Radio: I Discuss Israel’s Horrendous Prisons for Palestinians and the ICC Noose Tightening Around Netanyahu’s Neck on Gorilla Radio

A leaked photograph from inside Israel’s Sde Teiman prison, obtained by CNN, shows a blindfolded prisoner with his arms above his head in a crowded, open-air cell in which other prisoners are also blindfolded, as part of a regimen of unacceptable punishment in which, held without charge or trial and with the permanent threat of severe violence, they are permanently blindfolded and prevented from talking to one another.

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My thanks to the indefatigable Chris Cook, based in western Canada, for having me on his Gorilla Radio show to discuss Ending Israel’s Impunity for Genocide in Gaza, and the Threat to Those, Like Joe Biden, Who Are Most Complicit, my latest article on the defining horror of our times. Our discussion takes place in the second half of the one-hour show, available on Substack here, after an illuminating first half with Yves Engler, the Montreal-based political activist, whose latest book, co-authored with Owen Schalk, is ‘Canada’s Long Fight Against Democracy.’ I’m also pleased to note that Chris played my song ‘Forever Prisoner’, about Guantánamo prisoner Khaled Qassim, recorded with my band The Four Fathers.

Chris and I began by discussing Jonathan Cook’s latest article for Middle East Eye, The message of Israel’s torture chambers is directed at all of us, not just Palestinians, which drew on a detailed CNN investigation published on May 11, Strapped down, blindfolded, held in diapers: Israeli whistleblowers detail abuse of Palestinians in shadowy detention center, about Sde Teiman, a secret Israeli prison on a military base in the Negev Desert, where Palestinians seized in the Gaza Strip since October 7 are kept naked, blindfolded and handcuffed, and, permanently, “forced to remain motionless and silent”, as Cook describes it, adding, “At night, dogs are set on them. Anyone who speaks or moves risks being savagely beaten till bones are broken.”

The whistleblowers who spoke to CNN also explained that “doctors sometimes amputated prisoners’ limbs due to injuries sustained from constant handcuffing; of medical procedures sometimes performed by underqualified medics earning it a reputation for being “a paradise for interns”; and where the air is filled with the smell of neglected wounds left to rot.”

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Ending Israel’s Impunity for Genocide in Gaza, and the Threat to Those, Like Joe Biden, Who Are Most Complicit

Karim Khan, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), flanked by Benjamin Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant, behind bars. Image via the Islam Channel, produced after Khan announced his intention to seek arrests for both men for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip.

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I just want the bombing to stop. Billions of us around the world just want to the bombing to stop. But last night, in Rafah, Israel dropped countless US-supplied 2,000-pound bombs — hideously powerful weapons designed to pierce otherwise impenetrable military targets — on a displaced Palestinian civilian population, living in flimsy makeshift tents in what they were told was a “safe zone,” burning dozens of them alive, including children who were decapitated as their bodies burned.

For seven and a half months, a moral sickness has engulfed the State of Israel, also infecting parliaments and the mainstream media throughout most of the western world, as shrill, bullying and sometime gleeful proponents of genocide have sought to compel us, sometimes through violence, and often through intimidation, not only to turn a blind eye to the murder of 40,000 civilians in the Gaza Strip — killed with bombs of such intensity that they shouldn’t even exist, let alone be dropped onto packed civilian neighbourhoods day after day after day — but to endorse it, to support it as enthusiastically as they do.

For seven and a half months, those of us living in the majority of the countries of the west (or the Global North), have been ordered to believe that, despite the openly genocidal comments that have been regularly and insistently made by Israel’s leaders since the deadly attacks on southern Israel by Hamas and other militants on October 7 last year, (in which 1,139 people were killed), Israel’s response, in which most of the Gaza Strip has been destroyed, and 10,000 decomposing corpses are buried under the rubble, is not a genocide, but simply Israel exercising its “right to defend itself”, to “eliminate Hamas”, and to free the hostages seized by Hamas and other militants on October 7.

For seven and half months, we have been told that “this began on October 7”, in a blatant and frankly sickening effort to erase 76 years of oppression of the Palestinian people by the State of Israel, oppression which began in earnest with the blood-soaked establishment of the State of Israel, in 1948, when 15,000 Palestinians were murdered and 750,000 permanently exiled from their homes, but which actually began decades before, via the Balfour Declaration of 1917, in which the British government, then ruling Palestine as a Mandate after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, announced its support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, and encouraged the migration of hundreds of thousands of European Jews.

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Guantánamo Scandal: Eleven Men Were Set to Be Freed Last October, Until “Political Optics” Shifted After Hamas’ Attack on Israel

The eleven Yemeni prisoners who were supposed to be resettled in Oman in October 2023. Top row, from L to R: Moath Al-Alwi, Khaled Qassim, Toffiq Al-Bihani, Hani Saleh Rashid Abdullah, Uthman Abd Al-Rahim Muhammad Uthman. Middle row: Sharqawi Al-Hajj, Abdulsalam Al-Hela, Sanad Al-Kazimi, Suhayl Al-Sharabi, Zakaria Al-Baidany. Bottom row: Hassan Bin Attash.

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I wrote the following article for the “Close Guantánamo” website, which I established in January 2012, on the 10th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, with the US attorney Tom Wilner. Please join us — just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email.

Thanks to NBC News, and the four anonymous US government officials who spoke to them, for exposing the latest scandal involving the US prison at Guantánamo Bay — the refusal of the Biden administration to release eleven men, for whom long months of negotiation had secured a safe and viable resettlement option, because of the perceived “political optics” of freeing them after the attacks on Israel by Hamas and other militants on October 7.

Within Guantánamo circles, this scandal was well known, but attorneys for the men had been subjected to a Protective Order issued by the government, preventing them from talking about it, and, as a result, they had all dutifully kept quiet, as had others, like myself, who had got to know about it.

Their silence is, in itself, an indictment of how the US government operates at Guantánamo, as I also recognised when I refused to publicize it, because of the fundamentally lawless situation in which these men are held.

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Yes, AI Is a Component of Israel’s Genocide in Gaza, But It’s Not the Whole Story

Palestinians pass a building destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on March 18, 2024 (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90).

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On Wednesday (April 3) the NGO Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor published its latest infographic showing how many Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli since October 7 — 41,496 Palestinians in 180 days. That’s 230 a day, or nearly ten people killed every single hour for the last six months.

This is a devastating indictment of Israel’s actions, and is also damning with regard to all the western nations, led by the US, who have been supporting this unprecedented frenzy of civilian slaughter.

According to Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, who, notably, include the nearly 10,000 people buried under the rubble of countless bombing attacks, the total death toll includes 15,370 children and 9,671 women, with 90% of the dead identified as civilians.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor’s latest infographic about the death toll in the Gaza Strip since October 7, 2023.

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After ICJ Genocide Ruling, Israel Shows Contempt for the UN, and Its Western Allies Deepen Their Complicity in the Genocide

A screenshot of an Al Jazeera report about Israel’s ‘war’ on UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), cynically declared after last week’s devastating ruling by the International Court of Justice in relation to well-founded allegations that Israel is engaged in a genocide in Gaza.

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In a devastating ruling issued last Friday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), “the principal judicial organ” of the United Nations, accepted a case brought by South Africa against the State of Israel “concerning alleged violations in the Gaza Strip of [its] obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”, and imposed conditional measures on Israel to prevent what the Court judged to be the grave likelihood of a developing genocide.

As I explained in an article I published shortly after the ruling, “By a majority of 15-2, and in some cases 16-1, the Court found that South Africa had established a compelling case that Israel’s actions, in response to the attacks by Hamas and other armed groups on October 7, were so severe that it is plausible that they constitute genocidal intent under Article II of the Genocide Convention; namely, ‘acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group’, via ‘killing members of the group’, ‘causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group’, ‘deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part’, and ‘imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.’”

The Court ordered Israel to “take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article II of [the] Convention”, and to “ensure with immediate effect that its military forces do not commit any of the above-described acts”, to “take all measures within its power to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip”, and to “take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”

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International Court of Justice: Israel Must Cease All Activities That May Constitute Genocide, Punish Genocidal Officials and Allow Humanitarian Aid into Gaza

Palestinian flags outside the International Court of Justice in The Hague on Friday, January 26, 2024, as the Court’s President, Joan Donoghue, read out the court’s ruling regarding provisional measures relating to South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide. (Photo: Patrick Post/AP).

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Make no mistake about it. Today’s ruling, by the International Court of Justice, imposing provisional measures on Israel under the 1948 Genocide Convention, in response to a submission submitted by South Africa, and argued before the Court on December 29, is hugely significant.

By a majority of 15-2, and in some cases 16-1, the Court found that South Africa had established a compelling case that Israel’s actions, in response to the attacks by Hamas and other armed groups on October 7, were so severe that it is plausible that they constitute genocidal intent under Article II of the Genocide Convention; namely, “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”, via “killing members of the group”, “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group”, “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”, and “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.”

The Court duly ordered that “Israel must, in accordance with its obligations under the Genocide Convention, in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article II of [the] Convention”, and “must ensure with immediate effect that its military forces do not commit any of the above-described acts.”

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Humanity’s Greatest Failure: Turning Genocide in Gaza into a Spectator Sport

An astonishing photo by Ali Jadallah. As he wrote, “Flames and smoke rise in Tel al-Hawa neighborhood as Israeli attacks continue on the 26th day in Gaza City”, November 1, 2023.

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In Gaza, the world is watching a genocide play out in real time, like a vast public spectacle, or, to provide a more current analogy, like the most gruesome reality show.

Over the last month, as the State of Israel has relentlessly bombed the 2.3 million civilians trapped in the “open air prison” of the Gaza Strip, killing over 10,000 people, including over 4,000 children, the world has watched as, via its mainstream media, neighbourhood after neighbourhood has been destroyed and the dead bodies of children and adults are dragged out of the wreckage, with barely a whisper of official dissent.

Political leaders in the west openly support it, news readers talk blandly of those who have died, as though it was some sort of unfortunate but natural occurrence, generally refusing to acknowledge that they have actually been killed, and almost always refusing to name the perpetrators, while armchair genocide supporters, in significant numbers, cheer it on via social media.

Rarely reported are the additional uncomfortable truths that, although voices from within Gaza regularly state that “nowhere in Gaza is safe”, they are unable to leave, even if they wanted to, because Israel has controlled all entry to and exit from the Gaza Strip since 2007, and they are also subjected to a “complete siege”, as promised by the defence minister Yoav Gallant on October 8, whereby supplies of water, food, fuel and medical supplies have been cut off.

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Genocide in Gaza: Death Toll Surpasses That of Srebrenica Massacre; 8,525 Palestinians Killed, Including 3,542 Children

The Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, after its complete destruction in Israeli bombing raids on October 31, 2023 (Photo: Anas al-Shareef/Reuters).

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As you read this, the death toll in Gaza, since Israel began bombing its 2.3 million captive civilians on October 7, has surpassed the number of people killed in the Srebrenica Massacre, during the Bosnian War of 1992-95, when, in a 72-hour period between July 13 and July 15, 1995, 8,372 Muslim men and boys were murdered by Bosnian Serb and Serbian soldiers, in what the Guardian, in 2020, described as “the only massacre on European soil since the second world war to be ruled a genocide.”

As of yesterday, the Ministry of Health in Gaza reported that at least 8,525 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the Israeli military bombardment began 25 days ago — a rate of 340 deaths a day, or 14 every hour, or one every four minutes, meaning that, by the weekend, it can be expected to reach 10,000.

Shamefully, however, although human rights experts and experts in international humanitarian law are already talking openly about Israel’s actions in Gaza being a genocide, the silence from political leaders in the west, and the mostly complicit mainstream media, is profoundly shocking. What, when this all over — as it must be one day, one way or another — will they say in their defence?

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The Erasure of Gaza: The Equivalent of 285 9/11s, Israel’s Guantánamo, and Genocide

Just some of the children killed in Gaza by Israeli bombs since October 7, 2023. Photo via Mustafa Barghouti.

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And so the evil — there is no other word for it — continues, as, after two weeks of unprecedented airstrikes on the trapped civilians of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military continues to increase its attacks, with 704 people, including 305 children and 173 women killed in the last 24 hours.

Last week, when I last wrote about the indiscriminate slaughter of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israel’s merciless and relentless bombing campaign, over a thousand children had been killed in Israeli bombing raids, out of a total death toll of over 3,000.

In just a week, that number has more than doubled.

As the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor reported today, 2,450 children have now been killed by Israel bombing raids, as well as 1,323 women, out of a total of 5,926 people killed overall. In addition, 16,124 people have been wounded, and around 1,500 people are reported missing and buried under rubble, including 830 children.

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How Many Children Must Die? As the Death Toll of Palestinian Children in Gaza Surpasses 1,000, A Ceasefire Is Urgently Required

A Palestinian child stands amidst the ruins of bombed buildings in the Gaza Strip.

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For the last ten days, like all sensitive people everywhere, I’ve been aware that a rift has opened up in the world — a dangerous tear in the very fabric of human decency, of fundamental morality, through which supposed justifications are loudly being made to excuse the killing, in the Gaza Strip, of children, of women, of the elderly and the ill, and of unarmed men “of military age” who have not engaged in any kind of military conflict at all.

It’s an age-old story, sadly. Throughout human history, men — it’s almost always only men — have slaughtered civilians in their quest, or their leaders’ quest for land, power and control. You could be forgiven for thinking that what drives most wars is actually an excuse to unleash these darkest impulses, and that everything else is secondary.

Gideon Levy’s ‘A Brief History of Killing Children’

It’s nearly two years since the great Israeli journalist Gideon Levy wrote an article for Haaretz, Israel’s oldest newspaper, entitled ‘A Brief History of Killing Children’, in which he chronicled the moral decline of the Israeli government from the 1990s to the time of writing through the ways in which Palestinian children have been treated.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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