Olmert warns on Gaza invasion: This could be the "last minute" + "Hamas must be stopped"

Today, Thursday, is Christmas day, and much of the world’s focus is on Christian celebrations in Bethlehem, believed to be the birthplace of Christ.

But not far away, one of the most densely-populated areas on earth — Gaza, worn down after more than a year of tightening Israeli Defense Ministry sanctions, and nearly three years of international sanctions imposed after the Hamas victory in Palestinian Legislative Council elections — prepares for what appears to be an imminent Israeli invasion.

On Wednesday, the Israeli cabinet cabinet appeared to approve a military response to escalating “projectile” fire from the Gaza Strip. A report in Haaretz said that “The cabinet discussed the situation in the Gaza Strip for about an hour [on Wednesday], during which the ministers were presented with various options for an Israel Defense Force response to ongoing Qassasm missile strikes in the western Negev. The actions are to constitute a gradual escalation, particularly from the air to hit Hamas government and military ‘assets’ in the Gaza Strip”. This article can be read in full here.

Israeli Prime Minister Olmert warned today in an interview with Al-Arabiyya television that this could be the “last minute”, as his successor as head of the Kadima Party, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, flew to Cairo to discuss the situation with Egyptian President Husni Mubarak.

In the interview, Olmert called on the people of Gaza to rise up and stop Hamas, just as George Herbert Walker Bush wanted the Shi’a to rise up against Saddam Hussein just after the Desert Storm action was stopped against Iraq in 1991. Olmert said, according to a transcript provided by the Israeli government press office, that: “Israel withdrew from Gaza approximately three years ago not in order to return to it. I appeal to the residents of Gaza: I speak to you as a father and grandfather and I know that there is nothing I want less than to put my children and grandchildren in danger. Is it the spirit of Islam to kill innocent children? To shoot rockets at kindergartens and at civilians? I do not think that this is the spirit of Islam. Hamas, which does this against the spirit of Islam, is the main reason for your suffering – for all of ours. I say to you in a last-minute call, stop it. Stop it. You the citizens of Gaza, you can stop it. I know how much you want to get up in the morning to quiet, to take your children to kindergarten or school, the way we do, the way they want to in Sderot and Netivot. Hamas is the enemy of the residents – not only in Israel but in Gaza. We want to live as good neighbors with Gaza. We do not want to harm you. We will not allow a humanitarian crisis and that you should suffer from a lack of food or medicines. We do not want to fight the Palestinian people but we will not allow Hamas to strike our children. We have very great and destructive strength – which we do not wish to use. I think of the tens of thousands of children and innocents who will be in danger as a result of Hamas’s actions. Do not let the murderers of Hamas, which is acting against the values of Islam, put you in danger. Could I allow more missiles against the residents of Israel? More strikes at children and civilians and do nothing? Certainly not. Hamas is firing at us and at the power station that is supposed to supply electricity to Gaza. Stop them. Stop your enemies and ours. Tell them to stop shooting at innocents. I did not come here to declare war. I have said in the past – as long as I am Prime Minister, I intend to reach peace with, not fight, the Palestinians. But Hamas must be stopped – and so it will be. I will not hesitate to use Israel’s strength to strike at Hamas and Islamic Jihad. How? I do not wish to go into details here.”

One major deterrent against a major Israeli military operation in Gaza, until the increase in fighting and counter-attacks in recent weeks has changed the calculation, was the estimated cost for an Israeli “re-occupation”: 17 million shekels a day, or $500 million shekels a month, not counting the costs of supporting the military, but just for basic necessities like Pampers and food for 1.5 million Gazans.

It was later reported that Mubarak told Livni that Israel should exercise “restraint” — this is not exactly asking Israel to desist.

In fact, it looked as if Mubarak was condoning an Israeli military action, so long as it would somehow be conducted with “restraint”. Indeed, Mubarak expressed concern about the “humanitarian” situation in Gaza.

According to another report in Haaretz, “Egypt has informed Israel that it would not object to a limited Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, the London-based newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi reported Wednesday.The paper claimed that Egyptian Intelligence chief, Omar Suleimanm, met last week with Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry’s diplomatic-security department, and rejected Gilad’s request that Cairo use its influence to persuade Hamas to extend a truce with Israel that expired last Friday. At the same time, the paper said, Suleiman told Gilad that Egypt would not object to a limited Israeli operation in Gaza aimed at toppling the Hamas government … According to the report, which has yet to be confirmed by any other source, Cairo is furious with Hamas for having torpedoed Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation talks between the Islamic movement and the rival Fatah party, which controls the West Bank, last month [9-10 November]. The paper said that Suleiman accused ‘Meshal’s gang’ – a reference to the Damascus-based head of Hamas’ political bureau, Khaled Meshal – of behaving arrogantly toward Egypt, and added that there was no choice but ‘to educate the Hamas leadership – even in Damascus’. The report sparked outraged reactions in Hamas, and the movement’s Al-Aqsa television station interviewed several senior Hamas officials who lambasted Egyptian policy”. This report can be read in full here.

Livni said later that she would not presume to ask Egypt’s permission to “invade” Gaza.

Ma’an news agency reported that “Former deputy Israeli defence minister, Efraim Sneh [who is still a member of the Israeli Knesset] on Wednesday called on the Israeli government to carry out a military mission against Hamas offices in Damascus if the Palestinians continue to shell Israeli towns bordering the Gaza Strip. He added that Syria must dismiss Hamas officials or at least leash Hamas”. This can be found here.

The Israeli press and the international news agencies which report from Israel reported this morning that “The defense establishment is currently preparing for a military move against Hamas targets in Gaza, after the Islamist group launched more than 80 rockets into Israel on Wednesday. As an initial retaliatory measure, an Israel Air Force strike killed a Hamas gunman in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday. Israel’s response will go beyond the air raid, an Israeli official told Haaretz. ‘Our response will be substantial and painful to Hamas’, the official said … During a cabinet meeting about the situation in and outside the Gaza Strip, a senior Israel Defense Forces officer gave ministers in attendance an overview of the potential retaliatory moves that the defense establishment is planning against Hamas’ regime. Most strikes will come from the air and be aimed at facilities believed to be of strategic importance to Hamas’ political and military leadership. However, the officer said that weather conditions are currently preventing the air force from launching the raids … Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government said it had shown restraint until now but vowed to act if the salvoes continued. The same official said that Israel would be willing to extend the June cease-fire, which expired last week, if Hamas would agree to resuming it … Sources close to Livni said she intended to tell Mubarak that Israel will not accept Hamas’ current terms for a ceasefire. Hamas’ statements also contained a similar mix of threats and assurances … Other spokespeople said the organization will agree to ‘resume’ the ceasefire, if the organization’s conditions are met. Hamas is demanding an improved ceasefire agreement, that also includes the West Bank”. These details were reported in Haaretz here.

Another analysis in Haaretz says that “The sharp turns that Hamas has made in its policy concerning the cease-fire with Israel more resembles a speeding racecar than a government policy. Despite statements that the organization’s top-brass have made about being willing to resume the cease-fire in its previous format, the resumption of massive Qassam fire from Gaza to Israel indicates that Hamas may have decided to push for a head-on confrontation with Israel. However, despite the significant escalation as over 80 Qassam missiles were fired into Israeli towns Wednesday, Hamas’ interest was and still is to resume the cease-fire with Israel. However, Hamas wants to improve the terms of the deal. In doing so, Hamas’ regime in Gaza is taking a risk that could lead to its toppling … The slaying of three Hamas militants near the border separating the Gaza Strip from Israel on Tuesday night also have served to persuade Hamas’ leaders to opt for a confrontational position, as did Egyptian indifference to renewing the talks for a ceasefire. The fact that Israel did not open the crossings into the Strip to let in aid from Egypt was also believed to be connected to this decision … If violence at a low intensity fails to persuade Israel to let goods into the Strip, then, according to Hamas’ approach, another escalation in violence could help Israel make the right decision. The organization’s leadership expects an Israeli retaliation, but they assume it will be limited in scope. They deduce this from what they view as an Israeli reluctance to launch a massive land invasion”. This analysis can be read in full here.

Who in Gaza wants an Israeli invasion?

Somebody in Gaza wants an Israeli invasion very badly — and they may soon get one. There was a nearly non-stop barrage today of all sorts of “projectiles” (including Kassams, mortars, and even Grads) all around the northern perimeter of the Gaza strip. “Projectiles” fell in Sderot and Ashkelon. Haaretz reported that “Nearly 60 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at the western Negev since midnight on Wednesday; 40 of them were launched after 9 A.M.”

The Palestinians are responding to IDF attacks, but it is hard to keep track anymore.

The pressure in Israel to go into Gaza is growing.

Meanwhile, in an article in the new issue of the London Review of Books (dated 1 January), Sara Roy writes: “Israel’s siege of Gaza began on 5 November, the day after an Israeli attack inside the strip, no doubt designed finally to undermine the truce between Israel and Hamas established last June. Although both sides had violated the agreement before, this incursion was on a different scale. Hamas responded by firing rockets into Israel and the violence has not abated since then. Israel’s siege has two fundamental goals. One is to ensure that the Palestinians there are seen merely as a humanitarian problem, beggars who have no political identity and therefore can have no political claims. The second is to foist Gaza onto Egypt. That is why the Israelis tolerate the hundreds of tunnels between Gaza and Egypt around which an informal but increasingly regulated commercial sector has begun to form … On 5 November the Israeli government sealed all the ways into and out of Gaza … There were three days in November when UNRWA ran out of food, with the result that on each of these days 20,000 people were unable to receive their scheduled supply … On 18 December UNRWA suspended all food distribution for both emergency and regular programmes because of the blockade … The majority of commercial bakeries in Gaza – 30 out of 47 – have had to close because they have run out of cooking gas. People are using any fuel they can find to cook with. As the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has made clear, cooking-gas canisters are necessary for generating the warmth to incubate broiler chicks. Shortages of gas and animal feed have forced commercial producers to smother hundreds of thousands of chicks. By April, according to the FAO, there will be no poultry there at all: 70 per cent of Gazans rely on chicken as a major source of protein. Banks, suffering from Israeli restrictions on the transfer of banknotes into the territory were forced to close on 4 December. A sign on the door of one read: ‘Due to the decision of the Palestinian Finance Authority, the bank will be closed today Thursday, 4.12.2008, because of the unavailability of cash money, and the bank will be reopened once the cash money is available’ … On 13 November production at Gaza’s only power station was suspended and the turbines shut down because it had run out of industrial diesel. This in turn caused the two turbine batteries to run down, and they failed to start up again when fuel was received some ten days later. About a hundred spare parts ordered for the turbines have been sitting in the port of Ashdod in Israel for the last eight months, waiting for the Israeli authorities to let them through customs. Now Israel has started to auction these parts because they have been in customs for more than 45 days. The proceeds are being held in Israeli accounts. During the week of 30 November, 394,000 litres of industrial diesel were allowed in for the power plant: approximately 18 per cent of the weekly minimum that Israel is legally obliged to allow in. It was enough for one turbine to run for two days before the plant was shut down again. The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company said that most of the Gaza Strip will be without electricity for between four and 12 hours a day … Gaza’s hospitals are apparently relying on diesel and gas smuggled from Egypt via the tunnels; these supplies are said to be administered and taxed by Hamas. Even so, two of Gaza’s hospitals have been out of cooking gas since the week of 23 November. Adding to the problems caused by the siege are those created by the political divisions between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Hamas Authority in Gaza. For example, Gaza’s Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU), which is not controlled by Hamas, is supposed to receive funds from the World Bank via the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) in Ramallah to pay for fuel to run the pumps for Gaza’s sewage system. Since June, the PWA has refused to hand over those funds, perhaps because it feels that a functioning sewage system would benefit Hamas. I don’t know whether the World Bank has attempted to intervene, but meanwhile UNRWA is providing the fuel, although they have no budget for it. The CMWU has also asked Israel’s permission to import 200 tons of chlorine, but by the end of November it had received only 18 tons – enough for one week of chlorinated water … According to the World Health Organisation, the political divisions between Gaza and the West Bank are also having a serious impact on drug stocks in Gaza. The West Bank Ministry of Health (MOH) is responsible for procuring and delivering most of the pharmaceuticals and medical disposables used in Gaza. But stocks are at dangerously low levels. Throughout November the MOH West Bank was turning shipments away because it had no warehouse space, yet it wasn’t sending supplies on to Gaza in adequate quantities. During the week of 30 November, one truck carrying drugs and medical supplies from the MOH in Ramallah entered Gaza, the first delivery since early September. The breakdown of an entire society is happening in front of us, but there is little international response beyond UN warnings which are ignored. The European Union announced recently that it wanted to strengthen its relationship with Israel while the Israeli leadership openly calls for a large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip and continues its economic stranglehold over the territory with, it appears, the not-so-tacit support of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah – which has been co-operating with Israel on a number of measures…”

This article, with its nearly unbearable details of the crisis in Gaza, can be read in full here.

Fifth Free Gaza expedition arrives in Gaza after sailing from Cyprus

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is worsening by the day — UNRWA has now suspended food deliveries; bakeries are now nearly totally out of flour, and of fuel to bake bread; Hamas has said its tahdiya (period of calm) that began with Israel last June is over; Hamas leaders say they will not recognize Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ authority in three weeks, after his term of office expires by their analysis on 9 January.

But the Free Gaza expedition has made another successful trip from Cyprus and arrived in Gaza this morning.

Haaretz reported today here that “Free Gaza Group spokeswoman Greta Berlin confirmed that the 66-foot yacht SS Dignity left Larnaca on Friday evening. It is scheduled to return to Cyprus on Monday … The boat is carrying a ton of medicine, baby food and 20 satellite tracking devices to be installed on Palestinian fishing boats. The group has previously made four successful boat trips to Gaza. Three more trips are planned for next month. Israel patrols the coastal waters around Gaza, but has not obstructed activists from sailing to the enclave since the U.S. based Free Gaza movement launched regular boat shuttles from Cyprus last August”.

Last month, a Libyan ship was turned back last month by the Israeli Navy, and went to an Egyptian port instead. And a boat chartered by Israeli Arabs, including elected parliamentarians in Israel’s Knesset, was not allowed to leave from Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv.

A news announcement on the Free Gaza website said that “The [SS] DIGNITY pulled into Gaza Port at 8:00 am today after the Israeli Navy threatened to board them and take the two Israelis off the boat. ‘We know you have Israelis on board, so either turn back, or we will board and take them off’, said the voice on the radio. ‘We are going to Gaza’, Huwaida Arraf, the delegation leader, replied. Neta Golan, one of the Israelis on board and a co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement stated, ‘Countries that commit crimes against humanity often hide those crimes from their own people. Israel is doing exactly that, by not allowing Israelis to come in to witness what they are doing in our name’. The Dignity also carries two envoys from the Eid Charity in Qatar who are going to Gaza to assess the tragedy there. They will go back with concrete proposals on what they can do to help alleviate Israel’s collective punishment of the 1.5 Palestinians”. This news can be seen in full here.

Two Israelis who sailed with earlier Free Gaza expeditions were arrested upon their return through the Erez checkpoint and are facing criminal charges for having violated Israel’s ban on Israeli (Jews) going to Gaza. Both of these are Jewish Israelis. The first was Jeff Halper, founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), author of The Matrix of Control and Warehousing the Palestinians, who sailed on the first Free Gaza expedition. The second was Amira Hass, journalist for Haaretz newspaper, who used to live in Gaza and who now lives in Ramallah; she sailed on the third Free Gaza expedition — becoming the first Israeli journalist in Gaza in two years. She was “deported” from Gaza by Hamas security personnel on what she believes was a fabricated pretext of alleged security threats to her life. She was disappointed, because she had intended to stay in Gaza until the end of January, she has said.

UPDATE: Ma’an News Agency has reported that Neta Golan has now become the third Israeli Jew to be arrested, “while attempting to leave Gaza through the land border with Israel” on Monday 22 December. In its report, Ma’an said that “Neta Golan, International Solidarity Movement (ISM) will appear in court in the city of Kiryat Gat tomorrow. Golan arrived in Gaza on 20 December along with 17 others on the SS Dignity, on the fifth voyage to break the blockade since August. Neta Golan’s lawyer, Adnan Aladdin, condemned the arrest: ‘Ms Golan’s actions in no way constitute a crime. Her actions in entering Gaza were acts of necessity based on international law and a rejection of the policies of collective punishment pursued by the Israeli government … Humanitarian needs, such as those faced by the Palestinian people of Gaza due to the Israeli siege, make nonviolent acts that are clearly a response to this act of collective punishment necessary. This is common sense and has precedent’, added Aladdin”. The brief Ma’an story can be viewed in full here .

Huwaida Arraf also apparently has an Israeli passport, but she has returned from previous expeditions by air from Cyprus, and faced no problems at reentry through Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport.

In an earlier press release, the Free Gaza movement announced that the fifth Free Gaza expedition would be carrying “another ton of medicine, baby formula and gifts to Gaza. This time, the donations come from the people of Qatar”. This press release can be read in full here.

Three days ago, the Free Gaza movement took issue with disparaging remarks about their efforts — made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In a statement, the Free Gaza movement said “We do not ask permission from Israel”, and added that:
“On the eve of this voyage, the Free Gaza Movement would like to correct a few the statements made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a December 11 interview with Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper. In that interview, Abbas suggesting that our efforts are coordinated with the Israelis – that the Israelis check the passports of the passengers aboard our ship and officials from the Israeli Embassy in Larnaca, Cyprus, check our boat before we leave the port. And as a result of this interference, President Abbas stated that ours is a ‘silly game’ and that we are not really breaking the siege. We do not coordinate any of our actions with the Israelis. Israel has grossly abused its authority as an occupying power by collectively punishing the people of Gaza and denying them basic human rights. As such, we neither seek Israel’s permission, nor submit to their searches, to assert the right of the Palestinian people to have access to the outside world, which includes the right to invite and welcome us to Gaza. So, why do we get in, while other efforts are stopped by the Israeli authorities? Because we remove the ‘security’ pretext with which Israel tries to justify its brutal actions and inhumane policies towards the Palestinian people. Amongst other things, we publicize our passenger list; we depart from Cyprus, a neutral European country; and we submit to a search by the Cypriot Port Authorities to verify that we are not carrying anything that can be considered a threat to Israel’s security. We sail from Cyprus waters, into international waters, directly into Gaza’s territorial waters, without entering Israeli waters. Israel realizes that it cannot stop us without using force against us, because we will not be turned around easily. President Abbas’ statement that we coordinate with the Israelis was misinformed. However, Abbas was correct when he said that we are not really breaking the siege on Gaza. Our boats cannot break the siege alone. Our hope is that we have started something that others can build on. We have shown that the concerted efforts of ordinary civilians working together in the name of justice can confront and successfully challenge Israel’s brutal policies and hope we have inspired other people to break their silence over Israel’s war crimes in the Gaza Strip and throughout the occupied Palestinian territory. From the continued and accelerated Judaization of Jerusalem and the rabid violence of the settler movement, to the vicious racism of Israeli politicians, Israel is committing massive violations against the people Gaza and Palestine as a whole. The world must stand up to this. The Free Gaza Movement will continue to send boats to Gaza to challenge Israel’s imprisonment of 1.5 million Palestinians, and we will continue to work for freedom and justice for all of the Palestinian people. We do not need Israel’s permission and we will never ask for it. We do need President Abbas, the Arab world, and the entire international community to join us”. This press release can be read in full here .

For all the bravado — and, make no mistake, it takes a lot of bravery and courage to do what those who have sailed on these expeditions have done — these activists and observers are quite vulnerable. Three members of a previous (the third, or maybe the fourth) expedition were recently seized by Israeli naval vessels while they were accompanying Gazan fishermen on fishing boats in Gazan maritime space in Mediterranean waters not far off the Gaza coast, forced to swim (it is not clear if they, too, were forced to strip and swim naked, like the Palestinian fishermen were) to the Israeli naval boats, and then imprisoned in what they reported were very miserable conditions until their deportation from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport several days later.

New sign at the checkpoint

There is a new sign that has been erected just before the entry to the Ar-Ram/ Dahiet al-Bariid checkpoint, which is written in three languages (Hebrew, Arabic and English), and which reads.

It is forbidden to hand over or deliver vehicles for repair to the Palestinian Authority

I saw it for the first time tonight,

This checkpoint is just north of the Jewish residential area of Neve Ya’akov, but it is on the Jerusalem side of The Wall — and is thus in Jerusalem, according to what Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said.

Or maybe he just doesn’t know …

Falk: "Israel could have either refused to grant visas or communicated to the UN that I would not be allowed to enter, but neither step was taken"

Richard Falk — who travelled this past week to Israel in order to get to the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza on a UN human rights mission — has written his own account of his being barred from entry into Israel and then deported early the next morning. It is published today in the Comment is Free section of The Guardian newspaper here:

“On December 14, I arrived at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Israel to carry out my UN role as special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories … Meetings had been scheduled on an hourly basis during the six days, starting with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, the following day.

“I knew that there might be problems at the airport. Israel had strongly opposed my appointment a few months earlier and its foreign ministry had issued a statement that it would bar my entry if I came to Israel in my capacity as a UN representative. [But] I would not have made the long journey from California, where I live, had I not been reasonably optimistic about my chances of getting in. Israel was informed that I would lead the mission and given a copy of my itinerary, and issued visas to the two people assisting me: a staff security person and an assistant, both of whom work at the office of the high commissioner of human rights in Geneva.

To avoid an incident at the airport, Israel could have either refused to grant visas or communicated to the UN that I would not be allowed to enter, but neither step was taken

After being denied entry, I was put in a holding room with about 20 others … At this point, I was treated not as a UN representative, but as some sort of security threat, subjected to an inch-by-inch body search and the most meticulous luggage inspection I have ever witnessed.

“I was separated from my two UN companions who were allowed to enter Israel and taken to the airport detention facility a mile or so away. I was required to put all my bags and cell phone in a room and taken to a locked tiny room that smelled of urine and filth. It contained five other detainees and was an unwelcome invitation to claustrophobia. I spent the next 15 hours so confined, which amounted to a cram course on the miseries of prison life, including dirty sheets, inedible food and lights that were too bright or darkness controlled from the guard office.

“Of course, my disappointment and harsh confinement were trivial matters, not by themselves worthy of notice, given the sorts of serious hardships that millions around the world daily endure. Their importance is largely symbolic.

I am an individual who had done nothing wrong beyond express strong disapproval of policies of a sovereign state.

“More importantly, the obvious intention was to humble me as a UN representative and thereby send a message of defiance to the United Nations.

“Israel had all along accused me of bias and of making inflammatory charges relating to the occupation of Palestinian territories. I deny that I am biased, but rather insist that I have tried to be truthful in assessing the facts and relevant law.

“It is the character of the occupation that gives rise to sharp criticism of Israel’s approach, especially its harsh blockade of Gaza, resulting in the collective punishment of the 1.5 million inhabitants … The blockade of Gaza serves no legitimate Israeli function. It is supposedly imposed in retaliation for some Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets that have been fired across the border at the Israeli town of Sderot. The wrongfulness of firing such rockets is unquestionable, yet this in no way justifies indiscriminate Israeli retaliation against the entire civilian population of Gaza …

“Although denied entry, my effort will continue to use all available means to document the realities of the Israeli occupation as truthfully as possible”.

• Richard Falk is professor of international law at Princeton University and the UN’s special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories

Israel denied entry to Richard Falk, UN Human Rights special rapporteur and deported him from Ben Gurion

UPDATE: Princeton Professor Emeritus of International Law Richard Falk, the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian Territory,HAS NOW BEEN DEPORTED FROM ISRAEL ON MONDAY after being barred from entry on Sunday, according to an Israeli human rights organization, ADALAH.

The first alert came on Sunday from WAFA, the Palestinian News Agency reporting from Geneva that Falk was denied entry into Israel on Sunday upon his arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport, and that Falk was detained overnight pending deportation.

WAFA, the Palestinian News Agency, said Sunday night that the “Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations in Geneva said in a press release issued few hours ago, that the Israeli Occupation Authorities have denied the UN Special Rapporteur into the Palestinian Territory and Israel. The press release explained that Falk was coming to detect Israel ‘s violations of the International and the International Humanitarian Laws in the OPT. At his arrival, Israeli Authorities denied his access into Israel and held him in the immigration section in Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Israeli Occupation Authorities are to deport him to Geneva Monday morning. This is Falk’s first official visit to the OPT and Israel , after he was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). He is currently working on a report about the human rights conditions in the OPT to raise it to the UNHRC tenth session in March 2009”.

This WAFA report was picked up and published here [which is not the website of the global satellite television channel] — and this link was circulated by Palestinian-American businessman and activist in Ramallah, Sam Bahour.

This development comes just after Falk stated on Tuesday of last week in Geneva, according to the website of Al-Jazeera television, that “it would seem ‘mandatory’ that the UN’s International Criminal Court investigate Israel’s policies in regard to the Palestinians. ‘[The court could] determine whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law’, he said. The Israeli government has faced a level of criticism by ‘normally cautious UN officials’ not seen since the ‘the heyday of South African apartheid’, Falk said. ‘And still Israel maintains its Gaza siege in its full fury, allowing only barely enough food and fuel to enter to stave off mass famine and disease’ … [T]he UN must “implement the agreed norm of a responsibility to protect a civilian population being collectively punished by policies that amount to a crime against humanity’.” This report can be read in full here.

Falk took over as the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the oPt in mid-2008 from South African law professor and anti-apartheid activist John Dugard, who was one of the few UN human rights rapporteurs, if not the only one, who was willing to travel to Israel on his national passport, after having been refused (or after not having received an answer approving) an Israeli entry visa on his UN laissez-passer.

The spokesperson of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Yigal Palmor, said in a phone interview on Monday afternoon in Jerusalem that Falk “was not allowed to enter, and (if Falk has not been deported already, as I’m not following the case on an hour-to-hour basis) the authorities are waiting for the earliest possible returning flight” to take him back to Geneva — because international rule require that a person whose entry into the country is barred must be returned to his port of departure.

It appears that Falk did not appeal the deportation order — if so, he would probably have had to remain in detention several days, until the deportation hearing.

The U.S. Embassy spokesperson in Tel Aviv has been unavailable to explain what efforts were made to assist Falk, who is American and who presented his U.S. passport at the Ben Gurion Airport border control, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

Asked why Falk’s entry was barred, Palmor stated that “He came as rapporteur for the UN Human Rights Council, and we find the mandate of the rapporteur is completely distorted … and it has been instrumentalized for Israel-bashing”.

Palmor stressed several times that the problem was the mandate, repeatedly stating that it was “distorted and flawed … and directed as a propaganda instrument against Israel”.

However, as noted above, Falk’s predecessor as the UN HRC’s Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights situation in the oPt, John Dugard, had no trouble entering Israel on several occasions — using his national passport (South African) — despite Israel’s clearly-stated disagreement with the Special Rapporteur’s Mandate, which has not changed for some 15 years.

Palmor said that the fact that both Falk and his predecessor Dugard have asked the Human Rights Council to change and broaden the mandate to include Palestinian violations of human rights was “meaningless — they could do something about it, not just say so”, Palmor said. “They bear responsibility”.

Palmor also said that both Special Rapporteurs had made extreme comments about Israel, which. he said, went well beyond professional and fact-based criticism. Dugard had made some extremely shocking statements which were inexcusable, Palmor said, but because his computer was down, he was at the moment unable to cite examples. As for Falk, Palmor said, “the fact that he believes in conspiracy theories” is enough to discredit him. Palmor was referring to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City and on the Pentagon building outside Washington D.C. — and Palmor acknowledged that Falk has not been accused of backing all the conspiracy theories that have been developed around this attack (particularly the more anti-Semitic versions). But, Palmor said, “the fact that he believes that the CIA is directly responsible is enough”.

[In an interview published in the American periodical, The Nation, in June 2008, Falk said this: “I think that there is a great deal of suspicion directed at anyone who is skeptical about the official explanation for 9/11. I have not, in fact, been very much involved with the so-called 9/11 truth movement. By coincidence, I happen to be a longtime friend of a man named David Ray Griffin, a much-respected philosopher of religion, who has become convinced that the official explanation is false. I have a lot of respect for him, and I wrote the foreword to his original book, The New Pearl Harbor. But that’s really the extent of my involvement. I don’t have an independent view on how best to understand the 9/11 attacks. I haven’t looked at the evidence sufficiently to say more than that the 9/11 Commission didn’t do a good job of dispelling the several plausible grounds for suspicions that exist. There are unanswered questions that deserve to be answered, and the public should have the benefit of that kind of clarification. The left particularly is nervous about being seen as supportive of conspiracy theory. And to the extent that there is an incentive to discredit my role–partly because of the Israel/Palestine context– there’s also a tendency to exaggerate my involvement with this set of issues. But if you look carefully at what I’ve been writing and what I’ve been doing, you’ll see that I’ve really had very minimal contact, and I’ve not been involved in the 9/11 movement at all. Some people have tried to get me involved, and I’ve resisted, not because I don’t think it’s important to raise these issues but because they’re not my own priorities … As far as Afghanistan is concerned, I wrote some articles after the 9/11 attacks that supported the belief that the Al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan posed a continuing threat. In my opinion, this provided the United States with a reasonably convincing rationale under international law for attacking Afghanistan, particularly given the very limited legitimacy that the Taliban government possessed. It was only recognized by three governments in the world, and two of them withdrew their recognition after the 9/11 attacks. The one country that maintained a diplomatic connection, and that only for the sake of convenience, was Pakistan. Other Islamic states had no diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, including Iran. That said, I think the way the war was prosecuted was very disturbing–legally, morally and politically. And I now think that the quick embrace of a war paradigm by the US government in response to 9/11 was a very fundamental mistake in responding to the threats posed by the attacks. In a broader sense, Afghanistan launched the neoconservative post-9/11 grand strategy. It’s important to appreciate that this strategy was not focused on counterterrorist objectives but seemed to focus on establishing American control over the Middle East for reasons of oil, nonproliferation policies, long-term protection of Israel and containment of political Islam. These goals depended on victory in Iraq, which now seems unlikely. Future policy should promote a regional security framework that includes Israel and Iran, and should be based on a prohibition of all weapons of mass destruction, including those currently possessed by Israel. The policy should move toward a far more balanced approach to peace between Israel and Palestine, an approach that either envisages a single democratic state for both peoples or two equally sovereign states that could come into being only after the Israeli settlements were substantially dismantled and the Israeli security wall totally removed from Palestinian territory.” This interview can be read in full here].

Earlier this year, the then-Israeli Ambassador to Geneva, Itzhak Levanon, took issue with words I wrote in another article in June about the UN and Israel’s human rights records, in which I said that “Israel has consistently not replied to visa requests to most UN Special Rapporteurs, or special investigative missions, whose mandates it does not like”. In a letter to the editor, Ambassador Levanon stated that “It is true that Israel has consistently registered its dismay at the United Nations´ institutional bias in consideration of the Palestinian issue…However, it is false to state that Israel has ‘consistently not replied to visa requests to most UN Special Rapporteurs’.”[n.b., please note that here, Ambassador Levanon shortens — omits, in fact — the final qualifying phrase of my sentence.]

Ambassador Levanon then goes on to note that “In October 2005, Israel hosted Ms. Hina Jilani, the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders. In September 2006, Israel hosted a joint visit by four Special Procedures: the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Internally Displaced Persons, the Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions, the Special Rapporteur on Health and the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing. In April 2007, Israel hosted Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict. In July 2007, Israel hosted Mr. Martin Scheinin, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism. And in January 2008, Israel hosted Ms. Asma Jahangir, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Additionally, Israel hosted a visit by Ms. Louise Arbour, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, in November 2006. Of course, all of these missions were interspersed with regular, twice-yearly visits from the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, who was always provided with special documentation to facilitate his movements in our region. The hosting of eight Special Rapporteurs and the High Commissioner in less than three years demonstrates a far greater cooperative record than many other states can claim”.

Neither Ambassador Levanon, nor spokespersons for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, replied to queries about how many visa requests from UN human rights experts and officials were either denied or ignored. These same UN officials in Geneva did not reply to my emails — and were all artfully unavailable on the phone today.

Asked Monday if Falk had requested a visa for the mission he was planning to undertake to Israel at this time, the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Yigal Palmor, replied that “We knew he would try to come, and he tried to bypass us by using his national (American) passport”.

Palmor said that both Dugard and Falk had “lied to us, saying they were coming into the country to do one thing, then doing another. Of Falk, he said, “on one occasion did pay us a visit, and said he was not going to do anything political, but was coming as a private person, and not as an envoy — and then he went to a political event, where he presented himself as an envoy”.

Adalah — the Haifa-based Legal center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel — has just announced that it sent an urgent letter to the Israeli Minister of Interior, Meir Shitreet and Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, demanding that they lift the ban imposed on Professor Richard Falk the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories, from entering these areas. At the order of the Ministry of the Interior, the Border Police denied Prof. Falk entry into Israel yesterday, 14 December 2008, on his way to the West Bank to carry out his official functions. He was deported from Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv this morning, 15 December 2008 … In the letter, Adalah Attorney Abeer Baker argued that it is Israel’s obligation as a member of the UN and a signatory to various international human rights conventions to respect the work of UN representatives, to enable their human rights missions and to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities without fear of repercussions. Further, it is Israel’s responsibility to grant entry to Prof. Falk as part of its obligation to adhere to the principles of international law protecting the Palestinian residents of the OPT”.

Adalah added that “In March 2008, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted to appoint Prof. Falk to this position as UN Special Rapporteur for a six-year term. Prof. Falk’s duties include preparing reports on human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), informing the UN about his work and conclusions, and suggesting ways of alleviating these violations. Prof. Falk is an eminent expert in international law and works as a lecturer at several prominent universities in the US, including the University of California at Santa Barbara and Princeton University. He has published several seminal books on the subject of international law and human rights. Prof. Falk’s arbitrary denial of entry into Israel is a severe blow to the rights of the Palestinian civilian population living under occupation, a population which must be afforded protection by the occupier under international humanitarian law. Denying Prof. Falk’s entry also impairs the work of numerous human rights organizations and human rights defenders working in Israel and the OPT to protect and advance the human rights of Palestinians … Prof. Falk last entered Israel in June 2008 in his capacity as a scholar to attend an academic conference. On the eve of his visit, the press reported that it was the intention of the Ministry of the Interior to prevent him from entering the country because of his sharp criticisms of Israel’s human rights record in the OPT. Adalah sent a letter to the ministry at that time requesting clarification, following which Prof. Falk was permitted to enter Israel. It is therefore apparent that the reason for the denial of his entry on this occasion is due to the purpose of his visit, which is to prepare a report on the situation of human rights in the OPT. Refusing entry on these grounds is an illegitimate reason”.

UPDATE: While the U.S. Embassy spokesman in Tel Aviv did not return my calls, a staff member told this journalist that “There is a Privacy Act, and we cannot speak about this matter unless Mr. Falk would agree that we speak”.

Iraqi journalist throws shoes at Bush during Baghdad news conference

Bush himself says he is now trying to think of shoe jokes, but I am concerned that journalists all over the world will henceforth be made to remove their shoes before attending press conferences…

I also wonder how many will “defend until death” this journalist’s right to express his opinion about outgoing U.S. President George Bush’s invasion and on-going military occupation of Iraq? And how many will instead denounce the behavior — judging that the way that this journalist expressed himself that was wrong, impolite, futile, stupid, and/or violent?

A dear friend here in Jerusalem has just told me that she wished that all the journalists present at that press conference in Baghdad had also taken off their shoes and thrown them at Bush, in solidarity with al-Zeidi’s gesture.

But, many of the journalists’ actual responses were very different — rather more careerist. The NYTimes reported that “Like many Iraqi reporters at the news conference, Mr. Nassar [Haider Nassar, who worked with him at Baghdadia] said he did not think this was an effective way for Mr. Zaidi to make his points. ‘This is so silly; it’s just the behavior of an individual’, Mr. Nassar said. ‘He destroyed his future’.”

An AP story from Baghdad reported another journalistic colleague also criticizing Al-Zeidi: “‘He was very boastful, arrogant and always showing off’, said Zanko Ahmed, a Kurdish journalist who attended a journalism training course with al-Zeidi in Lebanon. ‘He tried to raise topics to show that nobody is as smart as he is’ … ‘Regrettably, he didn’t learn anything from the course in Lebanon, where we were taught ethics of journalism and how to be detached and neutral’, Ahmed said”.

This same AP story added that “Al-Zeidi was held Monday in Iraqi custody for investigation and could face charges of insulting a foreign leader and the Iraqi prime minister, who was standing next to Bush. Conviction carries a sentence of up to two years in prison or a small fine — although it’s unlikely he would face the maximum penalty given his newfound cult status in the Arab world”. The full AP report can be read here.

Yet another AP report said that “many in the Mideast saw the act by an Iraqi journalist as heroic, expressing the deep, personal contempt many feel for the American leader they blame for years of bloodshed, chaos and the suffering of civilians. Images of Bush ducking the fast-flying shoes at a Baghdad press conference, aired repeatedly on Arab satellite TV networks, were cathartic for many in the Middle East, who have for years felt their own leaders kowtow to the American president. So the sight of an average Arab standing up and making a public show of resentment was stunning. The pride, joy and bitterness it uncorked showed how many Arabs place their anger on Bush personally for what they see as a litany of crimes — chief among them the turmoil in Iraq and tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths since the 2003 U.S. invasion”. This AP story can be seen in full here .

In its story, the NY Times reported that “The Iraqi journalist, Muntader al-Zaidi, 28, a correspondent for Al Baghdadia, an independent Iraqi television station, stood up about 12 feet from Mr. Bush and shouted in Arabic: ‘This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog!’ He then threw a shoe at Mr. Bush, who ducked and narrowly avoided it. As stunned security agents and guards, officials and journalists watched, Mr. Zaidi then threw his other shoe, shouting in Arabic, ‘This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!’ That shoe also narrowly missed Mr. Bush as Prime Minister Maliki stuck a hand in front of the president’s face to help shield him. Mr. Maliki’s security agents jumped on the man, wrestled him to the floor and hustled him out of the room. They kicked him and beat him until ‘he was crying like a woman’, said Mohammed Taher, a reporter for Afaq, a television station owned by the Dawa Party, which is led by Mr. Maliki. [This sexist language is revolting]Mr. Zaidi was then detained on unspecified charges … In the chaos, Dana M. Perino, the White House press secretary, who was visibly distraught, was struck in the eye by a microphone stand.” This NYTimes story can be read in full here.

AP reported that “The crowd [does this mean also the other journalists sitting near Mr. Zaidi, some of whom reportedly offered words of apology to Bush for the incident?] descended on al-Zeidi, who works for Al-Baghdadia television, an Iraqi-owned station based in Cairo, Egypt. He was wrestled to the ground by security officials and then hauled away, moaning as they departed the room. Later, a trail of fresh blood could be seen on the carpet, although the source was not known … …Al-Baghdadia’s Baghdad manager told the AP he had no idea what prompted his reporter to go on the attack. ‘I am trying to reach Muntadar since the incident, but in vain’, said Fityan Mohammed. ‘His phone is switched off’. The station issued a statement on the air Sunday night asking the Iraqi government to release al-Zeidi ‘to spare his life’…” The AP story can be read in full here

What if the shoe had actually hit Bush?

(You did notice the agile move of the President ducking the first shoe, right? But the second shoe somehow caught Bush by surprise, and he winced and flinched as it was thrown, drawing his head down into his collar, as beside him Iraqi PM Maliki reflexively thrust his hand — with open palm facing the journalists and fingers rather ineffectively widespread — somewhere in the general direction of Bush’s face, like a fan trying to catch a wide shot from the bleachers of a baseball game…)

The AP “Reporter’s Notebook” story added that “When Bush met with reporters later aboard Air Force One, he had a joke prepared: ‘I didn’t know what the guy said but I saw his “sole”.’ Later, he said: ‘I’m going to be thinking of shoe jokes for a long time. I haven’t heard any good ones yet’.”

The AP story also reported that Bush said, as the room erupted into chaos, “Don’t worry about it”, and added that “Iraqi reporters started shouting what Bush later explained were apologies for the incident”. And, AP, added, Bush said: ” ‘So what if the guy threw a shoe at me?’ … comparing the action to political protests in the United States”.

Today is International Human Rights Day

It is the 60th (yes, sixtieth) anniversary of the adoption, by the United Nations General Assembly, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by a meeting of the UN General Assembly in Paris, France. Former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the prime movers behind the multi-year negotiations that led to the drafting of the Universal Declaration.

The full text is posted here on this website.

Ahtisaari: "We cannot go on, year after year, simply pretending to do something to help the situation in the Middle East"

Today, Martti Ahtisaar formally accepted this year’s Nobel Peace Prize at a formal banquet in Oslo, Norway.

Ahtisaari was informed on 10 October that he was the winner of the 2008 Nobel Peace prize (See earlier post here ).

In his Nobel Lecture today, he said, among other things, that:

“All conflicts can be resolved Wars and conflicts are not inevitable. They are caused by human beings. There are always interests that are furthered by war. Therefore those who have power and influence can also stop them. Peace is a question of will. All conflicts can be settled, and there are no excuses for allowing them to become eternal. It is simply intolerable that violent conflicts defy resolution for decades causing immeasurable human suffering, and preventing economic and social development. The passivity and impotence of the international community make it more difficult for us to place our faith in jointly built security structures…

“A solution must be found to the Middle East conflict. The most challenging peace-building project ahead of us is finding a solution to the conflicts in the Middle East, which have continued for decades. The tensions and wars in the region have been going on for so long that many have come to believe that the Middle East knot can never be untied. I do not share this belief. All crises, including the one in the Middle East, can be resolved. The solution would require a contribution from all the parties involved as well as the international community as a whole. We might be strengthened in our resolve if we set our sights on the future and imagine what the world could look like if the countries in the region could jointly begin to develop their economic potential, build transport links, make full use of their educated population and begin to reap the benefits of an advantageous location in the crossroads of three continents. I hope that the new President of the United States, who will be sworn in next month, will give high priority to the Middle East conflict during his first year in office. The European Union, Russia and the UN must also be seriously committed so that a solution can be found to the crises stretching from Israel and Palestine to Iraq and Iran. If we want to achieve lasting results, we must look at the whole region. The credibility of the whole international community is at stake. We cannot go on, year after year, simply pretending to do something to help the situation in the Middle East. We must also get results. For many people, tensions between religions have provided an easy explanation for the intractability of the Middle East crisis. I cannot accept this view. During my career I have seen many crises in which religion has been used as a weapon or as an instrument for prolonging the conflict. Religions themselves are, however, peace-loving. They can also be a constructive force in peace-building, and this also applies to the Middle East”.

Ahtisaari also said: “I hope that all those brave women and men that have worked for the peace in their country would feel that they can share this prize with me … We should not accept any excuses from those in power. Peace is a question of will”.

The full text of Martti Ahtisaari’s Nobel Lecture can be found here.

Majority of World's 125 Jailed Press are Online Journalists

There are now 125 members of the press jailed world-wide, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) — and 56 of them are on-line journalists, “reflecting the rising influence of online reporting and commentary”, CPJ says in its newly-released annual census of imprisoned journalists.

According to its report, “CPJ found that 45 percent of all media workers jailed worldwide are bloggers, Web-based reporters, or online editors. Online journalists represent the largest professional category for the first time in CPJ’s prison census … The number of imprisoned online journalists has steadily increased since CPJ recorded the first jailed Internet writer in its 1997 census. Print reporters, editors, and photographers make up the next largest professional category, with 53 cases in 2008. Television and radio journalists and documentary filmmakers constitute the rest”.

The total number of jailed journalists is down slightly — two fewer than in 2007 — and down from a peak high of 139 imprisoned in 2002.

The CPJ notes that its research “shows that imprisonments rose significantly in 2001, after governments imposed sweeping national security laws in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Imprisonments stood at 81 in 2000 but have since averaged 128 in CPJ’s annual surveys”.

The annual census also reveals that “Forty-five of the journalists on CPJ’s census are freelancers; most of them work online. These freelancers are not employees of media companies and often do not have the legal resources or political connections that might help them gain their freedom. The number of imprisoned freelancers has risen more than 40 percent in the last two years, according to CPJ research”.

And the CPJ reports that “The number of imprisoned online journalists has steadily increased since CPJ recorded the first jailed Internet writer in its 1997 census. Print reporters, editors, and photographers make up the next largest professional category, with 53 cases in 2008. Television and radio journalists and documentary filmmakers constitute the rest”.

The CPJ says that it “does not apply a rigid definition of online journalism, but it carefully evaluates the work of bloggers and online writers to determine whether the content is journalistic in nature. In general, CPJ looks to see whether the content is reportorial or fact-based commentary. In a repressive society where the traditional media is restricted, CPJ takes an inclusive approach to work that is produced online.

According to CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon, ” ‘Online journalism has changed the media landscape and the way we communicate with each other … But the power and influence of this new generation of online journalists has captured the attention of repressive governments around the world, and they have accelerated their counterattack … The image of the solitary blogger working at home in pajamas may be appealing, but when the knock comes on the door they are alone and vulnerable … All of us must stand up for their rights–from Internet companies to journalists and press freedom groups. The future of journalism is online and we are now in a battle with the enemies of press freedom who are using imprisonment to define the limits of public discourse.”

And, the CPJ annual survey reveals that “About 13 percent of jailed journalists face no formal charge at all. The tactic is used by countries as diverse as Eritrea, Israel, Iran, the United States, and Uzbekistan, where journalists are being held in open-ended detentions without due process. At least 16 journalists worldwide are being held in secret locations. The CPJ reports that “U.S. military authorities have jailed dozens of journalists in Iraq–some for days, others for months at a time–without charge or due process. No charges have ever been substantiated in these cases”.

This information is published in full here.

Elsewhere on its website, the CPJ reports that 713 journalists (of whom over 11% were freelance) have been killed world-wide from 1 January 1992 through 11 October 2008 — and it says that 28.8% were threatened before being killed. and 18.7% were taken captive before being killed:

Type of death:
* Murder: 72.1%
* Crossfire/Combat related: 17.5%
* During other dangerous assignment: 10.2%
* Undetermined: 0.2%

Type of weapon used:
* Small arms (includes handguns, rifles): 53%
* Heavy arms (includes artillery, air strikes): 14.3%
* Explosives: 10.5%
* Knives: 6.6%
* Hands (includes beating, strangling): 5%

Suspected perpetrators in murder cases:
* Political groups: 31.2%
* Government officials: 18.5%
* Criminal group: 11.1%
* Paramilitaries: 7.2%
* Military: 5.8%
* Local residents: 2.1%
* Mob: 1.2%
* Unknown: 22%

Impunity in [these] murder cases:
* Complete impunity: 88.5%
* Partial justice: 6.4%
* Full justice: 5.1%

The CPJ also says on its website that “We do not include journalists who are killed in accidents—such as car or plane crashes—unless the crash was caused by hostile action (for example, if a plane were shot down or a car crashed trying to avoid gunfire)”.

This information can be studied in full here.