Sense of Deception


Egypt Lifts Its Side Of Gaza Blockade

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(AP) CAIRO — An Egyptian official says the government is temporarily lifting its blockade of the Gaza Strip to allow aid into the area a day after Israel raided an international flotilla carrying supplies to the Palestinian territory and killed nine activists.

The governor of northern Sinai, Murad Muwafi, says President Hosni Mubarak ordered the opening of the border crossing to Gaza in the town of Rafah for several days.

Muwafi says the opening of the crossing – which Egypt sealed after Gaza was taken over by Hamas militants in 2007 – is an effort to “alleviate the suffering of our Palestinian brothers after the Israeli attack” on the flotilla.


Israel arrests soldier and gags media in militant assassination cover-up

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James Hider in Jerusalem

srael has placed one of its former soldiers under house arrest for allegedly leaking details of a controversial policy to kill wanted Palestinian militants, and has slapped a gag order on the national media to prevent it covering the development, according to sources both in the Jewish state and abroad.

The moves are being challenged by the media in a country that prides itself on its freedom of speech. An appeal is expected to be lodged this month by a television news channel and by the centre-left newspaper Haaretz, while the mass-market daily Maariv satirised both the gag and the lack of media defiance by declaring: “Due to a gag order we cannot tell you what we know. Due to laziness, apathy and blind faith in the defence establishment we know nothing at all.”

The case centres on a 23-year-old ex-soldier, Anat Kam, who was arrested in December after finishing her national service, which is compulsory in Israel.

She is reportedly charged with having copied classified documents that showed that Israeli troops had broken their own rules of engagement by killing three Palestinian militants in the West Bank. Six months earlier an Israeli court had all but banned the practice of so-called targeting killings, permitting them only in cases where the wanted suspects could not be safely arrested.

srael has placed one of its former soldiers under house arrest for allegedly leaking details of a controversial policy to kill wanted Palestinian militants, and has slapped a gag order on the national media to prevent it covering the development, according to sources both in the Jewish state and abroad.

The moves are being challenged by the media in a country that prides itself on its freedom of speech. An appeal is expected to be lodged this month by a television news channel and by the centre-left newspaper Haaretz, while the mass-market daily Maariv satirised both the gag and the lack of media defiance by declaring: “Due to a gag order we cannot tell you what we know. Due to laziness, apathy and blind faith in the defence establishment we know nothing at all.”

The case centres on a 23-year-old ex-soldier, Anat Kam, who was arrested in December after finishing her national service, which is compulsory in Israel.

She is reportedly charged with having copied classified documents that showed that Israeli troops had broken their own rules of engagement by killing three Palestinian militants in the West Bank. Six months earlier an Israeli court had all but banned the practice of so-called targeting killings, permitting them only in cases where the wanted suspects could not be safely arrested.


Efforts underway to ‘bury’ UN Gaza report

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Richard Falk, the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, criticized the bureaucratic process the Goldstone report has been going through.

A United Nations expert warns of efforts to “bury” a report by the world body’s fact-finding commission on the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip last January.

Ahead of a Friday vote in the UN General Assembly on a proposed extension for Israeli and Palestinian authorities to investigate the Gaza war crimes charges, Richard Falk criticized the bureaucratic process the report has been going through.

“I think its part of the wider effort basically to bury the recommendations of the Goldstone report, unnecessarily delaying the implementation of its recommendations,” the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories told Ma’an news agency.

He said the prolonged process made the UN less likely to hold accused war criminals accountable and that the delays would “remove the reality of what happened in Gaza from the collective memory of world society.”

A UN Human Rights Council commission led by South African prosecutor Richard Goldstone looked into Israel’s three-week onslaught against Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009 and the deaths of more than 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 13 Israelis.

Goldstone’s report on the war crimes allegations highlighted deliberate targeting of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli army who strafed premises known to hold civilians, and gunned down unarmed people on the run — who had even waved a white flag at times.

The damning 575-page document also accused the Gaza-based Hamas movement for indiscriminate missile and rocket attacks on Israeli positions and risking civilian lives.

The report overwhelmingly endorsed in a UN General Assembly (UNGA) vote in November urged the foe sides to investigate the findings in three months and hold perpetrators accountable, before the report should be forwarded to the Security Council.

The UNGA’s Arab-backed resolution to be put to vote on Friday calls on Israel and the Palestinians “to conduct investigations that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards,” a demand neither of the two sides have managed to meet.

It also asks the UN chief Ban Ki-moon to report back to the assembly “within a period of five months on the implementation of the present resolution, with a view to the consideration of further action, if necessary, by the relevant UN organs and bodies, including the Security Council.”

But Falk was skeptical about the five-month extension which he described as a delay with “no responsible reason,” and what “doesn’t seem like an appropriate response.”

“It’s been well over a year since the events occurred; there’s been ample scrutiny (of Goldstone’s findings)”, he argued

While Israel’s veto-wielding ally, the United States, is largely expected to block any resolution in the UN Security Council on the Goldstone report, human rights advocates accuse Ban and other international organizations of yielding to political pressure and letting the war criminals off the hook.

Falk regretted the efforts in the General Assembly are “ultimately … a bureaucratic parallel to the veto that formally exists in the Security Council.”

“It’s a real litmus test of the UN to surmount geopolitical pressures that collide with legal rights.”


Thirteen Israeli air strikes hit Gaza Strip

The BBC’s Jon Donnison says the strikes were on a “relatively small scale”

Israeli planes have carried out 13 air strikes on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources have told the BBC.

Four of the strikes took place near the town of Khan Younis, where two Israeli soldiers were killed in clashes with Palestinian fighters last week.

Israel says the operation was targeting four weapons factories. Reports say three children were injured.

The latest violence is the most serious since the end of Israel’s assault on Gaza in January 2009.

Palestinians and rights groups say more than 1,400 Gazans died in the conflict, while Israel puts the figure at 1,166. Thirteen Israelis, including three civilians, were killed.

Witnesses and Hamas officials said the latest Israeli raids targeted metal workshops, farms, a milk factory and small sites belonging to the military wing of Hamas.

The director of ambulance and emergency, Muawiya Hassanein, said that three children including an infant were slightly injured by flying debris.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya has called on the international community to intervene in the latest cycle of violence between Gaza and Israel in order to avoid a possible escalation.

“We are contacting the other Palestinian factions in order to reach an internal consensus as to the measures we may take in order to protect our people and strengthen our unity,” Mr Haniya said.

‘Retaliation’

Israel says there have been at least 20 rocket or mortar attacks in the past month that have landed on its territory, one of which killed a farm worker.

The BBC’s Jon Donnison, in Jerusalem, says Read Entire Article


A Rare Voice Of Courage: Journalist Gideon Levy

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By

politicaltheatrics

Published: April 1, 2010

A Rare Voice Of Courage: Journalist Gideon Levy

Gideon Levy is a rare voice of courage in an Israeli media generally supine towards the political establishment. Since 1988, he has written the “Twilight Zone” column for the Israeli daily Haaretz, documenting unflinchingly the myriad cruelties inflicted on the Palestinian people under occupation. In his new book Gaza, a collection of articles which has just been published in French, Levy utters phrases that, by his own admission, are considered “insane” by most of his compatriots. The Electronic Intifada contributor David Cronin spoke with Gideon Levy about his background and journalism.

David Cronin: You were born in Tel Aviv in the 1950s. Were your parents survivors of the Holocaust?

Gideon Levy: They were not Holocaust survivors, they just left Europe in 1939. My father was from Germany, my mother Czech. Both were really typical refugees because my father came on an illegal ship, which was stopped for half a year in Beirut by the British and only after half a year on the ocean could it make it to Palestine. My mother came on a project with Save the Children. She came without her parents directly to a kibbutz.

My father always said he never found his place in Israel. He lived there for 60 years but his life was ruined. He had a PhD in law but never practiced it in Israel. He never really spoke proper Hebrew. I think he was really traumatized all his life.

At the same time, he never wanted to go back [to Europe] even for a visit. He came from Sudetenland, which became Czechoslovakia. All the Germans were expelled.

DC: How did your parents’ history affect you when you were growing up?

GL: I was a typical first-generation immigrant. When my mother used to talk to me in German, I was so ashamed that she spoke to me in a foreign language. Her name was Thea; I always said it was Lea. Thea is a Greek name from mythology. It is a beautiful name but as a child I always said Lea just to cover up the fact they were immigrants.

My father’s family name was Loewy and for so many years I was called Loewy. But then I changed it to Levy and now I regret it so much.

DC: Tell me about your military service in the Israeli army.

GL: I did my military service in the [army’s] radio station. I was always a good Tel Aviv boy; I had mainstream views; I was not brought up in a political home.

I was at the radio station for four years instead of three [the standard length of military service] but for the fourth year as a civilian. It’s a very popular radio station; the army finances it but it is totally civilian.

I was totally blind to the occupation. It was a word I didn’t dare to pronounce. I was a typical product of the Israeli brainwash system, without any doubts or questions. I had a lot of national pride; we are the best.

I remember my first trip to the occupied territories [the West Bank and Gaza Strip]. There were a lot of national emotions visiting Rachel’s Tomb and the mosque in Hebron. I didn’t see any Palestinians then; I just remember the white sheets on the terraces. I was even convinced that they were happy we had conquered them, that they were so grateful we released the Palestinians from the Jordanian regime.

DC: What was the turning point that caused you to criticize the occupation?

GL: There was no turning point. It was a gradual process. It started when I started to travel to the occupied territories as a journalist for Haaretz. It is not as if I decided one day, “I have to cover the occupation.” Not at all. I was attracted gradually like a butterfly to a fire or to a light.

My political views were shaped throughout the years; it’s not that there was one day that I changed. It was really a gradual process in which I realized this is the biggest drama: Zionism, the occupation. And at the same time I realized there was no one to tell it to the Israelis. I always brought exclusive stories because almost nobody was there. In the first [Palestinian] intifada, there was more interest in the Israeli media. But between the first intifada and the second intifada, I really found myself almost alone in covering the Palestinian side.

DC: Have you completely rejected Zionism?

GL: Zionism has many meanings. For sure, the common concept of Zionism includes the occupation, includes the perception that Jews have more rights in Palestine than anyone else, that the Jewish people are the chosen people, that there can’t be equality between Jews and Arabs, Jews and Palestinians. All those beliefs which are very basic in current Zionism, I can’t share them. In this sense, I can define myself as an anti-Zionist.

On the other hand, the belief about the Jewish people having the right to live in Palestine side by side with the Palestinians, doing anything possible to compensate the Palestinians for the terrible tragedy that they went through in 1948, this can also be called the Zionist belief. In this case, I share those views.

DC: If somebody was to call you a moderate Zionist would you have any objections?

GL: The moderate Zionists are like the Zionist left in Israel, which I can’t stand. Meretz and Peace Now, who are not ready, for example, to open the “1948 file” and to understand that until we solve this, nothing will be solved. Those are the moderate Zionists. In this case, I prefer the right-wingers.

DC: The right-wingers are more honest?

GL: Exactly.

DC: As an Israeli Jew, have you encountered hostility from Palestinians during your work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories?

GL: Never. And this is unbelievable. I’ve been traveling there for 25 years now. I’ve been to [the scene of] most of the biggest tragedies one day after they happened. There were people who lost five children, seven children in one case.

I was always there the morning after and I would have appreciated if they told me, “Listen we don’t want to talk to an Israeli, go away.” Or if they would tell me: “You are as guilty as much as any other Israeli.” No, there was always an openness to tell the story. There was this naive belief or hope that if they tell it to the Israelis through me, the Israelis will change, that one story in the Israeli media might also help them.

They don’t know who I am. The grassroots have never heard about me; it’s not like I have a name there. The only time we were shot in our car was by Israeli soldiers. That was in the summer 2003. We were traveling with a yellow-plate taxi, an Israeli taxi: bullet-proof, otherwise I wouldn’t be here now. It was very clear it was an Israeli taxi. We were following a curfew instruction. An officer told us: “You can go through this road.” And when we went onto this road, they shot us. I don’t think they knew who we were. They were shooting us as they would shoot anyone else. They were trigger-happy, as they always are. It was like having a cigarette. They didn’t shoot just one bullet. The whole car was full of bullets.

DC: Have you been in Gaza recently?

GL: I have been prevented from going there. The last time I was there was in November 2006. As I mention in the foreword of my book, I was visiting the Indira Gandhi kindergarten in Gaza the day after a nurse [Najwa Khalif], the teacher in the kindergarten, was killed in front of all her children [by an Israeli missile]. When I came in, they were drawing dead bodies, with airplanes in the sky and a tank on the ground. I just went to the funeral of the nurse. It was called the Indira Gandhi kindergarten not because [assassinated Indian prime minister] Indira Gandhi was involved but because the owner of this kindergarten was named Indira Gandhi as an appreciation of Indira Gandhi.

DC: You have often talked about how you enjoy complete freedom to write anything you wish. But do you get the impression that life is getting more difficult for people with critical voices in Israel and that the government is actively trying to stifle dissent?

GL: Me personally, writing for Haaretz, appearing on TV, practically I have never gained such freedom. I’m appearing every week on Israeli TV on a discussion program. There were years in which I had to be more cautious, there were years in which the words “crimes of war” were illegal, even in Haaretz. Today, those words are over and I’m totally, totally free. No pressure from government or army — nothing.

But for sure, in the last year there have been real cracks in the democratic system of Israel. [The authorities have been] trying to stop demonstrators from getting to Bilin [a West Bank village, scene of frequent protests against Israel’s wall]. But there’s also a process of delegitimizing all kinds of groups and [nongovernmental organizations] and really to silence many voices. It’s systematic — it’s not here and there. Things are becoming much harder. They did it to “Breaking the Silence” [a group of soldiers critical of the occupation] in a very ugly but very effective way. Breaking the Silence can hardly raise its voice any more. And they did it also to many other organizations, including the International Solidarity Movement, which are described in Israel as enemies.

DC: Did you ever meet Rachel Corrie, the American peace activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer seven years ago?

GL: I never met her, unfortunately. I just watched the film about her last week. Rachel, James Miller and Tom Hurndall were all killed within six or seven weeks, one after the other, in the same place in Gaza, more or less. It was very clear this was a message.

DC: What do you think of her parents’ decision to sue the State of Israel over her killing?

GL: Wonderful. I saw them both when they were in Israel. They are really so noble. They speak about the tragedy of the soldier who killed their daughter, that he is also a victim. And they are so low-key. I admire the way they are handling it and I hope they will win. They deserve compensation, apologies, anything. Their daughter was murdered.

I participated in a film about James Miller, a documentary by the BBC. James Miller’s story is even more heart-breaking. There was a real murder. They knew he was a journalist, he was a photographer, he had his vest saying “Press.” It was very clear he was a journalist. And they just shot him.

DC: How do you feel about Israel’s so-called insult toward the US, when it announced the construction of new settlements in East Jerusalem during a visit to the Middle East by US Vice President Joe Biden?

GL: I really think it is too early to judge. Something is happening. For sure, there is a change in the atmosphere. For sure, [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is sweating. And the question is: do the Americans have a clear program?

One thing must be clear: Israel has never depended so much on the United States like it does today. Until now [Barack] Obama has made all the possible mistakes. His first year was wasted. But still we have to give them [the Americans] a chance because for sure there is a change in the tone. But I’m afraid their main goal now is to get rid of Netanyahu. And if this is the case, it will not lead anywhere. Anyone who will replace him will be more of the same, just nicer. It will be again this masquerade of peace process, of photo opportunities, of niceties which don’t lead anywhere. From this point of view, I prefer a right-wing government. At least, what you see is what you get.

DC: Spain, the current holder of the European Union’s (EU) rotating presidency, appears keen to strengthen the EU’s relationship with Israel. What signal would deeper integration of Israel into the EU’s political and economic programs send?

GL: I think it would be shameful to reward Israel now. To reward it for what? For building more settlements? But I think also that Europe will follow changes in Washington like it follows almost blindly anything the Americans do.

DC: There was a minor controversy recently about the fact that Ethan Bronner, The New York Times’ correspondent in Jerusalem, has a son in the Israeli army. Do you have any children in the army and do you think that Bronner was compromised by this matter?

GL: My son is serving in the army. My son doesn’t serve in the territories but I have always disconnected myself from my sons. They have their own lives and I haven’t tried to influence them.

About Ethan Bronner, it’s really a very delicate question. The fact there are so many Jewish reporters, Zionist reporters who report for their national media from the Middle East, for sure is a problem. On the other hand, I know from my own experience, you can have a son serving in the army and be very critical yourself. I wouldn’t make this a reason for not letting him cover the Middle East for The New York Times, even though I must tell you that I don’t see the possibility where The New York Times’ correspondent in Jerusalem is someone whose son is serving in the [Palestinian resistance organization] al-Aqsa Brigades, for example.

DC: What role can journalists play in trying to achieve a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

GL: There is an enormous historic role that the Israeli media is playing. The Israeli media, which is a free media, free of censorship, free of governmental pressure, has been dehumanizing the Palestinians, demonizing them. Without the cooperation of the Israeli media, the occupation would not have lasted so long. It is destructive in ways I cannot even describe. It’s not Romania, it’s not Soviet Russia. It’s a free democracy, the media could play any role but it has chosen to play this role. The main thing is about the flow of information. It is so one-sided, so much propaganda and lies and ignorance.


Israel pounds Gaza with missiles

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Hamas said that Israeli missiles hit two caravans,
a cheese factory and a metal foundry [AFP]

Three children have been reported injured in eastern Gaza City after Israeli aircraft carried out a series of missile attacks across the Palestinian territory.

Palestinian hospital officials said the children were injured by flying debris after the air raids that came in the early hours of Friday.

Al Jazeera’s Casey Kauffman, reporting from Gaza, said there were attacks in at least six locations.

He said that work on tunnels, which are often used for smuggling goods into the blockaded territory, had stopped for fear of the strikes and the Hamas government had also ordered police stations across Gaza to be evacuated.

Witnesses and Hamas officials said that Israeli missiles hit two caravans near the town of Khan Younis and a cheese factory, while helicopters attacked a metal foundry in the Nusseirat refugee camp.

‘Rocket fire response’

The Israeli military said it had targeted weapons manufacturing and storage facilities in the central Gaza Strip, in Gaza City in the north and the southern Gaza Strip, all in response to rockets fired from the territory.

Nearly 20 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip during March, killing one man in the community of Netiv Ha’Asara and doubling the number of rockets fired this year,” a statement from the Israeli army said.

“The IDF [Israeli military] will not tolerate any attempt to harm the citizens of the State of Israel and will continue to operate firmly against anyone who uses terror against it. The IDF holds Hamas as solely responsible for maintaining peace and quiet in the Gaza Strip.

Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland, reporting from Jerusalem, said the rocket attack came despite a warning earlier in the day by the Israeli military that it would “respond harshly against any attempt to disrupt the calm in Israel’s southern communities”.

There was no claim of responsibility for Thursday’s lone rocket, which caused no casualties, but the Israeli army had said in its earlier statement that it held Hamas, the Palestinian faction which controls Gaza, “solely responsible for maintaining peace and quiet in and around” the territory.

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, told Al Jazeera that Hamas held the Israeli government led by Binyamin Netanyahu responsible for the “escalation”, but said the air raids had been expected because of threats by Ehud Barak, the defence minister, and other ministers.

He also blamed “the international community and the Arabs” for failing “to do anything about the situation in Gaza”.

“The absence of the international community and the Arabs has allowed the Israelis to escalate the situation,” he said.


Israel’s Chronological Nuclear Profile

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By politicaltheatrics Published: March 14, 2010
Israel’s Chronological Nuclear Profile

Nuclear Chronology

1947-1959

This annotated chronology is based on the data sources that follow each entry. Public sources often provide conflicting information on classified military programs. In some cases we are unable to resolve these discrepancies, in others we have deliberately refrained from doing so to highlight the potential influence of false or misleading information as it appeared over time. In many cases, we are unable to independently verify claims. Hence in reviewing this chronology, readers should take into account the credibility of the sources employed here.

Inclusion in this chronology does not necessarily indicate that a particular development is of direct or indirect proliferation significance. Some entries provide international or domestic context for technological development and national policymaking. Moreover, some entries may refer to developments with positive consequences for nonproliferation.

Mid 1947
Chairman of the Jewish Agency David Ben Gurion creates a scientific department at the headquarters of Haganah, the semi-official Jewish defense organization, and allocates it a mandatory annual budget of 10,000 pounds.
—Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 11.

1948
Israeli scientist Ernst David Bergmann contends that “by developing atomic energy for peaceful uses, you reach the nuclear option. There are no two atomic energies.”
—’Israel to Honor Atom Scientist,” New York Times, 14 May 1966 as cited in Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 16.

1948
Israeli scientist actively explore the Negev Desert for uranium deposits on orders of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. These efforts reveal low-grade deposits near Sidon and Beersheba.
—Cordesman, Anthony, Perilous Prospects: The Peace Process and the Arab-Israeli Military Balance (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1996), 118.

March 1948
The General Staff of Haganah officially recognizes the scientific unit as a staff unit in the operations branch. This unit is responsible for coordinating and assigning tasks to the newly created Ha’il Mada, or Science Corps, commonly know by the Hebrew acronym HEMED.
—Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 11.

April 1948
In a letter to an operative in Europe, Ben Gurion instructs him to recruit Eastern European scientists who can “either increase the capacity to kill masses or cure masses; both things are important.”
—Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 11.

14 May 1948
Israel declares itself a sovereign state after the British withdraw from Palestine.

Late 1948
Ben Gurion meets with Jewish, Palestinian-born physicist Moshe Sordin, who is working on construction of the first French nuclear reactor.
—Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 25.

1949
The newly created Weizmann Institute of Science actively supports nuclear research by funding the postgraduate education of promising young Israeli scientist abroad. These scientists are intended to become the foundation of a nuclear weapons program.
— Interview with Gur, Shlomo by the author, Tel Aviv, 20 July 1992 as cited in Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 26, Jabber, Faud, Israel and Nuclear Weapons: Present Options and Future Strategies (London: Chatto & Windus, 1971), 17, Harkavy, Robert E.,Spectre of a Middle East Holocaust: The Strategic and Diplomatic Implications of the Israeli Nuclear Weapons Program (Denver, CO: University of Denver for Monograph Series in World Affairs, 1977), 5 as cited in Pry, Peter, Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal (Boulder, Colorado: Westview, 1984), 5-6.

1949
The Weizmann Institute establishes a Department of Isotope Research.
—Green, Stephen, Taking Sides, America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel, (New York: William and Morrow Company, 1984), 148.

1949
Francis Perrin, a member of the French Atomic Energy Commission and nuclear physicist, visits the Weizerman Institute. He invites Israeli scientists to the new French research facility at Saclay and a joint research effort is subsequently set up between the two states.
—”Former Official Says France Helped Build Israel’s Dimona Complex,”Nucleonics Week, 16 Octover 1986, 6.

Late 1940s and early 1950s
The U.S. Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health provide financial support to the Weizmann Institute on defense-related projects.
— Green, Stephen, Taking Sides, America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel, (New York: William and Morrow Company, 1984), 177.

15 July 1951
David Ben Gurion appoints Ernst David Bergmann his scientific advisor.
—Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 28.

June 1952
Israel secretly founds its own Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) under the control of the Israeli Defense Ministry.
—Pry, Peter, Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal (Boulder, Colorado: Westview, 1984), 5-6, Green, Stephen, Taking Sides, America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel, (New York: William and Morrow Company, 1984), 149.

1953
Israeli scientists perfect the uranium extraction process and develop a new procedure for making heavy water, both essential components of a nuclear weapons program.
—”Israel’s nuclear defense history,” Los Angeles Times, 12 October 2003.

1953
Technical exchanges between the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) and the French Commissariat of Atomic Energy (CEA) begin and a formal agreement on cooperation between France and Israel in nuclear research is drafted.
— Green, Stephen, Taking Sides, America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel, (New York: William and Morrow Company, 1984), 149.

1953
In an effort to cultivate a scientific relationship with French officials, Ernst David Bergmann negotiates with CEA officials the sale of two patents (chemical uranium extraction and heavy water production) for possible commercial production. Israel receives 60 million (old) francs for the new technology.
—Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 33.

December 1953
President Dwight Eisenhower launches the Atoms for Peace campaign in an address before the United Nations General Assembly, calling for the establishment of an international uranium stockpile to be controlled and dispensed by a new international atomic energy agency. This program will later lead to the construction of the research reactor at Nachal Soreq.
— Green, Stephen, Taking Sides, America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel, (New York: William and Morrow Company, 1984), 154-6.

Late 1953
Two Israeli scientists, Zvi Lipkin and Israel Pelah, are sent to the French Nuclear Research Centers at Saclay and Chatillon to study reactor physics.
—Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 33.

20 January 1954
Israeli Defense Minister Pinhas Lavon makes the decision to move the physics department of Machon 4 to the Weizmann Institute. On 1 May of the same year the Department of Nuclear Physics at the Weizmann Institute is founded, with Amos de Shalit as its head.
—Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 38.

1955 to 1960
Under the auspices of the Atoms for Peace program, 56 Israelis receive training in the United States Atomic Energy Commission research centers at the Argonne National Laboratory and at Oak Ridge.
— Pry, Peter, Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal (Boulder, Colorado: Westview, 1984), 6.

1955 to 1967
Israel spends over $600 million purchasing weapons from France, including $75 million for a nuclear reactor.
— Green, Stephen, Taking Sides, America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel, (New York: William and Morrow Company, 1984), 150.

12 July 1955
Under the Atoms for Peace program, Israel and the United States sign a general agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation, including an agreement for the sale of a small research reactor. It is to be a light water or “swimming pool” type, 5-megawatt reactor.
— Pry, Peter, Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal (Boulder, Colorado: Westview, 1984), 5, Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 44.

1956
Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion writes that “what Einstein, Oppenheimer, and Teller, the three of them are Jews, made for the United States could also be done by scientist in Israel for their own people.”
—Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 12.

11 April 1956
A large IAEC delegation visits the AEC headquarters to discuss Israel’s nuclear plans.
—Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 51.

22 June 1956
Precipitated by a Czech-Egyptian arms deal of the previous year that more than doubles Egypt’s conventional forces, Israel formalizes a comprehensive security understanding with the French government of Guy Mollet in the city of Vermars.
—Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 48-9.

Mid-1956
The IAEC submits the information needed for its request for a $350,000 American grant for a small, pool-type reactor.
—Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 52.

21 September 1956
Israeli Director-General of the Defense Ministry Shimon Peres meets with French Foreign Minister Maurice Bourges-Maunoury, who agrees to provide Israel with a nuclear reactor. The agreement is reached at a secret meeting held outside Paris where they also finalize the specifics of Israel’s role in the Suez Canal operation. Israeli support in the Suez operation is accepted in exchange for French aid to Israel’s nuclear efforts.
—Golan, Matti, Peres (Tel Aviv: Schocken Books, 1982), 54 as cited in Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi, Every Spy a Prince: the Complete History of Israel’s Intelligence Community, (Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990), 63-69.

29 October 1956
The Suez operation begins. For the United Kingdom and France, the operation is a failure. Despite Israeli military success, Britton and France cede to a ceasefire in response to pressure from the U.S. and Soviet Union, which issues an implicit threat of nuclear attack if Israel does not withdraw from the Sinai.
—Farr, Warner, The Third Temple’s Holy of Holies: Israel’s Nuclear Weapons, September 1999, <http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/awc-cps.htm&gt;.

November 1956
Under the direction of President Guy Mollet, the French government agrees to supply Israel with a twenty-four-thermal-megawatt natural uranium reactor. From this point on, French and Israeli scientists collaborate towards the development of their respective nuclear weapons programs.
—Weissman, Steve and Krosney, Herbert, The Islamic Bomb: the Nuclear Threat to Israel and the Middle East, (New York, New York: Times Books, 1981), 111-112.

1957
Several West German newspapers report that Israelis and Germans are working together on atomic weapons technology.
—Peter, Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal (Boulder, Colorado: Westview, 1984), 35.

1957
The Eisenhower administration inquires about the establishment of a strict security zone and heavy construction occurring at Dimona, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion responds with assurances that the project is a textile plant. Later, the project is called a pumping station.
— Green, Stephen, Taking Sides, America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel, (New York: William and Morrow Company, 1984), 151.

Early 1957
The EL-102 reactor that France had agreed to supply to Israel before the Suez operation is upgraded to a large plutonium-processing reactor along the same lines as the French G-1 reactor at Marcoule (40-MW thermal power).
—Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 58.

20 March 1957
Israel signs a formal agreement with the United State for the construction of a small swimming-pool research reactor at Nachal Soreq as part of the Atoms for Peace program.
—Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 65.

3 October 1957
A formal agreement for the construction of the Dimona nuclear facility is signed by French officials. Shimon Peres assures French Foreign Minister Christian Peneau that the reactor will be used only for “scientific research.”
— Green, Stephen, Taking Sides, America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel, (New York: William and Morrow Company, 1984), 150, Cohen, Avner,Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 58-9, Pry, Peter, Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal (Boulder, Colorado: Westview, 1984), 12.

1958
The United States becomes aware of the existence of the Dimona reactor via U-2 spy-plane overflights, but is not identified as a nuclear site.
—Cordesman, Anthony, Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 15 April 2003.

Early 1958
Ground is broken for the EL-102 reactor at the Dimona complex.
— Farr, Warner, The Third Temple’s Holy of Holies: Israel’s Nuclear Weapons, September 1999, <http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/awc-cps.htm&gt;.

15 April 1958
Ernst David Bergmann denies that French-Israeli cooperation goes beyond exchange of information on uranium chemistry and heavy water.
—Cohen, Avner, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Colombia University Press, 1998), 82.

1959
Norway sells 20 tons of heavy water to Israel for use in an experimental power reactor. Despite the fact that under the conditions of the transaction Norway retains the right to inspect the heavy water for over 30 years, it does so only once, in April 1961, while it is still in storage drums at the Dimona complex.
— Mihollin, Gary, “Heavy Water Cheaters,” Foreign Policy (1987-88), 100-119


Two IDF soldiers charged with using 9-year-old ‘human shield’ in Gaza war

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IDF court free soldier convicted of beating Palestinian, rejects demand to return officer to the ranks.

The Israel Defense Forces prosecution on Thursday filed an indictment against two combat soldiers suspected of inappropriate conduct during Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip in 2008.

The soldiers, who served as staff sergeants in the Givati Brigade during Operation Cast Lead, allegedly forced a 9-year-old Palestinian boy to open a number of bags they thought might contain explosive materials. The bags turned out to be harmless.

The soldiers, who breached the army’s rule against using civilians as human shields during war, will be tried for violating their authority and for inappropriate conduct. An Israeli military official said the soldiers could face up to three years in jail.

The incident in question occurred in the Tel Al-Hawa neighborhood in south Gaza City in January 2009, toward the end of the war.

The military said it opened the investigation after the incident was brought to its attention by the United Nations, but emphasised it was “completely unrelated” to a report issued by United Nations investigator Richard Goldstone.

Israel has said it opened 36 criminal investigations into complaints of improper conduct by its troops during the fighting with Hamas gunmen, much of which occurred in residential areas.

Last month a senior Israeli field officer in the Gaza war was reprimanded over artillery shelling in a heavily populated area that hit a United Nations compound during the fighting.

IDF court releases soldier convicted of beating Palestinian

In a separate incident earlier Thursday, the military court ordered the release of Adam Malul, an IDF officer convicted in December on charges of aggravated assault and conduct unbecoming an officer after hitting a Palestinian in the West Bank.

In sentencing the officer, 1st Lt. (res.) Adam Malul of the Kfir infantry brigade, the court ruled that he had already served a sufficient punishment after spending 64 days in jail and a further 32 days under house arrest.

The court also rejected a request by the prosecution to demote Malul to the rank of private.

Malul was convicted in of hitting a man while making an arrest in the West Bank village of Kadum in September 2008.

In its December verdict, the court rejected testimony by a former commander of the Kfir infantry brigade, Col. Itai Virob, and a former commander of the Shimshon unit, Lt. Col. Shimon Harush, in which they justified hitting Palestinian detainees under exceptional circumstances.

Malul’s family has said that the trial was a smear campaign against him and accused the court of scape-goating him while acquitting his superiors.

During his trial, Malul testified that he was not ashamed of hitting the Palestinian man, saying, “It was what I had to do”.

However, GOC Central Command Gadi Shamni testified during the military trial that IDF soldiers were not authorized to attack Palestinian civilians during arrest raids, adding that those who cross the army’s “red lines” must be put to trial.

Shamni added that the IDF never authorized the use of such aggression during questioning of detainees.


Turkey Has Guts to Say to Israel: ‘We Will Not Condone Genocide’

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Turkey and Israel’s once-close relations have been hurt by the Gaza war. Turkey canceled military exercises this week, while Israel protested a Turkey state-TV series that shows Israelis killing Palestinians in cold blood.

By Yigal Schleifer

Israel and Turkey’s once-close ties have entered a frosty period in recent years, particularly since Israel’s invasion of Gaza this past January. But ties
between the two countries took a further dive recently when Turkey indefinitely postponed annual military exercises because of Israel’s planned involvement.

Israeli officials this week also expressed outrage over a new drama series being shown on Turkish state television that shows Israeli soldiers mercilessly killing Palestinians, including one scene of a soldier shooting a young girl at point-blank range.

Observers say the new tension between the two countries may be another indication that Turkey’s changing domestic and foreign policy considerations are leading to a redefinition of the country’s relationship with Israel.

“In Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s ideological framework, Israel doesn’t play a central role. Things have changed,” says Ofra Bengio, an expert on Turkey at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Ankara, for the past few years, has actively sought to establish itself as a kind of regional soft-power broker, working to strengthen relations with neighbors that it has previously kept at an arm’s length, most notably Syria and Iran, both of which flank its eastern border.

Turkey also inked an agreement with Armenia recently that will move the two long-hostile countries toward renewed diplomatic ties.

Davutoglu—the main architect of this new foreign policy—and 10 other ministers visited Syria on Oct. 13 for the first meeting of a newly created “Strategic Cooperation Council” and to sign an agreement doing away with visa requirements between the two countries. This change reflects a fundamental shift from the period when Turkey and Israel began developing their strategic relationship. At the time, the two looked at countries like Syria as a common threat. Turkey and Syria almost went to war in the late 1990s after Ankara accused Damascus of supporting the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

But observers say that domestic changes in Turkey, particularly the diminishing power of the military, are also playing a role in the changing nature of Turkey and Israel’s relationship.

“Had it been up to the military, the exercise would have continued as planned, but the military can’t dictate its policies on the government the way it used to,” says Lale Kemal, a military affairs analyst based in Ankara. “The equation is changing. We see this in other areas and in the Turkish-Israeli relationship also.”


Israeli Army Refuser UK Interview – IDF Magav Refusenik From West Jerusalem.flv