Dorothy Online NewsLetter

Dear Friends,

Only 5 items this evening, but of course if you read through item 5, Today in Palestine for February 5, 2013, you will have more.  So many demolitions in this issue.  So many things that Israel does which it shouldn’t.

In item 1 Ahmadinejad declares that (a) Iran already is a nuclear power (but does not in this article elaborate), and (b) that Iran has no intention of attacking Israel.  I can not say that Ahmadinejad is a big favorite of mine, but then neither is Netanyahu.  I am willing to take A at his word (but not Netanyahu).  Taking on Israel would necessitate Iran to fight also others, maybe even the United States.  I doubt that this is something that Iran wants or needs.

Item 2 are suggestions by the Turkel Committee, the committee appointed to investigate the Mavi Marmara affair.  Some of the committee’s suggestions are quite harsh, but necessary.  Nevertheless, I have real doubts that anything of substance will come of the report.  Hope to be proven wrong.

In item 3 David Ward insists that he is not an anti-Semite.

Item 4 is a further commentary on the report about Israeli and Palestinian textbooks, this time from the Washington Post.  I am hoping that Nurit Peled Elhanan, author of “Palestine in Isreli School Books” will write her response to the report.  From her depiction, Palestine and Palestinians (including Israeli citizens) are depicted mainly as caricatures.  If her piece is published, I will of course distribute.

Item 5 is Today in Palestine for Tuesday, February 5th.
That’s it for today.


1 Haaretz
February 6, 2013 
Ahmadinejad: Iran already a nuclear state, but has no intention of launching attack on Israel
In interview with Al-Ahram on eve of Islamic Summit Conference in Cairo, Iranian president also says his country opposes outside intervention in Syria.
By Jack Khoury
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that while Iran is already a nuclear state, it has no intention of attacking Israel. Ahmadinejad was interviewed on the eve of his visit to Cairo, where he will attend the 12th Islamic Summit Conference, due to open there on Wednesday.
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Before his trip, he gave a long interview to the editor-in-chief of Egypt’s newspaper Al-Ahram. Although Al-Ahram ran the entire interview only in its print edition, excerpts appeared on Egyptian websites.
Ahmadinejad said the world must now treat Iran as a nuclear country. “They want Iran to go back to what it was in the past, but they won’t succeed. They assume we’ll give in to pressure; such thoughts are misguided. We’re already an industrial and nuclear country, a country that has conquered space. For years we have been thinking about sending a human being into space, and we will do that, with Allah’s help. We must ensure development and growth and bring them to pass, and the world must acknowledge our progress,” he said, adding that the best solution was cooperation with Iran.
Mentioning the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran, Ahmadinejad said that while it might be easy to launch missiles or attack using fighter jets, Iran’s response and defense capability were important in this context.
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He reiterated that the Zionists were trying to take over the foci of power and wealth throughout the world. “They want to attack Iran, but we’re not preparing any attack against them because the purpose of our program is defense.”
During the interview, Ahmadinejad condemned what he described as massacres committed by Israel. “For us, supporting the Palestinian people is a matter of human importance in every sense. The Palestinians must receive their rights, and the Zionists are moving closer and closer toward the edge.”
He added that his country was opposed to any outside military intervention in Syria, saying that the solution to the crisis there was dialogue between all the Syrian groups.
2  Haaretz
February 6, 2013 
Committee on Gaza flotilla: Political echelon could be held criminally accountable for alleged IDF war crimes in future probes
Panel suggests using legislation to establish new norms of accountability; defense and intelligence officials are expressing their reservations.
By Barak Ravid
Feb.06, 2013
The Turkel Committee, which investigated the 2010 Israel Defense Forces sea raid on the Mavi Marmara as it tried to break the Gaza blockade, recommends dramatic changes in the way decisions are made about opening investigations of possible war crimes by IDF soldiers against Palestinians.
The committee, made up of Israeli and foreign dignitaries, states that the decision whether to open a criminal investigation should not be in any way dependent on the results of operational investigations conducted by the army, contrary to the IDF’s position on the matter.
In January 2011, the panel submitted the first part of its report, which dealt with the failures that occurred during the seizure of the Mavi Marmara in May 2010. Since the release of the first section, the committee has been working on the second part, which deals with Israel’s methods of investigating claims that its security forces violated the rules of war or international law.
This section of the report, some 1,000 pages long, was submitted today to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The committee interviewed a long list of government officials, representatives of human rights groups and experts in international law. It also reviewed dozens of files from IDF investigations to examine procedures and the process of deciding whether to open an investigation. The committee also compared Israel’s procedures to military investigation procedures in the United States, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands.
The committee determined that Israel’s oversight and investigation procedures “in general meet the requirements set by international law.” However, the panel suggested numerous changes, some of them far-reaching, which various officials in the defense establishment and the intelligence community are already opposing.
The panel suggests using legislation to establish new and obligatory norms regarding the responsibility of the diplomatic echelons and the senior army brass for alleged violations of international law committed by their subordinates in the West Bank and Gaza.
“The law should impose direct criminal responsibility on commanders and their civilian superiors for violations committed by their subordinates, if they do not take all reasonable measures to prevent these violations or do not bring those responsible to justice when they find out about violations after the fact,” the report states.
Part of the report deals with the interrogations conducted by the Shin Bet security service. The committee recommends significantly increasing the external oversight of Shin Bet investigations, adding that complaints by those interrogated should be transferred to the Justice Ministry department for the investigation of police officers.
The panel also states that contrary to current procedure, all Shin Bet interrogations should be videotaped, under guidelines to be determined by the attorney general in coordination with the head of the Shin Bet.
Committee members did not hesitate to attack one of the IDF’s sacred cows, the operational investigations of troublesome incidents that the units conduct themselves. The panel invalidates the current policy, under which the conclusions of these operational investigations have a decisive influence on the military advocate-general’s decision on whether to open a criminal investigation against soldiers or their commander.
“An operational investigation is not meant to decide whether to launch [a criminal] investigation,” the report states. “There should be a mechanism established for conducting a factual assessment, on the basis of which the military advocate-general will decide whether an investigation should be opened.”
The committee advised setting up a special team of combat officers, jurists and Military Police investigators, who will deliver information to the military advocate-general that is independent of the IDF’s operational investigations. Furthermore, the team will collect information from complainants and witnesses who aren’t soldiers. This way, the panel posits, the military advocate-general will have better tools for deciding whether to open a criminal probe.
The committee stated that although the IDF chief of staff had years ago required that any incident in the territories involving Palestinian casualties be reported, this order was not being implemented. The panel recommended anchoring this requirement in the IDF’s Senior Command Guidelines and to impose it as well on police or Border Police forces operating in the territories under the auspices of the IDF.
“The reporting requirement must be assimilated and sanctions imposed on commanders who do not fulfill this requirement,” the panel wrote.
The committee noted that many times investigations are not launched, or are closed without an indictment, due to lack of evidence. The panel recommended that the scene of every incident be documented and that every possible piece of evidence saved, in case an investigation is opened. The committee also recommended a “timeframe of a few weeks” from the time a suspected violation is reported until a decision on whether to launch a probe is reached.
The panel also called for setting up a special Military Police department to deal with claims of alleged war crimes, which should include Arabic-speaking investigators so that proper testimony can be taken from Palestinian complainants.
The Turkel Committee also recommended boosting the authority and the independence of the military advocate-general. “The authority of the military advocate-general to order an investigation should not be conditioned on consulting with the general responsible for the unit involved in the incident,” the report states.
The panel also calls for legislation that would make the military advocate-general professionally subordinate to the attorney general, and not to military commanders.
The military advocate-general should be appointed by the defense minister and not by the chief of general staff, and the nomination should be based on the recommendations of a professional search committee chaired by the attorney general, the panel writes. The military advocate-general should have a set term of six years with no extensions permitted, and his rank should be fixed, so that he is not dependent on the chief of staff for a promotion.
In addition to increasing the military advocate-general’s independence within the army, the panel suggests that the military advocate-general’s work be overseen by the attorney general. The panel also suggested that the Justice Ministry open a special department to deal with military law.
In addition to former Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel, who chaired the committee, members included Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Horev, former Foreign Ministry director-general Reuven Merhav, and law Prof. Miguel Deutch of Tel Aviv University. The panel also included two foreign observers: former First Minister of Northern Ireland David Trimble, and former head of the Canadian military’s judiciary, Judge Advocate General Ken Watkin.
In the course of the committee’s work, Watkin was replaced by Prof. Timothy McCormick of Australia, who serves as a special adviser on International Humanitarian Law to Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The panel received assistance in writing the report from a network of international law experts from all over the world, whose work was coordinated by the committee’s secretary, attorney Hoshea Gottlieb.
3  Guardian
February 06, 2013
David Ward: ‘The solid ground I stand on is that I am not a racist’
The Liberal Democrat MP has apologised for accusing ‘the Jews’ of ‘inflicting atrocities on Palestinians … on a daily basis’. But he still seems unable to comprehend why he has caused

By Aida Edemariam

4 The Washington Post
February 4, 2013
JERUSALEM — A State Department-funded study released Monday on the contentious issue of how Israelis and Palestinians depict each other in textbooks says both are locked into narratives that portray the other side as the enemy and erase it from maps, yet do not dehumanize each other.
By Joel Greenberg
The independent study, billed as the first empirical and quantitative analysis of textbooks on both sides, was boycotted by Israel’s Education Ministry, which refused to cooperate. The ministry called the study biased and said it was based on a false comparison between the Israeli and Palestinian school systems.
Israel: Snapshots of conflict and peace: Since declaring independence in 1948, the Jewish state has been embroiled in conflict with its neighbors and has made peace with two of them.
Life in the Palestinian territories: Beyond the frequent images of violence and destruction, here are scenes from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
.Accusations of Palestinian incitement against Israel in public declarations, media and textbooks have been a recurrent theme in statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his government, prompting countercharges from the Palestinian Authority.

While various surveys of Israeli and Palestinian textbooks have been conducted over the years, organizers of the latest study said it was the most systematic and comprehensive of books from both sides. It examined 94 Palestinian and 74 Israeli books, evaluating more than 3,000 texts, as well as photos and maps.

Funded with a grant from the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, the study was directed by Bruce E. Wexler, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University who worked with two Israeli and Palestinian experts on textbook analysis, subjecting books from both sides to identical evaluation questions, with results fed to a database.


The study was initiated by the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land, an interfaith association of Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders that seeks to promote reconciliation. But the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, which is represented on the council and had previously endorsed the textbook study, dissociated itself from its findings in a statement last week, citing what it called serious methodological flaws.

Two Israelis on a 19-member scientific advisory panel, which included international experts in textbook analysis, also dissented from the study’s conclusions, which were submitted to both the Israeli and Palestinian education ministries. The Palestinian ministry had voiced no objections to the project, and a spokeswoman for the Palestinian Authority said it was “open” to the study’s conclusions.

In a sign of the study’s political sensitivity, the U.S. Embassy in Israel, which had been in contact with Israeli officials, declined to comment on the findings, referring questions to the State Department. A spokesman there called the findings “independent assessments” that were “not endorsed by the U.S. government,” but he expressed hope that they would be used “in a constructive manner.”

The findings reflect the deepening abyss between Israelis and Palestinians while peace efforts have faltered.

In both Israeli and Palestinian textbooks, the report says, maps failed to delineate boundaries in the area between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. In the Palestinian books surveyed, only 4 percent showed boundaries between the West Bank and Gaza Strip and Israel, referring to it by name. More than half failed to show a boundary and labeled the entire area Palestine. In Israeli books, 76 percent of the maps showed no boundaries between Israel and Palestinian areas, suggesting they were part of Israel.

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