Archive | August 14th, 2014

Nazi strikes targets in Gaza despite prolonged truce

NOVANEWS

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Several rockets hit Israeli territory just before Hamas announced it was accepting Egypt’s offer to extend a ceasefire with Israel for another five days. Israeli PM has ordered the IDF to respond to the attack with reports of renewed bombing of Gaza.

“With the breach of the ceasefire by Hamas, the Prime Minister and defense minister ordered the Israeli military to act in response. The order was issued before midnight,” an Israeli official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Hamas, in its turn, accused Israel of violating the truce, with Hamas official Izzat Reshiq who is in Cairo saying that there was “no violation of the calm from any Palestinian side and nobody in Gaza has heard rocket fire.”

“We denounce the Israeli shelling of Gaza which is continuing,” he said cited by Reuters. “This is a violation of the calm.”

The Israeli army has already struck several targets in Gaza, the IDF says. “The IDF has been prepared for this possibility, and is determined to continue to maintain the security of the citizens of the State of Israel,”the military said in a statement as cited by Haaretz.

Israeli aircraft carried out a number of air strikes after midnight, targeting “terror sites across the Gaza Strip,” according to the IDF. The military “remains alert and maintains a high level of preparedness with both defensive capabilities, and striking capabilities in order to address a renewed aggression and will immediately respond to any threat to Israel,” AFP reports.

Several rockets landed in southern Israel before midnight on Wednesday as the sides were negotiating a deal to prolong a temporary cease-fire agreed between Hamas and Israeli authorities in order to try and reach a long-term agreement.

“Gaza terrorists have breached the ceasefire and launched a rocket at Israel, hitting the Hof Ashkelon regional council,” the IDF said in a statement, adding that at least three rockets were fired at Israel on Wednesday night, one of which has been intercepted.

Hamas however denied its involvement in the attack and breach of truce, saying that “there wasn’t any rocket fire at the occupation this evening,” referring to Israel.

Despite the incident Hamas later announced it had agreed to extend the ceasefire for another 5 days to continue negotiations. Israeli officials however did not immediately comment on the reported extension, apparently waiting for the initial 72-hour ceasefire to end.

Egypt has been a mediator in the talks between the two sides, meeting separately with each party, as Hamas rejects Israel’s right to exist and Israel regards the group as a terrorist organization.Cairo has offered the two sides to prolong the truce for another three days and to put off the discussion of the most disputed issues for later, according to Egyptian media.

“We have finished talks today without agreement. More work needs to be done to have a better deal,” a Hamas official told AFP on Wednesday night, confirming the group has agreed to extend the truce until Monday.

On Sunday, the two sides agreed to a 72-hour temporary ceasefire to make time to reach an agreement on a permanent truce. This ceasefire was just expiring when the IDF reported firing from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

A Palestinian boy carries his brother next to the remains of their house, which witnesses said was destroyed in the Israeli offensive, during a 72-hour truce in Khan Younis the southern Gaza Strip August 13, 2014. (Reuters/braheem Abu Mustafa)

A Palestinian boy carries his brother next to the remains of their house, which witnesses said was destroyed in the Israeli offensive, during a 72-hour truce in Khan Younis the southern Gaza Strip August 13, 2014. (Reuters/braheem Abu Mustafa)

Hamas is seeking an end to territorial and coastal blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt in 2007, which Israel opposes. The blockade has greatly limited the movement of Palestinians and restricted the flow of goods into Gaza, blocking all exports.

Israel’s Operation Protective Edge started in retaliation to Hamas rocket fire from Gaza strip on July 8. Nearly 2,000 Palestinians were killed in the month-long fighting, almost 75 per cent of them civilians, according to UN preliminary information. On the Israeli side, at least 67 people were killed, mostly soldiers. The number of Palestinian deaths includes 459 children – that figure is higher than the number of children killed in Gaza in the previous two conflicts combined, said the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Tuesday.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on Nazi strikes targets in Gaza despite prolonged truce

Zionist must end Gaza siege as reparation for crimes

NOVANEWS
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Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Zionist must pay for the crimes it has committed in Gaza by ending the siege of the Palestinian coastal strip.

“As the Palestinians are saying, there must be reparation for all these crimes, in the form of ending the blockade on Gaza and no just human being can deny this rightful demand,” the Leader said at a meeting with Iran’s foreign minister and other Iranian diplomats on Wednesday.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the Palestinians rightfully maintain that merely accepting the ceasefire gives Israel the green light to commit further crimes without being punished, and then continue the all-out blockade and extreme pressures.

The Leader pointed to the growing global hatred of the US for its complicity in Israel’s atrocities and noted, “There is nobody in the world to absolve the Americans of involvement in the crimes and genocide by the usurper, wolfish, murderous, infidel and oppressive Zionist regime in Gaza; therefore, the Americans are now in a weaker position.”

Elsewhere in the remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei underscored Iran’s determination to interact with the whole world and noted, “However, there are two exceptions: the Zionist regime (of Israel) and the US.”

“Relations with the US and negotiation with this country, except on certain issues, not only has no benefits for the Islamic Republic, but is also detrimental,” the Leader pointed out.

Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to the escalation of US pressures against Iran despite Tehran’s direct talks with Washington over the nuclear issue since last year and said, “All in all, it turned out that, contrary to some people’s perceptions, negotiations don’t help anything.”

“As long as the present circumstances, namely the US animosity and the hostile remarks by the US Congress and administration against Iran continue, interaction with them has no grounds,” the Leader pointed out.

Ayatollah Khamenei underlined the importance of adopting an “active and smart diplomacy” as a must during the current transition period to a new world order.

Posted in IranComments Off on Zionist must end Gaza siege as reparation for crimes

Nazi Gaza operation galvanizes users of boycott app

NOVANEWS

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I$raHell Gaza operation galvanizes users of boycott app

By JPOST.COM STAFF

According to Sky News, over 400,000 people downloaded Buycott, which makes it easier for shoppers to shun Israeli goods.

App

Buycott App Photo: BUYCOTT.COM

The popularity of a new smartphone app that allows consumers to more effectively boycott products according to their political tastes has skyrocketed thanks to the international outrage sparked by the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

According to Sky News, over 400,000 people downloaded Buycott, the app that gives users the option of making sure that the wares they purchase in stores do not financially benefit a cause to which they are opposed. Shoppers simply activate the app by waving it in front of a bar code that signals whether the origins of a particular product meets the buyer’s specifications.

The app offers users the option of boycotting Israeli goods, with 49 Israeli brands stored in the database. The groups of boycotters, one of which is listed under the title Long Live Palestine Boycott, garnered 275,000 memberships who now have a mechanism that will allow them to avoid purchasing products from Israeli brands like Sabra, SodaStream, and Volvo, which, according to pro-Palestinian supporters, is a company that sells Israel equipment used to dismantle Palestinian settlements in the West Bank.

“I noticed three weeks ago that we were seeing an unusual spike in traffic,” the app’s founder, Ivan Pardo, told Forbes. “Next thing I knew Buycott was a top 10 app in the UK and Netherlands, and number one in a number of Middle Eastern countries. Word was spreading through social media.”

While the Israel-Hamas crisis has provided a boost for the app’s popularity, Pardo told Forbes that the software was not specifically designed to target any particular cause, and that he himself does not hold any strong opinion on the conflict one way or the other.

“It bothers me that a lot of people are downloading Buycott and thinking that it was written specifically to boycott Israel,” Pardo told Forbes. “It was not, and to counter that notion I have been actively encouraging pro-Israel groups to start campaigns supporting Israel.”

 

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, CampaignsComments Off on Nazi Gaza operation galvanizes users of boycott app

Palestinian News

NOVANEWS

West Bank / Jerusalem

Teen killed by an explosive dropped by the army near Tubas

IMEMC/Agencies 12 Aug by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medical sources reported, Monday, that a Palestinian teen has been killed, and his brother was wounded, by an explosive charge dropped by the army near the central West Bank city of Tubas. The sources said Mohammad Mo’tasem Abu Eshtayya, 17 years of age, was killed, and his brother Yousef was injured. They were herding their sheep in Palestinian grazing lands in the Northern Plains of the occupied West Bank.  Although the area where the explosion took place is used as a grazing area, and dozens of shepherds live there, it is frequently used by the Israeli army as a “training zone”, where the soldiers use live ammunition, explosives and shells. Dozens of casualties have been reported in similar incidents in the area, as well in other areas in the occupied West Bank, including the outskirts of Hebron and the Palestinian Plains of the West Bank, as the Israeli military conducts training in those areas in direct violation of International Law.
On Monday at night, Israeli sources said an explosive charge detonated near an Israeli military vehicle near the former Homesh Israeli settlement, southwest of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. The army reported no injuries, and said it invaded the area, and initiated a search campaign.
Also on Monday at night, one Palestinian was shot and injured by Israeli army fire after the army invaded Tulkarem, in the northern part of the West Bank.
http://www.imemc.org/article/68821

VIDEO: Israel soldiers celebrate shooting an 18-year-old

HEBRON, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 12 Aug — On August 9th in Hebron, Israeli soldiers celebrated shooting an 18-year-old Palestinian youth in the leg with live ammunition. The Canadian volunteer, Vern, who witnessed the soldier firing, stated, “After the soldiers left the roof, I went to confront them about why they had fired. One of them said to me that he was the one who fired and that he was proud of his actions. He then asked me to take his picture.” The hospital released a document to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) stating that the injury of the young man was a gunshot wound to the right calf, and that the injury required surgery under general anaesthetic. “This is not the first time protesters have been seriously injured or killed while not being a threat to the Israeli military. On Friday (8th August) in Hebron, 40-year-old Nader Mohammad Edrees was shot in the heart by an Israeli sniper. He died several hours later. This murder was caught on video, and it is clear that Nader was no threat whatsoever when he was killed, in clear contradiction of Israeli military policy and international law.” Stated Issa Amro, Human Rights Defender with Youth Against Settlements (YAS), based in Hebron … Israeli Human Rights group B’tselem states that, “the army’s open-fire regulations clearly stipulate that live ammunition should not be used against stone-throwers, except in cases of immediate mortal danger.”
http://palsolidarity.org/2014/08/video-israeli-soldiers-celebrate-shooting-an-18-year-old/

Child injured by army fire near Bethlehem

IMEMC/Agencies 12 Aug — Palestinian medical sources have reported that a child, 10 years of age, was shot in the face by a rubber-coated metal bullet, fired by Israeli soldiers invading Teqoua‘ [or Taqu‘] town, east of Bethlehem. Another Palestinian injured near Bethlehem. Head of the Teqoua’ Town Council, Taiseer Abu Mfarreh, stated that dozens of soldiers invaded the town through its western entrance, and fired rubber-coated metal bullets, gas bombs, and concussion grenades at local youth who threw stones at them. The wounded child suffered a moderate injury to her face, and was moved to a hospital in Bethlehem. Dozens of Palestinians suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, and were moved to a local clinic.
In related news, a young Palestinian man suffered various cuts and bruises after falling from a high wall when a number of soldiers chased him as he was trying to enter Jerusalem where he works. Local sources said Mahmoud Mohammad Sbeih, 23, from al-Khader town near Bethlehem, was trying to enter Jerusalem from Z’ayyim nearby area, trying to head to a construction site where he works. He was moved to the al-Maqassed Hospital in Jerusalem.  Soldiers frequently ambush Palestinian workers in that area, as hundreds seek work, mainly in construction site in occupied Jerusalem, but Israel refuses to grant them work permits.
http://www.imemc.org/article/68828

Israeli soldiers assault Palestinian, seize his tractor, near Hebron

HEBRON (WAFA) 12 Aug – Israeli soldiers on Tuesday assaulted and beat up a Palestinian youngster and seized his tractor in an area to the east of Yatta, south of Hebron District, according to local sources. Coordinator of the anti-settlement committee in Hebron, Rateb Jubour, said the Israeli soldiers beat up Mohammad Shaabin, 21 years old, in a ruthless manner, before seizing his tractor and the attached water tanker. Shaabin sustained bruises throughout his body and was transferred to hospital for medical treatment.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=26237

Month of attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem increases tension, exposes racist policies

IMEMC 11 Aug by Chris Carlson — Over the past month, during Israel’s relentless and bloody aggressions on the Gaza Strip, the Jerusalem area has become a crucible of violent confrontations between Palestinians and colonial Jewish settlers and police, with numerous reports of multiple raids and ensuing arrests continuing to surface throughout the West Bank region. Just following the Israeli Central Court’s decision not to hold three youth who admittedly conspired in the brutal torture and burning of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khudeir, in early July, local media reported that the police found the body of another young Palestinian in Silwan, south of the Old City of Jerusalem. PNN sources say that the body had several visible stab wounds but that the Israeli police have declared that the motive behind the crime is not clear.
Meanwhile, Silwanic has reported that Israeli police took into custody 13-year-old Daoud Sawalha, Thursday night [7 Aug], while he was at the barber shop, in the neighborhood of Ein Al-Lozeh, under the pretext of carrying a knife…
The same day, Silwanic reported that three Israeli settlers attempted to run over a Jerusalemite woman named Ola Alayan, as she was going home to her Beit Safafa residence, south of Jerusalem. She was verbally assaulted by the settlers but was able to escape the area and safely reach the entrance of the village.

[Silwanic also reported that on Wednesday night 6 Aug one-year-old Retaj Raed Hantouli was injured with bruises in her leg after a settler threw stones at her while she was at her home in Silwan.  See Silwanic’s Settler Assaults news category for more crimes]

On Thursday, July 31st, a young Palestinian man from Ras Alamoud was reported to have been assaulted by a group of Israeli settlers who attempted to kidnap him after tying him and dragging him to their car. When the group failed to drag him to their vehicle, they assaulted 21-year-old Ali Mohammed al-Abbasi with a large amount of pepper spray. Ali’s father confirmed that a fellow co-worker took his son to the hospital, after ambulance and police failed to respond….
http://www.imemc.org/article/68819

Two indicted for assaulting Arab teen who befriended Jewish girl

Haaretz 12 Aug by Eli Ashkenazi – A right-wing group calls the incident an example of the police ‘automatically accusing the Jewish side.’  — Two Jewish youths have been indicted on charges of assaulting an Arab teenager who had befriended a Jewish girl in the northern town of Safed. The defendants, from Jerusalem and the settlement of Betar Ilit, are accused of assaulting the 17-year-old Safed resident August 3 after seeing him in the company of a Jewish girl around his age. According to the indictment, the defendants saw the boy and girl sitting together at about 1 A.M. and called the girl a traitor and an enemy of the Jewish people. The defendants reeked of alcohol, the police said, adding that one of them punched the Arab youth in the head and back and threatened to hit him with a wine bottle. The defendants said the Arab teen was also violent. A lawyer for one of the them, Ran Shacham from the organization Honenu, said the Arab youth called the defendants names.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.610124

Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s killer: ‘They took three of ours, so let’s take one of theirs’

Ynet 11 Aug by Aviel Magnezi — Joseph Ben-David tells investigators how his plan to abduct and beat an Arab ended in the savage murder of a 16-year-old boy from Arab East Jerusalem — …Ynet on Monday obtained the transcripts of Ben-David’s interrogation, published here for the first time … Before setting fire to Abu Khdeir, who, according to the pathological report was burnt alive, Ben-David kicked him. According to his testimony: “I gave the boy three kicks to the legs, and saying as I did ‘This is for Eyal, and this is for Naftali, and this is for Gil-Ad’.” Ben-David continued: “I took a lighter, I set the boy alight.” In reply to the question of whether they were planning to commit murder before they set out, Ben-David contradicted himself, claiming in parts of his testimony that he had only sought to beat someone and release him, and only after kidnapping Abu Khdeir did he decide to “finish him, kill him.”  In another testimony, however, he admitted: “We planned to hurt him, that means kill … torture him and kill him.” When asked what he meant by “torture”, he replied: “So the victim would know that he was going to die as a sacrifice for the murdered Jews”. ‘We are Jews, we have a heart’  The three got into the vehicle, fearing that it had been burned as it was parked next to Abu Khdeir. Ben-David added that: “The motive was not, God forbid, to burn … we heard a noise and we were afraid he would get up – so we decided to kill, get rid of him … When I say we cannot bear to see blood, it means we are not cruel like the sons of Ishmael.” [Thank God Mohammed seems to have been unconscious before he was set on fire.]
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4557714,00.html

Court clears way to demolish homes of Israeli teen trio’s killers

Haaretz 12 aug by Revital Hovel –  The High Court of Justice yesterday rejected three petitions against the army’s decision to raze thehomes of the suspected kidnapper-murderers of three Israeli teens. However, it delayed the demolitions until 1 P.M. on Thursday to give the families time to submit an engineer’s opinion on how the move will affect nearby houses. The three suspects are Amer Abu Aisheh, Marwan Qawasmeh and Hussam Qawasmeh. The first two, who allegedly perpetrated the June kidnapping and murder of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrah, are still at large. Hussam Qawasmeh, who was captured last month, is suspected of helping to plan and finance the attack, bury the bodies and hide his two colleagues. Justices Yoram Danziger, Isaac Amit and Noam Sohlberg said they found no flaw in the army’s decision that would merit court intervention. They also rejected the claim that since the state doesn’t destroy the houses of Jewish terrorists, the decision is discriminatory … The families also argued that the suspects’ guilt hasn’t yet been proven, and that demolishing their homes constituted collective punishment, which is illegal under international law. The state countered that the demolitions were necessary to deter other criminals, especially in light of “the significant deterioration of the security situation” in the West Bank. [Justice Danziger] also rejected the claim that the demolitions disproportionately harmed the innocent. The army, he noted, has already agreed that Marwan Qawasmeh’s apartment, located on the ground floor of a four-story building, will be sealed up rather than razed, while in Abu Aisheh’s case, only one second-floor apartment will be razed, so as not to harm other relatives living in the building.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.610068

IDF spokesperson expresses regret over killing of single Palestinian child

972mag 11 Aug by Haggai Matar — You really have to give credit where credit is due. Even if it is to the IDF. Soldiers killed 12-year-old Muhammad al-Anatiduring clashes with local youth in the Hebron area on Sunday. According to reports, al-Anati was killed after being struck by a bullet in the back, and was not involved in the clashes. However, it seems that the IDF is willing to learn from past mistakes. This time, unlike recent similar events, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit immediately released a message [Hebrew] saying an inquiry had been launched and that the army expressed its regret over al-Anati’s death. One can hope that the inquiry will be a serious and effective one. For the sake of comparison, it is worth remembering that over the course of the 14 years that preceded Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli army killed 1,384 minors in the West Bank and Gaza. Among them was 13-year-old candy seller Mohammad Jihad Dudin, who was shot to death [20 June] by soldiers during riots he did not participate in. In May, two youths were shot dead while not posing any threat to soldiers during clashes in Betunia, one of them in the back. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit changed its official statement several times, and to this day has not shown remorse or found anyone responsible for the killing….
http://972mag.com/idf-spokesperson-expresses-regret-over-killing-of-palestinian-child/95320/

Israeli soldiers shot my teenage son

Electronic Intifada 12 Aug by Iyad Burnat — In the past ten years of Friday demonstrations against the Israeli occupation in our West Bank village of Bil‘in, I have helped carry countless men and women to the ambulances, injured by Israeli rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters and live ammunition. But until 31 July, I never knew what this experience would feel like when the person I was carrying was one of my own children. During a demonstration that day, I heard a gunshot, and then the scream of my sixteen-year-old son Majd. A silence fell over me as I ran to him with many thoughts in my head. Where was he shot? Would he be okay? Why did the Israeli soldiers target him? He was just standing there as the demonstration was ending. Did the soldiers shoot my son because they know I am one of the organizers of these protests? It is in these moments of uncertainty that our greatest fears haunt us — moments that the people in Gaza have been experiencing on a daily basis. Over the past few weeks, there have been demonstrations throughout the occupied West Bank to protest Israel’s illegal actions and to show our support for our brothers and sisters in Gaza … During these protests of solidarity, the Israelis have been particularly brutal in their responses and they have injured and killed many peaceful demonstrators … Three weeks earlier when the bombings first started and everywhere on the news there were discussions about children being killed in Gaza, my eight-year-old daughter Mayar was having trouble sleeping. She would keep waking up and come to wherever I was so that I would hold her. She was afraid. Late one night, she started to ask me questions that no father ever wants to hear: “Why is Israel bombing Gaza? Why won’t they leave us alone? Why are they killing kids my age? Why won’t anyone stop them?”
http://electronicintifada.net/content/israeli-soldiers-shot-my-teenage-son/13738

Children march in W. Bank in solidarity with Gaza

RAMALLAH (Daily Star) 12 Aug by Qais Abu Samra — Hundreds of Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah staged a march Tuesday, organized by the Palestinian unity government, to show solidarity with their counterparts in theGaza Strip amid a deadly Israeli offensive that has claimed the lives of hundreds of children in the embattled coastal territory. Accompanied by protest organizers, young marchers set out for the United Nations office in Ramallah Tuesday morning. They called on international organizations to protect Gaza’s children from Israel’s “destruction machine.” Some wore T-shirts bearing the names of children killed in the Gaza Strip by recent Israeli strikes. “This demonstration carries a message to the United Nations: Palestine’s children demand to live like all other children of the world, without war or killing,” protest organizer Maissoun Hega told Anadolu Agency. “The Israeli army is targeting and killing children in Gaza – and even in the West Bank,” she added. Nine-year-old marcher Aya Jawad declared: “It’s our right as children to live and not get killed by airstrikes.” “The world must stop Israel from killing us,” she added.

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Aug-12/266945-children-march-in-w-bank-in-solidarity-with-gaza.ashx#

Israel strips Jerusalem-born Palestinian of residency after years in Canada

Haaretz 13 Aug by Nir Hasson — Tamam Zubaidi, a Jerusalem-born Palestinian, has lost her status as a Jerusalem resident after spending a lengthy period in Canada while her husband studied there. As a result, she and her 13-year-old daughter, who was also born in Jerusalem, are stateless. Since Israel’s annexation of the area in 1967, Palestinian Jerusalemites have the status of Israeli residents and carry Israeli identity cards. However, anyone who leaves Israel for a period of seven years or more risks having this status revoked … Zubaidi, 38, was born in Jerusalem and lived there all her life. In 2006 she traveled to Vancouver with her husband, a West Bank resident, who was pursuing doctoral studies there. She was careful to renew her Israeli travel documents every year, but when she tried to do so again four months ago she was told that her Israeli residency permit had been revoked. As a result, she and her daughter also lost their legal status in Canada. “This means that she and the girl have no health insurance, she cannot drive, and the girl can’t be registered in school. This is an awful situation to be in,” said her husband, Subhi Zubaidi. Zubaidi requested and was granted a hearing at the Israeli Consulate in Toronto and bought tickets to travel there, but because she had no valid identity or travel documents she was not permitted to fly.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.610239

Israeli police arrest around 57 Jerusalemites, provoke clashes, many injuries

JERUSALEM (WAFA) 13 Aug – Israeli Police on Wednesday arrested around 57 Palestinians in the Jerusalem area during predawn raids across the city, provoking clashes with local residents and causing several injuries as police fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets, according to local and security sources. Director of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC) in Jerusalem, Nasser Qaws, said the Wednesday arrest campaign is considered the biggest since last mid June, adding that Israeli policemen attempted to sabotage the furniture of the houses during their raids this night. Since the beginnng of July, around 549 Jerusalemites have been arrested, including 166 minors and 383 youths. He said clashes erupted in the aftermath of the arrest campaign, where police fired rubber-coated bullets towards the residents, causing injuries to many residents, including children and women. In the meantime, the ambulance section of Al-‘Issawiya, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, said at least 26 Palestinians were injured by rubber-coated bullets and were provided with first aid at the scene

http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=26241

Several Palestinians kidnapped in West Bank, Jerusalem

IMEMC 12 Aug by Saed Bannoura — [Monday evening and Tuesday at dawn] TheJerusalem Office of the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) said the soldiers kidnapped a child, identified as Mohammad Zakariya Abu Khdeir, Ja’far YasserAbu Khdeir, along with three brothers identified as Mahmoud Abu Ta’a (child), and his brothers Taher and Abdul-Karim [all teenagers acc. to Ma‘an]

Several armored Israeli military vehicles invaded, on Tuesday at dawn, Husantown, west of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and kidnapped three Palestinians after breaking into their homes and ransacking them. The three have been identified as Mohammad Abdullah Shousha, his brother Hamza, both in their twenties, and Wisam Khaled Hamamra, 23.

Soldiers also invaded Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem, and kidnapped one Palestinian, identified as Mohammad Farhan Deeriyya, 21, after searching his home.

On Monday at night, soldiers detained two Palestinians at a roadblock near Jenin, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. The two, identified as Mohammad Zakariyya ‘Abbadi, 28, and Baha’ Abdullah ‘Abbadi, 24, were interrogated at theDotan military roadblock for several hours, and released later on.

Soldiers also invaded ‘Arraba town, and the villages of Msalia [or Misilya] andSanour, near Jenin, and installed roadblocks at the entrances of Jenin city,Ya’bad and ‘Arraba towns, before stopping and searching dozens of cars while investigating the ID cards of the passengers.
In addition, soldiers stationed at the Huwwara roadblock, near Nablus, kidnapped a Palestinian lawyer, identified as Mendi Samir al-Osta, 32, as he was heading back from Ramallah to his home in Nablus. The kidnapped lawyer is a former political prisoner.
Update: 11:06 Also on Tuesday at dawn, soldiers kidnapped five Palestinians, including a child, in Shu’fat refugee camp, and Beit Hanina, north of occupied Jerusalem.
http://www.imemc.org/article/68827

Israeli forces detain Palestinian in Hebron

HEBRON (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — Israeli forces on Monday detained a Palestinian after raiding his house in Beit Ummar, a local activist said.  A spokesman of a local popular committee in Beit Ummar said that Israeli forces detained Adham Muhammad Azmi Ikhleil, 24, from his house in the town. Muhammmad Awad added that Israeli soldiers surrounded Ikhleil’s house before they detained him. Ikhleil was forced to walk a kilometer while handcuffed and blindfolded before he was out into an Israeli military vehicle. Adham Ikhleil previously spent three years in Israeli prisons.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=719779

Israeli forces detain 6 Palestinians across West Bank

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — Israeli forces detained six Palestinians from Nablus, Bethlehem, Jenin and Tulkarem early Monday, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society reported. Israeli forces detained two youths from Qabalan town in Nablus: Bilal al-Aqra, the brother of Zakariyya al-Aqra who was killed early Monday, and Alaa Hussein Abdulrahim. Ali Hamamreh and Muntasir Zaul were detained fromHusan in Bethlehem, Ahmad Husni Nafe Mustafa was detained from Maysalun[or Meithalun] in Jenin and Muhammad al-Najjar from ‘Anabta town in Tulkarem.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=719784

Gaza:

Clock ticks down to Gaza truce deadline

JERUSALEM (AFP) 13 Aug — Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will enter a final day of ceasefire talks in Cairo on Wednesday, as the clock ticks towards a 12 a.m. deadline ending a 72-hour truce. By that time, the negotiators must have either agreed on a permanent truce, accepted an extension or risk a resumption of more than a month of bloody fighting. “There has been progress, but not enough to sign an agreement; the negotiations will resume tomorrow (Wednesday),” a member of the Palestinian delegation told AFP late on Tuesday, without giving further details. As on previous days, the Israeli team returned home after talks, for likely consultations with their government. As Gaza’s residents ventured out into the quiet to try to piece together their battered lives, negotiators held a second round of indirect talks Tuesday aimed at finding a durable end to the five-week confrontation. But officials said there was still a way to go to agree an end to the conflict, which erupted on July 8 when Israel launched military operations to halt cross-border rocket fire from Gaza. “The negotiations are difficult and grueling,” a Palestinian official had said of Monday’s opening talks, which lasted almost 10 hours and which were described as “serious.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=720264

Limited breakthrough in Cairo ceasefire negotiations

CAIRO (Ma‘an)12 Aug — Ongoing ceasefire talks are slowly beginning to take shape, sources in Cairo told Ma‘an, although several outstanding issues need to be finalized to produce a permanent agreement. Palestinian sources close to the talks said Tuesday that six points have been agreed upon while a further five need to be resolved.
Israel has agreed to increase the daily number of truckloads of goods to Gaza from 250 to 600 via the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossings, the sources said. Israel has also agreed to allow money transfers from the Palestinian Authority to Gaza to cover the salaries of former Hamas civil servants. The designated fishing zone will also be gradually expanded to 12 nautical miles and some 500 permits will be issued monthly to allow Gazans to use the Erez crossing. Egypt has agreed to open the Rafah crossing in coordination with PA presidential guards, who would form a 1000-strong presence on the crossing and borders with Gaza. The sources said that Israel has also agreed to release the fourth and final group of pre-Oslo prisoners.

