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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The Horror of Israel’s Bragging, Self-Righteous, Live-Streamed Genocide in Gaza That Also Seeks to Eliminate Fundamental Human Decency

A striking photo taken by Alisdare Hickson at a protest in London on October 21, 2023, via Flickr.

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It’s over two weeks since I’ve written about Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza, but it’s not because I’ve “moved on”, or forgotten about it. On the contrary, it still consumes my every waking hour, an aching anguish that only ever goes away when I somehow manage to distract myself through immersion in some other activity: my long-running work on Guantánamo, for example, or working on my music, or managing to snatch some precious time with my family on a recent weekend break in Dorset.

Mostly, though, the horror engulfs me permanently — the unending horror of one group of people, the State of Israel, whose leaders, media and citizens in vast numbers are committed, with a delirious, maniacal and alarmingly self-righteous enthusiasm, to the annihilation of another, the Palestinians, trapped in the Gaza Strip, a small sliver of land where their ancestors were ethnically cleansed when the State of Israel was created 76 years ago.

Everywhere I look, I see other people struggling to maintain their mental equilibrium in the face of the relentless slaughter that, over the last four months, has claimed 36,671 lives, including 14,031 children and 8,122 women — with the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, which compiled the figures, estimating that 33,590 of those killed (91.6%) were civilians, and also pointing out that an additional 70,180 people have been wounded, many of them severely. Over a thousand children have lost one or both legs, with many amputations having to be conducted without aesthetic, because of Israel’s refusal to allow medical supplies into Gaza, and over 17,000 have been orphaned, known by a new designation of Israel’s making: ‘WCNSF’, which stands for “wounded child, no surviving family.”

The death toll in Gaza, after 130 days of Israel’s relentless genocidal attacks, as compiled by the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor.

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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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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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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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