Archive | July 23rd, 2014

Holocaust in Gaza: Shejaiya assault defines grimmest day


Lyse Doucet in Gaza: ”Two patients were killed in their beds”

Every day, for 12 days, the tally of casualties was grim, the details often grisly.

Every day, the rockets kept soaring in a trail of white vapour out of Gaza and Israeli air strikes pounded this blighted sliver of land along the Mediterranean.

Then came the ground offensive which intensified Israel’s campaign. Then came Shejaiya.

Israel’s assault on a densely populated neighbourhood brought the greatest fighting and the grimmest news in this, the third Gaza conflagration in just six years.

Gaza’s list of the dead crossed 500 and keeps climbing, according to figures from the health ministry here. The UN says the vast majority are civilians; many are children.

Israel’s casualty toll was much lower. But confirmation that 13 soldiers were killed in the fight caused grief in a country where everyone serves in the army.

Israel said its troops met “a huge level of resistance” as they moved in to destroy “extensive tunnelling” underground, and the infrastructure for what it calculates as 10% of the rockets being fired into Israel.

Hamas fighters in Shejaiya, 20 July 2014 Hamas fighters were visible on the streets of Shejaiya

In Shejaiya we saw Hamas spotters taking up positions on empty streets, talking into telephones and walkie-talkies as they maintained a lookout.

Colleagues who arrived later in the day saw gunmen with black balaclavas and concealed weapons moving through the neighbourhood. And journalists and medics got caught in crossfire when a two-hour humanitarian truce was shattered in minutes.

‘Where do we go?’

As Israel digs in deeper, the fighting intensifies.

For many days now, Israel’s Operation Protective Edge had almost seemed to be a ghost war. In areas we were able to reach, Hamas fighters had only been visible by the rockets they fired, and through defiant messages on their TV and radio networks.

Almost every day Israel reports that it has thwarted infiltration attempts through underground tunnels.

On the ground it has been women and children who keep emerging from front lines as they flee their homes close to Israel’s border.

It was the same in Shejaiya, only worse.

When we arrived in the neighbourhood in the morning, after a night of Israeli shelling, the streets were largely deserted as black and white smoke billowed on the horizon, amid incessant artillery fire.

Residents were still escaping whenever and however they could. Some families darted out of doorways, one by one, into battered cars when they thought it was safe to make a run; others moved like a human stream flowing away in all directions.

Israel said it repeatedly warned residents to leave the area.

“We asked them to leave again and again,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told BBC Arabic TV.

“We called them up, we texted, and we sent them messages. But Hamas said ‘don’t leave’,” – a reference to allegations that Hamas is using civilians as “human shields.”

“Warning?” said Anas, a 20-year-old university student with a mop of curly black hair who stood on a street corner. “They don’t warn us, they kill us.”

Whenever we ask Gazans that question, they reply: “Where do we go?”

Displaced Palestinians rest at a UN school in Gaza (21 July 2014) Many who fled Shejaiya have taken refuge in schools run by the UN

The UN says 43% of Gaza is now “affected by evacuation warnings” or declared a “no-go area”.

In the past four days, the numbers seeking shelter in UN-run schools shot up by 400%.

The UN is running out of supplies, morgues run out of space, and hospital wards are packed.

On day 13, Gaza’s main Shifa Hospital took in the greatest number of casualties since this war began.

As the day wore on, one family after another huddled on a wooden bench at the entrance waiting for news of loved ones inside the emergency surgery unit.

The ambulances kept screaming in, bringing stretchers with them.

The body of a Palestinian killed in Shejaiya is carried away (20 July 2014) Emergency crews and ordinary civilians helped carry away the dead and injured

By early afternoon it was the turn of four inconsolable girls, who sat with their wailing grandmother unable to offer much comfort.

When their father Nihad joined them, he knelt close to deliver the bad news: their mother, 28-year-old Israa, was dead.

Then, for a moment, the four girls lost their father too. He fainted and lay slumped on the floor as medics rushed to help.

As the days go by, there’s a sad familiar choreography to Gaza’s recurrent wars. As the news gets grimmer, the demands mount for an urgent ceasefire.

And as the chorus of concern grows, both sides know their time may be running out, so military operations escalate, and the human cost deepens.

And this time, mediation is more complicated.

In 2012, neighbouring Egypt, then led by the Muslim Brotherhood, had more clout with Hamas. Now would-be peace-makers criss-cross the region from Qatar to Istanbul to Cairo, looking for the right voice at the right time.

The UN’s top diplomat is already in the region, and Washington’s man has just arrived.

Day 13 is over, and no-one can say whether day 14 will be any better. There is always the fear it could get even worse.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Gaza, Human RightsComments Off on Holocaust in Gaza: Shejaiya assault defines grimmest day

The War of Ideas in the Middle East


The deafening silence around the Hamas proposal for a 10-year truce

Francesca Albanese on July 22, 2014 14

Palestinian rescue workers search for survivors under the rubble of a house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike, in Gaza City, Monday, July 21, 2014. (Photo: Khalil Hamra/ AP)

Palestinian rescue workers search for survivors under the rubble of a house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike, in Gaza City, Monday, July 21, 2014. (Photo: Khalil Hamra/ AP)

During its first 14 days, the Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip has left a toll of over 500 dead, the vast majority of whom civilians, and many more injured. Thousands of houses were targeted and destroyed together with other essential civilian infrastructures. Over one hundred thousand civilians have been displaced. By the time you will read this article the numbers will have grown higher and, despicably, no real truce seems in sight. When I say real, I mean practicable, agreeable to both sides and sustainable for some time.

The Israeli government, followed suit by Western media and governments, was quick to put the blame on Hamas for that. Hamas – they claim – had an opportunity to accept a truce brokered by Egypt – and refused it. Others have already explained at length why this proposal crafted without any consultations with Hamas, was hard to accept by Hamas.

Much less noticed by the Western media was that Hamas and Islamic Jihad had meanwhile proposed a 10 year truce on the basis of 10 – very reasonable – conditions. While Israel was too busy preparing for the ground invasion, why didn’t anyone in the diplomatic community spend a word about this proposal? The question is all the more poignant as this proposal was in essence in line with what many international experts as well as the United Nations have asked for years now, and included some aspects that Israel had already considered as feasible requests in the past.

The main demands of this proposal revolve around lifting the Israeli siege in Gaza through the opening of its borders with Israel to commerce and people, the establishment of an international seaport and airport under U.N. supervision, the expansion of the permitted fishing zone in the Gaza sea to 10 kilometers, and the revitalization of Gaza industrial zone. None of these demands is new. The United Nations among others have repeatedly demanded the lifting of the siege, which is illegal under international law, as a necessary condition to end the dire humanitarian situation in the Strip. The facilitation of movement of goods and people between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip had already been stipulated in the Agreement on Movement and Access (AMA) signed between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 2005. Even the construction of a port and the possibility of an airport in Gaza had already been stipulated in the AMA, though the actual implementation never followed. The requested increase of the permitted fishing zone is less than what envisaged in the 1994 Oslo Agreements and it was already part of the 2012 ceasefire understanding. Unhindered fishermen’s access to the sea, without fear of being shot or arrested and having boats and nets confiscated by Israeli patrols is essential to the 3000 Gaza fishermen struggling to survive today by fishing in a limited area which is overfished and heavily polluted. The revitalization of the Gaza industrial zone, which has progressively been dismantled since the 2005 disengagement and by continuous military operations, was already considered a crucial Palestinian interest at the time of the 2005 Disengagement.

The proposed truce also demands the withdrawal of Israeli tanks from the Gaza border and the Internationalization of the Rafah Crossing and its placement under international supervision. The presence of international forces on the borders and the withdrawal of the Israeli army requested by Hamas is unsurprising, considered the heavy toll of casualties by Israeli fire in the Access Restricted Areas near the Israeli border (i.e. an area of 1.5km along the border comprising 35% of Gaza land and 85% of its whole arable land). The international presence should guarantee that Egyptian and Israeli security concerns are equally met.

The proposal also requests Israel to release the Palestinian prisoners whom had been freed as part of the deal to liberate Gilat Shalit and were arrested after the killing of the three Israeli youths in June 2014 in the West Bank; that Israel refrains from interfering in the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah; and that the permits for worshippers to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque be eased.

