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Gaza Conflict Dead: 2,126 Palestinians; 68 Israelis*; Rachel Corrie’s Mom Says “Block the Boat!”

7:28 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

Palestinian health officials say 2,114 people, most of them civilians and more than 400 of them children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since July 8, when Israel launched an offensive with the declared aim of ending Palestinian rocket fire into its territory.

Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and four civilians in Israel have been killed.

The Israeli* total includes one Thai resident of Israel. have added the twelve Palestinians killed in Gaza-related protests to reach the 2,126 figure. The Oman Tribune adds: “Nearly 500,000 people have been displaced in the territory of 1.8 million where Palestinians, citing Israeli attacks that have hit schools and mosques, say no place is safe to live.”

And then there’s the Saturday bombing of Gaza City’s 13-story Al Zafer Tower, which “marked the first time in the Gaza war that Israel had brought down so tall a structure. It had housed 44 families, some of whom returned to the rubble on Sunday to search for belongings.” Was the attack collective punishment for Gaza mortars killing an Israeli child on Friday? Yeah, sure, probably.

Block The Boat!

Meanwhile, Block the Boat, people! If Rachel Corrie’s mom can do it, so can you, whether you’re in New York City tonight (Monday) at 11, or August 30 in Dublin.

Across the U.S. west coast, people have done their part in the effort to end Israeli apartheid and stop the barbaric killing of thousands of Palestinian civilians:

Israeli ship Zim Haifa stopped from unloading

The Israeli owned ship Zim Haifa arrived in Southern California early this morning (Saturday, August 23). The ship was scheduled to be unloaded today at Pier A of the Port of Long Beach. Over 250 people from throughout Southern California took part in the Community Picket at the entrance to the Pier called by the Block The Boat – LA Coalition.

We were there to show strong community support for the recent call by the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) asking workers around the world to stand in solidarity with Palestinian workers, particularly those in Gaza who have been targeted so brutally by Israel over the last month, by refusing to handle Israeli goods.

Extra inspiration is to remember what the killing is all about, stopping Gaza from having a port and airport, from having any sovereignty:

Would Israel accept the demand for a port and an airport in Gaza? This has become a core issue in the quest for a long-term cease-fire. Would the agreement lift the embargo on Gaza? When would these issues be discussed and what guarantees would Hamas have that Israel would abide by any agreement?

Those guarantees are particularly hard to formulate, since Israel violated the 2012 ceasefire on a scale far in excess of Gaza violations, and refused to open up the Gaza as it had promised in the agreement.

Why Assassinating Hamas Leaders is Pointless Barbarism and Why Hamas Leaders Don’t Know Who Killed Those 3 Israeli Teems

I.e., don’t swallow the latest propaganda that transformed second-hand speculation into a factual statement … Anyway, The Irish Times says it best and adds some essential background:

Israel has routinely slain senior Hamas figures. Bomb maker and West Bank commander Yahya Ayyash was killed in 1996; Hamas’s co-founders Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi in 2004; military commanders Nizar Rayan and Abu Zakaria al-Jamal in 2009; and al-Qassam’s deputy chief Ahmed Jabaari in 2012.

Hamas is resilient because it has dedicated leaders, a nationalist cause that appeals to Palestinians, and a structured organisation with political and military wings.

While its charter calls for Palestinian rule in all of Palestine, Hamas has said it is prepared to accept a Palestinian state in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. …

The al-Qassam Brigades, established in 1987, … is subordinate to the political leadership but has considerable operational independence. The relationship has been described as being similar to Sinn Féin’s connection with the IRA.

Hamas units operate as separate cells; commanders are compelled to live underground, fighters to keep their membership secret.

Gaza Conflict Killing: Now 2,078 Palestinians (about 1,788 Civilians), 67 Israelis (3 Civilians)

7:37 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

Yeah, still happening, still heart-rending. Reuters reports:

Israel launched its offensive in Gaza on July 8 … Gaza health officials say 2,066 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed.

Israeli attacks have devastated many areas in the densely-populated enclave, home to 1.8 million people, with 425,000 of people displaced, according to the United Nations.

