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Archive for January, 2009

The Gaza War: Old and New Reflections

Posted by uscsjp on January 27, 2009

The Gaza War as reality television

I have been avoiding writing this since the war began.

The fact is, while the war was going on, I felt a compulsion to lie about it. To keep a certain ongoing internal screaming, to myself.

No more. I’m going to try to out this into words. If I fail, I hereby apologize to the reader in advance, but it won’t be for lack of trying.

At war’s end, I – like every single other person in this place, on both sides – am not the same person I was when it began. The mirror that war forces in front of our eyes is a cruel one. We can mask it in various ways, decide not to look, dismiss it as a distortion, contort and refocus it into managed proof that we were right all along – no matter what we thought. But we cannot, deep down, be unchanged.

The war had gone on only a few days when Israel Channel 10 television began interspersing coverage of Palestinian rockets exploding in the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon and commercials for the Israeli version of the veteran reality show Survivor, in which one of the contestants is shown saying of the rival tribe ‘We’re gonna kick their butts!’

Later that evening, the station’s news department broadcast an unending, eerily quiet, queasily stationary live shot of Israeli shells exploding in slow, domelike cascades of smoke and fire an indeterminate distance behind and beside a residential area of Gaza.

I could have watched this as a journalist, or a foreigner, or a member of the peace camp. Or I could have watched it as what they call great television. If I’d lived far enough away, it was fully bizarre enough to have qualified as a live reality series on its own, as per the extraordinary account of Eric Calderwood, a Harvard PhD student living in Damascus, who found himself unable to tear himself away from Al-Jazeera.

But I watched it as a soldier from a past war. A medic. A medic’s imagination is stalked by two things – What you’ve seen already, and what you hope you never will. What was going through my mind was one thought alone:

Let it not be phosphorus.

They taught us to dread zarchan [from the Hebrew root to shine or glow]. They taught us, as medics, that if we treated a phosphorous wound, prepare for the worst. It doesn’t merely burn, they taught us, it burns first through the skin, then through the soft tissue, until it reaches bone. They taught us to take an instrument, or, in its absence, a stick, to dig out the phosphorus crystals from the flesh, or the burning would go on and on.

Channel 10 brought on military expert after military expert to discuss phosphorus and whether Israel was using it. No one would say yes. There were those who pointed out that the shells they might be using were legal under international law, when used to create smoke cover for troops moving in uninhabited areas, and to explode land mines. But they wouldn’t say if we were using it. There were those who said that everything the troops were doing was within the context of international conventions of warfare. But they wouldn’t say more than that.

We have to know. We have to know what we did. We have to know if the circumstances warranted it. We have to know what we did, and if what was done was done in error or by intention.

[At the risk of incurring the standard flak, from doctrinaire leftists who have decided that any peace-minded Israeli who opts for self-defense is a hypocrite, to the doctrinaire right, for whom any moral second thoughts may be seen as suspect and perhaps treasonous weakness, allow me to accompany this with the following.]

Last week, the philosopher Yirmiyahu Yovel put into words the conflict many Israelis feel, when he wrote an opinion piece entitled a Just and Criminal War for the weekend Haaretz Hebrew edition.

Yovel noted that for an entire generation, beginning in the 1980s, Israel has been fighting enemies without uniforms, interwoven with civilian populations. Restrictions were therefore put on the army’s actions. But many were lifted for the Gaza operation.

‘The Gaza War dramatically demonstrated that the conjunction of justified combat and war crimes is not an individual instance of this war or that, rather it is becoming a permanent model for the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians. As long as this is a struggle between two populations, occupier and occupied, and as long as there is no peace between Israel and an independent Palestinian state existing beside it, the Israeli soul will be divided between justice and crime, holding onto each other with no way out, like two Siamese twins.’

‘The way to overcome this is to create conditions for peace with the Palestinians. Toward this end, Israel should mobilize all of its resources, and its supporters abroad, in order to strengthen Palestinian society and the capability of its leaders to rehabilitate its people, and to carry out effective governance.

‘Building the Palestinian economy and government is a vital advance payment on peace, and therefore an Israeli interest of the first order’…”

–Bradley Burston, Ha’aretz, 26 January, 2009

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1058859.html

See also the following interview from Democracy Now!:

Noam Chomsky: Obama’s Stance on Gaza Crisis “Approximately the Bush Position”

“…NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s approximately the Bush position. He began by saying that Israel, like any democracy, has a right to defend itself. That’s true, but there’s a gap in the reasoning. It has a right to defend itself. It doesn’t follow that it has a right to defend itself by force. So we might agree, say, that, you know, the British army in the United States in the colonies in 1776 had a right to defend itself from the terror of George Washington’s armies, which was quite real, but it didn’t follow they had a right to defend themselves by force, because they had no right to be here. So, yes, they had a right to defend themselves, and they had a way to do it—namely, leave. Same with the Nazis defending themselves against the terror of the partisans. They have no right to do it by force. In the case of Israel, it’s exactly the same. They have a right to defend themselves, and they can easily do it. One, in a narrow sense, they could have done it by accepting the ceasefire that Hamas proposed right before the invasion—I won’t go through the details—a ceasefire that had been in place and that Israel violated and broke…”

–Democracy Now!, 23 January, 2009

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/23/noam_chomsky_obamas_stance_on_gaza

And from William Blum’s Jan 3rd Anti-Empire Report:

“Israel and Palestine, again, forever

Nothing changes. Including what I have to say on the matter. To prove my point, I’m repeating part of what I wrote in this report in July 2006 …

There are times when I think this tired old world has gone on a few years too long. What’s happening in the Middle East is so depressing. Most discussions of the everlasting Israel-Palestine conflict are variations on the child’s eternal defense for misbehavior – “He started it!” Within two minutes of discussing/arguing the latest manifestation of the conflict the participants are back to 1967, then 1948, then biblical times. Instead of getting entangled in who started the current mess, I’d prefer to express what I see as two essential underlying facts of life which remain from one conflict to the next:

  1. Israel’s existence is not at stake and hasn’t been so for decades, if it ever was, regardless of the many de rigueur militant statements by Middle East leaders over the years. If Israel would learn to deal with its neighbors in a non-expansionist, non-military, humane, and respectful manner, engage in full prisoner exchanges, and sincerely strive for a viable two-state (if not one-state) solution, even those who are opposed to the idea of a state based on a particular religion could accept the state of Israel, and the question of its right to exist would scarcely arise in people’s minds. But as it is, Israel still uses the issue as a justification for its behavior, as Jews all over the world use the Holocaust and conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.
  2. In a conflict between a thousand-pound gorilla and a mouse, it’s the gorilla who has to make concessions in order for the two sides to progress to the next level. What can the Palestinians offer in the way of concession? Israel would reply to that question: “No violent attacks of any kind.” But that would leave the status quo ante bellum – a life of unmitigated misery for the occupied, captive Palestinian people, confined to the world’s largest open air concentration camp…”

–William Blum, The Ant-Empire Report, 3 January, 2009

http://www.killinghope.org/bblum6/aer65.html

Finally, a Dec 31st piece from Ha’aretz

Disinformation, secrecy and lies: How the Gaza offensive came about

Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public – all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces ‘Cast Lead’ operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.

