Will Obama Reset The Middle East Peace Process?

March 19, 2013

Coalition negotiations about 33. government of Israel came to an end after six weeks on Freb. 15Th 2013 when the election winners Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi both signed coalition agreements with ruling Likud Beytenu. The swearing-in of a new government will be in early this week – in just two days before the wheels of U.S. Air Force 1 touch down at Ben-Gurion International Airport with President Obama. The situation is pawing the way for new start for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.


The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has been at an impasse since the Palestinians pulled out of short lived final status talks in September 2010, after a ten-month Israeli settlement moratorium came to an end. Whilst Israel and Palestinian Authority both claim to support a negotiated two-state agreement, there is no trust between two sets of leaders, with each side doubting the other’s interest in reaching an agreement. In recent months both sides have taken steps deemed provocative by the other, with the PA seeking unilateral recognition at the UN, and Israel announcing new plans for settlement construction in sensitive areas of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The new Israeli government

With a Palestinian partner that is willing to hold negotiations in good will, Israel will be ready for a historic compromise that will end the conflict with the Palestinians once and for all.”(PM Netanyahu prior to the swearing in of the country’s thirty third government )

If you get even to an interim agreement… I promise you… we will join your government in order to see through such a move.” (Respose of opposition and Labour Party head Yachimovich)


The new Right-Center government (Netanyahu’s and Lieberman’s Likud-Beiteinu, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, Naftan Bennet’s Habayit Hayehudi and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua) marks a significant change of direction for Israeli politics with the exclusion of the ultra-Orthodox parties and the entry of a range of disparate parties who agree on ending ultra-Orthodox exemption from national service and a better deal for the middle class.The roots of this transformation are in the social protest movement in the summer of 2011.

The focus of the government will be socioeconomic issues, changing the electoral system, matters of religion and state, which topped the election’s agenda, and the security issues that were not brought up in the campaign because they were a matter of consensus.The new government encompasses a wide range of views on the peace process, from Tzipi Livni, who believes a deal is vitally in Israel’s interests, to Naftali Bennett, who rejects the two-state solution, while PM Netanyahu is somewhere between of them. Government’s combination of doves and hawks may help push peace process forward.

The chief negotiator with the Palestinians will be Livni, whose appointment – a source close to Netanyahu said – would eliminate Palestinian excuses for not coming to the negotiating table. Hatnuah’s election campaign centred on a call to revive peace talks with the Palestinians and Livni herself spearheaded such negotiations during her time as foreign minister in Ehud Olmert’s government. An aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the news of Livni receiving authority to conduct diplomatic negotiations, calling it a positive sign.”She has the knowledge and experience required of the peace process and she knows the Palestinian side’s point of view on the solution,” Nimer Hamad said about Livni. (Source Israel Hayom)

However the cabinet and smaller Septet (or Octet or Nonet, depending, of course, on the number of members) will determine the next government’s most important decisions in key areas of diplomacy and national security. Livni will also be a member of Netanyahu’s inner cabinet. In the meantime, the IDF is already preparing to receive a new defense minister. Ya’alon’s learning curve on the job won’t be a steep one; he has already served as an IDF chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, head of Army Intelligence and GOC of Central Command and has complete professional fluency. Ya’alon’s position on Israeli-Palestinian issue is that the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah is not a viable peace partner at this time. On the other hand Ya’alon has repeatedly condemned acts of far-right “price tag” violence, comparing them to firing a bullet “at the leg of the state of the Israel and the head of settlements.”

Obama facilitating peace process

“There is no EU plan. The plan is to support the Americans and be ready to be helpful.”
(Andreas Reinicke, the EU’s special representative for the Middle East Process)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has informed that three security issues will take top priority during his meetings with President Barack Obama on his visit, expected to begin on March 20. “The first item is Iran’s advancement toward obtaining a nuclear weapon. Unfortunately, their progress continues and Iran has even accelerated their nuclear activities as of late. The second topic will be the Syrian government’s collapse. Finally, we will discuss reigniting the peace process with the Palestinians.The Prime Minister’s Office has asked the public to help decide on the official logo for the U.S. president’s Israel trip, which will be under the slogan “Unbreakable Alliance.”

To ease the blocked talks Israel is considering some gestures for PA during Obama’s visit. These gestures could be for example a specific transfer of land from Area C in the West Bank (which is under full Israeli control) to an Area A status (full Palestinian control). This concerns the transfer of the access roads planned to serve the new city of Rawabi, the first Palestinian planned city under PA rule, near Birzeit and Ramallah, with 10,000 homes, with a population of 40,000. An additional gesture under review is the approval of master plans for ten Palestinian settlements in the Israeli-controlled Area C. These are all Palestinian neighborhoods which today are considered illegal and concerning which the Civil Administration has issued demolition orders. If these master plans are approved, these settlements will be connected to the infrastructure and all construction there will be approved.Two additional gestures are the release of a significant number of Fatah prisoners, arrested before the signing of the Oslo Accords; and the transfer of light ammunition to the Palestinian security forces.

An interesting detail with Obama’s visit in Israel is, that his main speech will not be in Knesset. Instead the US administration announced that President Obama would be addressing university students at the Jerusalem International Convention Center. However rumors began to spread that they chose to sideline students who attend Israel’s newest academic heavyweight: Ariel University which unfortunately is located east of the Green Line. 

Ariel as pioneer

Ariel’s visionary, founder and longstanding mayor, the late Ron Nachman, often told journalists that “Israel is not a laboratory. We don’t have the luxury of experimenting with our future. One mistake and that’s it.” Instead of experimenting with political theory, Ron Nachman created a sustainable reality. He connected the nearby Arab villages to Israel’s electric and water lines and established industrial parks that provide thousands of Palestinians with employment. Ariel’s academic institution, which educates over 500 Arab students while conducting consistent joint research projects with Palestinian academic institutions received recently full recognition as Israel’s eighth and newest university.

Settlements as obstacle of peace?

Obama is willing to play “facilitating role” in peace process during Middle East trip. Considerable diplomatic pressure is now likely to build on Israel to offer gestures to the Palestinians in return for which the Palestinians would re-enter negotiations and hold off further unilateral steps. In the first year of his last term Netanyahu imposed a ten month settlement moratorium, and some measure to rein in settlement construction may come back onto the table.

After PA’s UN bid Israel’s plan to create a settlement called E1 has rise concern in some European capitals. It was claimed that E1 by joining with Maa’ale Adumim community would cut the West Bank in two and separate it from East Jerusalem which would make any two-state solution impossible. Ma’ale Adumim is one of those communities that were expected to become part of Israel in any negotiated settlement. As a a map created by HonestReporting shows the Palestinian waistline — between Ma’ale Adumim and the Dead Sea, is roughly 15 km wide. That’s a corridor no different than the Israeli waistline. Indeed, that has never caused a problem of Israeli territorial contiguity.”

westBank-E1
To improve better traffic flow between the northern and southern WB Israel has already made some investments. In October 2007, the Israeli government expropriated 1,100 dunams of land from four Palestinian villages to build an access road that was given the moniker “the Palestinian quality of life road.” Most of the territory was state property. The road was designed to provide for a freer flow of Palestinian traffic between the Ramallah area and Bethlehem. The northern sector of the highway, which runs from Hizma and bypasses Anata from the east, and continues southward toward the A-Zaim checkpoint, has already been paved. Israel invested about NIS 300 million in building the highway. The roadway passes through a tunnel that was dug underneath the Jerusalem-Maaleh Adumim highway. Moreover, Israel proposes to build tunnels or overpasses to obviate the need for Palestinians to detour to the east through the corridor.

Good change of succeeding for peace talks

This time I see a good negotiation slot – a window of opportunity – between Israel and Palestine Authority. I think that now is the time to abandon the old fashioned principal that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. Even if peace talks will start without any preconditions the parties involved have a common history and experience what has been agreed in previous negotiations. Tzipi Livni led Israel’s negotiating team on final status issues with the Palestinians under the Annapolis process in 2008. They were a detailed and extensive set of talks that made progress on a number of core issues, though with still significant gaps between the parties when the process was brought to an end by the collapse of the Olmert government. This process I have treated more in my previous article PaliLeaks, land swaps and desperate search of peace.

If or hopefully when the Israeli-Palestinian talks start the best ground in my opinion is sc Olmert’s proposal on 2008 , which so far cleared most part of obstacles to reach sustainable peace for Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some of the main points in this proposal were e.g following:

a) Israel would annex 6.8% of the West Bank, including the four main settlement “blocs” of Gush Etzion (with Efrata, Ma’ale Adumim, Giv’at Ze’ev and Ariel), as well as all of the settlements in East Jerusalem (with Har Homa) in exchange for the equivalent of 5.5% from Israeli territory.
b) The “safe passage” (i.e. territorial link) between Gaza and the West Bank would be under Israeli sovereignty with Palestinian control, and is not included in the above percentages.
c) There will be a special road connecting Bethlehem with Ramallah. thus by-passing East Jerusalem (most likely the same road currently planned around Adumim).
d) Israel would take in 1,000 refugees per year for a period of 5 years on “humanitarian” grounds. In addition. programs of “family reunification” would continue.
e) Israel would contribute to the compensation of the refugees through the mechanism and based on suffering.

Olmertpage002

If the peaceprocess however does not start so the thread and the alternative scenario could be a unilateral actions of both sides: The Palestinians continue building the institutions of their state, gaining international recognition for their state, and Israel could withdraw from 60-70% of the West Bank and annex the rest officially to Israel.

Prof Asher Susser proposes that if peace deal or solution are impossible so one could talk about armistage instead of solution as in the creation of this two-state solution it is an armistice of sorts also. Now, if Israel aims for an armistice, Hamas can live with that. Susser says: ‘Deterrence as an alternative to occupation. That’s the name of the game. Can we develop an effective deterrent as an alternative to occupation? We have done it in Gaza, we have done it in Southern Lebanon, maybe we should look for ways and means for doing it in the West Bank.” (Source. Bicom )

PA as partner?

Obama’s planned visit has had a negative impact on the Palestinian reconciliation discussions.” (Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri)

Supposedly the Palestinian Authority is in power there thanks to the presence of the Israel Defense Force. Ironically, ending Israeli “occupation” would also bring an end to Abbas’s rule. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does not have a mandate from his people to reach any agreement with Israel: his term in office expired in January 2009. Hamas claims that the U.S. Administration has been exerting pressure on PA President to refrain from signing any deal with Hamas. Another round of talks between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo few weeks before Obama’s visit failed to produce agreement on the formation of a new Palestinian unity government and holding presidential and parliamentary elections in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. For Hamas, ending the dispute means the Islamist movement would have to cede exclusive control over the Gaza Strip — an area that has been turned into a semi-independent Islamic emirate over the past five years. As for Fatah, unity with Hamas means paving the way for the Islamist movement to extend its control to West Bank — something Abbas and his supporters are afraid of and cannot afford.

One can wonder what are Abbas’ real motivations for declaring the “State of Palestine,” as it has been based on false hopes and the depravation of his own people. In the absence of real state-building and direct talks with Israel we will more likely see a third intifada (which many claim has already started with increasing demonstrations and violence on West Bank). However one mustn’t forget that Abbas is Israel’s closest neighbor, only 10 kilometers away from the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.

New approach

Maj. Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland, former IDF planning directorate chief and national security advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, brings one interesting aspect to discussion. Eiland claims that If solution is limited only between Jordan river and Mediterrain the change for deal is zero – a broader regional context is needed to boost the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. A good place to start would be the proposals for regional solutions and multiparty land swaps. Eiland concludes that widening the circle of actors taking part in a settlement can transform the current deadlock from a zero-sum situation to a win-win scenario. Negotiators need to move, he says, towards a regional approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which Arab states take responsibility for solving the conflict and invest concrete, tangible resources in the solution. Options that have to be considered, he says, are a Palestinian-Jordanian federation; shared sovereignty in the West Bank; a three- or four-way land swap involving Egypt and Jordan; and, most likely, a combination of all these approaches. (Source: Resetting the peace process by David M. Weinberg)


Most interesting scenario from my point of view for new peace talks is the new pro-American Sunni Muslim-led axis which American diplomats established in Cairo on December 2012. In my opinion this axis makes views of Giora Eiland more feasible. This opens possibilities for alternative solutions instead of old brain-dead two-state solution and its road map. The process would then move towards a regional approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which Arab states take responsibility for solving the conflict and invest concrete, tangible resources in the solution. (More this in my previous article
A Jordanian-Palestinian Confederation Is On The Move ) Indeed this kind of approach is quite near Three State (return) Option which I have been advocating long as the most pragmatic solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

One obstacle with this new approach could be a Jordanian national movement who are anti-Palestinian, more than most Israelis and Right Wing. They don’t want the West Bank, they want the Palestinians in Jordan to go back to Palestine. Therefore, they are the most emphatic supporters of the two-state solution. Not because they like the Palestinians, but because they dislike the Palestinians! However a way to circumvent this problem could be creation a Jordan-Palestine confederation.

In my opinion Obama’s visit could lead to new jump-start of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks; besides Israel and Palestinian Authority President Obama will have discussions also with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. How Israel and PA will use – or will they use – this window of opportunity, remains to see.

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Srebrenica – The guide for the perplexed

March 7, 2013

Over a decade and a half after the event Srebrenica continues to be engulfed in heavy fog. Messages about Srebrenica can be divided in two categories. The first a myth about three days on July 1995, a simplistic story line for the broad masses, not overly concerned with facts and arguments, and certainly not encouraging critical analysis. It is based on the repetition of emotional platitudes such as “genocide” and “eight thousand executed men and boys”. The second category projects a propaganda line geared to a more select and influential public. It is based on the pseudo-history of the Yugoslav conflict promoted by the Hague Tribunal and the political apparatus which sustains it. To point out the many questionable aspects of the official narrative about what happened there, The Srebrenica Historical Project has created a presentation Srebrenica The guide for the perplexed a concise exposition of basic facts.

To give a bit more comprehensive picture about Srebrenica case I would like to highlight – with help of presentation mentioned above – few key questions which are challenging the official (ICTY, Western mainstream media) picture as follows:

8000 executed men and boys

How could an allegation of the execution of 8,000 individuals be made and then widely accepted if the only hard evidence in The Hague Tribunal’s possession that points to summary execution involves the remains of 442 persons that were found with blindfolds and ligatures? Indeed, where are the bodies to support the claim of 8,000 execution victims?

In ICTY procedure in Hague the number of Srebrenica victims has varieted from trial to trial. First the standard estimate of executed victims in Srebrenica was 7,000 to 8,000. In the recent Tolimir trial judgment, however, that figure was put at 4,970. Similarly, in all previous Srebrenica trials dealing with Branjevo farm executions, victim estimates were based on the claims of ”Starwittness Erdemovic, one of the perpetrators who made a plea bargain with the Prosecution. The accepted figure was 1,200 victims, notwithstanding the fact that the number of bodies exhumed at the crime scene was 115.

Where are the famous satellite photos that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright advertised as the definitive proof that a crime of huge dimensions did occur around Srebrenica? Why are they under seal for fifty years if they are of such enormous probative value? If they were made available to the public and to neutral experts for critical analysis now, would that not benefit everybody because many persistent doubts about Srebrenica would quickly be resolved?

The laughable reason given for insisting on the photos’ confidentiality is that showing publicly them might compromise intelligence gathering methods. That rationale is an insult to the intelligence of the public because the methods used in 1995 are long obsolete.

As the supply of legitimate Srebrenica execution mass graves began to dry up, and bodies needed to back up the 8,000 genocide victims claim were in short supply, the Muslim-controlled Missing Persons Commission focused, for instance, on a locale called Kamenica. They played down the fact that Kamenica was on the path of withdrawal of the Muslim army 28th Division in July of 1995 and that a major clash with Bosnian Serb forces took place there, with numerous Muslim casualties.

DNA?

The forensic evidence (DNA) is more unhelpful than helpful to the Prosecution’s claim that there were about 8,000 execution victims in Srebrenica. Ten years later, there was no trace of even the 4,805 bodies that in its trial judgment the Krstic court gullibly stated had been “detected” in unexhumed Srebrenica mass graves.Body counting and forensic analysis in the classical sense had reached an embarrassing dead end. The standard forensic approach which is based on autopsies may not have generated the hoped for 8,000 victims, but in a situation of this nature it generates at least some legally useful evidence. The standard approach did yield 947 potential execution victims (442 with blindfolds and ligatures, plus 505 with bullet injuries).

How can it be asserted that the human remains exhumed so far prove summary executions on a large scale when in their autopsy reports ICTY Prosecution forensic experts conceded that out of 3,568 exhumed “cases” 1,583 or 44.4 %, consisted only of body parts, and that in 1,462 or 92.4 % of them no conclusion could be drawn regarding the cause of death?

DNA is currently presented as undeniable proof of “genocide”. However, DNA findings cannot establish key elements of a murder case, the cause and time of death, which is important given the possibility of many combat deaths as well as natural deaths and burials in the Srebrenica area prior to July 1995.

Combat casualties instead of genocide

If you want to use a word “genocide” (for Srebrenica) – then OK, but we need a new word to replace the old “genocide” word…” (Noam Chomsky)

The status of the 12,000 to 15,000 strong military/civilian, mostly male column which left Srebrenica enclave on foot late on July 11, 1995, headed for Muslim-controlled territory in Tuzla, is a key factor in the controversy over what happened. ICTY Prosecution military expert Richard Butler conceded the mixed character of the column, which under international law makes it a legitimate military target.Testifying in the Popovic case, Butler reiterated that position. The legal character of the column and the extent of its casualties are of the utmost importance because in an effort to reach the magic figure of 8,000, combat losses inflicted on the column are conflated with execution victims.These casualties were estimated by prosecution military expert Richard Butler, when testifying in the Popovic trial, to have been 1,000 to 2,000 for the period of July 12 to 18, 1995, and raised to between 2,000 and 4,000 at a subsequent trial. Given the severe dearth of incontestable execution victims, the presence of thousands of these legitimate Srebrenica casualties is at worst an embarrassment, but at best an opportunity. The opportunity is to blend them in with execution victims, thus eliminating the problem and at the same time helpfully raising the victims’ total, even if it still remains short of the target figure of 8,000.

In his latest book titled “Srebrenica — The History of Salon Racism” (Srebrenica — die Geschichte eines salonfahigen Rassismus) published 2010 in Berlin, Alexander Dorin focuses on manipulations with the number of Muslims who lost their lives in Srebrenica. “It is perfectly clear that Muslim organizations listed as Srebrenica victims all the Muslim fighters who were killed in the fights after the fall of Srebrenica,” the Swiss researcher said. Dorin explained that director of the Belgrade Center for Investigation of War Crimes Milivoje Ivanišević analyzed the lists of alleged Srebrenica victims. Ivanišević discovered that, a year after the fall of Srebrenica, some 3,000 Muslim men who were supposedly killed in 1995, were voting in the Bosnian Muslim elections. It asserted that no more than 2,000 Bosnian Muslims had died at Srebrenica – all armed soldiers, not civilians – and that 1,600 of them had died in combat or while trying to escape the enclave. In addition, at least 1,000 of the alleged 1995 “Srebrenica massacre victims” have been dead long before or after Bosnian Serb Army took the town over.

Map of military operations during the Srebrenica massacre, July 1995

Planning the narrative – two years before

The “Srebrenica massacre” is the greatest triumph of propaganda to emerge from the Balkan wars.(Edward Herman)

There is also many arguments about political PR game behind exaggerated death numbers, misrepresentation of early reports and manipulated pictures. Indeed President Izetbegovic according mentioned UNSG Report told in 1993 that he had learned that a NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina was possible, but could only occur if the Serbs were to break into Srebrenica, killing at least 5,000 of its people.” So from here are the numbers originating – two years before events in Srebrenica. (Source: UN report The Fall of Srebrenica )

The authenticity and the implications of this shocking scheme are extensively explored by Ola Flyum in his documentary film Srebrenica: A town betrayed.

Bosnian Muslim violence against Bosnian Serbs from UN protected safe zone

If Srebrenica was indeed a UN protected demilitarized safe zone, how was it possible for it to be used as a training ground and launching pad by Muslim army forces inside it against Serbian civilian villages and military positions outside?

There was also a long history of atrocious Bosnian Muslim violence and treachery perpetrated against Bosnian Serbs leading up to the events of 1995.The most cruel crimes were committed by the 3rd Corps 7th Muslim Mountain Brigade, to which were subordinated foreign Muslim fighters, also known as mujahedeen, who came from Islamic countries through Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network. “Demilitarized safe area of Srebrenica” served as the safe haven to this brigade lead by Bosnian Muslim leader of Srebrenica forces Naser Oric. From there the brigade went to implement series of atrocious attacks on the near-by Serbian areas.

 An important issue pertaining to Srebrenica that is almost never talked about are the Serbian victims. The trick of excluding them is performed by simply narrowing down the relevant Srebrenica chronology to three days in July of 1995, while completely ignoring events during the preceding three years. In the three-year period before the massacre of Muslims in 1995, According to the Dutch Institute for War Documentation (NIOD), these attacks “…followed a certain pattern. Initially, Serbs were driven out of ethnically mixed towns. Then Serbian hamlets surrounded by Muslim towns were attacked and finally the remaining Serbian settlements were overrun. The residents were murdered, their homes were plundered and burnt down or blown up.” As a consequence, “it is estimated that between 1,000 and 1,200 Serbs died in these attacks, while about 3,000 of them were wounded. Ultimately, of the 9,390 Serbian inhabitants of the Srebrenica district, only 860 remained…”

Why are these substantial figures (Serb victims)rarely reported or given even fleeting attention in discussions about Srebrenica, although they are undoubtedly an integral part of the overall picture and their relevance to the events of July of 1995 is indisputable?

First of all, because this is precisely what generated the “accumulated hatred” that was clearly sensed by the UNPROFOR commander in Bosnia, General Philippe Morillon, which he referred to as the consequence of these “terrible massacres.”Second, perhaps because these pogroms created a motive for taking revenge on the perceived malefactors when that became possible in July of 1995. The latter point clearly upsets the genocide applecart because it posits a compelling alternative explanation of the motive.

R2P based on Srebrenica

One aspect which keeps the official narrative about Srebrenica alive is that the case is the fundamental element of R2P (Responsibility to Protect) concept. The Srebrenica narrative serves as the cornerstone of this important new doctrine in international relations and since Bosnia been used with many conflicts around the globe as tool of western interventions.

First, as former US ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith recently revealed, in terms of the Bosnian conflict “endgame” Croatia’s Operation Storm in 1995 against Serb-held areas in the Krajina would not have been feasible had not “Srebrenica” prepared the ground for it, morally and psychologically. The Srebrenica narrative and the outrage it produced served as a convenient veil to shield atrocities committed during the Croatian offensive in August of 1995 from substantial public examination or criticism.

As Bill Clinton, the U.S. President who had stood by in Bosnia, wavered again, Mr Blair warned that Kosovo was a test of whether civilised nations acted before it was too late. “This is not a battle for territory; this is a battle for humanity. It is a just cause, it is a rightful cause,” he argued.

A couple of more examples: “We prevented a new Srebrenica in Libya” (Hilary Clinton) Recently U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on world powers to urgently unite to end the bloodshed in Syria, recalling the inertia of the United Nations in 1995 as genocide occurred in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.

My view

Was Srebrenica – a hoax or massacre? I would say both; a hoax due the well planned and implemented PR campaign, a massacre when the Serbs went to trap and used brutal force also against civilians.(Ari Rusila)

From my point of view the myth of 8,000 executed men and boys is busted. It was planed well before to get U.S.involvement with war against Serbs. An essential part of narrative was the death toll of 8,000 and that the victims were civilians. However the figures after decade and half intensive bodycount don’t match. Besides numbers it has came clear that most of the military-age men from Srebrenica assembled in the village of Susnjari and from there under-took a 60 kilometer trek through minefields and Serbian ambushes to Tuzla as they were affraid Serb revenge due their atrocities against Serbs during preceding two years. As for the women, children, and elderly, they were left behind and deposited at the UN compound in Potocari. Quite possibly that was done as a convenient bait to the Serbs to perpetrate the anticipated massacre, but whatever the ultimate motive behind it may have been, on the whole nothing sinister occurred. The 20,000 or so enclave residents dumped in Potocari were put by the Serbs on buses and evacuated safely to Muslim territory.

One can claim that Srebrenica was not a genocide and definition ethnic cleansing is weak too, instead it was a partly war crime provoked by crimes on the other side. Partly as mostly the deads in Srebrenica on July 1995 happened when 28. Muslim Division tried to escape from town to Muslim held territory knowing the amount of hatred among local Serbs and lost their life during this operation. Saying this I’d like to point out that sure there was civilian casualties, innocent victims as well executions which can be seen as war crimes and crimes against humanity etc.

Despite unprecedented efforts over the past ten years to recover bodies from the area around Srebrenica, less than 3,000 have been exhumed, and these include soldiers and others – Serb as well as Muslim – who died in the vicious combats that took place during three years of war. Only a fraction have been identified. Probably a massacre happened but maybe not like that picture which main stream media has offered.

Srebrenica Historical Project

( http://www.srebrenica-project.com/ )

An excerpt from project’s mission statement:

Our broad purpose is to collect information on Srebrenica during the last conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, defined not as July 1995, but more broadly as 1992 to 1995. That means that we shall be creating a comprehensive and contextual, as opposed to a selective, record of the violence between the communities in that area during the conflict. We shall focus also on crimes committed against the Serb civilians not because we favor them but because so far they have been ignored. We wish to redress that balance, but we will not work under any ideological limitations. A corollary goal will be to launch something along the lines of the South African Truth and Reconciliation commission, with emphasis on truth as logically coming before and as a precondition to reconciliation. That is another reason we wish to do a great deal of empirical work on the neglected crimes against the Serbian population. We shall then proceed to explore reconciliations strategies. The fundamental objective of our project is to rise above politics and propaganda and to create a contextual record of the Srebrenica tragedy of July 1995 which can serve as a corrective to the distortions of the last decade and a half and as a genuine contribution to future peace.

Sources and further reading:

My previous articles:

Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed” – Finally a Critical Documentary about Srebrenica Tragedy

Media War of Yugoslav Secession continues

NIOD Report on Srebrenica

Srebrenica again – Hoax or Massacre?

And here is a small selection of articles, documents and analysis, which are also telling the other side of story:

Media War: The Use and Mis-Use of the Visual Image in News Coverage and Propaganda . A study of the visual media war against the Serbs.

Demonizing the Serbs by Marjaleena Repo June 15, 1999 in Counterpunch

One view about issue in video Bosnia and Media Manipulation

Srebrenica: The Star Witness by Prof Edward S. Herman

The Star Witness by Germinal Civikov (translated from German by John Lauchland),Belgrade 2010,

Srebrenica: Deconstruction of a Virtual Genocide” by Stephen Karganovic and Ljubica Simic (Belgrade 2010)

 Analysis of Muslim Column Losses Due to Minefields and Combat Activity” by Stephen Karganovic: .Proceedings of the International Symposium on ICTY and Srebrenica (Belgrade-Moscow 2010)

 Was Srebrenica a Hoax? Eye-Witness Account of a Former United Nations Military Observer in Bosnia by Carlos Martins Branco

Media Disinformation Frenzy on Srebrenica: The Lynching of Ratko Mladic by Nebojsa Malic

Media Fabrications: The “Srebrenica Massacre” is a Western Myth

What Happened at Srebrenica? Examination of the Forensic Evidence by Stephen Karganovic

Using War as an Excuse for More War: Srebrenica Revisited by Diana Johnstone

The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics by Edward S. Herman and Phillip Corwin

NIOD (Netherlands Institute for War Documentation)/Srebrenica investigationreport

INTELWIRE.com has published over 2.000 pages of of declassified U.S. State Dept. Cables about Srebrenica

UN Report:The Fall of Srebrenica

The Star Wittness

Germinal Civikov is a native of Bulgaria living nowadays in The Hague and Cologne. In his book, “Srebrenica: Der Kronzeuge” (Wien: Promedia, 2009, published also in English as ”Srebrenica: The Star Wittness) Civikov explains that the ICTY ruling that genocide was committed at Srebrenica on the orders of the Bosnian Serb leadership is based on the testimony of a single witness, a self-confessed perpetrator of one of the massacres called Drazen Erdemovic. Civikov shows that in fact Erdemovic is a pathological liar, he was a mercenary who fought on all three sides in the Bosnian civil war. He was not forced to commit the massacre, indeed his unit was on leave when the massacre was committed. He was not the victim of a later murder attempt to prevent him from testifying, but instead a thug who quarrelled over money with his fellow murderers.

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