; we need to end the mindset of war.

Those are powerful words and something I’ve never heard before from an American leader… ever.