The remaining issues to be resolved are the infrastructural issues of an airport and seaport in Gaza. Israel suggested postponing the issue of an airport until final status negotiations, but said international actors should prepare plans for how a seaport would operate. No progress has been made on the issue of demilitarization or a safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=720146

UK government to block arms exports to Israel if military action resumes

The Guardian 12 Aug by Rupert Neale — Announcement comes after lengthy dispute between leading Tories and Liberal Democrats over restriction of arms sales –The British government will suspend some of its arms exports to Israel if hostilities resume in Gaza due to concerns that the British-made products could be used by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). The business department said a review of UK exports to Israel had identified the 12 licences for “components which could be part of equipment used by the Israel Defence Forces in Gaza”. They include equipment for military radar, combat aircraft and tanks … “No new licences of military equipment have been issued for use by the Israeli Defence Forces during the review period, and as a precautionary measure this approach will continue until hostilities cease.”
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/12/british-arms-exports-israel-gaza-block-suspension

Report: Israel defense minister says Hamas has soldier’s body

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Sunday that the body of missing soldier Oron Shaul is “obviously” in the hands of Hamas, Israeli media reported. “It’s obvious to us that Oron’s body is in the hands of Hamas, and we’re making every effort to retrieve it,” Yaalon said, according to the Israeli news site Ynet. Yaalon said Israel was making diplomatic efforts in ceasefire talks with Hamas to bring Shaul’s body back to Israel, the Ynet report said. Israeli authorities also suspect the body of soldier Hadar Goldin, a soldier killed on Aug. 1. in southern Gaza as a 72-hour ceasefire fell apart, is being held by Hamas.
The secretary-general of the Palestinian delegation told Ma‘an Saturday that Israel had attempted to include the issue of two captured Israeli soldiers’ bodies in the negotiations. Bassam al-Salihi said that Israel had offered to release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the bodies of the two soldiers. Al-Salihi said the delegation had refused to talk about the issue. The Hamas-affiliated al-Qassam Brigades earlier claimed responsibility for capturing Shaul, but denied any knowledge of Goldin’s whereabouts…
Militants of the Islamist movement in 2006 captured soldier Gilad Shalit, who was eventually released as part of a deal in 2011 in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jail. Israel has also in the past exchanged the bodies of dead Israeli soldiers for Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners held in Israeli jails, as well as the bodies of militants that were being held by Israel.
An Israel-Hezbollah exchange in 2008 traded the bodies of two Israeli soldiers for five Lebanese prisoners as well as the remains of nearly 200 Palestinian and Lebanese militants in Israeli custody. More than 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=719790

Al-Qassam: Names of collaborators in exchange for information about soldiers

GAZA (PIC) 12 Aug — Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said it would reveal the fate of the Israeli soldiers who were captured recently by its fighters if Israel gave it a name list of all its informers and collaborators in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, according to a press release obtained by Al-Jazeera satellite channel. “Israel has to provide us with all names of those spies who provide it with information in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank if it wants to know the fate of its captured soldiers,” the Brigades stated.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

Fate of Gaza detainees in Israel uncertain as 26 named

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Aug by Charlie Hoyle — The number and whereabouts of Palestinians detained in Gaza during Israel’s ground operation remain uncertain, as a rights group compiled an initial list of prisoners thought to be held by Israel.  The Al-Mezan Center For Human Rights and their lawyer Muhammad Jabarin said Monday that 26 Palestinians are being held in Ashkelon jail.
Jabarin told Ma‘an that some of the detainees have been presented with charges such as belonging to an illegal organization — referring to Palestinian political parties — while the rest are undergoing interrogation and have been denied access to a lawyer. At least 15 Palestinians have been held under the Unlawful Combatants Law and then released, the lawyer said. The law allows the detention without trial of Gazans for an unlimited period of time and provides even less protection than administrative detention orders, which are issued in the occupied West Bank. Mahmoud Abu Rahma, the director of communications for Al-Mezan, told Ma‘an that three prisoners were released Sunday but re-arrested at the Erez crossing. He says the lack of access means it is difficult to establish why those named were arrested and how many more are in jail. Israeli media have hinted that some were released in the Shalit exchange deal in 2011, but Abu Rahma says that the Unlawful Combatants law allows Israeli soldiers to arrest anyone they want until the case is reviewed by an Israeli court. In some cases, Palestinians are arrested in areas where the Israeli army comes into contact with the civilian population in areas such as Beit Hanoun, where there were numerous reports of home raids in Israel’s latest assault. Initial accounts also suggest that many of those detained underwent physical and psychological torture, Abu Rahma said.
Arbitrary nature of arrests  Addameer prisoner rights group says that at least 250 Palestinians were arrested during Israel’s ground operation in Gaza, with 150 detained on July 24 alone. Randa Wahbe, an advocacy officer with the group, told Ma‘an that in some cases Israeli soldiers failed to check the identity of those detained and arrested the relatives of Palestinians recently killed in Israeli attacks….
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=719772

Unity government deputy PM arrives in Gaza via Erez

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amro arrived in Gaza on Tuesday in his first visit since the formation of a new unity government. Abu Amro was accompanied by former minister Kamal al-Sharafi and entered via the Erez crossing. The visit marks the first time Israel has allowed officials from the Palestinian unity government to enter Gaza through Erez since its formation.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=720180

Israeli warships open fire at fishermen near Rafah

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — Israeli warships on Tuesday opened fire at fishermen off the coast of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, in an apparent violation of an agreed-upon three-day ceasefire, a union official said. Nizar Ayyash, spokesman for Gaza’s fishermen union, told Ma‘an that a number of Palestinian fishermen were near the shore when Israeli forces shot at them with machine guns. No injuries were reported. Ayyash said Israeli naval forces had been preventing fishermen from fishing in the area, even within the “authorized fishing zone.” … A 72-hour ceasefire between Israeli forces and Palestinian factions was set in place at midnight Monday.
http://maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=720052

Sewage challenge for Gaza fishermen after Israeli offensive

GAZA CITY (AFP)  11 Aug — After two hours waist-deep in the sea, Sameer al-Hissi says his paltry haul of tiny fish is not the only consequence he and Gaza’s fishermen are suffering from Israel’s offensive. Ashore, he lifts up his t-shirt to show red-brown blotches across his chest and stomach, the result, he says, of spending his mornings in a sea heavily tainted with smelly sewage since Israeli strikes knocked out the power station supplying electricity to treatment plants. Following the plants’ closure, levels of raw sewage released into the sea are higher, meaning smaller catches and the risk of illness. “Sewage in the sea today is affecting people and the fish they eat,” said the wiry 52-year-old, sat in the shade of an umbrella with the basket carrying the 14 tiny fish he caught. Before the conflict erupted on July 8 he fished from his boat in Gaza port, going up to three nautical miles out to sea in accordance with the limit imposed by the Israelis. Now he spends two hours every morning wading through the surf on the beach casting a small net to bring back food for his family. But he says that there are fewer and fewer fish to be caught off the beach because the raised level of untreated sewage is driving them further out to sea. “If their environment is dangerous, the fish leave,” he said. “Like people.” The waste is also making people ill, more seriously than himself, he said, talking of children who had become sick after swimming in the sea. The head of Gazan fishermen’s syndicate agreed the problem had got worse since water treatment plants had stopped working. “Of course, we know the problem of pollution in the sea is worse than before the war,” Nizar Ayish said. “Currently there is no treatment of the water because of the war.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=719945

Gaza faces huge task of reconstruction

GAZA CITY (AFP) 12 Aug — With thousands of homes reduced to rubble and its infrastructure in ruins, Gaza’s reconstruction will cost billions and require at least an easing of Israel’s blockade to allow in building materials. Cement will be key among these materials, but its import will be controversial since it has been at the heart of an underground war between Israel and militants in Gaza. From Beit Lahiya in the north, to Rafah in the south, Israel’s latest offensive has left swaths of the Gaza Strip in ruins. Families come during brief lulls in the fighting to sift through the debris of their homes for possessions, waiting to start rebuilding their lives. In front of his apartment — reduced to a grey mass of dust, rubble and twisted iron — Jamal Abed drags on a cigarette as he thumbs his prayer beads. “They destroyed everything here, there’s nothing we can do,” he says. He knows he could spend months, even years, without somewhere to live because his home will have to be completely levelled before it can be rebuilt. But for reconstruction to start, there has to be a negotiated end to the fighting. There also has to be cement, lots of it, and the Palestinian enclave is suffering a chronic shortage of this crucial construction material…
The UN estimates more than 11,800 homes have been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable, more than twice the number that were destroyed in Operation Cast Lead.  At the time, the international community pledged $4.5 billion to rebuild Gaza’s shattered infrastructure. This time round, the Palestinians say they need up to $6 billion to fix hospitals, roads, schools, water facilities and factories hit by shelling and bombing. Mahir al-Tabaa, head of Gaza’s chamber of industry and commerce, says that “more than 350 industrial buildings” have been destroyed in the fighting, including 50 key factories.
But the conflict which began on July 8 is not yet over.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=720008

Rafah remains open for foreign passport holders, patients

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — The Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing remained open on Monday for foreign passport holders and humanitarian cases, a Palestinian official said. Maher Abu Sabha, the head of the Gaza crossings authority, told Ma‘an that there are no new changes for the “traveling system.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=719794

30 days of war in Gaza: Voices from under the wreckage

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Aug by Fadwa Baroud AbedRabo– Third-year civil engineering student at Gaza University Mohammad Shamali tries to remember what happened moments before he was found under the wreckage. “I was running from one place to another with my family looking for a safe place, when we finally took shelter in my aunt’s house. My mum and aunt were preparing the iftar a few minutes before sunset when I heard women, children, and men screaming.”  Mohammad remembers the screams he heard just before he saw the ceiling falling down on top of him. “For a second, I remembered the first lesson in civil engineering college where we were taught that ceilings should not fall down. But in Gaza, a place where nothing makes sense and where you start to doubt everything you have been taught, ceilings falling down easily and can end your life and the lives of your loved ones in seconds,” says the 21-year-old … Mohammad wasn’t aware that he spent a full day under the wreckage as ambulances were not able to reach the area due to heavy attacks. Finally some locals decided to take the risk and look for survivors. Mohammad was counted with the dead bodies at first before he showed signs of life at the Shefaa Hospital. “I was told that I spent ten days in the Shifa Hospital unconscious before the hospital was hit by Israeli airstrikes. After that I was transferred to Makased Hospital in Jerusalem with other severely wounded cases. Medics are not sure if I will walk again and I cannot feel my legs. I know nothing about the fate of my family, no news from Gaza yet. My body is here in Jerusalem, but my soul is still there in Gaza,” says Mohammad.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=720132

Living with loss in Gaza – in pictures

The Guardian 12 Aug — Guardian photographer Sean Smith documents bereaved and wounded Palestinians trying to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of the conflict with Israel
http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2014/aug/12/living-with-loss-in-gaza-in-pictures

Pics of ravaged Gaza neighborhood given to soldiers as memento

Haaretz 12 Aug by Amir Oren – Army sources confirm presence of ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics of Gaza City area being handed out, say matter is being investigated — Pictures of Gaza City’s Shuja‘iyeh neighborhood before and after the past month’s battles were distributed as a “victory memento,” as one officer termed it, to soldiers of a brigade that fought there. The Israel Defense Forces’ top brass didn’t know about it, and responded to a question on the subject with embarrassment and disapproval … At a later stage of the fighting, Brigade 828 was also deployed in Shujaiyeh. This is an infantry brigade comprised of both regular troops and reservists, which is commanded by Col. Mordechai Kahane, a nephew of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. Toward the end of its deployment, the “before” and “after” pictures were disseminated to all Brigade 828 soldiers.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.610055

Gaza’s education crisis: 141 schools destroyed by the Israeli offensive

GAZA (PIC) 12 Aug — A remarkable education crisis has rocked the besieged Gaza Strip as more  than 141 schools have been damaged throughout the Israeli offensive launched since July 7, the Ministry of Education estimated in a statement on Monday. The ministry reported the murder of 19 members of its teaching staff due to heavy barrages of Israeli strikes unleashed during the offensive. Dozens of learners and schoolchildren, from different age categories and academic levels, have been left wounded throughout. The Ministry office in Gaza said there was no communication with the Ramallah-based ministry all the way through the Israeli aggression on Gaza. The Ministry called on high school students to head to their allotted departments to receive their diplomas, whose results had been announced during the offensive.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

Gaza’s children: ‘Israel is creating a new generation of enemies’

