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Archive for January, 2009

Madrid Forced to Change Law?

Posted by terres on January 31, 2009

Israel says Spain says it will amend war crimes law

Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:35pm EST

JERUSALEM, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Israel said on Friday the Spanish government had said it would work to amend a law under which a Madrid court is to consider trying seven Israelis over the killing of Palestinians.

Spain’s High Court announced this week it would launch a war crimes investigation into a Israeli ex-defense minister and six other top security officials for their role in a 2002 attack that killed a Hamas commander and 14 civilians in Gaza.

Spanish law allows the prosecution of foreigners for such crimes as genocide, crimes against humanity and torture committed anywhere in the world.

“I was just told by the Spanish foreign minister that Spain decided to change the legislation,” Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told journalists after a telephone conversation with her Spanish counterpart Miguel Angel Moratinos.

“In order to change the possibility of different organizations, political organizations, to abuse the legal system in Spain in order to put charges against Israelis and others that are fighting terror.”

Spain’s Foreign Ministry did not reply to repeated telephone requests for confirmation.

Spanish state television TVE quoted government sources as saying the possibility of a legal “adjustment or modification” may have been mentioned, but it would not be retroactive and would not affect the case before the courts.

The case, filed on behalf of the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights, has sent shockwaves through Israel, which is trying to fend off foreign censure over the civilian casualty toll from its 22-day offensive in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Calls to investigate Israel over alleged war crimes in Gaza conflict prompted Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to promise military personnel state protection from foreign prosecution.

Any government-initiated changes to Spanish law would have to be approved by congress. TVE said Spain would not renounce universal jurisdiction, which has been on its statute books since 1870.

Livni, who gave no details on how Spain planned to amend the law or handle the case against Israel, said of her conversation with Moratinos:

“I think that this is very important news and I hope that other states in Europe will do the same, and will follow this.” (Writing by Dan Williams; additional reporting by Jason Webb and Martin Roberts in Madrid; editing by Andrew Roche)

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

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Posted in crimes against humanity, crimes of genocide, Miguel Angel Moratinos, Spanish law, Torture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

US academic and cultural boycott of Israel

Posted by terres on January 30, 2009

U.S. Academic Boycott of Israel

For first time, U.S. professors call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel

01.29.2009 | Haaretz
By Raphael Ahren

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  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.”

Asked if the group would accept the endorsement of Hamas supporters, Lloyd said, “We have no a priori policy with regard to the membership or affiliation of supporters of the boycott so long as they are in accord with the main aims stated in the press release.”

He argued that, “on several occasions Hamas has sought direct negotiations with Israel, a pursuit that constitutes de facto recognition of Israel, and has openly discussed abandoning its call for the destruction of the state of Israel conditional on reciprocal guarantees from Israel.”

Lloyd wrote that to the best of his knowledge, all supporters of the anti-Israel boycott were also opposed to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Asked if logic wouldn’t dictate that he and his colleagues boycott themselves, he responded, “Self-boycott is a difficult concept to realize. But speaking for myself, I would have supported and honored such a boycott had it been proposed by my colleagues overseas.”

Durban bred, British approved

The idea of an academic boycott against Israel originated in 2001 at the “World Conference Against Racism” in Durban, South Africa. A first attempt to implement a boycott was undertaken by British professors in the wake of Israel’s 2002 Operation Defensive Shield and the Jenin massacre claim. Since then, British academics tried several times to establish boycotts, with the latest such effort failing because legal advisers a few months ago pointed out that academic boycotts are discriminatory and thus illegal. Yet, analysts say that another British boycott campaign is to be expected in the follow up of Cast Lead.

In the U.S., on the other hand, only a few professors have supported the idea of an academic boycott. In 2006, the American Association of University Professors declared its objection to the British boycott, saying members, “especially oppose selective academic boycotts that entail an ideological litmus test.”

In 2007, nearly 300 university presidents across the United States signed a statement denouncing the boycott, under the motto “Boycott Israeli Universities? Boycott Ours, Too!”

First indications that the climate might change in light of the Gaza operation could be seen earlier this month when the Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario proposed, “Israeli academics be barred from speaking, teaching or conducting research at the province’s universities unless they condemn Israel’s actions in Gaza,” as the Inside Higher Ed Web site reported.

Not a mass movement

Israeli academics are hesitant to sound the alarm bells in light of the recent development. “One has to look at this with some degree of caution,” said Gerald Steinberg, the American-educated chair of Bar Ilan University’s political studies department. “Yes, the organization’s declarations are coming from the United States, but this is not at all yet a mass movement.”

Jonathan Rynhold, who also teaches political science at Bar Ilan, explained that boycott movements are rare in America, “because the U.S. has much stronger political culture and laws about freedom of speech than the UK. In America, there is stronger sense that one should be able to think and say whatever one wants.”

“What they’re trying to do,” Rynhold continued in his analysis of anti-Israel boycotts, “is blurring the distinction between criticism of Israeli policies and criticism of Israel’s existence. Their game is to move the liberals, who accept Israel’s right to exist and don’t think Israel is wrong every time but criticize Israeli policies as and when they think it’s right, and turn them into radical left-wing critics [who believe] Israel is racist in its core and everything it does is wrong.”

Rynhold and Steinberg said that the new U.S. campaign is a clone of its British predecessors. The two professors, who were both born in England, speak out of experience. When the original boycott movement arose – initially attacking only Bar Ilan and Haifa University – they were among the co-founders of the International Advisory Board for Academic Freedom, which was fighting the boycott but ultimately folded for lack of funding. Although none of the previous boycott efforts were successful, Steinberg is concerned about every new round. While he said that it’s too early to predict the impact of the U.S. boycott, he sharply criticized the Israeli government and local universities for their handling of the previous boycott.

“The government and the universities have completely neglected not just the academic boycott but in general this kind of soft war,” he said. “The military prepared to go into Gaza for two and half years. But in terms of the boycott movement, both the ministry of education and the foreign ministry – which had pledged support for the existing anti-boycott frameworks – completely failed to prepare their own portfolios for this.”

“The battle is just beginning now,” Steinberg added. “The main response will have to come from American academics who find this kind of bias to be unacceptable and will fight it. But for those of us in Israel who are interested in helping to be a catalyst in that process, the funding has been completely cut off. There was the naive view that having won a few battles in Britain meant the war had been won.” Yet, giving the boycotters too much attention might be counterproductive, Steinberg emphasized.

Effective counterattacks need to be prepared, he said, “but at the same time we must not overreact and provide stimulation and amplification to this process – that is precisely what they’re seeking.”

Other pro-Israel advocates are less hesitant and soft-spoken in their assessment of the U.S. boycott.

“The usual anti-Israel suspects in U.S. universities may sign on to the petition, but it won’t amount to much,” predicted Mitchell Bard, executive director at the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, which seeks to strengthen the pro-Israel camp at American colleges. “If it becomes a widespread effort, I’m sure some effort will be given to countering it, but it is out of touch with the mood in the country,” he said. “Israel has near record high support, [U.S. President Barack] Obama has just taken office with a positive message and the focus will be on moving the peace process forward, not sideshows by anti-Semites and cranks among American pseudo-academics.” Copyright the author or news agency.

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Posted in educators of conscience, Gaza massacre, Jenin massacre, Operation Defensive Shield, U.S. invasion of Iraq | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Turkish PM Shouts at Israeli Chief Terrorist

Posted by terres on January 30, 2009

“I find it very sad that people applaud what you have said because many people have been killed”

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan stormed out of an angry debate on the Gaza war with Israel’s President and Chief Terrorist Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday.

erdogan
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (L) leaves a debate with Israeli Chief Terrorist and President Shimon Peres. Photo: AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

Erdogan complained that his comments on the conflict were cut short and walked off the stage in front of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other panel members.

“I do not think I will be coming back to Davos after this because you do not let me speak,” the prime minister shouted as he left, though he said later he could reconsider.

Erdogan criticized the audience of international officials and corporate chiefs for applauding Peres’s emotional defense of Israel’s offensive in Gaza, which left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead and nearly 6,000 others injured.

“I find it very sad that people applaud what you have said because many people have been killed,” he shouted at Peres.

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Posted in Davos, Gaza, Israeli Occupation Forces, palestine, World Economic Forum | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Bailing Out America? First, Stop the Serial Wars!

Posted by terres on January 29, 2009

Astonishing Incongruities

Is It Time to Bail Out of the US?

By Paul Craig Roberts

January 28, 2009 “Information Clearinghouse” — California State Controller John Chiang announced on January 26 that California’s bills exceed its tax revenues and credit line and that the state is going to print its own money known as IOUs. The template is already designed.