Not only are these conditions sensible in light of previous agreements but, especially those who pertain to the lift of the siege, are the minimum standards that Hamas and the people of Gaza could accept in the current circumstances. As Raji Sourani reports, the most common sentence from people in Gaza after the announcement of the Egyptian ‘brokered’ ceasefire was “Either this situation really improves or it is better to just die”. The dire circumstances under which Gazans have lived in the last 7 years have indeed evoked in many the image of the enclave as “the world’s largest open air prison”. A prison which is overcrowded and where in 6 years there will no longer be enough drinkable water or capacity to provide other essential services, as a recent UN report denounces. Facing this gloomy context, for many the continuous launch of rockets from Gaza is a response to the siege and the harsh conditions imposed by the occupation.

One could imagine that an agreement on the basis of the Hamas proposal could not only stop the current round of hostilities but also pave the way towards a lasting solution of the conflict. However Israel has shown no interest in considering this proposal and continues to prefer the military option. As a result one wonders whether Israel really wants a long lasting resolution of the conflict. This resolution would necessarily require compromises on the Israeli side, including relinquishing control over the West Bank and Gaza. Netanyahu recently made it perfectly clear that this option is off the table. An eventual agreement between Israel and Hamas would further strengthen the legitimacy of Hamas in the newly achieved Palestinian unity, which is a prerequisite for any lasting peace. Legitimizing the Palestinian unity is something the Israeli government is avoiding like the plague as it would push forward their quest for justice in the international arena.

Perhaps more surprisingly, the international community – with the exception of Turkey and Qatar – has spent no words on the Hamas truce proposal although many of the points of the proposal already enjoy international support. This refusal to deal with the proposal is particularly problematic in the current context. Without any pressure by the international community, Israel, the party who has the upper hand in this conflict, will feel legitimized to keep refusing negotiations for a real truce with Hamas. Truces and negotiations are made with enemies not friends. International organizations and Western leaders, echoing Israel and the United States, maintain that Hamas is a terrorist organization and thus any direct negotiations with it are embargoed.

Hamas resorts to violence, which is often indiscriminate and targets civilians – also due to the lack of precision weapons. But so does Israel – no matter how sophisticated its weaponry is. If the point is to help parties negotiate, both parties have to be treated equally, encouraged to consider measures other than military ones and accept compromises based on international law. Especially when sensible proposals are on the table as in this case. The firm refusal to engage with Hamas at this point epitomizes the failure of the international community to deal with the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Unless the international community reverts this pattern by taking a honest stand grounded in international law and diplomacy, the plight of Gaza and of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will continue.

Francesca Albanese is an international lawyer based in Washington DC. After working eight years for the United Nations including in the Middle East and in Jerusalem, the heart of the conflict over Palestine, she is currently engaged in research and advocacy on various humanitarian issues including the end of the military occupation in Palestine and the full recognition of Palestinians’ fundamental rights under international law.

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Israeli artists opposing the war come under attack on social networks



July 22, 2014

Actors, singers and directors are expressing sympathy for the victims on both sides. That irks some rightists.

By Dafna Arad

Orna Banai. A self-described ‘weirdo left-wing Arab-lover.’  Photo by Ofer Vaknin

Shira Geffen. ‘My ability to feel empathy for both sides does not make me anti-Israel.’ Photo by Assaf Snir

Comedienne and actress Orna Banai is just one example. She described herself as a “weirdo left-wing Arab-lover” on a news broadcast — and yes, expressed sorrow over the deaths of civilians on both sides and said she opposed the war. In turn, wags on social networks have turned the guns on her, mixing in a dose of misogyny and homophobia; Banai is a declared lesbian.

The actress discussed her views with a local Tel Aviv newspaper, whose editor provided the following headline: “Orna Banai: ‘I’m ashamed that this is my people.’”

Over the weekend, a Hebrew-language Facebook page surfaced entitled “Orna Banai and anti-Israel artists to Gaza.” The page’s custodians made sure to add a subtitle: “Over there they’ll be happy to rape you and your daughters in front of your husband, and only afterward slaughter him as well.”

During the Jerusalem Film Festival, which ended Sunday, a raft of directors called for a cease-fire in a letter; one of them was Shira Geffen. None other than Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat replied in a Facebook post, referring to the directors as “a disgrace to the State of Israel.”

When Geffen’s film was about to be screened, the director went onstage, read out the names of four Palestinian children who had been killed on a Gaza beach, and asked those who felt as she did to stand for a moment of silence.

The responses were harsh. A Hebrew-language Facebook page entitled “Contra B’tselem” — referring to the rights group — published a post reading: “Does such a woman have a place in the State of Israel?! Does such a woman deserve that Israeli army troops should protect her while she sleeps?! Our troops are fighting and she stands for a moment of silence for the enemy that fires on us without letup?!

“Shira Geffen, you are a disgrace to the country! Why don’t you stand in silence in memory of Staff Sgt. Eitan Barak, a combat soldier who fell defending the country? We are ashamed that there are people like you in the country. And it’s even sadder to me that Staff Sgt. Eitan Barak, of blessed memory, was killed as he protected a woman like you. What does your brother [the singer Aviv Geffen] sing? We’re a screwed-up generation? Well, we’re a screwed-up generation because of people like you!”

Shira Geffen’s own Facebook post about the incident reads: “The fact that expressing empathy for the four dead children draws such hateful and violent responses shows how low our society has sunk. With your permission, I would like to come out of the closet — when a child is killed, it hurts me no matter whether he is an Israeli or a Palestinian, from Ashkelon or from Gaza.”

According to Geffen, “My very ability to feel empathy for both sides does not make me anti-Israel. I can have compassion and mourn with the three mothers who lost their children in the abominable terror attack of kidnapping and murder, just the same as I can feel compassion for a child who was burned alive.”

Trouble in Spain, too

On Thursday, the singer Achinoam Nini, also known as Noa, described an anti-Israel demonstration outside one of her concerts in Spain.

“Before the concert, there was a very loud demonstration against Israel,” including cries of “Noa terrorista.” As Noa described the situation on Facebook, in Israel she is attacked by the right and pays “a very high price for being outspoken about peace and expressing left-wing political views, and in Spain, the left calls me a terrorist.”

According to Noa in her English-language post, before the concert she told the audience how once again “we are paying the price of the failure and cowardice of political and religious leaders, who have betrayed us, Arabs and Jews alike, by not doing everything in their power to avoid violence. No excuses are acceptable.

“I believe in peace, I believe in two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side, supporting each other, growing together. I believe in dialogue, it is the only way.”

On the other side of the political map, rapper Yoav Eliasi, also known as Shadow, has launched a group called Shadow’s Lions, which expresses hatred of the war’s opponents. Eliasi’s people hold right-wing demonstrations directly across from left-wing rallies.

The Lions say they’re for anyone “tired of the left wing’s hypocrisy – anyone tired of sitting at the keyboard who wants to do something beyond putting up angry posts.” Eliasi marks out targets for the group and has his picture taken with rifles.

But he, too, has a tough adversary: the left wingers who make fun of the images he posts. They bash his musical career and create Facebook pages with titles like “Shadow does cute things.” Or they report his posts as offensive and try to get them taken off Facebook. He details these problems on his own page.

In the meantime, Noa is on the defensive. “To remove any shadow of a doubt: I have no sympathy for Hamas or any of the insane jihadis of whatever kind. The relentless, deliberate bombings of civilians are intolerable, and I too am frightened for the welfare of my family and for all of Israel,” she wrote in Hebrew on Facebook.

“I’m worried about the welfare of innocent civilians wherever they may be, even in Gaza! What — are they fair game? But I say again and again that our leaders have a responsibility to make peace in any way possible, and by doing so to protect our lives.”

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I$raHell has only two choices: Eliminate the Palestinians or make peace


The Week Monday,

July 21, 2014

Managing the conflict has not brought security. It’s time to give negotiations a real chance.

By Emily L. Hauser | July 21, 2014

An Israeli tank near the border with Gaza.  (Getty/Andrew Burton)

Israeli lawmaker Moshe Feiglin is right.

Last week, Feiglin, a member of the Knesset on the extreme-right flank of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, laid out in the ultranationalist media network Arutz Sheva his plan for “achieving quiet in Gaza,” starting with:

One warning from the prime minister of Israel to the enemy population, in which he announces that Israel is about to attack military targets in their area and urges those who are not involved and do not wish to be harmed to leave immediately. Sinai is not far from Gaza and they can leave. This will be the limit of Israel’s humanitarian efforts. Hamas may unconditionally surrender and prevent the attack. [Arutz Sheva]

Feiglin continues from there: “All the military and infrastructural targets will be attacked with no consideration for ‘human shields’… Total siege on Gaza. Nothing will enter the area… Civilians may go to Sinai, fighters may surrender.”

Bottom line:

Gaza is part of [the Jewish people’s] Land and we will remain there forever… Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. [Arutz Sheva]

Though he urges annihilation, Feiglin stops just short of genocide, differentiating between Palestinians who cede their rights to self-determination and self-defense from those who respond to foreign occupation with violence. Other Israeli voices have not been so measured.

The last time Israel’s military undertook to bomb Gaza into submission, in November 2012, the son of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wrote in The Jerusalem Post, “The residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas. The Gazans aren’t hostages; they chose this freely… We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza.” More recently, Amos Regev, the editor of Israel’s most widely distributed daily (the Sheldon Adelson–funded Israel Hayom) called for the destruction of Hamas’ fighting capacity until all that’s left “would be stones.” Parliamentarian and fellow coalition member Ayelet Shaked quoted another writer favorably: “[The Palestinians] are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads… This also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons.”

And they’re right, these Israelis. If Israel’s goal is to rid itself of Palestinian nationalism and resistance permanently, forever and aye, a plan like Feiglin’s is the only one that might work.

Clearly Palestinians still dream of statehood, and “managing” the conflict has failed. This is the fourth time in eight years that Israel has attacked Gaza to eliminate the threat of Hamas, an intent Israel has been declaring for two decades. The military occupation of the West Bank also continues to be met with resistance, both violent and non-, and however much Economy Minister Naftali Bennett may want to impose “stability” via “partial annexation” of the West Bank, annexation is what Israel did to East Jerusalem, and one could hardly describe that situation as “stable.” Nope, if Israel really wants to get rid of all possible Palestinian opposition, annihilation is the only way.

If Israel’s goal is somewhat more moderate, focusing instead on peace and security, Feiglin’s plan could still work. Of course, the operation couldn’t be limited to the Gaza Strip, and permanently cleansing the West Bank of all potential Palestinian resistors would be complicated by the presence of hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers — perhaps they could temporarily relocate to friends and family within the Green Line? We’ll have to ask MK Feiglin. With enough dedication, Israel could eventually rid itself of any Palestinian threat to its control of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

One presumes, however, that if Israel takes this approach, the U.S., EU, and Arab states might stop sitting quite so idly by. I’m particularly curious as to how Egypt might respond to Gaza’s 1.7 million Palestinians decamping to Sinai. I suppose it’s possible that rather than achieving Israeli security from Palestinian threats, Feiglin’s plan would achieve the destruction of the state. It’s really hard to control massive violence once it starts.

If the ultimate goal is peace and security, though, there is of course that one other option: Negotiations.

In the effort to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, these are the only choices Israel has ever really had: Annihilation or peace. All conflict management has ever done is draw out the pain. The recent kidnappings and murder of four teenagers, three Israeli and one Palestinian, were the natural outcome of conflict management and should be recognized as such.

It’s hard to know what the outcome of real rapprochement might be. The mutual recognition of Palestinian needs and claims alongside Israeli claims and needs has never really been tried. Every earlier effort has been far more about managing the conflict than about allowing some measure of dignity and justice to all sides. As for a one-state solution — take a look at the people killing each other today, and think about whether they might be ready to share a national anthem tomorrow. Hamas rockets and “Operation Protective Edge” are what the road to a single state looks like.

Netanyahu has spent the last several years saying the words the U.S. insisted he say — “two-state peace” — while doing everything within his power to make such a peace impossible. On July 11, he finally pulled the veil away, saying, “There cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.”

In that regard, as morally repugnant as Feiglin and Shaked’s positions may be, they have one important quality missing from most other statements that have emerged from their government as regards the region’s future: Honesty.

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Nixon’s ‘Southern Strategy’ and the Liberals’ Big Lie


By Patrick J. Buchanan


“For the first time since President Richard M. Nixon’s divisive ‘Southern strategy’ that sent whites to the Republican Party and blacks to the Democrats …” began a New York Times story last week.

Thus has one of the big lies of U.S. political history morphed into a cliche — that Richard Nixon used racist polit

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Bashar al-Assad: Dialogue is the cornerstone of my third term


A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on June 10, 2014, shows President Bashar al-Assad (R) welcoming former presidential candidate Hassan al-Nouri in Damascus. (Photo: AFP-SANA)

By: Sami Kleib

At the start of his third term in office, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seems to be living his daily life as though there is no war in the country. There is nothing in his office that suggests there is a war, save for the sound of artillery fire that could be heard from time to time, from the shelling of the strongholds of those who are now being described as terrorists.

Damascus- All those who were in close contact with him throughout the conflict admit that he has been coolheaded. People close to Assad say the day U.S. President Barack Obama declared the zero hour for the attack on Syria – which he backed down from later – Assad continued, until the very last moment, calling staff to check up on them, one by one.

Though confidence and certainty were in short supply during the war, Assad continued to stress that Syria was the victim of a foreign conspiracy, and that terrorism would spread and even return to stage attacks in the places it had come from. Today, he feels vindicated.

“The West, albeit belatedly, has validated what I have been saying since my first speech after the crisis, because the West feels the fire is spreading to its soil,” Assad said.

Ubiquitous banners containing messages of support for President Bashar al-Assad are the first thing one sees moments after crossing the border from Lebanon into Syria. All the banners carry Assad’s signature and the slogan of his recent election campaign “Together.” Interestingly, major Syrian companies, brand names, and known figures have returned to the habit of signing these banners. This would have been unthinkable in the past few years, as many Assad supporters sought to distance themselves, at least from public support for the Syrian leader.

Will “Together” really be the slogan for the next stage?

Assad believes so. He said “dialogue and the culture of dialogue…” is now the main theme of the stage. This has been proven valid with the not-so-small number of reconciliation deals reached so far. Assad said, “We have reached deals with militants and issued an amnesty for them, so why shouldn’t we have dialogue?”

The deal in Homs was not the result of a regional and international agreement, Assad said, “but the result of dialogue between National Defense Forces and the militants.”

“They know one another, and they are neighbors, which is why the reconciliation was successful,” he added, saying that despite the deep wounds and mutual grudges, the government dealt with the militants with great respect, and let them leave and carry out their lives normally after they handed over their arms.Assad is convinced, more than ever, of the people’s ability to overcome this dark phase of Syria’s history. Perhaps this is exactly what helped him remain calm throughout the crisis.

He said, “I continued to meet with people and delegations. I felt from the first moments of this crisis, which “they” brought to our country to destroy Syria, that people had confidence in the state, its president, and its army. For this reason, I continued to bet on the ability of the people to confront the conspiracy. Elections then confirmed that people did not change, despite the media, the mobilization, and the accusations of blasphemy, and terror and foreign plotting.”

Damascus is the same as Moscow

Assad’s confidence in his people and army is backed by his confidence in his allies. He said, “Russian President Vladimir Putin has supported the Syrian position because he realizes that was is happening to Syria is not the result of popular anger, but the result of a desire by foreign countries to destroy its role, even by violating all international laws and people’s rights.”

Assad continued, “This support was renewed repeatedly, including most recently. President Putin experienced some of what Syria has experienced during the war on it. There were plans for the Russian state, the successor of the Soviet Union, to be mired in wars on terrorist, radical, or separatist grounds. The examples are many, from Chechnya to Georgia and then Ukraine. Putin, by defending Syria, wanted not just to reaffirm the strong alliance between us, but also restore balance to an international order that was dominated since the disintegration of the Soviet Union until Putin’s election by a unipolar system led by the United States and its NATO allies.”

Many Russian delegates are visiting Damascus, including most recently Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister. The man delivered a strong message of support, as strong as those sent out by Sergey Lavrov, Pushkin and others before, or perhaps slightly stronger.

Continued Russian, Iranian support, amid signs of change in U.S. and Western attitudes

Assad’s certainty about the alliance with Russia and Putin’s support is paralleled by great confidence in the Iranian position. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has sent out more than one clear message of support.

Assad said, “The Iranian ally understands that the war on Syria also targets Iran, and the entire resistance camp and its backers.” The Iranian leadership spares no occasion to send signals of support. It was not strange then that President Hassan Rouhani, during his visit to Ankara, made clear Tehran’s desire for a change in Turkish policy on Syria, “which contributed to the war but ended up damaging the largest part of Turkey’s role in the region.”

These remarks are particularly important at this time to respond to all those who believe that current Iranian-American rapprochement could change Tehran’s stances toward the Syrian leadership. As he tends to do, Assad gave an accurate strategic analysis without exaggeration for the regional and international situation, with the following broad outlines:

•“It is not the Iranian ally who will change when it comes to Syria. It is more consistent in its positions than some believe it to be. It is America and the West who have started signaling a change. Terrorism is in their homelands now. An American has blown himself up in Syria, and a Frenchman of Moroccan origin has killed Jews at a synagogue in Brussels.”

•“The West will not be able to do more than it has done to change the equation. They talk about lethal and non-lethal weapons. All kinds of weapons have been available to the armed terrorists for a long time, including anti-aircraft weapons.”

•“Current and former U.S. officials are trying to reach out to us, but they do not dare because of pressure by lobbies.” Here, Assad recalled former U.S. President Jimmy Carter when he wanted to come to Damascus in 2007, but declined to come later saying that the U.S. administration did not let him. He then added, “If a former U.S. president cannot come, then how can a current official come?” It may be understood then that the U.S. senator from Virginia who recently praised Assad and his army’s efforts against criminals was not an isolated case or an individual initiative. The details will be told with time.

•“The Americans have proven themselves to be more rational than the French, even though they are all complicit in the conspiracy. It seems that one of the main causes of French militancy has to do deals with Saudi Arabia and others.” Assad made references to how President Nicolas Sarkozy’s term ended with a financial scandal, just as was the case with Jacques Chirac. “All those who plot go, but Syria remains and triumphs, with all the spectrums of its people and army.”

•Perhaps the country most hostile to Syria after Israel, for Assad, is Saudi Arabia. “Since the Beirut summit where Riyadh offered full normalization with Israel, the hostility intensified. Saudi Arabia wanted to give everything to Israel in return for nothing. It was obsessed with the U.S. reaction following the attacks on the World Trade Center in which Saudis were involved. We, my friend President Emile Lahoud and I, were against it. I threatened Prince Saud al-Faisal to deliver a speech that would torpedo the initiative if our reservations and the reservations of the resistance were not taken into account. I told him at the time: You will sign the initiative and then you will leave, but we will be the ones to bear the rest because we are a country of confrontation [i.e. on Israel’s border]. The king was angered, but we were able to amend the initiative as much as possible, and it came out less worse. I can go back further in time, to our disputes in 1989 under late President Hafez al-Assad. Disputes continued in other summits, but we were keen on bringing Arabs together to support resistance. When the crisis began in Syria, King Abdullah sent his son Abdul-Aziz who asked us to rapidly crush the uprising, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, and offered to help.” For Assad, the motivation behind the Saudi position lies somewhere between “U.S. dictates and personal grudges, producing this hostile attitude from Saudi Arabia.”

As for Qatar, “it continues to support and finance the militants. However, it is currently seeking rapprochement with Iran, and expressing readiness to change some of its positions. But what matters is delivery. We are sick of slogans. What matters is for Saudi, Qatar, Turkey, France, and Western NATO powers to stop backing terrorism if they really want change.”Turkey’s attitude, meanwhile, has not changed yet. But Assad realized that the Iranian move toward Ankara “cannot exclude calls for an end of Turkish support for terrorism, as was clear from the remarks made by President Rouhani.”

Supporting terrorism in Syria prompts Assad not to exaggerate when it comes to predicting the timing for when the conflict could end. “We have stopped the conspiracy at the strategic level. The state will triumph even if will take time to eliminate all terrorists. However, determining the time when the war will end is not logical right now. What is important is that the leadership, the army, and the people are now absolutely certain that victory will come. When Syria triumphs, all Arabs and the resistance will have stopped one of the most insidious plots for their region,” Assad proclaimed.

What about the opposition abroad? Assad, who had just met with his rival in the election Hassan al-Nouri, did not have a new answer to this question. He said, “We have said we are in favor of dialogue and we engaged the worst of the militants. But what will dialogue with the opposition abroad achieve? Nothing, because, to put it simply, this opposition has no influence whatsoever. It has no ties to the people or the land. They were sold illusions by Western and Arab countries, which they then sold to the people. The elections have exposed them. What comes after the elections is not like what came before. People have said their word and we must respect it.”

What about Geneva then? “It’s over because the circumstances have changed,” Assad said.

Lakhdar Brahimi under suspicion

The conversation then moved on to the mediation efforts led by Lakhdar Brahimi. Assad frowned and became somewhat annoyed. The international envoy had just remarked that Syria could turn into a failed state or another Somalia. Assad recalled the third meeting he had with Brahimi in December 2012, when Brahimi advised him to step down.

From Assad’s statements, one could come out with the impression that the Syrian president never saw Brahimi as an honest broker, not just now, but even in the past, during the war on Lebanon. He has suspicions as to why Brahimi has been consistently appointed to posts in the international organization. No Arab can occupy these posts without American consent, and America could never consent to someone who is a friend of a state of resistance like Syria, he said.

Aoun an honest man

Assad has a tendency to engage in broad strategic analysis rather than focusing on the details, even though he knows them very well. Perhaps Lebanon has become a small detail amid the major international transformations taking place. The most important and permanent ally Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is always the foundation.

“Sayyed Nasrallah has expressed nothing but support and sympathy that neither Syria nor Syrians will ever forget. In Lebanon, we and the Sayyed have the same vision.” In this vision, personal emotions and coolheaded analysis come together. The choices of the resistance allied to Syria “has converged toward ending terrorism coming out of Lebanon or mitigate it to the greatest extent possible in spite of internal divisions,” Assad said.

General Michel Aoun seems to be the closest to Assad’s heart and mind in the battle of the presidential election in Lebanon. Assad recalls many events involving Aoun, including when the man came to offer his condolences for the death of the Syrian president’s brother, and how he reconciled with a senior Syrian officer who was in charge in Lebanon during Aoun’s uprising against Syria.“Since then, Aoun revealed himself to be an honest man who was honorable in adversity and then honorable in reconciliation, and who remained loyal to his position toward us, despite all storms and temptations,” Assad said.

“We do not interfere in the affairs of any Arab country, but we welcome the election of Aoun as president for the interest of Lebanon and brotherly relations,” he added, saying that Aoun is a patriotic non-sectarian figure who believes in Arabism and resistance.

“Make Syria even better than it was”

More than ever, Assad seems confident that “victory is inevitable, even if will take time.” He explained how the state has been developing plans for reconstruction and for the refugees’ return, as well as the economy and living conditions in the coming phase.

At the beginning of his third term, Assad gives the impression that the largest part of the war is now behind him. Perhaps the coming phase will confirm this, especially if the army retakes Aleppo soon. When the major cities are in the hands of the state, the real work will begin to “make Syria even better than it was.”

It is no coincidence for a visitor to Damascus to see many banners signed by longstanding Damascus companies. Clearly, the Sunni capital will have a major role in reconstruction, “just like all communities have contributed in defending the homeland and preventing sectarianism from destroying the secular state.”

In this regard, Assad believed there are no sectarian causes for the war, even if some in the media have been overstating sectarian phenomena. The evidence is extensive in the president’s mind, and he cited “the takfiri-terrorist attacks on moderate Sunnis and Sufis.”

Assad has great hopes amid the great roar of the battle guns. Clearly, the beginning of the third term will be a race between hope and guns, though the president hopes the war will end eventually. Had it not been for the noises of war, Damascus, with its traffic and pedestrians, the presence of the state, and the hustle and bustle at its restaurants, appears almost normal, if not very normal.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Bashar al-Assad: Dialogue is the cornerstone of my third term

The Islamic State Caliphate Project and the “Global War on Terrorism

Global Research

The Al Qaeda legend and the threat of the “Outside Enemy” is sustained through extensive media and government propaganda.

In the post 9/11 era, the terrorist threat from Al Qaeda constitutes the building block of US-NATO military doctrine. It justifies under a humanitarian mandate the conduct of “counter-terrorism operations” Worldwide.

Known and documented, Al Qaeda affiliated entities have been used by US-NATO in numerous conflicts as intelligence assets since the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war. In Syria, the Al Nusrah and ISIS rebels are the foot-soldiers of the Western military alliance, which in turn oversees and controls the recruitment and training of paramilitary forces.

 While accusing several countries of harboring terrorists, America is a bona fide “State Sponsor of Terrorism”: The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) –which operates in both Syria and Iraq– is covertly supported and financed by America and its allies including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Moreover, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams Sunni caliphate project coincides with a longstanding US agenda to carve up both Iraq and Syria into three separate territories: A Sunni Islamist Caliphate, an Arab Shia Republic, and a Republic of Kurdistan.

The US-led Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) constitutes the cornerstone of US military doctrine. “Going after Islamic terrorists” is part and parcel of non-conventional warfare. The underlying objective is to justify the conduct of counter terrorism operations Worldwide, which enables the US and its allies to intervene in the affairs of sovereign countries.

Many progressive writers, including alternative media, while focusing on recent developments in Iraq, fail to understand the logic behind the “Global War on Terrorism.” The Islamic State of Iraq and Al Cham (ISIS) is often considered as an “independent entity” rather than an instrument of the Western military alliance. Moreover, many committed anti-war activists –who oppose the tenets of the US-NATO military agenda– will nonetheless endorse Washington’s counter-terrorism agenda directed against Al Qaeda: The Worldwide terrorist threat is “real”: “We are against the war, but we support the Global War on Terrorism”.

The Caliphate Project and The US National Intelligence Council Report

A new gush of propaganda has been set in motion. The leader of the now defunct Islamic State of Iraq and Al Cham (ISIS) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has announced the creation of an Islamic State:

Fighters loyal to the group’s proclaimed “Caliph Ibrahim ibn Awwad”, or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as he was known until Sunday’s July 1st announcement, are inspired by the Rashidun caliphate, which succeeded the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century, and is revered by most Muslims.” (Daily Telegraph, June 30, 2014)

In a bitter irony, the caliphate project as an instrument of propaganda has been on the drawing board of US intelligence for more than ten years. In December 2004, under the Bush Administration, The National Intelligence Council (NIC) predicted that in the year 2020 a New Caliphate extending from the Western Mediterranean to Central Asia and South East Asia would emerge, threatening Western democracy and Western values.

The “findings” of the National Intelligence Council were published in a 123 declassified page report entitled “Mapping the Global Future”.

“A New Caliphate provides an example of how a global movement fueled by radical religious identity politics could constitute a challenge to Western norms and values as the foundation of the global system” (emphasis added)

The unclassified NIC 2004 report borders on ridicule, it is devoid of intelligence, let alone historical and geopolitical analysis. Its fake narrative nonetheless bears a canny resemblance to the June 29, 2014 announcement of the creation of the Islamic State Caliphate by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The NIC report presents a so-called fictional scenario of a letter from a fictional grandson of Bin Ladin to a family relative in 2020″ It nonetheless intimates that the Caliphate constitutes a real danger for the Western World and Western civilization. Its ultimate objective is to demonize Muslims with a view to pursuing a military agenda:

The fictional scenario portrayed below provides an example of how a global movement fueled by radical religious identity could emerge.

Under this scenario, a new Caliphate is proclaimed and manages to advance a powerful counter ideology that has widespread appeal.

It is depicted in the form of a hypothetical letter from a fictional grandson of Bin Ladin to a family relative in 2020.

He recounts the struggles of the Caliph in trying to wrest control from traditional regimes and the conflict and confusion which ensue both within the Muslim world and outside between Muslims and the United States, Europe, Russia and China. While the Caliphs success in mobilizing support varies, places far outside the Muslim core in the Middle Eastin Africa and Asiaare convulsed as a result of his appeals.

The scenario ends before the Caliph is able to establish both spiritual and temporal authority over a territory which historically has been the case for previous Caliphates. At the end of the scenario, we identify lessons to be drawn.“Mapping the Global Future”. p. 83

page 90 of the report

This “authoritative” NIC report was not only presented to the White House, the Congress and the Pentagon, it was also dispatched to America’s allies. The threat emanating from the Muslim World (including the caliphate project) is firmly entrenched in US-NATO military doctrine.

The NIC document was intended to be read by top officials. Braodly speaking it is part of the “Top official”(TOPOFF) propaganda campaign which targets senior foreign policy and military decision-makers, not to mention those scholars and researchers who continue to believe that Al Qaeda “Made in America” is a threat to the security of the Western World.

The underpinnings of the caliphate scenario is the “Clash of Civilizations”, which provides a justification in the eyes of public opinion for America to intervene Worldwide as part of a global counter terrorism agenda.

In the words of Dick Cheney’s 2004 remarks pertaining to the NIC’s report:

“They talk about wanting to re-establish what you could refer to as the Seventh Century Caliphate. This was the world as it was organized 1,200, 1,300 years, in effect, when Islam or Islamic people controlled everything from Portugal and Spain in the West; all through the Mediterranean to North Africa; all of North Africa; the Middle East; up into the Balkans; the Central Asian republics; the southern tip of Russia; a good swath of India; and on around to modern day Indonesia. In one sense from Bali and Jakarta on one end, to Madrid on the other.” Dick Cheney

From a geopolitical standpoint, the caliphate constitutes an area in which the US is seeking to extend its economic and strategic influence. What Cheney is describing in today’s context is a broad region extending from the Mediterranean to Central Asia in which the US and its allies are directly involved in military and intelligence operations.

The stated aim of the NIC report was “to prepare the next Bush administration for challenges that lie ahead by projecting current trends that may pose a threat to US interests”.

“The Lessons Learnt” as outlined in this authoritative NIC document are as follows:

  • the caliphate project “constitutes a serious challenge to the international order”.
  • “The IT revolution is likely to amplify the clash between Western and Muslim worlds…”

The document refers to the appeal of the caliphate to Muslims and concludes that:

“the proclamation of the Caliphate would not lessen the likelihood of terrorism and in fomenting more conflict”. [sic]

the caliphate “could fuel a new generation of terrorists intent on attacking those opposed to the caliphate, whether inside or outside the Muslim World.”

The NIC’s analysis suggests that the proclamation of a caliphate will generate a new wave of terrorism emanating from Muslim countries thereby justifying an escalation in America’s Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).

What it does not mention is that US intelligence in liaison with Britain’s MI6 and Israel’s Mossad are covertly involved in supporting the caliphate project. In turn, the media has embarked on a new wave of lies and fabrications, focusing on “a new terrorist threat” emanating from the Muslim World. Needless to say the links of the jihadist terror network to Western intelligence are never mentioned.

Posted in IraqComments Off on The Islamic State Caliphate Project and the “Global War on Terrorism

Zionist racist BBC ‘biased coverage’ of Gaza slammed


Protesters have gathered outside the headquarters of the Zionist British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in Scotland to protest ‘biased coverage’ of I$raHell’s atrocities in Gaza, Press TV reports.

During the protest in Glasgow, demonstrators held a minute of silence in honor of those killed during Nzi attacks on the coastal sliver.

BBC ‘biased coverage’ of Gaza slammed

In other rallies held in Glasgow and Edinburgh, protesters brandished placards with the names of Palestinian children murdered during Nazi ongoing aggression against Gaza.

Press TV reports the protesters as chanting “Free Free Palestine.”

Protesters also gathered signatures for an open letter to the Scottish government, urging a boycott against I$raHell.

Over the last few days, similar protests have been held all over the world to show solidarity with the people of Gaza.

In Paris on Monday, police fired teargas to disperse demonstrators who threw projectiles at officers. Thousands of people attended another rally in the French city of Lille. Protesters described Nazi  raids as disproportionate and against the civilian population.

Similar protests were held in Iran, India, the US, Tunisia, Italy, Pakistan and Indonesia.

On Monday, Palestinian officials said at least three people including a woman were killed on the seventh day of Nazi airstrikes on Monday. Two of the victims died of injuries sustained in the air raids on Sunday.

The latest deaths bring the number of Palestinians killed in the Israeli bombardment to 184. Latest figures show over 1,270 others have been also injured in the ongoing Israeli assaults.

Gazan homes, mosques and schools are also being targeted by the Israeli army operations. According to the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights, more than three-quarters of the victims are civilians.

Posted in Gaza, UKComments Off on Zionist racist BBC ‘biased coverage’ of Gaza slammed

Zio-Nazi Propaganda: Gaza Holocust ” Operation Protective Edge, day 15 ”


IDF death toll rises to 29; FAA places 24-hour ban on U.S. flights to Israel; many European airlines also suspend flights; sirens sound in south and central Israel, West Bank; EU calls for disarmament of Hamas, all terror groups in Gaza; UN chief urges Israel to exercise restraint; more than 600 Palestinians reported dead, 27 today.

By  | Jul. 23, 2014

Israeli soldiers sit on their armored personnel carrier as they clean their weapons, at a staging area on the Israel Gaza border. Photo by AP
By Haaretz | Jul. 22, 2014 | 10:24 PM |  1
By Gili Cohen , Amira Hass, Amos Harel and Jack Khoury
Jul. 22, 2014 | 3:43 AM
By Dafna Arad | Jul. 22, 2014 | 4:10 AM |  5
By David Landau | Jul. 21, 2014 | 8:55 PM |  3
By Sami Michael | Jul. 22, 2014 | 3:21 AM |  2
By Brent Sasley | Jul. 22, 2014 | 1:17 PM |  2
By Barak Ravid | Jul. 22, 2014 | 1:29 PM
By Anshel Pfeffer | Jul. 22, 2014 | 9:42 PM |  6
By Chaim Levinson | Jul. 23, 2014 | 6:30 AM |  2
By Haaretz | Jul. 22, 2014 | 10:24 PM |  1
By Alan M. Dershowitz | Jul. 22, 2014 | 11:29 PM |  3
By Barak Ravid | Jul. 22, 2014 | 11:52 PM
By Anna Momigliano | Jul. 23, 2014 | 6:30 AM |  2
By Amos Harel | Jul. 23, 2014 | 12:49 AM |  1
By Barak Ravid | Jul. 23, 2014 | 1:33 AM |  1
By Zvi Bar’el | Jul. 23, 2014 | 1:43 AM
By Barak Ravid | Jul. 23, 2014 | 12:59 PM
By Michelle Nichols | Jul. 23, 2014 | 4:35 AM |  1
By Peter Beinart | Jul. 23, 2014 | 4:30 PM

Israel’s Operation Protective Edge enters its third week on Tuesday, and the IDF’s ground incursion into the Gaza Strip moved into its fifth day.

Nine IDF soldiers were killed on Monday, raising the number of Israeli military fatalities since the operation commenced to 27.

At least 130 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its ground operation, raising the recent escalation’s death toll in Gaza to 604, with 3,700 wounded.

International efforts to stop the fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip will resume Tuesday, following Monday’s arrival in the region of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

The topic of discussion will be another humanitarian cease-fire, in the hope that if both sides agree, it will then be possible to move forward toward a lasting cease-fire based on the Egyptian proposal.

Latest updates:

7:52 A.M. Senior Israeli officer tells Haaretz: IDF attacked 20 ‘terror targets’ in Gaza overnight, 20 terrorists killed in the past 24 hours. (Gili Cohen)

6:53 A.M. Rocket siren sounded in Hof Ashkelon, Eshkol regional councils. (Haaretz)

5:11 A.M. Two Israeli soldiers were killed Tuesday evening in fighting in Gaza Strip, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit says. The deceased are Capt. Dmitry Levitas, 26, of Jerusalem and Geshur and 1st Lt. Natan Cohen, 23, of Modiin. They were both officers in the IDF armored corps. They were killed by sniper fire in the Gaza Strip. Over the last 24 hours, three soldiers were seriously wounded, nine were moderately wounded, and eight sustained light wounds. Since the Gaza operation began, 29 soldiers and officers were killed. (Haaretz)

4:44 A.M. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg urges the reversal of the U.S. ban on flights to Israel, and says he will board a flight to Tel Aviv in solidarity with Israeli people.

4:35 A.M. Palestine Liberation Organization senior official Yasser Abed Rabbo says PLO endorses supports Hamas’ demands for halting Gaza hostilities.

“The Gaza demands of stopping the aggression and lifting the blockade in all its forms are the demands of the entire Palestinian people and they represent the goal that the Palestinian leadership has dedicated all its power to achieve,” Abd Rabbo says in Ramallah, the West Bank.

“We are confident Gaza will not be broken as long as our people are standing beside it to support it through all possible means until the invaders understand that our great people inside the homeland and outside will not leave Gaza alone.” (Reuters)

3:05 A.M. For the first time since an unprecedented diplomatic rift among Gulf powerhouses, Qatar’s emir flew to Saudi Arabia late Tuesday in a surprise visit and met with King Abdullah to discuss the Gaza cease-fire efforts.

A senior Saudi official told The Associated Press that Saudi Crown Prince Salman, and Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin also attended the meetings with Qatar’s Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in the coastal city of Jiddah. (AP)

July 22

11:16 P.M. The UN Human Rights Council is slated to hold a meeting Wednesday morning over the IDF operation in Gaza, and is expected to issue a severe condemnation of Israel, to include operative steps. The Palestinians and Arab countries have filed the Council with a draft, which includes the establishment of an international commission of inquiry to probe alleged war crimes and violations of international law by Israel. The draft does not mention Hamas.

Despite Israeli lobbying with the Council’s member states to prevent the meeting taking place, the Palestinians managed to get the signatures necessary to hold the meeting. The U.S., most of the EU states and additional Western states, including Australia and Canada, are expected to oppose the draft. However, the Palestinians are believed to have a majority. (Barak Ravid)

11:06 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asks U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene to resume U.S. flights to Israel, sources in the Prime Minister’s Office say. Earlier it was reported that the FAA prohibited all U.S. airlines from flying to and from Ben-Gurion Airport “for a period of up to 24 hours.”(Barak Ravid)

10:52 P.M. An unexploded rocket lands near a house in Rahat in southern Israel. Damage was caused to the house, and three people suffered from shock. On Tuesday, 67 rockets and mortar shells landed in Israeli territory, and 18 rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome. (Shirly Seidler, Gili Cohen)

10:42 P.M. Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul to Tel Aviv turns back, airline halts flights for 24 hours. (Reuters)

10:27 P.M. Rocket alert sirens in Be’er Sheva.

10:20 P.M. IDF bombs the Khan Younis house of Mohammed Deif, head of Hamas’ military wing, according to Palestinian sources.

10:07 P.M. Two Palestinian gunmen open fire at Givati Brigade soldiers in southern Gaza. No soldiers wounded, and the Palestinians were killed in returned fire. (Gili Cohen)

10:04 P.M. Four rockets explode in open areas in the Be’er Sheva area. No damages. (Shirly Seidler)

9:57 P.M. Sirens sound in southern city of Be’er Sheva, surrounding areas.

9:54 P.M. Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour appealed on Tuesday for the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution calling for a cease-fire.

“The council must play its rightful role and contribute to the urgent efforts to secure a ceasefire,” Mansour said.

“The Security Council still has a responsibility to act to stop the slaughter of innocent men, women and children … We are not numbers, we are human beings,” an emotional Mansour said, showing the council photos of Palestinian civilian victims. (Reuters)

9:26 P.M. Europe Air Safety Agency (EASA) to issue “strong recommendation” to avoid Ben-Gurion International Airport until further notice. (Reuters)

9:22 P.M. France Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says the death toll exceeding 600 in Gaza is not acceptable, and calls for the “massacres and attacks” to stop immediately.

“It was not acceptable that a country was threatened by missiles and that missiles landed on it, but the response must be proportionate,” Fabius told TF1 television.

“When we are talking about 600 dead, it is obviously something that we can’t accept. The massacres and attacks must stop immediately.”(Reuters)

9:18 P.M. Barrage of rockets fired at south and central Israel

9:17 P.M. Rocket intercepted over Bat Yam, another rocket explodes in open area in Gan Raveh in southern Israel. (Gili Cohen)

9:15 P.M. UNRWA discovers a hidden rocket cache in an abandoned school for the second time in a week. UNRWA states in a press release that the abandoned school was located between two schools, and “strongly and unequivocally” condemned the group responsible for storing the rockets there.

UNRWA says it will launch a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident. (Barak Ravid)

9:01 P.M. Air Canada cancels tonight’s departing flight and tomorrow’s return flight to Israel, following the lead of U.S. and European airlines.

8:59 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in West Bank, central Israel and southern Israel.

8:52 P.M. Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, pilots from El Al, Arkia Israel Airlines and other foreign airlines reported daily attempts to blind them, which originated from Qalqiyah, Jaljulia and Kfar Qasim.

Police are handling the complaints and transferring them to the Counter-Terrorism Unit. (Yaniv Kubovich)

8:36 P.M. Israel’s Transportation Ministry called on the airlines to reverse their decision and said it was trying to explain that the airport was “safe for landings and departures.”

“Ben-Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize,” it said in a statement. (Haaretz)

8:28 P.M. Lufthansa Airlines – which includes Germanwings, Austrian Airlines and Swiss Air – suspends flights to Ben-Gurion International Airport for 36 hours. (Reuters)

8:25 P.M. KLM airlines cancelling Tuesday’s flight to Israel. Air France indefinitely suspends flights to Israel. (Reuters)

Cancelled Air France Flight 1320 to Tel Aviv (Credit: AP)

7:59 P.M. IDF retracts previous statement: Rocket landed in urban area in Yehud. (Gili Cohen)

7:49 P.M. 28 foreign ministers from the European Union issue joint statement calling for the disarmament of all terror organizations in Gaza. (Barak Ravid)

7:41 P.M. The FAA prohibits all U.S. airlines from flying to and from Ben-Gurion International Airport “for a period of up to 24 hours.”

6:38 P.M. Police deny IDF claims that Yehud rocket from earlier today was intercepted. (Ido Efrati)

6:20 P.M. Staff Sergeant Avitar Torjamin, killed in action Tuesday morning, will be buried at Mount Herzl tonight at 10:30 P.M., according to the IDF Spokesman. (Gili Cohen)

5:57 P.M. Delta Airlines and U.S. Airways suspend flights to and from Israel on Tuesday. This follows a warning from the Federal Aviation Authority given after a rocket fell earlier Tuesday in Yehud, near Ben-Gurion International Airport. United Airlines announced it will continue operating as usual.

Delta Airlines flight from New York to Israel landed in Paris following the decision. U.S. Air has relocated planes currently at Ben-Gurion airport tonight’s planned flight has been canceled. (Zohar Blumenkrantz)

5:50 P.M. Two rockets explode in open areas in Sdot Negev Regional Council. (Shirly Seidler)

5:21 P.M. Colonel Uri Gordon, Nahal Brigade commander, spoke with reporters and said, “in all encounters with Hamas, we win. We have located the majority of the tunnels, but have not completed the mapping and destruction.”

Gordon added, “we have quite a few casualties. Hamas fights with full force. They have tried to abduct soldiers, thankfully without success.”

4:50 P.M. UN chief at press conference with Netanyahu: I urge Israel to exercise maximum restraint.

4:43 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at joint press conferencewith UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: “The people of Gaza are the victims of the brutal Hamas regime.”

4:20 P.M. Two rockets intercepted over Be’er Sheva, one rocket explodes in an open area.

4:12 P.M. Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon tells UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Hamas violates international law by using missiles against Israeli civilians and using civilians as human shields.

Ya’alon claims Israel does the maximum to avoid civilian casualties, but its almost impossible to avoid this in Gaza, since Hamas fires rockets from populated areas.

He offered to show Ban “how Hamas fired rockets from schools and mosques, and how they dug tunnels to attack our communities.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tells Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon:  “I appreciate Israel’s security concerns. You need to protect your people from rockets and I strongly condemn the rocket fire. But your military response is causing many civilian casualties. I hope we will be able to see the end of this violence as soon as possible.”

“My message during this visit was first, stop the violence immediately. Second, return to dialogue, and third, we need to address the root causes of this conflict. Returning to the status quo will not bring a solution.” (Barak Ravid)

4:06 P.M. IDF releases name of IDF soldier killed Tuesday in Gaza: Staff Sergeant Avitar Moshe Torjamin, 20, from Beit She’an. Turgeman is the 28th soldier killed in Gaza. (Haaretz)

4:03 P.M. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the Egyptian cease-fire initiative is the framework for any Gaza truce, according to Cairo. Kerry said talks have been constructive so far, and he will continue to work in the coming days towards a cease-fire. (AP and Reuters)

4:00 P.M. Rapid rocket barrage fired at Be’er Sheva and surrounding areas, many of them Bedouin towns. (Haaretz)

3:58 P.M. Germany’s Foreign Ministry says it appears that a German-Palestinian family has been killed in Gaza.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, who did not give her name in accordance with government policy, said Tuesday that “based on multiple concurring indications, we understand that the family lost their lives.”

She gave no other details.

German media reports have identified the family as a Palestinian couple and their five children who all carry German passports. The reports says all seven were killed in a recent air strike by the Israeli army. (AP)

3:33 P.M. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah al-Sissi met Tuesday afternoon in Cairo to discuss the situation in Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited wounded soldiers hospitalized at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.

“The entire nation of Israel embraces you and sends you blessings for a speedy recovery,” Netanyahu said. “You were injured while on the most important mission – protecting our house.”

IDF says 25 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israeli territories since midnight. Fourteen landed in Israel, 10 were incercepted and another one landed in Gazan territory. (Ido Efrati and Gili Cohen)

2:30 P.M. The Israel Defense Forces says its troops have attacked more than 187 targets in the Gaza Strip over the course of Tuesday, including at least 100 in Shujaiyeh. The targets included rocket launchers, depots, militant homes being used as command centers and tunnels. According to the army, some 1,715 terrorist targets have been hit since the start of the ground operation.

It says it has uncovered 66 entrances to some 23 tunnels, and bombed the lengths of six of them. Some 28 militants are currently in IDF detention undergoing interrogation. (Gili Cohen)

Palestinians says at least 27 people have been killed by IDF attacks since midnight on Tuesday, including a 4-year-old girl in the northern Gaza Strip and two women – in their 50s and 70s – in the Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza City. Gaza health officials put the death toll at 604 and the wounded at 3,700.

Gaza officials also say that an UNWRA school in the central Strip was damaged from an IDF strike, but that it was unclear whether it was struck directly, by shrapnel or blowback. (Jack Khoury)

1.55 P.M. UN chief Ban Ki-moon to arrive in Israel shortly to push forward efforts for a cease-fire. He will meet with President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Wednesday, before coming back to Israel to meet with senior officials. (Barak Ravid) Read full article

1:42 P.M. IDF releases name of soldier classified as missing since attack on APC in Gaza: Oron Shaul, 20. Read full article

12:50 P.M. Shas chairman Aryeh Deri asserts that Israel should press on with the operation in Gaza. “We should either evacuate the towns in the Gaza vicinity or destroy the tunnels,” he added.

Israel’s Justice Ministry says a hotline for complaints of incitement has not received any grievances from Israeli Arabs since the operation in Gaza began. (Jonathan Lis)

The son of Haim Yalin, Eshkol Regional Council chairman, is lightly wounded while fighting in Gaza. (Shirly Seidler)

12:20 P.M. Gaza medical officials say at least 10 people were killed overnight and early Tuesday in IDF attacks along the Strip. An Israeli aircraft fired a missile at Hamas official Nizar A-Wadallah’s home in the Shati refugee camp, and the home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s former deputy Ziad Adada was struck earlier in the night. (Jack Khoury)

11:58 A.M. The IDF releases the name of a reserve soldier who was killed in a clash between a paratrooper unit and gunmen in Khan Yunis on Monday: Master Sgt. Ohad Shemesh, 27, of Beit Elazari. He is to be laid to rest in the military cemetery in Mazkeret Batya. (Gili Cohen)

11:33 A.M. Al Jazeera claims that the IDF bombed its offices in Gaza. It says Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman bears responsibility for the safety of the crews. (Jack Khoury)

10:47 A.M. The IDF has released the names of six more of the soldiers killed in the Gaza Strip over the weekend: Sgt. Max Steinberg, 24 of Be’er Sheva; Staff Sgt. Shachar Tase, 20 of Pardesiya; Staff Sgt. Daniel Pomerantz 20, of Kfar Azar; Sgt. Shon Mondshine, 19 of Tel Aviv; Sgt. Ben Itzhak Oananounou, 19 of Ashdod; and Staff Sgt. Oren Simcha Noach, 22, of Hoshaya.

10:41 A.M. Update on latest rocket barrage: Rocket directly struck house in Yehud, central Israel; two suffer shock and a man lightly wounded. This is the first time a Gaza rocket has hit a building in central Israel.

10:20 A.M. Senior Israeli officials say that the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Yoav Mordechai, formally told UN envoy Robert Serry that Israel rejects the proposal for a humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. (Barak Ravid)

Health of Israeli who was wounded in a shooting attack in the West Bank improves. He said to be in a light to moderate condition. (Chaim Levinson)

10:17 A.M. Rocket intercepted over central Israel; another explodes in Yehud.

10:11 A.M. One of the seven IDF soldiers inside of the APC attacked in Shujaiyeh, Gaza on Sunday has been classified as “missing,” the army confirmed on Tuesday, and is presumed dead. The IDF said that the bodies of six out of the seven soldiers have been identified.

10:02 A.M. Rocket barrage fired toward central Israel.

9:56 A.M. Safed and Lod mayors suspend municipal workers who spoke out against the IDF’s operation in Gaza and voiced happiness over the death of soldiers. (Gili Cohen and Eli Ashkenazi)

9:41 A.M. Senior Israeli officials: Humanitarian cease-fire not on our agenda right now. A five-hour humanitarian cease-fire was held on Friday; a similar break in gunfire was held in Gaza City’s Shujaiyeh neighborhood on Sunday.  (Barak Ravid)

9:31 A.M. IDF arrests 16 Palestinians in the West Bank overnight, six of them Hamas operatives. (Gili Cohen)

9:29 A.M. Rocket strikes yard of Ashdod school in latest barrage, causing damage to the building. No classes were being held at the time of the strike. (Shirly Seidler)

9:15 A.M. Two soldiers wounded overnight in grenade explosion near Magen Junction, in south’s Eshkol Regional Council. The IDF is investigating the incident. (Gili Cohen)

9: 11 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in Ashkelon and Ashdod areas, two barrages within a minute.

8:50 A.M. Senior Hamas official Mohammed Nazzal says that contrary to various reports, an agreement over a cease-fire has yet to be reached. “We will agree to hours-long humanitarian cease-fires, but not to a long-term truce,” he said. (Jack Khoury)

8:45 A.M. According to reports in Gaza, 12 more people were killed in an Israeli strike in Deir al-Balah, three of whom are members of one family. The Palestinian health ministry says that 583 people have died in the Israeli operation in Gaza so far. Some 3,640 were wounded.

8:25 A.M. Some 123 Israeli soldiers wounded in the ground operation in Gaza are currently hospitalized in four medical centers across the country, including six in serious condition and three in moderate to serious condition.

Four Palestinians from Gaza are being treated at the Sheba Medical Center. (Ido Efrati)

8:00 A.M. The United States is sending $47 million in aid to Gaza “to alleviate some of the immediate humanitarian crisis,” Secretary of State John Kerry says.

Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon are in Cairo to support Egyptian efforts to broker a cease-fire in the escalating Israel-Gaza conflict. (DPA)

7:37 A.M. Sixteen people were rushed to Be’er Sheva’s Soroka hospital overnight, including one in serious condition and two with moderate wounds. Thirty-seven soldiers are currently hospitalized at the medical center: five in serious condition, 16 in moderate condition and the rest with light wounds. Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva received 20 casualties, including two in serious condition and two in moderate condition. (Ido Efrati)

6:43 A.M. IDF forces struck some 100 targets overnight in Shujaiyeh. The majority of the targets were weapons-related, according to the IDF spokesman.

6:00 A.M. Rocket alerts sound in Gaza bordering region (Haaretz)

5:40 A.M. Sergeant First Class Oded Ben Sira, infantry soldier, 22 years old from Nir Etzion, was one of the two soldiers killed Monday. He was hit by sniper fire.

The second man was a reserve soldier who was killed in a clash between a paratroopers’ unit and Palestinian gunmen near Khan Yunis. His name is yet to be released. Two soldiers were seriously wounded in the gun battle and several others sustained light to moderate wounds. According to the IDF, seven militants were killed in the incident.

5:17 A.M. Two IDF soldiers were killed in Gaza on Monday afternoon, the IDF Spokesman says, raising the number of Israeli military deaths since the beginning of the operation to 27. The soldiers’ families have been informed.

In addition, three soldiers were seriously wounded and four were moderatly wounded in fighting overnight Monday.

3:55 A.M One rocket intercepted over Be’er Sheva, three others land in open areas (Shirley Seidler)

2:58 A.M. Rocket alerts sound in wider Be’er Sheva region (Haaretz)

1:14 A.M. The U.S. State Department warns Americans against traveling to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

“The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens consider the deferral of non-essential travel to Israel and the West Bank and reaffirms the longstanding strong warning to U.S. citizens against any travel to the Gaza Strip,” the State Department says. (Reuters)

1:13 A.M. Israeli severely wounded in shooting attack in the West Bank. The 25-year-old man was found near Rachelim Junction by IDF troops who hastened to the area after receiving reports of shooting sounds. The assailants fled the scene, and IDF forces are sweeping the area.

Magen David Adom spokesperson says the man was treated for wounds sustained to his lower body, and was evacuated to Beilinson Hospital, while fully conscious.(Chaim Levinson, Haaretz)

1:11 A.M. Masked Palestinians clash with police in East Jerusalem; rioters throwing rocks, molotov cocktails. Police respond with riot-control measures. No injuries reported. (Nir hasson)

00:31 A.M. Palestinian protester killed by IDF soldiers stationed in the central West Bank; according to the IDF, Palestinians hurled Molotov cocktails and burning tires at troops stationed at a junction. IDF troops who were attempting to arrest one of the rioters opened fire. Palestinian who was critically wounded died in hospital. Internal investigation to be opened. (Gili Cohen)

Palestinian families leave their neighborhood to a safer location as Israel's army continues shelling the area of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 23, 2014.

Palestinian families leave their neighborhood to a safer location as Israel’s army continues shelling the area of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 23, 2014.AFP

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on Zio-Nazi Propaganda: Gaza Holocust ” Operation Protective Edge, day 15 ”

Lieberman: Boycott businesses of Arabs striking over Gaza op


1 Haaretz Monday, July 21, 2014

Israeli-Arabs call for general strike in protest of Operation Protective Edge and in solidarity with Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

By Jack Khoury and Jonathan Li

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman urged Israelis to boycott the businesses of Arab citizens who are taking part in a general strike in protest of the Israel Defense Forces operation in the Gaza Strip and the deaths of Palestinian civilians.

In a Facebook post published Monday afternoon, Lieberman wrote, “I call upon everyone not to shop anymore at the stores and businesses of those among the Arab sector who are participating today in the general strike that was declared by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee as a sign of empathy for Gaza residents and against Operation Protective Edge.”

Members of the Israeli-Arab community expressed great interest in the strike, which was called for by the ‪Higher Arab Monitoring Committee on Monday morning. The number of residents of large Arab cities – like Nazareth, Umm al Fahm and Sakhnin – and various communities who responded to the call was relatively large, particularly when compared to previous years in which the committee declared a strike and most of the Israeli-Arab public turned a cheek.

The committee explained that the troubling pictures emerging from Gaza – particularly those that came out of Shujaiyeh on Sunday – have shaken up the Israeli-Arab population, and in the face of those pictures they can’t remain indifferent. Furthermore, it said, the Ramadan atmosphere has contributed to the strike.

MK Basel Ghattas (Balad) said Lieberman’s statement is “an example of incitement, racism and of the creation of a herd mentality.” He also said “The atmosphere of war and racist criticism, which goes as far as actual violence against Arabs, is nourished by inciteful and racist declarations of senior members of the Israeli government.” Ghattas added that the real problem facing Israel today “is that extreme right-wingers and messianic settlers, who were on the fringes a few years ago, have risen to power.”

Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On also responded to Lieberman’s Facebook post, saying, “Once again the foreign minister, who is supposed to be the face of the State of Israel, is exposing his racist, ugly face. Israeli-Arab citizens, like every other citizen, have the right to express solidarity with their brothers who are suffering in Gaza and the suffering of innocent (people) in Gaza.”

In addition to the strike, the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee has declared Monday a day of mourning, and will hold a procession in Nazareth at 5:00 P.M. tonight.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, GazaComments Off on Lieberman: Boycott businesses of Arabs striking over Gaza op

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