BEIT LAHIYA (The Guardian) 11 Aug by Harriet Sherwood — Najia Warshagha, age nine, is a veteran of three conflicts in Gaza. She cannot sleep properly and is always terrified — She seemed to represent the collective suffering of Gaza’s children: a little girl, eyes cast down, a tear edging beneath her lashes, blood smeared over her forehead, anguish written into her face. Her picture was taken in the aftermath of the shelling of what was supposed to be a refuge from war, a UN school in Jabaliya … Nine days after the shelling of the school, Najia perches on a sofa at the relative’s house where she is staying, a solemn child whose hands twist into tight little balls as she haltingly recalls what happened. “I was in classroom number one, sleeping. There was a huge boom. My mother hugged us, then another missile landed. I was screaming and crying,” she says. Does she still think about it? A pause, then a nod. And, quietly: “I keep dreaming of what happened.” Her mother, Majdolen, 31, fills in the gaps of Najia’s spare account … The family was taken to the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, a chaotic and overburdened place these past few weeks, whose exhausted staff are working round the clock and where every bed is occupied. Ali spent two days there; Najia was kept in for a week being treated for extreme shock. She is still taking medication. “She is very traumatised since it happened,” says Majdolen. “She can’t sleep properly, she’s always terrified. The children don’t want to leave me, they want to sleep with me and they follow me wherever I go.” Despite the August heat, Najia wraps herself tightly in a blanket at night, says her mother. The family is sleeping in its fourth location since the war began but the child is pressing for another move, feeling that nowhere is safe….
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/11/gaza-children-israel-new-generation-enemies-najia-warshagha

5 killed as unexploded Israeli missile blows up in northern Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — At least five people were killed and another six were critically injured after an unexploded Israeli missile blew up in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, witnesses and a health ministry spokesman said. Ashraf al-Qidra identified three of the dead as Bilal Muhammad al-Sultan, 27, Taysir Ali al-Hum, 40, and Hazem Ahmad Abu Murad, 38. Among the dead are a foreign reporter for The Associated Press and a local journalist, a Ma‘an reporter said. The bodies and the injured were taken to Kamal Adwan hospital, al-Qidra added. Palestinian photojournalist Hatem Moussa was also injured in the explosion. Witnesses said the incident occurred as a police engineering team was attempting to defuse an Israeli missile that hit near the al-Sheikh Zayid towers days earlier, but did not explode. Witnesses at the scene said six people were killed by the explosion.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=720298

Baby dies from wounds sustained in Gaza shelling

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — A baby girl died on Monday from injuries sustained several days ago in Israeli shelling on the Gaza Strip, medics said. Maydaa Muhammad Aslan, who was six weeks old, died of her injuries, medical sources said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=719798

Palestinian succumbs to wounds sustained in Israeli attack on Rafah

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — A Palestinian man on Monday succumbed to wounds sustained in an Israeli attack on Rafah days before, a Ma‘an reporter said.Muhammad al-Rumi died in el-Arish hospital in the northern Sinai Peninsula.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=719849

This is what life in Gaza sounds like [with videos]

972mag 10 Aug by Samer Badawi — I have heard the sounds of war before. In Iraq, I was jolted from sleep by the sound of incoming rockets, massive truck bombs, and exploding IEDs. In Afghanistan, I temporarily lost my hearing when an explosives-packed SUV detonated meters from my office. I have heard windows shatter and bystanders scream. And I have seen the aftermath: sinewy flesh, bone shards, jaw fragments. But I have never heard the discord of sounds, the cacophony of violence, that Gaza’s Palestinians – all of them – know so well. Here, the ever-present drone of machines overhead mingles with the scream of jet sorties, tank shelling, and bursts of heavy guns from naval battleships. Here, modern warfare’s full range of fronts is audible everywhere and all at once …  When we hear an F-16 begin to descend, we have no idea where the missile will fall. The one exception is when a drone “knocks” on the target beforehand … The tank shelling is even less predictable. As former Israeli artillery corpsman Idan Barir wrote in +972 last week: “It is impossible to aim the shells in an accurate manner and they are not meant to hit specific targets.”… To the west, where the Mediterranean is otherwise quiet, we hear battleships take aim at the Gaza coast. Last night, several dozen bursts pierced the night sky, pounding the port nearby. We could see the flashes of light but not the points of impact. Since we are near the sea, and the battleships are closer than the tanks, it takes us longer to catch our breath when the guns fall silent.
http://972mag.com/this-is-what-life-in-gaza-sounds-like/95292/

Israel accused of using illegal weapons in Gaza war

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 12 Aug by Rasha Abou Jalal — Doctors and human rights activists believe that they have conclusive evidence that Israel used internationally banned weapons against civilians during its military aggression on the Gaza Strip, as it did during the previous two wars against Gaza in 2008-2009 and 2012 … Testimony given to Al-Monitor by Palestinian nurses, doctors and human rights activists indicate that the Israeli army used DIMEs, which causes the loss of limbs and leads to wounds that do not respond to treatment. DIME weapons “kill their victims through the amputation of limbs in a way that resembles an automated saw. As for those who are able to survive, they are vulnerable to cancer because [the weapons] contain carcinogenic tungsten,” reads a July 21 report by Al Jazeera. Al-Monitor’s two-hour stay at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza saw the arrival of 11 civilians, all with amputated limbs, eight of whom died shortly after their arrival. The amputation areas had similar disctinctive patterns. The skin was charred and the tissues extremely damaged, while the bones looked as if they had been sawed … In a report issued in February 2009 regarding DIME weapons,Amnesty International noted, “If it were determined that such weapons cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering, or if they violate the provisions of the Protocol on Non-Detectable Fragments (Protocol I to the Convention on Conventional Weapons) of Oct. 10, 1980, then their use even against combatants, not only civilians, would be prohibited.”
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/08/israel-use-banned-weapons-dime-gaza-war.html

Photos of the week: Taking stock before fighting resumes

Activestills 9 Aug – Israelis and Palestinians licked their wounds during a 3-day cessation of violence, which came to an end Friday morning with renewed fighting. Some Palestinians used the lull in fighting to return to their homes and recover possessions, as well as to retrieve bodies from the rubble of destroyed buildings. Photos by: Anne Paq, Basel Yazouri, Ahmad Al-Bazz, Yotam Ronen, Oren Ziv, Faiz Abu Rmeleh, Keren Manor
http://972mag.com/photos-of-the-week-taking-stock-before-fighting-resumes/95156/

Armed group releases pictures of soldiers’ belongings

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — The al-Mujahidin Brigades, the military wing of the al-Mujahidin Palestinian movement, published pictures of Israeli soldiers’ belongings they seized during the offensive on Gaza Strip on Tuesday. The al-Mujahidin Brigades said they seized these belongings after the Beit Hanoun operation, where they clashed with soldiers with machine guns in the northern Gaza Strip. “Our fighters had a bloody war with the enemy, and they insist on winning the fight.” The brigades had earlier claimed responsibility for clashing with Israeli forces in eastern Beit Hanoun last Sunday.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=720021

UN investigators to start Gaza work next month

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — A three-member panel appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate allegations of humanitarian law violations during Israel’s Gaza assault will start working in the Gaza Strip next month. Ibrahim Khreisha, Palestine’s representative at the UN, told Ma‘an that William Schabas will be heading the panel along with Canadian international law professor and Doudou Diène of Senegal, the UN’s former Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism.
Another woman will be replacing British-Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin, who has declined the UN’s appointment.
“A team of seven to eight members will be assigned by the High Commissioner’s office to be working alongside with the panel,” Khreisha said. Khreisha added that the international panel will enter Gaza through Egypt but that they will not be able to enter the West Bank or Jerusalem because Israel refused to cooperate with them. He added: “There is an intention that Gazans’ testimonies will be aired live, as in the Goldstone report.” The panel will hear reports of Palestinian and international human rights institutions of “Israeli war crimes that occurred in the West Bank before the offensive on the Gaza Strip which started with detaining and killing more than 11 Palestinians, including the kidnapping, burning and killing of teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir,” Khreisha added. “The escorting team will be investigating all humanitarian and international laws violations since June 13, 2014.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=720090

Hamas welcomes UN panel on Gaza assault

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — Hamas on Tuesday welcomed the UN decision to appoint a panel to investigate possible violations of humanitarian law during Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip, a statement said. Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement that Hamas welcomed the move, which he said would be a probe into Israeli “war crimes on Gaza.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=720036

Palestinian lawyers threaten to prosecute Israel

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — Palestinian lawyers in the Gaza Strip are “preparing to legally and internationally prosecute Israel” for its offensive on Gaza and targeting civilians. Legal expert Abd al-Karim Shbeir said in a statement that the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip violated all international laws. Shbeir added that Israel has used “prohibited weapons that violate international law.” Shbeir held the international community was responsible for the “disastrous results of their silence and for giving the green light for killing and destroying Palestinians.” Maher Bashir, chief of the Islamic Lawyer’s Union’s Syndicate, warned of committing more war crimes against Palestinians especially if the international community remains silent. Bashir called upon the Arab League to act to stop the killing of civilians and destroying their homes.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=720111

Why the Gaza port matters

972mag 9 Aug by Samer Badawi — While prospects for a negotiated end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza remain bleak, making use of the existing sea passage to Gaza could offer a way forward for all parties, including Egypt … In a brief televised statement issued hours before the recent three-day ceasefire expired, Hamas military wing spokesperson Abu Obeida referred three times to the Gaza port, urging Palestinian negotiators to push for a lifting of the Israeli sea blockade. His emphasis could suggest an opening for the so-far stalled indirect talks in Cairo, which aim to broker a long-term truce between the two sides. Although details of the talks have been sparse, Palestinian negotiators have said they stand behind Hamas demands to end the now eight-year land, sea and air blockade of Gaza. Broadly speaking, these demands fall into two categories: the “free flow” of people and the right to import and export goods. On the former, Israel has offered to be “more flexible” with permits for the Erez crossing, the only civilian access point between Gaza and the West Bank. On the latter, reports indicate that Israel has categorically refused to accept a recommissioning of the Gaza air and sea ports. At the same time, Israeli negotiators have reportedly shown some flexibility on the issue of importing cement to Gaza – a demand that Israel has said could be met with “international control and supervision.” The European Union Border Assistance Mission in Rafah, or EUBAM, has such a mandate but has been inactive since June 2007, “due to the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip.” But as part of the Cairo talks, three of its main sponsors – Germany, France and Britain – have reportedly proposed reactivating the Mission, which was formed as part of the November 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access. That agreement, which was inked following Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in August 2005, stipulated construction of a Gaza seaport …  Could international oversight enable full Palestinian access to Gaza’s territorial waters?….
http://972mag.com/why-the-gaza-port-matters/95239/

IDF set to test new tunnel detection system

Ynet 11 Aug by Yoav Zitun –  The IDF will soon to carry out operational tests of a revamped sensor system to identify new tunnels, hoping to deploy it – depending on the results – along the 64 kilometers of the Israel-Gaza border.  As reported by Ynet last month, the defense establishment has sponsored the technology for more than a year and a half, and it was recently successfully tested in sewage tunnels in the Tel Aviv region. According to a senior IDF officer, the system costs between half a billion to two billion shekels, and it will take a year in total to implement – subject to the ongoing success of the operational trials.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4557649,00.html

Were Gaza tunnels built to harm Israeli civilians? / Emanual Yelin

972blog 11 Aug — For weeks we’ve been hearing about the threat the Gaza tunnels pose to Israeli civilians. In reality, every tunnel so far has been used against military targets alone — The existence of the tunnels in Gaza was well-known to Israel’s Defense Ministry, although their scope was only revealed to the general public in the latest round of fighting. The tunnels were described as a strategic threat against Israeli civilians. Tunnel openings, so we were told, were found near dining halls and kindergartens, and the fighting we were ostensibly dragged into prevented a terrible disaster in the form of mass terrorist attacks against Gaza-perimeter communities. The prime minister and the media declared unilaterally that Israeli civilians are the targets. The fact that, time after time, victims of tunnel attacks were soldiers was painted as coincidental. Was it? We must ask ourselves some questions on the matter.
Was there a plan to simultaneously send 200 terrorists from dozens of tunnels to six Israeli towns on the border of Gaza on Jewish New Year? Was it only prevented by the kidnapping of the three Israeli youths and Operation Protective Edge, as Ariel Kahane claimed in his article on NRG [Hebrew]? No. Not only does this story make no sense – if Hamas had such a genius plan, why didn’t they hold off on shooting rockets for another three months? Eventually the “plot” was revealed to be a rumor that gained traction in the ultra-Orthodox press that got some traction, with intelligence personnel denying the claim [Hebrew]…
Was Benjamin Netanyahu right in his national address when he said “we will not end the mission, we will not end the operation, without neutralizing the tunnels that exist solely to annihilate our civilians and to kill our children?” No. It is certain that this is not their sole purpose, and probably not their primary purpose, either. We’ve already seen six instances in which Hamas was able to use the tunnels against Israel. Once when Gilad Shalit was captured, and the rest during the current operation. In all instances, Hamas’ target were IDF soldiers, not the communities…
So what is the purpose of the tunnels?
Most likely to hurt IDF forces and capture soldiers. Little by little we are starting to hear military reporters saying this explicitly. Maybe not on Channel 2, but after militants infiltrated a pillbox near Nahal Oz, Channel 10′s defense correspondentAlon Ben-David explicitly said that “there is no doubt their goal is to hurt and capture soldiers – not civilians” [Hebrew]. A senior military source told Israel’s Army Radio that “all tunnels were aimed towards military targets and not Gaza-perimeter communities” [Hebrew]. Furthermore, in a voice recording by the leader of the Qassam Brigade, Mohammed Deif, he is heard saying: “we prefer to fight the soldiers of the enemy’s elite units and kill them, and not the civilians in the villages adjacent to Gaza.” ….
http://972mag.com/were-gaza-tunnels-built-to-harm-israeli-civilians/95279/

Debunking Gaza war lies / John Brown

972blog 8 Aug – The lies generated by the IDF spokesperson and the media on the Gaza war are still being endlessly quoted for the purposes of propaganda.
1. “Hamas is forcing residents to stand on rooftops, leading to their deaths.” The claim originated with the killing of six members of the Kware’a family and two others at 2:30 p.m. on July 8. According to the investigation, the family evacuated the house after receiving a phone call from the army, but returned after the “knock on the roof” missile was erroneously assumed to have been the missile intended to demolish the house. The Israeli Air Force maintains that it knew that the family had begun to return but could not divert the missile off course. In any case, this argument no longer holds any water since the IDF has attacked other families in a similar manner without any warning.
2. The IDF spokesperson rushed to announce that there was an attempted infiltration into Kibbutz Nahal Oz on July 28 through a tunnel. The spokesperson also stated that at Kibbutz Ein Hahslosha, Hamas fighters were on their way to the local kindergarten. In both these cases the claims are based on a lie; all incursions have been aimed at soldiers. The tunnel exits and sites of attack were a long way off from the sites mentioned in the IDF reports….
5. “Hamas executed 20 people who demonstrated against it in Sheja‘iya,” said anews item by TV reporter Alon Ben-David [Hebrew], which was repeated dozens of times throughout the original day of broadcast and is still being repeated…
8. “Human rights organizations forced Israel to provide cement to Gaza, which allowed it to build the tunnels.” From 2007 until September 2013, Israel allowed the entry of cement only for use by international organizations. Throughout September it allowed the entry of cement for use by the private sector. However, the government banned the entry of cement in October after a tunnel was exposed. All these restrictions did not affect Hamas [Hebrew], which continued to smuggle cement from Rafah. Therefore, the restrictions only hampered the private sector.
http://972mag.com/debunking-gaza-war-lies/95124/

And now a much-needed happy story:
Wedding brings a glimmer of happiness in war-ravaged Gaza

BEIT LAHIYA (The National) 13 Aug by Hugh Naylor — It was hardly the picture-perfect henna night that Heba Fayyad imagined when she became engaged two months ago. She had wanted to spend the final night before her wedding on Wednesday several kilometres away at her family’s house in the farming village of Beit Hanoun. That dream was obliterated on July 18, when an Israeli airstrike destroyed their home and forced the family to seek shelter at a United Nations school in Beit Lahiya that has become a makeshift camp for more than 1,000 displaced Gazans. Still, they did their best to move forward on Tuesday, during a tenuous and temporary ceasefire between Hamas and Israel that has halted a month of bloodletting in Gaza. After a visit to a salon, Ms Fayyad returned to the Beit Lahiya Preparatory School for Girls and stepped out of the car covered from head to toe in black, in keeping with the demands of modesty, and made her way across the courtyard to a first-floor room set aside for the ceremony. There she parted the covering to reveal a purple dress and heavy makeup as she was greeted by female family members and camp residents. Although most of her well-wishers did not have homes either, there were still all smiles as they came forward to offer traditional henna-night wishes such as “may God keep envy away from you” and “Qamar Arabata’sh”, meaning: “may your face beam like the light of the full moon”….
http://www.thenational.ae/world/middle-east/wedding-brings-a-glimmer-of-happiness-in-war-ravaged-gaza

Hundreds of Israelis defy police ban to protest Gaza war (photos, video)

RT 10 Aug — Despite the police ban on public gatherings, several hundred anti-war activists took to the streets in Tel-Aviv on Saturday to say ‘no’ to the continuation of Israel’s bloody military operation in Gaza. There are conflicting reports on the demonstration’s turnout, with Reuters reporting 150 people attending. However, Israeli +972 web magazine said that “roughly 500 non-aligned activists flooded Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.”  Protesters chanted slogans such as “Stop the massacre,” “Free Gaza,” “Funds to welfare not to war,” “Build more classrooms not more bombs” as well as “Gaza children want to live.”
http://rt.com/news/179304-israel-gaza-war-police/

Zoabi: Police probe is part of witch-hunt against me

Ynet 11 Aug by Hassan Shaalan and Moran Azulay — Arab MK blames biased system, calls for comparison between her statements and ‘wild incitement of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman against me.’  Zoabi was speaking after five hours of questioning by police from the elite Lahav 433 unit, over claims of incitement and insulting a public official at Nazareth Magistrate’s Court. The MK was subsequently released; the results of her interrogation will be reviewed and submitted to the head of Israel Police Investigations and Intelligence Department, in order to formulate the official police on the case …  Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decided about a week ago to launch a criminal investigation into Zoabi’s actions, following complaints by two policemen. The officer said that Zoabi had cursed him and made derogatory comments about him and a colleague during a remand hearing for Arabs rioters protesting against Operation Protective Edge. Among other comments, the policeman claimed, Zoabi said they should be used “to mop the floor”.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4557641,00.html

Boys to men – ‘New York Times’ tally of Gaza dead says 15-to17-year-olds aren’t children / Patrick Conners

Mondoweiss 11 Aug — On August 5, The New York Times published a highly problematic article Civilian or Not? New Fight in Tallying the Dead from Gaza Conflict, that presented information supporting dubious Israeli government claims that 900 Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza, or around half of all Palestinian killed in Gaza in Israel’s current offensive, were “terrorists.” This assertion flies in the face of consensus reporting over the last month indicating much higher Palestinian civilian casualty figures. Yet another example of bad New York Times’ reporting on Gaza, the article by Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren deserves debunking on many levels. It is built on unsupported claims by the Israeli government about whom Israel killed. Rudoren’s article fails to explain consensus positions in international law on who is a combatant, or explain Israel’s position on them. It also presents information in a way that profiles all Palestinian males age 15 – 60 as possible terrorists potentially deserving of death, and inappropriately limits the age of children to 0-14 years. More broadly, Jodi Rudoren’s article supports an Israeli government PR push to revise the history of Israel’s attack on Gaza to make Israel look better by asserting that Israel killed far more combatants and far fewer children than has been widely reported. The article demonstrates The Times’ inability to hold itself accountable to basic standards of accuracy and fairness in reporting on Israel and Palestine.
http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/tally-arent-children.html

Noam Chomsky on media’s ‘shameful moment’ in Gaza & how a US shift could end the occupation

Democracy Now 11 Aug (Part 2 of an interview) As a new 72-hour ceasefire takes hold in Gaza, we turn to part two of our interview with world-renowned dissident and linguist, MIT Professor Noam Chomsky. Criticizing U.S. media coverage of the Israeli assault on Gaza, Chomsky says: “It’s a shameful moment for U.S. media when it insists on being subservient to the grotesque propaganda agencies of a violent, aggressive state.” Chomsky also discusses his long-standing view that popular pressure at home is critical to ending the U.S. government’s backing for Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. “The United States continues to provide the critical, decisive support for the atrocities,” he says. “Sooner or later, it’s possible—and that’s really up to us—that domestic pressure will compel the U.S. government to join the world on this issue. That will be a decisive change.”
http://www.democracynow.org/2014/8/11/noam_chomsky_on_medias_shameful_moment#.U-kNs16dp-4.facebook

Israel’s new lawyer: Hillary Clinton / Peter Beinart

Haaretz 11 Aug — She sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through Bibi’s eyes, which could be the reason she gets so much wrong — Who’s the Israeli government’s best spokesperson? Ron Dermer? Michael Oren? Bibi himself? Nope. It’s Hillary Clinton. In her interview on Sunday with Jeffrey Goldberg, Clinton offered the most articulate, sophisticated, passionate defense of Netanyahu’s conduct I’ve heard from a government official on either side of the Atlantic. Unfortunately, important chunks of it aren’t true. Let’s take her claims in turn. In his first term, Netanyahu moved towards a Palestinian state Clinton began her defense of Bibi by noting that in his first term, in the late 1990s, he had “give[n] up territory” and “moved in that direction [towards a Palestinian state], as hard as it was.” That’s extremely generous. It’s true that in 1997, Bibi withdrew Israeli troops from most of the West Bank city of Hebron (though they can reenter any time Israel wants) and the following year signed the Wye River Accords, under which Israel was supposed to hand over 13 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority (though Bibi’s government fell before it could do so). What Clinton leaves out is that Bibi only agreed to these withdrawals to forestall the far larger ones envisioned under the Oslo Accords he inherited from Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. In 1993, when Oslo was signed, Bibi publicly compared it to Neville Chamberlain’s surrender of the Sudetenland to Adolf Hitler … Bibi agreed to a settlement freeze but Abbas wouldn’t negotiate Fast-forwarding to the Obama years, Clinton claims that, “I got Netanyahu to agree to the unprecedented settlement freeze… It took me nine months to get Abbas into the negotiations even after we delivered on the settlement freeze.” What’s striking, again, is what Clinton leaves out. The settlement freeze was indeed, unprecedented. Unfortunately, it didn’t actually freeze settlement growth….
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.610007

Posted in Palestine Affairs, GazaComments Off on Palestinian News

Washington D.C.’s ‘Day of Rage’ directs ire at U.S. complicity in Gaza assault

NOVANEWS
Protesters facing the White House demand an end Israel’s war crimes and U.S. financial support. (Photo: Adam Gallagher)

Protesters facing the White House demand an end Israel’s war crimes and U.S. financial support. (Photo: Adam Gallagher)

On August 9, tens of thousands of protesters marched around the globe to support the doleful plight of Palestinians in Gaza. Indeed, pro-Palestinian rallies took place in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Sydney, Melbourne, London, Cape Town, Canada, Oman, Iran, Spain, Malaysia and many other countries.

The protest in Washington, D.C. was distinct in two ways. First, the rally was significantly more tense and sullen than any other pro-Palestine rally I’ve attended in D.C., with a large police presence and even counter-demonstrators. Secondly, the protests differed from many of those around the world in that protesters – using chants, speeches and signs – aimed their outrage at the U.S. as much as at Israel.

While those protesting outside Washington were not hesitant to excoriate U.S. complicity in Israel’s latest actions in Gaza, protesters also focused their attention on Israel itself, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Egypt, their own governments or the international community, among others. The sizable Washington D.C. protest evidenced that many American believe that we are morally obligated to stand up against U.S. complicity in the occupation, the recurring incursions into Gaza and the continued denial of Palestinian rights. In front of the White House during the global Day of Rage for Gaza, American protesters did just that.

Washington D.C. Police monitor the protest in Lafayette Park. (Photo: Adam Gallagher)

Washington D.C. Police monitor the protest in Lafayette Park. (Photo: Adam Gallagher)

I have attended many pro-Palestine rallies in the Washington, D.C. area over the last 7 years. This protest was different. The oppressive humidity of August in D.C. rivaled the tense, heavy atmosphere of the protest. The Metro police presence was particularly robust, with many officers carrying riot gear helmets and truncheons and a group of police officers waiting on horseback one hundred yards away surveying the scene for signs of trouble. In the waning months of tourist season, bemused pedestrians ambled through the protest, with some reading the signs and engaging with the protesters and others simply wanting to get their picture taken in front of the White House.

Counter-Demonstrators in front of the White House. (Photo: Adam Gallagher)

Counter-Demonstrators in front of the White House. (Photo: Adam Gallagher)

At one point, tensions between rally participants and the few counter-protesting gadflies began to rise and the police forcibly separated the two sides and erected barricades. One counter-protester yelled, “I don’t care what happened 2,000 years ago or 100 years ago or 70 years ago or in 1967, the state of Israel has the right to exist.” He was immediately followed by one of his fellow counter-protesters haranguing the protesters for, what he called, “Palestinian collaboration with the Nazis.” I suppose history only matters when it serves to bolster your argument. Another led a chant of “all mouth, no brains,” assuring the other side that he would always win the argument because he had a megaphone. While the dozen or so counter-demonstrators were unorganized and offered a host of contradictory and uninformed remarks, their protest represents the absurdity of blanket support for Israel. At this point, pundits, politicians and everyday people who support Israel’s illegal actions have to resort to yelling the loudest to win the argument and shut down debate.

Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of the protesters, who mostly ignored the rag tag counter-protesters, aimed their ire at the U.S. and its financial, diplomatic and military support for Israel. Many of the chants shouted by protesters focused on President Obama and the U.S.’s billions in aid:

Hey Obama, how much aid is funding Israel’s raids?

Hey Obama, you will see, Palestine will be free!

Hey Obama, pick a side, human rights or genocide!

Our only course of action: boycott, divestment, sanctions!

Not another nickel, not another dime, no more aid for Israel’s crimes!

Hey Obama, can’t you see, our tax dollars make them bleed!

Protesters demand an end to U.S. aid for Israel. (Photo: Adam Gallagher)

Protesters demand an end to U.S. aid for Israel. (Photo: Adam Gallagher)

Here in Washington, D.C., before the seat of international power, American protests aimed their outrage at the United States and its reflexive, and ultimately immoral, support for Israel. The facts are all well-known: the annual $3 billion in aid, the reflexive diplomatic support, the Israel-first penchant of most of the U.S. Congress, the U.S. serving as Israel’s lawyer in the peace process and so on. But, when another paroxysm of violence erupts in Gaza, demanding an end to U.S. aid becomes all that much more urgent. As this excellent Truthout reportdemonstrates, the U.S. directly supplied Israel with a host of military equipment used to kill nearly 2,000 Palestinians, with the overwhelming majority of those being civilian casualties. When bombs land in Gaza that read “Made in the U.S.A.,” Americans have a duty to stand up and demand “No More!” The U.S. is not a helpless actor in this conflict, unable to do anything to stop Israel. To be sure, we are very far from reaching a point where the U.S. will shift its policy course. And, again, that renders protests like the August 9 Day of Rage all that much more urgent.

