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Palestine - Israel's Experiment in Famine
Israel's Experiment in Famine
The experiment in famine began on January 18, 2008. Israel hermetically closed all of Gaza's borders, preventing even food, medicine and fuel from entering the Strip. Power cuts, which had been frequent for many months, were extended to 12 hours per day. Due to the electricity shortage, at least 40 percent of Gazans have not had access to running water (which is channeled through electric pumps) for several days and the sewage system has broken down. The raw sewage that has not spilled onto the streets is now being poured into the sea at a daily rate of 30 million liters. Hospitals have been forced to rely on emergency generators leading them to cut back, yet again, on the already limited services offered to the Palestinian population. The World Food Programme has reported critical shortages of food and declared that it is unable to provide 10,000 of the poorest Gazans with three out of the five foodstuffs they normally receive.
After five days of extreme suffering, a group of Hamas militants took the lead, and blew-up parts of the steel wall along the Egyptian border. Within hours more than 100,000 Gazans crossed the border into Egypt. They were hungry, thirsty and sick of being locked up in a filthy cage. Once in Egypt they bought everything they could get their hands on and waited patiently for the international community to intervene on their behalf. Yet the world leaders failed them again, and on January 28, after a five day respite, the iron wall was re-erected and the Palestinians were pushed back into the world's largest prison -- the Gaza Strip.
Exodus to Egypt
Mohammad Omer, author of Rafah Today, discusses the exodus of Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt, breaking the Israeli blockade and engaging in peaceful commerce with the Egyptians. MP3:
Mohammad Omer is a student in the Gaza Strip town of Rafah and author of the Website
Israel threatens further supply cuts to Gaza
The Electronic Intifada
, 31 January 2008
JERUSALEM, 31 January (IPS) - Already testy relations between Jerusalem and Cairo have frayed further in the last week as hundreds of thousands of Gazans have poured through a hole blasted in the Egypt-Gaza border fence, in a bid to escape a suffocating blockade imposed by Israel on the coastal strip.
With fuel and medical supplies running low as a result of sanctions implemented by Israel ostensibly in response to the firing of rockets by Palestinian militants from Gaza into Israel, Hamas members toppled the steel wall on the border with Egypt last week. Once on the Egyptian side of the border, Gaza residents were able to stock up on much-needed supplies before heading back home.
Israeli leaders, incensed that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had not resurrected the wall and stopped the Gazans from entering, began suggesting that they would relinquish control of the strip altogether, leaving Egypt lumped with responsibility for the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza.
0 Israeli homes
have been demolished by Palestinians and
4,170 Palestinian homes have been demolished
by Israel since September 29, 2000.
Our tax dollars at work
The Strangulation of Gaza
by SAREE MAKDISI
The people of Gaza were able to enjoy a few days of freedom last week, after demolition charges brought down the iron wall separating the impoverished Palestinian territory from Egypt, allowing hundreds of thousands to burst out of the virtual prison into which Gaza has been transformed over the past few years–the terminal stage of four decades of Israeli occupation–and to shop for desperately needed supplies in Egyptian border towns.
Gaza’s doors are slowly closing again, however. Under mounting pressure from the United States and Israel, Egypt has dispatched additional border guards armed with water cannons and electric cattle prods to try to regain control. It has already cut off the flow of supplies crossing the Suez Canal to its own border towns. For now, in effect, Suez is the new border: even if Palestinians could get out of Gaza in search of new supplies, they would have to cross the desolate expanses of the Sinai Desert and cross the canal, on the other side of which they would find the regular Egyptian army (barred from most of Sinai as a condition of the 1979 Camp David treaty with Israel) waiting for them.
Now that Gaza’s fleeting taste of freedom is beginning to fade, the grim reality facing the territory’s 1.5 million people is once again looming large. “After feeling imprisoned for so long, it has been a psychological relief for Gazans to know that there is a way out,” said John Ging, the local director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). “But it does not resolve their crisis by any stretch of the imagination.”
Indeed, all the frenzied shopping in Egyptian border towns brought into Gaza a mere fraction of the food that UN and other relief agencies have been blocked by Israel from delivering to the people who depend on them for their very survival. As long as the border with Egypt is even partially open, Israel refuses to open its own borders with Gaza to anything other than the bare minimum of industrial fuel to keep the territory’s one power plant operating at a subsistence level, and a few trucks of other supplies a day.
UNRWA has almost depleted the stocks of emergency food aid it had previously built up in Gaza. Only thirty-two truckloads of goods have been allowed to enter Gaza since Israel imposed its total closure on January 18; 250 trucks were entering every day before last June, and even that was insufficient to meet the population’s needs.
On January 30 UNRWA warned that unless something changes, the daily ration that it will distribute on the 31st to 860,000 destitute refugees in Gaza will lack a protein component: the canned meat that is the only source of protein in the food parcels–which even under the best of circumstances contributes less than two-thirds of minimum daily nourishment–is being held up by Israel, and the stock of those cans inside Gaza has been exhausted. The World Food Program, which feeds another 340,000 people in Gaza, has brought in nine trucks of food aid in the past two weeks; in the seven months before that, it had been bringing in fifteen trucks a day.
Gazans have been ground into poverty by years of methodical Israeli restrictions and closures; 80 percent of the population now depends on food aid for day-to-day subsistence. With the aid, they were receiving “enough to survive, not to live,” as the International Red Cross put it. Without it, they will die.
All this is supposed to be in response to Palestinian militant groups’ firing of crude homemade rockets into Israel, which rarely cause any actual damage. There can be no excuse for firing rockets at civilian targets, but Israel was squeezing Gaza long before the first of those primitive projectiles was cobbled together. The first fatal rocket attack took place four years ago; Israel has been occupying Gaza for four decades.
The current squeeze on Gaza began in 1991. It was tightened with the institutionalization of the Israeli occupation enabled by the Oslo Accords of 1993. It was tightened further with the intensification of the occupation in response to the second intifada in 2000. It was tightened further still when Israel redeployed its settlers and troops from inside Gaza in 2005 and transformed the territory into what John Dugard, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied territories, referred to as a prison, the key to which, Dugard said, Israel had “thrown away.” It was tightened to the point of strangulation following the Hamas electoral victory in 2006, when Israel began restricting supplies of food and other resources into Gaza. It was tightened beyond the point of strangulation following the deposition of the Hamas-led government in June 2007. And now this.
When Israel limited commercial shipments of food–but not humanitarian relief–into Gaza in 2006, a senior government adviser, Dov Weisglass, explained that “the idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet but not to make them die of hunger.”
Israel’s “diet” was taking its toll even before last week. The World Food Program warned last November that less than half of Gaza’s food-import needs were being met. Basics including wheat grain, vegetable oil, dairy products and baby milk were in short supply. Few families can afford meat. Anemia rates rocketed to almost 80 percent. UNRWA noted at about the same time that “we are seeing evidence of the stunting of children, their growth is slowing, because our ration is only 61 percent of what people should have and that has to be supplemented.”
By further restricting the supply of food to an already malnourished population, Israel has clearly decided to take its “diet” a step further. If the people of Gaza remain cut off from the food aid on which their survival now depends, they will face starvation.
They are now essentially out of food; the water system is faltering (almost half the population now lacks access to safe water supplies); the sewage system has broken down and is discharging raw waste into streets and the sea; the power supply is intermittent at best; hospitals lack heat and spare parts for diagnostic machines, ventilators, incubators; dozens of lifesaving medicines are no longer available. Slowly but surely, Gaza is dying.
Patients are dying unnecessarily: cancer patients cut off from chemotherapy regimens, kidney patients cut off from dialysis treatments, premature babies cut off from blood-clotting medications. In the past few weeks, many more Palestinian parents have watched the lives of their sick children ebb slowly, quietly and (as far as the global media are concerned) invisibly away in Gaza’s besieged hospitals than Israelis have been hurt–let alone actually killed–by the erratic firing of primitive homemade rockets from Gaza, about which we have heard so much. (According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, these rockets have killed thirteen Israelis in the past four years, while Israeli forces have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in the occupied territories in the past two years alone, almost half of them civilians, including some 200 children.)
Israel’s squeeze is expressly intended to punish the entire population for the firing of those rockets by militants, which ordinary civilians are powerless to stop. “We will not allow them to lead a pleasant life,” said Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when Israel cut off fuel supplies on January 18, thereby plunging Gaza into darkness. “As far as I am concerned, all of Gaza’s residents can walk and have no fuel for their cars.”
Olmert’s views and, more important, his policies were reaffirmed and given the legal sanction of Israel’s High Court. In what human rights organizations referred to as a “devastating” decision, on January 30 the court ruled in favor of the government’s plan to further restrict supplies of fuel and electricity to Gaza. “The decision means that Israel may deliberately deprive civilians in Gaza of fuel and electricity supplies,” pointed out Sari Bashi, of the Gisha human rights organization in Israel. “During wartime, the civilian population is the first and central victim of the fighting, even when efforts are made to minimize the damage,” the court said. In other words, harm to the civilian population is an inevitable effect of war and therefore legally permissible.
That may be the view of Israel’s highest legal authority, but it is not how the matter is viewed by international law, which strictly regulates the way civilian populations are to be treated in time of war. “The parties to a conflict must at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to spare the civilian population and civilian property,” the International Red Cross points out, invoking the Geneva Conventions and other founding documents of international humanitarian law. “Neither the civilian population as a whole nor individual civilians may be attacked.”
Moreover, no matter what Israel’s High Court says, what is happening in Gaza is not a war in the conventional sense: Gaza is not a state at war with the state of Israel. It is a territory militarily occupied by Israel. Even after its 2005 redeployment, Israel did not release its hold on Gaza; it continues to control all access to the territory, as well as its airspace, territorial waters and even its population registry. Over and above all the routine prohibitions on attacks on the civilian population and other forms of collective punishment that hold true in case of war, in other words, international law also holds Israel responsible for the welfare of the Gaza population. Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) specifically demands, for example, that, “to the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate.”
Israel’s methodical actions make it clear that it is systematically grinding down and now actually starving people for whose welfare it is legally accountable simply because it regards Gaza’s 1.5 million men, women and children as a surplus population it would, quite simply, like to get rid of one way or the other: a sentiment made quite clear when Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi proposed, shortly after the current crisis began, that the entire Palestinian population of Gaza should just be removed and transferred to the Egyptian desert. “They will have a nice country, and we shall have our country and we shall live in peace,” he said, without eliciting even a murmur of protest in Israel.
The overwhelming majority of Gazans are refugees or the descendants of refugees who were expelled from their homes when Palestine was destroyed and Israel was created in 1948. Like all Palestinian refugees, those of Gaza have a moral and legal right to return to the homeland from which they were expelled. Israel blocks their return for the same reason it expelled them in the first place, because their presence would undermine its already tenuous claim to Jewishness (this is the nature of the so-called “demographic problem” about which Israeli politicians openly complain). As long as the refugees live, what Israel regards as the mortal threat of their right of return lives on. But if they would somehow just go away…
“Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution, with the knowledge, acquiescence and–some would say–encouragement of the international community,” the commissioner-general of UNRWA warned recently.
The question now is whether the world will simply sit and watch, now that this unprecedented threshold is actually being crossed.
Having taken matters into their hands and destroyed the wall cutting them off from the outside world, it is most unlikely that the people of Gaza will simply submit to that fate. A hermetic closure ultimately depends not merely on Israel’s whims but on Egypt’s willingness–or ability–to cut off the Palestinians of Gaza and watch them starve. For all the US and Israeli pressure on Egypt, and for all the steps Egypt is now taking, it seems most unlikely that it would let things go that far. Not intervening to save fellow Arabs from the Israeli occupation is one thing; actually participating in their repression is quite another. The Egyptian government would have to answer not only to the people of Palestine but to its own people, and indeed to all Arabs.
Working together, Hamas and the people of Gaza have forced Egypt’s hand and made much more visible than ever before the role it had been playing all along in the Israeli occupation and strangulation of Gaza; now that its role in assisting Israel has been revealed, it will be difficult for Egypt to go back to the status quo. Gazans have thrown Israel’s plans into disarray, because Israel’s leaders could do little more than watch with pursed lips as the people of Gaza burst out of their prison. And they have placed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the government of Ramallah in a corner: they will have to choose between defending their people’s rights and needs or confirming once and for all–as indeed they are doing–that the PA is there to serve Israel’s interests, not those of the Palestinians. In which case they too will one day be called to account.
- Saree Makdisi, professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA, is the author of Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation (Norton)
Israeli War Minister Threatens Palestinian Holocaust
Paul Joseph Watson
Friday, February 29th, 2008
Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai has provoked outrage after threatening Palestinians with a "holocaust," but the same media who obsessed about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s "wipe Israel off the map" misquote are scurrying to defend Vilnai’s disgraceful comments.
"The more Qassam (rocket) fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger holocaust because we will use all our might to defend ourselves," Vilnai told the Army Radio on Friday.
However, in a Reuters report, despite the fact that the rest of the statement was translated into English, the incendiary word "holocaust" remained in its original Hebrew version - "shoah".
Why Reuters would choose to print the rest of the statement in English yet cherry-pick one word to remain in Hebrew is obvious - they don’t want to draw any attention to the fact that Vilnai is threatening the Palestinians with a holocaust.
Vilnai’s spokesman has attempted to diffuse the controversy by claiming Vilnai was speaking in terms of a "disaster" and not a holocaust.
But you can’t have your cake and eat it.
When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad allegedly called for Israel to be "wiped off the map," the media blindly repeated the quote ad infinitum, and it became second nature for them to carelessly drop it into any propaganda piece intended to hype Iran’s supposed threat to Israel and the world.
Barely a day goes by that Israeli, American and British warhawks don’t spew the phrase like a broken record in an attempt to create a catchy cliché and brand market the next jaunt of imperial blood-letting.
No matter that, according to numerous different translations, Ahmadinejad never used the word "map," instead his statement was in the context of time and applied to the Zionist regime occupying Jerusalem. Ahmadinejad was expressing his future hope that the Zionist regime in Israel would fall, not that Iran was going to physically annex the country and its population.
To claim Ahmadinejad has issued a rallying cry to ethnically cleanse Israel is akin to saying that Churchill wanted to murder all Germans when he stated his desire to crush the Nazis. This is about the demise of a corrupt occupying power, not the deaths of millions of innocent people.
On the other hand, even as Reuters is forced to admit, Vilnai’s use of the word "shoah" is intrinsically allied to the context of "Discussions of the Nazi Holocaust of Jews," adding, "Many Israelis are loath to countenance its use to describe other contemporary events."
So will the media make reference to one of Israel’s top minister’s expressing his wish to inflict a Palestinian "holocaust" in all future reports about Israel’s geopolitical motives, just as they do with Ahmadinejad’s supposed call to wipe Israel off the map?
There’s more chance of Yasser Arafat and Menachem Begin coming back from the dead to broker a peace settlement.
In the spring of 1942, the Jerusalem historian BenZion Dinur (Dinaburg) used the term "Shoah" to describe the extermination of Europe's Jews.
The UN partition of 1947 gave to Jews what it had no right to give in the first place. You cannot give the land of one people to another and call it international law. In 1922, the Jews in Palestine constituted only 11 % of the population but by 1947, they had increased their number to 31 %. This was a result of massive immigration.
The Palestinians that fled their homes did so because of the atrocities committed by Jewish terrorist groups such as the Irgun and Stern gangs when they massacred whole villages of Palestinian civilians such as at Deir Yassin. It was very effective and the result was nearly a million refugees in 1947.
The Jewish claim to Palestine has no historical basis. Zionists claim the extent of the Kingdom of David and Solomon which lasted for only about 73 years. Settled populations have inhabited Palestine for some 9000 years.
Jews are no longer a race of people but those who follow the religion of Judaism. To prove this point, there are European Jews, Russian Jews, Asian Jews, American Jews, Ethiopian Jews, and yes, even Arab Jews. It is ludicrous to think that all the Jews in the world should have a country of their own and that this country must be that of another people, the indigenous population of Palestine.
That the Jews were persecuted throughout history is no fault of the Palestinians. The Jews that live in Palestine now and call themselves Israelis have persecuted the Palestinians as no people have ever been persecuted.
YouTube - Modern Day Holocaust Upon Palestine
Gaza: Health System On Brink Of Collapse
Global Research, March 3, 2008
Following a weekend of continuous airstrikes, shellings and limited land strikes, hospitals in Gaza are now finding it almost impossible to function due to massive overload of injured people continuing to arrive for admission today, and since last Wednesday, 27.2.08.
The larger hospitals in Gaza are fully occupied. Since Friday 29.3.08, surgery is performed 24 hours a day in all 12 operating theaters of Shifaa' Hospital. Medical teams at this hospital are working in emergency mode since 4 days ago. Medical supplies and other equipment are dwindling, and there is a shortage in beds, needles, wound dressings, anesthetics and heavy medical equipment such as CPR machines.
As a result of recent events, the ability of hospital departments to maintain their routine services is impaired. The enormous numbers of injured arriving and the necessity to cover the shortage in beds has forced hospitals to stop medical treatment of dozens of patients, including cancer patients, heart patients and other chronic patients, and to send them to their homes until the end of the crisis.
According to medical information received from Shifaa' hospital, the majority of injuries are a result of direct hits, shrapnel and shock waves caused by bombardments by the Israeli Air Force, as well as the collapse of buildings on their inhabitants.
10 killed on Sunday, death toll in Gaza hits 98 since Wednesday
March 02, 2008
Palestinian medical sources stated that 10 Palestinians were killed on Sunday due to ongoing Israeli army attacks of the Gaza strip; the number of Palestinian killed by the Israeli army in the Palestinian coastal region now totals 98.
On Saturday at dawn the Israeli army started a ground offensive targeting Jabalyia town and the nearby refugee camp. By Saturday night Israeli attack left 56 Palestinians killed, 36 of whom were civilians.
Today the Palestinian ministry of Health in Gaza announced that some hospitals in Gaza can not provide medical care because they have no electricity or medical supplies.
The Israeli army has kept Gaza under siege since June 2007, leaving Gaza suffering from severe shortages of medicine, food, electricity, and fuel supplies.
Army kills Palestinian teenager at protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza
Monday March 03, 2008
A Palestinian teenager was killed on Monday and several others injured when Israeli army troops attacked a protest organized by school students in the village of Al Mazra'ah Al Sarqyiah, located near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. On Sunday the Israeli army attacked a similar protest in Bil'in village and injured seven children.
Israeli troops take 'trophy' photos of dead
The Gaza Bombshell: Politics & Power: vanityfair.com
After failing to anticipate Hamas’s victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. With confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials, David Rose reveals how President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and
Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams
backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever..
Some sources call the scheme
“Iran-contra 2.0,” recalling that Abrams was convicted (and later pardoned) for withholding information from Congress during the original Iran-contra scandal under President Reagan. There are echoes of other past misadventures as well: the C.I.A.’s 1953 ouster of an elected prime minister in Iran, which set the stage for the 1979 Islamic revolution there; the aborted 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion
, which gave Fidel Castro an excuse to solidify his hold on Cuba; and the contemporary tragedy in Iraq.
Within the Bush administration, the Palestinian policy set off a furious debate. One of its critics is David Wurmser, the avowed neoconservative, who resigned as Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief Middle East adviser in July 2007, a month after the Gaza coup.
Wurmser accuses the Bush administration of “engaging in a dirty war in an effort to provide a corrupt dictatorship [led by Abbas] with victory.” He believes that Hamas had no intention of taking Gaza until Fatah forced its hand
ZioPedia - Demasking and Exposing Zionist Crimes - Vanity Fair's 'Gaza Bombshell' or the machinations of the Matrix
9/11 - All the Proof You Need
60 Years Of Palestinian Displacement, Occupation, Death And Suffering
By Stephen Lendman
On May 14, Israelis will commemorate the 60th anniversary of their "War of Independence" and founding of the Jewish State. It also marks 60 years of Palestinian suffering. The web site alnakba.org recounts the history.
David Ben-Gurion was Israel's first prime minister. On March 10, 1948, he met with leading Zionists and young Jewish military officers in Tel-Aviv's "Red House." They finalized plans to ethnically cleanse Palestine through a process of siege, intimidation and terror - to bomb and depopulate villages and cities; massacre innocent people; burn homes, property and goods; and prevent expelled Palestinians from returning.
Dalet (Plan D) was the final master plan. It was for war without mercy - mass slaughter, targeted assassinations, rapes, other atrocities, displacement and destruction. It was to establish an exclusive Jewish State without an Arab presence.
It took six months to complete. It displaced 750,000 to 800,000 people - men, women, children, the elderly and infant civilians. Many hundreds or thousands of others were killed. Sweeping destruction was carried out. It erased 531 villages and 11 urban neighborhoods in Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and other cities.
The plan's roots went way back:
-- to the birth of Zionism;
-- the 1901Jewish National Fund (JNF) beginning; it was to compile a detailed registry of Arab villages so later Zionists knew what to colonize and where; it was also to buy and occupy Palestinian land;
-- by the late 1930s, it was a detailed topographic blueprint of every Arab village and urban area; its information included husbandry, cultivated land, number of trees, quality of fruits, crops, average amount of land per family, number of cars, shop owners, Palestinian clans and their political affiliation, description of mosques and names of their imams, civil servants and more;
-- by 1947, it also included "wanted" persons, by villages, to be targeted for elimination - leaders to be arrested and summarily executed in cold blood to create a power vacuum;
-- the process began in December 1947, five months before the British Mandate ended; Britain did nothing to deter it; David Ben-Gurion led it from the 1920s to the 1960s; after ethnically cleansing Palestine he said: "We have come and we have stolen their country....We must do everything to insure they never do return." Ten years earlier he wrote to his son: "We will expel the Arabs and take their places....with the force at our disposal;"
-- other Israeli leaders expressed the same mindset; two were former prime ministers - Golda Meir said: "There are no Palestinians" and Menachem Begin and Nobel Peace Prize recipient called Palestinians "two-legged beasts" and said Jews were the "Master Race" and "divine gods on this planet;"
The Palestinian Holocaust
Alnakba.org recounts the toll. It lists the destroyed villages in 14 Palestinian Districts, including Gaza, Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa, Nazareth and Hebron. One was Deir Yassin in the Jerusalem District. On April 9, 1948, it was the site of an infamous Nakba massacre. Israeli soldiers entered the village, machine-gunned houses randomly and killed many inside them. The remaining villagers were assembled and murdered in cold blood. Included were children, infants, the elderly and women who were first raped. The total number killed is uncertain but best estimates place it between 93 and 120. In addition, dozens more were killed in the fighting that ensued, and many other villages met the same fate in the systematic cleansing plan - to seize as much Palestinian land as possible leaving the fewest number of Arabs on it.
In December 1947, Jews in Palestine numbered 600,000 compared to 1.3 million Palestinians. Ben-Gurion ordered them removed with commands like: "Every attack has to end with occupation, destruction and expulsion." He meant depopulation; obliteration; homes blown up, burned or bulldozed; their inhabitants inside killed; shooting anything that moved, especially fighting-age men and boys who might pose a combat or resistance threat; and leaving behind rubble, a forgotten landscape and a proud history erased.
Persecution was relentless, much the way it is today. Roadblocks and checkpoints went up, curfews imposed, violators shot on sight, and systematic abuse inflicted. In addition, thousands of Palestinians were conscripted, sent to labor camps, and forced to help build the new Jewish state. Conditions there were deplorable. Quarry laborers performed arduous work, carried heavy rocks, and had to live on one potato and half a dried fish for daily sustenance. Complainers or slackers were beaten, many severely. Others, considered a threat, were simply shot.
Palestinians have endured six decades of shattered hope and dreams. They were uprooted from their homes, denied their basic rights, given little outside recognition or aid, blamed for Israeli crimes, terrorized without mercy, falsely promised peace, yet condemned to a state of siege under which nothing will change without outside pressure to force it.
Since 1948, Palestinians have lived in a state of limbo. What's left of their country is occupied. They have no recognized nation and no power over their daily lives. They live in constant fear. They're economically strangled; dispossessed of their land and homes; isolated under siege; collectively punished; denied free movement; casually murdered; ruthlessly arrested, imprisoned and tortured; afflicted by random curfews; invaded, bombed, and shot at; extra-judicially assassinated; and constricted by roadblocks, checkpoints, electric fences and the Separation Wall that the World Court ruled illegal.
Commemorating the Unforgivable
Jews in Israel and around the world will commemorate May 14. It's the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel's founding. Thousands of other Jews everywhere along with everyone of conscience stand with the Canadian Palestine Support Network (CalPalNet). They cannot celebrate. They will not celebrate. They remember the Nakba. They know it continues. They condemn 41 years of occupation; the starving and bombing of Gaza; the oppressive Separation Wall; the theft of Palestinian land; the building of illegal settlements; the denial of the right of return; the killings, torture, imprisonment and harassment; the denial of basic human rights; and Israel's disdain for international law.
They "can (and) will continue (their) efforts to end these injustices, uphold international law," and support every UN resolution demanding it. "This is the only road map to peace." They, with millions of others, won't ever stop working for it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting edge discussion with distinguished guests.
May 7, 2008
Still Waters in Gaza
by Mohammed Omer
GAZA CITY - It's been strangely quiet for some time at the port in Gaza. No clanging of hooks, no sounds of creaking cranes or of thumping of nets upon decks. Boat engines, normally puttering and spewing exhaust, lie entombed under covers.
Of the 40,000 fishermen and others who make a living from the catch, only about 700 are still busy, according to the Fishing Syndicate in Gaza. The boats need oil, and Israel will not let the fishermen have it.
"Gaza's 3,000 fishermen need about 40,000 liters of fuel and 40,000 liters of natural gas a day to operate for this season from March until the end of May," says Nizar Ayash, director of the Fishing Syndicate. Now they get almost nothing.
Jamal al-Assi, 37, attempts to look busy around his idle boat. "My boat feeds 11 families," he says. "What are we going to do? There is no hope when there is no fuel. We can't work."
"I have been laid off work for nearly two months due to shortage of fuel," says Nasser al-Amodi, 49, one of Gaza's oldest fishermen. He began his career at age nine, working alongside his father. Later he inherited the business.
Nasser, father of five, had hoped one day to pass the business on to his children. But now, as he does his bit to maintain his gear, he is not so sure. Seventy people, including the families of his brother and crew, have lost income as a result of the blockade.