Instead of receiving their state tax refunds in dollars, California residents will receive IOUs. Student aid and payments to disabled and needy will also come in the form of IOUs. California is negotiating with banks to get them to accept the IOUs as deposits.

California is often identified as the world’s eighth largest economy, and it is broke.

A person might think that California’s plight would introduce some realism into Washington, DC, but it has not. President Obama is taking steps to intensify the war in Afghanistan and, perhaps, to expand it to Pakistan.

Obama has retained the Republican warmongers in the Pentagon, and the US continues to illegally bomb Pakistan and to murder its civilians. At the World Economic Forum at Davos this week, Pakistan’s prime minister, Y. R. Gilani, said that the American attacks on Pakistan are counterproductive and done without Pakistan’s permission. In an interview with CNN, Gilani said: “I want to put on record that we do not have any agreement between the government of the United States and the government of Pakistan.”

How long before Washington will be printing money?

On January 28 Obama announced his $825 billion bailout plan. This comes on top of President Bush’s $700 billion bailout of just a few months ago.

Obama says his plan will be more transparent than Bush’s and will do more good for the economy.

As large as the bailouts are–a total of $1.5 trillion in four months–the amount is small in relation to the reported size of troubled assets that are in the tens of trillions of dollars. How do we know that by June there won’t be another bailout, say $950 billion?

Where will the money come from?

Obama’s bailout plan, added to the FY 2009 budget deficit he has inherited from Bush, opens a gaping expenditure hole of about $3 trillion.
Who is going to purchase $3 trillion of US Treasury bonds?

Not the US consumer. The consumer is out of work and out of money. Private sector credit market debt is 174% of GDP. The personal savings rate is 2 percent. Ten percent of households are in foreclosure or arrears. Household debt-service ratio is at an all-time high. Household net worth has declined at a record rate. Housing inventories are at record highs.

Not America’s foreign creditors. At best, the Chinese, Japanese, and Saudis can recycle their trade surpluses with the US into Treasury bonds, but the combined surplus does not approach the size of the US budget deficit.

Perhaps another drop in the stock market will drive Americans’ remaining wealth into “safe” US Treasury bonds.

If not, there’s only the printing press.

The printing press would turn a deflationary depression into an inflationary depression.
Unemployment combined with rising prices would be a killer.

Inflation would kill the dollar as well, leaving the US unable to pay for its imports.

All the Obama regime sees is a “credit problem.” But the crisis goes far beyond banks’ bad investments. The United States is busted. Many of the state governments are busted. Homeowners are busted. Consumers are busted. Jobs are busted. Companies are busted.

And Obama thinks he has the money to fight wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Except for the superrich and those banksters and CEOs who stole wealth from investors and shareholders, Americans have suffered enormous losses in wealth and income.

The stock market decline has destroyed about 45% of their IRAs, 401Ks, and other equity investments. On top of this comes the decline in home prices, lost jobs and health care, lost customers. The realized gains in mutual funds and investment partnerships, on which Americans paid taxes, have been wiped out.

The government should give those taxes back.

Americans who have seen their retirement savings devastated by complicity of government regulators and lawmakers with financial gangsters should not have to pay
any income tax when they draw on their pensions.

The financial damage inflicted on Americans by their own government is as great as would be expected from foreign conquest. While Washington “protected” us from terrorists by fighting pointless wars abroad, the US economy collapsed.

How can President Obama even think about fighting wars half way around the world while California cannot pay its bills, while Americans are being turned out of their homes, while, as Business Week reports, retirees will work throughout their retirement (which assumes that there will be jobs), while careers are being destroyed and stores and factories shuttered.

Americans are facing tremendous unemployment and hardship. Obama doesn’t have another dollar to spend on Bush’s wars.

Taxpayers are busted. They cannot stand another day of being milked by the military-security complex. The US government is paying private mercenaries more by the day than the monthly checks it is providing to Social Security retirees.

This is insanity.

The banksters robbed us twice. First it was our home and stock values. Then the government rewarded the banksters for their misdeeds by bailing out the banksters, not their victims, and putting the cost on the taxpayers’ books.

The government has also robbed the taxpayers of $3 trillion dollars to fight its wars. About $600 billion are out of pocket costs, and the rest is on the taxpayers’ books.

When foreign creditors look at the debt piled on the taxpayers’ books, they don’t see a good credit risk.

Washington is so accustomed to ripping off the taxpayers for the benefit of special interests that the practice is now in the DNA. While bailouts are being piled upon bailouts, wars are being piled upon wars.

Before Obama gets in any deeper, he must ask his economic team where the money is coming from. When he finds out, he needs to tell the rest of us.

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Posted in banksters, Iraq War, Obama, Social Security, very many bailouts | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

BBC: Impartial in ZioNatzi Crimes

Posted by terres on January 28, 2009

On a week that the world’s [Zionist Jewish] pro-Israeli media, including the BBC, refused to broadcast an appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee to raise funds for Gaza, the Moderators wonder how the BBC could possibly claim ‘impartiality’ as the obliteration of Gaza continues, while, in total contrast,  it [BBC World Service] played a crucial part in the propaganda war against Nazi Germany.

Published on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 by CommonDreams.org

What if Israel Were in Your Neighborhood?

by Russell Mokhiber

I left Washington last week when many friends and family members were coming here to celebrate the inauguration of our first African-American President.

My eleven year-old son asked me — why turn your back on Obama?

I threw back at him Martin Luther King — It’s not the color of his skin, it’s the content of his character.

What does it say about Obama’s character that he sides with the Israeli slaughter machine against those that it slaughters?

What does it say about the character of his “progressive” supporters, who cry for joy at his inauguration, but say not a peep about the slaughter machine and its victims?

(See, for example, former AIPAC staffer and “progressive Democratic” columnist David Sirota, who broke down and cried watching Obama’s inauguration, but has not written one word about the slaughter in Gaza.)

Earlier this month, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) took out full page ads in major newspapers around the country.

The ad was titled: What if Hamas Was in Your Neighborhood? (link to ad at: http://www.adl.org/Israel/posters/HamasAd_Phoenix.pdf)

The ad showed missiles reigning down on Phoenix, or Boston, or Washington, D.C.

“Imagine if Hamas terrorists were targeting you and your family,” the ad read. “No country would allow such danger on its border, and neither will Israel. That’s why Israel is fighting back.”

In response, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) last week put up an ad on its web site titled — What If Israel Were in Your Neighborhood? (Link to ad at: http://www.adc.org/PDF/gazaposter.pdf)

Answer?

Death and Destruction with American built F-16 fighter jets and Apache helicopters.

Yes, when Hamas launches rockets that kill innocent civilians, it engages in war crimes.

But Hamas has no Army, no Navy, no Air Force.

The slaughter machine has a modern military with hundreds of nuclear weapons and U.S. supplied F-16s and Apache helicopters.

So, there is a balance of terror.

And the Palestinian bodies tip the scales in the slaughter machine’s favor.

Since the first rocket was launched into Israel in 2002 up until the December 17, 2008 invasion of Gaza, the Israel body count was maybe two dozen.

The Palestinian body count was 2,700.

That would be about 100 to one.

Since the invasion, the Israeli body count is 14.

The Palestinian body count was more than 1,400.

That would be about 100 to one.

As the ADC ad puts it: “Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip cannot be justified by self-defense. An armed attack that is not justified by self-defense is a war of aggression. Under the Nuremberg Principles affirmed by U.N. Resolution 95, aggression is a crime against peace. Prosecute Israel for War Crimes.”

So, here’s one concrete thing you can do to counter the slaughter machine’s propaganda.

If you are interested in placing the “What If Israel Were in Your Neighborhood?” ad in your local newspaper, contact ADC’s Nabil Mohammad at organizing@adc.org.

Turn the tide of terror.

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter.

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Posted in Barack Obama, gaza holocaust, Israel in Your Neighborhood, Israeli slaughter machine, Martin Luther King | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thailand must get its act together, or face the consequences!

Posted by terres on January 24, 2009

Burmese and Bangladeshi migrants were set adrift at sea by Thai military forces

Survivors claim that about 1,000 Myanmar refugees, mostly from the Rohingya ethnic minority from western Burma, were towed out to sea and abandoned on boats without engines by Thailand’s navy. Human rights groups say refugees were forced  to climb aboard the boats when Thai military threw four of them into the sea. At least 300 migrants are missing, presumed drowned.

refugees-thailand
Indian Coast Guards help refugees off a barge in the Andaman islands, India, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008. The Thai navy stands accused of  forcing several hundred migrants onto a barge in the middle of the ocean, where some 300 later drowned. More than 100 were rescued by Indian authorities in the remote Andaman islands. (AP Photo/Indian Coast Guard, handout).

The Rohingya are a stateless ethnic group that fled to Bangladesh to escape persecution in Burma where they are often used by the military regime as forced labor.

Thousands of Bangladeshis and Rohingyas  leave Bangladesh each year to find work in Malaysia. They risk their lives aboard ramshackle boats and rafts to Thailand then overland to Malaysia.

“Two migrants told a refugees’ advocacy group they were among hundreds detained and beaten by Thai authorities on a remote island and abandoned in the Indian Ocean in boats with no engines,” Associated Press reported.

“It was the second time the group has released testimony from Bangladeshi and Rohingya illegal migrants who allege the Thai navy has left hundreds of them at sea twice since December. About 300 are believed to have drowned in one of the incidents.”

The refugees say they were were headed from Bangladesh to Thailand when Thai naval gunboats intercepted their boats on or about December 27,  2008. They, together with hundreds of other refugees,  were detained and taken to a deserted Thai island in the Andaman Sea, where they “survived on banana leaves and handfuls of rice and were beaten by guards whom they identified as Thai security forces.”

Having initially categorically denied the human rights breaches, the Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has since said his officials will investigate the accusations.

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NEXT: A Call to Boycott Thailand, if Human Right Abuses Continue

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420 words, 1 image, 8 links

Posted in Abhisit Vejjajiva, Bangkok, Harry Nicolaides, lese-majeste law, thai royal family | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Day Israeli War Crimes Became Too Obvious!

Posted by terres on January 24, 2009

UN investigator sees evidence of war crimes in Gaza

Thu Jan 22, 2009

By Jonathan Lynn

GENEVA, Jan 22 (Reuters) – There is evidence that Israel committed war crimes during its 22-day campaign in the Gaza Strip and there should be an independent inquiry, U.N. investigator Richard Falk said on Thursday.


Sabbah Abu Halima, who is suffering from very deep burns on her arm and leg, lies on a bed at Shifa hospital in Gaza January 22, 2009. The doctors treating Abu Halima at Gaza’s Shifa hospital said the burns were caused by white phosphorus incendiary shells used by the Israeli army. Shifa doctors said they received about 10 cases of severe phosphorus burns during Israel’s three-week assault on the Islamist Hamas stronghold in the Gaza Strip. REUTERS/Jerry Lampe. Image may be subject to copyright.

The mental anguish of the civilians who suffered the assault is so great that the entire population of Gaza could be seen as casualties, said Falk, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Falk, speaking by phone from his home in California, said compelling evidence that Israel’s actions in Gaza violated international humanitarian law required an independent investigation into whether they amounted to war crimes.

“I believe that there is the prima facie case for reaching that conclusion,” he told a Geneva news conference.

Falk said Israel had made no effort to allow civilians to escape the fighting.

“To lock people into a war zone is something that evokes the worst kind of international memories of the Warsaw Ghetto, and sieges that occur unintentionally during a period of wartime,” Falk, who is Jewish, said, referring to the starvation and murder of Warsaw’s Jews by Nazi Germany in World War Two.

“There could have been temporary provision at least made for children, disabled, sick civilians to leave, even if where they left to was southern Israel,” the U.S. professor said.


Thirteen-year-old Dalal Abu Aisha stands on the rubble of her destroyed house in Gaza January 22, 2009, after she was brought there by an uncle after reporters who had heard of her suffering asked to interview her. Tragedy saved the life of Abu Aisha. The Palestinian girl was not at home when an Israeli bomb destroyed her family’s apartment in Gaza’s Beach refugee camp, killing her father, mother, two brothers and a sister. Dalal had been at her aunt’s house, paying a condolence call. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen.

Falk said the entire Gaza population, which had been trapped in a war zone with no possibility to leave as refugees, may have been mentally scarred for life. If so, the definition of casualty could be extended to the entire civilian population.

Falk, who was denied entry to Israel two weeks before the assault started on Dec. 27, dismissed Israel’s argument that the assault was for self-defence in the light of rocket attacks aimed at Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip.

“In my view the U.N. charter, and international law, does not give Israel the legal foundation for claiming self-defence,” he said.

Israel had not restricted fighting to areas where the rockets came from and had refused to negotiate with Hamas, preventing a diplomatic solution, Falk said.

About 1,300 Palestinians, many of them civilians, were killed and 5,000 wounded in the assault. [Ten Israeli soldiers were killed mostly by friendly fire. Three ‘civilians,’ were allegedly hit by cross-border rocket fire and killed. RTSF]

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

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Posted in diplomatic solution, Gaza massacre, human rights, mental anguish, white phosphorus shells | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

GAZA Killing Fields: Images of a New Millennium

Posted by terres on January 23, 2009

The ZIONATZI Israelis doing to the Palestinians exactly what was done to some of their  grandparents by NAZI Germany 70 years ago …

But why to the Palestinians?


More of these horrific photos are posted at Norman G. Finklestein website.


“If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that,” Obama said while visiting Israel. “And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.

What if you and your two daughters lived on the ‘wrong’ side of the border? Wouldn’t you still do everything in your power to stop that?

A Moral Dilemma for Obama: If President Obama believes the Israelis have a right to massacre Palestinians for any reason whatever, does it NOT follow that he would have also approved of Nazi atrocities against the Jews had he been around during WWII?

Posted in Barack Obama, Gaza, Israeli murderers, Jews, palestine | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

What happened in Gaza

Posted by edro on January 20, 2009

Gaza looks like a mini Hiroshima after the A-bomb was dropped on it! And we have only seen just the images.

BBC quoted aid agencies saying: ‘The worst-hit areas in the Gaza Strip after Israel’s three-week offensive look as if they have been hit by a strong earthquake.’

Bodies are still being recovered from neighborhoods that have been completely destroyed; stench of death fills the air.

More than 50,000 Palestinians are now homeless and up to ½ million are without running water.

Palestinian medical sources say at least 1,300 Palestinians were killed and 5,500 injured during the conflict. Ten Israeli soldiers were killed, most of them by friendly fire.  Three Israeli ‘civilians’ were reportedly died, too.

at least 4,000 building were completely destroyed and more than 20,000 severely damaged, including hospitals, food and medical warehouse, UN compounds, schools, a university, government building, infrastructure such as power generators and sewage treatment units, and mosques.

“The director of operations in Gaza for UNRWA, the UN relief agency, John Ging, said most important now was how to get basic supplies into the territory.” BBC reported.

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Posted in destruction of Gaza, Israeli offensive, mini Hiroshima, the barbarians | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Renewed claim to Gaza Strip, or pointless war?

Posted by terres on January 19, 2009

The following otherwise well-written Editorial by The Observer (UK), dated Sunday 18 January 2009 assumes that Israel previously had any space on high moral ground!

The world will know in the coming months whether a renewed claim to Gaza Strip is a proposition Israel cannot ignore!

A pointless war has led to a moral defeat for Israel

Editorial
The Observer, Sunday 18 January 2009

In historical terms, it is impossible to separate Israel’s offensive against Hamas in Gaza from the long narrative of conflict and mutual grievance in the region.


A Palestinian touches the head of a teenager after he was shot by Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Hebron January 16, 2009. REUTERS/Nayef Hashlamoun. Image may be subject to copyright.

In geographic terms, the war over a tiny plot of land cannot be detached from the wider involvement and strategic interests of other countries: Syria, Egypt, the US, Iran.

All of which makes it difficult to judge where – even if a unilateral Israeli ceasefire holds – the war really begins and ends.

That fact alone explains why 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. In this case, the problem was perceived to be Hamas rocket fire into southern Israel; the solution was judged to be a war against Hamas. That analysis did not allow for the vital, humane recognition that, in densely populated Gaza, an all-out war against Hamas is, by necessity, an attack on the civilian population.


[Deadly Israeli Assault.] An Israeli soldier covers his ears as a mobile artillery unit fires a shell towards Gaza in the early morning near the Gaza border during Israel’s offensive January 17, 2009. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis.
Image may be subject to copyright.

Even on its own terms, the campaign has failed. Israeli authorities will insist that they have limited the ability of Hamas to launch rocket attacks. But the ostensible war aim was destroying that capability completely.

Israel will also claim that its campaign has exposed a lack of support for Hamas in many Arab capitals; that Hamas’ position as the ruling authority in Gaza has been undermined; and that Hamas has been revealed as little more than a terrorist proxy acting on behalf of and armed by Syria and Iran.

But the reality is that the status of Hamas as the preferred vehicle for Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation has been enhanced by the indiscriminate brutality of the military assault.


[
Retaliatory Palestinian Fire Power!] A Palestinian stone-thrower uses a slingshot to throw a stone towards Israeli border police officers (not pictured) during scuffles at Qalandiya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah January 16, 2009. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman.  Image may be subject to copyright.

Meanwhile, that status guarantees the resurgence, in some form, of armed response, including rocket fire and terrorist attacks on Israeli soil. It is possible that Hamas’ military capability has been drastically reduced. But even when Israel had full command of Gaza’s external borders, it could not stop the trade in smuggled weapons. Sadly, Hamas will re-arm with or without a ceasefire agreement.

Meanwhile, any increased consideration of Iranian or Syrian sponsorship of terrorism will pale against global outrage at the extraordinary disregard shown by Israeli forces for the lives of Palestinian civilians. It is quite possible, as the Observer today reports, that an Israeli withdrawal will reveal evidence of actions deserving indictment as war crimes. Those allegations must be independently investigated.

Israel’s allies in the west, chiefly the US, have traditionally defended the country on the grounds that it is a democracy besieged by despotic regimes and terrorists. But while Israeli citizens do enjoy immense political and social freedom, those values do not automatically prevent the state from committing atrocities.

The fact of Israeli democracy is not a reason to resist negotiations with Hamas. That was true before this pointless, brutal war and will remain so afterwards.

Copyright: Guardian/Observer

Posted in crimes against humanity, Gaza massacre, Israeli citizens, Israeli occupation, war crimes | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Israeli scorched earth policy

Posted by terres on January 17, 2009

An update on Gaza genocide

The following information is based on reports from member states, the UN Country Team for the occupied Palestinian territory, humanitarian partners, authorities involved in the humanitarian response, and the news media.

Death and injury toll as of December 16, 2009

Palestinian Fatalities: 1,155 including 370  were children (32%) and 85 women (7%)

Palestinians Injured:  5,015 including 1,745 children (35%) and  percent 740 women (15%)

Israel has bombed the UN headquarters and three hospitals as their occupation forces continue to advance into Gaza City.

Up to 700 people were sheltering in the Al-Quds hospital in Gaza city’s southwestern Tal Al-Hawa district when it was bombarded by Israeli jets. White phosphorus shells set the hospital ablaze on Thursday morning.

Two other hospitals east of Gaza City were also hit by Israeli shells as their tanks advanced into the city. The number of casualties is not yet known.

The Israeli tanks also shelled at a UN compound in Gaza City, setting fire to warehouses of desperately-needed food and medical supplies, and injuring. At least 2 civilians and three UN staff.

After heavy shelling and air strikes in Gaza on 15 January, a large number of civilians are now trapped in their homes, while thousands more are seeking refuge with host families and in UNRWA emergency shelters. In response to warnings from the Israeli army to evacuate their homes, many Palestinians are also fleeing to urban centers. Supplies of essential commodities such as food, cooking gas, water and fuel are at critically low levels, while water, sanitation and electrical infrastructure have all sustained further damage during the continued fighting.

UN Casualties in Gaza since 27 December (including UNRWA Staff, UNRWA Contractors, WFP Contractors)

Fatalities:  9
Injured: 13

Humanitarian Installations/Convoys hit in Gaza since 27 December

UN Buildings: 49
UN Compounds:  1
NGO Installations:  1
NGO Compounds:  Several
Convoys:  4

Gaza Crossings

  • On 15 January, the Palestinian Petroleum Corporation reported that its office at Nahal Oz was damaged by Israeli bulldozers, though the fuel depots were not damaged.
  • In December 2005, an average of 631 trucks per day entered Gaza. In May 2007, 475 trucks per day entered. Since 27 December 2008, an average of 73 trucks per day crossed into Gaza at Kerem Shalom.

Food

Despite the incident on 15 January, UNRWA still operated ten food distribution centres and distributed rations to 696 households. WFP did not distribute food on 15 January but was able to distribute 5,600 kgs of bread on 14 January.

WFP launched Operation Lifeline Gaza on 16 January, which is a one-year emergency operation to provide food assistance to 100,000 people, which increases the total food assistance caseload to 365,000 (24 percent of the population of Gaza).

[Note: The population of Gaza Strip is about 1.5 million with an estimated 300,000 households!]

Health

  • The health system continues to deal with mass casualties and the infrastructure was further compromised when three hospitals were hit during the fighting on 15 January. The ICRC noted that the damage caused by shelling of the Al Quds hospital on 15 January was, “completely and utterly unacceptable based on every known standard of international humanitarian law”. According to the Palestinian MoH, since 27 December, 13 medical personnel have been killed and 22 have been injured while on duty. Sixteen ambulances and 16 health facilities have also been damaged through direct or indirect shelling.
  • The Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported that they receive an average of 130 appeals per day to evacuate wounded individuals; however, Israeli authorities have not approved entry into several areas, particularly in northern Gaza, for several days. The ICRC, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Humanitarian Coordinator have publicly expressed their concerns regarding continued constraints to medical teams’ freedom of movement within Gaza, and the lack of respect of health facilities during fighting.
  • According to the UNFPA, an average of 150-170 babies are born every day in the Gaza Strip; since 27 December, an estimated total of 3,150-3,570 babies have been born in Gaza. UNFPA has expressed serious concern over reports of premature labor and delivery caused by shock and trauma related to the ongoing fighting. They expressed further concern regarding the exposure of premature and newborn infants to hypothermia, due to the lack of electricity. There are also concerns about access to medical facilities for those women who must deliver by c-section.
  • WHO reported that 37 of the 56 Palestinian MoH-managed primary health care centers and two NGO-run centers are functioning, however, there are major interruptions to services due to insecurity. WHO reported that there has been an interruption of treatment for approximately 40 percent of chronically ill patients.

Water and Sanitation

The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) has not been able to assess the impact of damage incurred at the Gaza City Wastewater Treatment Plant during the fighting on 15 January, though there are initial reports that a stream of sewage is flowing from the plant. The CMWU delivered 2,000 litres of fuel to the Beit Lahia Wastewater Treatment Plant which will allow it to function for one week.

Shelter and Non-Food Items

  • No. of people seeking refuge in UNRWA Emergency Shelter [January 14,2009]: Over 45,000 (including 25,300 children)
  • No. of UNRWA Emergency Shelters: 49
  • Increase in number of people since the previous day [13 January]: At least 4,331

UNRWA has opened eight additional emergency shelters each of which is accommodating approximately 1,000 people, which is twice their capacity. However, the majority of displaced people (the total number of which is unknown) are staying with host families.

Infrastructure, Fuel & Electricity

A significant portion of households do not have electricity, in particular those in Gaza City. During the offensive on 15 January, two electrical lines from Israel were destroyed. Israeli forces also destroyed feeder lines from the Gaza Power Plant.

Priority Needs

Ceasefire: Only an immediate ceasefire will be able to address the severe humanitarian and protection crisis that the population of Gaza is faced with.

Protection: Compliance with international humanitarian law is essential to enhance security for civilians within Gaza, allow civilians freedom of movement to reach lifesaving services, and for humanitarian actors to distribute assistance.

Access: A sustained re-opening of all crossings into Gaza is required to meet assistance needs. Improved humanitarian access into Gaza is also required for humanitarian staff, particularly for NGO staff. Increased security and improved access within Gaza is essential for civilians to reach lifesaving services, and for humanitarian actors to
distribute assistance.

Electricity & Fuel: Much of the population of Gaza continues to live without electricity. Hospitals require fuel to run generators on which they rely; water and sanitation facilities require fuel to operate; and households and bakeries require cooking gas.

Wheat grain: Wheat grain is urgently needed for local bakeries and for humanitarian food distributions.

Cash: Cash has still not entered the Gaza Strip and is urgently needed. A system must be established that ensures the regular and predictable monthly transfer of the necessary cash – not only for the international organisations to be able to deliver much needed humanitarian assistance, but also in order to pay the salaries of
Palestinian Authority personnel.

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Posted in Food Crisis, Humanitarian aid, Médecins Sans Frontières, newborn infants, UNRWA | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Arab Shame: Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia

Posted by terres on January 16, 2009

Arab Shame: Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia

Friday, 9 January 2009

The Sources of Arabs’ Shame: Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia

By Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar

It is now over two weeks since Israel started its vicious assault on Gaza resulting, so far, in close to 600 [1,100] dead and thousands of injuries mostly civilians. Israel true to its nature is once again ignoring all international laws and conventions. With its usual thirst for blood of the civilians, Israel is continuing its bombing of workshops, administrative buildings, roads, bridges, fuel depots, prisons, schools and mosques; killing and injuring large number of civilians in one of the world’s most impoverished and densely populated areas of the world. The Israelis are following their old method of destroying everything that makes a society a society, the infrastructure. The collective punishment of the Palestinians for what Hamas or Islamic Jihad is supposed to be doing or has done, reminds one of the collective punishments that Nazis meted out in the occupied areas in Eastern Europe during the WWII.

International Red Cross just issued a statement [ 1] condemning Israel for its brutality against civilians. There are several things that seem to have shocked the Red Cross. In one episode after several days of heavy pressure from the Red Cross, several ambulances were allowed to enter a neighbourhood to evacuate the injured civilians. In one house they found 12 bodies all civilians and mostly women and children. They also found four very young children still alive next to their dead mothers, too weak to stand. They have been holed-up in the same house for close to 4 days.

Apparently the whole neighbourhood was full of dead and injured civilians with Israeli forces only 80 meters away. According to the Red Cross the Israeli forces knew of the situation and not only didn’t do anything to help the civilians, but also were stopping Red Cross from providing assistance. Representative of the Norwegian Red Cross’ People’s Action calls this a war crime.

But this is only the tip of the ice berg. The Israeli forces have begun to use civilians as human shields. According to Amnesty International Israeli forces occupy civilian houses and keep the civilians as hostages on the first floor, while they position their soldiers on the second floor; ensuring that any fire on the house (especially with anti-tank or RPG missiles) kills the civilians as well.

In yet another report, the United Nations condemned Israel for targeting civilians. The head of the UN agency in Gaza running the school that was attacked by Israel forces categorically rejected the claim by Israel that Hamas fighters were in or even near the school. Israel bombed the UN run school, killing 43 children and injuring 100. [ 2]

Israel also targets ambulances and humanitarian relief convoys in Gaza. According to UN, at least one Palestinian was killed when UN relief convoy came under fire from Israeli forces. “The attack took place on Thursday as the lorries travelled to the Erez crossing to pick up supplies that were to have been allowed in during a three-hour ceasefire.” [ 3]

The atrocities committed by Israel is a genocide of a conquered people. Gaza is a concentration camp and no amount of PR can reduce the magnitude of this horrible crime against humanity and decency.

But Israel is Israel. She has shown that cruelty is in her nature. Here I am talking about the successive Israeli governments and not Israeli people in general. I am sure there are many in Israel that if became aware of what really is happening would not approve of it. This of course excludes the settlers and the Zionist movement. These groups like the South African white supremacists consider others to be inferior to them; or that they have the god given right to do as they please.

But states seldom are representative of their people. It is the elite and / or the governing class that makes the decisions. The state of Israel is determined to never allow the Palestinians to have a viable state. The maximum that they are willing to allow is some form of Bantustan (South African) or North American reservation (for Native Americans). With carte blanche from US and most of the European powers, Israel has been implementing this policy. Setting-up such a system takes many years. People’s spirit has to be crushed through collective punishment, economic strangulation and above all excessive and continuing violence. This has to continue for many years so the people lose hope of ever achieving anything more than what is on offer.

This of course cannot be done without the approval of other countries. Israel has the approval of the world’s most powerful nation, the United States. In addition, because of her US connections, she has managed to get a nod and a wink from the Europeans as well. So with this carte blanche in hand she has set forth to change the “reality” on the ground in her favour. By systematically settling extremists in the middle of populated Palestinian areas, she has made the creation of a viable Palestinian state almost impossible. A simple look at the map of the Palestinian territories resembles a Swiss cheese, with pockets of densely populated Palestinian areas surrounded by settlements and their protective military garrisons.

The violence both official (state sponsored) and unofficial (settlers) has been incessant. Couple this violence with economic strangulation and you will see the reasons behind the Palestinians’ anger and frustration. Any resistance is automatically branded as an act of terrorism and punished with even more violence, with US and Europeans cheering the Israelis on the side lines.

If you recall when Georgia invaded the Russian protected enclave of Abkhazia, and met Russian counter attack, the whole Western world with US at its head condemned Russia. Pushing for UN action and even sending warships with “humanitarian” supplies. Russians did not commit one thousandth of the Israeli atrocities and we had the Georgian president and other politician talking day and night about the horrible things the Russians were doing. Yet today we have US and European governments sitting silently watching this genocide taking place without doing anything. US even vetoes resolutions condemning Israeli actions, forgetting that no peace is ever made possible by killing so many innocent women and children.

But whenever a power tries to relocate a group of people by force, the Newton’s Third Law of Motion comes into effect. Newton’s Third Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This means that if you try to imprison a person that person will try to break out. If you try to subjugate a people they will resist. This is the underlying causes of most liberation movements. The same applies to the Palestinians. They are resisting. We can agree or disagree with their methods, but theirs is a reaction to actions taken against them; we call this self-defence.

Israel is trying to push Palestinians into submission and in the process forcing many to leave the occupied territories. They are trying to show the Palestinians that they are alone and resistance in the face of an overwhelming force is suicide. Israel has tried this tactics before and has failed. The children that had to stay with their dead mothers for four days will not forget. The starved people of Gaza are not going to forget this barbarity; and neither shall the people of honour and conscious, regardless of their nationality, Israelis included.

But as for one of those who have followed the Israel’s actions for the past 30 years, I can say that I didn’t expect anything different from Israel. The lies and deceits are all too familiar to fall for again. The current Israeli action in Gaza was not a reaction to the recent event, but planned a year ago. Just read the New York Times article in which among others they interview a senior Israeli military officer [ 4].

Israel is now trying to portray herself as a nation that is defending itself, while the truth is that Israel is a cruel occupying power trying to force a people out of their land. And this is being done with the help of some Arab nations; the very same nations that constantly talk about Arab and Muslim solidarity. These nations are: Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

The Arab Collaborators

The often asked question, when it comes to the Palestinians, is about the role of Arab countries in the Palestinian struggle for freedom. The people not familiar with the political landscape of the area often see the Middle East as two camps, Arab countries on one side and Israel on the other. The reality is totally different. Israel has seldom been alone. Beside its usual American , French, British and other staunch allies, she has had the hidden backing of several Arab countries.

For close to 30 years now, many Arab countries have been collaborating with Israel; some like Egypt (gained independence: 1922) and Jordan (gained independence: 1946) openly while others like Saudi Arabia (founded: 1932), UAE (founded: 1972) and Kuwait (founded: 1961) from behind the scenes. The reasons for this collaboration vary from country to country but they all have one thing in common: the rulers of these countries are all dictators and need foreign protection from their own people. Some such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and UAE were put in power by the British. The founder of Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Aziz bin Saud (the kingdom is name after him) was put in power by the British. The same goes for the others, except Egypt which experienced a coup by the army officers in 1952 resulting in the ousting of the monarchy and the accompanying British influence. But the Western influence returned with Anwar Sadat. All these countries are dictatorships and all are under pressure from their people. What they cannot accept is any democratically elected form of government in their mist. They fear that if an Arab government becomes democratic they may have to become one themselves, hence losing power. One of the things that they love about Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, is that he won the election not by popular vote but by popular method of rigging the election; something that these Arab leaders understand and respect.

In contrast Hamas really represented the aspiration of the people. Soon, Mahmood Abbas term as president is over and he had to stand for re-election something that he would surely lose. In contrast Hamas really won the municipal elections in 2005 and the Parliamentary election in 2006. The elections were supervised by international observers, many from Europe, and US.

Palestinians were fed-up with the corrupt regime of Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah. They wanted to clean house. But as soon as Hamas took over, the US and the Europeans put an embargo on Hamas, calling it a terrorist organisation and not a peace partner. Israel closed the borders and refused to let anything into Gaza. Egypt also did the same.

What is not mentioned much in the media is that this was done with the complete approval of the Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. After all, Egypt could have opened its border for transfer of food and fuel. The reasons behind this hostility were and are that Hamas is a truly elected government and worst of all, Hamas is a branch or an off-shoot of Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt.

Muslim Brotherhood has a branch or related organisation in Jordan as well. Egypt and Jordan are worried that should Hamas survive and show its resistance, their people may get the idea that they can also resist the tyrannical rule of these despots. One must not forget that Muslim Brotherhood represents the only serious challenge to the Mubarak’s rule in Egypt.

Egypt

The 81 year old Hosni Mubarak of Egypt has been “president” since 1981 (28 years). He has won every election with a comfortable majority. He is much loved by his secret services. Prior to every election he arrests and imprisons all the opposition, ensuring a “clean” election. Torture is so widely used and accepted in Egypt that US outsources torturing of some its prisoners to Egypt. This alone should tell you volumes about the nature of Mubarak’s rule. He is now trying hard to crown his playboy son as his successor. But the Americans are not so sure if the son is capable of keeping the 80 million Egyptians in line and is therefore looking for alternative candidates. The head of the feared main secret service is one of the prime candidates along with some of the top generals. Challenging him is the Muslim Brotherhood organisation, enjoying grass root support from all sections of the Egyptian society including Lawyers, doctors, judges and student associations. Not surprisingly, US and Israel call Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.

By all accounts, the Muslim Brotherhood be it in Jordan, Egypt or the occupied territories such as Gaza runs a clean operation, running many charity organisations and providing services to the poor and the needy. As such wherever they are, they pose a threat to the corrupt regimes, since they provide an alternative to the people of that area.

Jordan

King Abdullah II of Jordan, born of a British mother, educated in the West, including the Jesuit Center of Georgetown University, was brought to power by the CIA. His Uncle was a long time crown price, yet after his father died in a US hospital, Madeline Albright, Clinton’s Secretary of Estate flew to Jordan to inform the Jordanians that the King on his death bed had changed his will and named his son Abdullah as his successor.

The majority of this Kingdom of 5 million people are Palestinians who are not very friendly to this King. In 1967 there was a Palestinian uprising (led by PLO) against King Hussein (ruled: 1952-1999, the father of the current king), which resulted in heavy casualties among Palestinians. In addition, the Kingdom is currently full of Iraqi refugees who resent the King’s help to the Americans in invasion of their country. On top of all this, we have the Muslim Brotherhood which tries hard to abolish the monarchy. King Abdullah relies heavily on the US support and backing for staying in power. King Abdullah also sees a natural ally in Israel, a country that can come to its aid in case of another uprising.

Saudi Arabia (House of Saud)

I don’t have to tell you much about Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is run by the 84 year old, ailing Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. His personal wealth is estimated at $21 billion USD. He rules a clan of 8000 princes who in turn rule the country. Saudi Arabia is the centre of corruption in the Arab world. The Saudi rulers corrupt everything with their money. Lacking the necessary mental power or physical courage, they try to stay in power by subterfuge, lies, and deception. They fund the real extremists on the one hand while portraying themselves as the protectors of the Western interest on the other. They preach intolerance and xenophobia to their people decrying the Western decadence, while spending a lot of time enjoying the life in the West. They pay the West for protection against their own people and they pay the extremists to do their fighting elsewhere. Saudi rulers are indeed the worst of them all.

House of Saud is also the financier of the so called “Arab Moderates” and extremism that they cause. House of Saud financed the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. They later financed the Taliban. They also paid the Saddam Hussein to fight Iran. Then they paid the Americans and Egyptians to fight Saddam Hussein. They are the financiers of death and misery. They finance anything, anywhere, as long as this reduces the threat to their illegitimate rule. They are currently financing the civil war in Somalia, bandits in Baluchistan (Pakistan and Iran) and god knows what else. They are detested by their own people and neighbours yet loved by Bush, Cheney and the oil companies. As long as they provide the money and oil the US is willing to tolerate them. And guess what? Muslim Brotherhood hates the House of Saud too. This makes them a threat and hence has to be dealt with.

The Collaboration

As can be seen each country has a good reason to eliminate Hamas, but each is restrained by its population. Israel has no such a restrain imposed on it. She not only can wage a terrible war, but also get assistance from Arab countries. Indeed it is the second time (the first was the Lebanon invasion of 2006) that Israel is getting open and solid support from these Arab countries. The invasion of Gaza was discussed in Egypt before its implementation. Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are Israel’s active partners.

Egypt is actively involved in stopping all aids from getting to Palestinians in Gaza save a token few trucks. These few trucks are allowed to go through so they can be filmed and shown to Egyptian people. All demonstrations are banned and all Egyptian volunteers for Gaza are either arrested or sent back.

There are hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the Muslim world that are willing to go to the aid of the Palestinians, but the Egyptian authorities don’t allow them passage. Egyptians even stop medical aid from passing through their territories. This is part of a report from Associated Press:

“RAFAH, Egypt: Frustration is mounting at Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip, where many local and foreign doctors are stuck after Egyptian authorities denied them entry into the coastal area now under an Israeli ground invasion.

Anesthesiologist Dimitrios Mognie from Greece idles his time at a cafe near the border, drinking tea and chatting with other doctors, aid workers and curious Egyptians.

“This is a shame,” said Mognie, who decided to use his vacation time to try help Gazans. He thought entering through Egypt, which has a narrow border with the Hamas-ruled strip, was his best bet.

“That in 2009 they have people in need of help from a doctor and we can go to help and they won’t let us. This is crazy,” he added.” [ 5].

In addition there are many Iranian cargo planes full of food and medicine which have been sitting on the tarmacs in Egypt for days waiting for permission to deliver their cargo. Egyptians even denied the medical aid sent by the son of the Libyan President Qaddafi to land in Egypt [ 6].

One thing is clear: these three countries do not want the Israelis to fail in their mission of totally destroying Gaza. Hosni Mubarak said so himself. The daily Haaretz reported that Hosni Mubarak had told European ministers on a peace mission that Hamas must not be allowed to win the ongoing war in Gaza.

As Egypt physically aids the Israeli military by denying food, fuel and medicine to the civilians, The House of Saud helps Israel by giving her time and diplomatic cover. When Israel started its invasion there was an immediate call for an Arab summit. Saudi Arabia and Jordan (along with Egypt of course) delayed the summit. The Saudis along with the UAE said that they had another meeting to attend to and therefore Palestinian issue had to wait. After a few days when the summit was eventually held, they issued the same old statements. Yet this time same as the Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006, they blamed the victims. In a statement Saudi Arabia blamed Hamas for Israel’s continuing offensive in the Gaza Strip. Saudi Arabia, after blaming Hamas, declared that it will not even consider an oil embargo on Israel’s supporters. She then again blamed Hamas.

By this time, the three Arab countries along with Kuwait and UAE began singing the old song: international community is not doing anything about the catastrophe that is taking place in Gaza. It seems that these Arab tyrants have no shame at all. This reminds me of a quote from Marquis De Sade (1740-1814): “One is never so dangerous when one has no shame, than when one has grown too old to blush.”

These Arab leaders (many are indeed too old to blush) are complicit in the murder of so many civilians, especially young children. According to Agence France-Presse, quoting the medics on the ground, fully one third of all people killed have been children [ ]. How can these Arab leaders justify this to their people?

The answer is that they cannot. Israel knows this and for the second time can show the Arab street that their leaders are nothing but a bunch of old hypocrites. These Arab leaders are now exposed and can do nothing but to cooperate fully with Israel and US. What stand between them and their people’s rage is their army and secret services; which in turn are supported by US.

Israel has cleverly exposed these leaders for what they are: collaborators of the worst kind. These Arab leaders have brought an unimaginable shame to their people. To quote Lucien Bouchard: I have never known a more vulgar expression of betrayal and deceit. Our hope is now with the people of these countries to clean this stain from their honour.

Source: scoop. co.nz.  – Copyright the author or news agency.

NOTES
[1] ABC News Norway. “Røde Kors sjokkert over Israel”(Red Cross Shocked by Israel), 8 January 2009.
http://www.abcnyheter.no/node/81001

[2] Aljazeera.net. ” UN: No fighters in targeted school”, 8 January 2009
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/20091805410769377.html

[3] Aljazeera.net. ” Israel fires on UN Gaza convoy”, 8 January 2009
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/2009181119551714.html

[4] nytimes.com. “For Israel, 2006 Lessons but Old Pitfalls”, 7 January 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/world/middleeast/07military.html?_r=1&em=&pagewanted=print

[5] The Associated Press. “Doctors stuck at bottleneck on Egypt-Gaza border”. 6 January 2009
http://www.iht.com/bin/printfriendly.php?id=19117028

[6] google.com: hosted news. ” Egypt denies Kadhafi’s son permission to land at airport”. 6 January 2009
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jnJ0VpCH7xYJooYYoiHuxIc8Femg

[7] Agence France-Presse. “Children make up third of Gaza dead”, 7 January 2009
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/world/view/20090107-182021/Children-make-up-third-of-Gaza-dead

*************

Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar lives in Norway. He is a management consultant and a contributing writer for many online journals. He can be contacted at : Bakhtiarspace-articles@yahoo.no

Posted in International Red Cross, Israeli genocide, shelling of UN HQ, war crimes | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

UN Report on Ongoing Genocide in Gaza

Posted by terres on January 13, 2009

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Situation Report on the Humanitarian Situation in the Gaza Strip – No. 9
12 January 2009

The following information is based on reports from member states, the UN Country Team for the occupied Palestinian territory, humanitarian partners and authorities involved in the humanitarian response.

General Overview

1. The Israeli military operation has entered its seventeenth day. On 10 January, leaflets were dropped on Gaza City, warning of an escalation of the operation. Israel has since deployed reservist units inside Gaza to support regular troops. With continued fighting, an increasing number of Palestinians are fleeing their homes to seek refuge with hosts or in shelters. The Palestinian casualty rate is also rapidly increasing. Continued air strikes are causing extensive damage to homes and public infrastructure while jeopardizing water, sanitation and medical services.

2. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH) (as at 1600 hrs local time, 1400 hrs GMT), the number of Palestinian casualties had increased to 910 fatalities, including a high number of civilians (at least 75 women, 292 children and twelve medical personnel). At least 4,250 Palestinians have been injured, including at least 1,497 children and 626 women as of 12 January.

3. As at 1500 hrs (1300 hrs GMT), sixteen rockets had been fired into Israel from Gaza including five Grad rockets. Twenty-two rockets were fired from Palestine into Israel on 11 January. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that since 27 December there have been four Israeli fatalities and over 250 Israelis injured.


In this photo released by the Israeli Occupation Forces, Israeli soldiers walk towards the northern Gaza Strip to kill women and children January 12, 2009. [Photo not included in the UN report.]

4. On 12 January, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution condemning Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip and accusing it of “grave” human rights violations against Palestinians (see Resolution attached). The Resolution includes the following: a decision, “to dispatch an urgent independent international fact-finding mission…to investigate all violations of international human rights law and International Humanitarian Law by the occupying power, Israel, against the Palestinian People…”; “requests the Secretary General of the United Nations to investigate the latest targeting of UNRWA facilities in Gaza”; and “requests the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights to report on the violations of human rights of the Palestinian people by…Israel, through a) strengthening the field presence of the office in the occupied Gaza Strip; b) [submitting] periodic reports to the Human Rights Council on the implementation of this resolution…” Thirty-three states voted in favour of the resolution, thirteen abstained and one voted against the resolution.

5. The UN Secretary General will travel to the region during the week of 12 January to meet with leaders and advocate for the expedited implementation of Security Council Resolution 1860. …


Palestinians are reflected in a puddle of blood mixed with water after an Israeli air strike in Gaza January 12, 2009. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem. [Image NOT included in the UN report and may be subject to copyright.]

Protection

9. Insecurity continues to constrain access to civilians in need of medical care, as well as the distribution of humanitarian assistance. On 11 January, the ICRC stated that, “the big challenge [in Gaza] at the moment is to have access to the victims in such an unpredictable and dangerous context”. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) suspended activities in the Al Zeitoun and Al Atatra regions as of 11 January, after their ambulances were exposed to gunfire in those regions on 9 and 10 January. Two ambulance personnel were injured and one ambulance was damaged in these incidents. The PRCS further noted that only five of 135 recent attempts to coordinate access to affected areas were successful; however, “in the five cases [the PRCS was] not able to complete [the] humanitarian tasks because of the obstacles and the gunfire…”

10. On 12 January, there was a unilateral suspension of military activity by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) between 1000 — 1300 hrs (0700-1000 hrs GMT).

11. On 11 January, citing the lack of safe spaces for children in Gaza, UNICEF expressed grave concern about the mental health of children who have endured over two weeks of conflict. It was highlighted that UNICEF teams are ready to be deployed to meet children’s psychosocial needs, as the situation allows.

Food

12. Due to shortages in wheat flour, all but 12 bakeries have stopped functioning, and those operating are relying on a loan of 300 MTs of flour from WFP, provided on 11 January. Food for infants and for malnourished children is not available, and fruit and vegetables are scarce because farmers have been unable to harvest due to
insecurity and transport of products from the south has been constrained.

13. Humanitarian agencies continue to face obstacles to the distribution of food aid within Gaza. The three-hour lull is not sufficient for food distributions; to meet urgent needs, agencies continue distributions outside of the lull, thereby exposing them to serious security risks. On 11 January, UNRWA distributed 2,129 food parcels for hardship cases, large families and households that had been stranded for two days, in addition to normal food distributions. UNRWA distributed 92 MTs to 1,273 families and conducted an emergency distribution of 4,200 kilos of bread.

Health
14. Hospital emergency rooms and staff are severely overstretched due to the high number of wounded Palestinians who require treatment. In particular, WHO has warned that an increased number of patients need to be evacuated (through the Rafah crossing or otherwise) in order to free up space in the Shifa Hospital intensive care unit. On 12 January, the PRCS also noted that, “many wounded people are dying as a result of not accessing urgent medical attention”.

15. On 12 January, the ICRC surgical team in Shifa hospital confirmed an increase in the number of children arriving at the emergency room. Furthermore, the ICRC reported that according to the Palestinian MoH on 12 January, almost 50 percent of all wounded people currently arriving at Gaza hospitals are women and children.

16. Primary health care also continues to deteriorate: the World Health Organization reported that 34 out of 56 primary health care centres are open, but there is a 90 percent reduction in visits because the centres cannot be reached due to insecurity.

Water and Sanitation
17. Due to insecurity and a lack of spare parts, none of the damage sustained by the water and wastewater networks has been repaired. The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) received initial reports that the Gaza City Wastewater Treatment Plant had leaked 200,000 cubic metres of wastewater, due to damage to the embankment of one of the treatment ponds. Security permitting, assessments will be carried out to confirm the situation at the plant in the coming days. The overflow of wastewater poses serious public health concerns related to the spread of water borne diseases.

18. The PRCS will distribute 500 UNICEF family kits for water purification and 29,952 bottles of drinking water (1.5 litres each), which entered Gaza on 11 January.

19. On 11 January, UNRWA provided 41,000 litres of fuel to municipalities for solid waste collection. The Gaza Municipality estimates that 3,000-4,000 tonnes of rubbish have not been collected throughout the Gaza Strip since 3 January.

Shelter and Non-Food Items
20. The number of people seeking refuge in UNRWA shelters continues to rise: as of the evening of 11 January, UNRWA was accommodating 28,116 people in 36 emergency shelters. During 11 January, the number of displaced persons seeking shelter increased by 2,240, which was the largest increase reported thus far in the Gaza and Kahn Yunis Govornates. To reduce overcrowding in existing shelters, five additional shelters were opened on 11 January and two more were opened on 12 January. Shelters in the North Gaza and Gaza Governorates continue to face a shortage of non-food items.

21. For those who remain in their homes, a shortage of shelter materials, such as plastic sheeting, is constraining the repair of damage, which is necessary to provide protection against the cold.

Infrastructure, Fuel and Electricity
22. Approximately 40 percent of the North Gaza, Gaza and Middle Area Governorates are now receiving power for 8-12 hours per day after the repair of localized damage on 11 and 12 January. GEDCO is awaiting confirmation for safe passage to repair other localized damage and to repair the three damaged electricity lines coming from
Israel.

23. On 12 January, UNRWA escorted five trucks of industrial fuel (235,000 litres) to the Gaza Power Plant; 360,000 litres of industrial fuel remain at the Palestinian side of the Nahal Oz pipeline and UNRWA is awaiting confirmation from the Israeli authorities for safe passage to collect this fuel.

Read Full Report Here (.PDF)

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Israeli War Crimes Mount

Posted by terres on January 12, 2009

Outcry Over Israel’s War Crimes

“We Are Very Violent”

By JONATHAN COOK

Counterpunch

January 9, 2009

Criticism by international watchdog groups over the increasing death toll in Gaza mounted this week as the first legal actions inside Israel were launched accusing the army of intentionally harming the enclave’s civilian population.

The petitions – over attacks on medical personnel and the shelling of United Nations schools in Gaza – follow statements by senior Israeli commanders that they have been using heavy firepower to protect soldiers during their advance on built-up areas. “We are very violent,” one told Israeli media.

There is also growing evidence that Israeli forces have been firing phosphorus shells over densely populated areas in a move that risks violating international law by inflicting burns on civilians.


[White phosphorus shell  fired by Israeli forces explodes above the northern Gaza Strip.] January 11, 2009. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen. Image may be subject to copyright.

The Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, meanwhile, called the events in Gaza a “new Nakba”, referring to the catastrophe that dispossessed the Palestinians in 1948. The Palestinian Authority revealed that it was planning to seek the prosecution of Israel’s leaders for war crimes in the international courts.

The legal challenges follow a wave of Israeli attacks on schools, universities, mosques, hospitals and ambulances in the past few days. The army claims the attacks are justified because the sites are being used by Hamas fighters.

A petition to the Israeli courts was announced on Wednesday by Taleb al Sanaa, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament, over the shelling on Tuesday of a UN school in the Jabaliya refugee camp that killed at least 40 Palestinians sheltering there.

UN officials, noting that they had passed on the school’s GPS co-ordinates to Israel and that it was clearly marked with a UN flag, insisted that only civilians had sought refuge at the school. The UN has demanded an investigation.

Mr al Sanaa said the petition would name the prime minister, Ehud Olmert, the foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, and Ehud Barak, the defence minister, as the responsible parties. “Israel needs to decide whether it wants to be a terrorist organisation like Hamas or respect international law,” he said.

A further petition has been launched by eight Israeli human rights groups, demanding that Israel’s Supreme Court ban the army from targeting ambulances and medical personnel.

The petition cites a large number of cases in which Israel has fired on ambulances, arguing that as a result medics have been unable to treat the wounded or transport them to hospital.

Palestinian medics said 21 of their staff have been killed by Israeli fire and many more wounded, according to reports on Al Jazeera TV. The Al Durra hospital in Gaza City was hit on Tuesday, and a day later three mobile clinics run by a Danish charity, DanChurchAid, were destroyed.

The International Committee of the Red Cross dropped its usual diplomatic language this week in denouncing Israel’s refusal to allow medical teams to tend the wounded.

During a three-hour pause in the fighting on Wednesday rescuers managed to reach the Zaytoun neighbourhood, south-east of Gaza City, that was extensively bombed at the start of the week.

Four children were found close to starvation alongside 15 bodies, including those of their mothers. Many other civilians were found dead in the area, and others are believed still to be in hiding. Israeli tanks were stationed nearby the destroyed buildings during the whole period.

Pierre Wettach, a Red Cross spokesman, called Israel’s delay in allowing a medical evacuation “shocking” and “unacceptable”. He added: “The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded.”

Physicians for Human Rights in Israel added its voice, criticising the Israeli authorities for repeatedly ignoring requests to move seriously wounded civilians.

The UN suspended its aid operations on Thursday after two of its drivers were killed and others wounded by Israeli fire directed at one of its relief convoys during another three-hour ceasefire.

John Ging, head of the UN relief agency in Gaza, said: “They were co-ordinating their movements with the Israelis, as they always do, only to find themselves being fired at from the ground troops.”

Palestinian sources and international observers warned that the death toll among civilians is rising rapidly as Israel’s ground invasion pushes deeper into Gaza.

Al Haq, a Palestinian legal rights group, warned that 80 per cent of the more than 750 Palestinians killed in the fighting so far have been civilians. According to figures cited by the World Health Organisation, at least 40 per cent have been children. Another 3,000 Gazans have been wounded.

Israeli commanders were reported in the Israeli media to be unsurprised by the heavy toll on civilians of their latest actions, saying their priority was to protect soldiers.

“For us, being cautious means being aggressive,” one told the Haaretz newspaper. “From the minute we entered, we’ve acted like we’re at war. That creates enormous damage on the ground.”

The newspaper said the government had taken into account the likely high number of Palestinian civilian casualties when it approved the ground operation a week ago.

Another soldier, identified as Lt Col Amir, told Israeli TV on Wednesday: “We are very violent. We are not shying away from any method of preventing casualties among our troops.”

Among the dubious tactics the army appears to be resorting to is use of white phosphorus shells, which burn intensely on exposure to air creating the firework-type explosions characteristic of Israel’s shelling of Gaza.

Although the shells produce dense clouds of smoke to cover military operations, they also cause severe burns on contact with skin.

Photographs of pale blue artillery shells lined up by tanks stationed on the edge of Gaza have been identified as American-made phosphorus munitions. Neil Gibson, a missiles expert for Jane’s, told the London Times that the shells were an “improved model” that burned for up to 10 minutes.

Although such shells are allowed when used solely as a smoke screen, they are banned as a chemical weapon if used as an anti-personnel munition. Palestinian and international medics in Gaza have reported large numbers of burns victims with injuries difficult to treat.

Yesterday, Amnesty International also accused Israeli soldiers of using Palestinian civilians as human shields – a charge Israel has repeatedly levelled against Hamas.

Malcolm Smart, a spokesman, said: “Israeli soldiers have entered and taken up positions in a number of Palestinian homes, forcing families to stay in a ground-floor room while they use the rest of their house as a military base and sniper position.”

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilizations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jkcook.net.

A version of this article originally appeared in The National (www.thenational.ae ), published in Abu Dhabi.

Related Links:

Posted in Israeli attacks on universities, Israeli attacks on ambulances, Israeli attacks on hospitals, Israeli attacks on mosques, Israeli attacks on schools | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gaza: Holocaust in the making

Posted by terres on January 11, 2009

What You Don’t Know About Gaza

By Rashid Khalidi

[January 7, 2009 – NY Times]

NEARLY everything you’ve been led to believe about Gaza is wrong. Below are a few essential points that seem to be missing from the conversation, much of which has taken place in the press, about Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip.

THE GAZANS
Most of the people living in Gaza are not there by choice. The majority of the 1.5 million people crammed into the roughly 140 square miles of the Gaza Strip belong to families that came from towns and villages outside Gaza like Ashkelon and Beersheba. They were driven to Gaza by the Israeli Army in 1948.

THE OCCUPATION
The Gazans have lived under Israeli occupation since the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel is still widely considered to be an occupying power, even though it removed its troops and settlers from the strip in 2005. Israel still controls access to the area, imports and exports, and the movement of people in and out. Israel has control over Gaza’s air space and sea coast, and its forces enter the area at will. As the occupying power, Israel has the responsibility under the Fourth Geneva Convention to see to the welfare of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

THE BLOCKADE
Israel’s blockade of the strip, with the support of the United States and the European Union, has grown increasingly stringent since Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in January 2006. Fuel, electricity, imports, exports and the movement of people in and out of the Strip have been slowly choked off, leading to life-threatening problems of sanitation, health, water supply and transportation.

The blockade has subjected many to unemployment, penury and malnutrition. This amounts to the collective punishment — with the tacit support of the United States — of a civilian population for exercising its democratic rights.

THE CEASE-FIRE
Lifting the blockade, along with a cessation of rocket fire, was one of the key terms of the June cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. This accord led to a reduction in rockets fired from Gaza from hundreds in May and June to a total of less than 20 in the subsequent four months (according to Israeli government figures). The cease-fire broke down when Israeli forces launched major air and ground attacks in early November; six Hamas operatives were reported killed.

WAR CRIMES
The targeting of civilians, whether by Hamas or by Israel, is potentially a war crime. Every human life is precious. But the numbers speak for themselves: Nearly 700 Palestinians [now about 1,000 people,] most of them civilians, have been killed since the conflict broke out at the end of last year. In contrast, there have been around a dozen Israelis killed, many of them soldiers. Negotiation is a much more effective way to deal with rockets and other forms of violence. This might have been able to happen had Israel fulfilled the terms of the June cease-fire and lifted its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

This war on the people of Gaza isn’t really about rockets. Nor is it about “restoring Israel’s deterrence,” as the Israeli press might have you believe. Far more revealing are the words of Moshe Yaalon, then the Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff, in 2002: “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”

Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Arab studies at Columbia, is the author of the forthcoming “Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance in the Middle East.”

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

What Others Say:

‘A boy next to me, he went crazy, he was overwhelmed, he saw the massacre, the street was full of blood, the nails from the shells were as long as your hand’

“Mohammad Shadoura, aged nine, had been playing marbles with friends in the street at the time. Mohammad’s father, Bassem Ahmad Shadoura, was close by. He describes the scene: ‘I saw an explosion, after which there was black smoke everywhere – the area was pure black. They hit twice in the same area. I saw a boy with his finger in the air saying I am a witness to God’ and I picked him up to take him out. Then I saw my son, he had been hit twice, in the legs and in the head. His brain was out’.”

“When does the mandate of victimhood expire?” he asked. “At what point does the Nazi genocide of Europe’s Jews cease to excuse the state of Israel from the demands of international law and of common humanity?”

It all depends where you live. That was the geography of Israel’s propaganda, designed to demonstrate that we softies – we little baby-coddling liberals living in our secure Western homes …

Israeli forces shelled a house in the Gaza Strip which they had moved around 110 Palestinians into 24 hours earlier, the UN quotes witnesses as saying.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) called it “one of the gravest incidents” since the beginning of the offensive. The shelling at Zeitoun, a south-east suburb of Gaza City, on 5 January killed some 30 people, the report said.

“There is no humanitarian crisis in the [Gaza] Strip.”

Eighty percent of Gazans were dependent on humanitarian assistance during the crippling 18-month siege of Gaza but before the outbreak of hostilities.

The Israeli offensive, which has killed at least 785 Palestinians, has made at least 80% of the population dependent on donated food, said Nancy Ronan, spokeswoman with the U.N.’s World Food Program.

United Nations says as many as 257 children have been killed in Gaza [January 9, 2009]

At least 783 Palestinians killed [257 children killed,] 1080 wounded. [13 Israelis killed, three of them civilians.]

The longest military occupation in the history – A must watch video

Twenty-five years ago, I made a film called Palestine Is Still The Issue. It was about a nation of people – the Palestinians – forced off their land and later subjected to a military occupation by Israel. An occupation condemned by the United Nations and almost every country in the world, including Britain.

Posted in blockade of Gaza Strip, Israel, military, Palestinian, United States | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »