Israel

Israel claims school bus hit by Russian-made missile

Via ynetnews:

A diplomatic crisis is threatening Israel-Russia relations after the Kornet, a Russian-made anti-tank missile, hit an Israeli school bus driving near Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council last Thursday.

——

Unlike many other means of warfare the manufacturing of the Kornet is only permitted inside Russia, so any Kornet missile sold outside the country originates from the country’s KBP factory.

 

See also: Just Journalism

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Goldstone reconsiders

In the Washington Post, Richard Goldstone writes:

We know a lot more about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”. . . .

Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.

Russia/Israel/Syria/Iran

  • Israel’s defence minister Ehud Barak went to Russia on Sunday in a bid to halt an arms deal between Russia, Syria and Iran.
  • On Monday Ehud Barak signed an arms deal between Israel and Russia.
  • On Monday the IAEA complained that Iran is preventing some of its inspectors from monitoring Iran’s nuclear program.
  • On Tuesday the head of Iran’s nuclear program claimed that Iran has the right to bar some UN inspectors.
  • According to IDF sources, NGOs are planning to sail up to 20 ships to Gaza in coming months.

(jpost.com)

Johansson: Israel “contemptible country”

The Jerusalem Post reports that the head of Finland’s branch of Amnesty International stands by his comment that Israel is a “contemptible country” (nilkkimaa).

In a post now deleted from his Iltalehti blog, but still available in Google’s cache, Frank Johansson writes:

Ystäväni, joka työskentelee Israelissa, oli käymässä ja puita vajaan kasatessa päästiin hänen lempiaiheeseensa. Usean vuoden pyhässä maassa oleskelun jälkeen, hän on tullut siihen tulokseen, että ”Israel on nilkkimaa”. Omien vierailujeni perusteella, jotka ajoittuvat 1970-luvulle ja 1990-luvun loppuvuosille olen aika samaa mieltä.

“A friend of mine, who works in Israel, was visiting and while we were stacking firewood in the woodshed we got onto his favourite subject. After a few years of living in the Holy Land, he had come to the conclusion that “Israel is a contemptible country”.  On the basis of my own visits, which took place during the 1970s and late 1990s,  I am quite of the same opinion.”

The word nilkkimaa, which I’ve translated here as “contemptible country”, as it derives from the Finnish word nilkki, is actually more derogatory than that – the Jerusalem Post translates it as “scum state”, and that is not too far off, as the expression is stronger than “rogue state”.

One wonders why a regional head of Amnesty would make such a statement about an entire country and its people, yet apparently feel no shame about it. He claims to be “breaking the silence”, but is surely breaking a lot of other things as well.

Update: in the Jerusalem Post interview, Johansson appears to acquiesce in the “scum state” translation of the word he used.

However:

In an e-mail to the Post on Wednesday, Johansson wrote, “I decided to take down my blog because I appreciate that my comments were ill-judged and appear all the more so when taken out of context, and have obviously caused offence to many people although it was not my intention, at all, to cause such offence.”

He added “I am especially conscious, and regret that my ill-judged action may be detrimental to Amnesty International’s work on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the valiant human rights work being undertaken by my colleagues working for Amnesty International in Israel.”


Dershowitz: Israel-Palestinian peace won’t be easy to achieve

Writing in his JP blog, Alan Dershowitz says that the path to an Israeli-Palestinian peace in the short term will not be an easy one:

There are those who theorize that if Israel were to strike a deal with the Palestinians, that would make it easier for the Obama Administration to prevent a nuclear Iran.  Whether that is true or not, the Israelis with whom I spoke want more than theorizing.  They want an assurance that they can achieve real peace and safety, not only in relation to the Palestinians but also in relation to Iran, if they are to surrender control over territories they won in a defensive war.

To say that peace will be difficult to achieve is not to suggest that the parties stop trying.  But in order to succeed, they must take into consideration the risks and realties on all sides.

S-300s: Russia, Iran

While Russia says it has deployed the S-300 interceptor systems in Abkhazia “not only to cover the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia but also to avert violations of their state borders in the air and destroy any vehicle illegally penetrating their air space, whatever the goal of its mission," (Gen. Zelin, via Reuters, Aug. 11), some analysts believe that the S-300 interceptor batteries have been placed in Abkhazia to block a possible Israeli air route to Iran.

On August 21 Russia will begin loading fuel into Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor.