Tony Greenstein | 22 May 2024 | Post Views:

EXCLUSIVE: ICC Prosecutor Seeks Arrest Warrants for Netanyahu & Hamas Leaders | Amanpour and Company

Below is a second instalment from Tarneem, a young Palestinian woman I met when she was in England. A gifted writer she describes life under Israel’s genocidal occupation and I hope you read her moving story. I carried the first instalment A Day in the Life of Tarneem at the end of April.

I welcome the proposed prosecution of Netanyahu and Gallant and hope that the rest of Israel’s war cabinet and genocidaires, such as Smotrich and Ben Gvir, will follow.

The reaction of the Chief War Criminal, Netanyahu, would be amusing if this were not so tragic.

“ICC prosecutor, with what audacity do you dare compare the monsters of Hamas to the soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world?,” Netanyahu said in his response to the request. He added that he “reject[ed] with disgust the prosecutor’s comparison between democratic Israel and the mass murderers of Hamas.

The ‘monsters of Hamas’ treated their captives impeccably compared to the treatment of Palestinians in Israel’s torture camp, Sde Teiman.

The murder of 40,000 plus Palestinians, including 15,000 children, to say nothing of attacks on hospitals, murder of hundreds of doctors and health staff, bombing of schools etc. don’t count in Netanyahu’s eyes because Palestinians are ‘human animals’ and outside the law.

Netanyahu is fond of weaponising the Holocaust but one comparison he and his fellow war criminals have missed is the fact that Himmler justified the extermination of Jews, in a speech on October 4, 1943, by referring to Jews as ‘human animals’.

As the WW2 National Museum article on Himmler’s October 1943 Speeches says

Russians, Czechs, and other Slavs, Himmler resumed, possessed no inherent value as human beings. For the SS, these “human animals” were only valuable insofar as they labored under the lordship of the superior Aryan Germans

So it is with Israel’s ‘human animals’

When Netanyahu describes Israel’s army as ‘the most moral army in the world’ I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Just today they have killed 3 children in Jenin, which Hamas doesn’t even rule. Their monsters, and here the term is apt, paraded with the underwear of the women they had killed fantasising no doubt about their victims.

But if Israel’s ‘Crime Minister’ is a figure of fun then what of the senile enabler of genocide, Joe Biden who declares that

“The ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous. And let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence – none – between Israel and Hamas. We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.”

Biden is right. There is no equivalence between Hamas and Israel. Hamas killed a few hundred Israelis in the course of their resistance to a 57 year occupation and 17 year siege. Israel has destroyed the whole civilian infrastructure of Gaza plus killing probably 50,000 by now. Only the sick, diseased minds of our imperial rulers, who turn the truth on its head could claim that Israel is the innocent party.

Biden claimed that ‘“I will always ensure that Israel has everything it needs to defend itself against Hamas and all its enemies”. You might imagine that Hamas had been occupying Israeli territory. What Biden and the imperialists are doing of course is supporting Israel’s right to occupy and terrorise Palestinians indefinitely. Of course Palestinians have no such right of self-defence despite the fact that it is they, not Israel which has been under occupation for over half a century.

October 7th was certainly a shock to Israelis but the casualties were just half of those in Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.  It is the idea of fighting back against one’s oppressors that so disturb Biden and Washington’s war criminals, who are no slouches when it comes to committing their own war crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq etc.

Germany has also condemned what it calls the “false equivalence”. Of course the German State is an expert when it comes to genocides so it is no surprise that they approve of the genocide in Gaza. Indeed given the expertise of Germany, having carried out the 20th century’s first genocide in South-West Africa and then the holocaust what is surprising is that they didn’t offer their expertise to the Israelis. After all in 8 months Israel has only killed about 50,000 whereas Germany managed untold millions in the course of 6 years of war.

Perhaps Olaf Scholtz will dispatch the commanders of Germany’s army to teach the Zionists how to go about a really big genocide. Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotoveli spoke in October about killing 600,000 so clearly she and the German state must be disappointed.

Sunak, Biden’s little puppet, also condemned the issuing of warrants saying that it was “not helpful to reaching a pause in the fighting, getting hostages out or humanitarian aid in.” I can’t remember him making similar comments when the ICC rushed out warrants against Putin for the Ukraine war. Perhaps I’m just being forgetful.

Biden said that ‘”What’s happening in Gaza is not genocide. We reject that,” Perhaps Genocide Joe would enlighten us as to how many Israel has to kill bearing in mind the Genocide Convention and Article II which defines genocide as

‘any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its

physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The fact is that there is nothing that Israel can do which won’t meet with Biden’s approval because the United States is not in the habit of kicking its favourite watchdog too hard.

However I don’t welcome the proposed prosecution of Hamas leaders. Clearly Karim Khan felt the need to be ‘even handed’.

I don’t support Hamas politically, after all I’m a Jewish atheist but Hamas is a resistance not a terrorist organisation. It was entitled to break-out on October 7 from the ghetto concentration camp that was Gaza. There is no equivalence between Hamas and the Israeli state, the fourth most powerful in the world, than there was between the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance and the Nazis. Let us bear in mind that the last Commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance, Marek Edelman, made just such a comparison to the fury of Israeli leaders.

As John  Rose wrote in his Obituary for Marek Edelman on 7 October 2009

In the summer of 2002, Edelman, still going strong, intervened in Israel’s show trial of the now jailed Palestinian resistance leader, Marwan Barghouti. He wrote a letter of solidarity to the Palestinian movement, and though he criticised the suicide bombers, its tone infuriated the Israeli government and its press. Edelman had always resented Israel’s claim on the Warsaw Ghetto uprising as a symbol of Jewish liberation. Now he said this belonged to the Palestinians.

He addressed his letter to the Palestinian ZOB, “commanders of the Palestinian military, paramilitary and partisan operations – to all the soldiers of the Palestinian fighting organisations”. The old Jewish anti-Nazi Ghetto fighter had placed his immense moral authority at the disposable of the only side he deemed worthy of it.

It was because Edelman criticised Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians that, despite it trying to co-opt the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance to the Zionist chariot, not even the lowliest clerk at the Israeli Embassy in Poland attended his funeral.  A state funeral in which the Poland President gave the address and at which there was a 15 gun salute.

Would the ICC have prosecuted the Polish Home Army for the Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis or the French Resistance? Of course not yet they undoubtedly committed atrocities. So too with Hamas. Even accepting that they committed some atrocities on October 7, they pale in comparison when compared to Israel’s crimes.

Hamas did not attack an Israeli hospital. They did not murder doctors and nurses. They did not bomb ambulances or schools. They did not raze universities to the ground nor did they attack synagogues.  Israel has razed dozens of mosques and churches to the ground, bombing St. Porphyrius Church in Gaza City, the world’s third oldest church.

Hamas did not torture its captives. On the contrary they praised their ‘humane’ treatment much to the fury of Israel’s practiced propagandists. Some even spoke of being treated like ‘queens’. When one Zionist told me on Twitter that they were suffering from Stockholm Syndrome I asked him why Palestinian captives didn’t suffer from the same syndrome!

Hamas killed some 1139 people on October 7, 400 of whom were military. 38 children including 2 babies died. No one was beheaded, there was no organised rape, these are all discredited Zionist narratives. There are no victims, no forensic evidence and the witnesses to the allegations have confessed that they lied.

There is no evidence that Hamas deliberately killed children, still less babies. Indeed Israel killed probably a majority of Israeli civilians who died because of its Hannibal Directive.

Israel by contrast has killed at least 15,000 children. Slave revolts were far more bloody than Hamas’s Uprising yet would we have condemned them and demanded the ‘right of self defence’ for the slave masters?

The United States is now threatening the court because it was only designed for African dictators and Putin. Not for them! This is the arrogance of imperialism. Their ‘rules based order’ is only for other people, never themselves.

And I learnt today that the so-called pier that Biden claimed was there to funnel aid into Gaza has been found to be channelling weapons to the Israeli state. Their lies are never ending.

Please do read Tarneem’s heart rending description of what it is like to be fleeing from their genocidal army and having to keep moving whilst Biden & Sunak do their best to protect Israel’s Nazi-like war criminals.

Tony Greenstein

Israeli forces have begun their ground offensive on Rafah and have seized control of the border, effectively cutting off lifesaving aid deliveries into Gaza, Palestine. The closure of Rafah crossing is simply a death sentence to everyone in Gaza. It’s a death sentence for thousands of injured and patients listed for medical treatment outside Gaza. It’s a death sentence for Gazans who want to evacuate and escape death. It’s a death sentence for patients waiting life-saving and critical surgeries by international medical teams, who won’t be allowed into Gaza. It’s a slow death sentence for many because soon there will be no food, essentials, or humanitarian aid. Food, fuel, medicine, and basic supplies are running dangerously low in Gaza.

Literally, hundreds of people are dying every single day. It’s a mental death sentence, I already feel further isolated from the rest of the world and literally trapped by military tanks from the southernmost point (Rafah crossing) to the northernmost point (Erez crossing) in Gaza. It’s a political death sentence to a so close agreement between Hamas and Israel. It will be used as a political tool and will impact the negotiations. Meanwhile, more Gazans & probably hostages will lose their lives. Of course, Israel, the US and Egypt lie as much as they breathe and say the crossing is open. It’s open in the sense that trucks can drop stuff in the long line of trucks, but the supply route is not open at all, it’s not safe to get trucks into Gaza from a zone full of military tanks!

I was speaking to Lama, my friend in Rafah, and that’s their story of multiple evacuation.

Lost Count

I don’t even remember how many times we’ve had to pack up our lives and flee. It’s become a cruel routine, a twisted dance of survival in a land that knows nothing but war and chaos. Each time feels like tearing open old wounds, reliving the trauma of displacement repeatedly. I’m from northern Gaza, I initially evacuated to a friend’s house in Jabalia, then to Gaza city. Then, both of our families evacuated to the middle area, then to Khan Younis and by the beginning of December 2023, we were in a tent in Rafah.

I wonder what people think when they read the word evacuation. Do people consider the psychological trauma inherent in the act itself?I left pieces of myself behind at every stop, memories, belongings – it’s all scattered along the way. I left my photo album in the north, my camera in Gaza city, my laptop in the middle area and I have no memories of so many dear friends I have lost. But it’s alright because I still have my life.

Or do people think about the endless debates, the weighing of risks, and the collective anxiety over whether to stay or go, and if so, where to? Do they reflect on the logistical challenges, like the scarcity of available vehicles, which often leave us with no choice but to walk for miles on foot, carrying our mattresses and blankets on our backs. Are people aware of the financial strain imposed by the scarcity and high cost of fuel, making transportation prohibitively expensive? Or do they simply gloss over it as just another word in the endless stream of news about Gaza.

For me, “evacuation” isn’t merely a word – it’s a call to action, a stark reminder of my vulnerability and indignity we endure every day.And now, as Israel issues evacuation orders for eastern Rafah, we find ourselves once again thrust into uncertainty. “We must endure,” I tell myself.

When we got to Rafah, we had no relatives there and couldn’t stay at someone’s house, so we ended up in a tent. We were late to receive help from aid organizations, so we had to make do with whatever we could find – wood beams, old clothes, bits of fabric, anything to give us some shelter. And the swelling demand for shelters and the lack of supply has sent prices for materials skyrocketing, we have spent all our savings by now. Before the war, we had a small tent in Gaza, mainly for our family gatherings at the beach. I wish I had brought it with me but who knew we’ll end up in a tent.

Our days now revolve around the ceaseless quest for survival, even the most basic necessities – water, food, sanitation – are luxuries beyond reach.

Water is like gold for us now. We wash ourselves and drink from a single bucket. I have been washing my clothes by hands for seven months now. Privacy is a luxury we can’t afford. We’re crammed together in tight spaces, and the communal bathroom is a daily queue. I’ve told I’ll get used to it but it’s not easy when everyone knows your business. I literally want to disappear when I’m standing in line for the bathroom, but if I do, I’ll miss my turn.

Cooking is a hassle too. We must scrounge for firewood just to make a meal, and everything smells like smoke afterwards. I miss wearing or smelling perfumes. Our meals are meager and uninspiring, I haven’t had any fruit for months now, not eggs, not meat yet I’m thankful that we still have some food.

Hygiene is a distant memory, a luxury reserved for those who dwell in more fortunate place but not Gaza. There is sand everywhere, clinging to our skin and clothes like a relentless oppressor, even in our food.

We have endured rainy days; and as you can imagine our makeshift tent is not winterproof or waterproof. Our limited belongings have been soaked by rain multiple times.I remember nights of January when we’d be awake because there is rain leakage into the tent. We would have nowhere to go to except to stand up, stay awake until the rain stops, and then start cleaning. Now,we’re enduring scorching heatwaves, it’s like living in an oven. There are pests, including ants, lizards, and snakes. There are flies, and insects all over the place, while our fragile makeshift tent offering little protection from the forces of nature.

We fall ill with alarming frequency, our bodies weakened by malnutrition and exposure to all these circumstances. Yet, there is no respite from our suffering, no sanctuary! I once couldn’t even find a simple painkiller like Panadol in the pharmacies of Gaza.

Living in makeshift tents is a daily battle for survival, a relentless onslaught of deprivation and despair. We are the forgotten ones, the voiceless masses who cling to life with every ounce of strength we possess. There is no other option if you are a survivor so far.  Ijust hope our resilience knows no bounds and our strength never runs out.

We are now at Al Mawasi area in Khan Younis, and it is just another place without adequate shelter, food, water, and medical care. Just another city of tents and surely not safe at all. There is constant fear of airstrikes and shelling, never knowing when the next bomb will fall or if we’ll be the ones caught in its path. We’ll have some bread and sleep on the street because it is too late, and everyone is already tired. Tomorrow, we’ll wake up to build another makeshift tent and start the suffering all over again.

I often find myself wondering if this cycle of displacement will ever come to an end. Will I ever sleep on a bed again, instead of a mattress? Will I ever take a hot shower? Will I ever eat my favourite meal of Pizza and enjoy a cup of soda. Will my house in the north of Gaza be standing? Will there ever be a day when we can finally lay down our roots and build a future for ourselves without fear of it being ripped away?

Hope is a fragile thing in Gaza, a flickering flame in the darkness that threatens to be extinguished at any moment. We cling to it desperately, praying for a glimmer of light to guide us through the darkness. But perhaps the most unbearable part is the constant uncertainty, never knowing when the next evacuation will come or where we’ll end up next. It’s a cruel game of chance, played with our lives as the stakes.

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Tony Greenstein

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