Israel’s air defense experiments with lasers and algorithms to stay a step ahead of its enemies

No other country in the developed world is shot at as often as Israel – making it a forge of innovation for air defense systems

telegraph.co.uk

The Islamic Jihad rocket streaked out of Gaza and through the night sky towards the greater Tel Aviv area. 

Within seconds it had been detected by Israeli radar and a computer system began furious calculations based on the rocket’s trajectory, speed, and type. 

The computer’s conclusion flashed a moment later across the screen of Itai Aizenkraft, a 21-year-old lieutenant in the Israeli Air Force: the rocket was going to crash into a civilian neighborhood.  

Lt Aizenkraft gave the order and an Iron Dome battery outside Tel Aviv roared to life, firing an interceptor missile to bring down the incoming rocket.

“The whole thing was over in a matter of seconds,” he said afterwards. 

No other country in the developed world is shot at as often as Israel. Around 1,300 rockets were fired from Gaza last…

Lies That Hamas Has Been Firing Rockets at Israel

“the Israeli government presented no evidence that rock-throwing and other violence by some demonstrators seriously threatened Israeli soldiers across the border fence.”

The New York Times claims that, until the demonstrations began in Gaza last month, Hamas had been firing “a fairly steady tempo” of rockets at Israel. In fact, it had been firing none.

On March 30, fourteen peaceful demonstrators were killed and hundreds wounded when Israeli soldiers fired across the border fence at unarmed Palestinians in Gaza.

The day of the crime, New York Times reported that, although the protests were “billed as the start of a peaceful, six-week sit-in”, Palestinian protesters had “quickly turned violent”.

The Times added, “But as some began hurling stones, tossing Molotov cocktails and rolling burning tires at the fence, the Israelis responded with tear gas and gunfire.”

Three days later, the editorial board of the Times acknowledged that the claim that Palestinians were “hurling stones, tossing Molotov cocktails and rolling burning tires at the fence” was the “Israeli version of events”.

In other words, the Times tacitly acknowledged that it had presented the Israeli propaganda version — in which the violence was instigated by the Palestinians — as though truthful.

By contrast, as Human Rights Watch noted, “the Israeli government presented no evidence that rock-throwing and other violence by some demonstrators seriously threatened Israeli soldiers across the border fence.”

Rather, “The high number of deaths and injuries was the foreseeable consequence of granting soldiers leeway to use lethal force outside of life-threatening situations in violation of international norms, coupled with the longstanding culture of impunity within the Israeli army for serious abuses.”

The Times hasn’t been faring any better with its reporting on Gaza since. In fact, it gets worse.

In an article published as “News Analysis” on April 15, David M. Halbfinger wrote in the Times about Hamas’s attitude toward such non-violent resistance.

Under the headline “Hamas Sees Gaza Protests as Peaceful — and as a ‘Deadly Weapon’“, he characterizes Hamas as presenting a mixed message, supporting peaceful protests while routinely engaging in violence. He writes:

To its rockets Israel had responded with the Iron Dome antimissile system. To its tunnels Israel was answering with a $2 billion reinforced-concrete wall buried deep underground.

And on Sunday, Israel said it had uncovered and destroyed the longest operational tunnel yet from Gaza.

It was no surprise, then, that after a grass-roots idea for a peaceful, long-lasting protest along the Gaza fence started gaining widespread support, Hamas brought a halt to what had been a fairly steady tempo of rocket launches into Israel and threw its considerable organizational might behind the demonstrations.

That is a lie.

Hamas had not been routinely launching rockets into Israel until the protests began.

Hamas had not been firing rockets into Israel at all.

Not in the days prior. Not in the weeks prior. Not in the months prior. Not even in the years prior.

According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), 25 rockets fired from Gaza struck Israel in 2015, and 15 rockets in 2016. The IDF itself identified none of those rockets as having been fired by Hamas.

In 2017, according to the IDF, 35 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from Gaza. Most of them, about 30, had been fired in the very last month of the year, after US President Donald Trump on December 6 said Jerusalem was Israel’s capital (even though East Jerusalem is under international law “occupied Palestinian territory”, and for the US to move its embassy there would be illegal).

About half of them landed inside Gaza.

The IDF also acknowledged that these rockets were not being fired by Hamas. Rather, as the Israeli daily Haaretz reported, the IDF attributed the attacks to “the desire by Islamic Jihad and other Salafi organizations to thwart the planned reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas”, as well as Islamic Jihad’s “desire to avenge Israels destruction of a cross-border attack tunnel in October that killed 12 of the organizations operatives.”

The Zionist regime presents no evidence to back most of it’s claims. The world is to rely solely on it’s say so.

See, Hamas has actually long been trying to suppress the very rocket attacks the New York Times would have you believe it was responsible for routinely until the Gaza protests. Hamas and the Salafi groups firing these rockets are actually at odds with each other. 

Of course, Israel holds Hamas responsible for any rocket attacks — even though it knows that Hamas isn’t the one doing it.

This has been the situation for quite a long time. Every serious observer knows this. Halbfinger is the Times‘ Jerusalem Bureau Chief. He cannot not know this.

Data for this year isn’t so easily obtained. But according to the list compiled at Wikipedia, there were six rockets fired in January and five or more in February.

According to the list compiled by the Jewish Virtual Library, there were four rockets in January and one in February.

Pointing out the low number of rocket attacks is not to trivialize their seriousness. Indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilian population centers are a war crime. T

he point is that the Times‘ claim that there had been “a fairly steady tempo” of rocket attacks until the Gaza protests started last month is at best misleading. And the Times‘ insinuation that rockets that have been fired were fired by Hamas is also maliciously false.

Compare the Times‘ claim with the acknowledgment from Michael Kaplow writing last week in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle that “Hamas has not fired a rocket in 14 months”.

I would challenge Kaplow even to support his implication that Hamas fourteen months ago was responsible for firing rockets at Israel; but regardless, it puts the lie to the Times claim that Hamas had been steadily raining down rockets on Israel until the demonstrations began last month.

The falseness of the Times‘ claim also goes to the broader propaganda purpose of the article.

What the Times won’t tell you is that, actually, it is Israel that has routinely violated its ceasefire agreements with Hamas — including the ceasefires in place prior to its major operations “Cast Lead” (2008-2009), “Pillar of Defense” (2012), and “Protective Edge” (2014).

Hamas has also since 2005 expressed its acceptance of a Palestinian state alongside Israel within the 1949 armistice lines (a.k.a. the 1967 lines or “Green Line”).

And there is a great deal more about Hamas, and the Israel-Palestine conflict in general, that the Times does not disclose to its readers. 

This kind of information isn’t reported — and lies like the above are reported — because the media fulfill the self-designated purpose of manufacturing consent for the US policy of supporting Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians.

For more information about the reality of the situation as compared with how the New York Times and other mainstream media sources characterize it, read my book Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian ConflictIf you want to learn what to expect inside its pages, you can read the entire first chapter, “The Rise of Hamas in Gaza”, for free.

Bonus video: Russia, China and the new world order

Dutch court grants immunity for Israeli war crimes

“-all they [European Zionists] want is a central organization for their international world swindler, endowed with its own sovereign rights and removed from the intervention of other states: a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks.” ~Adolf Hitler

29 January 2020
Dutch judges reassure Israel’s Benny Gantz that if he becomes prime minister he’ll be able to kill Palestinians without fear of facing justice

A court in the Netherlands has denied Ismail Ziada the chance to pursue justice for Israel’s killing of his mother and other members of his family.

The Palestinian-Dutch citizen has been suing Benny Gantz, Israeli army chief at the time, and Amir Eshel, then air force chief, for the decision to bomb his family’s home during Israel’s assault on Gaza nearly six years ago.

The Dutch judges ruled that the two commanders enjoy immunity for their alleged crimes because they committed them while acting in an official capacity.

The Israeli attack on 20 July 2014 reduced the three-floor building in al-Bureij refugee camp to rubble.

It killed Ziada’s 70-year-old mother Muftia, his brothers Jamil, Yousif and Omar, sister-in-law Bayan, and 12-year-old nephew Shaban, as well as a seventh person visiting the family.

Ziada sued the Israeli generals for more than $600,000 in damages plus court costs.

Speaking following Wednesday’s ruling, Ziada condemned the decision.

It is unclear if Ziada will appeal, however in a written statement, he vowed that his effort to achieve justice would go on.

“I owe it to all the Palestinians who have suffered and continue to suffer the same fate, to continue this struggle to achieve what is denied to them: access to independent justice and accountability for the unspeakable crimes committed against them,” Ziada said.

Ruling comforts war criminals

Most Palestinians have no avenue to seek justice for Israeli abuses.

But as a Dutch citizen, Ziada hoped that his country’s judiciary would provide some accountability.

However, the judges of the district court in The Hague accepted claims that Gantz and Eshel are immune from prosecution because they acted in an official capacity.

The court’s ruling acknowledges legal precedents establishing that immunity does not apply in cases of serious international crimes including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Nuremberg Principles, arising from the trials of Nazi leaders after World War II, established that individuals cannot escape accountability for such crimes on the basis that they were acting as a head of state or government official.

The court also cited the Dutch government’s position laid down in a 2016 statement that immunity does not extend to international crimes.

“The commission of international crimes, by definition, cannot be an official function,” according to the Dutch government.

Yet the court swept all this aside and adopted a position that provides comfort and encouragement to states and individuals who have, or plan to commit, serious crimes.


It is a particularly sad irony that the ruling comes after days of senior European officials pronouncing the words “Never Again,” and exhorting people to learn the “lessons” of history during this week’s 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Such words ring hollow when victims of war crimes find their path to justice blocked.

Palestinian lawyer Hussein Abu Hussein testified as part of Ziada’s case last September that practical and legal obstacles made it impossible for Ziada to seek justice in Israel.

The Dutch judges ignored that as well.

After the hearing, Ziada asked where he could go now that the Dutch court has slammed the door in his face.

No justice for Palestinians

Israel has obstructed every attempt by Palestinians to seek justice for its crimes against them, including in the Ziada case.

A year ago, Israel urged the Dutch court to dismiss the war crimes case against Gantz and Eshel.

Lawyers for the generals revealed their contempt for the victims and their lives when they tried to frame Ziada’s legal action as part of “an anti-Israel campaign.”

And in response to the International Criminal Court’s investigation of Israel’s war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu smeared the ICC with false accusations of anti-Semitism.

It will likely take years before we know if the ICC will prove to be a road to justice for Palestinians, or another blocked path.

Israel, meanwhile, continues to commit crimes against Palestinians, including the killing of civilian protesters, the colonization of occupied territory, torture and ill-treatment of detainees, demolitions of Palestinian homes and the 12-year blockade of Gaza – collective punishment of two million people.

Gantz, now the leader of Israel’s Blue and White opposition coalition, is seeking to replace Netanyahu as prime minister. Israel will hold its third general election in a year in March, after previous votes led to political deadlock.

During the campaign for last April’s election, Gantz ran ads bragging about how much death and destruction he had perpetrated in Gaza in 2014.

In the campaign for September’s election, Gantz declared that Israel’s brutal military occupation is actually beneficial for Palestinians.

If Gantz wins the next election, he will have the reassurance from Dutch judges that as prime minister he can kill many more Palestinians without fear of being brought to justice.

MK proposes 10 years prison sentence for anyone filming Israeli soldiers

Image result for IDF crimes

Journalists were targeted at the right of return march.

The proposed bill mentions NGOs such as B’Tselem, Machsom Watch and Breaking the Silence, calling them “anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian… and BDS organizations.”

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – In a step aimed at covering up Israeli crimes, MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu) has called for introducing a new bill punishing anyone who photographs or video-records soldiers while performing their duties in order to undermine their morale.

He made his proposal after a video went viral on the internet showing an Israeli soldier shooting at a Palestinian on Gaza border as other follow soldiers were verbally attacking other protesters.

According to the Hebrew newspaper Israel Hayom, the proposed bill calls for imposing a five-year prison punishment on anyone exposing on-duty soldiers’ behavior.

It also calls for jailing for 10 years anyone who does so with the intention of harming Israel’s national security.

Image result for palestine animated gif

The proposed bill mentions NGOs such as B’Tselem, Machsom Watch and Breaking the Silence, calling them “anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian… and BDS organizations.”

It claims that “for many years, there has been a disturbing phenomenon in Israel of documenting soldiers through videos, stills and voice recordings,” and that some NGOs have people follow soldiers all day long to try to “document them in a biased and slanted way… while sometimes accusing and insulting them.”

Ilatov said the time came to put an end to what he called “anarchy.” “It cannot be that any left-wing activist or organization, supported by foreign entities, can get free access and document, undisturbed, soldiers on duty.”

“We have the responsibility to give soldiers the optimal conditions to do their jobs, without them having to be worried about a left-wing activist or organization sending out their photo and trying to shame them.”

 

 

Israel’s B’Tselem to describe demolitions as ‘war crimes’ for ICC

If nothing else it pleases me that Israhell always has a rock in it’s stolen shoe and exists in a constant state of fear that they will be replaced by the natives…

February 6, 2018

B’Tselem’s executive director speaks about his organization’s decision to describe the demolition and displacement of Palestinian villages as ‘war crimes,’ and the role of international pressure in changing Israeli policy in the West Bank.
B’Tselem’s decision to start describing forcible displacement as a war crime is of particular significance considering that the ICC prosecutor is currently conducting a preliminary examination into Israel’s actions in the occupied territories, specifically including its settlements and forcible population transfer, among other alleged crimes.

The international diplomatic and human rights community often couches its criticism of Israeli policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians in softened, diplomatic terms. For years the U.S. State Department called Israeli settlements “unhelpful.” EU diplomats described the planned forced displacement of entire Palestinian communities as “contrary to Israel’s obligations” under international law.
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There are other words to describe these actions, however. According to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC), both Israel’s settlement enterprise and forcible transfer of Palestinian communities could easily fall under the definition of war crimes.

It was of particular note, therefore, that late last year Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem sent a letter to Israel’s prime minister, defense minister, justice minister, and top military officials about the planned forcible displacement of two Palestinian communities, Susya and Khan al-Amer, warning that “these actions would constitute a war crime committed at your instruction and under your responsibility, and for which you would bear personal liability.”

B’Tselem’s decision to start describing forcible displacement as a war crime is of particular significance considering that the ICC prosecutor is currently conducting a preliminary examination into Israel’s actions in the occupied territories, specifically including its settlements and forcible population transfer, among other alleged crimes.

Fast-forward to 2018, and the two villages named in B’Tselem’s letter, Susya and Khan al-Amer, are once again waging public campaigns to stave off their demolition and displacement. In the past pressure by European and American diplomats has succeeded in delaying demolitions in those villages. But with the Trump administration thus far showing zero willingness to criticize Israel, all that could change.

+972 spoke with B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad earlier this week about the decision to describe Israel’s actions against Palestinian communities in the West Bank as war crimes, whether that should also be the case for settlements and the planned mass deportation of asylum seekers, and the most effective path for saving communities like Susya and Khan al Amer.

The following interview has been edited for length.

What prompted the change in language?

When we issued that statement [about moving to war crimes terminology], it was in response to a quite unprecedented statement by the minister of defense a couple of months ago, that they have a concrete plan to entirely demolish two Palestinian communities, Khan al-Ahmer and Susya, which is almost unprecedented since 1967.

That was a highly unusual statement by the defense minister. At the same time, it needs to be said — and we’re saying this as well — that the overall policy of trying to forcefully displace Palestinians out of major parts of the West Bank through creating unlivable, unbearable conditions is not new.

What are the goals of the shift to using ‘war crimes’ terminology?

In the most direct sense, we want prevent war crimes from occurring. We want to stop these policies. We want to prevent forcible displacement. We think it’s the obvious right of Palestinian communities to continue living their lives and to develop their communities where they are. And Israel’s use of ‘rule of law’ justifications to implement this policy does not in any way make it legal or lawful or acceptable. The state gives a lot of attention to legal process so that it can find legal justifications for actions that are unjustifiable, and unfortunately the courts have been cooperating with that for many years.
ACRI executive director Hagai El-Ad at the Human Rights Day march in Tel Aviv, December 11, 2009 (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

The second thing is the tactical choice in the implementation of this policy to do it gradually, over time, and not by directly, physically putting Palestinian families on trucks and shipping them from one part of the West Bank to another. [Instead, it is done] through the creation of unbearable living conditions so that people will self-deport themselves from one part of the West Bank to another. That’s the strategy.

The point we made is that the fact that this is done through by creating unbearable living conditions — demolishing water systems and classrooms and homes and taking solar panels, all of these are various aspects of creating unbearable living conditions — does not make acceptable or legal in anyway.

Is there a potentially broader scope for this? Is there a hope that designating these policies as war crimes will have some implications in the international legal arena, and not just in Israel?

What we have seen in recent years is that the one thing, the only effective leverage that has prevented the state from going ahead with certain actions was international pressure, through statements, visits by diplomats, and conversations between Israeli officials and representatives of other countries that happened quietly. Susya is very well known but there are many efforts in other parts of the West Bank.

In the piece in Haaretz with Liberman, in which he made that statement with regard to Susya and Khan al-Ahmar, if you read the article — I’m not sure if its a direct quote or provided as context by the reporter — there’s a sentence that says the previous U.S. administration used to give a lot of attention to these communities, but apparently that is no longer the case. Which again demonstrates the same point: it is only international pressure and condemnation that has worked. It has not succeeded in providing proper protection for all of these communities all over the West Bank — far from it. But it was successful in buying more time and in limiting to some extent some of Israel’s actions. If no one is preserving those red lines any more, then that can have dire consequences.
Susya, West Bank, Palestinian village under threat of destruction (Activestills)

Susya, West Bank, Palestinian village under threat of destruction (Activestills)

Is the change in language a way to make opposing the demolitions more effective? How sustainable is the current strategy of organizing an international campaign for specific villages each time when there are so many villages under threat?

Time will tell whether this is effective or not. But before the question of effectiveness, we have a responsibility as a human rights organization to call things as they are. So at the most direct level, we’re calling a spade a spade because it’s a spade; it is our legal analysis and the way we see things as they are.

At the same time, humanity did not invent these terms just for the sake of academic discussion. Humanity invented these terms in order to prevent them from taking place, to provide red lines so that they will not be crossed.

Will you be using war crimes language to describe other Israel policies, like the expansion and legalization of settlements, or the deportation of asylum seekers?

I don’t know. Of course, there is a lot of concern that over-usage of this language — that [it] will end up losing its effectiveness, to the extent that it even has that. We try to use the appropriate language and speak with the right moral conviction as it is relevant to the current reality — not overdoing it and not under-doing it.

I have to say, with a lot of bitterness and pain, that this reality, this slowly moving strategy in the West Bank to displace Palestinians through these tactics of creating unbearable living conditions — it is not new. There were phases during the years when it slowed down; there were phases during the years when its ticked up. And in the meantime, that means that even if the strategy in some places is not successful, because Palestinians somehow succeed in holding onto their land and their communities — through courage and commitment and steadfastness — even if that is the case, it means that in the meantime, and the meantime can be a very long time, thousands of people have to endure living under conditions that are absolutely unacceptable and unjustifiable. And all this is done out of a planned policy to displace them.

The cruelty of this ongoing reality — even on days when there is no demolition, no legal developments, absolutely usual days when nothing happens — is another day people need to endure without electricity, connection to the water grid, and with the knowledge that demolition may be coming, with that fear all of the time. For us that’s the most important thing that we have to try and reverse.