"If any of my equipment breaks down or is lost, I can't afford to replace it, not only because it isn't available but because the price is double what it would normally be."
Nasser and his family live in al-Shati refugee camp, one of Gaza's oldest and most crowded refugee camps. An experienced fisherman, Nasser has all his life taken up a profession considered by many the most dangerous in the world, and for Gaza fishermen made more so by Israeli incursions and the siege.
Israel limits Palestinian fishing to six miles from shore. "But sometimes we're not even three miles out when the Israelis chase us away," says Ayash.
"We fishermen are part of the people, meaning whatever happens to Gaza's people happens to us," he says. "But we will make our voices heard around the world until our suffering ends."
And so fishermen suffer like the others. The scarcity of fuel has hit all sections of Gaza society. Vehicles, including ambulances, cannot run, goods cannot reach their destination, and those that do are priced out of reach.
The Palestinian Petrol Station Owners Association continues to demand fuel allotment from Israeli authorities to support the basic needs of Gaza's 1.5 million people. Israeli authorities permit fuel primarily for the electricity generation plant.
Despite Israel's highly publicized "withdrawal" of its illegal colonies in 2005, Gaza remains under virtual occupation through the siege, with its airport, borders, and seashore controlled by Israel. Israel controls also the airspace over Gaza and the lifelines to its economy. All imports and exports, including food, medicine, equipment, and fuel are controlled through the Nahal Ozz crossing.
International and Israeli human rights organizations have been urging Israel to resume fuel deliveries into the Gaza Strip.
"The current situation is a threat to the health and well-being of the population of the Gaza Strip," says a joint statement signed by eight UN bodies. "The work of the United Nations organizations in Gaza has been severely hampered [by the fuel shortage] affecting schools, health facilities, and food distribution."
May 13, 2008
A carpet red with the blood of the Palestinian people is being rolled out to welcome the visiting dignitaries coming to 'celebrate’ 60 years of ethnic cleansing in the Holy Land.
Leader of the pact is the President of the United States. At his side will be the first lady Laura Bush. She has intentions of visiting children’s facilities in the Jerusalem area. If she drives about 20 minutes due south to Hebron she can witness the orphanage recently closed by Israeli troops…. but needless to say she won’t.
Neither will she be attending the funerals held in Gaza or in the Occupied West Bank of children murdered in cold blood by Israeli soldiers.
No, she nor the others in her group are here to celebrate those 'victories’ of zionism, not to mourn with Palestine the loss of their land and homes 60 years ago.
Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair is overjoyed that Israel has agreed to remove four roadblocks in the Occupied Territories. FOUR, OUT OF OVER 500!!!! This is seen as a great victory for the self appointed 'peacemaker of the Middle East’.
May 23, 2008
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN ARRESTED IN ISRAEL
Israel Arrests Outspoken Academic Norman Finkelstein
The American academic Norman Finkelstein has been arrested and ordered deported from Israel. Finkelstein arrived in Tel Aviv earlier today on his way to the Occupied Territories. He was immediately detained and told he is banned from Israel for ten years. He’s expected to be deported tomorrow. Finkelstein is known as one of the most prominent academic critics of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
Middle East Pop Quiz
by Charley Reese
June 7, 2008
It's time for another pop quiz on America's favorite region of the world – the Middle East. Let's get started with the subject of nuclear weapons.
Which country in the Middle East actually possesses nuclear weapons?
Which country in the Middle East refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?
Which country in the Middle East refuses to allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities?
Which countries in the Middle East have called for the region to be a nuclear-free zone?
The Arab countries and Iran.
Which country in the Middle East occupies land belonging to other people?
Israel, which occupies a piece of Lebanon, a larger piece of Syria, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.
Which country in the Middle East has for 60 years refused to allow refugees to return to their homes and refused to consider compensation to them for their lost property?
Which country has roads on which citizens who are Arab may not drive and housing developments where Arabs may not live?
Which country in the region has violated more United Nations resolutions than any other?
Israel. The United States has on more than one occasion gone to war ostensibly to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions, but when it comes to resolutions directed against Israel, the U.S. is like the amoral monkey that sees, hears and says nothing. That raises the question of who's the dog and who's the tail?
Which country in the region has in the past been led by men who at one time were terrorists with a price on their heads?
Israel. Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir once led the Stern Gang and ordered, among other things, the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat working for the United Nations. Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin led the Irgun, a terrorist gang that among other things blew up one wing of the King David Hotel, killing nearly 100 people.
Which country in the Middle East openly employs assassination against its political enemies?
Israel. There have been assassinations carried out by some of the Arab governments, but they usually don't own up to them. Israel has created a euphemism that the suck-up American press has readily adopted: "targeted killings." A British journalist told me once, "The Palestinians have a talent for picking bad leaders, and the Israelis have a talent for murdering their good ones."
What are the top five countries from which we import oil?
Here they are in order of volume: Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Nigeria and Venezuela. The next time you hear some blowhard politician ranting about how the Arabs control our oil imports, remind him or her of the facts. By far, a majority of oil imports come from non-Arab countries.
Which country in the region receives an annual gift of $3 billion or more from Congress?
Which foreign-aid recipient is the only one allowed to receive its aid in a lump sum and which routinely invests part of it in U.S. Treasuries so that taxpayers pay them interest on the taxpayers' gift?
Which country in the Middle East has the most powerful lobby in the U.S.?
Which country in the Middle East are most American politicians, journalists and academics afraid to criticize?
On behalf of which country has the U.S. vetoed the largest number of U.N. Security Council resolutions?
What country do the people in the region consider the world's biggest hypocrite?
The United States.
Which countries in the Middle East have attacked U.S. ships in international waters?
Iraq and Israel. A lone Iraqi plane fired one missile at a U.S. ship by mistake. The Iraqi government quickly compensated the U.S. In 1967, Israeli airplanes and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty, killing 34 Americans. The U.S. government declared it an accident even before the ship limped into port, and to this day Congress has never held a public hearing and allowed the survivors to tell their story. Their story, by the way, is that the attack was deliberate. Israel compensated the families of those who were killed, but resisted for years paying compensation for the ship.
Remembering Israel’s Attack on the USS Liberty
Oil hits new high as Israel calls strike on Iran 'unavoidable'
(Charley Reese could also have asked: "What country in the Middle East can brutally murder American civilians with total impunity?")
Not a word…
June 15, 2008
Captain Ward Boston (US Navy, ret.) passed away yesterday. Not a single mention on the corporate media, of course. It would take time away from the Tim Russert eulogies.
“These rats,’ he said, referring to Israel and her defenders. ‘They lie about everything. You can’t believe a word they say’ he told AFP. What was so important about this statement was that Capt. Boston was not just talking about the past, but about the present and future as well.
‘They’ve completely infested the entire Intelligence and Defense apparatus of the United States’ he said. ‘Perle, Feith, Wolfowitz, and all the rest of them… They’re spies for Israel, every damned one of them’ he said. ‘Just consider the 5 guys who were arrested after 9/11, cheering and celebrating, and then afterwards we come to find out that they were Mossad and then they get sent back to Israel.
They knew all about it and yet our government, the government I worked for most of my life did nothing about it. Can you imagine if these guys were Arabs?’ he asked. ‘It’s been the same thing, ever since 1967′ he said with unmistakable aggravation. ‘Protect Israel, protect Israel…In the meantime, our boys are dying over there and those who don’t die are coming back here with all sorts of problems, both physical and psychological’.
Captain Boston was commander of the USS Liberty, nearly sunk by Israeli warplanes in 1967.
Ward Boston, Jr.,Captain, JAGC, USN (Ret.)
I, Ward Boston, Jr. do declare that the following statement is true and complete:
For more than 30 years, I have remained silent on the topic of USS Liberty. I am a military man and when orders come in from the Secretary of Defense and President of the United States, I follow them.
However, recent attempts to rewrite history compel me to share the truth.
"I know from personal conversations I had with Admiral Kidd that President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered him to conclude that the attack was a case of “mistaken identity” despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary."
Zionism's Dead End
Separation or ethnic cleansing? Israel's encaging of Gaza aims to achieve both
by Jonathan Cook (excerpt)
The following is taken from a talk delivered at the Conference for the Right of Return and the Secular Democratic State, held in Haifa on June 21, 2008
In 1895 Theodor Herzl, Zionism's chief prophet, confided in his diary that he did not favor sharing Palestine with the natives. Better, he wrote, to "try to spirit the penniless [Palestinian] population across the border by denying it any employment in our own country … Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly."
He was proposing a program of Palestinian emigration enforced through a policy of strict separation between Jewish immigrants and the indigenous population. In simple terms, he hoped that, once Zionist organizations had bought up large areas of Palestine and owned the main sectors of the economy, Palestinians could be made to leave by denying them rights to work the land or labor in the Jewish-run economy. His vision was one of transfer, or ethnic cleansing, through ethnic separation.
Herzl was suggesting that two possible Zionist solutions to the problem of a Palestinian majority living in Palestine – separation and transfer – were not necessarily alternatives but rather could be mutually reinforcing. Not only that: he believed, if they were used together, the process of ethnic cleansing could be made to appear voluntary, the choice of the victims.
It may be that this was both his most enduring legacy and his major innovation to settler colonialism.
The separation embodied in South African apartheid differed from Herzl's notion of separation in one important respect: in apartheid, the "other" population was a necessary, even if much abused, component of the political arrangement. As the exiled Palestinian thinker Azmi Bishara has noted, in South Africa "racial segregation was not absolute. It took place within a framework of political unity. The racist regime saw blacks as part of the system, an ingredient of the whole. The whites created a racist hierarchy within the unity."
How will modern Zionists convert unilateral separation into transfer? How will Herzl's original vision of ethnic cleansing enforced through strict ethnic separation be realized in today's world?
The current siege of Gaza offers the template. After disengagement, Israel has been able to cut off at will Gazans' access to aid, food, fuel and humanitarian services. Normality has been further eroded by sonic booms, random Israeli air attacks, and repeated small-scale invasions that have inflicted a large toll of casualties, particularly among civilians.
Gaza's imprisonment has stopped being a metaphor and become a daily reality. In fact, Gaza's condition is far worse than imprisonment: prisoners, even of war, expect to have their humanity respected, and be properly sheltered, cared for, fed and clothed. Gazans can no longer rely on these staples of life.
The ultimate goal of this extreme form of separation is patently clear: transfer. By depriving Palestinians of the basic conditions of a normal life, it is assumed that they will eventually choose to leave – in what can once again be sold to the world as a voluntary exodus. And if Palestinians choose to abandon their homeland, then in Zionist thinking they have forfeited their right to it – just as earlier generations of Zionists believed the Palestinian refugees had done by supposedly fleeing during the 1948 and 1967 wars.
Is this process of transfer inevitable? I think not. The success of a modern policy of "transfer through separation" faces severe limitations.
First, it depends on continuing US global hegemony and blind support for Israel. Such support is likely to be undermined by the current American misadventures in the Middle East, and a gradual shift in the balance of power to China, Russia and India.
Second, it requires a Zionist worldview that departs starkly not only from international law but also from the values upheld by most societies and ideologies. The nature of Zionist ambitions is likely to be ever harder to conceal, as is evident from the tide of opinion polls showing that Western publics, if not their governments, believe Israel to be one of the biggest threats to world order.
And third, it assumes that the Palestinians will remain passive during their slow eradication. The historical evidence most certainly shows that they will not.
Israel approves 2,000 new homes in east Jerusalem
This week Israel's Interior Ministry approved a plan to build 920 housing units in Har Homa, a Jewish settlement near Bethlehem which Israel considers to be part of a united Jerusalem, as well as an estimated 1,100 units in the Jewish neighbourhood of Pisgat Zeev, at the north end of predominantly-Arab east Jerusalem. It comes despite earlier warnings from the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has been brokering Israeli-Palestinian talks, that settlement expansion jeopardises that process.
Peace Now, an Israeli settlement-watchdog group, has pledged to file an objection to the plan. "
On one hand, they are speaking with the Palestinians about peace but on the other hand they are proceeding with the settlement expansion.
This is really undermining the Palestinian partner," Peace Now spokeswoman Hagit Ofran said.
July 10, 2008
Canadian settlement builders sued
Palestinian villagers are suing two Canadian construction companies over their involvement in building a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank.
The case, filed at a court in Montreal, accuses the firms of violating international and Canadian law. The Palestinians are seeking a court order to halt building work. The lawyer for the villagers says this is the first case in which a foreign private sector company has been sued for investing in West Bank settlements.
The two companies, both registered in the province of Quebec, could not be reached for comment.
The villagers argue that the construction work violates international war crimes laws that forbid an occupying power from transferring its own people into occupied land.
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (Toronto)
July 10, 2008
WHAT WOULD ISRAEL DO WITHOUT ITS SETTLERS?
Who would do the looting, the beatings and the murders if the settlers weren’t doing it? The army can’t be expected to do all of the work of maintaining the occupation 24/7…. they need some free time as well. Settlers know they can and will literally get away with murder as is shown in the following BBC report…..
Expansionism (or The Greater Israel)
Can two ships of peace break the siege of Gaza?
The Free Gaza Movement hopes to draw attention to the plight of 1.4 million Palestinians suffering shortage of everything from food to fuel.
Breaking Into a Prison
The humanitarian condition of the one and a half million men, women, and children illegally incarcerated in Gaza is now at its worst point in the last forty years of Israeli occupation.
We want to break the siege of Gaza. We want to raise international awareness about the prison-like closure of the Gaza Strip and pressure the international community to review its sanctions policy and end its support for continued Israeli occupation. We want to uphold Palestine's right to welcome internationals as visitors, human rights observers, humanitarian aid workers, journalists, or otherwise.
We've tried to enter Palestine by land. We've tried to arrive by air. Now we're getting serious. We're taking a ship.
The boats are bound for the Gaza Strip, in an attempt to break the siege of Gaza and deliver humanitarian aid. The passengers include human rights observers, aid workers, journalists, plus doctors from Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and another fifteen countries.
FIDH urges the Israeli Occupying Power to allow these two boats to reach their destination safely, in order to deliver their medical and humanitarian supplies to the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.
August 17, 2008
Israel may use force to halt boat trying to break Gaza siege
Defense officials favor forcefully blocking two boats which a group of U.S.-based activists plan to sail to Gaza to protest what they call "the Israeli siege on the Strip," Haaretz has learned.
According to the Foreign Ministry, Israel is within its rights to use force against the seafarers
The subject of the Greek-flagged boats which the Free Gaza group said it would sail from Cyprus to Gaza this week prompted defense officials to hold a series of discussions; they said allowing the ships to reach the Gaza coastline could create a dangerous precedent. But the Israel Navy has not yet received any instructions on how to treat the vessels.
According to some officials, Hamas is keen to exploit the initiative by the activists - including Israeli professor and activist Jeff Halper - for its political needs, and could try to greet the seafarers with fishing boats.
The officials believe that Hamas views the drive as an opportunity to underscore the suffering of the civilian population because of Israel's policies.
FREE GAZA BOATS ARRIVE IN GAZA
GAZA (23 August 2008) - Two small boats, the SS Free Gaza and the SS Liberty, successfully landed in Gaza early this evening, breaking the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The boats were crewed by a determined group of international human rights workers from the Free Gaza Movement. They had spent two years organizing the effort, raising money by giving small presentations at churches, mosques, synagogues, and in the homes of family, friends, and supporters.
They left Cyprus on Thursday morning, sailing over 350 kilometers through choppy seas. They made the journey despite threats that the Israeli government would use force to stop them. They continued sailing although they lost almost all communications and navigation systems due to outside jamming by some unknown party. They arrived in Gaza to the cheers and joyful tears of hundreds of Palestinians who came out to the beaches to welcome them.
“We’re the first ones in 41 years to enter Gaza freely - but we won’t be the last. We welcome the world to join us and see what we’re seeing.” --Paul Larudee, Ph.D.
Gaza - the largest outdoor prison in the world
THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2008
Jewish Democrats? This is the Face of Your Party?
You might as well round it out and invite Cynthia McKenney, David Duke, and Hitler.
Carter to speak at Democratic gathering
Former Democratic president Jimmy Carter will be among those appearing on Monday night in Denver, the first day of the four-day convention. The Republican convention will run from September 1-4 in Minneapolis.
The Republican Jewish Coalition has attacked Carter's inclusion, accusing him of displaying "a troubling anti-Israel bias" for his recent visit with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal and his "error-filled, egregiously biased book," Palestine: Peace not Apartheid.
Some Democrats are also displeased. "I don't think that seeing Jimmy Carter makes anyone who cares about Israel comfortable," said one Jewish Democrat attending next week's convention, who acknowledged, however, "He's a former president of the United States from the Democratic party and they're almost obliged to give him a speaking role."
A Democratic Party official pointed out that former living presidents were accommodated by both parties, and stressed that Congressional party leaders as well presumptive nominee Barack Obama had publicly disagreed with Carter's attitude toward Israe
Because of that stance, according to Democratic party sources, Carter's profile at the convention has been downgraded, with him relegated to speaking early on Monday when audience attention should be at a minimum
. He is not expected to discuss the Middle East.
Jeff Halper, Israeli Activist On The ‘Free Gaza’ Boats Arrested When Leaving Gaza
27 August 2008
Jeff Halper, an Israeli left wing activist who sailed as a member of the ‘Free Gaza’ ship to challenge Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip was arrested by the Israeli police at the Erez Crossing this Tuesday, on his way to leave Gaza and return to Jerusalem.
According to the Maariv newspaper, the police decided after deliberations to arrest the Professor who will be submitted to Ashkelon Court tomorrow morning to consider his case. The Israeli authorities accuse Halper of violating a decree banning any Israeli citizens from entering the Gaza Strip, although Jeff Halper is also holder of American citizenship.
The professor spent three days in the Gaza strip after the arrival of the boat before trying to enter Israel through the Erez crossing, where the police arrested him and took him to Sderot for further interrogations.
As the only Israeli citizen on board, Halper told newspapers he was expecting to be arrested and interrogated for his act of civil disobedience upon re-entering Israel
Born in Minnesota, Professor Jeff Halper is a famous Israeli peace activist, anthropology lecturer from Ben Gourion University and chairman of ICAHD – The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, an organization that works to block the IDF’s activities in the Palestinian territories and the demolition of Palestinian homes.
He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his longtime commitment to anti-occupation and pro-peace activities.
The Professor was the only Israeli among the 44 activists from 17 nations who took part in the blockade-busting project ‘Free Gaza’. The two boats ‘SS Free Gaza’ and ‘SS Liberty’ sailed last week from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip and reached the Palestinian coast on Saturday. By defying the Israeli blockade, the crewmembers are the first foreigners to reach the closed territory by sea since the complete closure of the Strip one year ago.
The Israeli blockade of Gaza has totally isolated the 1.5 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip from the outside world, barring all but a minimum of Humanitarian aid, worsening the Gazan economy, heath and humanitarian situation as neither goods nor people are free to enter and leave the Strip.
But above this,
by preventing any foreigners, and moreover any Israelis to enter the Strip, Israel is also carrying a ‘blackout’ policy, ensuring that Israelis will not enter the territory and will not discover the Gazan reality on the ground
. By doing so, Israeli is securing its occupation policy, making sure that no Israelis will protest against it and that their journalists cannot report on it.
Still, by having broken the siege once, ‘ordinary citizens’ have shown that they can do something and succeed. However, it cannot yet be taken for granted that breaking the siege via sea will work again, without the kind of media attention that the Free Gaza Movement received last Saturday.
Today, on the edge of the departure, the rest of the crew plans to sail back to Cyprus on Thursday, taking several Palestinians with them, including Fulbright students prevented by Israel from leaving Gaza to study abroad, and a young woman wishing to be reunited with her husband.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on Saturday welcomed two boats that sailed from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip in efforts to break the Israeli-imposed blockade on the Palestinian territory, saying that the arrival of the boats signaled the end of the siege.
November 5, 2008
Hamas fires rockets at Israel after 6 killed
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas militants pounded southern Israel with a barrage of rockets Wednesday, hours after Israeli forces killed six gunmen in a fresh bout of violence that threatened to unravel a five-month-old truce that has brought relief to both Gaza and southern Israel.
The clashes began late Tuesday after the Israeli forces burst into Gaza
to destroy what the army said was a tunnel being dug near the border to abduct Israeli troops.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the rockets were in "response to Israel's massive breach of the truce."
Police said the rockets landed in an empty area and there were no reports of injuries or property damage.
The violence was the worst since Israel and Hamas agreed to an Egyptian-mediated truce in June.
In scenes not seen for months, Gaza residents crowded into hospitals, as ambulances delivered the dead and injured. Grieving militants in military fatigues fired rounds of automatic weapon fire into the air to commemorate their fallen comrades. Over Gaza City, the thudding sound of rockets being fired into Israel was audible. Unmanned Israeli aircraft, often used to target militants, buzzed in the sky overhead.
Israeli settlers in Hebron city
When Settlers Attack
June 17, 2008 by myrandomcompulsion
In my last post, (oh so long ago) I made a slightly drunken assertion that all of the Gazans killed during “Operation Hot Winter” were civilians, because Palestine has no army. While most of the time I actually do make a distinction between civilians and armed fighters (whether or not they belong to a state army), I have a tendency to vacillate between the two positions. Often it depends on how angry I am. But mostly it is because there is quite an area of grey, for me at least, between these two categories.
Especially in Palestine how one becomes categorised is largely a racial matter.
The moment a Palestinian picks up a weapon, they become categorised as a combatant - a viable target for the Israeli military. But there’s a huge swathe of armed Israelis who wander around with the supposed protection that civilian status affords - settlers.
A lot of people don’t really know what settlers are or what they do, so at risk of boring those who do, here’s a brief outline. Many Zionists (those who believe that the land of Palestine is the spiritual birthright of Jews) are not content with the huge part of Palestine that was given to them by England and the UN in 1948. They want the whole land - Eretz Yisrael - extending from the Nile to the Euphrates river, and so, armed with M16s and with the support of the Israeli military, they enter the West Bank (and in the past Gaza), and take it by force. Usually they take hilltops, land where Palestinians haven’t built, and put down their caravans. Then the Israeli military is obliged to move into the area to protect them from Palestinians. Then they convince more and more settlers to join them, and then create further outposts, usually on neighbouring hilltops, until they have stolen huge tracts of Palestinian land. The state of Israel then further obliges them by building big security fences around their settlement, and any other land they wish to appropriate.
This is considered to be stage two of the building of the apartheid (also known as annexation) wall. This whole process is illegal under international law - it is illegal to resettle your population in lands you have occupied. But as very few members of the international community are willing to call Israel to account for this, it continues apace. And it is this process that essentially renders impossible the dream for a viable Palestinian state - because the settlements have carved up the West Bank in such a way that there is no contiguous territory; just a vague promise of transportational contiguity. Also these settlements are often positioned in prime locations - stealing the most fertile land; or worse, stealing precious aquifers, such as Ariel settlement in the Salfit region.
Settlers, however, do not limit themselves to just these nefarious land-grabbing activities. Once they have installed themselves, and have virtually zero accountability,
they have tendancies to take out their racial hatred
(and, I suspect, boredom)
on neighbouring Palestinians - harassing them; burning or stealing their crops; beating and killing them
While settler harassment goes on all the time, in the past week two incidents in particular have angered me such to prompt me to write. One was a particularly brutal attack happened in a village called Sousiya, in the south near Hebron. Sousiya is a tent-village mainly reliant on its shepherding activities. When we have the numbers, internationals try to maintain a presence around the area, just accompanying the shepherds because of the dangers they face from nearby settlers. On Monday 9th June, 6 masked settlers came down from the nearby settlement outpost of Havat Ya’ir and, after telling the Palestinians that they had ten minutes to leave the area, viciously attacked an old couple with baseball bats, hospitalising them, as well as some others from the village who tried to come to their aid.
Brutal attack in Susiya
Jewish settler attack on film
The phenomenon of settlers covering their faces is quite new, and clearly a response to the increased use of video cameras by Palestinians and internationals, who have a few times been able to press charges against settlers with the aid of video evidence.
Four days later in the north, in the village of Huwarra near Nablus, two Palestinians were attacked in their home at dawn by settlers from nearby Yitzhar settlement - one was stabbed and the other hit on the head with a wrench. As a friend of mine noted, if a Palestinian had managed to stab a settler inside a settlement, the whole West Bank would be shut down. The surrounding villages would be placed under curfew for up to a week while they searched for the attacker, and likely the house of the attacker’s family would be demolished. In the case of
these settler attacks, there has been no response.
The Palestinians who were attacked last week have all survived, but even in cases where settlers kill Palestinians, there is no police or army follow-up. In
the case of 15 year old Hammad Khadatbh
from the village of Beit Furiq, who was found murdered and mutilated in the lands of a settlement on 16th April - clearly tortured and dumped, naked with a broken neck, missing fingers and puncture wounds across his torso - Israeli police immediately concluded that he had been murdered, but there has since been no indication of any investigation of the settlement.
Nor was there any investigation of
the case of 15 year old Sharaf Ishtayah
, who was murdered by an Israeli bus driver in what eye-witnesses report as an intentional act of the bus-driver swerving towards the young shepherd who was leading his sheep across an Israeli-only road.
Not only do the Israeli authorities fail to investigate settler attacks, they often aid them. Stories abound of Israeli soldiers standing by doing nothing while settlers attack Palestinians
. Common also are the situations such as in the village of Asira al Kibliyia, where soldiers handed Palestinians to settlers to beat; and reportedly handed their guns to the settlers to shoot out the water tank on a Palestinian home. In this same village, however, Nahla Machmoud, whose water tank was shot out by the soldiers and settlers, was told by Israeli police that if she ever did anything to a settler who came to her house to harass her family, even just hit one, she would be imprisoned.
Whilst there has been, in recent years, a public backlash against settlers in mainstream Israel, they form the very backbone of the apartheid state that Israel has established through its occupation. And while officially it is impossible for the Israeli government to acknowledge the strategic importance of the settlements (given their illegality) through their armed beligerance settlers have created the seemingly irreversible facts on the ground - thousands and thousands of dounums (a quarter of an acre) in the West Bank annexed to Israel; connected by a series of “Israeli-only” roads justified by “security purposes”, which then work to annex even more land - that for Sharon were the fundamental necessities for his “system of control”.
photo gallery - Palestinian victims of IOF attacks in the Gaza strip since February 29, 2008
Museum of Tolerance atop Muslim cemetery: a war against the dead
November 2, 2008
Jerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh – With the Israeli Supreme Court decision to allow the building of a “Museum of Tolerance” atop what was Jerusalem’s main Muslim cemetery until 1948, national and religious figures are calling for major protests.
Arab and foreign consuls met in East Jerusalem’s Ambassador Hotel to discuss the situation and create a plan of action in light of the loss of the court case that began in 2006.
Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein said that the Israeli ruling is criminal as it allows for the “attack on the tombs and bones of Muslims.”
The Israelis began exhuming Muslim graves in Mamilla Cemetery in 2006. Construction was ordered to halt during court proceedings. However, Israeli developers continued to exhume graves
Head of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ra’ed Salah described the situation as catastrophic. He noted that
70,000 graves fill the 200 dunam cemetery which has tombs dating back thousands of years
Sheikh Salah said that Israeli projects include building a large hotel on part of the cemetery, extending a sewage network, laying streets and establishing the “Independence Park.”
He said that naming the museum “Tolerance” illustrates “their utter disdain. They have raped our holy places in the name of tolerance.” Sheikh Salah also noted that
an Israeli American is undertaking the project with 200 million dollars coming from California. It is backed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The museum is a sister project for the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center
The Head of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Salah, said, “This resolution is a serious violation of all the holy sites and not only to one cemetery. There are other graves under threat, graves that symbolize our historical background, our culture and religion.”
Sheikh Salah called on the citizens of Jerusalem to continue visits to shrines and the graves of their relatives buried in the cemetery and to continue with maintenance of graves, stressing the need to initiate practical steps to preserve Jerusalem and its holy sites.
For his part the governor of Jerusalem Adnan Husseini said that the Mamilla Cemetery is an “important site in Jerusalem. With the seizure of the west of the city the cemetery is going from 200 dunams to 20.
This is unacceptable. It’s a war on the dead
Travesty of tolerance on display - Museum lays waste to ancient Muslim cemetery
by Jonathan Cook
Wednesday, November 5, 2008 (excerpt)
"For many years it has been their priority to obscure all indications of the Muslim presence in the western part of Jerusalem -- as well as in many areas of Israel -- that predate the Jewish state’s founding in 1948."
Israel seems to have little time for the irony that a modern Jewish shrine to “coexistence and tolerance” is being built on the graves of the city’s Muslim forefathers
The Israeli Supreme Court’s approval last week of the building of a Jewish Museum of Tolerance over an ancient Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem is the latest in a series of legal and physical assaults on Islamic holy places since Israel’s founding in 1948.
The verdict ended a four-year struggle by Islamic authorities inside Israel to stop development at the Mamilla cemetery, which lies in the shadow of Jerusalem’s Old City walls, close to Jaffa Gate.
After the judgment, Jerusalem’s mufti, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, called the museum’s building “an act of aggression” against the Muslim public.
The furore from both religious and secular Palestinians has apparently bemused most Israeli observers
Rabbi Marvin Hier, initiator of the project, dismissed objections last week as cover for “a land grab by Islamic fundamentalists, who are in co-operation with Hamas”. His view that Muslim concerns are really an attack on the Jewish state’s sovereignty is shared by many.
Such sentiments have confirmed to most Palestinians the degree to which Israeli authorities make decisions while oblivious of Palestinian religious and national rights.
Although Muslim leaders angrily warned from the outset that the Museum of Tolerance would require the disinterring of graves, they were ignored until spring 2006, when it was reported that
dozens of skeletons had been unearthed
during the early excavations.
The local media also revealed at the time that state archaeologists had been secretly trying to move the skeletons without alerting the local Muslim authorities, as they should have done, and that many of the skeletons had been damaged in the process.
"...over the years many Islamic sites in Jerusalem have been “turned into garbage dumps, parking lots, roads and construction sites.”
"Come, O come Ema-a-anuel… We know you really work for Israel…"
Obama picks pro-Israel hardliner for top post
Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 5 November 2008
During the United States election campaign, racists and pro-Israel hardliners tried to make an issue out of President-elect Barack Obama's middle name, Hussein. Such people might take comfort in another middle name, that of Obama's pick for White House Chief of Staff: Rahm Israel Emanuel.
Emanuel is Obama's first high-level appointment and it's one likely to disappointment those who hoped the president-elect would break with the George W. Bush Administration's pro-Israel policies. White House Chief of Staff is often considered the most powerful office in the executive branch, next to the president. Obama has offered Emanuel the position according to Democratic party sources cited by media including Reuters and The New York Times. While Emanuel is expected to accept the post, that had not been confirmed by Wednesday evening the day after the election.
Rahm Emanuel was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1959, the son of Benjamin Emanuel, a pediatrician who helped smuggle weapons to the Irgun, the Zionist militia of former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, in the 1940s. The Irgun carried out numerous terrorist attacks on Palestinian civilians including the bombing of Jerusalem's King David Hotel in 1946
Emanuel continued his father's tradition of active support for Israel; during the 1991 Gulf War he volunteered to help maintain Israeli army vehicles near the Lebanon border when southern Lebanon was still occupied by Israeli forces.
As White House political director in the first Clinton administration, Emanuel orchestrated the famous 1993 signing ceremony of the "Declaration of Principles" between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. Emanuel was elected to Congress representing a north Chicago district in 2002 and he is credited with a key role in delivering a Democratic majority in the 2006 mid-term elections.
He has been a prominent supporter of neoliberal economic policies on free trade and welfare reform
One of the most influential politicians and fundraisers in his party, Emanuel accompanied Obama to a meeting of AIPAC's executive board just after the Illinois senator had addressed the pro-Israel lobby's conference last June.
In Congress, Emanuel has been a consistent and vocal pro-Israel hardliner, sometimes more so than President Bush. In June 2003, for example, he signed a letter criticizing Bush for being insufficiently supportive of Israe
l. "We were deeply dismayed to hear your criticism of Israel for fighting acts of terror," Emanuel, along with 33 other Democrats wrote to Bush. The letter said that Israel's policy of assassinating Palestinian political leaders "was clearly justified as an application of Israel's right to self-defense" ("Pelosi supports Israel's attacks on Hamas group," San Francisco Chronicle, 14 June 2003).
In July 2006, Emanuel was one of several members who called for the cancellation of a speech to Congress by visiting Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki because al-Maliki had criticized Israel's bombing of Lebanon.
Emanuel called the Lebanese and Palestinian governments "totalitarian entities with militias and terrorists acting as democracies" in a July 2006 speech supporting a House resolution backing Israel's bombing of both countries that caused thousands of civilian victims
Emanuel has sometimes posed as a defender of Palestinian lives, though never from the constant Israeli violence that is responsible for the vast majority of deaths and injuries. On 14 June 2007 he wrote to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "on behalf of students in the Gaza Strip whose future is threatened by the ongoing fighting there" which he blamed on "the violence and militancy of their elders." In fact, the fighting between members of Hamas and Fatah, which claimed dozens of lives, was the result of a failed scheme by US-backed militias to violently overthrow the elected Hamas-led national unity government. Emanuel's letter urged Rice "to work with allies in the region, such as Egypt and Jordan, to either find a secure location in Gaza for these students, or to transport them to a neighboring country where they can study and take their exams in peace." Palestinians often view such proposals as a pretext to permanently "transfer" them from their country, as many Israeli leaders have threatened.
Emanuel has never said anything in support of millions of Palestinian children whose education has been disrupted by Israeli occupation, closures and blockades
Emanuel has also used his position to explicitly push Israel's interests in normalizing relations with Arab states and isolating Hamas. In 2006 he initiated a letter to President Bush opposing United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Dubai Ports World's attempt to buy the management business of six US seaports. The letter, signed by dozens of other lawmakers, stated that "The UAE has pledged to provide financial support to the Hamas-led government of the Palestinian Authority and openly participates in the Arab League boycott against Israel." It argued that allowing the deal to go through "not only could place the safety and security of US ports at risk, but enhance the ability of the UAE to bolster the Hamas regime and its efforts to promote terrorism and violence against Israel" ("Dems Tie Israel, Ports," Forward, 10 March 2006).
Ira Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, told Fox News that picking Emanuel is "just another indication that despite the attempts to imply that Obama would somehow appoint the wrong person or listen to the wrong people when it comes to the US-Israel relationship ... that was never true."
Over the course of the campaign, Obama publicly distanced himself from friends and advisers suspected or accused of having "pro-Palestinian" sympathies. There are no early indications of a more balanced course
Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land: Media & the Israel-Palestine Conflict
- 79 min
...provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Second Gaza activist voyage docks
October 29, 2008
A boat carrying 27 pro-Palestinian activists has arrived in Gaza despite an Israeli blockade of the territory - the second such voyage in three months.
UN says Gaza running out of food
November 13, 2008 - Gaza's nervous wait for aid
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Gaza in crisis: Israel turns away UN food convoy at border; blackouts as power plant shuts down
Gaza – Ma’an – Israel went back on a pledge to ease its blockade of the Gaza Strip on Thursday, turning away critical deliveries of fuel and food at the borders for the seventh consecutive day.
In reneging on its pledge, Israel blocked delivery of United Nations food aid intended for 750,000 Palestinians
Gaza was plunged into darkness as the territory’s only power plant shut down at 6:00pm local time due to a lack of fuel. Just before dark, Palestinans went into the streets in a frantic search for candles and bread.
As night fell, sirens sounded accross the Gaza Strip in protest of the closure.
Earlier in the day, 20 European consuls who planned to visit Gaza were turned away at the Erez border crossing. Aid workers were also denied entry to the Strip and medical patients were prevented from entering Israel for treatment.
John Ging, the director of UN operations in Gaza, warned of an impending “humanitarian disaster” if Israel continues to bar food and other supplies from the territory.
We cannot describe the situation in the Gaza Strip except as a terrible and terrifying one. There are 750,000 refugees who depend on what we offer them in food supplies. Israel is preventing us from distributing these supplies
,” he told Ma’an.
Ging said UN food storehouses are nearly empty. He said
the Israeli closure, in that it punishes civilians, is a violation of international law
On Wednesday Israel had pledged to allow minimum shipments of fuel and 33 truckloads of food into Gaza.
Ra’ed Fattouh, coordinator of the border crossings department in the Palestinian government in Gaza, said that his agency was informed by Israel on Wednesday evening its intention to open the Kerem Shalom crossing to allow the 33 truckloads of food to cross.
However, the trucks were turned away at 1pm Thursday afternoon.
Eight of the trucks contained sesame oil, milk and canned meats intended to be shipped to UNRWA, the UN’s relief agency for Palestinian refugees, which is responsible for feeding 750,000 Palestinians in Gaza.
UNRWA announced earlier this week that its food program would be forced to shut down if food was not delivered by Friday.
Nine of the trucks contained dairy products and six contained frozen meat, also sent by humanitarian organizations.
Member of Parliament Jamal Al-Khudari, the Chairman of the Popular Committee Against the Siege said that the Gaza Strip’s sole power plant would shut down at 6:30pm local time on Thursday due to a lack of industrial fuel.
Al-Khudari said that the resulting
power cuts would also disrupt critical health, water, and sanitation services, endangering the health and life of thousands of Gaza residents
The power plant was already shut down for two days this week because of the fuel blockade, leaving hundreds of thousands in darkness.
Al-Khudari held a candle-light press conference in Gaza just after sunset, condemning Israel's punishment of the civilian population of Gaza as a violation of international law.
Bakeries shutting down
Bakeries will likely shut down on Thursday because of a lack of cooking gas due to the blockade, said Abdel Nasser Al-Ajrami, the head of the Bakeries’ Owners’ Federation in Gaza.
Al-Ajrami told Ma’an that that 13 bakeries out of 30 in the association have already shut down.
He noted that each bakery has its own emergency supplies of gas which could last a few more days, but many have already run out.
Al-Khudari, at his press conference, said that the remaining bakeries would likely shutdown with the beginning of the blackouts.
November 12, 2008
Gaza Again Plunged into Darkness, Hunger as Israel Blocks Fuel, Food to Suffering Population
Gaza’s humanitarian crisis has worsened in the aftermath of Israel’s latest blockade of fuel and food. We speak to Diana Buttu, a former lawyer for the Palestinian Authority, and Reverend Edwin “Eddie” Makue of the South African Council of Churches, a veteran of South Africa’s apartheid struggle. They are on an “anti-apartheid” speaking tour across the US for the next two weeks.
November 19, 2008
Israel Bans International Media from Gaza, Arrests Human Rights Activists
GAZA CITY, Gaza --
Israel has banned foreign journalists from entering Gaza to cover the deteriorating humanitarian situation there as the country 's complete closure of the territory enters a third week.
Several groups of European parliamentarians were banned last week from passing through Israel's Erez border crossing into Gaza to assess the situation on the ground and to hold meetings with Hamas leaders.
Three international human rights activists were also forcibly arrested, by the Israeli navy, from Palestinian fishing vessels in Gaza's waters.
AP head, and Israeli Foreign Press Association chairman, Steven Gutkin said journalists had called him complaining of being refused entry since last week.
Since then, he said, the association had appealed to the government to allow access, with no success.
"We consider it a serious problem for freedom of the press. We think that journalists have to be placed in a special category. A blanket ban on people going into Gaza should not apply to journalists," Gutkin added.
"We are hoping that this is not the start of a policy of banning journalists from Gaza. We would like to point out that when times are tough, and when things heat up, it is important for journalists to be able to enter."
A BBC media crew was also refused entry last week.
Conny Mus, a reporter from the Dutch television station RTL was told telephonically by Israeli military officials that he and his crew would be able to enter Gaza.
However, upon arrival they were kept waiting for five hours and then eventually informed they would not be able to cross over.
Israel closed all of Gaza's borders on Nov. 4. This followed a cross-border military raid into the Gaza strip by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to allegedly destroy a tunnel which the IDF said was meant to smuggle Israeli soldiers.
In the ensuing Israeli attacks and Palestinian counter-attacks 20 Palestinians were killed while two Israelis were lightly injured.
Israel has also stopped most international aid from entering Gaza causing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis with the U.N. Relief and Welfare Agency (UNRWA)'s warehouses running out of food.
Half of Gaza's population of 1.5 million is dependent on emergency rations from UNRWA for survival.
Gaza's main power plant was also forced to close on Thursday after Israel refused to allow any fuel in. Seventy percent of Gazans experienced electricity blackouts
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, alarmed at the severest restrictions imposed on aid getting into Gaza in its history, called incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and asked him to reverse the restrictions.
three human rights activists from Italy, Britain and the United States were arrested by the Israeli navy as they accompanied Gazan fishermen off Gaza's coast. They were nowhere near Israel's territorial waters
Under the Oslo Accords of 1994 Gazan fishermen were permitted to go 20 kilometers out to sea to fish. Forty thousand Gazan fishermen and their dependents rely on these fisherman being able to earn a livelihood from Gaza's coast.
Following Hamas' takeover of the territory in June of last year Israel limited this distance to six kilometers and has enforced it rigorously.
Those who risk going further out are regularly shot at and arrested with a number being killed in the past. Their boats are often destroyed and many have been forced out of business.
After three Israeli naval vessels surrounded the three fishing boats on Tuesday, 15 Palestinian fishermen were forced to strip naked and swim in the icy winter waters toward the naval vessels and were then taken in for interrogation
NAZIS PAR EXCELLENCE
Israeli propagandists routinely dismiss comparisons between Nazi Germany and Israel as “corrupt” and “far-fetched.” Some Zionists would even argue that only pathological anti-Semites would dare make such comparisons.
in light of what Israel has been and is doing to the Palestinians, including the present ruthless blockade of the Gaza Strip, and the slow, agonizing death meted out to innocent Gazans, any honest person shouldn’t fail to observe the striking similarity between the Nazi mentality and the collective Israeli mindset
Unfortunately, Israel, a country ruled by fascist politicians and former army generals who are war criminals par excellence , is constantly emboldened by the disgraceful silence or acquiescence of western powers, including the United States and Europe.
Jewish boys smuggle a cow for food into the Warsaw Ghetto, 1943
A Palestinian man smuggles a cow for food into the Gaza, 2008
November 21, 2008
US Activist Detained in Israeli Jail Condemns Blockade of Gaza
Israel’s tightened blockade of a million and a half Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is now entering its third week. On Monday, the Israeli navy seized fifteen Palestinian fishermen and three international activists off the coast of Gaza. The fishermen were released, but the activists remain in an Israeli jail. We speak to Darlene Wallach from inside the Masiyahu Prison near Tel Aviv.
US citizen in detention
, Darlene Wallach, joins me now from a phone inside the prison near Tel Aviv. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Darlene.
DARLENE WALLACH: Thank you very much. Thanks for calling me.
AMY GOODMAN: Where exactly are you being held?
DARLENE WALLACH: I’m in a—it’s in a men’s prison, but inside the men’s prison there’s a compound for women. And the compound is for people who are illegally in Israel because their visa, work visas ran out. So my question is, why am I here?
I was kidnapped at gunpoint by the fourth largest military in the world, and I was on a Palestinian fishing boat in Palestinian fishing waters. So it doesn’t make any sense why I’m here, why I’m being held
AMY GOODMAN: Explain exactly what you were doing and the scene when you were arrested.
DARLENE WALLACH: I was on a Palestinian fishing boat that I’ve been on numerous times. And we accompany the Palestinian fishing boats in their waters, where they have the international right to fish, so that the Israeli navy won’t shoot and kill or arrest the Palestinian fishermen.
So what made it different this time is, it seemed to me they were specifically targeting the internationals, because they released the Palestinian fishermen to their homes. And they also confiscated the fishing boats. And the way that they arrested us was very different than how they normally arrest the fishermen. So, normally, they force the fishermen to strip to their underwear, jump in the water and swim to the Israeli navy boats. And this time they brought Zodiac boats, and the frogmen boarded each Palestinian fishing boat. And the first person taken was Andrew. I saw him being taken. And then they took the fishermen off of that boat. Then they came to the boat I was on and took me off the boat.
And so, I don’t know—I didn’t know what happened to the fishermen. I was very concerned about their safety and what Israel might do to them. And I’m very, very concerned about the fishing boats, because in the past what Israel does is they sink the boats or they damage the boats, like taking the engines off, or steal all the equipment. So I’m very concerned about what’s going to happen to the fishing boats. That’s their livelihood. I mean, they said fifteen fishermen. Well, there’s more than just those fifteen that work on each boat. So the livelihood of all those people now has been destroyed. That’s how many families now? And the families tend to be large. How many families now have no income, and there’s no employment, because they have no fishing boats to go out on?
It’s really just disgusting, despicable, deplorable. And I want the world to speak out and tell Israel to stop
AMY GOODMAN: Now, those fifteen fishermen have been released. Why haven’t you been released?
DARLENE WALLACH: I guess the plans are to deport us. And my understanding is, when they deport you, they deport you to where you came from. Since I came from Gaza, I want to be released to Gaza. It sounds like they have no plans on doing that. I don’t know why they’re holding me. It seems like they violated international law in many different ways. And so, I don’t know. I can’t answer that. But then, if you try to talk to Israel, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get the truth from them.
AMY GOODMAN: How did you get into Gaza, Darlene Wallach?
DARLENE WALLACH: I was on the Liberty, one of the two boats that—one of the first two boats that went to Gaza from Cyprus. And I actually was with the Liberty on the way to Cyprus. And so, it was a wonderful trip. It was a wonderful boat. It was an amazing, amazing experience. The welcome that we got in Gaza, it was just overwhelming. My emotions come up, because it was thousands of people just so happy to see, at least token-wise, symbolically, the siege broken. It was the first time in forty-one years that, from Cyprus, a stamp on a piece of paper said a boat was leaving Cyprus for Gaza. And it was like an amazing trip. And it’s been amazing to be in Gaza to work in solidarity with the Palestinians. They’re amazing, kind, warm, loving people. And I—for me, just being out on the fishing boats and the stress, I don’t understand how they can go out there day after day with the stress, knowing at any time they could be killed, that any time their boats could be taken, at any time they could be arrested or shot.
AMY GOODMAN: Darlene Wallach, I wanted to remind our listeners and viewers about these boats, that the one—one of them you describe, the Liberty, that’s challenging the blockade. We were able to reach people on the boat in the first trip that was coming over. We spoke to the former prime minister of Britain’s sister-in-law, Tony Blair’s sister-in-law. We spoke to Jeff Halper, the Jewish Israeli who is challenging housing demolition. Mairead Maguire was on one of the trips; she is the Nobel Peace Prize-winner from Ireland. These are the boats that you’re describing that—not to be confused with the fishing boats, but are challenging the blockade.
DARLENE WALLACH: That’s correct. So, I want to make sure that people understand, when they talk about the ceasefire,
Israel has violated the ceasefire from day one; before it even was created, they were violating it
. The ceasefire supposedly was going to lift the blockade and allow goods and services and food and fuel and that kind of thing, and Israel has never lifted that blockade.
Israel has violated the ceasefire every day by, when the fishermen go out to fish, Israel navy comes and shoots at the boats. They use high-pressure water power; they have a water cannon that they shoot at the boats that damages the boats, injures people. They’ve cut the cables. The fishermen have lost their fishing nets.
On a daily basis, the farmers who try to go out and farm their fields get attacked
. So, Israel created this buffer zone, 300- to 500-meters wide, along the whole length of the Gaza Strip. And that was done around May 1st. And that was a desert area, that whole area, where they demolished all kinds of crops, homes, wells. And in the crops, it was like citrus, dates, olives. Any kind of crop they had, it was all demolished. And farmers now are trying to go back out and start, you know, planting their fields and being able to harvest their fields. And we’ve been accompanying them.
And even just standing out there in the fields, where it’s just farmers, obviously knowing with any kind of military—no militants, just farmers, just people trying to tend their fields—the Israeli military comes by in their jeeps and gets out and starts shooting. So we’re a presence to be witness to that. We’re a presence to make sure that people aren’t killed. And when they start shooting, we’re standing out in the fields with our florescent vests on, some of us. And we stand there until the Israeli military leaves. We don’t back off. When they start shooting, we stand in the fields and having the bullets, you know, come around us, over our heads or by our feet.
AMY GOODMAN: Darlene Wallach, are you beginning a hunger strike today at the jail?
DARLENE WALLACH: I actually started a hunger strike last night. I didn’t eat dinner. And for me, they had someone talk with me yesterday, and saying that they are not going to allow me to die. So I don’t know what that means. For me, I’m still in the prison, and I still have my cell phone. Andrew Muncie was taken into isolation today, and his phone was taken from him.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you, Darlene Wallach, for joining us, speaking to us—the name of the prison you’re in near Tel Aviv?
DARLENE WALLACH: I always forget the name of it. It starts with an “M.” And it’s a new prison. It’s a men’s prison, but within the men’s compound, they have a compound for women.
And I just want to make sure people know that
this blockade on Gaza, this siege, is really, really horrendous, what it’s doing
. I mean, the flour mills are having to shut—the last flour mill shut down, because there’s no fuel. I mean, if people can’t buy bread, what are they going to eat? This is very, very, very serious. There’s 500 students with scholarship that can’t get out to go continue their university education. And there’s 3,000 students that are accepted to universities, that they’re losing their administrative entrance into the universities, because Israel will not allow them out. And
258 people have died, because Israel refuses to let them out to get medical care
AMY GOODMAN: Darlene Wallach, I want to thank you for being with us. We’re going to turn next to the South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who speaks about the blockade of Gaza. Darlene Wallach is speaking to us from the Masiyahu Prison near Tel Aviv. Again, executives from the Associated Press, Reuters, New York Times, BBC, CNN and other news organizations have signed a letter criticizing the Israeli government’s decision to ban journalists from entering Gaza.
Contact information in U.S.:
Free Gaza Movement
Contact information in Israel:
U.S. Consulate General + 972-2-6227230
Stephen Brown, UK Consulate +972 25 41 4100
December 1, 2008
Israel Turns Back Gaza Aid Boat
A Libyan cargo vessel weighed down with 3,000 tonnes of food, medicine, and other humanitarian goods, was barred from entering the Gaza Strip yesterday by the Israeli navy. Palestinian officials say they expect the vessel to attempt to reach the Gaza Strip again.
Andy David, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, defended to move, saying Israel’s policy on the naval blockade was “very clear,” He said Israeli naval ships approached the aid boat and ordered it via radio to turn back, adding “Anyone wishing to transfer humanitarian aid into Gaza is welcome to do it in coordination with Israel and through the regular crossings.”
Yet this has not been the case in recent days, after an Israeli raid on the strip earlier this month sparked an exchange of strikes and a full closure on the strip. Since then, Israel has only occasionally allowed small amounts of humanitarian aid across the border, and has expressed public outrage at the suggestions of UN officials that
refusing to allow food (and officially barring the importation of shoes) into a small region inhabited by 1.5 million people was a “direct contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law
Israeli officials condemned concern over the humanitarian situation in Gaza as “utterly shortsighted” and have insisted that their refusal to allow basic humanitarian aid into the strip is entirely the fault of the Hamas government. The crossings were expected to open briefly last Thursday (coincidentally Thanksgiving in the United States), but the government decided against it after a rocket landed in an empty field in southern Israel, doing no damage and causing no injuries. Since then no aid has been permitted to enter Gaza by land or, as witnessed today, by sea.
"The masked settlers made a loud cry as they began to run down from the ridge, throwing stones and wielding sticks. They pursued the shepherds, sheep, and CPT into Meshaha valley, and up and over Khoruba ridge, still throwing stones. ... settlers also temporarily stole two donkeys belonging to the Palestinian shepherds. The donkeys were later found, one donkey was stabbed in the neck and survived while the other donkey was stabbed in the lung and bled to death on the hillside."
December 11, 2008
Israeli court frees Jewish settler filmed shooting Palestinians
Two Palestinians were wounded by the gunfire and Braudeh was lightly injured after a Palestinian crowd threw stones at him after the colonist shot at them.
The judge ordered the immediate release of Braudeh and criticized Israeli police for failing to arrest any of the Palestinians defending themselves from the gunfire
Will You Continue to Ignore Gaza's Suffering, Mr Obama?
Palestinian journalists protest for release of Iraqi colleague who threw shoes at Bush
Several dozen Palestinian journalists took off their shoes Thursday in a protest in Bethlehem's Manger Square, to show support for the Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush earlier this week.
The journalist currently remains in Iraqi custody and could face two years in prison for insulting a foreign leader. In the Arab world, throwing shoes at someone is considered to be a sign of deep disrespect. In Bethelehem, al-Zeidi's Palestinian colleagues waved Palestinian and Iraqi flags. They also held signs in English, reading "
Bush deserved it
"It is the farewell kiss, you dog"
December 15, 2008
Arab world hails shoe attack as Bush’s farewell gift
Iraq faced mounting calls on Monday to release the journalist who hurled his shoes at George W. Bush, an action branded shameful by the government but hailed by many in the Arab world as an ideal parting gift to the unpopular US president.
Colleagues of Muntazer al-Zaidi, who works for independent Iraqi television station Al-Baghdadia, said he “detested America” and had been plotting such an attack for months against the man who ordered the invasion of his country.
“Throwing the shoes at Bush was the best goodbye kiss ever… it expresses how Iraqis and other Arabs hate Bush,” wrote Musa Barhoumeh, editor of Jordan’s independent Al-Gahd Arabic newspaper.
Hundreds of Iraqis joined anti-US demonstrations to protest at Bush’s farewell visit on Sunday to Iraq, which was plunged into a deadly insurgency and near civil war in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion.
Shoes thrown at Bush - The ULTIMATE insult!
(Subtitles and Slow Motion)
Hunger before the storm
Israeli politicians, in the run-up to elections, are promising to deal a severe blow to Gaza as this is how Israeli policy is made. However, every household in Gaza is already under siege
. In Gaza you can only find pale, angry and frustrated faces. If you visit my house you won't find power, while my neighbor is out of gas. Another neighbor seeks potable water as power outages have left him without for four days. A third neighbor desparately looks for milk for his child but does so in vain. Another friend who lives on the corner needs medicine that can't currently be found in Gaza.
There is no shortage of such stories in Gaza (though there is a shortage of nearly everything else). Perhaps broadcasting such stories would result in pressure on Israeli leaders to stop the siege. Because what is happening is that
the entire Gaza population of 1.5 million -- densely packed into a small area -- is being punished for crude rockets being fired into Israel by a few
Only about a dozen of Gaza's 47 bakeries are currently operating as of yesterday, but with rapidly diminishing supplies. The UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) had to stop its food aid deliveries because Israel has not allowed it to replenish its stores. This affects 750,000 refugees in the Gaza Strip.
Gazans fear that the worst, however, is yet to come as the Israeli government renews its threats of a major offense against the Gaza Strip, irrespective of the civilian toll an invasion would inevitably incur.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2008
Scores dead in Israeli raid on Gaza
At least 195 Palestinians, including women and children, have been killed in an Israeli aerial bombardment on Hamas security installations.
Israel launched air attacks across the besieged Gaza Strip on Saturday, threatening that further operations would be carried out.
Emergency services said that at least 200 people had been wounded. Witnesses reported heavy damage as at least 30 missiles were fired.
Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, said that the operation would not be short. "The operaton will go on and be intensified as long as necessary," he said on Saturday. An Israeli military spokesman added that "any Hamas target is a target."
Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, condemned the attack and demanded an immediate cessation.
Hours after the Israeli assault, Gaza fighters fired home-made rockets into southern Israel, heeding calls by Hamas and other affiliated Palestinian groups to avenge the attacks, unprecedented in their scale. One Israeli was killed in the rocket fire, medics said.
Taher al-Noono, a Hamas spokesman, described Israel's operation as a "massacre," adding: "However, our resolve cannot be dented and cannot be shaken. We will continue our struggle with absolute strength and steadfastness."
Islam Shahwan, a Hamas police spokesman, said a police graduation ceremony in Gaza City was struck by Israel. Among those killed was Tawfiq Jabber, the Gaza chief of police. The Hamas-run interior ministry said all security compounds in the Strip had been destroyed.
Gaza is densely populated. Its 1.5 million residents area already experiencing shortages in medicine, power and basic supplies due to 18 months of an Israeli blockade.
Mustafa Barghouthi, the former Palestinian information minister, said: "This is not an attack on Hamas. It is an attack on the whole population and the free will of the people of Gaza." He accused Israel of committing "war crimes" and demanded that Abbas and his government stop all relations with Israel.
'Only just beginning'
The operation against the Hamas is "only just beginning," Avi Benayahu, an Israeli military spokesman said.
The air raids follow the decision by the Israeli security cabinet to increase reprisals for cross-border rocket attacks against Israel, and the breakdown of a six-month-old Israel-Hamas truce earlier this month.
The ceasefire expired on December 19, with Hamas arguing that Israel had violated the truce by preventing vital food and medical supplies into the Strip.
Ayman Mohyeldin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Gaza, said: "A series of explosions were heard over Gaza City. "From where we are, there are at least seven different clouds of smoke from the strikes. We are seeing some casualties being evacuated in cars."
Egypt has opened the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip to receive injured people, Egyptian officials said. Ambulances have been sent to the crossing and two Egyptian hospitals emptied to take in the wounded.
Mohyeldin said that Hamas, which rule the Gaza Strip, was being held responsible by Israel for any attacks from the territory into Israel, even if they are undertaken by other Palestinian factions.
DECEMBER 28, 2008
Gaza bleeds under Israeli airstrikes
There are piles and piles of bodies in the locations that were hit. As you look at them you can see that a few of the young men are still alive, someone lifts a hand here, and another raise his head there. They probably died within moments because their bodies are burned, most have lost limbs, some have their guts hanging out and they're all lying in pools of blood. Outside my home, (which is close to the universities) a bomb fell on a large group of young men, university students. They'd been warned not to stand in groups, it makes them an easy target, but they were waiting for buses to take them home. This was about 3 hours ago. 7 were killed, 4 students and 3 of our neighbors kids, teenagers who were from the same family (Rayes) and were best friends. As I'm writing this I heard a funeral procession go by outside, I looked out the window and it was the 3 Rayes boys. They spent all their time together when they were alive, and now their sharing the same funeral together. Nothing could stop my 14 year old brother from rushing out to see the bodies of his friends laying in the street after they were killed. He hasn't spoken a word since.
A little further down the street about an hour earlier 3 girls happened to be passing by one of the locations when a bomb fell. The girls bodies were torn into pieces and covered the street from one side to the other.
The Israelis chose the peak hour in Gaza - while kids are returning home from school - to cause maximum death:
The deliberate ploy to strike at midday when the collective population of Gaza had let down its guard for a few short hours had its intended effect.
One of the deadliest massacres in the history of Israel’s occupation of Palestine followed as F-16 fighter jets, helicopter gun ships, tanks, armored vehicles and pilot-less drones closed in on the Gaza Strip. By Monday morning over 300 people were dead and 1000 injured. Hospitals were overflowing with the seriously wounded; the morgues with the dead for whom they had insufficient refrigeration. Insufficient medical personnel, equipment, supplies and services raised the likelihood of many more dying in their overused beds waiting for the help and attention they would never get.
The sound of F-16s flying overhead dropping bombs is not a sound one ever forgets. 750,000 children –or half the population of Gaza—have it ingrained in their memories for the rest of their lives. Another equally unacceptable percentage of this group will have had images burned into their minds’ eyes of the devastation and death wrought by these sounds as well, a factor that partially explains why more than 50 per cent of Gaza’s three-quarters of a million children suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: it isn’t easy to see piles of the dead or their blown apart body parts without some kind of reaction.
Without electricity, without cooking gas or automobile fuel; without heat to warm the winter-chilled flats across this stretch of land, or generators to back up the hospitals and clinics; without supplies for schools and universities, for personal and collective health and hygiene, or for repairing any part of this broken down hovel of a strip; without water to drink or cook with or bathe in, without reading lamps and, lately, without the candles or other substitutes used for light, people are making haste to adjust yet again to the latest set of conditions imposed upon them as the US-backed siege of Gaza closes in on another dying December day.
"No Comment" on Gaza's Dead - Obama and the "Special Relationship"
by Joshua Frank
December 29, 2008
As President-Elect Barack Obama vacationed in Hawaii on December 26, stopping off to watch a dolphin show with his family at Sea Life Park, an Israeli air raid besieged the impoverished Gaza Strip, killing at least 285 people and injuring over 800 more.
It was the single deadliest attack on Gaza in over 20 years and Obama’s initial reaction on what could be his first real test as president was “no comment.” Meanwhile, Israel has readied itself for a land invasion, amassing tanks along the border and calling up 6,500 reserve troops.
On Sunday’s Face the Nation, Obama’s Senior Adviser David Axelrod explained to guest cost Chip Reid how an Obama administration would handle the situation, even if it turns for the worst.
“Well, certainly, the president-elect recognizes the special relationship between United States and Israel. It’s an important bond, an important relationship. He’s going to honor it ... And obviously, this situation has become even more complicated in the last couple of days and weeks. As Hamas began its shelling, Israel responded. But it’s something that he’s committed to.”
Reiterating the rationale that Israel’s bombing of Gaza was an act of retaliation and not of agression,
Axelrod, on behalf of the Obama administration, continued to spread the same misinformation as President Bush: that Hamas was the first to break the ceasefire agreement
, which ended over a week ago, and Israel was simply responding judiciously.
Aside from the fact that Israel’s response was anything but judicious,
the idea that it was Hamas who broke the six-month truce is a complete fabrication
On the night of the U.S. election, Israel fired missiles on Gaza that were aimed at closing down a tunnel operation they believed Hamas was building in order to "kidnap Israeli soldiers." The carnage left in the wake of Israel’s bombing of Gaza over the past six weeks has killed dozens of Palestinians.
“The escalation towards war could, and should, have been avoided. It was the State of Israel which broke the truce, in the 'ticking tunnel' raid ... two months ago,” the Israeli peace group Gush Shalom wrote in a press release. “Since then,
the army went on stoking the fires of escalation with calculated raids and killings, whenever the shooting of missiles on Israel decreased
Over the last seven years only 17 Israeli citizens have been killed by Palestinian rocket fire, which makes it extremely difficult for Israeli politicians, which are in the midst of an election, to argue that their response has been proportionate or defensible in any way.
The asymmetry of the conflict leaves an opening for harsh criticism from the soon-to-be president Barack Obama. He has every right to oppose Israel’s belligerence. The international community and the majority of public opinion are on his side. Certainly he knows Israel’s disproportionate response has inflicted insurmountable pain on Palestinians as well as what the blockade has done by keeping vital medical and other supplies from reaching Gaza, where hundreds have died as a result of inadequate medical treatment.
While bombs fall on a suffocating Palestinian population and Israeli forces prepare for a ground invasion, Obama is monitoring the situation from afar after a talk with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other Bush administration officials.
This isn’t leadership; it’s a continuation of a policy that has left Palestinians with little recourse, let alone hope for lasting peace
“The president-elect was in Sderot last July, in southern Israel, a town that’s taken the brunt of the Hamas attacks,” David Axelrod told Chip Reid on Face the Nation. “And he said then that, when bombs are raining down on your citizens, there is an urge to respond and act and try and put an end to that. So, you know, that’s what he said then, and I think that’s what he believes.”
If Axelrod is correct, and Barack Obama does indeed support the bloodshed inflicted upon innocent Palestinians by the Israeli military, there should be no celebrating during Inauguration Day 2009
, only mass protest of a Middle East foreign policy that must change in order to begin a legitimate peace process in the region.
When the assault began, the US and Israel's
Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, was
safely drinking coffee
in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Flashpoints Radio coverage of the Israeli attack, day three
Israeli air strike kills five daughters from one family as Gaza death toll passes 300
375 Killed, Over 1,600 Wounded as Gaza Strikes Continue
December 30, 2008
Israeli Military Declares Online Media ‘Another War Zone’
Journalists Kept Carefully Away From Gaza as Israel Tries to Restrict Coverage
Across the world, mainstream journalists are expressing increasing disquiet at the way the Israeli government is trying to manage international coverage of its war on the Gaza Strip. Journalists have been barred not just from the strip itself, but the government is now prohibiting journalists from going to parts of Israel near the Gaza Strip.
The Foreign Press Association is petitioning the Israeli Supreme Court to overturn the ban, which is limiting the ability of media outlets to cover the attacks, and forces them to rely on second and third hand reports from Israeli military and Hamas spokesmen regarding the situation on the ground.
As the media struggles to get up-to-date information, television news coverage is narrow, and often relies on interviews with Israeli government officials explaining why the killings are righteous and legitimate expressions of democracy and freedom, more and more people are turning to online news sites for their war coverage.
The Israeli military has therefore announced that online media and the blogosphere are another warzone for the military to manage. To that end, the military is launching its own Youtube channel to bring the viewing public footage of “precision bombing operations” in the strip.
In ensuring that the only footage of their military operation is provided directly from them, the Israeli military is another step closer to completely managing public perception of the ongoing attacks.
The military says the footage will allow the public to “know that people killed did not have peaceful intentions toward Israel,” which presumably means coverage of the killing of five children in their beds in a refugee camp last night, and the scores of other civilian deaths, will be carefully omitted from the official coverage
Video - Damaged Gaza aid boat docks in southern Lebanon
- Dec 30 '08
Former Georgia Congresswoman
, standing beside a damaged yacht in the Lebanese seaport of Tyre, Tuesday accused the Israeli navy of ramming the vessel to halt the delivery of medical supplies to the embattled Gaza Strip.
“Our mission was a peaceful mission,” McKinney told CNN. The recent Green Party candidate for U.S. president and frequent center of controversy is the most prominent political figure to join the relief voyages sponsored by the Free Gaza Movement.
Israeli Gunboats Came out of the Darkness and Rammed us Three Times
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Lebanon, Tuesday 30 December) - Today the Free Gaza ship "Dignity" carefully made its way to safe harbor in Tyre, Lebanon's southern-most port city, after receiving serious structural damage when Israeli warships rammed its bow and the port side. Waiting to greet the passengers and crew were thousands of Lebanese who came out to show their solidarity with this attempt to deliver volunteer doctors and desperately needed medical supplies to war-ravaged Gaza. The Lebanese government has pledged to provide a forensic analysis of what happened in the dark morning, when Israel rammed the civilian ship in international waters, and put the people on board in danger of losing their lives.
The Dignity, on a mission of mercy to besieged Gaza, was attacked by the Israeli Navy at approximately 6am (UST) in international waters, roughly
90 miles off the coast of Gaza
. Several Israeli warships surrounded the small human rights boat, firing live ammunition around it, then intentionally ramming it three times. According to ship's captain Denis Healy
the Israeli attack came, "without any warning, or any provocation."
Caoimhe Butterly, an organizer with the Free Gaza Movement, stated that, "The gunboats gave us no warning. They came up out of the darkness firing flares and flashing huge flood lights into our faces. We were so shocked that at first we didn't react. We knew we were well within international waters and supposedly safe from attack. They rammed us three times, hitting the side of the boat hard. We began taking on water and, for a few minutes, we all feared for our lives. After they rammed us, they started screaming at us as we were frantically getting the life boats ready and putting on our life jackets. They kept yelling that if we didn't turn back they would shoot us."
Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate, was traveling to Gaza aboard the Dignity in order to assess the impact of Israel's military onslaught against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip. According to McKinney, "Israeli patrol boats...tracked us for about 30 minutes...and then all of a sudden they rammed us approximately three times, twice in the front and once in the side...the Israelis indicated that [they felt] we were involved in terrorist activities."
The Dignity departed from Larnaca Port in Cyprus at 7pm (UST) on Monday 29 December with a cargo of over 3 tons of desperately needed medical supplies donated to Gaza by the people of Cyprus. Three surgeons were also aboard, traveling to Gaza to volunteer in overwhelmed hospitals and clinics. The ship was searched by Cypriot Port authorities prior to departure, and its passenger list was made public.
Israel's deplorable attack on the unarmed Dignity is a violation of both international maritime law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states that "the high seas should be reserved for peaceful purposes."
Kucinich criticizes Israel; wants U.N. probe
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is calling for a United Nations investigation into Israel’s attacks on Gaza, criticizing Israel for a disproportionate response to Hamas rocket attacks.
The criticism stands in stark contrast to the statements of other Democrats, who have offered near-unanimous support for Israel
amid the latest violence in the Middle East.
McKinney to Obama: "Say Something" About Gaza Humanitarian Crisis
Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has called upon President-Elect Barack Obama to "please, say something about the humanitarian crisis that is being experienced by the Palestinian people, by the people of Gaza."
Arab Israelis labelled as traitors
JERUSALEM // Nothing perhaps better illustrated the state of relations in Israel between Jewish and Palestinian citizens than the removal from the Israeli parliament of Ahmed Tibi, a legislator from the United Arab List, and Mohammad Barakeh, of the left-wing Hadash Party, during a stormy session on Monday discussing Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.
Mr Tibi was thrown out after loudly remonstrating with Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, who in his speech to the Knesset claimed “300 terrorists” had been killed in Gaza.
“Tell the Knesset how many of them were women and children,” shouted Mr Tibi before being removed
Mr Barakeh, meanwhile, became embroiled in a slanging match with several Jewish MPs over the bloodshed in Gaza that ended in his expulsion from the chamber, but not before Gilad Ardan, of the Likud party, had accused him of being a “racist”, to which Mr Barakeh retorted that Mr Ardan was “a shoe.”
The exchanges took place after Palestinian members of parliament had tried and failed to pass a motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. For their pains, they were lectured by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli opposition leader, on loyalty and accused by Avigdor Lieberman, another MP of the far Right, of being “traitors.”
Israel Rejects ‘Unrealistic’ Gaza Truce, Continues Attacks
No Such Thing as a Humanitarian Ceasefire, Olmert Aide Insists
December 31, 2008
As pro-war rallies continue across Israel, the Israeli government has announced that it will reject the 48-hour ceasefire proposed yesterday to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to the Gaza Strip.
Labeling the truce as ‘unrealistic’, the attacks on the strip will continue unabated.
“There’s no such thing as a ‘humanitarian ceasefire’,” one aide to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert insisted. “Gaza is not undergoing a humanitarian crisis.” But the situation on the ground tells a different story
; with hundreds dead and thousands wounded, hospitals are running short on space and supplies. Food was already in short supply before the attacks began, and the destruction of the smuggling tunnels which had been Gaza’s sole source of imports from the outside world since Israel began barring humanitarian shipments has only made matters worse.
The Fishbarrel War
by Gary Leupp
Will Obama Sanctify Israel's Targeting of Civilians in Gaza?
"It was just like shooting fish in a barrel,” recalled a U.S. pilot, describing the carnage along the “highway of death” stretching from Kuwait to Basra on February 26-27, 1991. While tens of thousands of Iraqi conscripts withdrew from Kuwait in compliance with UN resolutions, terrified boys commandeering school buses and milk trucks when military vehicles weren’t available, U.S. aircraft bombed as many of the helpless as possible. The point was to debase Saddam’s defeated army for the foreseeable future. Of course, Iraq remained helpless and bleeding for another dozen years before Bush II destroyed what was left of it.
Similarly over the weekend, when Israel rained down death onto the vast concentration camp which is the Gaza Strip. There was no contest. The point was to eliminate the Palestinian authority structure in place: all the government offices, all the police force. As the London Telegraph headline put it: “Israel changed the rules forever with the Gaza airstrike.”
The purpose was to kill all those in the Hamas political party, democratically elected in 2006, and in the security apparatus of Gaza. As the Telegraph puts it: “Membership alone in the security structures of Hamas was yesterday turned by Israel into grounds for attack. To put on a Hamas police baseball cap is to make oneself a target. This means that any Hamas traffic cop on a street corner in Gaza - or manning a makeshift ‘border’ checkpoint - can expect to be attacked.”
Israel’s applying state terror, secure in the assumption that since the U.S., EU, Japan and most other significant international players consider Hamas a “terrorist” organization, have offered only token protest of the Israeli strangulation of the Gazan population and justified the most draconian and murderous measures as understandable responses to Hamas’s rocket attacks on Israeli towns, there will be few negative international repercussions. At the end of the day, they figure, Hamas will be so vitiated that those pathetic efforts at resistance will stop, Palestinian factions preferred by Israel and allied with Washington will regain control over Gaza, and a new U.S. administration will ascend to power just as a new chapter in Palestinian humiliation begins.
Like shooting fish in a barrel.
Now of course Israeli PR people, whom foreign minister Tzipi Livni has called back from their European vacations for emergency duty, will insist with that air of self-righteousness peculiar to those who truly believe that God is on their side, that Israel somehow arose from and survives out of some unique divine favor, and will ignore the most obvious truths in their desire to believe the most transparent deceptions:
"We had no alternative. We had to protect our people."
How many Israelis have in fact been killed by Qassam, Grad, or Katyusha rockets, fired by Palestinians from Gaza, compared to “retaliatory” Israeli attacks? How many Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by “retaliatory” Israeli fire?
And while we’re asking questions: when Israeli officials complain of Palestinian fire hitting Ashdod or Ahkelon, do they ever think about who was living in those towns in 1948 before the Zionists established their settler-state?
There they are, 1.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, trapped, nowhere to go. They can’t flee to Egypt; border guards will fire on them. They can’t flee by sea. The airport is inoperative. Like fish in a barrel.
It is oh so easy to say, as White House Deputy Press Secretary Gordon G. Johndroe said Sunday, “These people are nothing but thugs. Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas.” But does this clown have any clue or care about the history the founding of the Israeli state, its inception in the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians through tactics including terror (well-documented by Israeli historians like Ilan Pappé) whose demand for justice is never going to go away?
David Axelrod, senior adviser to Barack Obama, blandly told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that “Obviously…as Hamas began its shelling, Israel responded.” Is that all he thinks the audience needs to know? And to what prior history does Hamas respond? Does the candidate of “change” who has surrounded himself with intractable Israel advocates (beginning with chief of staff Rahm Emanuel), who has withheld comment during Israel’s siege while phoning Condi Rice to confer on the situation, have any understanding of the basis for Palestinian rage? Can his staff ever apply a term like “thugs” to those committing this current fish-in-a-barrel shoot?
Does Obama have the audacity to break with the Lobby he groveled before as a presidential candidate on June 3, even going so far as to declare himself in favor of an eternal undivided Jewish capital of Jerusalem?
(Official Washington policy has actually been to favor part of East Jerusalem---occupied by Israel in 1967---as capital of a future Palestinian state.)
For that I have absolutely no hope. He will leave Israel/Palestine to “experienced” people, the people the pundits have so lauded him for appointing, Hillary Clinton at the head of the pack. The people through whom he’s reassured the system that he’s absolutely not going to rock the boat.
True believers in change, take notice.
The Spineless Huffington Post Gives ‘Equal Time’
December 31, 2008
Huffington Post was so very kind this week to give space to almost frustratingly moderate Palestinian intellectual Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi. In his well-reasoned article, “Palestine’s Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood,” he supplied all the basic facts behind the problems in Palestine. One would expect the hordes of so-called “liberal” Democrat ignoramuses who infect that publication’s comment areas to bleat tired, false old bromides about Israel’s porcelain-white innocence in the face of attacks by grizzled Arab barbarians, but what gives with the long disclaimer marring the top of Barghouthi’s article?
“HuffPo” runs all kinds of commentary from all over the political spectrum (or at least its leftish side), but only those who dare speak against the sainted Israelis seem to require an editorial explanation that resembles an apology.
Shame on Huffington Post for its disgusting lack of integrity
"This is a guest post written by Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative. These comments and views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Huffington Post."
January 3, 2009
Israel Steps Up Air Strikes, Starts Shelling in Gaza Escalation
Just because Israel is running out of things to bomb in the Gaza Strip doesn’t mean the air barrage will quiet down in anticipation of the ground invasion. Rather today the Israeli Air Force has stepped up its bombings across Northern Gaza, and the military has also begun to shell the densely populated Gaza City with artillery. There was no immediate report of the number of casualties caused in the attacks.
UN humanitarian coordinator Maxwell Gaylard declared a “critical emergency” in the strip, adding that “by any definition this is a humanitarian crisis and more” in a tiny enclave where 80 percent of the population relies on international food aid to survive. Israel has repeatedly denied that there is an humanitarian crisis in the strip, and
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni declared the situation in Gaza “completely as it should be.”
Civilians Take Brunt of 7th Day of Gaza Offensive
The Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip continue, but with few targets remaining the air strikes are causing fewer deaths, and more and more of them are civilians.
Though earlier in the war the United Nations Relief and Works Agency reported that “a minimum of 25 percent” of those killed in the attacks were civilians, a human rights group has now put it at about 40 percent. The death toll is now reportedly 430, with over 2,200 wounded.
Of the 10 Palestinians reportedly killed today, seven were civilians, and five of those civilians were children. Killing 10 people in at least 30 air strikes is probably not what Israel was hoping for, and half of them being children certainly doesn’t help the military’s enormous media campaign.
Getting reliable, up-to-date casualty figures from the Gaza Strip is difficult given the Israeli government’s refusal to allow foreign journalists in to report on the situation on the ground. The figures mostly come from hospitals, and don’t include anyone still buried under the rubble created in the attacks.
CNN: US weapons 'killing innocent civilians' in Gaza
As Israeli warplanes continue to bomb Gaza, attention is turning to the role of American-made weapons in the deadly attacks, which have now killed over 400 and wounded 2000, including many civilians.
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr believes that Israel's use of American weapons against civilians "is becoming very problematic." She notes, for example, that the 2000 pound bomb which killed a Hamas leader and members of his family on Thursday "is part of the billions of dollars that Israel has spent buying weapons from the United States."
Israel's use of American-made weapons in attacking Gaza has been a matter of offical concern for years. In 2002, the State Department announced it was monitoring possible violations of the Arms Export Control Act after the Israeli military used an American-made jet to drop a laser-guided bomb that killed a Hamas leader and 14 civilians in a crowded Gaza City neighborhood.
Just last September, Congress approved a $77 million dollar deal to sell a thousand Boeing GBU-39 bunker-buster "smart bombs" to Israel. The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday that these small, GPS-guided missiles have now been used on underground tunnels and launchers in Gaza. "Precision guided bombs are only precision in that they hit the target they are aimed at," Starr explained. "We're getting these civilian casualties. These weapons are supposed to be used for a country's self-defense. Israel, obviously, believes this is its self-defense against Hamas, but you see these civilian casualties. That's not why the US sells weapons abroad -- for the killing of innocent civilians."
"The world community only is going to stand for this for so long," continued Starr.
Worldwide protests denounce Israel
No US Objections to Impending Gaza Invasion
The long-promised Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip seems set to begin at any time, some reports suggest it could be a mere matter of hours. And while in his weekly radio address tomorrow President Bush is going to claim the United States is “leading diplomatic efforts to achieve a meaningful ceasefire,” the United States seems perfectly willing to stand aside as Israel launches the ground invasion, with White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe saying “those will be decisions made by the Israelis.”
Indeed, the United States has supported the Israeli attack from the start, both by providing weapons and using its UN Security Council seat to block an Arab League-backed resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. As Israel’s attacks have killed hundreds of Palestinians (scores of them children), the administration continues to insist that Hamas is solely responsible for the fighting.
Rice Declares "No End in Sight" for Israeli Attacks
Deaths as Israel hits Gaza mosque
At least 11 Palestinians, including one child, have been killed after Israeli forces struck a mosque during prayers in the town of Beit Lahiya, north of Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip.
More than 200 people were inside the the Ibrahim al-Maqadna mosque praying when it was struck
Israel bombs a large civilian street market in Gaza
Reuters news agency reports Palestinian witnesses as saying Israeli ground forces enter Gaza
The Invasion of Gaza: "Operation Cast Lead", Part of a Broader Israeli Military-Intelligence Agenda
by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, January 4, 2009 (excerpt)
The aerial bombings and the ongoing ground invasion of Gaza by Israeli ground forces must be analysed in a historical context. Operation "Cast Lead" is a carefully planned undertaking, which is part of a broader military-intelligence agenda first formulated by the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001
: "Sources in the defense establishment said
Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas
Barak Ravid, Operation "Cast Lead": Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008
It was Israel which broke the truce on the day of the US presidential elections, November 4
"Israel used this distraction to break the ceasefire between itself and Hamas by bombing the Gaza strip. Israel claimed this violation of the ceasefire was to prevent Hamas from digging tunnels into Israeli territory. The very next day, Israel launched a terrorizing siege of Gaza, cutting off food, fuel, medical supplies and other necessities in an attempt to “subdue” the Palestinians while at the same time engaging in armed incursions.
In response, Hamas and others in Gaza again resorted to firing crude, homemade, and mainly inaccurate rockets into Israel. During the past seven years, these rockets have been responsible for the deaths of 17 Israelis. Over the same time span, Israeli Blitzkrieg assaults have killed thousands of Palestinians, drawing worldwide protest but falling on deaf ears at the UN." (
Shamus Cooke, The Massacre in Palestine and the Threat of a Wider War, Global Research, December 2008
It is important to focus on a number of key events which have led up to the killings in Gaza under "Operation Cast Lead":
1. The assassination in November 2004 of Yaser Arafat.
2. The removal, under the orders of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2005, of all Jewish settlements in Gaza.
As long as Jewish settlers were living inside Gaza, the objective of sustaining a large barricaded prison territory could not be achieved.
The Implementation of "Operation Cast Lead" required "no Jews in Gaza".
3. The building of the infamous Apartheid Wall.
4. The next phase was the Hamas election victory in January 2006. Without Arafat, the Israeli military-intelligence architects knew that Fatah under Mahmoud Abbas would lose the elections. This was part of the scenario, which had been envisaged and analyzed well in advance. With Hamas in charge of the Palestinian authority, using the pretext that Hamas is a terrorist organization, Israel would carry out the process of "cantonization" as formulated under the Dagan plan. Fatah under Mahmoud Abbas would remain formally in charge of the West Bank. The duly elected Hamas government would be confined to the Gaza strip.
Planned Humanitarian Disaster
On December 8, US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte was in Tel Aviv for discussions with his Israeli counterparts including the director of Mossad, Meir Dagan. "Operation Cast Lead" was initiated two days day after Christmas. It was coupled with a carefully designed international Public Relations campaign under the auspices of Israel's Foreign Ministry.
Hamas' military targets are not the main objective. Operation "Cast Lead" is intended, quite deliberately, to trigger civilian casualities.
What we are dealing with is a "planned humanitarian disaster" in Gaza in a densly populated urban area.
The longer term objective of this plan, as formulated by Israeli policy makers, is the expulsion of Palestinians from Palestinian lands:
"Terrorize the civilian population, assuring maximal destruction of property and cultural resources... The daily life of the Palestinians must be rendered unbearable: They should be locked up in cities and towns, prevented from exercising normal economic life, cut off from workplaces, schools and hospitals,
This will encourage emigration and weaken the resistance to future expulsions
Ur Shlonsky, quoted by Ghali Hassan, Gaza: The World’s Largest Prison, Global Research, 2005
On January 3, Israeli tanks and infantry entered Gaza in an all out ground offensive:
"The ground operation was preceded by several hours of heavy artillery fire after dark, igniting targets in flames that burst into the night sky. Machine gun fire rattled as bright tracer rounds flashed through the darkness and the crash of hundreds of shells sent up streaks of fire. (
AP, January 3, 2009
Israeli sources have pointed to a lengthy drawn out military operation. It "won't be easy and it won't be short," said Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a TV address. Israel is not seeking to oblige Hamas "to cooperate". What we are dealing with is the implementation of the "Dagan Plan" as initially formulated in 2001, which called for:
an invasion of Palestinian-controlled territory by some 30,000 Israeli soldiers
," with the clearly defined mission of destroying the infrastructure of the Palestinian leadership and collecting weaponry currently possessed by the various Palestinian forces, and expelling or killing its military leadership.
The broader question is whether Israel in consultation with Washington is intent upon triggering a wider war
. Mass expulsion could occur at some later stage of the ground invasion, were the Israelis to open up Gaza's borders to allow for an exodus of population. Expulsion was referred to by Ariel Sharon as the "a 1948 style solution". For Sharon "it is only necessary to find another state for the Palestinians. -'Jordan is Palestine' - was the phrase that Sharon coined." (
A wounded Palestinian child screams as she arrives at the Al-Shifa hospital after an Israeli air strike January 1, 2009 in Gaza City
Laughing it up...
Israelis look out towards the northern Gaza Strip from a hill near the southern town of Sderot during an air strike January 1, 2009.
U.S. blocks U.N. statement on Gaza
Jan. 3, 2009
UNITED NATIONS - The United States late Saturday blocked approval of a U.N. Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel and expressing concern at the escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas.
January 4, 2009
Israeli Tanks and Troops Slice Deep Into Gaza
The first full day of fighting in the Gaza Strip continues tonight, as thousands of Israeli troops continue to move deeper into the tiny, populous enclave. Though the soldiers have yet to enter any major urban areas, they have encountered resistance and firefights have been reported throughout the area. As Israeli artillery fire continues, the troops have effectively cut the strip in half, and have sealed off the densely populated Gaza City from the rest of the strip.
“This is not going to be a school trip,” Israeli military spokesman General Avi Benayahu insisted
, as his government continues to rebuff international pressure to bring the attack to a swift end. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni angrily rejected an attempt by the Russian government to broker a ceasefire by facilitating communications with Hamas. At a press conference later, Livni declared that while she didn’t expect the rest of the world to share in the attack on the Gaza Strip, she did expect them to provide the support and time to accomplish their increasingly nebulous mission.
At least 34 Israeli soldiers have been wounded in the attacks so far. The number of Hamas casualties is unknown, as is the toll to Gaza’s civilian populace, though individual reports suggest Israeli tank shells have killed or wounded dozens of children.
Though the ground invasion was sold to the Israeli public and international community as necessary to stop rocket fire, it so far has actually led to an increase. Hamas fired around 50 rockets into Israel today, lightly wounding four people. While the government continues to defend the invasion as “inevitable,” questions still remain about how it ever envisions the war to end.
Moving into the ninth day of the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip, the death toll has surpassed 500 according to medics
. Yesterday’s invasion sparked a new round a fighting, and claims of killed combatants on both sides. The first casualties in the invasion however came when an Israeli tank attacked a house full of Palestinian children in eastern Gaza City, killing one and injuring 11 others. All told at least 31 additional civilians were killed yesterday.
The thousands of advancing soldiers have cut the tiny strip virtually in half, and the forces are now massing along the outskirts of Gaza City, one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Heavy fighting is still reported and Major General Amod Yadlin’s claims that Hamas is using mosques to store ammunition suggests that the Israeli strategy of attacking religious sites in the strip will continue as the operation moves forward.
Israel bars Red Cross from entering Gaza
Frustrated reporters locked out of Gaza war zone
Monday, January 5, 2009
EREZ CROSSING, Israel (AP) — Israel scrapped arrangements Monday to allow the first foreign reporters into the Gaza Strip since the military launched its offensive against Palestinian militants, adding to mounting media frustration at being locked out of the war zone.
The ban on foreign media, which has been appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court, drew criticism from journalists that Israel is trying to manage the story.
Civilian casualties escalate in Gaza
(Guardian UK video)
Get Your Special Edition Hanukkah Massacre Menorah
In Gaza: Hamas Tactics against Israeli Invasion
With battles raging between invading Israeli troops and Palestinian resistance fighters, Hamas has prepared a set of tactics to apply against the mighty Israeli army.
"The Ezzeddin Al-Qassam has built an underground city of tunnels planted with land and anti-personnel mines," Hamas sources told IslamOnline.net, referring to the group's armed wing.
"Ambushes have also been set up in houses near the border area," the Hamas sources said.
Palestinian fighters also have in store rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) to fire at Israeli helicopter gunships.
Israel has been depending heavily on F-16s, which fly at high altitude, in bombing Gaza to avoid the Palestinian RPGs.
Al-Qassam claimed Sunday hitting an Israeli helicopter with its anti-aircraft artillery.
One Palestinian faction announced destroying seven Israeli tanks but there was no Israeli confirmation.
The Israeli army has admitted that 30 soldiers have been wounded, two seriously, in clashes since the start of the ground operation.
Four Israelis have been killed in rocket attacks since the start of Israeli onslaught which has claimed the lives of 485 Palestinians since last Saturday. (that number went up to 550, according to Palestinian medics on Aljazeera, as reported late Monday, January 5)
Ezzeddin Al-Qassam has also organized its fighters, who have gone under the radar, into special groups and units.
Hamas reportedly has 10,000 active-duty fighters in addition to a similar number of well-trained reservists.
"Palestinian resistance fighters are coordinating together against the Israeli invasion of Gaza," a Qassam source told IOL.
Jan 6 2009
Israeli soldiers killed by 'friendly fire' in Gaza
"Three IDF (Israel Defence Forces) soldiers were killed and one critically wounded and an additional three were severely wounded as the result of a tank shell explosion that was fired in error from an IDF tank during an operation" in northern Gaza, the spokesman said. "The tank shell hit a structure where the soldiers were located. Twenty additional soldiers were lightly to moderately wounded in the same incident."
Israel confirms losing officer in Gaza
An Israeli paratroop officer has lost his life during clashes with Palestinian resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army says.
"An Israeli officer was killed during clashes in northern Gaza," an army spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.
He further added that the officer might have been killed by friendly fire.
"The details of the event are still being investigated; however it is suspected that a tank shell was mistakenly fired at the force," it said in a statement.
Hamas says it has killed and injured over 40 Israeli soldiers on Tuesday.
Tel Aviv says that the conflict has killed five soldiers and injured 79 others. The Israeli army claims it has killed 130 Palestinian fighters since launching the ground offensive in Gaza at the weekend.
The Israeli attack has so far claimed the lives of 590 and wounded 3000 Palestinians since Israel launched the attack on Saturday.
Egypt government feels its people's ire
January 5, 2009
Thousands of Egyptians have taken to the streets to protest the continuing Israeli aggression against Gaza and the participation of the Egyptian regime in the isolation of its population. Last Wednesday, the state responded with a major crackdown in which tens of protestors and journalists were assaulted and arrested.
Around the Arab world, the Egyptian regime has been a target of severe criticism for its continuing role in the ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip and its silence in the face of intense Israeli bombardment of the enclave. Last Tuesday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak responded to the criticism by announcing in a televised speech that the Rafah border crossing will remain closed until the Palestinian Authority led by president Mahmoud Abbas regains control of the Gaza strip -- a statement that only strengthened the impression that Mubarak approves of the Israeli military action against Hamas, perceived by the regime as a natural ally of the internal islamic opposition in Egypt.
Jan 5, 2009
US troops 'monitoring Rafah crossing'
US troops are helping Egypt prevent "arms smuggling" from tunnels in the Rafah border-crossing, as Israel continues its attacks on Gaza.
Norwegian doctor in Gaza: Israel targeting civilians
40 Palestinians killed in IDF strike on UN school
Israel Defense Forces tank fire killed up to 40 Palestinians at a United Nations school in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, medical sources at two hospitals said.
The attack brought the Palestinian death toll to nearly 600 in Israel's 11-day offensive on the Hamas-ruled coastal territory.
Two tank shells exploded outside the Gaza school, spraying shrapnel on people inside and outside the building, where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge from fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants. In addition to the dead, several dozen people were wounded, the officials said.
Medical officials said all the dead were either people sheltering in the school or local residents
"There's nowhere safe in Gaza. Everyone here is terrorized and traumatized," said John Ging, the top UN official in Gaza, blaming the international community for allowing the violence to continue.
Earlier Tuesday, Palestinian medical officials reported that 10 civilians were killed when a shell fired by an Israeli ship hit their house on the Gaza shore
Officials in Gaza said
at least 20 people were killed in shelling up and down the strip on Tuesday. Only two of the dead could could be immediately confirmed as militants
Israelis, sipping Pepsi, watch bombardment of Gaza town
Gaza conflict spreads to Europe with Jews attacked
January 6, 2009
PARIS (AP) — Signs are mounting that the conflict in Gaza is starting to spill over into violence in Europe's towns and cities, with assaults against Jews and arson attacks on Jewish congregations in France, Sweden and Britain.
Assailants rammed a burning car into the gates of a synagogue in Toulouse, in southwest France, on Monday night. A Jewish congregation in Helsingborg, in southern Sweden, also was attacked Monday night by someone who "broke a window and threw in something that was burning," said police spokesman Leif Nilsson. Neighbors alerted rescue services before the fire took hold.
Someone also started a blaze outside the premises last week. And on Sunday slogans including "murderers ... You broke the cease-fire" and "don't subject Palestine to ethnic cleansing" were daubed on Israel's embassy in Stockholm.
In Denmark, a 27-year-old Dane born in Lebanon of Palestinian parents is alleged to have injured two young Israelis last week, opening fire with a handgun in a shooting that police suspect could be linked to the Gaza crisis.
In Britain, the Community Security Trust, a Jewish defense group, said it had seen a rise in anti-Semitic incidents since the start of Israel's offensive against Gaza. The group said it had recorded 20-25 incidents across the country in the past week that it believed were connected with Gaza, including an arson attempt on a synagogue in north London on Sunday.
Community Security Trust spokesman Mark Gardner said that in another incident last week a gang of 15-20 youths walked along the main street in Golders Green, a largely Jewish neighborhood in north London, shouting "Jew" and "Free Palestine" at passers-by.
In the Danish shooting, one Israeli man was shot in the arm and another in the leg as they were selling hair care products in a shopping mall. Eli Ruvio, who owns the company that operated the stands, said his employees have been harassed by Muslim youths since they set up three kiosks in the shopping center in August.
"I told my employees not to speak in Hebrew and lie about where they come from, they should say there were from Spain or somewhere else. If people ask you where you are from, never say you're from Israel," he said.
The Gaza Bloodbath
It wouldn't make a bit of difference if Hamas surrendered tomorrow and handed-over all its weapons to Israel, because the problem isn't Hamas; it's Zionism, the deeply-flawed ideology which leads to bombing children in their homes while clinging to victim-hood. Ideas have consequences. Gaza proves it.
Unconventional Weapons against The People of Gaza
"All that is happening in Gaza here now is against international law, it is against humanity."
Today, they were bombing in Gaza City; we received 150 wounded and more than 50 killed.
Press TV: Only at Shifa?!
Dr. Mads Gilbert: Yes, here in Shifa. I treated a ten-year-old boy. He had his whole chest filled with fragments from the bomb. On his lap was another person's leg that had been cut off. We resuscitated him and did everything we could do to save his life but he died between our hands.
Marine Corps Dictionary: Willie Peter (WP)
White phosphorous, an incendiary material that burns hot and is not extinguished with water. Used in WP hand grenades and long range artillery rounds.
Death Is In The Air
6 January 2009
Israel’s decision to utilize banned weapons in the massacre of Gaza highlights their willingness to achieve their objective at any human cost.
Since the ground Invasion began three days ago, the
Israeli ‘Defense’ Forces (IDF) have employed weaponized white phosphorous over large civilian areas of the Gaza Strip
as a way to produce ’a great deal of smoke that blinds the enemy so that (IDF) forces can move in’.
This is of course in contravention to the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons of 1980, which bans the use of incendiary devices against personnel in densely inhabited civilian areas.
When white phosphorous is deployed in munitions, the chemical flakes burst into flames the moment they make contact with oxygen, and continue to burn incessantly until completely consumed.
It causes extremely painful 2nd and 3rd degree burns to the exposed skin of victims, and depending on the size of flakes, often eats directly through clothing. While eating through the skin, white phosphorous enters into the blood stream where it wreaks havoc on the liver, kidney and heart – sometimes leading to multi-organ collapse.
Beside the deadliness of the substance, and the cruelty of the fate of those consumed by it, is the absolutely random manner in which it is deployed.
There is no way to target one segment of the population or the other; everyone is affected as the clouds of deadly smoke roll in
Israel is already fighting one of the most asymmetric wars in human history against the people of the Gaza Strip. It is the world’s fifth largest military industrial complex with the most advanced weaponry advancing upon a trapped and largely civilian militia armed with Kalashnikovs and a few RPGs – so why do they need to deploy chemical weaponry on civilians?
Simply put: Palestinian civilians do not matter to Israeli policy makers. The only deaths that matter to them are those of their young soldiers – not because they actually care for them, but because they know that the increasing Israeli body count will quickly sour the public’s appetite for this slaughter.
Israel is intent upon losing as few soldiers as possible so that they can continue this war facing only international, rather than domestic pressure, to end hostilities. They will use any weapon at their disposal to do so, regardless of the effect on countless innocent Palestinians.
Israel is using controversial white phosphorus shells to push forward with a ground offensive against the densely-populated Gaza Strip
Venezuela expels Israeli ambassador
The Venezuelan government Tuesday ordered the expulsion of Israel's ambassador to Caracas to protest the Israeli military's offensive in the Gaza Strip, the foreign ministry said.
"Venezuela has decided to expel Israel's Ambassador" Shlomo Cohen, "and some of the staff at the Israeli Embassy, restating its call for peace and respect for international law," the ministry said in a statement.
Hacked By Blue Dolphin
Hacked By ISRAELI Hackers
January 7, 2009
After 'humanitarian pause,' Israel resumes Gaza assault
JERUSALEM — For three hours Wednesday afternoon, a surreal calm settled over the Gaza Strip as the 12-day-old Israeli military campaign to destabilize the militant Islamist group Hamas came to a temporary halt.
Palestinians who'd been huddling for days in their chilly, powerless homes rushed out in search of scarce food, clean water, cooking gas, warm blankets and supplies to get them through the deepening crisis.
Residents rushed about grabbing cans of food from sparse shelves and stood in bread lines for hours.
Ali Nazli stood in line at one market and dismissed the short cease-fire as an attempt by Israel to divert attention from the attack Tuesday on a U.N. school.
"Israelis massacred civilians in Gaza yesterday," Nazli said. "So now Israelis want to make their ugly face look pretty. That's why they gave us the cease-fire."
To prevent Gaza from sliding deeper into crisis, the U.N. said on Wednesday that a humanitarian supply line needs to operate round the clock.
For now, Israel is only willing to commit to offering a three-hour lull every other day.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said late Wednesday that its teams, which the Israeli military allowed into the Zaytun neighborhood of Gaza City for the first time, found at least 15 corpses in several houses.
Gaza Children Found With Mothers’ Corpses
January 9, 2009
Gaza Children Found Starving
RAMALLAH - An international chorus of condemnation has blasted Israel over its human rights abuses in Gaza. Operation Cast Lead, into its 12th day, has now claimed the lives of over 700 Palestinians.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) demanded safe access Thursday for ICRC officials and Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) ambulances to evacuate the wounded. It accused Israel of deliberately delaying ambulances.
Rescue teams made several attempts to rescue the wounded and retrieve bodies in several areas of Gaza city but were refused entry by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers.
On Wednesday, however, after a week's intensive negotiations with Israeli officials, ICRC officials and PRC ambulance teams managed to reach some of the survivors in Gaza's Zeitoun neighborhood.
The ICRC reported finding four starving toddlers next to the bodies of their dead mothers in one of the houses. The children were apparently too weak to stand. One man was found barely alive. Twelve bodies were found laid out on mattresses in the same house.
Fifteen survivors were rescued from another house by the ICRC. Three bodies were found in an adjacent house. The rescue teams kept looking for survivors despite orders by Israeli soldiers that they leave.
This is shocking
," Pierre Wettach, the ICRC's head of delegation for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories told IPS. "
The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation, but did not assist the wounded
. Neither did they make it possible for us or the PRC to assist the wounded."
The ICRC said it believed Israel had breached international humanitarian law.
Amnesty International also slammed Israel's decision to establish a daily ceasefire of only three hours, saying it was insufficient to tackle the unfolding humanitarian crisis.
"Israel has severely blockaded aid for nearly all of 2008. The Israeli military can't let aid in for three hours and pretend that is sufficient. Nor would a daily brief 'recess' guarantee the safety of humanitarian workers," Goering noted.
Israeli troops kill U.N. truck driver at Gaza crossing
Israeli soldiers opened fire Thursday on a truck attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Gaza Strip, killing one United Nations-contracted driver and seriously wounding another, U.N. officials said.
January 8, 2009
Gaza Toll at 765: Olmert Looks to Escalate Attacks
As rescue teams continue to pull bodies from the wreckage that two weeks ago was the Gaza Strip, the death toll now sits at 765, and is expected to rise even further in the days to come.
The rising death toll, as well as criticism from the United Nations and the Red Cross about Israel’s overall conduct during the war, are adding to the growing calls for Israel to wrap up its attacks as soon as possible. The Red Cross is accusing Israel of violating international law, while the United Nations announced earlier that they would suspend aid shipments to the Gaza Strip until the Israeli military promised to stop attacking their aid workers.
UN Security Council Approves Watered-Down Gaza Ceasefire Resolution
After Israel’s last minute attempts to force another delay in the vote failed, the United Nations Security Council finally managed to pass a Gaza Strip ceasefire resolution with a 14-0 vote. The United States abstained from voting on the resolution.
The resolution calls for a “durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.” It also calls for arrangements to prevent arms smuggling to militants and for the reopening of border crossings for “unimpeded provision” and distribution of aid in the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli government was reportedly concerned by the proposal before the vote, fearing it might harm their ability to further escalate their attacks. However, as the United States foiled two previous binding calls for an immediate ceasefire, though the current one was cautiously worded and only stressed the sense that an immediate ceasefire should happen. Israel has said it will not immediately comment on the move, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the military operation would continue.
Israel hits Gaza after UN truce resolution
Fri, 09 Jan 2009
Fresh Israeli attacks kill at least 9 Palestinians despite the UN Security Council's resolution calling for an immediate end to the Gaza conflict.
At least thirty targets were hit on the fourteenth day of the Israeli military campaign in the impoverished coastal strip.
Six members of a single family, were killed in the new overnight Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip, AFP quoted medics and witnesses as saying on Friday.
Three Palestinians were killed by Israeli tank shells around the areas of Deir al-Balah and Nusseirat, the sources said.
The attacks come just hours after the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution late on Thursday, calling for an immediate ceasefire and the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip.
Since Israel launched "Operation Cast Lead", 781 people have been killed and nearly 3,100 others have been wounded, Palestinian emergency services said.
Rockets hit Israeli airbase near Tel Aviv
Fri, 09 Jan
Hamas has announced that its al-Qassam grad rockets have hit a major Israeli airbase near Tel Aviv, which is believed to house nuclear arms.
US Senate supports Israel war on Gaza
Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a resolution expressing support for Israel in its conflict with Hamas, while the House of Representatives prepared to act on a similar measure tomorrow.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said the measure “expresses vigorous support” for Israel.
Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they had personally spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to express their support.
AIPAC praises Senate support of Israel
AIPAC on Thursday praised a bipartisan US Senate resolution which expressed support for Israel in its fight against terrorism.
The resolution, which was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, "conveys America's unequivocal and steadfast support for Israel's right to self-defense," according to a statement from the pro-Israel lobby group.
The AIPAC statement went on to "applaud" US President George W. Bush's recent statements in support of Israel.
The West Bank: We're all Hamas now - supporters of Fatah unite behind enemy
Mahmoud Abbas's popularity has been caught in the crossfire of the Gaza invasion
January 9 2009
Even if Israel wins on the battlefield or in the diplomatic corridors it is already paying the price of its Gaza onslaught in intensified hatred in the hearts of its Palestinian neighbours in the West Bank
. The campaign also appears to be increasing public scepticism about the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's chosen path of negotiations as the way to establish an independent state alongside Israel.
The diplomacy championed by Mr Abbas has for years been difficult to sell to Palestinians because it has brought little or no relief from occupation or improvement in their daily lives, only the expansion of Israeli settlements. This existing frustration –which helped Hamas defeat Mr Abbas's Fatah movement in the 2006 elections – is now combined with popular anger and dismay at the carnage among fellow Palestinians in Gaza.
Palestinian Authority security forces are keeping a tight lid on protests, preventing confrontations with Israeli troops and arresting anyone raising Hamas banners at rallies. But displays of identification with the beleaguered Gazans are everywhere.
Palestinians in the West Bank have their own long-standing grievances against Israel: the ongoing occupation, checkpoints Israel says are needed for security but that hamper their movement, often humiliate them and paralyse economic life, the expropriation of Palestinian land, and the threat of Israeli army incursion or arrest. The images from Gaza are being layered onto a collective memory of being expelled at Israel's creation in 1948.
A teacher in a PA school talked of the Israeli attack on a UN school in Gaza that killed at least 40 people and other killings of civilians. "The feeling is of severe anger," he said. "We are angry at the Jews and the hatred of them inside of us has increased. This is more than people can bear. We are mad at the Palestinian Authority and we are mad at the Arab regimes. When there is a call to convene an Arab meeting it looks like they are giving Israel a free hand to do whatever it wants"
Another PA employee, from the northern West Bank city of Nablus, said: "I want to educate my kids to hate Israel. If I can't do something maybe my kids can. I will educate them to fight the Israelis."
Is Gaza a testing ground for experimental weapons?
create as much mutilation as possible to terrorise the civilian population
Wake up America. We have trillions for a war machine and the banks while our government stands by and sniffs at the slaughter of innocents in Gaza
, where Israel is blocking aid for wounded Palestinians. Here’s today’s Washington Post. It says, ‘The International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday that it found at least 15 bodies and several children emaciated but alive in a row of shattered houses in the Gaza Strip and accused the Israeli military of preventing ambulances from reaching the site for 4 days. 12 corpses lying on mattresses in one home, along with 4 young children lying next to their dead mothers.’ That’s a quote. Today, US tax dollars, US jets, and US helicopters provided to Israel are enabling the slaughter in Gaza. The administration enables Israel to press forward with the attack against defenseless civilians, blocks efforts at promoting a cease-fire at the UN, and refuses to make Israel compliant with conditions that arms shipments will not be used for aggression.
Israel is going to receive $30 billion in a ten year period for military assistance, without having to abide by any humanitarian principles, international laws, or standards of basic human decency. Wake up America.”
Rep. Dennis Kucinich
Israelis Push to Edge of Gaza City - Move Could Signal A Long Urban Battle
...in the pre-dawn hours Sunday morning, tanks backed by helicopter gunships had made their furthest push yet into the Gaza City area, home to 400,000 people. Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed that they ambushed the advancing troops in a Gaza City suburb, Sheikh Ajleen, prompting a pitched battle that ended in the early afternoon. While the tanks later retreated, their foray into the outskirts of Gaza City could be a prelude to the sort of urban warfare that would mark any Israeli advance into the sprawling, densely packed cities and refugee camps where most Gazans live.
Death Toll in Gaza Approaches 900
Israel Criticized for Using White Phosphorus in Gaza
Israel Admits Error in Bombing of UN School
DAY 17 OF THE ISRAELI BLITZKRIEG
January 12, 2009
Death toll 920 - wounded 4200. Around 350 of the victims are children while 160 are women. Israeli Artillery intensified the shelling scale leaving more victims and destruction.
Israeli / Palestinian Coffin Counter
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Cyprus, 11 January 2009) - The Free Gaza Movement ship, "SPIRIT OF HUMANITY," left Larnaca Port at 3:00 pm, Monday, 12 January, on an emergency mission to besieged Gaza. It is expected to arrive in Gaza at approximately 11am (UST) Tuesday morning. Aboard the ship are 36 passengers and crew, representing 17 different nations. They are doctors, journalists, human rights workers, and five European parliamentarians representing Belgium, Greece, Italy, and Spain. The mercy ship also carries desperately needed medical supplies meant for hospitals in the Gaza Strip.
Damage inflicted by Israeli gunboats on Free Gaza ship
Pro-Palestinian Gaza Protests Increase Worldwide
Israeli planes have attacked more than 60 targets in Gaza as its offensive against Hamas entered its 18th day.
The strikes came as Israeli troops advanced into the suburbs of Gaza City.
"Don't worry about American pressure, we the Jewish people control America." - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001
How Much Power Does Israel Have Over the US?
Bush: Taking orders from Olmert?
Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert brags that Bush ordered Condi Rice to abstain on a UN resolution calling for a cease fire in Gaza because Olmert told him to
"I looked for President Bush and they told me he was in Philadelphia making a speech. I said, I don't care. I have to talk to him now. They got him off the podium, brought him to another room and I spoke to him. I told him, you can't vote in favour of this resolution. He said, "listen, I don't know about it, I didn't see it, I'm not familiar with the phrasing."
Olmert said he then told Bush: "I'm familiar with it. You
vote in favour."
"He gave an order to the secretary of state and she did not vote in favour of it -- a resolution she cooked up, phrased, organised and manoeuvred for. She was left pretty shamed and abstained on a resolution she arranged," Olmert said
During the past couple weeks, Bloomberg (during his rah-rah trip to Israel), Schumer and Paterson and now Bush have all demonstrated that they're in Israel's pocket, and lack even a semblance of even handedness. Is anyone ever going to tell the Israelis to stop their Gaza blockades? Dismantle their illegal settlements?
Apparently, no. So for guys like Olmert, who is trying to rescue his political career with an "iron fist" show, arrogance is understandable:
Israelis have every reason to believe that they call the shots on American foreign policy
January 12, 2009
Olmert Brags About Embarrassing Rice in UN Gaza Vote
Israeli Prime Minister Demanded Bush Halt Lecture to Stop Gaza Truce Vote
Taking a short break from lashing out at the international media for reporting the growing civilian death toll in the Gaza Strip, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke in detail about the events leading up to the US abstention from the United Nations Security Council’s vote on the Gaza Strip ceasefire.
“Early Friday morning the secretary of state was considering bringing the cease-fire resolution to a UNSC vote and we didn’t want her to vote for it.” Olmert said. “I said ‘get President Bush on the phone.’ They tried and told me he was in the middle of a lecture in Philadelphia. I said ‘I’m not interested, I need to speak to him now.’ He got down from the podium, went out and took the phone call.”
A beaming Olmert then described telling President Bush “the US cannot possibly vote in favor of this resolution,” and
spoke with pride of how embarrassed US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was at having to abstain from voting for a resolution she helped to organize and gather support for
The US abstention shocked diplomats, and made it easier for Israel to dismiss the ceasefire out of hand
. At the time of the vote Rice declared that the United States supported the draft but could not vote for it because of their
“special relationship” with Israel
. Just days later Rice too was lashing out at the resolution as “unacceptable.”
British, French Diplomats "Stunned" as US Declined to Vote on Draft
...the fact that America was heavily involved in the drafting and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was openly supporting it seemed to auger well for the latest attempt to stem the rising death toll.
America’s decision to abstain stunned diplomats who thought American support was assured, and removed all pressure from the Israeli government to take the deal seriously.
January 12, 2009
Israel Bans Arab Parties From Election
By a margin of 26-3, the Israeli Central Elections Committee decided to ban the Balad Party from running in next month’s election. By a margin of 21-8, they also banned the United Arab List-Ta’al (UAL-T).
The two bans will prevent more than half of the current Arab members of Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, from running for reelection
The Arab parties earned the ire of the most hawkish elements in the Israeli government by publicly opposing the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip. Balad likewise made enemies by explicitly calling for equal rights for all citizens of Israel, regardless of national or ethnic identity, which the ruling Kadima Party said would “undermine Israel’s identity as a Jewish state.”
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rules out talks with Hamas
"That is the United States government's position.
That is the president-elect's position
," she said after a senator suggested it is "naive and illogical" to pursue diplomacy with governments opposed to Israel.
- January 13
Eyewitness reports from Gaza
. Israelis dropping U.S. manufactured bunker buster bombs, using chemical weapons... Rafah reduced to rubble.
Severe damage in Rafah
Israeli forces have made fresh attempts to encircle Gaza city but are encountering stiff resistance from Hamas fighters.
As the Gaza conflict entered its eighteenth day on Tuesday, Israeli troops moved into new positions on the southern fringes of the thickly-populated Gaza city, described as the “nerve centre” of the conflict.
Fighting was also reported in Beit Lahiya, to the north, and in Khan Younis to the east. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli planes have caused extensive damage to the Rafah area. Television pictures showed scenes of devastation with collapsed buildings and panic stricken women and children leaving the area for elusive safe-havens. The Palestinian death toll from the fighting has now risen to 940. Civilians, with the majority being women and children comprise nearly 40 per cent of the casualties.
A Day in Gaza
by Bill Quigley
Tiny jets, the size of rice, cross-stitch the blue skies over the streets of Gaza. Surveillance blimps hover like the Super Bowl. The people below, one and a half million of them, huddle close in homes without electricity or water. Witnesses cringe as noises from the jets paint the town.
Heavy bombs, made in America, are guided by video game controls thumbed by invisible hands. There are no anti-aircraft defenses to oppose them.
BOOM pulses the air and convulses the ground. A huge cloud of black smoke silently rises over a neighborhood. Witnesses fall silent in sadness and rage.
A tiny border mosque speaker starts mournful guttural prayers for the dead and wounded.
Over the prayers comes another BOOM and another and another.
Black smoke mixes with the prayers of sorrow. Minutes later, the air smells of burning.
And tomorrow there will be more
And the politicians talk
Israel Bombs "SAFEHOUSE" It Told Civilians To Go To With 55 Children Inside
Israel showed little sign of slowing its bruising 19-day-old offensive against Hamas, striking some 60 targets in the strip bordering southern Israel.
One airstrike hit the overcrowded Sheikh Radwan cemetery in Gaza City, destroying about 30 graves — some just recently dug — spreading body parts and rotting flesh over a wide area
. The army said the airstrike targeted a weapons cache hidden nearby.
"There was flesh on the roofs, there was small bits of intestines. My neighbor found a hand of a woman who died a long time ago, we put it all into a plastic bag," said resident Ahmad Abu Jarbou. "One man who buried his cousin yesterday couldn't find the body at all."
In other fighting, artillery units fired shells that spread white smoke above the city center, witnesses said. Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of using phosphorous shells — a weapon that can burn anything it touches.
The Israeli military has denied reports that it has improperly used white phosphorous shells
, saying only that it uses munitions is in accordance with international law.
Gaza Horrors Sow Seeds For Future Violence
Israelis shell Al-Quds Hospital
Sharon Lock, an Australian from the International Solidarity Movement, was working as an ambulance driver for the Palestinian Red Crescent when its Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City came under Israeli attack yesterday.
We were putting fires out with buckets of water. The shrapnel seems to burn for a long time and it starts fires if it is not put out
. We were just dealing with that when we heard shooting from the front steps of the hospital and my colleague Mohammed came to me covered with blood. 'Israelis are shooting at people who are leaving their houses,' he said. What happened was that a father and mother and two daughters had left their home, one of the daughters had gone missing and the other was shot. The bullet went through one cheek and out the other. As the father was coming up the steps he fell, shot as well. They didn't know where the other daughter was. Mohammed and I decided to go out and find her. We found her hiding in a house. I would say she was about nine. She was very frightened."
Israel Navy ships turn back boat carrying Gaza humanitarian aid
In international waters 100 miles off the coast of Gaza, at least five Israeli gunboats surrounded the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY and began recklessly cutting in front of the slow-moving civilian craft. The Israeli warships radioed the SPIRIT, demanding that the ship turn around or they would open fire and "shoot." When asked if the Israeli navy was acknowledging that they intended to commit a war crime by deliberately firing on unarmed civilians, the warships replied that they were prepared to use "any means" to stop the ship.
Israeli 'phosphorous shells' incinerate 1,000s of tons of UN food as Gaza starves
Outrage as Israel bombs UN
January 16, 2009
Israeli tanks thrust deep inside Gaza City last night as ferocious fighting raged in dense residential areas with terrified families fleeing along streets echoing with gunfire, although many others were trapped in their homes.
Israeli shelling set fire to the UN headquarters, a hospital, a school and a building used by the media, leading to widespread international protests and renewed calls for a ceasefire in the conflict which has so far cost 1,073 Palestinian lives.
Three members of UN staff were injured when three Israeli shells hit the headquarters, setting it on fire. Thousands of tons of desperately needed food and humanitarian supplies were destroyed and about 700 refugees given shelter in the building had to be evacuated. UN officials said the shells were
, believed to have been responsible for burns suffered by some Palestinian civilians.
The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, on a peace mission to the region, said: "I conveyed my strong protest and outrage to the Defence Minister and Foreign Minister and demanded a full explanation."
The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, apologised for the shelling but claimed Hamas fighters had opened fire from the centre. "It is absolutely true that we were attacked from that place, but the consequences are very sad and we apologise for it," he said. "I don't think it should have happened and I'm very sorry."
John Ging, the director of operations for the UN relief agency, UNRWA, in Gaza described the Israeli claim about a Hamas presence as "nonsense". He added: "It's a total disaster for us." Mr Ging said the UN had warned the Israelis the compound was in danger from shelling that had begun overnight, and provided them with GPS co-ordinates to prevent an attack.
The Al-Quds hospital was also hit by shellfire when Israeli tanks moved further into the city. A tower housing the Reuters agency and other media outlets was also hit.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the damage caused to the Al Quds hospital is "completely and utterly unacceptable based on every known standard of international humanitarian law".
The hospital is in the Tal Hawa district, a packed residential area. Streams of people fled from the fighting, carrying what belongings they could on foot, by car, and, in some cases wheelbarrows after homes were demolished and set ablaze. Mahmud Tejan Hussein drove away with seven members of his family. "Bullets started hitting our house and I decided that we must get away from here. There are Israeli tanks in the area now and we might get blocked off if we wait. But I do not know where we are going to go. We wanted to go to the UN office, but that has been attacked. Wherever we go, the fighting will follow us."
Musah Mohammed, 36, who stayed at his home in an apartment block, said: "We cannot go out. There is shooting in the street. My mother is ill and she is old; we cannot leave her here. People are shouting to each other from balconies crying that they need help. We have no electricity and very little food and water. We are very afraid; we do not know what will happen next." It was unclear whether the escalation was a final push before a ceasefire, as peace talks continued yesterday in Cairo where Israel's chief negotiator Amos Gilad arrived to hear the Hamas response to an Egyptian initiative.
Israeli TV airs Gaza doctor's pleas after children killed
Israeli television broadcast desperate cries for help from a Palestinian doctor on Friday after his children were killed in an Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip and troops later helped surviving members of the family.
The telephone calls created extraordinary scenes during evening news broadcasts as the doctor, a Hebrew-speaking physician who spoke regularly on Israeli television, said three of his children were killed in a tank strike and others were wounded.
Izz el-Deen Aboul Aish is a gynaecologist who worked in one of Israel's main hospitals before Gazans were effectively sealed off behind an Israeli-led blockade on the Hamas-controlled enclave. He often gave interviews to Channel 10 television.
With Israeli journalists unable to report from the Gaza Strip independently, Aboul Aish acted as a Hebrew-speaking witness who told of the Palestinian civilians' suffering under fire during Israel's three-week-old offensive there.
Channel 10 correspondent Shlomi Eldar, who said he had planned a live on-air interview with Aboul Aish on Friday evening, produced a mobile phone in the studio, letting viewers here the voice of Aboul Aish: "My God, my girls, Shlomi," he said. "Can't anybody get to us, please?"
Eldar told his audience: "They have killed his family."
Aboul Aish's brother was also wounded and Eldar said two of his brother's children had also been killed in the incident.
The Israeli army said troops fired on Aboul Aish's house because a sniper had fired on soldiers from the building.
Aboul Aish responded: "All that was ever fired out of our house was love, hugs and acts of peace, nothing else, ever."
"My girls were sitting at home planning their futures, talking, then suddenly they are being shelled," he said in a voice shaking with emotion. "I want to know why they were killed, who gave the order?"
Gaza doctor's tragedy caught on Israeli TV - 17 Jan 09
Israel expects army officers to be prosecuted for war crimes
The Israeli government is preparing defenses for a “wave of international lawsuits” expected over its offensive in Gaza.
Israel is accused of bombing schools, including some run by the United Nations, mosques, government buildings, and homes. Hundreds of civilians, including women and children have been killed by bombs, artillery shelling and tank fire. Israel has also staged a blockade of the Strip for eighteen months which has restricted the provision of food, medical supplies, water, oil, and other commodities.
What will hamper legal actions brought on by international groups is that virtually the only footage and documentation of the violence in Gaza will be that produced by the Israeli army. Israel has banned the entry of journalists, TV camera crews, and photographers from Gaza, a decision that preceded the commencement of the offensive. The Israel High Court has ruled the ban illegal and ordered the government and army to allow news media to enter the Strip. The court order has not been complied with.
Israel Gears Up PR Following Targeting of Civilian Institutions
Israel's slick public relations machine, known abroad as the Hasbara, has taken a savage bashing internationally as Israeli attacks on civilian targets such as U.N. installations, schools, ambulances, hospitals and medics continue unabated.
A Report From Gaza - Terribly Bloodied, Still Breathing
The morgues of Gaza's hospitals are over-flowing. The bodies in their blood-soaked white shrouds cover the entire floor space of the Shifa hospital morgue. Some are intact, most horribly deformed, limbs twisted into unnatural positions, chest cavities exposed, heads blown off, skulls crushed in. Family members wait outside to identify and claim a brother, husband, father, mother, wife, child. Many of those who wait their turn have lost numerous family members and loved ones.
Blood is everywhere. Hospital orderlies hose down the floors of operating rooms, bloodied bandages lie discarded in corners, and the injured continue to pour in: bodies lacerated by shrapnel, burns, bullet wounds. Medical workers, exhausted and under siege, work day and night and each life saved is seen as a victory over the predominance of death.
The streets of Gaza are eerily silent- the pulsing life and rhythm of markets, children, fishermen walking down to the sea at dawn brutally stilled and replaced by an atmosphere of uncertainty, isolation and fear. The ever-present sounds of surveillance drones, F16s, tanks and Apaches are listened to acutely as residents try to guess where the next deadly strike will be- which house, school, clinic, mosque, governmental building or community centre will be hit next and how to move before it does. That there are no safe places- no refuge for vulnerable human bodies- is felt acutely. It is a devastating awareness for parents- that there is no way to keep their children safe.
And yet, in the face of so much desecration, this community has remained intact. The social solidarity and support between people is inspiring, and the steadfastness of Gaza continues to humble and inspire all those who witness it. Their level of sacrifice demands our collective response- and recognition that demonstrations are not enough. Gaza, Palestine and its people continue to live, breathe, resist and remain intact and this refusal to be broken is a call and challenge to us all.
Israel declares unilateral cease-fire in Gaza
JERUSALEM (CNN) --
Israel has declared a unilateral cease-fire in the fighting in Gaza beginning at 2 a.m. Sunday
(7 p.m. ET Saturday), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said.
"We can say that the conditions have been brought about that enable us to say that the aims that we laid down for the operation have been completely achieved, if not more than that, " Olmert said. "Hamas has been dealt a very serious blow."
But Olmert said Israel is prepared to respond if Hamas militants continue fighting in the Palestinian territory. "I do not suggest that Hamas or other terrorist organizations try us."
The expected cease-fire announcement comes amid mounting international pressure to end the fighting.
In a televised speech Saturday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called on Israel to end military operations and withdraw from Gaza. He dismissed the idea of an international force based in Egypt, saying he would "never accept" a foreign presence on Egyptian soil.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also reiterated his call for a cease-fire during a speech before the Lebanese parliament Saturday.
"The level of violence in Gaza is unprecedented," the U.N. chief said. "The Israeli aerial and land offensives against Hamas targets are inflicting heavy civilian casualties, widespread destruction and tremendous suffering for the entire region."
The three-week conflict has killed 1,203 people in Gaza and injured more than 5,000 more, many of them Palestinian civilians, according to medical sources in Gaza City. They said 410 children have died.
Fighting continued as the IDF attacked 50 targets between Friday night and Saturday morning, including eight missile-launching sites and 70 tunnels along the Egyptian border. The IDF says the tunnels were being used by Hamas to smuggle weapons into Gaza.
Two children were killed in an Israeli artillery attack at a U.N. school north of Gaza City early Saturday.
"This yet again illustrates that there is no place safe in the Gaza Strip," said Chris Gunness, a U.N. spokesman, speaking of the attack. "This fighting has to stop, because innocent people, women and children, who are taking refuge in neutral U.N. buildings are discovering that there is nowhere safe."
Four IDF soldiers were seriously wounded early Saturday by mortar fire in Gaza, according to an IDF statement.
Hamas has said a cease-fire alone is not enough.
"We are working in every direction so we can achieve our objectives in stopping the aggression, lifting the blockade, opening the crossings, and the compensation of our people and the rebuilding of the Gaza strip," said Hamas delegation spokesman Salah Bardwill.
Israeli Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad remained in Cairo on Friday, discussing the cease-fire plan. A Hamas delegation was also in the Egyptian capital, talking with leaders trying to hammer out a temporary truce.
In other diplomatic efforts, the state of Qatar held an emergency summit Friday in an attempt to find a unified Arab voice on Gaza. The meeting brought together several Arab and Muslim leaders, including the presidents of Iran and Syria and the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal.
Friday evening, the U.N. General Assembly voted 142-4 to call on Israel to abide by a January 8 resolution by the U.N. Security Council.
The resolution, which called for an immediate cease-fire by both sides in the conflict, had been universally ignored.
Israel and the United States were among the countries voting against Friday's effort
The Truth About the 2009 Gaza Massacre
Gazans return to rubble
As cease-fire holds, Gazans take stock of losses
Jan 19th, 2009 | GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Gaza's only cement packing factory is now a giant scrap heap, its towering silo tilting precariously. The owner's villa was pounded by Israeli tank shells until it resembled Swiss cheese.
With a cease-fire taking hold Monday, Gazans got their first close look at the widespread destruction across their crowded territory.
The first estimates by independent surveyors said Gaza lost nearly $2 billion in assets during Israel's three-week war on Hamas, including 4,100 homes, about 1,500 factories and workshops, 20 mosques, 31 security compounds, and 10 water or sewage lines.
Many Gazans seemed overwhelmed, saying they didn't even know where to start with the cleanup.
Homeowners digging through rubble carried off vases, refrigerators, dishes and baby beds, some loading their goods into cars and trucks. Children carried plastic bags of scrap metal to be sold or recycled.
Meanwhile, utility crews began planning repairs to electrical and sewage and water systems. A senior technician, Mofid Awad, said 80 percent of the electricity grid in Gaza City was damaged.
With little fuel coming in, water and sewage pumps broke down, and Gaza's main power station operated only intermittently, leading to widespread blackouts and shortages of running water.
During the war, six water wells were damaged or destroyed, disrupting the flow of water to an additional 200,000 of Gaza's 1.4 million people, said Monther Shobak, a top official in Gaza's water authority. In the northern town of Beit Hanoun, close to the Israeli border, sewage seeped into the damaged water line.
Shobak and Awad said they could restore water and electricity networks in a matter of weeks, provided Israel allows spare parts to be brought in.
However, that's a big if. Even during the shaky six-month cease-fire that preceded the war, Israel eased the restrictions only slightly, reluctant to strengthen Hamas rule with a free flow of goods.
Even so, Hamas is hoping that a more permanent cease-fire deal under discussion will result in the opening of Gaza's crossing into Egypt.
Overall, the damage so far amounts to about $1.9 billion, according to separate surveys conducted by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics and by a Palestinian economic development council that serves as a liaison between the Abbas government and donor countries. Both are based in the West Bank.
Mohammed Shtayyeh, head of the development council, said damage to infrastructure alone amounted to about $200 million. Even under ideal conditions, with Israel and Egypt lifting the blockade and Hamas and Abbas settling their difference, rebuilding could take three to five years, he said.
"Despite the size of the destruction and despite the war, we are still functioning," said Ehab Ghussein, spokesman of Hamas' Interior Ministry.
In Kuwait, Arab countries held an economic summit and discussed aid to Gaza. The Saudi king said his country's $1 billion donation would go to a proposed fund Arabs are setting up to rebuild the seaside territory.
Kuwait's emir also announced that the oil-rich U.S. ally was making a donation of $34 million to the United Nation's agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees.
However, Arab pledges of financial support to the Palestinians have not always materialized.
Gazans do not blame Hamas
The Electronic Intifada
, 19 January 2009
Elena Qleibo, a Gaza-based aid worker from Oxfam and an ex-Costa Rican ambassador to Israel, said parts of Gaza resembled an apocalypse.
People are extremely angry and the level of hate against Israel is very high. I have lived and worked in Gaza for many years and I have never seen such hatred from the population
," said Qleibo.
Gazans are not blaming Hamas, contrary to Israel's wishes. "People laugh at Israel's claims that this was a war against the Islamic resistance organization and not one aimed at civilians."
They see this as a war against all Palestinians. The number of civilians killed and maimed and the destruction wrought was way too extreme
," said Qleibo.
A pointless war has led to a moral defeat for Israel
...the operation represents a defeat for Israel, as was always likely to be the outcome. The notion that the country's security problems can be resolved by the unilateral use of extreme force is a persistent delusion among Israeli politicians.
Israeli rabbis to Olmert: It doesn’t matter even if you kill a million Palestinians
Israel Brushes Off Complaints of Enormous Gaza Civilian Toll
With the lion’s share of the 1,300 Palestinians killed in the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip innocent civilians, there remains considerable international disquiet over the nation’s conduct during the war, particularly in light of its use of white phosphorus weapons in densely populated civilian neighborhoods. But both the government and the military remain undaunted, defended every last killing as necessary.
The Israeli barcode starts with 729
Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction
By Naomi Klein - January 8th, 2009
War on Gaza: Surat al-Rahman
January 21, 2009
US President Barack Obama's first full day in office certainly made a big impression on some people.
His first action - the suspension of the Guantanamo system for alleged Islamic terrorists - caught the attention of Muslims around the world. And his first overseas telephone call, to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, stunned Palestinians and many Israelis as well.
"We were not expecting such a quick call from President Obama, but we knew how serious he is about the Palestinian problem," said a very excited Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior adviser to Mr. Abbas.
Faced with a struggle to regain control of the Gaza Strip, and growing popular support for the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, in the West Bank, the beleaguered PA president could take particular comfort from the call.
The speed of the call is a message signalling to all concerned parties that the Palestinian people has one address and that's president Abbas
," Mr. Abed Rabbo said.
January 23rd, 2009
Obama urges Israel to open Gaza borders
President Barack Obama urged Israel on Thursday to open its borders with Gaza.
The plea came in a speech that signalled the new US administration’s shift from Bush-era policy on the Middle East and the world as a whole. In a high-profile address on his second day in office, just hours after he signed an executive order to close the centre at Guantánamo Bay, Mr Obama proclaimed that the US would “actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians” in the wake of this month’s Gaza war.
“The outline for a durable ceasefire is clear: Hamas must end its rocket fire: Israel will complete the withdrawal of its forces from Gaza:
the US and our partners will support a credible anti-smuggling and interdiction regime, so that Hamas cannot re-arm,” the US president said
“As part of a lasting ceasefire, Gaza’s border crossings should be open to allow the flow of aid and commerce, with an appropriate monitoring regime, with the international and Palestinian Authority participating.”
He called on Arab governments to "act on" the promise of a Saudi-led 2002 Arab peace initiative by supporting the Palestinian Authority headed by President Mahmoud Abbas.
Mahmoud Abbas’ War Against The Palestinian People
while he treats Olmert to delicacies in Jericho, Abbas is doing his best to ensure that Palestinians in Gaza continue to suffer and starve
due to the closure of the commercial and civilian crossings and tightened siege imposed by Israel since Hamas fighters routed US- and Israeli-backed Fatah militias in early June.
A source who works directly with Abbas’ ministers in the unelected and illegal "emergency government" of Salam Fayyad in Ramallah wrote to me that "Abbas has explicitly ordered the Rafah border to close and remain closed with the purpose of strangling Hamas." The source, who was motivated to speak out by his outrage, but requested anonymity because he fears reprisals, added that
Abbas "is ready to see his own people die for his political games
Mahmoud Abbas: Zionist Puppet, Palestinian Traitor
"Many people around the world, especially Arabs, have been looking to the Obama administration, hoping that his call for change will extend to fairness for Palestinians. They might as well hope for rain in the middle of the Arabian Desert in July."
Ritual Murder in Gaza
by Paul J. Balles
January 23, 2009
The United Nations says some 50,800 Palestinians are now homeless and 400,000 are without running water. Israel, in a disgustingly conciliatory mood, says it will allow 143 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid into Gaza, plus 60,000 litres of fuel.
Disgustingly conciliatory because they kept aid from getting to the needy long before the latest conflict and all during it.
Instead of starving Gaza into submission, Israel decided to slaughter as many as their US-supplied sophisticated armaments could manage
The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports 1,314 Palestinians were killed during the conflict, including more than 400 children. More than 5,000 people were injured, nearly 2,000 of them children.
"Isn't it Time for a War Crimes Tribunal?" headlines Robert Fisk, adding: It's a wrap, a doddle, an Israeli ceasefire just in time for Barack Obama to have a squeaky-clean inauguration with all the world looking at the streets of Washington rather than the rubble of Gaza."
Fisk also points out
"history was quite forgotten. The Hamas rockets were the result of the food and fuel siege; Israel broke Hamas's own truce on 4 and 17 November 2008. Forgotten is the fact Hamas won the 2006 elections, although Israel has killed a clutch of the victors."
Since September 2005, Gaza has been nothing but a refugee camp. Israel simply transferred the Israeli settlers who had been in Gaza to the West Bank
. This expanded the Israeli occupation and left the Palestinians isolated in Bantustans.
It's obvious simply from their behaviour that the Israelis want to have Egypt annex and take over the responsibility for controlling Gaza. At the same time, they want to force an exodus of West Bank Palestinians to Jordan.
Noam Chomsky has noted: "… Gaza should be turned into a cage, a prison basically, with Israel attacking it at will, and meanwhile in the West Bank we'll take what we want. There was nothing secret about it."
Chomsky supported his conclusion by referring to a speech by Ehud Olmert in May 2006: "He simply announced to a joint session of Congress and to rousing applause, that the historic right of Jews to the entire land of Israel is beyond question."
How will the Israelis accomplish the ethnic cleansing of Palestine? Chomsky, again, is quite clear: "... they have sufficient military control over the West Bank to terrorize the population into passivity."
Meanwhile, the West and the corrupt minions among Palestinians, like Mahmoud Abbas, talk of ridiculous ideals of a two-state solution. Salah Bardaweel, spokesman for Hamas, reports that “
Abbas, the acting Palestinian Authority chief, played a key role in the war and in assassinating Hamas's senior political leaders, through his spies in the coastal strip
Despite its propaganda, Israel has never made a serious effort to negotiate toward a Palestinian state. When Israel speaks about Hamas using its ceasefires to rearm itself with its ineffective rockets through tunnels to Egypt, it is projecting. It is Israel which has been stalling serious negotiations in order to further terrorize the Palestinians.
"The only thing Israel has proved it can do militarily better than anyone else," writes Yvonne Ridley, "is kill innocent women and children. And in its genocidal drive to wipe the Palestinian people from existence it has dealt itself a fatal blow."
Chris Hedges reminds the US that the Palestinian reaction to Israeli occupation should be familiar to Israelis:
"Tzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister, says that the Israeli government will have no dealings with Hamas terrorists. But Tzipi Livni’s father was Eitan Livni, the chief operations officer of the terrorist Irgun Zvai Leumi, which fought against the British occupation of Palestine. The underground Jewish group set off a massive bomb in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, a blast in which 91 victims were killed, including four Jews. These Jewish terrorists hanged two British sergeants and booby-trapped their corpses. Irgun, together with the terrorist Stern gang, massacred 254 Palestinians in 1948 in the village of Deir Yassin."
It’s not enough that Israel has become the best-armed and largest gang of terrorist thugs in the world. Anyone aware of what happened in the UN with a ceasefire proposal to be voted on must have realized that
Israel controls America
when Olmert had Bush call off a vote by the US, which drafted the proposal.
Why? “I [Olmert] spoke with him [Bush]; I told him: You can't vote for this proposal. He said: listen, I don't know, I didn't see, don't know what it says. I told him: I know, and you can't vote for it! He then instructed the secretary of state, and she did not vote for it."
Writing in Counterpunch, Brian Cloughley says: "The worst of all the barbarians who are killing children and their mothers and fathers in Gaza are the Israeli pilots who mercilessly bomb houses occupied by terrified families. And they are staunchly supported by the House of Representatives of the United States of America." The US Senate has also supported the savagery. Cloughley adds:
"These pilots, these vile little war-gamers of the skies, these latter-day examples of what Tom Wolfe called “The Right Stuff”, can zoom over towns full of traumatized children and happily heave and hurl their bombs and rockets to kill yet more Palestinian kids without the remotest chance of being shot down. How heroic; how truly gladiatorial. How contemptible."
Amnesty International has accused Israel of war crimes, saying its use of white phosphorus in Gaza was indiscriminate and illegal. When a young burn victim in Vietnam was photographed running down a road in flame, Americans protested vigorously. When Israel burns Gaza’s children with phosphorous, the media ignores it.
Obama's unbridled support for Israel doesn't bode well.
He's been doing everything he can to play both sides of the political spectrum, and the political spectrum in the US is all one-sided when it comes to Israel. The secretary of state is as mesmerized by Israel as is the US Congress and the administration.
“During the July 2006 Lebanon war, Barack Obama stood up strongly for Israel's right to defend itself from Hezbollah raids and rocket attacks,” reports the new White House website. Barack Obama and Joe Biden have consistently supported foreign assistance to Israel,” concludes the entry.
They defend and support the annual foreign aid package that involves both military and economic assistance to Israel and have advocated increased foreign aid budgets to ensure that these funding priorities are met. They have called for continuing US cooperation with Israel in the development of missile defence systems.
It will be interesting to see how long it will take Americans suffering as a result of the financial crisis to object to the continuing Israeli bailout
. Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel will surely come under scrutiny as unnecessary financial diversions from needed benefits to Americans.
Many people around the world, especially Arabs, have been looking to the Obama administration, hoping that his call for change will extend to fairness for Palestinians. They might as well hope for rain in the middle of the Arabian Desert in July.
Alternatively, visit the White House website and respond to the new administration’s invitation to comment, claiming that “President Obama is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history”. The address is
. Let them know that you know that Israel is not the innocent victim that the propaganda makes it out to be.
Military Rabbi Urged Troops to Show No Mercy in Gaza
JERUSALEM, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Israel's chief military chaplain distributed a booklet to soldiers fighting in the Gaza conflict containing a rabbinical edict against showing mercy to enemies, an Israeli human rights group said on Monday.
The group, Yesh Din, which says it is dedicated to defending human rights in territory occupied by Israel, called on Defence Minister Ehud Barak to dismiss the chief chaplain, Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, who holds the rank of brigadier general.
A booklet handed out by Rontzki during the offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip quotes an ultra-nationalist Israeli rabbi saying that showing mercy towards a "cruel enemy" was "terribly immoral" and advising soldiers they were fighting "murderers".
Yesh Din said
the rabbi's message could have been interpreted by soldiers as a call to act outside the confines of the international laws of warfare
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Today on Flashpoints: Middle East Childrens' Alliance director Barbara Lubin bears witness to the devastation in the Gaza Strip; Nora Barrows-Friedman reports from occupied Palestine and Israel; we'll also speak to the president of the National Lawyers Guild about the closing down of the Gitmo torture center, and the opening up of the Freedom of Information Act process; and the Knight Report.
01:00 Knight Report
Israeli officials face possible war crimes prosecutions for the Gaza invasion, while ruling politicians press for Arab loyalty oaths following their reversal of an apartheid-style ban on Arab parties in next month's elections.
Israeli soldiers tell Palestinian mother to choose which of her children she wants to save, before murdering half of them as "gifts to Israel
04:00 Scenes of Horror and Destruction in Gaza: Barbara Lubin of the Middle East Childrens' Alliance reports from Rafah on the vicious devastation in the southern Gaza Strip following Israel's US-supported three-week bombing campaign that has destroyed over 5,000 homes and damaged over 25,000.
Doctors: Many Palestinians in Gaza hospitals in danger of dying from their wounds
"Each hospital is full of wounded. There are wounded in serious condition and the treatment they are given is very basic because of the lack of medical supplies."
BBC refuses to air Gaza relief plea
The BBC’s pact with Israel
Friday, 23 January 2009
If the BBC had not already been tarnished enough by its coverage of Israel’s attack on Gaza – often looking like, in the words of Tony Benn, “
a propaganda wing of the Zionist lobby
” – its decision yesterday to block an appeal for emergency aid to Gaza would be reason enough for making the BBC a focus of our demonstration on Saturday 24 January.
While the media is now saturated with reports showing the scale of Israel’s barbarism over the past three weeks and the humanitarian disaster it has created, while the United Nations, the Red Cross and all the other aid organisations involved are saying that immediate emergency aid must be rushed to Gaza, the BBC has blocked a joint appeal by a wide range of organisations from being broadcast after all the main news programmes on every TV channel.
These emergency appeals to populations in desperate need of aid have been organised frequently in the past 48 years and not once in that time has one been blocked, whatever the cause.
Tony Benn to BBC "If you wont broadcast the Gaza appeal then I will myself"
David Soul: Why I've cancelled my BBC TV licence
Innocent people urgently need supplies of food, water, medicines, shelter ... yes, and limbs too ... as a result of the annihilation of GAZA. Meanwhile, the BBC puts its corporate tail between its legs and hides behind the thinly-veiled excuse of "impartiality."
Protest - London Unites for Palestine and Against the BBC
Disaster Emergency Commitee (DEC)
PO BOX 999
Israeli soldier killed, Gaza truce breached
Tue Jan 27, 2009
GAZA (Reuters) -
An Israeli soldier was killed by a bomb on the border with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and troops then killed a Palestinian, in violence that strained a ceasefire and left people in Gaza fearing further Israeli attacks.
Israeli fire shortly afterwards in the same area killed a Palestinian who medics said was a 27-year-old farmer.
Ten days after Israel halted a devastating, three-week air and ground offensive that killed 1,300 people in the enclave, neither the ruling Hamas Islamist movement nor its smaller allies claimed responsibility for the attack on the patrol.
on the day that U.S. President Barack Obama's new envoy arrived in the Middle East bearing a message that the "moment is ripe" for peace talks, Israeli leaders facing an election in two weeks promised voters they would hit back hard.
They won backing from
, Obama's new secretary of state, who said Israel had a right to defend itself against rockets that Hamas has fired from Gaza over recent years.
"I don't care who fired," said Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who is leading the ruling party in the campaign for the February 10 ballot. "Hamas controls Gaza and is responsible for everything that happens. Whenever they fire at me from Gaza, set off a bomb or launch a missile or smuggle (weapons), Israel will respond."
Some hours later, a senior militant from the Hamas-allied Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) was wounded, along with a bystander, in an Israeli air strike, militants and medics said. The missile targeted the man as he was riding a motorcycle.
Israel said that in response to the attack it shut down the crossing points through which flow the humanitarian aid and other supplies on which the 1.5 million people of Gaza depend. Aid agencies have been urging Israel to ease restrictions on trade to help rebuild thousands of homes destroyed in bombing.
Apparently, continuing Israeli attacks don't count as "breaches of the peace" in the zionist controlled western media...
Friday, January 23, 2009
Shelling of Gaza coast injures four Palestinians
Fishing is one of the main sources of food and income for many people but, despite the ceasefire, Israeli gunboats are still enforcing a sea blockade and firing shells at the shoreline.
Song for Gaza:
January 27, 2009
Border Closes, Israel Promises More Gaza Strikes
Rival Faction Carried Out Attack, But Israel Still Blames Hamas
Credit for the roadside bombing which killed an Israeli soldier along the Gaza border earlier today has been claimed by the Jihad and Tawhid Brigades, an al-Qaeda linked group which has repeatedly clashed with Hamas. Still,
the Israeli military says that even though Hamas didn’t carry out the attack, it is still responsible
for it because they guess they may have given consent to the group.
In its early retaliation, the Israeli government killed a nearby farmer and launched an air-strike which killed a Hamas member and wounded another civilian. They also closed off the border crossings, preventing humanitarian aid from reaching the strip’s 1.5 million reisdents, “until further notice.”
Indications are this is not the end of Israel’s attacks
, which are threatening to derail the ceasefire.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said today that the killings so far were “not the response” and that more attacks were yet to come. The Israeli military has also reported been “given the green light” to respond harshly in the Gaza Strip. Defense official Amos Gilad said the response would not be limited to closing off the border.
WHO PROFITS? - EXPOSING THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION INDUSTRY
The Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights is fueled by corporate interests.
January Press Release: A New Online Directory from The Coalition of Women for Peace
The Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel launches a groundbreaking new database of companies directly involved in the Israeli occupation. This online database reflects an on-going grassroots investigation effort by The Coalition of Women for Peace, a leading Israeli feminist peace organization dedicated to ending the occupation and reaching a just peace in Israel/ Palestine (see: www.coalitionofwomen.org). Rigorous research, including site visits and cross references of documents, have resulted in a database of several hundred international and Israeli companies directly involved in the Israeli occupation. During 2009 we intend to upload hundreds more of companies which are under investigation.
In this database, we provide information and draw attention to the various sorts of corporate interests that help maintain the Israeli occupation, through specific examples. We wish to stimulate a candid public debate about the costs and benefits of the occupation to different parts of Israeli society and how these interests influence political decision-making in Israel and globally.
Control of Population
Three and a half million Palestinians in the occupied territories live under a severe military regime since 1967, devoid of basic civil liberties and subject to arbitrary repressive violence by the Israeli security forces.
In the West Bank, over two million Palestinians are divided into dozens of fragmented enclaves; eleven of them are the major, crowded population centers that make up Area A. The enclaves are separated and surrounded by a system of roadblocks, fences, walls and barriers, terminals, checkpoints, as well as Israeli settlements and roads designated for the exclusive use of Israelis. Palestinian movement between roadblocks and separate enclaves is controlled by an elaborate system of permits. Permits are allocated by the Israeli authorities according to secret security and economic considerations. Hundreds of thousands are blacklisted and cannot pass any checkpoints – including for travel inside their own enclave – to the next town or to the surrounding area.
Vast areas of the West Bank are either closed off to Palestinian movement altogether or require extremely rare permits: the Israeli-only roads, the Israeli settlements' jurisdiction areas, the “seam-line expanse” between the Apartheid Wall and the Green Line, the Jordan Valley, areas annexed to Jerusalem and Jerusalem itself. The arbitrary movement restrictions separate families, severely limit the Palestinians' access to health care, education and employment, and hinder the economic and geographic viability of Palestinian independence.
In the Gaza Strip, a million and a half people live in extremely crowded conditions, completely surrounded by fences and walls, constantly controlled by Israeli military forces from air, land and sea. Movement of people, goods and services in or out of Gaza is almost completely blocked; on-going military attacks cause mounting destruction and casualties; the trade, utilities and financial embargo of the Hamas regime has added to the economic collapse and the resulting humanitarian crisis.
In the Palestinian occupied territories, Israeli military presence is not restricted to any one area, and Palestinian towns and homes are raided by the Israeli military forces looking to intimidate, arrest or assassinate Palestinian activists and militants. Military regulations do not permit freedom of speech, organizing or protest by Palestinian civilian residents, and Israeli military courts sentence Palestinian civilians to long prison terms. All resistance is met with military violence, including the routine and officially-sanctioned use of live fire on non-violent demonstrators. Collective punishments in the form of house demolitions, curfews, closures and mass arrests are common. Presently, about 10,000 Palestinian residents of the occupied territories are held in Israeli military and civilian prisons as political prisoners. Hundreds are held under “administrative detention”, i.e., without having been charged, tried or sentenced.
Fruit growers in Israel have reported delays and reductions in orders from abroad since the military operation in Gaza was launched, due to various boycotts against Israeli produce.
January 28, 2009
Israel Continues Gaza Attacks: Insists It Isn’t Violating Ceasefire
The Israeli military attacked what it described as a “weapons manufacturing facility” in Rafah today, and continued to strike tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border, in what it said was retaliation for an apparent Qassam launch by militants in the Gaza Strip.
Visiting US envoy George Mitchell has urged both sides to continue the ceasefire, though Israel insisted that its assorted attacks did not constitute a violation of the ceasefire, and the military insisted Hamas was entirely to blame for every Israeli attack.
Mitchell also urged Israel to reopen the border crossings into Gaza, but was reportedly rebuffed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
January 28, 2009
Israel bombs Gaza tunnels
US President Barack Obama's new Mideast envoy George Mitchell arrived in Israel on Wednesday amid fresh fighting between Israel and Hamas throwing into turmoil the fragile 10-day-old ceasefire.
Israeli warplanes bombed tunnels linking Gaza and Egypt, which Israel says are used to smuggle weapons. The attack came in response to the killing of an Israeli soldier in which three others were also wounded. A Palestinian man was killed by Israeli fire shortly afterwards and a Hamas fighter and two other Palestinians wounded in an air strike, also in southern Gaza.
The renewal of fighting was described as the most serious violence since Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire on January 18.
The Israeli escalation, aims to tell Mitchell that he is not welcome and he has to come according to Israeli standards and not according to a new American vision which tries to be balanced
," Hamas representative in Lebanon Osama Hamadan said.
Speaking to Gulf News, Hamadan said the Israeli soldier was killed on Monday during an Israeli infiltration operation inside Gaza.
"The Israelis don't want any side, even if they are the Americans, to tell them they are wrong," Hamadan said.
Zouheir Alnajjar, a Collective Journalism contributor who lives in Gaza, takes us through the secret tunnels that connect Gaza and Egypt - a common route for smuggling under the border.
Ceasefire broken from day one
The Electronic Intifada
, 27 January 2009
GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - At 7:30am 22 January,
five days after Israeli authorities declared a "ceasefire" following their 22-day air, land and sea bombardment of the Gaza Strip, Israeli gunboats renewed shelling off the Gaza city coast, injuring at least six, including four children
Muawiyah Hassanain, director of Ambulance and Emergency Services, reported more shelling in the northwestern coastal area al-Sudaniya the same morning. Five fishermen were injured in the attacks, he said.
About 9:45am that morning in Shejaiya district to the east of Gaza City, seven-year-old Ahmed Hassanian was outside his house with friends when Israeli soldiers fired from the eastern border. A bullet lodged in his brain, causing brain hemorrhage. Dr. Fawzi Nablusi, director of the ICU at al-Shifa hospital, says the boy is not expected to survive.
Three Palestinians have been killed since the ceasefire and 15 injured, including the ten injured 22 January, according to both Hassanain and Dr. Khalaf.
Hours after the ceasefire was said to have come into effect 18 January, Israeli warplanes flew extremely low over areas of Gaza. Drones capable both of photographing and of dropping targeted missiles continued to circle overhead. At 8:30am on 18 January, one of these drones dropped two missiles in the Amal area east of Beit Hanoun, killing 11-year-old Angham Rafat al-Masri and injuring her mother.
Israel's assault on Gaza killed at least 1,330 people, with as many as 200 more bodies expected to be recovered from under the rubble of more than 4,000 destroyed houses and 20,000 buildings.
Ninety percent of the cases in al-Shifa's ICU are civilian, and of these half are women and children, says Dr. Fawzi.
Ceasefire violations are not new. During the six-month ceasefire that began 19 June, Israeli forces killed 22 Palestinians, many of them members of resistance groups. Thirty-eight fishermen and farmers were abducted.
Israeli soldiers routinely fired upon fishermen and farmers along Gaza's eastern and northern borders, injuring 62, according to Palestinian sources.
Israeli gunboat sprays Gazan fishing boat with bullets
In the morning of the 27th of January 2009, a Palestinian fishing boat left Gaza City port in one of the first attempts to work after the recent onslaught on Gaza, and the following ceasefire announced by Israel. While fishing in Palestinian territorial waters, about 1 mile off the northern Gaza Strip shore, it was attacked by an Israeli gunboat. The fishing boat was sprayed with bullets of different types. As it can be seen in the images taken by ISM volunteers, upon the return of the fishing boat to the Gaza port, Israeli soldiers were mostly targeting the wheelhouse. Fortunately the captain managed to survive, nobody was injured but the boat suffered serious damages.
For first time, U.S. professors call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel
In the wake of Operation Cast Lead, a group of American university professors has for the first time launched a national campaign calling for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
While Israeli academics have grown used to such news from Great Britain, where anti-Israel groups several times attempted to establish academic boycotts,
the formation of the United States movement marks the first time that a national academic boycott movement has come out of America
. Israeli professors are not sure yet how big of an impact the one-week-old movement will have, but started discussing the significance of and possible counteractions against the campaign.
"As educators of conscience, we have been unable to stand by and watch in silence Israel's indiscriminate assault on the Gaza Strip and its educational institutions," the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel stated in its inaugural press release last Thursday. Speaking in its mission statement of the "censorship and silencing of the Palestine question in U.S. universities, as well as U.S. society at large," the group follows the usual pattern of such boycotts, calling for "non-violent punitive measures" against Israel, such as the implementation of divestment initiatives, "similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era."
The campaign was founded by a group of 15 academics, mostly from California, but is, "currently expanding to create a network that embraces the United States as a whole," according to David Lloyd, a professor of English at the University of Southern California who responded on behalf of the group to a Haaretz query. "
The initiative was in the first place impelled by Israel's latest brutal assault on Gaza and by our determination to say enough is enough
The response has been remarkable given the extraordinary hold that lobbying organizations like AIPAC exert over U.S. politics and over the U.S. media, and in particular given the campaign of intimidation that has been leveled at academics who dare to criticize Israel's policies
," Lloyd wrote in an e-mail to Haaretz Monday. "Within a short weekend since the posting of the press release, more than 80 academics from all over the country have endorsed the action and the numbers continue to grow."
Settlements expanded faster in 2008
On day US Mideast envoy arrives in Israel, Peace Now movement publishes report on settlement expansion activity last year. Yesha Council pleased with 'documentation of Zionist enterprise'
Jewish settlements and outposts in the West Bank expanded more rapidly in 2008 than the previous year, Peace now reported on Wednesday. The timing of the report is no coincidence, and it was released on the day US Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell was scheduled to arrive in Israel.
Mitchell has spoken out against the illegal construction of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories in the past.
According to the report, there were 285,800 settlers living in the West Bank as of 2008, with 1,518 new structures built in the territories last year, including 261 outposts.
Sixty-one percent of the new structures were built west of the route of the separation fence and 39% were built east of it. A quarter of the new structures east of the fence were built in outposts.
At least 1,257 new structures were built in existing settlements, including 748 permanent buildings and 509 caravans compared to 800 structures in 2007 - a 60% rise. In addition the ground was prepared for the construction of 63 new structures.
The report continued to say that not a single real outpost was evacuated in 2008, and at least 261 new structures were built, including 227 caravans and 34 permanent structures, compared to 98 structures in 2007 (including 82 caravans and 16 permanent structures).
'Settlers took advantage of Gaza war'
During the war in Gaza the settlers took advantage of the fact that all public attention was on the south to expand construction in the outposts and settlements, the report said.
'Most important Zionist enterprise of our time'
Yesha Council said in response, "Once again we thank Peace Now for allocating the money they get from the European Union towards documenting the most important Zionist enterprise of our generation – settling in Judea and Samaria."
The Council added that "some of the data are not exactly accurate. The number of settlers today according to official data stands at over 300,000 Israelis.
RACHEL CORRIE "ALWAYS IN OUR HEARTS"
Rachel Corrie Interview
A US citizen who lived with Palestinians and was murdered for defending them.
Rachel Corrie - Related Footage
She tried to stop the Israeli from knocking down a Palestinian doctor's house and he killed her. The Israelis said it was an accident (but note cheering bulldozer driver pumping first in the air). Israel is our "friend and ally."
Guns and Butter - "The Invasion of Gaza" with Michel Chossudovsky - January 14, 2009
"The Invasion of Gaza" with Michel Chossudovsky discussing Israel's broader military-intelligence plan, "Operation Justified Vengeance" (Ariel Sharon 2001) of which "Operation Cast Lead" is part; the assassination of Yaser Arafat; the humanitarian crisis; strategic gas reserves offshore from Gaza; and Israel's energy transport corridor along the coast of the eastern Mediterranean.
"Jimmy Carter says Israel practices apartheid, but Israeli scholar Tanya Reinhart says it's worse than apartheid"
Gaza farmers devastated by war
The scale of the damage caused by Israel's war on Gaza continues to emerge.
January 30, 2009
Israel Plans More Gaza Strikes - Hamas Avoids Retaliation, Trying to Cement Ceasefire
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz cites top “decision-makers” as saying the attacks against Hamas and other groups in the Gaza Strip would continue in spite of the continuing efforts by the international community to negotiate a ceasefire
. One source is quoted as saying the attacks were meant to show Hamas that strikes would not go unanswered.
But as Israel continues to ratchet up what it is calling retaliatory attacks, Hamas’ own response has been extremely muted. While Israel’s attacks on Hamas have caused numerous casualties (mostly civilians), Hamas hasn’t caused even property damage in Israel.
Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who Israel threatened to assassinate earlier in the week, says Hamas’ main aim at this point is reconciliation. Israeli officials also say they believe
Hamas is holding back retaliation from the Israeli attacks because it wants to complete a cease-fire agreement. No one could accuse Israel of doing the same thing
The rockets being fired from Gaza into Israel is the work of Israeli collaborators, says Ahmed Yusuf, political adviser to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.
Turkish PM returns to hero's welcome after Gaza row
Fri Jan 30, 2009
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was given a hero's welcome on his return to Istanbul on Friday after accusing Israel of "knowing very well how to kill" during a heated debate at the World Economic Forum.
President Shimon Peres had launched a fiery defense of his country's offensive in Gaza over the past month, and with a raised voice and pointed finger, questioned what Erdogan would do if rockets were fired at Istanbul every night.
"When it comes to killing, you know very well how to kill," Erdogan, visibly angry, responded as he sat next to Peres at the debate, which also included United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Arab League chief Amr Moussa. He then walked out of the room.
Thousands of people gathered at Istanbul's Ataturk airport to greet Erdogan when he returned from the gathering of business and political leaders, waving Turkish and Palestinian flags and chanting "Turkey is proud of you."
Israeli Envoy: Attack on Gaza a ‘Preintroduction’ to Attack on Iran
After ordering a cameraman to turn off his camera, Israeli Ambassador to Australia Yuval Rotem engaged in a very frank discussion about the recent Israeli war in the Gaza Strip, calling it “a preintroduction” to
an attack on Iran that Israel apparently expects within the year
Before the camera was turned off, Ambassador Rotem said “the best thing to do is to have a very open dialogue if there are no reporters or journalists here,” adding “I am far more reserved in the way I am saying my things (on camera).” Unbeknownst to him however Sarah Cummings, a reporter for Australia’s Seven News service, was actually in attendance at the meeting after having been “accidentally” invited.
Israel has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran, and while its officials have repeatedly attempted to tie the Iranian government to its war on the Gaza Strip
this is the first time one of their officials has publicly
(if inadvertently so)
suggested that the attack on the strip was a warm-up to its long talked about attack on Iran
The Israeli Ambassador in Australia asks for the media to stop filming after letting slip plans concerning Iran.
January 30, 2009
US pours cold water over hopes of Iran deal
The White House warned Iran last night that military action is still one of its options
despite the "hand of friendship" offered by President Obama.
Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, reiterated that any talks held with the Iranian leadership would not necessarily be with President Ahmadinejad and would involve careful preparations beforehand.
Asked if the use of force was still possible, he replied: "The President hasn't changed his viewpoint that he should preserve all his options." Mr Gibbs added that the US needed to address Iran's sponsorship of terrorism and its threats against Israel, as well as an "illicit nuclear programme."
Israel hopes to colonize parts of Iraq as ‘Greater Israel’
by Wayne Madsen - Jan 30, 2009
Israeli expansionists, their intentions to take full control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and permanently keep the Golan Heights of Syria and expand into southern Lebanon already well known, also have their eyes on parts of Iraq considered part of a biblical “Greater Israel.”
Israel reportedly has plans to relocate thousands of Kurdish Jews from Israel, including expatriates from Kurdish Iran, to the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Nineveh
under the guise of religious pilgrimages to ancient Jewish religious shrines. According to Kurdish sources, the Israelis are secretly working with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to carry out the integration of Kurdish and other Jews into areas of Iraq under control of the KRG.
Kurdish, Iraqi Sunni Muslims, and Turkmen have noted that Kurdish Israelis began to buy land in Iraqi Kurdistan, after the U.S. invasion in 2003, that is considered historical Jewish “property.”
The Israelis are particularly interested in the shrine of the Jewish prophet Nahum in al Qush, the prophet Jonah in Mosul, and the tomb of the prophet Daniel in Kirkuk. Israelis are also trying to claim Jewish “properties” outside of the Kurdish region, including the shrine of Ezekiel in the village of al-Kifl in Babel Province near Najaf and the tomb of Ezra in al-Uzayr in Misan Province, near Basra, both in southern Iraq’s Shi’a-dominated territory. Israeli expansionists consider these shrines and tombs as much a part of “Greater Israel” as Jerusalem and the West Bank, which they call “Judea and Samaria.”
Kurdish and Iraqi sources report that Israel’s Mossad is working hand-in-hand with Israeli companies and “tourists” to stake a claim to the Jewish “properties” of Israel in Iraq
. The Mossad has already been heavily involved in training the Kurdish Pesha Merga military forces. Reportedly assisting the Israelis are foreign mercenaries paid for by U.S. Christian evangelical circles that support the concept of “Christian Zionism.”
The Israelis and their Christian Zionist supporters enter Iraq not through Baghdad but through Turkey. In order to depopulate residents of lands the Israelis claim, Mossad operatives and Christian Zionist mercenaries are staging terrorist attacks against Chaldean Christians, particularly in Nineveh, Irbil, al-Hamdaniya, Bartalah, Talasqaf, Batnayah, Bashiqah, Elkosheven, Uqrah, and Mosul.
These attacks by the Israelis and their allies are usually reported as being the responsibility of “Al Qaeda” and other Islamic “jihadists.”
The ultimate aim of the Israelis is to depopulate the Christian population in and around Mosul and claim the land as biblical Jewish land that is part of “Greater Israel.” The Israeli/Christian Zionist operation is a replay of the depopulation of the Palestinians in the British mandate of Palestine after World War II.
Mon Feb 16
Israel seizes land for settlement expansion
EFRAT, West Bank – Plans to expand a West Bank settlement by up to 2,500 homes drew Palestinian condemnation Monday and presented an early test for President Barack Obama, whose Mideast envoy is well known for opposing such construction.
Israel opened the way for possible expansion of the Efrat settlement by taking control of a nearby West Bank hill of 423 acres
. The rocky plot was recently designated state land and is part of a master plan that envisions the settlement growing from 9,000 to 30,000 residents, Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi said.
Israeli officials said any new construction would require several years more of planning and stages of approval.
The outgoing government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said it reserves the right to keep building in large West Bank settlement blocs that it wants to annex as part of a final peace deal with the Palestinians. Efrat is in one of those blocs.
The composition of Israel's next government is not clear yet, because last week's elections were inconclusive. However, right-wing parties are given a better chance to form a ruling coalition, with hard-line leader Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister.
Speaking to U.S. Jewish leaders Monday, the two contenders for leading the new Israeli government expressed their differences over the Palestinian issue.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, whose centrist Kadima party won 28 of the 120 seats in parliament, said Israel must withdraw from "parts of the Land of Israel," a reference to the West Bank, in a peace deal.
Netanyahu, whose hawkish Likud won 27 seats, said he does not want to govern Palestinians but insisted on Israeli control of borders, airspace and electronic communications.
Netanyahu supports settlement expansion and has derided peace talks with the Palestinians as a waste of time, saying he would focus instead on trying to improve the Palestinian economy. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called Netanyahu's approach unacceptable, and his aides said recently that peace talks can resume only if settlement construction is halted.
February 17, 2009
Hamas Pushed to the Wall Over Cease-Fire
RAMALLAH - Israel is toughening its negotiating stance with Hamas as the two try to hammer out a permanent cease-fire agreement.
According to reports in the Arab media
a permanent cease-fire between the Jewish state and the Islamic resistance organization would have gone into effect as early as Sunday had the Israeli government not suddenly upped the ante
A temporary cease-fire was established Jan. 18 following Operation Cast Lead, Israel's name for its military assault on Gaza, which left over 1,300 Palestinians dead and nearly 5,000 wounded, most of them civilian.
However, sporadic rocket-fire on Israel and Israeli military raids into Gaza since then have increasingly threatened the fragile calm.
Israeli elections last week saw the country's far-right make substantial gains as a precursor for taking over the next government.
This, together with the hammering Hamas received during the Gaza war, has made Israel increasingly confident of being able to dictate the terms of any forthcoming truce.
A statement released by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office Saturday said that Israel would not agree to any cease-fire unless captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was released as part of any deal.
"The prime minister's position is that Israel will not reach understandings on a truce before the release of Gilad Shalit," the statement said.
Shalit was captured by Hamas fighters in 2006 near the Gaza-Israel border and has been held in a secret location in Gaza ever since.
Hamas has demanded the release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel jails, many of whom have been detained without trial, in return for Shalit.
The group labeled the tying of a cease-fire to the release of Shalit unacceptable and said this was part of a later and separate deal involving an exchange of prisoners.
Even Hamas' bitter enemy, the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank, called Israel's latest demand unreasonable
Prior to Israel's latest demands, cautious optimism and the possibility of the implementation of a more permanent agreement had risen toward the end of last week.
However, over the weekend Israel's attitude toward a deal with Hamas appeared to harden significantly.
Following the final tally of election votes, including outstanding absentee votes during the week, a far right-wing government in Israel appeared to be a certainty.
Emboldened by the election results and in consultation with parliamentary colleagues, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decided to raise the bar for Hamas. Olmert will step down in the near future on the back of a serious corruption scandal.
With nothing to lose, and on the contrary a chance to salvage what remains of his tattered reputation should he secure the release of Shalit, Olmert made the release of the Israeli corporal a prerequisite for any cease-fire agreement.
According to Israeli sources, Olmert had been given the green light to talk tough with Hamas by the next expected Israeli prime minister, Likud hawk Binyamin Netanyahu.
In the interim the Israeli cabinet met Sunday to begin finalizing its future policy toward Gaza.
The cabinet also discussed final conditions for a permanent cease-fire with Hamas, confident that a cease-fire was not only possible in the very near future but on terms and conditions favorable to Israel.
Tzipi Livni wants to remove Arabs from Israel
Tzipi Livni, Israel's Foreign Minister and leader of the Kadima Party, has told students at a Tel Aviv high school that, once a Palestinian state has been created, Israeli Arabs should leave Israel to go and live in the new Palestinian state.
Confirming her racist credentials, she also told the students that: "The idea is to maintain two states for two peoples..."
Her expectation is that, after centuries of living in their homelands in what is now Israel, what few Palestinians still remain there will be expected to join those that were made refugees back in 1948 in what little there is left of the West Bank and the Gaza Ghetto.
Netanyahu has been telling foreign visitors that, if there ever is a Palestinian state, Israel would have to have control of its airspace and that such a state would have to be demilitarised.
Hardly an "independent soverign state," is it? Palestinians are never likely to accept such demands and conditions, which, of course, Netanyahu is quite aware of.
The world should know that
Israeli Zionists will NEVER accept ANY kind of Palestinian sovereign state and that the various Israeli political parties' talk of ‘peace' is just pure propaganda
designed solely for the dumb and gullible masses and to extract every last dollar they can from the US government.
During Fiscal Year 2007, the U.S. gave more than $6.8 million
The Truth About the 2009 Gaza Massacre
I posted the video above, previously, with a YouTube link,
ADL to censor YouTube
Too much information: Nazis to do damage control after latest massacre
What do BLOGGER, YOUTUBE, FACEBOOK, and WIKIPEDIA have in common?
Online Censorship by Israel
...to sway public opinion of Israel and it’s war crimes in Lebanon and Palestine, back in 2000 they decided to create an online group called JIDF or Jewish Internet Defence Force, to manipulate polls and message boards and blogs by spamming comments and votes. However, this has now progressed into removing sites, videos and blogs that critisize Israel or it's genocide in Palestine, also sites that are against Zionism...
OPERATION YOUTUBE SMACKDOWN - SUPPORTING ISRAEL
September 18, 2009
Goldstone report: Israel's failings
A U.N. report finds war crimes in last winter's fighting; now Israel must be held accountable.
In its findings on Israel's conduct, the report noted that the ruinous siege on Gaza, imposed long before the invasion, collectively punished its residents in violation of international law. During the attack, Israeli troops killed civilians without justification, wantonly destroyed civilian infrastructure and private homes, and used weapons illegally. Israeli troops targeted and destroyed Gaza's last functioning flour mill. Israeli armored bulldozers razed the chicken farm that provided 10% of Gaza's eggs, burying 31,000 chickens in rubble. Israeli gunners bombed a raw sewage lagoon, releasing 200,000 cubic meters of filth into neighboring farmland. Repeated pinpoint strikes on a water well complex destroyed all of its essential machinery.
These are just some of the facts that led the mission to conclude that Israel's objective in the attack was "to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability."
Since a January cease-fire, Israel has maintained its illegal blockade, keeping relief supplies and construction materials from Gaza, and thus guaranteeing continued Palestinian civilian suffering
Israel clearly anticipated a critical report and has been planning for months to discredit it. Its spokespeople are making preposterous accusations, such as that Goldstone is "anti-Israel" (in fact, he is Jewish and has strong ties to Israel), and its diplomats are working the phones in an attempt to sway Western governments and members of the Security Council. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the report in discussions with U.S. special envoy George Mitchell, and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon is trying to orchestrate condemnation of the report by senior Obama administration officials and members of Congress.
This urging must be resisted, and Israel's serial violations of international law -- whether in pulverizing Lebanon in 2006; illegally detaining, torturing or assassinating Palestinians under its dominion in the occupied Palestinian territories; or building settlements on Palestinian lands for exclusive Jewish occupancy -- must come to an end. Israel may not be the worst human rights violator in the world, but it is among those that most consistently evade accountability.
Israeli abuses are deeply resented around the globe. For too long, we in the United States have abetted Israel, bestowing on it roughly $3 billion annually in aid since 1973 and vetoing scores of resolutions in the Security Council that attempted to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law.
The Goldstone Report and Israeli Impunity
While both Hamas and the PA fully cooperated with Goldstone and his colleagues, Israel fully rejected the mission, refusing entry into Israel or Gaza, forcing the use of alternative routes into the besieged strip, through Egypt.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said the report created unjust “equivalence of a democratic state with a terror organization,” in reference to Hamas.
Following the good old democracy reference,
kicks in. “We have nothing to be ashamed of, and don’t need lessons in morality from a committee established by Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Somalia,” Levy said. Apparently dark-skinned people of the South are both incapable of being democratic or moral. Only Israel and her allies are capable of those qualities.
A Quick Burial For Goldstone’s Report on Gaza
Israeli and American diplomats came to the United Nations not to praise the Goldstone Report, but to bury it.
Israeli Peace Group Targets Settlements’ Charitable Status in US
by Jonathan Cook, September 16, 2009 (excerpt)
Israeli peace activists are planning to ratchet up their campaign against groups in the United States that raise money for settlers by highlighting how tax exemptions are helping to fund the expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank.
Gush Shalom, a small peace group that advocates Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories, is preparing to send details to the U.S. tax authorities questioning the charitable status of several organizations.
Adam Keller, a spokesman, said these operations’ tax-exempt status meant that "
settlement expansion is effectively being subsidized out of the pockets of the U.S. taxpayer and government
The campaign is designed to increase pressure on Barack Obama, the U.S. president, to demand action from Israel on his repeated calls – so far largely ignored – to end settlement building. Last week, Israel announced plans to build 455 new homes in West Bank settlements and 500 apartments in East Jerusalem.
In a related move, Gush Shalom is encouraging Palestinians who have suffered from settler violence to file lawsuits in the United States that would redefine the settlers’ fundraising work as support for "terrorist activity."
The peace group has accelerated the pace of its campaign, according to a "confidential memo" it issued on July 29 that was leaked to the Israeli media, after the Israeli government heavily criticized human rights groups over the summer for receiving funds from foreign donors, particularly European governments.
In particular, the Foreign Ministry lambasted
Breaking the Silence
, a group of army veterans, for publishing testimonials from 26 Israeli combat soldiers suggesting the army committed war crimes during its assault on Gaza last winter.
Keller said: "It’s the height of chutzpah for the Foreign Ministry to be hounding Breaking the Silence, which is doing something entirely legal and transparent, while keeping quiet about the settler organizations’ dependence on foreign income for their illegal activities."
Gush Shalom said it was not divulging details of the organizations it will target next month to ensure an element of surprise. But Keller said
all of the 120 main settlements, which are illegal under international law, benefit from fundraising operations in the U.S.
100 or so outposts, satellites of the main settlements, have been the settlers’ most effective method of extending their control over Palestinian territory in the West Bank. Israel has repeatedly promised the United States it will dismantle the outposts – so far to no effect.
Gush Shalom also suggests exposing the Israeli government’s support for U.S. lobby groups, such as Stand With Us and the Israel Project, that are engaged in what it calls "propaganda" on behalf of the settlements.
The Jewish Daily Forward
Why Is Israel Trying To Break Breaking the Silence?
by Gila Orkin 5/8/2009
Ever since Breaking the Silence published testimonies from Israeli soldiers who participated in Operation Cast Lead, various government bodies and public figures in Israel have waged an aggressive smear campaign against the organization. Rather than engaging in meaningful analysis and debate of the disturbing contents of these testimonies,
Israeli officials have chosen to try to silence and discredit the messenger while completely ignoring the message
Breaking the Silence is comprised of veterans of the Israel Defense Forces who have collected and published testimonies of soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories during the second intifada. Having served in the territories themselves, and seen with their own eyes the human rights abuses engendered by the prolonged occupation, members of Breaking the Silence are committed to exposing the Israeli public to these grim realities
The testimonies from Cast Lead reveal a sharp disparity between the official IDF narrative of the Gaza campaign and the events on the ground as seen through the eyes of combat soldiers. The soldiers’ testimonies paint a troubling picture of rules of engagement that encouraged indiscriminate shooting, the wanton destruction of homes and civilian infrastructure, the unlawful practice of using Palestinians as human shields and the firing of white phosphorous into heavily populated areas.
Pirates of the Mediterranean
by Paul Craig Roberts
On June 30, the government of Israel committed an act of piracy when the Israeli Navy in international waters illegally boarded the "Spirit of Humanity," kidnapped its 21-person crew from 11 countries, including former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Nobel Laureate Mairead MaGuire, and confiscated the cargo of medical supplies, olive trees, reconstruction materials, and children’s toys that were on the way to the Mediterranean coast of Gaza. The "Spirit of Humanity," along with the kidnapped 21 persons is being towed to Israel as I write.
Gaza has been described as the "world’s largest concentration camp." It is home to 1.5 million Palestinians who were driven by force of American-supplied Israeli arms out of their homes, off their farms, and out of their villages so that Israel could steal their land and make the Palestinian land available to Israeli settlers.
What we have been witnessing for 60 years is a replay in modern times, despite the United Nations and laws strictly preventing Israel’s theft of Palestine, of the 17th, 18th, and 19th century theft of American Indian lands by US settlers. An Israeli government spokesman recently rebuked the President of the United States, a country, the Israeli said, who stole all of its land from Indians, for complaining about Israel’s theft of Palestine.
As President Obama has called for humanitarian aid to be sent to Gaza, and as the International Red Cross has damned the inhumanity of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the question that immediately comes to mind is why did not the United States send sufficient US Navy escort to see the "Spirit of Humanity" safely through international waters to Gaza? We send ships against Somalian pirates, why not against Israeli ones?
We all know the answer.
The US talks a good "human rights" game, but never delivers--especially if the human rights abuser is Israel. After all, Israel owns the US Congress and President Obama
. Israel even has an Israeli citizen and former member of the Israeli Defense Forces as the Chief-of-Staff in Obama’s White House. Israel owns millions of American "Christian Zionists" and "rapture evangelicals." When it comes to Israel, the American government is a puppet state. It does what it is told. Macho Americans might stand tall, but not when Israel snaps its fingers.
Israel, of course, will get away with a mere act of piracy. After all, Israel has been getting away with its war crimes and violations of international law for 60 years. If the UN tries to do anything, the US will veto it, as the US has done for decades.
What will happen to the kidnapped foreign nationals? Most likely they will be released and sent back to their respective countries. Israel, of course, will keep the stolen "Spirit of Humanity" to foreclose any further attempts by human rights activists to run Israel’s inhumane blockade of Gaza.
On the other hand, Israel might declare its captives to be terrorists on the ground that the Gazans elected in a free election Hamas as their government. Hamas, unlike Israel, is declared to be a terrorist organization by the puppet American State Department in Washington. Thus the human rights activists onboard the "Spirit of Humanity" are aiding and abetting terrorists by delivering goods to them. The US Department of Justice (sic) prosecutes American citizens and charities for sending aid to Palestinians on the grounds that Palestinians, if not everyone a terrorist, are governed by terrorists.
Meanwhile, California, which has become a failed state, has been denied bailout money from Washington. Israel, which has been a failed state for 60 years, can, unlike the American state of California, always count of Washington to deliver the money and the weapons to keep Israel going.
The same week that "our" government in Washington told the Governor of California "not one red cent," President Barak Obama handed over $2.775 billion to Israel
And so it goes. There’s no money for California, or for Americans’ health care, or for the several million Americans who have lost their homes and are homeless, because Israel needs it. Israel need the Americans’ taxpayers money to that it can create even more enemies, and, therefore, need more American money to spend with the American armament industries to oppress more Palestinians and to make more enemies, requiring more American money to protect Israel from its folly and its evil.
And the brainwashed American public goes along year after year
Clone politics or Cynthia McKinney?
Rapture Ready: The Christians United for Israel Tour
Max Blumenthal's latest takes us on a shocking and at times bizarre tour of right-wing Pastor John Hagee's annual Washington-Israel Summit, blowing the cover off the Christian Zionist movement in the process. Starring Joe Lieberman, Tom DeLay, Pastor John Hagee, Ambassador Dore Gold and a host of rapture-ready evangelicals praying for Armaggedon.
The Economist, Nov 5th 2009
Is Israel too strong for Barack Obama?
FIVE months after Barack Obama went to Cairo and persuaded most of the Arab world, in a ringing declaration of even-handedness, that he would face down Israel in his quest for a Palestinian state, American policy seems to have run into the sand. The American president’s mediating hand is weaker, his charisma damagingly faded. From the Palestinian and Arab point of view, his administration—after grandly setting out to force the Jewish state to stop the building of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land as an early token of good faith, intended to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiation—has meekly capitulated to Israel.
The upshot is that hopes for an early resumption of talks between the main protagonists seem to have been dashed. Indeed, no one seems to know how they can be restarted. The mood among moderates on both sides is as glum as ever.
Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, made matters worse by actually praising Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, for promising merely to “restrain” Israel’s building rather than stop it altogether, as he was first asked to do
. Previously Mrs Clinton had insisted that stop meant stop. There should be no “organic growth” of existing settlements and no exceptions for projects under way. Nor did she specifically exempt East Jerusalem, which Palestinians view as their future capital but which many Israelis see as theirs alone. And she had earlier castigated Israel for demolishing Palestinian houses in the city’s eastern part. Now, in Israel on October 31st, she changed her tune, seeming to acquiesce in Mr Netanyahu’s refusal to meet those earlier American demands and congratulating the prime minister on his “unprecedented” offer to build at a slower rate than before.
Mrs Clinton later awkwardly backpedalled, assuring the Palestinians that she still considered all settlements “illegitimate”, while pleading with them to resume talks. That seems unlikely. A storm of abuse raged in the Palestinian and Arab press. Mr Obama, it was widely deduced, had caved in after his own ratings in Israel had slumped, according to some Israeli polls, to as low as 4%. Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Fatah party who presides over the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, expressed extreme disappointment—and continued to insist that talks could not resume until there was a full building freeze.
Among Palestinians at large, Mr Abbas has been derided for putting his faith in the new American administration. Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, the smaller of the two main parts of a future Palestinian state, mocked him for ever thinking that Mr Obama could change American policy towards the Middle East.
America, Israel’s Lackey
by Paul Craig Roberts, November 12, 2009
It did not take the Israel Lobby long to make mincemeat out of the Obama administration’s "no new settlements" position. Israeli prime minister Netanyahu is bragging about Israel’s latest victory over the US government as Israel continues to build illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
In May President Obama read the Israelis the riot act, telling the Israeli government that he was serious about ending the Israeli conflict with the Palestinians and that a lasting peace agreement required the Israeli government to abandon all construction of new settlements in the occupied West Bank.
On November 10 Obama’s White House chief of staff, Rahm Israel Emanuel, surrendered for his boss at the annual conference of the United Jewish Communities. The ongoing Israeli settlements, he said, should not be a "distraction" to a peace agreement.
Allegedly, the US is a superpower and Israel is a client state whose very existence depends entirely on US military and economic aid and diplomatic protection. Yet, in the real world it works the other way.
Israel is the superpower and the US is its client state.
This true fact is proved to us at least once every week and sometimes two or three times in one week.
A few days ago the US House of Representatives voted 344 to 36 in favor of disavowing the UN report by the distinguished Jewish judge Richard Goldstone that found that Israel had committed war crimes in its attack on the civilian population in the Gaza Ghetto. The Israel Lobby demanded that the House repudiate the fact-filled report, and the servile House did as its master ordered.
US Rep. Dennis Kucinich spoke to his colleagues for 2 minutes in an effort to make them see that their vote against the Goldstone report would be a great embarrassment to the US government and demean the House in the eyes of the world. But none of that matters when Israel gives its servants an order. The US House of Representatives preferred to demean itself and to embarrass the US Government rather than to cross the Israel Lobby.
Retribution quickly fell upon Kucinich for his 2 minute speech. On November 9, Kucinich was forced to withdraw as the keynote speaker for the Palm Beach County (Florida) Democratic Party’s annual fundraising dinner. The Israel Lobby gave the order — dump Kucinich or there’s no money and no one is coming to the dinner. County Commissioner Burt Aaronson called Kucinich "an absolute horror."
Kucinich is the rare Democrat who stands up for his party’s principles, the working class, and tried to get health care for those Americans the corporations have thrown out on the street. But helping Americans doesn’t count.
Israel uber alles
Kucinich: "Almost As Serious As Committing War Crimes Is Covering Up War Crimes"
In a blatant show of contempt for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, the US House of Representatives voted to oppose the Goldstone Report on the war crimes committed in Gaza last year. The vote was 344 to 36.
FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 838
Bullets in the brain, shrapnel in the spine: the terrible injuries suffered by children of Gaza
Doctors at a hospital near Gaza are almost overwhelmed by the number of Palestinian children needing treatment for bullet wounds to their heads.
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