07 March 2010


There have been some interesting articles about Palestine/Israel recently because of the assassination in Dubai of a person allegedly a Hamas leader, the assassination allegedly carried out by the Israeli secret service Mossad.

The world has no doubt that Mossad was responsible, but they are outraged because Mossad used forged passports of citizens from various countries, including Australia.

The article below drew about 165 responses to the online version of The Age, and there were some letters in the Sunday Age 0f 7 March 2010 which will be placed below this article.

One of the letter-writers has a Bayswater, Melbourne, address, but has the absolutely extraordinary chutzpah to criticise Ross Burns for his article in the Sunday Age of 28 February 2009, stating: "And what gives Ross Burns the right to sit in comfort and safety on the other side of the world and pontificate and moralise and split legal hairs----".

I have read some amazing crap from zionists who support Israel uncritically under all circumstances, but this one reaches levels of chutzpah almost second to none.

Palestinians painted as animals while Israel goes scot-free
March 5, 2010

Comments 165

As the son of a Palestinian refugee expelled from his native homeland, there are few things I cherish more than my gift of freedom. However, being born and bred in Australia has not shielded me from being tagged with a label that is the unfortunate lot of all first-generation Palestinians. To some, we simply do not exist, and when we do, we are terrorists, animals or sub-human.

Such deliberate misrepresentations and stereotypes are constantly propagated, but to read unsubstantiated claims about Palestinians in a serious newspaper (Julie Szego, Comment, 3/3) was highly offensive.

Over the years, Palestinians have been accused of terrible things. The Israelis claim that we use our children as human shields. Despite propagating this lie repeatedly, Israel has never provided conclusive proof of it. Nonetheless, the lie has come to be accepted as ''truth''.

Yet contrary to such misconceptions, Amnesty International says in its report ''Israel/Gaza Operation 'Cast Lead': 22 days of death and destruction'' that it was Israeli soldiers who used Palestinians as human shields.

Amnesty's conclusion was unambiguous. It "did not find evidence that Hamas or other Palestinian groups violated the laws of war to the extent repeatedly alleged by Israel … In particular, it found no evidence that Hamas or other fighters directed the movement of civilians to shield military objectives from attacks." But it did find ''that Israeli forces on several occasions during Operation 'Cast Lead' forced Palestinian civilians to serve as 'human shields'.''

Human Rights Watch, the UN and the internationally respected jurist Justice Richard Goldstone delivered similar findings.

Goldstone, a South African Jew and ardent Zionist, has been savagely attacked by Israel and its lobbyists since his report on violations by both Hamas and Israel was released.

The 1.5 million Palestinians hermetically sealed into the tiny Gaza enclave have been deprived of almost every basic provision for nearly four years because they elected politicians not to the world's liking, yet Hamas was democratically elected in free and fair elections.

Whatever grievances the world has with the Hamas leadership, the civilian population ought not to be punished for exercising its right to vote.

It does not mean that we should condone violence or terrorism carried out by Hamas militants, but neither should we condone the violence and acts of terror perpetrated by Israel.

In 1997, then Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu sanctioned the failed assassination attempt on Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal in Jordan, and were it not for Meshaal's bodyguard, the assassins would have escaped. The ensuing diplomatic furore resulted in Netanyahu being forced to hand over the antidote that saved Meshaal from the poison injected by two Mossad agents travelling on fake Canadian passports.

Now Netanyahu is back as Israel's Prime Minister, and again under his watch Israel is strongly suspected of carrying out an execution in a foreign country with the assassins fraudulently using the passports of various countries around the globe, including Australia.

While Israel blithely propagates falsehoods that stigmatise all Palestinians, it sanctions murder and allows the identities of its own and foreign citizens to be dangerously compromised.

We should feel reassured that our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, a staunch ally of Israel, said that he would ''not be silent on the matter'' of the three fraudulently used Australian passports and identities. That is to be expected. But equally, Rudd should speak out in support of the UN-backed Goldstone report that seeks accountability for the shocking actions during Israel's war on Gaza in January last year.

Instead, Australia voted once in the UN against a war crimes investigation and, since the passport revelations, it abstained - all the while maintaining its opposition to the Goldstone report. Such a lame response should cause us to wonder if Australia will really hold Israel to account.

International law is there to safeguard all of the citizens of the world. Its strength is that it is universal: it knows no borders, religion, colour or creed - at least that's what it was intended for.

As long as countries such as Australia allow Israel a free hand to do what it wants without any regard for international law, people everywhere will suddenly find our world a much more threatening place in which to live.

As a Palestinian still tagged with ugly labels, that is not an experience I would wish on anyone.

Moammar Mashni is a spokesman for Australians for Palestine.

Letters from the Sunday Age, 7 March 2010:

Break down the barriers, end apartheid

March 7, 2010

CONSIDERING that the eminent lawyer Richard Goldstone ''helped dismantle the race-based political system of South Africa'' and helped the country ''map a law-based path to negotiations'' (Ross Burns, Opinion, 28/2), he should be appointed to dismantle Israeli apartheid. This should include East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Ghetto, which remain under Israeli military occupation despite decades of prattle about a ''two-state solution''. Israel's vigilante ''justice'' system now soils our Australian credentials.

If we all read Goldstone's report to the United Nations on Operation Cast Lead, there would be few regrets at withdrawing diplomatic support for this brutal Israeli regime and its blatant and systematic oppression of Palestinians. This is the ''existential struggle'' that Israelis, like Sarah Honig (Opinion, 28/2), fear.


You wouldn't complain if they'd got bin Laden

WOULD the Australian Prime Minister be worried about passports if Osama bin Laden was killed. No, I think those managing to carry out such a killing would become ''heroes of freedom''. Why double standards for Israel, when a self-professed killer of their people is assassinated? A terrorist is a terrorist and Hamas is a declared terrorist group.

SANDRA GORDON, Elsternwick

They couldn't help it, it was the only way

SARAH Honig's defence of Israel's actions (Opinion, 28/2) is an interesting perspective to see. Start by saying that everything is turned upside down; truth and lies, good and evil are given equal standing. Then demolish the target, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, as deserving of his fate. State that no one has proof of Israel's involvement, and other Palestinian factions and Iran may have been involved. Then argue that even if it was Mossad, Western countries indulge in the same thing. Anyway, they are only protesting because they want to buy some anti-aggression insurance, and join the Israel-bashing fraternity.

If they focus on the legal technicality of passport forgery, the West is morally impoverished and denies Israel any possible measure in aid of its own defence. There is plainly just nothing Israel can do to secure itself. So there you are, Mossad just had to kill Mabhouh, and use false passports of Australians to assist.

TOM FANNING, Balwyn North

Armchair philosophising a total waste

WHY are Australian authorities wasting resources on finding Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's assassins (''Australia joins hunt for killers'', 28/2)? They would be far better employed using our taxes to assist Israel, the only civilised, liberal democratic state in the Middle East, in its struggle against its Islamofascist regional neighbours such as Ahmadinejad's Iran, from whom al-Mabhouh was buying weapons to murder Jewish children.

And what gives Ross Burns the right to sit in comfort and safety on the other side of the world and pontificate and moralise and split legal hairs about a country surrounded by enemies who either deny the Holocaust or are keen to repeat it? Thank goodness for Sarah Honig's exposure of the double standards in the current orgy of Israel-bashing.

The single greatest scandal of Western journalism is the fact that Israel receives more criticism than all the world's genuine abusers of human rights - communist, Islamist and other (e.g. Burma, Zimbabwe) - put together.

BILL JAMES, Bayswater

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90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm