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@Israelconsulate responses : Government PR on Twitter

Indignity

As promised, here’s the responses I received to questions posed to Israel’s Consulate in New York, represented by Consul @DavidSaranga in a governmental world first public press conference on Twitter today.

One of the aims appeared to be pushing a slick vidcast ad about life under Hamas bombing in Sderot complete with petition – perhaps in the interests of global citizen’s democracy and balance, the Israelis will turn the power back on in Gaza so its hapless populace can prepare a glossy vid of their own.

Though one couldn’t say real twittering rapport was achieved, the flood of questions from round the planet kept the Consul’s fingers hopping! Twitter is probably not the best medium to conduct open press conferences that are likely to attract large numbers of participants – still, I gained a few interesting followers and was pleased some of my questions were answered, albeit with nothing particularly unpredictable – where information delivered was questionable, I took the trouble to reply with correct links where applicable.

JIN:

@IsraelConsulate what is your understanding of the word “apartheid“? [link]

IC:

@Jinjirrie: There are no Israelis are living in Gaza so there is no segregation. the only solution is a 2 state solution #askisrael [link]

JIN:

@israelconsulate gaza effectively occupied by israel , yet without rights enjoyed by israelis … justification? #askisrael [link]

JIN:

@israelconsulate why not aim for a wonderful 1 state solution? sooner or later demographic facts will make this inevitable surely #askisrael [link]

JIN:

@IsraelConsulate why did Israel break the ceasefire with Hamas with incursions in November? http://is.gd/e7c0 #AskIsrael [link]

IC:

@Jinjirrie: Hamas decided to break the CF: http://tinyurl.com/3v4gkl #askisrael [link]

JIN:

@israelconsulate better source for cf here http://is.gd/dTEH – hamas offered to renew truce, on very reasonable terms – comment? #askisrael [link]

JIN:

@IsraelConsulate why is Israel attacking a civilian mercy ship? #AskIsrael #gaza http://is.gd/e8n6 [link]

IC:

@jinjirrie During CF 3 ships were let in. Due to escalation, we have decided to keep the ships out of harms way 4 their safety.#askisrael [link]

JIN:

@israelconsulate how is ramming an aid ships & firing round it keeping ‘them out of harm’s way’? #askisrael [link]

SETH:

@israelconsulate Ur reply to @jinjirrie disingenuous.Aid ship blocked 4 its own safety? Imagine they know risks http://is.gd/eds8 #askisrael [link]

IC is now spinning the story on its site, saying the Dignity rammed an Israeli vessel. Those on the boat however say the Dignity was in fact rammed – three times.

The captain of the Dignity told Penhaul he received no warning. Only after the collision did the Israelis come on the radio to say they struck the boat because they believed it was involved in terrorist activities.

The captain and crew said their vessel was struck intentionally, Penhaul said, but Palmor called those allegations “absurd.”

“There is no intention on the part of the Israeli navy to ram anybody,” Palmor said.

“I would call it ramming. Let’s just call it as it is,” McKinney said after the boat docked in Lebanon. “Our boat was rammed three times, twice in the front and one on the side”

“Our mission was a peaceful mission to deliver medical supplies and our mission was thwarted by the Israelis — the aggressiveness of the Israeli military,” she said.

The incident occurred in international waters about 90 miles off Gaza.

Followup questions I asked pursuant to replies received by others:

IC:

@anotherpundit Isr. only targets mil. installations. Unfortunate damage 2 civ. targets occurs. Hamas purposely puts civ. at risk. #AskIsrael [link]

JIN:

@israelconsulate why does israel bomb civilian police stations & universities if it ‘only targets military installations?’ #askisrael [link]

IC:

@realprince IL is pro ceasefire, but due 2 R exp. these R used 2 strengthen Hamas. we’d rther negotiate than fight. #AskIsrael [link]

JIN:

@IsraelConsulate ‘rather negotiate than fight?’ why a different tune from you to israeli politicians http://is.gd/ediV #askisrael [link]

IC:

@jranck crossings r open. 2day 33 trucks of aid & 5 ambulances. Among them r: UNRAW, MSF, ICRC & WFP. In the last 6 mnts: 17,000 @askisrael [link]

JIN:

@IsraelConsulate UN says 600 lorry loads of food & medicine needed daily & israel allows in 33 .. discrepancy??? #askisrael [link]

IC:

@xylem we believe talking is the best way, but we’ll talk only to factions that accept our right to live. a right Hamas denies #AskIsrael\ [link]

JIN:

@israelconsulate http://is.gd/edAy hamas conditns for accptig israel were clear & reasonable esp. ending the illegal occupation #askisrael [link]

And lastly, my remaining unanswered questions, which I hope will be addressed at a later date:

JIN:

@IsraelConsulate when did the psyop warning phone calls to gazans start after the initial Cast Lead surprise? #askisrael [link]

JIN:

@IsraelConsulate how long before abbas stops being a suitable ‘partner for peace’ like all the others before? #askisrael [link]

JIN:

@IsraelConsulate 5000 palestinians koed by israel & 14 israelis koed by rockets in 7 yrs – when will the illegal occupation end? #askisrael [link]

A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity – Nelson Mandela

Israel on twitter

Boing Boing posts an alert that Israel is utlising Web 2.0 to interact with the world, with an inaugural citizen’s twitter conference to be held today between 1 – 3 pm EST.

If you are twitter shy, you can follow the conference here and here.

Our questions?

@IsraelConsulate what is your understanding of the word “apartheid“?

@IsraelConsulate why did Israel break the ceasefie with Hamas with incursions in November? http://is.gd/e7c0 #AskIsrael

In contravention of international maritime law, Israel is compounding its criminal travesties with an assault on civilian emergency supply ship Dignity.

So we’ve asked another question:

@IsraelConsulate why is Israel attacking a civilian mercy ship? #AskIsrael #gaza http://is.gd/e8n6

Israel Go Home NowIsrael’s current massacre in Gaza has been characterised by United Nations regional envoy, Richard Falk “as a massive violation of international law because it was punishing an entire population for the actions of a few” – thus an extension of the collective punishment of the blockade inflicted on the civilians in Gaza over the past year.

Falk also accused Israel of “targeting civilians and of a disproportionate response to the threat posed by Hamas’s equally illegal rocket attacks on its southern border.”

Israeli Foreign Minister and electoral hopeful Tipsy Livni’s response, backed by the usual muppets in the US administration? The attacks were needed “to change the reality on the ground. That reality … was one where Hamas continued rocket attacks on the people of southern Israel without retaliation.”

Yet it was Israel which deliberately broke the ceasefire with Hamas last November after which were rockets fired in retaliation that Israel then used as propaganda in a transparently deceitful attempt to justify the present pogrom against the people of Gaza, further claiming spuriously that civilians are not being targeted.

From Jews for Justice for Palestinians:

“The Israeli government steadily sought to break down the ceasefire, not just in Gaza since early November, but also in the West Bank. Israeli forces have carried out an average of 33 incursions, 42 arrests or detentions, 12 woundings and 0.84 killings a week in the West Bank during the ceasefire. The tactic has been to continue attacking Hamas and other militants in the West Bank, provoking responses in Gaza, and to use the responses as the pretext for the massive attacks of the last 24 hours.”

Israel rejected Hamas offers for an extension of the cease fire:

“On 23rd December Hamas offered to renew the ceasefire if Israel would undertake to open border crossings for supplies of aid and fuel, and halt incursions. For those of us appalled at the collective punishment involved in the ongoing siege, and concerned that Israelis should not fear death or injury from Qassam rockets, that seems a truly reasonable response.

For Israel to reject it bespeaks a bankrupt body politic especially since the army and the politicians are acting against the wishes of the Israeli public. It is after all the civilians on both sides who will bear the brunt of this dangerous folly.”

Other sources indicate the planning of Israel’s attack on Gaza occurred over several months, so it’s fair to assume the Israeli incursion provocation in November formed part of the strategy to exonerate the Zionist enterprise from blame.


Israel is refusing any truce with Hamas
and has foreshadowed weeks more collective punishment. Does this mean its government believes its propaganda campaign is working and they can continue to bomb Gaza with impunity, with little to no censure from the international community?

What does Israel really hope to achieve with its abominable slaughter and destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure?

In an excellent dissection of the issues, Hugo Foster discusses the counter-productivity of Israel’s attack on Gaza:

The assumption that hurting Palestinian civilians, either through air strikes or through starvation and power cuts, will make them rebel against their leaders is farcical. Hamas is a religious nationalist movement that above all aspires to defend Palestinian land and security, something that the majority of Gazans believe is worthwhile. This has been shown to be so time and time again.

The EU, France, Russia, UN and belatedly Britain have condemned the ongoing air strikes. But the US, the one power with any real hold over Israel, has shamefully refused to follow suit, urging Israel simply to avoid civilian casualties. As one Jerusalem Post commentator writes, ‘The [US] State Department’s reaction seemed to be a repetition of the one we heard two years ago [regarding the July war in Lebanon], but with Hamas replacing Hezbollah and Gaza standing in for Lebanon: the war is Hamas’s fault, Hamas should stop shelling Israel with rockets, Hamas is a terror organization, the people of Gaza are suffering because of Hamas’.

This kind of nonsense, in ignoring the true dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict, will in the long run do nothing for Israelis or Palestinians. Our leaders should remember that most of Gaza’s inhabitants are children of refugees, the sad legacy of protracted conflict in the Middle East, and a reminder that all attempts to date to produce a military solution to the Palestinian question have fundamentally failed. And any government not yet convinced as to just how explosive the issue of Palestine is across the Middle East need only look at the ripples of civil unrest reported in just about every capital city in the region in the last three days.

Nir Rosen describes the counter-productive consequences of Israel’s hideous, masochistic strategy:

The democratically elected Hamas government was targeted for destruction from the day it won the elections in 2006. The world told the Palestinians that they cannot have democracy, as if the goal was to radicalise them further and as if that would not have a consequence. Israel claims it is targeting Hamas’s military forces. This is not true. It is targeting Palestinian police forces and killing them, including some such as the chief of police, Tawfiq Jaber, who was actually a former Fatah official who stayed on in his post after Hamas took control of Gaza. What will happen to a society with no security forces? What do the Israelis expect to happen when forces more radical than Hamas gain power?

A Zionist Israel is not a viable long-term project and Israeli settlements, land expropriation and separation barriers have long since made a two state solution impossible. There can be only one state in historic Palestine. In coming decades, Israelis will be confronted with two options. Will they peacefully transition towards an equal society, where Palestinians are given the same rights, à la post-apartheid South Africa? Or will they continue to view democracy as a threat? If so, one of the peoples will be forced to leave. Colonialism has only worked when most of the natives have been exterminated. But often, as in occupied Algeria, it is the settlers who flee. Eventually, the Palestinians will not be willing to compromise and seek one state for both people. Does the world want to further radicalise them?

In the Independent, Robert Fisk makes some comparisons between Israel’s atrocities in Gaza and British responses to the IRA:

We hear the usual Israeli line. General Yaakov Amidror, the former head of the Israeli army’s “research and assessment division” announced that “no country in the world would allow its citizens to be made the target of rocket attacks without taking vigorous steps to defend them”. Quite so. But when the IRA were firing mortars over the border into Northern Ireland, when their guerrillas were crossing from the Republic to attack police stations and Protestants, did Britain unleash the RAF on the Irish Republic? Did the RAF bomb churches and tankers and police stations and zap 300 civilians to teach the Irish a lesson? No, it did not. Because the world would have seen it as criminal behaviour. We didn’t want to lower ourselves to the IRA’s level.

Yes, Israel deserves security. But these bloodbaths will not bring it. Not since 1948 have air raids protected Israel. Israel has bombed Lebanon thousands of times since 1975 and not one has eliminated “terrorism”. So what was the reaction last night? The Israelis threaten ground attacks. Hamas waits for another battle. Our Western politicians crouch in their funk holes. And somewhere to the east – in a cave? a basement? on a mountainside? – a well-known man in a turban smiles.

The plight of the Gazan people inflicted by the 18 month long blockade and the perfidy of exceptionalist Israeli propaganda is further highlighted in the video below.

Video now gone from youtube.

Invisible Shield Competition

Invisible ShieldI’m grateful for time spent away from my computers and so far have resisted acquiring a net-capable phone device to complete my transmogrification into a 24/7 netizen. I’ll be the last kid on the block with an iPhone – yet today I won an Invisible Shield for an iPhone 3G at Tech Wired Australia.

The Invisible Shield can protect your iPhone 3G and its valuable contents from a range of disasters though perhaps not from intrusion by certain over-zealous members of the constabulary.

In honour of the New Year and recent initiation of consultations coordinated by Father Frank Brennan for (or not) of an Australian Charter / Bill of Rights, I’m putting the amazing Invisible Shield prize up for grabs again.

Though some, including Brennan, are sceptical about the value of such a Bill / Charter, this Australian thinks there would be tangible benefits provided by the invisible shield created from the explicit adoption of the rights expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Australia is the last country standing of all democracies in not having formal human rights protections.

I propose the next winner of the iPhone 3G Invisible Shield shall be chosen from convincing, uniquely ‘Australian’ flavoured submissions for the first clause to a potential antipodean Charter / Bill of Rights to be posted in the comments below. The use of wit, irony and satire as well as a fair command of Australian vernacular may assist. No serious argument will be entered into as the judges’ decision will be final.

Other Terms: You must be in Australia to enter.
Competition closes 9/01/09 11:59PM

Human Rights Day 10th December

Today is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document which recognises humanity’s common interests and belongs to us all.

The Declaration represents a contract between governments and their peoples, who have a right to demand that this document be respected. Not all governments have become parties to all human rights treaties. All countries, however, have accepted the UDHR.

….

As the Declaration’s custodians and beneficiaries, all of us must reclaim the UDHR, make it our own. While we are entitled to our human rights, we should also respect the human rights of others and help make universal human rights a reality for all of us. In our efforts lies the power of the UHDR: it is a living document that will continue to inspire generations to come.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights PetitionOne way you can show your support for the UDHR and spread awareness of human rights around the globe is to sign the petition to print the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in your passport .

Australians might contemplate in particular Article 14, so cruelly ignored by the xenophobic and human rights abusing Howard government.

1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
2. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Howard's ShameSadly, the right to seek asylum takes second place to border protection in the minds of many brainwashed Australians.

The sixth ‘people-smuggling’ vessel to reach Australian waters since September arrived on December 8.

Its 44 passengers brings the number of suspected asylum seekers arriving by boat over the past 10 weeks to nearly 120.

This is a VERY VERY SMALL number of people compared to the legal migrant intake instituted by the Rudd government this year.

The overall migration program will now be 190,300 for this year, and 133,500 of those places will be allocated to permanent skilled migrants.

Wrongful detention of legitimate asylum seekers committed by Howard’s cold-eyed goons is coming back to haunt us.

Immigration Department may be forced to compensate 191 of the 247 people investigated by the Ombudsman for wrongful detention.

The department has so far offered compensation in 40 of the cases and settlements have been reached in 17. In total, about $1.2million in compensation has been paid so far.

If Australia wishes to minimise people-smuggling within the character of the UDHR to which it is signatory, it needs to address human rights issues in asylum seekers’ countries of origin.

Increased border protection to prevent the entry of desperate asylum seekers fleeing human rights abuses is an ineffective bandaid solution, and as has been amply demonstrated during the Howard years with the Tampa and SievX affairs, can lead to shameful Australian human rights abuse with consequent blowback later on, including diminishment of Australia’s international stature and authority to speak out about human rights abuse elsewhere.

Article 19 of the UDHR is today’s recommended reading for Stephen Conroy and supporters of his web censorwall.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

On December 13, protests against Conroy’s proposed web filters will be held around Australia.

UPDATE

Father Frank Brennan is to head a Human Rights Consultative Panel to consider a wide range of human rights issues, including whether Australia should have a bill of rights. Brennan is a self-professed fence-sitter on whether we Australians would benefit from our individual rights being enshrined in a Bill or Charter of Rights.

Australia is the only democratic country in the world without formal human rights protections – join the Getup campaign to change this.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratic elected leader of Burma and Nobel Peace Price recipient, speaks about printing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in passports.

@KevinRuddPM meets with Madeline

Armenian holocaust denialTwo more tweets have appeared on the newly founded @KevinRuddPM informing us patient followers that he has respectively arrived in Washington and had briefings with the Treasurer and Embassy Staff in preparation for tomorrow’s meeting, and met with Madeline Albright, she of the blithe gaffe that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children through the hideous sanctions over Iraq were “worth it”.

No doubt Ms Albright, presently a top advisor to Obama on national security, would have some pertinent insights into the global stock market schmozzle, given her past position on the NYSE Board. Albright resigned in 2005 after the Grasso scandal.

Considering her past opposition toward recognising the Armenian genocide which occurred during the final days of Ottoman rule in World War 1, the importance of Turkey as one of the trusty US land-bound aircraft carrier vassal countries in the Middle East and the concurring predilections of newly appointed Chief Advisor to Obama, Rahm Emmanuel, along with Obama’s grovelling to AIPAC, it would be surprising indeed if the US shifted its current position to the Holocaust suffered by the Armenian people.