NGOs Urge UK Labour Government to End ‘Complicity in Israeli Crimes’ in Gaza

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Original article by JULIA CONLEY republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

British Prime Minister Keir Starmer is seen at the NATO 75th anniversary summit in Washington, D.C., on July 10, 2024. 
(Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images)

“We are asking this government for leadership and to take a just decision, for the sake of Palestinians in Gaza who are living through ‘hell on Earth,'” said six rights groups.

A week after the British Labour Party won control of the United Kingdom’s government, six rights organizations called on Prime Minister Keir Starmer to bring the country “back from the brink” and restore its “credibility on the international stage” by ending its military support for Israel.

“The Labour Party now has the chance to start restoring some credibility by ensuring the U.K. abides by international law, thereby extricating the U.K. from the indelible stain of complicity in Israeli crimes that deeply shock the conscience of humanity,” wrote the British Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) and Al-Haq, based in Palestine.

The groups wrote the letter with the support of the International Center of Justice for Palestinians, War on Want, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Addressing Starmer along with newly appointed Foreign Secretary David Lammy and Secretary of State for Business and Trade Jonathan Reynolds, the groups reminded the prime minister that following his election, he promised Britons that the “sunlight of hope was shining once again” after 14 years of Conservative rule, and called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to say there is a “clear and urgent need for a cease-fire.”

“Calls for a cease-fire are evidently not enough, in particular when the U.K. is arming one party to the conflict,” wrote the groups, pointing out that earlier this week Palestinians in northern Gaza reported that recent bombing there has “matched October 2023 in its intensity—with levels of destruction not witnessed since World War II, nearly all civilian infrastructure is completely destroyed.”

“We are asking this government for leadership and to take a just decision, for the sake of Palestinians in Gaza who are living through ‘hell on Earth,'” they wrote. “The world should have put an end to their unimaginable suffering a long time ago. Labour must suspend, revoke, and refuse all arms licenses for Israel now.”

The U.K. licensed about £859,381 ($1.09 million) of weapons to Israel in the last three months of 2023, as the Israel Defense Forces relentlessly attacked Gaza and blocked nearly all humanitarian aid, leading to what 10 independent United Nations experts this week said is now famine across the enclave.

“The new Labour government’s calls for a cease-fire are meaningless while it continues to arm Israel. British weapons have killed too many Palestinians,” said GLAN lawyer Charlotte Andrews-Briscoe. “This government knows that the only lawful and moral decision is to stop arming Israel. Britons have voted for change: This government must deliver that change.”

On social media, GLAN amplified a video posted by Starmer on Sunday in which he pledged to “restore politics as a force for good.”

“We are calling on Keir Starmer to put these words into action,” said the legal group.

When the war on Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people ends, said the groups, Starmer’s government must expect that there will be “a reckoning in which Israel will be found to have committed mass atrocities.”

But the organizations called on Starmer—who, months before he called on Netanyahu to agree to a cease-fire, said Israel had “the right” to withhold power and water from Gaza—to see that ending military support for Israel “is not only the legal obligation of the U.K., it is a moral obligation.”

“Schoolchildren will learn about this period for years to come, just as we have all learned about past genocides and wondered how they could be allowed to happen,” reads the letter. “Will they read about a new Labour government that acted with respect for the sanctity of all human life?”

Original article by JULIA CONLEY republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Zionist Keir Starmer is quoted "I support Zionism without qualification." He's asked whether that means that he supports Zionism under all circumstances, whatever Zionists do.
Zionist Keir Starmer is quoted “I support Zionism without qualification.” He’s asked whether that means that he supports Zionism under all circumstances, whatever Zionists do.

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Continue ReadingNGOs Urge UK Labour Government to End ‘Complicity in Israeli Crimes’ in Gaza

US Peace Advocates ‘Utterly Condemn’ Biden Decision to Send Israel 1,700 500lb Bombs

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Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Palestinian rescue workers search the rubble of a house destroyed by an Israeli airstrike on the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza on July 6, 2024. 
(Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“The Biden administration is fully culpable for the slaughter of civilians in Gaza, and should be held accountable for its role in aiding and abetting Israel’s shocking war crimes.”

The Biden administration’s decision this week to lift a pause on the transfer of 500-pound bombs to the Israeli military drew outrage from U.S. peace advocates who warned the weapons would be used to commit additional war crimes in the Gaza Strip, which has been pulverized by nine months of relentless Israeli attacks.

Sara Haghdoosti, executive director of Win Without War, said in a statement Thursday that “we utterly condemn” the administration’s decision to release a shipment of 1,700 500-pound bombs to Israel’s military, which has killed more than 38,000 people in Gaza since the Hamas-led October 7 attack. The shipment was paused in May as Israel prepared to launch its deadly assault on Rafah.

“We are dismayed because these bombs will almost certainly be used to kill more innocents in Gaza, where indiscriminate bombing continues and where a starvation crisis only worsens,” said Haghdoosti. “And if they are not used there, they risk being used to terrible effect in Lebanon, where civilians would again bear the brunt of a disastrous possible war between Hezbollah and the Israeli government.”

“We are perplexed because the White House is, yet again, using arms transfers to directly undermine its stated policy aims—both to secure a cease-fire and protect civilians in Gaza, and to avoid a full-scale war between Israel and Hezbollah that would devastate the region,” Haghdoosti continued. “Releasing this transfer signals to the Israeli government that, if cease-fire talks again stall, the war in Gaza can continue and that a massive conflict with Hezbollah can begin, with no real U.S. pushback.”

President Joe Biden “must reverse this decision, which makes no sense as politics or policy,” she added.

Biden, who is facing mounting calls to drop his reelection campaign, was not asked about the reversal during his closely watched press conference at the conclusion of NATO’s 2024 summit in Washington, D.C. late Thursday.

The administration’s decision to lift the pause came following what The Washington Post described as “a pressure campaign by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and pro-Israel lobbyists in the United States, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, demanding the resumption of all weapons shipments regardless of their lethality.”

Last month, Netanyahu—who is facing a possible arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC)—released a video complaining that the administration was “withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel.”

The U.S. is Israel’s top arms supplier and has sent Israel billions of dollars worth of weapons and other military equipment since October 7—weaponry that Israel has repeatedly used to commit atrocities in Gaza.

An unnamed administration official told the Post that the U.S. was mostly concerned about the 2,000-pound bombs that were part of the initially planned shipment, rather than the 500-pound bombs. The 2,000-pound bombs will remain on hold, the official said.

Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) joined Win Without War in demanding that the Biden administration walk back its decision to lift the pause on the 500-pound bombs, warning that “providing such massive, explosive weapons with wide-area effects despite Israel’s systematic and deliberate deployment of such bombs in built-up civilian areas throughout Gaza further exposes U.S. officials to liability for war crimes prosecution.”

“This week alone, Israel used U.S. weapons to strike a school during a soccer game killing scores of children, and ordered the forced evacuation of hundreds of thousands of desperate civilians from Gaza City,” said DAWN senior adviser Josh Paul, who resigned from the U.S. State Department last year over the Biden administration’s continued arming of Israel.

“Lifting a suspension on the delivery of 500lb bombs meant to prevent the invasion of Rafah, only to then send Israel those bombs to enable the further destruction of Gaza City, is not only an act of perversity but a lawless one as well,” Paul said.

Raed Jarrar, DAWN’s advocacy director, called on the ICC to “investigate U.S. officials for their complicity in the genocidal atrocities in Gaza, insisting on providing Israel with some of the most lethal weapons in the world despite full knowledge that Israel is using them unlawfully against Palestinian civilians.”

“The Biden administration is fully culpable for the slaughter of civilians in Gaza, and should be held accountable for its role in aiding and abetting Israel’s shocking war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Jarrar added.

Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Failed US Military Pier Offered ‘Humanitarian Gloss’ as Israel Starved Gaza

Entire Families Among Dozens of Bodies Recovered After Israel’s Gaza City Onslaught

Continue ReadingUS Peace Advocates ‘Utterly Condemn’ Biden Decision to Send Israel 1,700 500lb Bombs

Failed US Military Pier Offered ‘Humanitarian Gloss’ as Israel Starved Gaza

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Original article by BRETT WILKINS republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

U.S. troops prepare components of the Gaza aid pier on March 15, 2024. (Photo: United States Naval Institute)

“The entire operation was a failed exercise in public relations by the Biden administration,” said one observer.

After failing to re-anchor its “humanitarian pier” in Gaza, the Pentagon said Thursday that the much-ballyhooed project—which critics dismissed as a “public relations ploy” that did next to nothing to stop the deadly starvation spreading in the besieged Palestinian enclave—would shut down indefinitely.

Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder said U.S. troops had failed to reconnect the floating Trident Pier to Gaza’s shore due to “technical and weather-related issues,” according to The Washington Post.

The $320 million project—which consists of a floating offshore barge and 1,800-foot causeway to the shore—was touted as eventually being able to accommodate up to 150 aid trucks per day. Instead, it facilitated the shipment of the equivalent of about a single day’s worth of prewar food deliveries while operating for a total of less than three weeks.

“As a pier, it’s shutting down. As a metaphor, it will live forever,” said Tom Philpott, a senior researcher at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for a Livable Future.

Stephen Semler, co-founder of the Security Policy Reform Institute, welcomed the project’s demise.

“The U.S. pier was never supposed to work. It was designed to give a humanitarian gloss to [U.S. President Joe] Biden’s pro-genocide policy in Gaza,” he said on social media. “Good riddance to this failed PR stunt.”

However, during a Thursday press conference, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan defended the pier, arguing that it “has made a difference in trying to deal with the heartbreaking humanitarian situation in Gaza.”

“I see any result that produces more food, more humanitarian goods getting to the people of Gaza, as a success,” he asserted. “It is additive. It is something additional that otherwise would not have gotten there when it got there. And that is a good thing.”

Even if the pier had achieved its expected capacity, it would still have been far fewer than the prewar daily mean of more than 500 truckloads that U.S. and United Nations officials said are required to meet the needs of a population facing critical shortages of food, water, medicine, and other lifesaving supplies.

The pier was in operation for only about 20 days in May before it broke apart during stormy conditions. The structure was subsequently repaired, but then was dismantled just a week after reopening in June due to more rough seas.

It is also likely that the pier was used for military purposes during the June raid by Israel Defense Forces troops, who killed or wounded hundreds of Palestinians—including many women and children—during the rescue of four Israelis kidnapped by Hamas militants on October 7.

“It seems clear that the entire operation was a failed exercise in public relations by the Biden administration, which has sat on its hands while the extremist Netanyahu cabinet, full of the Israeli equivalent of neo-Nazis, has half-starved or in some instances whole-starved the Palestinians of Gaza,” Middle East expert Juan Cole wrote Friday, referring to the far-right government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

At least dozens of Palestinians, mostly children, have died in Gaza due to a lack of food, water, and medical treatment. Palestinian and international agencies say that Israel’s 280-day war on Gaza has left at least 137,500 people dead, maimed, or missing; around 90% of the embattled strip’s population forcibly displaced; and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians starving.

“A U.S. administration has to have an answer when reporters ask it why it is allowing Palestinian children to become emaciated, and the pier was an attempted answer,” Cole added. “The other possibility was for the Biden administration to man up and just tell Netanyahu and his rogues’ gallery cabinet that they cannot starve innocent civilians as part of their campaign against Hamas, and that if they do not cut it out there will be hell to pay. But Biden is in the tank for the Israeli government.”

U.N. experts and others have called Israel’s forced starvation of Palestinians in Gaza “a form of genocidal violence and has resulted in famine.”

The International Court of Justice—which is weighing whether Israel is committing genocide in Gaza—has ordered Israel to prevent genocidal acts in the embattled enclave, to “immediately halt” its offensive in Rafah, and to stop blocking humanitarian aid from entering Gaza in the face of worsening “famine and starvation.” Israel is accused of flouting all three ICJ orders.

Meanwhile, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan accused top Israeli officials of using “starvation as a weapon of war” and “extermination” in his May application for arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Khan is also seeking to arrest three Hamas leaders for alleged crimes including extermination and rape.

Original article by BRETT WILKINS republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Continue ReadingFailed US Military Pier Offered ‘Humanitarian Gloss’ as Israel Starved Gaza

George Monbiot exposes Starmer’s hollow victory

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Rupert Murdoch supports the Red Tories (UK Labour Party) and needs his nappy changed.
Rupert Murdoch supports the Red Tories (UK Labour Party) and needs his nappy changed.
Zionist Keir Starmer is quoted "I support Zionism without qualification." He's asked whether that means that he supports Zionism under all circumstances, whatever Zionists do.
Zionist Keir Starmer is quoted “I support Zionism without qualification.” He’s asked whether that means that he supports Zionism under all circumstances, whatever Zionists do.
Continue ReadingGeorge Monbiot exposes Starmer’s hollow victory

Report Details Big Oil Lobby’s Relentless Opposition to a Green Transition

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Original article by JESSICA CORBETT republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

An oil refinery is shown at dusk in Thailand.  (Photo: credit: Suriyapong Thongsawang/Getty Images)

Climate campaigners said the “brilliant and disturbing” publication “shows the crucial need for increased awareness of the delaying tactics of fossil fuel companies.”

Echoing years of academiccongressional, and journalistic research, a U.K.-based think tank on Thursday released a report detailing how top fossil fuel industry trade groups have “used a playbook of narratives and arguments to systematically oppose, weaken, and delay the transition to renewables and electric vehicles (EVs) since at least 1967.”

The new InfluenceMap analysis focuses on the American Petroleum Institute (API), FuelsEurope, and Fuels Industry U.K.—whose spokespeople responded to the report by insisting to SustainableViews that the oil and gas industry is playing an “essential” role in the transition and it is necessary to harness “vast energy resources, from oil and natural gas to renewables.”

Meanwhile, InfluenceMap’s report calls out the organizations for their use of three narratives over the past five decades that “has likely contributed to delaying the energy transition and continues to pose a serious threat to policy progress on climate change.”

“Between 1950 and 2022, the members of these associations have a combined contribution of approximately 350 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for approximately 18% of the world’s total cumulative CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry,” the report notes.

InfluenceMap traced the narratives “across 51 separate instances of the associations’ advocacy against fossil fuel alternatives between 1967 and 2023,” the publication explains. “These narratives include ‘Solution Skepticism,’ which has been in use for 56 years, ‘Policy Neutrality’ for 34 years, and ‘Affordability and Energy Security’ for 51 years.”

The group defined the narratives as follows:

  • Solution Skepticism: downplays the impact and viability of alternative energy.
  • Policy Neutrality: promotes consumer choice, market solutions, and minimal government intervention.
  • Affordability and Energy Security: paints fossil fuel alternatives as a risk to cost-effective and secure energy.

“Despite advancements in understanding the threats posed by the climate crisis, these narratives persist as of 2023,” the report says. It also emphasizes that the narratives contradict science-based policy recommendations from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Association (IEA).

Some examples identified by InfluenceMap include API comments on the Clean Air Act and amendments in 1967, 1970, and 1989 as well as the association’s remarks on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and pollution standards for heavy-duty vehicles last year. The publication also points to FuelsEurope’s 2021 comments on European Union Performance Standards and the group’s participation in a 2022 letter about the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

InfluenceMap produced graphics to display its findings, including one that shows key members of each association as of March. Members of all three include BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Phillips 66.

“Some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are still paying a high premium to participate in industry associations that may no longer represent them on climate policy,” the report states, pointing to how associations’ actions contrast with public positions taken by some major fossil fuel corporations. “Meanwhile, Shell, Chevron, and Exxon have disclosed that they pay between $5 million and $12.5 million per year to hold a membership with the API.”

The think tank also made a pair of graphics showing how the trade associations’ documented use of the three narratives aligns with fossil fuel and renewables consumption, association members’ cumulative emissions, and the number of EVs compared with the total number of registered passenger vehicles since the 1950s.

“This report shows that even faced with mounting scientific evidence over decades, the oil and gas industry have pushed ahead with a damaging messaging strategy they developed as early as the 1960s,” said Tessa Khan, founder and executive director of Uplift, which supports a rapid and fair transition away from fossil fuel production in the U.K.

“It shows the crucial need for increased awareness of the delaying tactics of fossil fuel companies from policymakers if they are to successfully drive the energy transition forward at the pace we need,” Khan added.

Calling the report “brilliant and disturbing,” the U.K.-based Fossil Free Parliament said that “this is exactly why we need to remove the industry’s seat at the table in Westminster.”

In the United States, Democratic federal lawmakers recently concluded a probe into BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, API, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for decades of spreading climate disinformation, after which they urged the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate all six.

Original article by JESSICA CORBETT republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Continue ReadingReport Details Big Oil Lobby’s Relentless Opposition to a Green Transition