USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Archive for December, 2008

Israel Bombs Gaza, Barak says Ceasefire with Hamas Like Ceasefire with Al Qaeda

Posted by uscsjp on December 27, 2008

Palestinians carry the body of a victim of an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, 27 December 2008. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages, provided here courtesy of Electronic Intifada)

Palestinians carry the body of a victim of an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, 27 December 2008. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages, posted on Electronic Intifada)

” ‘I will play music and celebrate what the Israeli air force is doing.’  Those were the words, spoken on Al Jazeera today by Ofer Shmerling, an Israeli civil defense official in the Sderot area adjacent to Gaza, as images of Israel’s latest massacres were broadcast around the world.

A short time earlier, US-supplied Israeli F-16 warplanes and Apache helicopters dropped over 100 bombs on dozens of locations in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip killing at least 195 persons and injuring hundreds more. Many of these locations were police stations located, like police stations the world over, in the middle of civilian areas. The US government was one of the first to offer its support for Israel’s attacks, and others will follow…”

–Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 27 December 2008

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10055.shtml

See Also:

“Israel resumes Gaza bombardment

Israeli warplanes have resumed their air strikes on Gaza, blasting targets all over the Strip, including a mosque and a TV station…

…Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, rejected calls for a new truce, saying Israel ‘cannot really accept’ a ceasefire with Hamas.

‘For us to be asked to have a ceasefire with Hamas is like asking you to have a ceasefire with al Qaeda. It’s something we cannot really accept,’ Barak told Fox News from Tel Aviv… ”

–Al Jazeera English, 27 December, 2008

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2008/12/20081227193910425276.html


And more background to the current bombardment:

“If Gaza Falls…

Israel’s siege of Gaza began on 5 November, the day after an Israeli attack inside the strip, no doubt designed finally to undermine the truce between Israel and Hamas established last June. Although both sides had violated the agreement before, this incursion was on a different scale. Hamas responded by firing rockets into Israel and the violence has not abated since then. Israel’s siege has two fundamental goals. One is to ensure that the Palestinians there are seen merely as a humanitarian problem, beggars who have no political identity and therefore can have no political claims. The second is to foist Gaza onto Egypt. That is why the Israelis tolerate the hundreds of tunnels between Gaza and Egypt around which an informal but increasingly regulated commercial sector has begun to form. The overwhelming majority of Gazans are impoverished and officially 49.1 per cent are unemployed. In fact the prospect of steady employment is rapidly disappearing for the majority of the population…”

–Sara Roy, London Review of Books (and posted on ZNet’s Israel-Palestine Watch page), 26 December, 2008


http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n01/roy_01_.html


Also, earlier this holiday season:

“Days After Calling Israeli Blockade of Gaza ‘A Crime Against Humanity,’ UN Human Rights Investigator Richard Falk Detained, Expelled from Israel

The United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay has accused Israel of ‘unprecedented and deeply regrettable’ treatment of UN human rights investigator Richard Falk. Falk was deported from Israel Monday after being detained at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport for twenty hours. Falk’s detention and expulsion came days after he condemned Israel’s blockade of Gaza as a ‘flagrant and massive violation of international humanitarian law’ and ‘Crime Against Humanity.’ We speak to Falk about his detention and expulsion from Israel…”

–Democracy Now, December 17, 2008

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/12/17/days_after_calling_israeli_blockade_of

See also the Electronic Intifada’s Interview with Falk:

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10051.shtml

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Carter Ready to Meet Hezbollah

Posted by uscsjp on December 9, 2008

Carter was widely criticized for meeting Meshaal in April (AFP)

Carter was widely criticized for meeting Meshaal in April (AFP)

“Jimmy Carter, the former US president, has said he is ready to meet with Hezbollah officials if they agree to see him.

Carter made his comments upon arrival in Lebanon on Tuesday where he will assess whether his Atlanta-based Carter Centre would take part in monitoring next year’s parliamentary elections.

Asked whether he would meet with Hezbollah officials during his five-day visit, Carter told reporters that it was up to the group, which the United States considers a “terrorist” organisation.

‘I am going to meet with all of the political parties as possible,’ Carter said. ‘I understand that several leaders of Hezbollah said they were not going to meet with any president or former president of the United States, so I don’t know yet.’

Hezbollah official told The Associated Press news agency the group had no immediate comment on Carter’s remarks but said it might issue a statement, most likely on Wednesday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media…

…Carter was widely criticised in April when he met in Syria with Khaled Meshaal, the exiled Hamas political leader.

The US also labels Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip, a ‘terrorist’ organisation…”

–Al Jazeera, Tuesday, Dec 9, 2008

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2008/12/2008129191842501955.html

And from the BBC:

“Egypt’s top Muslim cleric is under pressure to resign from politicians and newspapers for shaking the hand of Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Criticism has been steadily growing since the newspapers began running a photograph of the Sheikh Mohammad Sayyid Tantawi greeting Mr Peres.

The two met at the United Nations sponsored interfaith conference in New York in November.

Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab states to have made peace with Israel.

But the bitter reaction to Sheikh Tantawi’s greeting of Mr Peres showed just how deep the resentment felt by many in Egypt towards its neighbour goes…”

-BBC News, Tuesday, Dec 9, 2008

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7773047.stm

And finally:

Noam Chomsky On The Economy, Democracy and the American Presidential Elections…

http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/19801

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Jewish settlers attack Palestinians, Situation in Gaza grim, Iran attack plans leaked

Posted by uscsjp on December 7, 2008

From the BBC:

Olmert condemns settler ‘pogrom’

“Outgoing Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has compared the violence used by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in Hebron to bygone anti-Semitism in Europe…”

–The BBC, Dec 7, 2008

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7770384.stm

Recent headlines from  Democracy Now…

“Jewish Settlers Attack Palestinians in Hebron

In Israel and the Occupied Territories, Jewish settlers have unleashed a new wave of attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron. On Thursday, settlers shot at Palestinians, set fire to homes and olive groves, and defaced mosques and graves after Israeli troops evicted a group of settlers from a disputed Palestinian-owned home near a biblical site. Hebron resident Hussni Abu Issifan was among the Palestinian victims of settler gunfire.

Hussni Abu Issifan: ‘The (settlers) attacked us at the house and fired live bullets on us with a handgun, and they shot my father. Then later, they set the house on fire. There was only a few meters between us, maybe one or one-and-a-half meters. He probably had his hand on the gun, as well, when he shot my father.’

Israel Lifts Gaza Ban on Journalists, Aid Workers

Meanwhile, Israel says it will allow foreign journalists and aid workers to enter the Gaza Strip for the first time in four weeks. Israel has barred reporters from Gaza since November 4th. Meanwhile, banks across the Gaza Strip have closed their doors because of a shortage of bank notes caused by the Israeli blockade.

Report: Israel Prepares Iran Strike Plans

The Jerusalem Post is reporting the Israeli military has drawn up new plans for an attack on Iran that do not include cooperation with the United States. An Israeli official said Israel would prefer to cooperate with the US if it bombs Iran but would still draw up plans in case it decides to act alone. It’s the latest in a series of news reports said to originate from anonymous Israeli government officials on plans to strike Iran.”

–Democracy Now, Dec 5, 2008

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/12/5/headlines

Also from Democracy Now:

Israeli Reporter Amira Hass Forced Out of Gaza by Hamas, Detained by Israeli Police For Entering Gaza Without Permit

“Israel has imposed a tightened blockade over its million and a half residents for nearly a month. Last month, award-winning Israeli journalist Amira Hass defied the blockade and entered Gaza on a boat with international peace activists. But on Sunday, Hamas officials told Hass they could no longer guarantee her security and forced her to leave. Hass was briefly detained by Israeli security officials upon re-entering Israel Monday because she did not have a permit for Gaza. Amira Hass joins us on the phone from Ramallah…”
–Democracy Now, Dec 2, 2008
And from the New York Times:

Palestinians’ Rift Prevents Gazans From Traveling to Mecca

“Gaza — For the first time since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, no Palestinians  from Gaza are making the sacred annual pilgrimage to Mecca this year because of a power struggle over which Palestinian government is legitimate…”

–NY Times, Dec 3, 2008

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/04/world/middleeast/04mideast.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

And finally, a call to action:
“ACTION ALERT: FREE THE SHMINISTIM –
ISRAEL’S YOUNG CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS.

The Shministim are Israeli high school students who have been
imprisoned for refusing to serve in an army that occupies the
Palestinian Territories. Show your support by contacting the Israeli
Minister of Defense using a form at http://december18th .org/
The web site also has profiles of five
Shministim.
The following paragraphs are an excerpt of what Howard Zinn asked to
pass on to like-minded Americans:

‘Right now, while I’m snug and fed this Thanksgiving holiday in
the comfort of my home, halfway around the world a group of teenagers
is sitting in a jail cell today, demonstrating the very definition of
courage and sacrifice. It’s frustrating. Humbling. And I’m damn glad
to have the chance to do something big about it.
The Shministim – all about ages 17, 18, 19 and in the 12th grade
– are taking a stand. They believe in a better, more peaceful future
for themselves and for Israelis and Palestinians, and they are
refusing to join the Israeli army. They’re in jail, holding strong
against immense pressure from family, friends and the Israeli
government. They need our support and they need it today.
They have asked people like us to let the Israeli government know
we are watching, and that we support their courage. They’re hoping to
receive hundreds of thousands of postcards to be delivered to the
Israeli Minister of Defense on December 18th, when they will hold a
huge rally and press conference. They’re hoping to stand strong on the
steps of this majestic building – and on the steps of history –
representing not only the thousands of refusers who came before them,
not only the many young people to whom they are an example of a better
world, but also to represent us. They have asked you, me, and every
person who strives for peace to be on those steps with them, on that
day. I will be there.’

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