The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.

Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas…”

–Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz, 31 December, 2009

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1050426.html

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BBC Refuses to Air Palestine Fund-Raising Ad; BBC Editor Reporting from Gaza

Posted by uscsjp on January 23, 2009

Palestinians have begun rebuilding tunnels destroyed by Israel (BBC)

Palestinians have begun rebuilding tunnels destroyed by Israel (BBC)

Bowen diary: Rafah rebuilds

“BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen is writing a diary of the conflict between Hamas and Israel.

22 JANUARY

No diary yesterday because I was finally getting into Gaza.

The word came from Cairo that the border was open, and amid the usual scenes of journalists trampling over their colleagues to get through the last few bureaucratic hoops – sometimes this trade is not very collegiate – we were in Gaza.

I am writing this on a rooftop in Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, looking down on the strip of land that runs along the frontier with Egypt.

This is the place where the tunnels into Egypt start, and it is full of activity.

Israel says that Hamas uses the tunnels to smuggle in arms.

One of its main war aims was to close them, to stop Hamas re-equipping its fighters.

The Israelis bombed the border land I can see from this roof very heavily.

Refurbishing

The man who owns this roof – he has just brought up a tray of Turkish coffees, already sweetened with a taste of cardamom – says he moved his family out, but then came back, because he decided that nowhere was safe and that if he was going to die then it would be in his own home.

He showed me the stairwell he lay in during the worst of it, when the house was shaking and he thought the next bomb might come in through the ceiling.

The Hamas interior ministry in Gaza says 30% of the tunnels were destroyed.

I have no way of telling if that is true or false, but I can see from here with my own eyes that the dozens of tunnels are either operating or being refurbished.

Men are hurrying around purposefully with spades and shovels.

I can see a heavy bulldozer, horses and carts, and compressors that are roaring, pumping air down deep underground where Rafah’s tunnellers are working.

I have spent the last couple of hours with one group of tunnellers.

They were led by a man called Abdullah. Like all the other diggers in his group, he was young and wiry.

Their plot was covered, as all the tunnels are in Rafah, by a big plastic tent.

It was new. Bombs shredded the old one.

Abdullah picked up a long piece of shrapnel. He held it like a gun, and then like a guitar.

The edges of the shrapnel were jagged, each ridge sharp as the blade of a knife. Abdullah laughed, slightly hysterically.

He was lowered down into the shaft of the tunnel on a winch.

Down below teenage boys were filling plastic buckets with sand.

Before he disappeared into the ground Abdullah said the tunnel was damaged, but it could be fixed.

Back in Gaza City

A reason why the Israelis resisted calls for a ceasefire – and why the US abstained on the ceasefire vote at the UN – was that they were waiting for a reliable mechanism to stop the tunnel trade.

How exactly it would be done is still being discussed.

I have seen a clip of Israeli spokesman Mark Regev saying they were not surprised that Hamas would, as he put it, undermine the ceasefire.

The difference now, for Israel, was that there was international agreement to stop Iran shipping weapons to Hamas.

The exact relationship between Iran and Hamas is debated by experts on Tehran’s foreign relations.

I have seen no definitive Israeli proof that an arms pipeline runs from Iran to Gaza.

That does not mean there is not one. Hamas denies it exists…”

–BBC News, 22 January, 2009

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7846136.stm

BBC defends Gaza appeal decision

The BBC has defended a decision not to air a TV fund-raising appeal for Gaza, saying it wanted to avoid compromising public confidence in its impartiality.

“It said a decision was taken with other broadcasters not to show the Disasters Emergency Committee crisis appeal on any network in the UK.

A corporation statement added there were also doubts about ‘the delivery of aid in a volatile situation’.

DEC said there was ‘clear evidence’ the British public wanted to help.

In a statement, the BBC said: ‘The BBC decision was made because of question marks about the delivery of aid in a volatile situation and also to avoid any risk of compromising public confidence in the BBC’s impartiality in the context of an ongoing news story.

‘However, the BBC will, of course, continue to report the humanitarian story in Gaza.’

A spokesman for ITV told the Times website: ‘The DEC did ask broadcasters if they could support the appeal.

‘We assessed the DEC’s request carefully against agreed criteria and were unable to reach the consensus which is necessary for an appeal.’

DEC is an umbrella organisation representing a number of aid agencies.

Spokeswoman Shaista Aziz said it was confident in the abilities of DEC members and other parts of the organisation to respond and there was an ‘overwhelming humanitarian need’.

She added: ‘We regret the fact that the message we wanted to get across will not reach as many people as hoped.’

Action Aid, the British Red Cross, Cafod, Care International UK, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Save the Children and Tearfund are among the agencies affiliated to DEC.

Launching the appeal, DEC chief executive Brendan Gormley said: ‘DEC agencies have a humanitarian mandate. We are not proposing to attempt to rebuild Gaza… with the public’s support we can help relieve short-term needs.’

The British government has pledged to give £30m in humanitarian aid to crisis-torn Gaza.

At least 1,300 Palestinians were killed, nearly a third of them children, and 5,500 injured in the Israeli operation, which began on 27 December, Palestinian medical sources in Gaza say.

Israel says that it acted to stop Hamas militants targeting Israeli towns with rocket fire.

Thirteen Israelis, including three civilians, have been killed, the Israeli army says.”

–BBC News, 22 January, 2009

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7846150.stm

Posted in News, Opinion/Editorial | 1 Comment »

The Grim Aftermath

Posted by uscsjp on January 22, 2009

From a hill just outside the Gaza Strip, Israelis watch the air assaults on Gaza and dance in celebration of the attacks, 8 January 2009. (Newscom, link to Electronic Intifada)

From a hill just outside the Gaza Strip, Israelis watch the air assaults on Gaza and dance in celebration of the attacks, 8 January 2009. (Newscom, link to Electronic Intifada)

Ex-Carter Admin Official: Israel Ignored Hamas Offer Days Before Attacking Gaza; Violated Ceasefire With Attacks, Blockade

“Robert Pastor is a senior adviser to the Carter Center and a professor at American University who met with exiled Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal in Damascus on Dec. 14, along with former President Jimmy Carter. Pastor says Meshaal indicated Hamas was willing to go back to the ceasefire if Israel would lift the siege on Gaza. He says he passed along the statement to the Israeli military but he never heard back. Two weeks later, Israel launched its three week assault that killed more than 1,300 Palestinians, most of them civilians, at least a third children…”

–Democracy Now!, 22 January, 2009

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/22/ex_carter_admin_official_israel_ignored

See also the latest headlines from Democracy Now!:

“Obama to Name Middle East Envoy

President Obama made some of his first calls to foreign leaders to discuss the Israel-Palestine conflict. Obama called President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel, King Abdullah of Jordan and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. He did not reach out to leaders of Hamas, who rose to power in democratic elections three years ago. Meanwhile, Obama plans to announce the selection of former Senate majority leader George Mitchell as Middle East envoy. Mitchell is expected to travel to the region within days.

2 Palestinians Wounded in Israeli Attack on Gaza Shore

Meanwhile, in the Occupied Territories, the toll from Israel’s three-week assault on the Gaza Strip continues to rise as more bodies are found beneath the rubble of destroyed homes and buildings. More than 100 corpses have been recovered since Israel declared a ceasefire on Saturday. Despite the official ceasefire, Israeli gunboats continue to shell areas of Gaza. Earlier today, a Palestinian man and girl were wounded when an Israeli gunboat shelled the shores of Gaza City. The Israeli military said it opened fire to fend off a Palestinian fishing boat that it says went too far offshore.

Israeli Supreme Court Rejects Humanitarian Plea

Meanwhile, the Israeli Supreme Court has rejected a petition from two human rights groups seeking the evacuation of Gaza’s wounded and the immediate delivery of electricity to power Gaza’s crumbling infrastructure. Gaza’s health, water and sewage systems all suffered extensive damage in the Israeli attack after already barely functioning before the invasion. The court rejected the petitions without even waiting to hear the arguments against it by the Israeli government.

Hamas Political Leader Urges Talks, End to Boycott

The exiled political leader of Hamas is urging the US and European nations to end its boycott and negotiate. Speaking in Syria, Khaled Meshaal said, ‘Three years of trying to eliminate Hamas is enough. It is time for you to deal with Hamas, which has gained legitimacy through struggle.’ Meshal also hinted that Hamas would still be open to a political settlement with Israel, saying, ‘This battle has proved that force alone will not provide security for [Israel] and that peace will not be at the expense of Palestinian rights.’

Israel to Probe Own White Phosphorus Use

The Israeli military, meanwhile, says it will probe allegations of illegal use of white phosphorus during the Gaza assault. Israel has been accused of illegally firing white phosphorus over crowded refugee camps in Gaza. Bill Van Esveld of Human Rights Watch said he fears Israel’s probe will cover up its actions.

Bill Van Esveld: ‘The problem is that you can’t use it over a densely populated area in a legal way, because it continues to burn when it hits the ground. It can set buildings on fire. It can stick to the skin and burn all the way down to the bone and kill you. It can be deadly when you inhale it. And it can’t discriminate between a civilian and a military object…We’re glad the IDF is going to investigate, but we’re also concerned that this investigation not be a whitewash’…

–Democracy Now!, 22 January, 2009

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/22/headlines

Why Israel won’t survive

“The merciless Israeli bombardment of Gaza has stopped — for now — but the death toll keeps rising as more bodies are pulled from carpet- bombed neighborhoods.

What Israel perpetrated in Gaza, starting at 11:30am on 27 December 2008, will remain forever engraved in history and memory. Tel al-Hawa, Hayy al-Zeitoun, Khuzaa and other sites of Israeli massacres will join a long mournful list that includes Deir Yasin, Qibya, Kufr Qasim, Sabra and Shatila, Qana, and Jenin.

Once again, Israel demonstrated that it possesses the power and the lack of moral restraint necessary to commit atrocities against a population of destitute refugees it has caged and starved.

The dehumanization and demonization of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims has escalated to the point where Israel can with full self- righteousness bomb their homes, places of worship, schools, universities, factories, fishing boats, police stations — in short everything that sustains civilized and orderly life — and claim it is conducting a war against terrorism.

Yet paradoxically, it is Israel as a Zionist state, not Palestine or the Palestinian people, that cannot survive this attempted genocide…”

–Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 19 January 2009

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10215.shtml

Also from The Electronic Intifada:

Up to 200 still missing under Gaza’s rubble

“GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) – A pillow, a belt, a child’s school bag and pages of a torn copy of the Quran lie in the wreckage of the al-Daa family home in al-Zeitoun, a neighborhood of Gaza City. Twenty-four members of the family were killed when an F-16 fighter jet dropped a bomb on their house. Nine bodies still lie under what is now just a massive pancake of concrete, metal wires and death.

‘There were no Hamas fighters here,’ said Zohair al-Raay, a neighbor of the al-Daa family. ‘Where are the weapons? Where are the missiles? The al-Daa family had nothing to do with that.’

Eyad al-Daa, father of 32, was found clutching three small children in the stairwell.

As the ceasefire continues to hold, the sheer scale of the destruction in the Gaza Strip is finally emerging. The deadly, three-week assault by Israel has been devastating….”

Erin Cunningham, The Electronic Intifada, 21 January 2009

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10226.shtml

And finally, from Al Jazeera English

UN pictures show what appears to white phosphorus wedges raining down on one of its compounds in Gaza

UN pictures show what appears to white phosphorus 'wedges' raining down on one of its compounds in Gaza (Al Jazeera)

“The United Nations has released images of what it believes are white phosphorus munitions raining down on one of its compounds during Israel’s war on Gaza.

The pictures, broadcast by Al Jazeera on Thursday, show what appears to be flame-generating munitons, thought to be white phosphorus ‘wedges,’ falling into a UN compound in Gaza where hundreds of people were sheltering…”

–Al Jazeera, 22 January, 2009

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/200912284850930973.html

“]”] Demonstrators in Belgium accused Israel of war crimes, as the Israeli foreign minister visited the headquarters of the European Union [AFP, link by Al Jazeera]

Demonstrators in Belgium accused Israel of war crimes as the Israeli foreign minister visited the EU headquarters (AFP, link to Al Jazeera)

“As the UN and human rights groups demand independent investigations into the conduct of Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip, the world’s attention is focusing on whether Israeli or Hamas officials could face prosecution for war crimes.

Whatever the inquiries find, bringing suspected war criminals to court will be far from straightforward…”

–Al Jazeera, 22 January, 2009


http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2009/01/20091229274380583.html

Posted in Analysis, Blogroll, News, Opinion/Editorial | Leave a Comment »

“Sinking in a River of Blood” as Gaza Death Toll Passes 1,000

Posted by uscsjp on January 15, 2009

Mourning Israels victims at the al-Shifa Hospital morgue, Gaza City, 11 January 2009. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages, provided courtesy of Electronic Intifada)

Mourning Israel's victims at the al-Shifa Hospital morgue, Gaza City, 11 January 2009. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages, posted on Electronic Intifada)

Latest Headlines from Democracy Now!:

“Israel Shells Crowded Hospital, UN Compound

Israel continues its relentless attack on Gaza with more bombings of civilian targets, including a crowded hospital. The past hours have seen some of the most intensive Israeli bombing of the twenty-day assault. The Al-Quds hospital was hit by Israeli shells, setting it ablaze. Around 500 patients were being treated inside. The attack followed an earlier Israeli strike that hit the main United Nations aid compound in Gaza City. More than 700 Palestinians had taken shelter there.

UN: White Phosphorus Used in Attack; Fire Will Destroy Stockpile of Gaza Aid

United Nations Relief and Works Agency spokesperson Christopher Gunness said the compound is burning with flames from white phosphorus shells.

UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness: ‘There have been three hits on the UNRWA headquarters, the UNRWA compound in Gaza, including, I’m told by [UNRWA head] John Ging, white phosphorus. Three of our staff members have been injured. The workshop in our compound is in flames, and nearby are loaded fuel tankers. So the situation is extremely dangerous and extremely serious. We have been on the phone to the Israeli authorities, asking them to call off their fire from around the compound of a neutral international organization. We have not had the answer we want.’

The UN says the fire will burn down an entire warehouse storing thousands of tons of food, medical supplies and other aid.

Israeli Shelling Hits Media Building

A nearby Israeli shelling hit an office building housing several media organizations. A journalist for the Abu Dhabi television channel was injured. Reuters bureau chief Alastair Macdonald said the attack came despite contact with the Israeli military.

Alastair Macdonald: ‘We were, in fact, at that time in contact with the Israeli army, checking with them that they knew where our staff were and where they were working. We were assured that they were. Shortly after that, an explosion hit the floor just above us. Shrapnel entered the office. It also struck the offices of another media company two floors above ours. One person, at least, there was wounded, we understand. We have evacuated our office.’

Thousands Flee Homes as Toll Passes 1,000

Thousands of Palestinians have fled their homes today, as Israel escalates its assault on densely populated residential areas. Gaza resident Nasser Mohammed said his family was forced to relocate twice after coming under Israeli attack.

Nasser Mohammed: ‘We were inside a house with the children, and then the Israeli army started to shoot at us with bullets, so we moved to another house with the children. Then the second house came down on top of us.’

The Palestinian death toll now stands at at least 1,045—at least half of them civilian. Another 4,860 have been injured. Thirteen Israelis have been killed, including four by friendly fire.

Israeli Rights Groups Call for War Crimes Investigation

The latest attacks came after a coalition of nine Israeli human rights groups called for an investigation into whether Israel is committing war crimes. In a statement, the groups, including the Israeli sections of Amnesty International and Physicians for Human Rights, condemned what they call the ‘wanton use of lethal force’ against Palestinian civilians. They continue, ‘This kind of fighting constitutes a blatant violation of the laws of warfare and raises the suspicion…of the commission of war crimes.’ There are worldwide calls for prosecuting Israeli leaders. On Wednesday, hundreds gathered outside the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Sobhi Khansa of the International Coalition Against Impunity said Israeli leaders should be tried for crimes against humanity.

Sobhi Khansa: ‘The crimes of Israel against Gaza increase day after day. And now it’s terrorist crimes, you know? They are using terrorist weapons, murder, crimes against humanity, war crimes. So, for this, we came to the Hague to ICC Court. We want the court to go and start investigation about these crimes.’

The Guardian of London reported this week diplomats are considering asking the United Nations General Assembly to refer Israel’s actions in Gaza to the World Court. The UN’s special rapporteur to the Occupied Territories, Richard Falk, has said Israel’s attack on Gaza could be in violation of the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions, international law and international humanitarian law.

Bolivia, Venezuela Cut Israel Ties in Protest

Bolivia and Venezuela, meanwhile, have cut diplomatic ties with Israel in protest of the Gaza assault. Bolivian President Evo Morales also backed calls for investigating Israeli leaders.

Bolivian President Evo Morales: ‘The most serious international crimes should not go unpunished. Any government can back the investigation and punishment of these crimes. Bolivia, a sovereign state that shows it is against violence and respects life, will work with other governments and humanitarian organizations to ask for an investigation in international court for the crimes committed in the Gaza Strip by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other members of the Israeli cabinet.’

Second Free Gaza Ship Abandons Aid Mission Following Israeli Threat

A ship trying to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza says it has aborted its mission after the Israeli navy threatened the civilian passengers on board. The Free Gaza movement boat left Cyprus on Wednesday seeking to deliver doctors and medical supplies. It was the group’s first attempt to reach Gaza since an Israeli navy vessel deliberately rammed another humanitarian boat last month, almost forcing it to sink. According to a Free Gaza statement, five Israeli gunboats surrounded the Spirit of Humanity ship in international waters 100 miles off the Gaza coast. In a radio transmission, the Israeli navy threatened to open fire on the ship unless it immediately turned around. Meanwhile, the Israeli government has intercepted an Iranian ship headed to Gaza for the second time. The ship is carrying food and medicine and had planned to arrive in Gaza this past weekend. It tried to reach Gaza again on Wednesday, but was intercepted by the Israeli navy.

Greece Refuses to Host US Weapons Shipment to Israel

Meanwhile, the US has been forced to cancel a weapons shipment to Israel after the Greek government refused to allow it to pass through its ports. The US says it will seek an alternative site.

Bin Laden Tape Calls for ‘Holy War’ Over Gaza

Osama bin Laden has resurfaced in a new audiotape calling for a holy war over the Israeli attack on Gaza. The undated recording condemns Israel and the United States.

Osama bin Laden: ‘We are with you, and we will not let you down. Our fate is tied to yours in fighting the Crusader-Zionist coalition, in fighting until victory or martyrdom. God has bestowed us with the patience to continue the path of jihad for another seven years, and seven and seven… The question is, can America continue its war with us for several more decades to come? Reports and evidence would suggest otherwise’…”

–Democracy Now!, 15 January, 2009

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/15/headlines

From The Electronic Intifada:

Gaza is sinking in a river of blood

Mohammed Fares Al Majdalawi writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 11 January 2009

I want to write about the suffering of my people and my family in these days of siege against the people of Gaza. At least 888 people have been killed and more than 3,700 injured. The International Committee of the Red Cross has accused the Israeli military of repeatedly refusing to allow ambulances to go to the al-Zeitoun area of Gaza City. As a result, those who are injured become those who die, a premeditated and willful violation of human rights.

In my house we can’t get basic needs. No food. No bread. No fuel. No future. Yesterday, my father went to the bakery at 5am. He waited 5 hours to get one loaf of bread, which is not enough for my family because there are 11 of us. So today it was my turn. I went to all the bakeries — all were closed.

There is no safe place we can go. We cannot communicate with our relatives and friends — networks are down as missiles rain on our homes, mosques and even hospitals.

Our life is centered around the burials of those who have died, our martyrs. At night our camp, Jabaliya refugee camp, is a ghost town, with no sounds other than those of Israeli military aircraft.

There is horror every minute and it is clear especially in the lives of children….”

Mohammed Fares Al Majdalaw, The Electronic Intifada, 11 January, 2009

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10169.shtml

Palestinians run for cover from Israeli air strikes that are part of a larger pre-meditated Israeli war on the Gaza Strip. (Mohamed Al-Zanon/MaanImages, link by Electronic Intifada)

Palestinians run for cover from Israeli air strikes that are part of a larger pre-meditated Israeli war on the Gaza Strip. (Mohamed Al-Zanon/MaanImages, posted on Electronic Intifada)

Blueprint for Gaza attack was long planned

Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 12 January 2009

As Israel rejected the terms of the proposed United Nations ceasefire at the weekend, Israeli military analysts were speculating on the nature of the next stage of the attack on Gaza, or the ‘third phase’ of the fighting as it is being referred to.

Having struck thousands of targets from the air in the first phase, followed by a ground invasion that saw troops push into much of Gaza, a third phase would involve a significant expansion of these operations.

It would require the deployment of thousands of reserve soldiers, who are completing their training on bases in the Negev, and the destruction and seizure of built-up areas closer to the heart of Gaza City, Hamas’s key stronghold. The number of civilian casualties could be expected to rise rapidly.

A fourth phase, the overthrow of Hamas and direct reoccupation of Gaza, is apparently desired neither by the army nor Israel’s political leadership, which fears the economic and military costs.

An expansion of ‘Operation Cast Lead’ is expected in the next few days should Israel decide that negotiations at the UN and elsewhere are not to its liking. Israeli warplanes have dropped leaflets warning Gaza residents of an imminent escalation: ‘Stay safe by following our orders.’

Last week Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, warned that the army had still not exhausted its military options.

Those options have long been in preparation, as the defense minister, Ehud Barak, admitted early on in the offensive. He said he and the army had been planning the attack for at least six months. In fact, indications are that the invasion’s blueprint was drawn up much earlier, probably 18 months ago…”

Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 12 January 2009

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10170.shtml


Also See This Heartening Site from Jewish Voice for Peace

“On The Daily Show’s January 5 ‘Strip Maul’ segment, Jon Stewart did what few American television personalities have dared to do: he criticized Israel’s campaign against Gaza, making it clear that bombing will not bring peace for Israelis or Palestinians. He mocked the one-sided response of U.S. politicians by calling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the ‘Mobius strip of issues because there’s only one side!’ He’s sure to get thousands of complaints, so send Jon a letter of appreciation and then ask all your friends to watch this segment…”

–Jewish Voice for Peace

http://www.thankyoujonstewart.com/

Finally, some local Los Angeles Area Actions:

“Join BAYAN-USA and the International Action Center

In a film screening and discussion of: Occupation 101

A thought-provoking and powerful documentary film on the current and historical root causes of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Unlike any other film ever produced on the conflict — ‘Occupation 101’ presents a comprehensive analysis of the facts and hidden truths surrounding the never ending controversy and dispels many of its long-perceived myths and misconceptions.

The film also details life under Israeli military rule, the role of the United States in the conflict, and the major obstacles that stand in the way of a lasting and viable peace. The roots of the conflict are explained through first-hand on-the-ground experiences from leading Middle East scholars, peace activists, journalists, religious leaders and humanitarian workers whose voices have too often been suppressed in American media outlets.

The film covers a wide range of topics — which include — the first wave of Jewish immigration from Europe in the 1880’s, the 1920 tensions, the 1948 war, the 1967 war, the first Intifada of 1987, the Oslo Peace Process, Settlement expansion, the role of the United States Government, the second Intifada of 2000, the separation barrier and the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, as well as many heart wrenching testimonials from victims of this tragedy.


Also: Update on the tidal wave of resistance to the U.S.-backed Israeli siege of Gaza
& Special report on the Bail Out the People Movement Labor/Community Conference

Friday, January 16, 7:00 pm
KIWA Cultural Education Center
3471 West 8th St at Hobart, L.A.

For more information: 310-677-6407
Sponsored by International Action Center & BAYAN-USA”

http://www.iacenterla.org/

And Sign Ramsey Clark’s Petition to the US Government Calling for an End to The Siege of Gaza:

Join the ONLINE PETITION initiated by Ramsey Clark appealing for Israel to Immediately Cease Its Murderous Bombing, Siege and Invasion of Palestinian Gaza

Únase a la petición en línea iniciada por Ramsey Clark

As of Jan. 6, more than 1,185,000 petitions have been sent!

http://www.iacenter.org/gazapetition/

and

http://www.iacenter.org/peticiongaza/

Posted in Activism/Divestment, Analysis, News, Opinion/Editorial | Leave a Comment »

Gaza Death Toll Exceeds 850 While Propaganda “Bombardment” Continues

Posted by uscsjp on January 11, 2009

New York, US, 30 December 2008. (Anonymous; posted on the Electronic Intifada)

New York, US, 30 December 2008. (Anonymous; posted on The Electronic Intifada)

For more images of protest worldwide, see http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10101.shtml

Latest Update from Al Jazeera: “The Palestinian death toll in the Gaza Strip has risen to 854 and more than 3,650 injured as the Israeli offensive entered its third week…”

–Al Jazeera English, 11 January, 2009

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/200911084430400848.html

Also from Al Jazeera: Global Protests Condemn Gaza War

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/200919123947912684.html

The corpses of members of the al-Daya family are pulled from the rubble of their Gaza City home which was destroyed in an Israeli attack, 6 January 2009. (Mohamed al-Zanon/MaanImages, link by EI)

The corpses of members of the al-Daya family are pulled from the rubble of their Gaza City home which was destroyed in an Israeli attack, 6 January 2009. (Mohamed al-Zanon/MaanImages, posted on EI)

Is Israel Winning the ‘Media War’ over Gaza?

“…Israel never won the media war in the United States for, frankly, there was never one to begin with. Yet somehow, millions of people around the world managed to read through the filters, the propaganda, the perplexing logic, the Maxim cover pages, and took to the streets in a collective act of passion and dismay, without billion-dollar media crafters ‘tightly controlling’ their every move, scripting their chants or directing their hoarse voices: We are all Palestinians and ‘with our souls, with our blood, we will die for you Gaza’…”

–Ramzy Baroud, 9 January, 2009


http://www.ramzybaroud.net/articles.php?id=382544dfab20804983602d76dd983deb&mode=details&offset=0&browse_category=4772301

or http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/20221

See Also:

In U.S., war of words over Gaza

“As war rages between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and President-elect Barack Obama counts down the days until he has to deal directly with the conflict as the leader of the free world, a war to control the message is raging at home. And it’s unusually fierce.This week, some jarring events made headlines and illustrated the nature of that war:

— Hugely popular comedian Jon Stewart, who is Jewish – birth name, Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz – was lauded by the Muslim Public Affairs Council this week for a scathing ‘Daily Show’ segment entitled, ‘Israel Invades Gaza … Missile Tov!’…”

–Carla Marinucci, The San Francisco Chronicle, 10 January, 2009

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/01/10/MNGU156LEQ.DTL&type=printable

Watch Jon Stewart’s take on the Gaza Bombardment here: http://www.thankyoujonstewart.com/

Democracy Now!: Former Amb. Martin Indyk vs. Author Norman Finkelstein: A Debate on Israel’s Assault on Gaza and the US Role in the Conflict

“The Israeli assault on Gaza is entering its thirteenth day. Some 700 Palestinians have been killed, with many thousands more wounded, and a humanitarian crisis is mounting. Ten Israelis have died, four by ‘friendly fire.’ A ceasefire has not been reached, and the offensive continues. We host a debate between Martin Indyk, the former US ambassador to Israel and Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs during the Clinton administration, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and author of, Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East, and Norman Finkelstein, author of several books, including The Holocaust Industry, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict and Beyond Chutzpah…”

–Democracy Now!, 8 January, 2009


http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/8/former_amb_martin_indyk_vs_author

Also check out the following highly informative articles from ZNet and The Electronic Intifada:

Criticism of Israel’s War Crimes Mounts

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

–Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 9 January, 2009

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10153.shtml

Statement Of Special Raporteur For The Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967

“…Most accounts of the temporary ceasefire indicate that it was a major Israeli use of lethal force on November 4, 2008 that brought the ceasefire to a de facto end, leading directly to increased frequency of rocket fire from Gaza. It is also relevant that Hamas repeatedly offered to extend the ceasefire, even up to ten years, provided that Israel would lift the blockade. These diplomatic possibilities were, as far as can be assessed, not explored by Israel…”

–Richard Falk, ZNet, 11 January, 2009

http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/20214


And Finally:

What You Don’t Know About Gaza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–The New York Times, 7 January, 2009

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/opinion/08khalidi.html

Posted in Activism/Divestment, Analysis, Blogroll, History, News, Opinion/Editorial | Leave a Comment »

Palestinian Deaths up to 700 while US Media Downplays Arab Suffering

Posted by uscsjp on January 7, 2009

The mainstream US media has been careful to balance images of Gazan suffering with those of Israelis, leading to accusations it is not reflecting the unequal death toll [EPA, link provided by Al Jazeera English]In the US, Gaza is a Different War

by Habib Battah

The images of two women on the front page of an edition of The Washington Post last week illustrates how mainstream US media has been reporting Israel’s war on Gaza.

On the left was a Palestinian mother who had lost five children. On the right was a nearly equally sized picture of an Israeli woman who was distressed by the fighting, according to the caption.

As the Palestinian woman cradled the dead body of one child, another infant son, his face blackened and disfigured with bruises, cried beside her.

The Israeli woman did not appear to be wounded in any way but also wept.

Arab frustration

To understand the frustration often felt in the Arab world over US media coverage, one only needs to imagine the same front page had the situation been reversed.

If an Israeli woman had lost five daughters in a Palestinian attack, would The Washington Post run an equally sized photograph of a relatively unharmed Palestinian woman, who was merely distraught over Israeli missile fire? When the front page photographs of the two women were published on December 30, over 350 Palestinians had reportedly been killed compared to just four Israelis…”

–Al Jazeera English, 7 January, 2009

http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/war_on_gaza/2009/01/20091585448204690.html

Also from Al Jazeera:

Live Twitter updates on Gaza
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2008/12/2008122916531937971.html

Hamas in the Eyes of an Expert

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/200913163956673954.html

Israel’s Fait Accompli in Gaza

http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/war_on_gaza/2009/01/200914102257130539.html

See Also the Latest Headlines from Democracy Now!:

“Israel Bombs UN School, 40 Killed

In Gaza, at least forty Palestinians died Tuesday after Israel fired mortars at a United Nations school that was sheltering Palestinians who had been forced to flee their homes. Fifty-five Palestinians were also wounded in the attack. Doctors said all of the victims were civilians, including many children. Christopher Gunness of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency condemned the Israeli attack.

Christopher Gunness: ‘Over a thousand had taken refuge in this school. The Israelis had been told exactly what the GPS coordinates of the school was, of all of our facilities in Gaza. All of our facilities are very clearly marked as UNRWA facilities. If there have been violations of international humanitarian law, and our response is rooted very firmly in international humanitarian law, we want there to be a full and impartial investigation.’

Israel admitted to firing mortar rounds at the school but claimed its actions were justified, because Hamas militants were using the school to fire rockets. But the UN said there were no militants at the school.

John Ging, the director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency: ‘We very carefully vet anybody seeking shelter in our locations. We have experienced, long-serving staff who are managing those facilities. We are hugely sensitive to the integrity of our facilities at this time of conflict. And we have zero tolerance for any violations by any of the militants. And so far we’ve not had violations by militants of our facilities.’

Israeli Army spokesperson Avital Leibovich accused Hamas of using Palestinians as human shields.

Avital Leibovich: ‘The fact that Hamas is putting civilians in areas where military activity takes place is horrible, I think. I think Hamas should be accountable for any civilian in those areas, which he located those warehouses, those storages of Grads (rockets) and so on.’

Palestinian Death Toll at 680; Israel Death Toll at 10

Al Jazeera reports 680 Palestinians have died in the twelve days since Israel’s attack began. Over 3,000 Palestinians have been injured. The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights reports at least 130 Palestinian children have died. The Israeli death toll stands at ten, including four Israeli soldiers who died by so-called friendly fire.

Obama: ‘Deep Concern’ Over Loss of Civilian Lives in Gaza and Israel

Following the Israeli attack on the UN school, President-elect Barack Obama addressed the situation in Gaza.

President-elect Barack Obama: ‘The loss of civilian life in Gaza and in Israel is a source of deep concern to me. And after January 20th, I’m going to have plenty to say about the issue, and I am not backing away at all from what I said during the campaign, that starting at the beginning of our administration, we are going to engage effectively and consistently in trying to resolve the conflicts that exist in the Middle East.’

Egypt Proposes Ceasefire

On the diplomatic front, Israel and Hamas are said to be studying an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip that has won backing from the United States and Europe. A French official said the plan could lead to a withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip within eight days. However, the Jerusalem Post reports Israeli officials are considering expanding its ground invasion of Gaza.

Venezuela Expels Israeli Ambassador

Meanwhile, in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has expelled the Israeli ambassador in Caracas in protest over the Israeli military operation in Gaza….”

–Democracy Now!, 7 January, 2009

Finally, The Electronic Intifada hosts Analysis from Jonathan Cook and Saree Makdisi:

Bombing to make the Gaza prison even more secure for Israel
Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 7 January 2009

In its bombing campaign on Gaza, Israel is destroying houses and, it hopes, Hamas, politically. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages, link provided by EI)

In its bombing campaign on Gaza, Israel is destroying houses and, it hopes, Hamas, politically. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages, posted on EI)

There are two persistent myths about the aim of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza: the first that it is an entirely defensive move, a way to end the rocket fire of Hamas; and the second that it is designed to restore the army’s credibility after its failure to cow Hizballah in 2006…”

–The Electronic Intifada, 7 January, 2009

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10132.shtml


“By choice they made themselves immune”
Saree Makdisi, The Electronic Intifada, 6 January 2009

A young girl from the al-Daya family is dug out of the rubble after her familys four-story home was destroyed by an Israeli air strike on 6 January. (Mohamed Al-Zanon/MaanImages, link provided by EI)

A young girl from the al-Daya family is dug out of the rubble after her family's four-story home was destroyed by an Israeli air strike on 6 January. (Mohamed Al-Zanon/MaanImages, posted on EI)


“Israel has killed and injured almost 4,000 men, women and children so far in its assault on Gaza; it has entombed whole families together in the ruins of their homes. As I write, news is breaking that Israeli bombs have killed at least 40 civilians huddling in a UN school which they mistakenly thought would be safer than the homes from which Israel’s relentless barrage — and its deliberately terrorizing ‘warning’ leaflets and prerecorded phone calls — had already driven them. (I still have one of the leaflets the Israelis dropped on besieged Beirut in 1982 and the language is exactly the same — ‘flee, flee for your lives!’)….”

–The Electronic Intifada, 6 January, 2009

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10128.shtml

Posted in Analysis, Blogroll, News, Opinion/Editorial | Leave a Comment »

Democracy Now! Covers Gaza Invasion; Actions Throughout Southern California This Week

Posted by uscsjp on January 6, 2009

Hundreds of shoes litter Whitehall, near Downing Street (Mail Online)

London: Hundreds of shoes litter Whitehall, near Downing Street (Mail Online)

A.N.S.W.E.R. LA Announcement of Protests/Actions in Southern California this week:

Southern California Actions This Week

Los Angeles-Area
(1) Sunday, Jan. 4, 1pm: Emergency Response Protest in Anaheim (See above)
(2) Tuesday, Jan. 6, 4:30pm: Emergency Response Protest in LA at Israeli Consulate (6380 Wilshire Blvd.)
(3) Saturday, Jan. 10, 12 noon: National Day of Emergency Mass Action – Mass Regional Protest in LA at Westwood Federal Building (11000 Wilshire Blvd.)

Next Saturday, January 10, is a National Day of Emergency Mass Action. There will be a major regional demonstration that day in Los Angeles at the Westwood Federal Building at 12 noon. There will be coinciding demonstrations in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, San Diego and in cities around the country. Please mobilize all of your family, friends, coworkers and everyone you know for next Saturday’s action…”

–A.N.S.W.E.R LA, 3 January, 2009

http://www.pephost.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ANSWERLA

Also, coverage of earlier protests worldwide on the Daily Mail site:

“Demonstrators hurl shoes at Downing Street in day of global protest against Israeli attacks

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:23 AM on 04th January 2009

Demonstrators demanding an end to Israeli airstrikes on Gaza hurled their shoes at the gates of Downing Street yesterday during a wave of global protests.

Riot police were also pelted with missiles and fireworks as about 5,000 pro-Palestinians descended on the Israeli Embassy in London in the evening…”

–The Daily Mail (Mail Online), 4 January, 2009

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1104730/Demonstrators-hurl-shoes-Downing-Street-day-global-protest-Israeli-attacks.html

See also Democracy Now’s in-depth coverage of the invasion:

“Israeli Troops Invade Gaza; Death Toll Tops 530

Israeli ground troops and tanks have pushed deeper into Gaza and surrounded Gaza City, effectively splitting Gaza into two sections. At least 531 Palestinians have died over the past ten days, including eighty since Israeli ground forces invaded Gaza on Saturday. Five Israelis have died since the fighting began.

US Blocks UN Call for Ceasefire in Gaza

The United States blocked a UN Security Council statement on Saturday calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

US Deputy Ambassador Alejandro Wolff: ‘This Council has spoken on many times about the concerns we had about Hamas’s military attacks on Israel. The charter of this organization respects the right of every member state to exercise its self-defense, and Israel’s self-defense is not negotiable.’

The United Nations estimates Israeli forces have now killed at least 100 Palestinian civilians. Earlier today, a navy shelling off the coast of Gaza killed a Palestinian family of seven inside the Shati refugee camp. Israel says it is not targeting civilians, only seeking to halt rocket fire from Hamas militants. Despite ten days of attacks, Hamas fighters are continuing to fire rockets into Israel. On Sunday, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg was touring Sderot, Israel, when he had to be taken into a bomb shelter due to a possible rocket attack. Bloomberg and New York Police Chief Ray Kelly traveled to Israel to express their support for Israel’s attack on Gaza…”

–Democracy Now!, 5 January, 2009

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/5/headlines#1

And the Angry Arab weighs in:

American Public Opinion: it is not what you think

“”This Rasmussen Reports poll– the first to survey American public opinion specifically regarding the Israeli attack on Gaza — strongly bolsters the severe disconnect I documented the other day between (a) American public opinion on U.S. policy towards Israel and (b) the consensus views expressed by America’s political leadership. Not only does Rasmussen find that Americans generally ‘are closely divided over whether the Jewish state should be taking military action against militants in the Gaza Strip’ (44-41%, with 15% undecided), but Democratic voters overwhelmingly oppose the Israeli offensive — by a 24-point margin (31-55%). By stark constrast, Republicans, as one would expect (in light of their history of supporting virtually any proposed attack on Arabs and Muslims), overwhelmingly support the Israeli bombing campaign(67-27%)…”
–The Angry Arab News Service, 4 January, 2009
And Finally:

“Understanding the Gaza Catastrophe

Richard Falk

Posted January 2, 2009 | 11:00 AM (EST)
For eighteen months the entire 1.5 million people of Gaza experienced a punishing blockade imposed by Israel, and a variety of traumatizing challenges to the normalcy of daily life. A flicker of hope emerged some six months ago when an Egyptian arranged truce produced an effective ceasefire that cut Israeli casualties to zero despite the cross-border periodic firing of homemade rockets that fell harmlessly on nearby Israeli territory, and undoubtedly caused anxiety in the border town of Sderot. During the ceasefire the Hamas leadership in Gaza repeatedly offered to extend the truce, even proposing a ten-year period and claimed a receptivity to a political solution based on acceptance of Israel’s 1967 borders. Israel ignored these diplomatic initiatives, and failed to carry out its side of the ceasefire agreement that involved some easing of the blockade that had been restricting the entry to Gaza of food, medicine, and fuel to a trickle…”
–The Huffington Post, 2 January, 2009
This last piece was also posted on The Gaza Siege website:

Posted in Activism/Divestment, Analysis, Blogroll, Opinion/Editorial | Leave a Comment »

A.N.S.W.E.R. LA: Friday Protest in Los Angeles Against Gaza Assault

Posted by uscsjp on January 2, 2009

Friday Protest in Los Angeles Against Gaza Assault
Demonstrate at the Israeli Consulate: Free Palestine!

This Friday, January 2, 4:30pm
Israeli Consulate: 6380 Wilshire Blvd, LA (between Crescent Heights & San Vicente)
Click here for map and directions


Thanks to the thousands who protested on Dec. 30. in Los Angeles as part of the National Day of action (see below for a full report). Tens of thousands protested across the country and the world to support the Palestinian people against the murderous Israeli aggression in Gaza. ANSWER Coalition initiated the Dec. 30 protests, along with FPA, Al-Awda, NCA and other Palestinian and Arab American and Muslim organizations.

This Friday, let’s come out in protest again to make our voices heard. The Israeli bombardment of Gaza continues and tanks and occupation soldiers are massing at Gaza’s border ready to launch a ground invasion. This situation demands further action. Let’s hit the streets and make this new year one of struggle! Bring Palestinian flags, signs, banners and your friends and neighbors.

Friday’s action is initiated by Al-Awda. Other sponsoring organizations include ANSWER Coalition, Free Palestine Alliance, Palestinian American Women’s Association, National Council of Arab Americans, Arab Community Center of the Inland Empire, General Union of Palestinian Women, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Palestine Aid Society, Palestinian American Congress, International Action Center, Free Iraq Now, Orange County Friends of Palestine, Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, Women in Black, Middle East Fellowship of Southern California, Friends of Sabeel/Los Angeles, Students for Justice in Palestine, Muslim American Society, Islamic Center of Hawthorne and others.

Stop the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza! Break the siege of Gaza now! End the occupation of all of Palestine! Implement Palestinian Right to Return!

Take Action Now!

Please make an urgently needed donation. We need your support to continue this work. Click here to donate online, where you can also find information on how to contribute by check.

Click Here to Support Actions Against the Massacre of Palestinians

Send a letter to the State Department and Congress: Join with people around the country and around the world who are demanding an end to U.S. aid to Israel. You can send a letter with our easy click and send system demanding an end to U.S. aid to Israel. Without U.S. aid, the Israeli military attacks, siege and blockade of Gaza could not be continued. Click this link now to send a letter to the State Department and elected officials in Congress.

Tens of Thousands Protest Across the U.S. and Around the World
Demanding an End to the Bombing and Seige of Gaza
5,000 Protest in Los Angeles at the Israeli Consulate

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in scores of U.S. cities in response to the call for December 30 to be a National Day of Action to support the people of Palestine. The call was issued 72 hours ago by a number of organizations including the ANSWER Coalition, Muslim American Society Freedom, the National Council of Arab Americans, Free Palestine Alliance; Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition and others. Many organizations embraced the call and endorsed they day of action…

from the A.N.S.W.E.R LA Site: http://www.pephost.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ANSWERLA

Posted in Activism/Divestment | 2 Comments »

Continued Bombardment brings a “Bloody New Year” in Gaza

Posted by uscsjp on January 2, 2009

Rallying in support of Gaza

“AS THE news spread that the Israeli government had begun raining bombs on the people of Gaza December 27, tens of thousands of people around the world surged into the streets in the hours and days that followed to speak out in support of the Palestinian victims of this onslaught…”

–Socialist Worker, 2 Jan, 2009

http://socialistworker.org/2009/01/02/rallying-in-support-of-gaza


Follow The Electronic Intifada’s ongoing coverage of the siege of Gaza (including the latest updates from Al Jazeera):

http://electronicintifada.net/bytopic/687.shtml

Also:

Hezbollah urges Egypt to open Rafah crossing as Gaza under intensive Israeli offensive

“BEIRUT, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) — Hasan Nasrallah, chief of Lebanon’s Shiite group Hezbollah, on Sunday urged Egypt to open Rafah crossing to allow food, water, medicine and weapons to reach Gaza where has been under intensive Israeli offensive, Al-Manar TV reported.

‘The Egyptian people should take the streets in millions to force the regime to open the crossings,’ Nasrallah was quoted as saying…”

–Xinhua News Agency, 29 Dec, 2008

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-12/29/content_10572521.htm

More background from Democracy Now!:

Israeli Attacks Kill Over 310 in Gaza in One of Israel’s Bloodiest Attacks on Palestinians Since 1948

“Amidst worldwide protests, Israel is continuing its bombing campaign against Gaza for the third consecutive day and preparing to launch a possible ground invasion. Following months of a crippling blockade, this has been described as one of Israel’s bloodiest attacks on Palestinians since 1948…”

–Democracy Now!, 29 Dec, 2008

Posted in Activism/Divestment, Analysis, Blogroll, News, Opinion/Editorial | 1 Comment »