One common refrain I often here from both Israel’s supporters and those with little knowledge of the Palestine-Israel conflict asks the question “Why do you care?” (for a good example of this type of argument, see this Fox opinion piece). This question has become especially relevant as the latest violent episode in Gaza coincides with the immensely tragic situation in Syria and the terror imposed by the Islamic State on Iraqi minorities, among other international crises. It should go without saying that pro-Palestinian activists do not prioritize Palestinian blood. But, the global Day of Rage and the tens of thousands of protesters and Palestinian supporters around the world have decades of activism and movement building that augment current activism for Palestine. Moreover, American complicity in the carnage in Gaza is explicit and clear. We can demand an end for support to Israel. On the other hand, we can and should protest what the execrable Assad and Islamic State have done in Syria and Iraq. With that said, it’s difficult to imagine tens of thousands rallying worldwide for anti-aircraft missiles for the Syrian rebels, for example. Ultimately, this type of argument is a diversionary tactic, and a hollow one at that, meant to shift the focus of the discussion from Israel’s actions to a broader discussion of humanitarian crises throughout the world.

One protester’s poetic sign read: “A thousand years hence, amidst the olive groves, we’ll sigh to Darwish while olive roots push rusted scraps of F-16s deeper into the earth.”

One protester’s poetic sign read: “A thousand years hence, amidst the olive groves, we’ll sigh to Darwish while olive roots push rusted scraps of F-16s deeper into the earth.”

Washington, D.C.’s Day of Rage sought to demand an end to our government’s support for Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights. Ultimately, the end goal is to not only push the U.S. government to cease its multifaceted and unflinching support for Israel, but to press Israel to end the occupation, provide equal treatment to Palestinian citizens of Israel and honor the rights of Palestinian refugees.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on Washington D.C.’s ‘Day of Rage’ directs ire at U.S. complicity in Gaza assault

We must target our politicians’ ‘cowardice’ in the face of war crimes –Trevor Hogan’s impassioned speech in Dublin

NOVANEWS

Annie Robbins and Phil Weiss 

An amazing speech on the Day of Rage Saturday August 9 in Dublin. Trevor Hoganis a former rugby forward in Ireland who participated in the Gaza flotilla and has assumed a prominent role in Palestinian solidarity in his country. Here he calls out the “cowardice” of the Irish government and the members of the Israel lobby in the face of Palestinian “annihilation,” and demands that the Israeli ambassador, the “chief liar, the chief warmonger in Ireland,” to be expelled from the country:

We cannot sit back and allow Israel to start its slaughter again…. We will not wait fort them to enforce on them a slow death with the illegal siege. We will not wait. We will not wait…

We will continue to stand against the occupation… we will stand against the annihilation of the Palestinian people. Because that’s what they’re trying to do, and we will not let them get away with it…

Gaza is devastated. There’s nowhere for people to go… So it can feel helpless. Even worse, it feels helpless when you look at the Irish government and the cowardice and inaction of our government, our representatives. In this, I’m looking squarely at a few select members of our government. TDs [members of parliament] and Ministers. Charlie Flanagan [minister for foreign affairs]. Leo Varadkar. Joanna Tuffy. I name them out because you are members of a group called the Oireachtas Friends of Israel.

First of all I’ve got a message to you. You need to change your name. You need to change it to the Oireachtas Friends of War Criminals. You need to change it to the Oireachtas Friends of Apartheid. Because that’s what you are. How can you hold your head up, in our [unintelligible], being associated with that?…

We need to call out and expose the lies of the Israeli embassy, the Israeli propaganda and the Zionist narrative that seems to be accepted at face value. We need to expose that, it’s a policy that kills first and lies about afterwards, they kill and then they lie.

And the chief liar, the chief warmonger in Ireland is the Israeli ambassador to my right, in there, that’s where he resides.

[crowd shouts: BOOOO Out! Out! Out! Out! Out!]

As you said we want him out, we want him out of our country. We do not want to tolerate war criminals; apologizers for war crimes; justifiers of practical genocide. He’s out of our country. But the problem is, since our government won’t do it, since they won’t enact it we’re gonna do it.

[crowd cheers]

We’re gonna put a siege, we’re gonna put a siege around this embassy, every week we’re gonna keep comin’ back until we get him out of this country! Out! Out!

[crowd cheers: Out! Out! Out! Out! Out! Out! Out!]

As long as there’s a siege in Gaza, there’s gonna be a siege on this embassy and we’re not gonna lift it until the people of Gaza are free.

Mr Flanagan, you said last week only under exceptional circumstances could an ambassador be expelled. Well is this not exceptional enough for ya?

Six decades of ethnic cleansing, constant war crimes of bombing of children and families and civilians is that not exceptional enough?!

Is Apartheid, is that not exceptional enough?!

Isn’t racism and vile lies spewed out of this embassy every week, is that not exceptional enough?!

Get him out, out of this country!

Hogan spent a week in Israel’s Givon prison after the Irish ship, the MV Saoirse, part of the 2011 Freedom Waves to Gaza campaign, was intercepted and nearly destroyed by Israeli naval forces in international waters on the way to Gaza.

Him and his shipmates on the Saoirse have setup a group called Gaza Action Ireland. Their next project will be bringing school kids from Gaza to play soccer in Ireland, called Gaza Kids.

Thousands of protestors participated in Dublin’s march and rally in solidarity with Palestine on Saturday, the 5th demonstration in Ireland since Israel’s most recent war on Gaza began last month.

 

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Europe, GazaComments Off on We must target our politicians’ ‘cowardice’ in the face of war crimes –Trevor Hogan’s impassioned speech in Dublin

Nazi latest plan – Abbas to oversee a national security state in Gaza

NOVANEWS
Unequal parties to the conflict, the Israeli prime minister, left, and the Palestinian authority president, right

Unequal parties to the conflict, the Israeli prime minister, left, and the Palestinian authority president, right

This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

The ceasefire negotiations continue on. Or will stop and begin again. Does it really matter?

Deadlines with Israel should be redefined as bully-lines. Do this, right now, as we say – or continue to die.

Our Jewish arrival after the Holocaust is permanently redefined. Not security. Expansion. Not normalcy and reconciliation. Aggression without limit.

Take that Palestinians. Take that world. No one hold’s Israel – or Jews – to account.

That’s the talk in Cairo: Disarm Gaza like the West Bank has been disarmed. Reading between the lines this means arm Gaza the way the West Bank has been armed.

The issue isn’t whether there will be weapons in Gaza. There will be more weapons after the agreement is reached. Instead of Hamas, the weapons will be in the hands of a submissive limited autonomy Palestinian Authority with Israel, Egypt, the United States and a host of other rogue states with their fingers on the triggers.

Contrary to popular understanding, Gaza under Hamas was somewhat diverse, with competing centers of power. After Cairo, Gaza might become a national security state – without nationality.

In Cairo, all roads lead through Mahmoud Abbas it seems. Comeback it is. To what end?

Even the vaunted sea route to Cyprus is autonomy water talk. Guarded and vetted, guarded and vetted again, then more, the Palestinians lucky enough to get through this Israeli/European security net might be stripped of any identity they had by the time their boat arrives. Or their identity will be so visible they will be like Jews once were – almost invisible and highly visible at the same time.

Looks like the Jewish condition of the 20th century has become the Palestinian condition of the 21st century.

In Cyprus, perhaps Palestinians will choose to become Europeans. But, then, Europe has cordoned off its shores to those fleeing other parts of the colonized world.

Cyprus won’t be a picnic for Palestinians. They will be suspects in their freedom almost much as they are suspects in their own homeland.

Unless Palestinians can form a beachhead in Europe. As in Lebanon?

Perhaps the Cyprus route is another version of population transfer under yet another name. After the Gaza war one thing is for sure – the Palestinian Diaspora will grow larger.

Cairo is a place where Palestinian freedom will once again be delayed. Denied?

About Marc H. Ellis
  1. Abbas the israeli puppet reject to be a member of the ICC
    link to presstv.com

    • HarryLaw says:

      The Prosecutor at the ICC has told the Palestinians not for the first time [rightly or wrongly] that she is ‘waiting for them’ [presumably to become a member of the ICC ] and until they do’ she will reject any complaint. Many International court lawyers have said the Palestinians do not need to sign up for membership. Why all these disputes about procedure? Why don’t the Palestinians just sign up for membership? No doubt other excuses would be made. But the ICC would make itself more of a laughing stock in such an eventuality. A further rejection by the ICC even after becoming a member would have the benefit of concentrating the minds of the Palestinians, they have to know who their enemies are before planning further strategies.

      • Kay24 says:

        Abbas has been stalling for a long time. It seems the US and Israel have shown displeasure at the thought of the Palestinians going to the ICC.
        Maybe they are twisting his arm, maybe they are threatening him, maybe they are making false promises.

        • Walid says:

          On July 25th, Palestinian Justice Minister Salim Sakka and Gaza Attorney General Ismail Jaber filed a complaint against Israel for war crimes with the ICC. Last week, the Palestinian Authority asked the ICC to nullify the complaint. From Voltairenet.org:

          “… The Palestinian Authority requested International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Ms Fatou Bensouda to nullify the complaint filed on July 25, 2014 by Palestinian Justice Minister Salim Sakka and Gaza Attorney General Ismail Jaber against the war crimes committed by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip.

          Interim President Mahmoud Abbas argued that the complaint was likely to backfire against the Palestinian resistance (which is legally false) and that the Palestinian Authority favored a different strategy: joining the Court (which it never followed up on).

          The complaint was endorsed by 130 law professors from around the world. In accusing Israel of colonialism, it automatically triggered a series of precautionary measures and prohibited foreign companies from trading with Israeli entities established in the occupied territories. So that even if the complaint were not to be considered in a long time, it would nevertheless have generated immediate effects…”

          But Minister Sakka said a couple of days later on Aug 9th that only he could annul the complaint and he is refusing to do so. The complaint against Israel is still on.

          • just says:

            Hurrah! Thanks Walid.

          • HarryLaw says:

            Walid, It would appear the Prosecutor will not accept any declarations or complaints from the Palestinians because [rightly or wrongly] they are not a state member of the ICC. “Palestine is not a State Party to the Rome Statute; neither has the Court received any official document from Palestine indicating acceptance of ICC jurisdiction or requesting the Prosecutor to open an investigation into any alleged crimes following the adoption of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution (67/19) on 29 November 2012, which accorded non-member observer State status to Palestine. Therefore, the ICC has no jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed on the territory of Palestine.link to icc-cpi.int. The International law experts are in disagreement as to whether the Prosecutor has or can reject the complaint/declaration link to opiniojuris.org. Hostage thinks the Prosecutor should move forward with the legitimately filed [in 2009] declaration. It would appear the Prosecutor, or Abbas, for whatever reason are dragging their feet. Or it could be because the court is not really a court but a venue where only the powerful can get access, or if you are not only powerful but also have a white face.

          • Walid says:

            Thanks for the insight, Harry. This ICC legal stuff is out of my league so I’m just watching from a distance and hoping Palestinians could get the justice due to them. The only clear thing so far is how much Abbas is against going anywhere near the ICC. It must be the top priority on his job description.

  2. Walid says:

    “In Cairo, all roads lead through Mahmoud Abbas it seems. Comeback it is. To what end?”

    It’s been what the whole thing has been about starting with the murder of the 3 teens that culminated in an all out assault on Gaza to put Abbas at the head of Gaza too. The West Bankers have already been turned into Finns, as Israelis would say, now the intent is to do likewise with Gaza. But Hamas is not playing along.

  3. Walid says:

    On a side note, the 2010 photo above was the one that also included King Abdullah II and Mubarak that was shamelessly doctored by Mubarak to show him leading the pack with the others following behind him to bolster his image with the Egyptian public. It was published in the pro-Mubarak “Al-Ahram”:

    link to cironline.org

  4. Murdock says:

    So what happens when the mayor of Ramallah – er, I mean, His Excellency the President of the State of Palestine Dr. Mahmoud Abbas, Grand Master of the Order of the Star of Jerusalem – kicks the bucket? Do the Israelis and Americans plan to just continue manipulating his corpse?

  5. LuLu says:

    Hamas will NEVER disarm or allow puppets in there. They asked Lebanon to have Hezbollah disarm many times, did they succeed? No, they tried with Hamas many times, and they know it is not going to happen. Hamas just gets stronger each time. They need to give up the fantasy of thinking Palestinians will submit.

  6. Sudhama says:

    Reading this reminds me of something. Former Israeli soldier Avner Gvaryahu tells us about the IDF practice of the ‘Straw Widow’, “The grounds of how these actions are growing, is the day to day life. Is the routine. Are the things that no one questions. Right? For example, entering a house for military purposes. This is what is called a ‘Straw Widow’. I took part in numerous ‘Straw Widows.’ This is something that happens around the West Bank. Not really questioned, not considered illegal, not considered extreme. But when you have the order to enter a house, and eventually do whatever you like in the house, because you need it for military purposes, it’s a very slippery slope.

    “Because, when you enter a house and only use it for an observation point, what do you do when you’re water’s finished and there’s no other way to get water to you? Do you drink water or you don’t drink water? What happens when your food is finished? So when we’re sitting here very comfortably we say, ‘of course talking water is immoral to take someone’s water or food without permission. Even though it’s very easy to get permission when you have a helmet and gun, right? No one will say no to you. But this doesn’t end. What happens when you have to take a shower in the house, if you’re in the house suddenly for 48 hours or three days. And if you’re allowed to sit on the sofa, you’re allowed to put your legs on the table.”

    It does not make you anti-Semitic or a self-hating Jew to disagree with what Israel is doing, just a person with a good heart, with compassion and with a conscience.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, GazaComments Off on Nazi latest plan – Abbas to oversee a national security state in Gaza

The Walzer Problem

NOVANEWS
Michael Walzer

Michael Walzer

For many years there have been a number of prominent American Jewish public figures, academicians, or organizational leaders who have essentially functioned as propagandists for Israeli policy in its conflict with the Palestinians: the names that immediately come to mind are Abe Foxman, Marty Peretz, and Alan Dershowitz.  However, sensible people who lack expertise in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but who are increasingly uneasy about Israel’s policies and behavior are likely to discount those hasbarists and their like.

For two reasons, however, that is not the case when it comes to Michael Walzer. First, by almost universal acclaim, he is the preeminent just war moral philosopher of the last half-century, a scholar and teacher at Princeton, Harvard, and for over thirty years a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies, perhaps America’s most distinguished and prestigious academic institution, whose members have included such intellectual and moral giants as Albert Einstein and George Kennan. Secondly, Walzer’s extensive writings on the Arab-Israel conflict are by no means uncritical of Israeli policies, particularly, the settlements, the occupation, and the Israeli refusal to accept a two-state political settlement.

Consequently, Walzer has far more credibility than the propagandists–except, that is, for specialists on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict who have become increasingly alarmed by Walzer’s analytical and moral failings when it comes to that issue. The Walzer problem is extremely important, precisely because of his stature and apparent moderation.  Thus, among America’s elites and liberal Zionists (as Walzer himself is usually categorized), he almost certainly has done far more damage than the propagandists to public understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Just to take one example, Walzer is on the Board of Directors of Americans for Peace Now, which could just as well be called the Liberal Zionists of America; it is unimaginable that APN would ask Dershowitz, Peretz, or Foxman to be on the Board, let alone to be regularly invited to comment on recent events, including about Israel’s most recent attack on Gaza (to be discussed below).

In the July 30th issue of New Republic, Walzer writes about the latest and most destructive Israeli attack on Gaza, in an article entitled “Israel Must Do More to Limit Civilian Deaths.” Characteristically, as the title suggests, Walzer is critical of some Israeli policies, for he argues that Israel should have been working with Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority instead of deliberately weakening them.  In addition, Walzer continues, while he is “a little uneasy” about criticizing Israel’s bombing policies, he thinks that it should have done more to limit Palestinian civilian casualties. In a subsequent APN discussion, Walzer was even more cautious, saying that the attack did appear to create some ethical “dilemmas” but that he couldn’t “sit in Princeton New Jersey” and judge them.

Notwithstanding such mild and standard criticisms—practically by definition these days, all liberal Zionists are uneasy about those issues–the weight and clearly the intention of Walzer’s article is to defend Israel against the far more severe criticisms of its policies that are becoming increasingly common, particularly that it has repeatedly committed war crimes in Gaza, especially in the 2008-09 “Cast Lead” attacks and, probably even more so, in the recent “Operation Protective Edge” assault.

Walzer’s two main arguments are that the civilian casualties in Gaza are primarily the responsibility of Hamas’s policies rather than those of Israel, and that Israel is only exercising its right of self-defense against an organization with which it cannot negotiate because it is not interested in a compromise two-state settlement and “is religiously committed to the destruction of Israel.”

Walzer develops the first of these arguments in the context of what he describes as “asymmetric wars,” meaning wars against insurgents who can blend in with the civilian population. In such wars, he writes, “the attacking forces [must] make positive efforts, including asking their own soldiers to take risks, in order to minimize the risks they impose on enemy civilians.” After laying out this general argument, Walzer then asks: “Is Israel fighting that kind of war?” His concern is that Israel’s warnings to Palestinian civilians of imminently impending attacks on residential areas were insufficient to meet his criterion.  As he forthrightly puts it:

“People don’t leave, or not all of them leave; they are caring for elderly or sick parents; they can’t bear to abandon a home of 30 years….they don’t know where to go; or there isn’t any safe place to go.”

Nonetheless, the problem with Walzer’s answer to his own question–is Israel fighting a just asymmetric war?–is that his criticisms fall far short of facing up to the realities of Israel’s ways of warfare.  Even leaving aside the issue of whether Israel, in this war as well as in previous attacks on Gaza and southern Lebanon, actually intends or at least welcomes a certain level of “enemy” civilian casualties and general suffering—for the sake of “deterrence,” of course—there simply isn’t any doubt that it isn’t fighting the kind of war that Walzer considers to be appropriate.

It has been obvious for a number of years that the Israeli army, far from asking its soldiers to take risks, uses massive firepower in civilian areas precisely in order to protect its soldiers from the casualties that would occur if they had to directly engage Hamas fighters. The evidence that this is the case is decisive. For example, according to a number of analyses, since the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006, the IDF has adopted the “Dahiya Doctrine,” which specifically calls for the use of heavy and “disproportionate” firepower to be employed against civilian infrastructures, both in order to subdue the enemy and to deter future wars.

Walzer would probably reply that no such written doctrine can be found in the official IDF code of conduct or rules of agreement. In 2008, however, Gadi Eisenkot, a senior Israeli General in charge of Israel’s northern regions, publicly stated that in the event of a new conflict with Hezbollah: “We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective, these are military bases….This isn’t a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorized.” (emphasis added)

The Dahiya Doctrine was not meant to apply only to Lebanon but also to Gaza. For example, in February 2009, following the end of the “Cast Lead” attacks on Gaza, prime minister Ehud Olmert told a cabinet meeting that “the government’s position….is that if there is shooting at the residents of the south, there will be a harsh Israeli response that will be disproportionate.” Of course that is precisely what has happened.

Shortly after the recent Israeli attack, Michael Sfard, perhaps Israel’s leading human rights lawyer, wrote that since the 2006 Lebanon War the IDF now officially holds that “when fighting in urban areas, we are entitled to treat the entire area as a legitimate target and bombard it via air strikes or artillery shelling—as long as we first warn all the residents of our intention to do so and give them time to leave. This is what Israel is doing, despite the evidence that warnings don’t work, there is no place for them to go, no safe corridors are provided. Israel is attacking the very places it tells them to flee—and these amount “to a declaration of war against the fundamental principles of the law of armed combat.”

In addition to the Dahiya Doctrine, the recent fighting has revealed that the Israeli army also has incorporated a “Hannibal Doctrine” or “Procedure,” which requires that whenever an Israeli soldier is “kidnapped,” the nearby Israeli forces must use massive force against surrounding areas, regardless of whether they are residential or not, in order to cut off the “escape routes” of the enemy forces–i.e. Hamas or Hezbollah–that have captured the soldier. During “Operation Protective Edge,” the Hannibal procedure was put into effect after the suspected capture of an IDF officer. A Haaretz editorial noted that it “resulted in massive firing” upon a residential area in Gaza, in which between 130 and 150 Palestinians, including many women and children, were killed.”

In other words, far from instructing its troops to take risks to minimize civilian casualties, the Israeli military essentially tells its forces not to take such risks. There is much more evidence of such policies than I have included here. Anyone writing or talking about the issue should acquaint himself with this evidence, which can even be done while “sitting in Princeton New Jersey.”

Hamas and the problem of “Asymmetric Warfare.”

“Asymmetric war” is the term which for obvious reasons counterinsurgency theorists prefer over the traditional and more neutral one, “guerrilla warfare.” Thus, Walzer’s use of the term is revealing, for its clear implication is that Hamas (like other insurgents rising up against large state armies) not only has an advantage but perhaps an unfair advantage over the otherwise far superior Israeli military forces: “it can’t be the case that the insurgents, by hiding among civilians, make it impossible for the other side to fight against them,” Walzer writes.

Like other insurgents in the past, Walzer continues, Hamas employs a “human shields” strategy against Israel, meaning it hides its fighters and their weapons in homes, hospitals and schools, thereby ensuring that attacks on them will cause civilian casualties. In fact, he seems to be arguing that as in the case of other insurgents, Hamas actually welcomes Palestinian civilian casualties because of their propaganda value: “Hamas isn’t so much hiding behind them [the Gazan “human shields”] as deliberately exposing them to harm, which is one way of ‘winning’ in asymmetric warfare,” Walzer writes. Later he adds: “The more civilians they [the militarily superior power] kill…the better it is for insurgents…. it is the insurgents who decide that the death of civilians will advance their cause.”

Judging from the news reports on the recent Israeli attack, it is true that Hamas did launch rockets against Israel and fought against the invading Israeli army from crowded residential neighborhoods, thereby supposedly leaving Israel no choice but to bomb and shell them, causing thousands of civilian casualties. It is instructive to note, however, that after the end of Cast Lead in 2009 extensive investigations by the Goldstone Commission and Human Rights Watch examined the “human shields” argument in great detail; both concluded that, despite some unavoidable mixing of combatants and civilians in Gaza’s densely populated cities, Hamas did not have a strategy of using civilians as human shields. Indeed, Human Rights Watch stated that Israel continued to bomb civilian targets even though the fighting had already ended and there were no longer Palestinian “human shields” at the sites. The conclusion of both organizations, as well as that of Amnesty International, was that the Israeli “wanton destruction” of civilian institutions amounted to war crimes.

To be sure, that doesn’t prove that Hamas did not deliberately employ a human shields strategy during the recent conflict; that remains to be examined in the investigations by human rights organizations that almost certainly will soon be undertaken. What is certain, however, is that it will continue to be the case that vastly outnumbered insurgents, rising up against far more powerful state armies, will try to avoid making themselves easy targets. In particular, Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, so Hamas fighters and their weapons will inevitably be intermingled with the civilian population. To be sure, there are some open or lightly populated areas, but should Hamas be required to mass its forces and weapons there, thereby ensuring that it would take Israel about twenty minutes to destroy them from the air?

Uri Avnery, the legendary Israeli peace activist and former fighter for the Irgun—the Zionist terrorist organization—has recently observed that during the British occupation, the Jewish resistance organizations, facing both the British army and Palestinian forces, also hid its arms in schools, hospitals, and other civilian institutions. Indeed, Avnery could have added that when Zionist terrorist groups bombed Palestinian buses, movie houses, and other civilian targets they surely knew that the Palestinians would respond in kind (and, of course, vice-versa) but did so anyway, in effect accepting those consequences as the unavoidable cost of gaining national liberation and independence.

There is no reason to think that Hamas doesn’t make the same calculations. That may certainly demonstrate that Hamas—like the Irgun before it—is a ruthless organization that is prepared to accept a certain level of death and suffering among its own civilian population as an unavoidable cost of its resistance, but it hardly demonstrates that it welcomes it, as Walzer clearly implies, let alone deliberately invites it.

The Proportionality Issue

Walzer writes that “it can’t be the case that the insurgents, by hiding among civilians, make it impossible for the other side to fight against them. There has to be a just, or justifiable way of responding to indiscriminate rocket attacks.” He then goes on to argue that the “rule of proportionality” must govern such a response: “If you are aiming at military targets (rocket launchers, for example, and know that your attack will also cause civilian casualties (collateral damage), you must make sure that the number of dead or injured civilians is ‘not disproportionate’ to the value of the military target.” He continues that such calculations are “highly subjective;” nonetheless, without quite saying so directly, he clearly considers that the Israeli attack is violating the proportionality rule, and that therefore must make greater efforts, even if it increases the risks to its own soldiers, to avoid inflicting a “disproportionate” number of civilian casualties.

Despite its apparent balance and implied criticism of Israel’s behavior, Walzer’s discussion of the proportionality issue is quite misleading. First, if a military attack is on behalf of an unjust cause the rule of proportionality does not apply, since you are prohibited from attacking any target, military or otherwise, even if there is no “collateral damage” at all. This, of course, goes to the issue of whether this and all previous Israeli attacks on Gaza are truly necessary for self-defense, or whether, as I and others have contended (see link below) their deeper purpose is to crush resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

Second, that issue aside, Israel is not just attacking military targets—proportionately or not—for as in almost all of its previous wars against the Palestinians (and other Arab states and peoples) it is striking undoubted civilian targets: the family homes of Hamas militants (with the families inside), power plants, civilian industries, water and sewage facilities, schools, hospitals, banks, mosques and office buildings.

Consequently, Israel—as in the past– has not only violated the principle of proportionality, it is in blatant violation—as in the past—of the even more fundamental and categorical just war and international legal principle, noncombatant immunity, which mandates that it is a war crime to deliberately attack civilian targets, even in a just cause, let alone an unjust one.

I’m not telling Walzer anything he doesn’t know—on the contrary, he wrote the book, or rather, the book on it.

What Does Hamas Want?

Is the present-day goal of Hamas still that of Israel’s destruction of Israel, or rather of fighting against the occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza? Walzer has no doubts on the matter—he won’t even accord Hamas the dignity of calling it a resistance organization, only “resistance,” in quotes. Meaning what—that there is nothing Israel is doing to the Palestinians that would justify resistance, no quotation marks?

To be sure, even if Hamas is best seen as a true resistance movement, no quotation marks, the issue of its terrorism (attacks aimed at Israeli civilians) would still arise. However, a full moral analysis of the terrorism question would also have to deal with the fact that the Palestinians have no capacity to resist an illegal, unjust, and repressive occupation by other means, since they have zero chance of defeating the Israeli military forces, and Israel either ignores or crushes (sometimes with lethal force) all Palestinian nonviolent resistance.

According to Walzer, Hamas “is religiously committed to the destruction of Israel.” Interesting wording: most people sharing Walzer’s views say simply that Hamas “is committed to the destruction of Israel.” By adding the adjective “religiously,” perhaps Walzer intends to give himself plausible deniability that he is distorting the historical record, for it is true that the Hamas Charter is intensely religious and is committed to the destruction of Israel. The real issue, however, is whether in practice Hamas is still so committed, notwithstanding its religion and its original Charter. In any case, later on Walzer drops the qualification, if that’s what it is, for he flatly states that “Hamas has never deviated from its absolute opposition to the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East.”

To put the case mildly, that is a remarkable distortion of the historical record, which includes increasing evidence that Hamas has for some time been gradually moving—in fact, no longer very gradually—towards a pragmatic, if reluctant acceptance of the realities of Israeli power and its implications for Hamas’ operational goals. In chronological order, here is a brief summary of the record (except as otherwise indicated, the full citations for all the statements below can be found in a 2012 article I wrote for the political science journal International Security.

*According to ex-Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy, in 1997 King Hussein of Jordan conveyed to Israel an offer from Khalid Meshal, then the chief Hamas leader, to reach an understanding on a ceasefire to last 30 years. Israel not only ignored the offer, a few days later Israeli operatives tried to assassinate Meshal in Jordan.

*In the months before the January 2006 parliamentary elections in Gaza—free elections, which it won–Hamas downplayed its Charter and did not run on a platform calling for the destruction of Israel. Shortly after winning the January 2006 Gazan parliamentary elections, Hamas sent a message to president George Bush, offering Israel a truce for “many years,” in exchange for a compromise political settlement; neither the Bush administration nor Israel replied.

*In February 2006, Meshal said that Hamas would not oppose the unified Arab stance expressed in an Arab League summit conference, which offered Israel full recognition and normalized relations in exchange for full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories and a solution to the refugee problem.

*In May 2006, senior Hamas members imprisoned in Israel joined with Fatah prisoners and issued the “Prisoner’s Declaration,” which went further than the earlier Hamas overtures. It called for the establishment of a Palestinian state “in all the lands occupied in 1967” and reserved the use of armed resistance only in those territories.

*In August 2006 Gazan prime minister Ismail Hanieh in effect accepted and incorporated the Prisoner’s Declaration into the Hamas position, especially its crucial distinction between the occupied territories and Israel within its 1967 borders, telling an American scholar: “We have no problem with a sovereign Palestinian state over all of our lands within the 1967 borders, living in calm.” (emphasis added)

*In January 2007, Meshal stated that Hamas would consider recognizing Israel once a Palestinian state was established; aHaaretz story noted that “this is the first time that a Hamas official has raised the possibility of full and official recognition of Israel in the future.” According to the story, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert “shrugged off” Meshal’s statement.

*Throughout 2008, Hamas’s political positions continued to evolve. In particular, in April Meshal publicly reiterated that Hamas would end its resistance activities if Israel ended the occupation and accepted a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. Israel ignored the statement.

*In a May 2009 interview in the New York Times, Meshal said that Hamas should be judged on its current deeds and policies and that it was “not logical for the international community to get stuck on sentences written 20 years ago” in its Charter.

*In December 2010 Hamas announced that it would honor any Palestinian referendum that approved a peace plan with Israel: “We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees,” said Haniyeh. “Hamas will respect the results [of a referendum],” he added, “regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles.” Zvi Bar’el, a leading Haaretz political analyst, noted: “Not a return of refugees, not the destruction of the State of Israel, no preconditions.”

*In January 2012 Hamas announced that it was suspending all acts of terror in favor of “popular resistance” (i.e. nonviolent resistance); was joining in a unity government with the Palestinian Authority; would accept past deals between the PA or PLO and Israel, such as the Oslo agreements; would accept Mahmoud Abbas as the prime minister in that government, which would conduct negotiations with Israel; and would agree to a two-state solution if the Palestinian people approved it in a referendum.

*In May 2012 Haaretz and the New York Times reported that Hamas was taking direct action in Gaza to prevent the firing of rockets into Israel. Later that year top IDF officers said that Hamas had not participated in rocket attacks against Israel for over six months, and the military correspondents of Haaretzreported that since Cast Lead, Hamas “has almost completely refrained from firing rockets into Israel.”

*In November 2012, the ceasefire ended when Israel initiated an eight-day round of exchanges of fire with Hamas. However, before Israel once again broke the ceasefire (as had been repeatedly the case in past ceasefires), Hamas had apparently been on the verge of a radical change in its policies towards Israel. The story was covered in a series of articles in Haaretz. Gershon Baskin–a prominent Israeli peace activist who had ties both to Hamas and the Israeli government and who had helped negotiate the earlier deal in which an Israeli prisoner of Hamas was released in exchange for 1000 Palestinian prisoners of Israel– had negotiated a draft agreement with Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari that provided for a permanent truce between Israel and Hamas: that is, no longer a ten year, or even a thirty year truce, as Hamas had proposed in the past, but a permanent one.

A few weeks later, Reuven Pedatzur, the military correspondent of Haaretz, confirmed Baskin’s account, writing that contacts between Baskin and Hamas had taken place “with the knowledge and consent of Defense Minister Ehud Barak,” and who was shown the draft agreement. Several hours later, though, Israel assassinated Jabari, “the man who had the power to make a deal with Israel,” wrote Pedatzur.

In an oped column in the New York Times and subsequent interviews in Haaretz, Baskin said that senior officials who knew about Jabari’s agreement to end all military attacks on Israel but decided to proceed with the attack anyway had “made a strategic mistake which will cost the lives of quite a number of innocent people on both sides.” Pedatzur, however, did not buy the “strategic mistake” explanation and did not shrink from reaching the obvious conclusion: “The decision to kill Jabari shows that our decision makers decided a cease-fire would be undesirable for Israel at this time, and that attacking Hamas would be preferable.”

*After eight days of intense Israeli air attacks on Gaza, Israel and Hamas agreed to a new ceasefire, the central terms of which were that as long as Israel was not attacked, it would significantly ease the economic blockade–widely termed, even in Israel, as the “siege” of Gaza. Throughout 2013, however, this agreement was violated by Israel, which not only continued most of the economic sanctions but repeatedly engaged in assassinations and armed attacks inside Gaza. By contrast, Hamas continued not only to observe the ceasefire but cracked down even harder on Islamic Jihad and other militants to prevent them from launching rocket or mortar attacks; as a result, in the first three months after the ceasefire was negotiated there was just one mortar attack from Gaza and throughout the rest of 2013 there were fewer attacks than in any year since 2003, the first year that such attacks had begun. Israeli intelligence was said to be satisfied with Hamas’s efforts to maintain the ceasefire.

*In January 2014 Hamas and the PA government in the West Bank signed a new reconciliation agreement (the previous agreement of 2012 had broken down). Under its terms an interim unity government would be formed until new elections in six months time, but until then none of the cabinet level positions would be filled by Hamas officials. Even more importantly, Hamas agreed to the PA’s conditions that the Palestinian goal was a two-state settlement generally based on the 1967 lines, and that only nonviolent methods would be employed to reach it.

A cautionary note: Despite the accumulating evidence, it cannot be denied that there have been inconsistencies in Hamas’s position and that on occasion—usually following a particularly destructive Israeli attack—its spokesmen have returned to their earlier militant and rejectionist rhetoric. Sometimes Hamas officials have said that they accept Israel as a “fact” but would “never recognize its legitimacy”—on other occasions, however, they have strongly implied that their formal position had no practical importance and could eventually change. One day a Hamas official makes a particularly conciliatory statement, but other officials then deny there had been any changes in its policies. Sometimes Hamas has continued to stress its commitment to the “right of return” of all Palestinian refugees to Israel, perhaps the most difficult obstacle to a permanent settlement—but at other times it downplays the problem and generally indicates, like Abbas, that in the context of an overall settlement it will accept a symbolic resolution of the issue. And so on.

Despite the occasional mixed signals and contradictory rhetoric, there simply is no doubting the ongoing evolution of Hamas thinking, if for no other reason that, as Paul Pillar (the former Deputy Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center) has recently put it, “Hamas leaders are certainly smart enough to realize their group will never have anything close to a capability to destroy Israel, even if they wanted to do so.”[18] In any case, in the final analysis, the only way to resolve the remaining (and steadily declining) ambiguities in Hamas’s position and test its willingness to reach a settlement is for Israel to enter into serious political negotiations with it, as several former directors and other high officials of Mossad and Shin Bet have been urging for a number of years.

Far from doing so, not only does Israel continue to refuse political negotiations with Hamas, but it continues its assassinations that have killed—or unsuccessfully tried to kill–most of the founders and leaders of Hamas and its main activists, right up to the present day. Pillar succinctly sums up what the evidence demonstrates: “Rather than saying Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel, it would be closer to the truth to say that Israel is dedicated to the destruction of Hamas.”

Conclusion

For many years, Michael Walzer has been a significant obstacle to the possibility that the liberal American Jewish community—increasingly uneasy about Israel, but unsure what to believe—will realize that Israel is sliding into a moral, political, and perhaps, sooner or later, an existential catastrophe, which can only be arrested if it is forced to change its course as a result of the loss of its political, economic, and military support from the United States.

Although Walzer is justly acclaimed for his moral thought and other philosophical contributions, specialists and others knowledgeable about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have long been aware of his intellectual and moral failures on that issue. These failures are typically described as Walzer’s “blind spot,” but in my view the matter is considerably worse than that. Because of his stature and articulateness, he has had great credibility among liberal Zionists who are increasingly worried about the course that Israel is on but are unsure what to believe. But his credibility is unmerited: many of his arguments are sophistical and some of them—as in the case of his discussions of Hamas—are downright deceitful. Indeed, even his discussions of important purely factual matters cannot be relied upon, both because he misstates important facts and ignores others.

As in the past, Walzer’s latest work is entirely unequal to the reality of Israel’s criminal and self-destructive behavior.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, GazaComments Off on The Walzer Problem

Hamas equals ISIS in ‘grisly creeds and grisly deeds,’ Naziyahu tells a nodding Cuomo

NOVANEWS

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo met with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu today, and Netanyahu posted these joint remarks, in which he equates Hamas with ISIS in Iraq and Syria– “in their grisly creeds and their grisly deeds”– and says the U.S. must support Israel’s fight with Hamas.

At minute 2, the governor, who is on his first trip out of the United States since he assumed office three years ago, can be seen nodding during Netanyahu’s equation of Hamas and ISIS as terrorist tyrannies that “reject modernity.” Then Cuomo affirms his solidarity, and himself equates Hamas with Al Qaeda.

Netanyahu:

Representing the rejection of the false symmetry that is made. Just as you wouldn’t put America and ISIS on the same moral plane, you would never put Israel and Hamas on the same moral plane.

Remember that Hamas celebrated 9/11. They celebrated the murder of thousands of innocent people, including thousands of New Yorkers… They were standing on the roof and cheering while all of the people of Israel grieved… with the United States…

Hamas continues to do these horrible things that ISIS does. They persecute Christians, they persecute gays, they persecute women. They basically reject modernity. They are a terrorist tyranny that is imposed on their people. And when their people reject being used as human shields, you know what they do governor– they execute them!

…On one side you have Israel and the United States representing democracies committed to human rights, committed to our real future for our people. And on the other you have the likes of ISIS and Hamas, Islamist tyrannies that have no inhibition in pursuing their grisly creeds and their grisly deeds.

Cuomo seems to agree with the parallel:

We want to stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel. We want to stand in solidarity with you…

We understand what you are facing, and we support your right, your need to defend your people against terror…

[Our city and Israel share] family connections, cultural connections, historic connections– so our relations go very deep.

The fight that you fight is the fight against terror. Unfortunately in New York we’ve had a rude awakening to the pain and suffering that terror can cause in 9/11. So we have a special sensitivity in our hearts for what you’re going through now…

The discovery of these tunnels I find very troubling indeed.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on Hamas equals ISIS in ‘grisly creeds and grisly deeds,’ Naziyahu tells a nodding Cuomo

Fraternizing with minorities in I$raHell

NOVANEWS
Jon Stewart (photo: Salon)

“Absent Kafka, my wife wants her case to be heard in the court of judge Jon Stewart”(photo: Salon)

I am divorcing my wife. I have to. Read this article and you too will understand: Don’t let the link fool you. It doesn’t bear any resemblance to the actual title of the article in today’s Haaretz newspaper, which declares: “Soldiers probed for non-offense of ‘fraternizing with minorities.’” As you read the article you come to realize that “the nonexistent offense” is pretty serious in nature. First of all, minorities “is a euphemism for Arabs.” And in the minds of the quoted members of the Military Police and the Military Advocate General Corps such transgressions seem to be associated with the crimes of “trafficking in illegal drugs” and “contact with a foreign agent.” That definitely puts an end to our life as a married couple. We both know that the IDF sets the tone for civilian life in Israel.

To be fair to my wife (I am tempted to say ‘my ex-wife’ but her lawyers may use my ‘jumping to conclusions’ against me in the coming court case) I must admit that she was the one to notice the article first and to call my attention to it, possibly out of fear of its logical implications for our marital life. She has been fraternizing with minorities for over half a century now. Psychologists are quick to point out the known phenomenon of criminals betraying their guilt through inadvertent symbolic gestures, Freudian slips and the display of inner tension. It is the basis for the Hebrew truism known to the laity as “the hat burning on the head of the thief”. Whether out of inner remorse for hiding her terrible offense from me, her legally wedded husband, all those long years or out of a sense of betrayal towards the state that has granted her permanent residency for most of our married life, my wife decided to face up to her terrible ‘non-offense’ and to admit it through reading the said article to me.

By now “that woman” knows I am not a violent man and that I have no guns in any of the drawers in my study. Still I found her behavior in reading the article to me rather audacious. I had to consult with our son who happened to be visiting us on vacation. As I read him the article and proceeded to explain my dilemma he seemed to question my sanity. He wanted to know if I hadn’t realized that his mother had a distinct tendency to hanging around minorities in her younger years. I suddenly realized what a dope I have been, what a fool she had made of me for fifty-one years. Everyone in Hawaii, her homeland, is a member of a minority. No wonder she liked living in Arrabeh, my home village in Galilee. She had seen the number of minority members in it double and quadruple over the years, a dream world for one addicted to “fraternizing with minorities.”

Next in line for me was my dear childhood village friend, Toufiq. His first reaction was that I should seek the help of an expert in dream interpretation. It wasn’t anything to do with me. But the article required explaining by such a specialist, he thought. The one nugget that he found to be the key to everything in this conundrum was the fact that “the officer who handled one case was himself a member of the minority Druze community.” Toufiq expressed his deep sorrow that Kafka is currently unreachable. But who wants to open such a Pandora’s box? The Israeli commander who led the Israeli troops in massacring residents of the Shujayah Neighborhood in Gaza was also a Druze. After treating his injuries he begged the doctors in the hospital to let him go back to finish the job he had started. I suspect that what upset him so much was when his commanders told him that in Gaza “the minorities” were in the majority.

Absent Kafka, my wife wants her case to be heard in the court of judge Jon Stewart.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Fraternizing with minorities in I$raHell

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