Sixty-four Israeli soldiers have been killed in the conflict, as well as three civilians in the Jewish state.

(By the way, why does Reuters call a 25% non-Jewish country a “Jewish state”?) To the Reuters figure of 2066 Palestinians I added the 12 civilians that Israel killed during West Bank pro-Gaza protests. As I reported earlier, the UN states that 86% of identifiable victims on the Palestinian side have been civilians. If that trend has continued (the latest OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs) report inexplicably doesn’t say how many of the dead are identifiable as civilian or non-civilian
!) in Gaza, that means Israel has killed 1,788 civilians there and in the West Bank.

Here are three recent UN reports (PDF) on the specifics of what Israel is doing (with the support of our US tax dollars, of course):

At approximately 21:30 on 19 August 2014, Israeli planes attacked a three-storey house belonging to Rabah Shihda al-Dalu, in Sheikh Radwan,northwest of Gaza City. According to Israeli media, the target was Mohammed al-Deif, the Head of the Hamas military wing, and the ordnance used consisted of five one-ton bombs. The house was completely destroyed, four neighbouring houses were extensively damaged, as were the building and vehicles of a local transportation company. It is unclear if Al-Deif was killed, but his wife, son, daughter, and another woman and her two sons were killed. Fifteen others were injured. The body of Al-Deif’s daughter was recovered today.

At approximately 04:50 on 20 August, an Israeli plane launched a missile at a house in Deir al-Balah belonging to Mustafa Mohammed al-Louh. The house and a neighboring house belonging to the owner’s son were destroyed, and seven members of the family were killed; three men; the pregnant wife of one; and their children. Another family member, a 17-year-old girl died of her wounds today.

At approximately 02:30 today, 21 August, Israeli aircraft fired missiles at the house of Nasser Kellab, west of the town or Rafah. The targets were three senior Hamas commanders who were killed, as were another five persons, including children; bodies are still being recovered. Two people were also killed in a neighbouring house.

For the bigger picture on what is being done to Gaza civilians besides killing them, read Fred Branfman’s cut-to-the-chase summary of what’s taking place. I like his fronting of the parallels between the U.S. in Vietnam and Israel in Gaza:

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Gaza Death Toll: 1,948 Palestinians (86% Civilians), 67 Israelis (4.5% Civilians); Human Rights Groups Condemn Ban ki-Moon

2:07 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

A Palestinian flag banner leads off a march for Gaza.

Thousands marched in London on Saturday in solidarity with Gaza.

Because the mainstream media has become a bizarro world of real incompetence and pro-Israel bias, the UN’s reasonably straightforward approximation of the percentage of civilians killed in the Gaza conflict has gotten severely mangled in severely Israel-friendly ways. Here’s UN OCHA’s latest report on Gaza human rights tragedy (PDF file):

This brings the cumulative death toll among Palestinians to at least 1,948, according to preliminary data collected by the Protection Cluster from various sources, including 320 persons who could not be identified or their status established. The number of civilians has been reduced slightly from the last situation update, from 1,408 to 1,402, because of new information in some cases, where their status was revised to unknown or being a member of an armed group. Of the civilian casualties whose identity and status could be verified, 456 are children and 237 are women; the fatalities include eleven UNRWA staff members. Some 226 have been identified as members of armed groups. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, as of 17:00 on 6 August, 9,806 Palestinians, including 2,979 children and 1,903 women nad 356 elderly, had been injured.

So, as I did in my previous report, and as anyone interested in the best approximation of the truth would do, I divided the number of identifiable civilians into the number of identifiable dead, and found that 86.1% of those identifiable were civilians. Now how the heck does that become:

As of Sunday afternoon, the death toll in Gaza had reached 1,939. According to the UN, about 73 percent of the people killed were civilians.

I don’t know, I just don’t know (throws up hands in disgust).

As for very recent essential reading, please take a look at the following:

UN’s Ban Ki-moon is a partner in Israel’s crimes
The Electronic Intifada
8 August 2014

The following open letter signed by 129 organizations and distinguished individuals was sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 5 August:

… We, the undersigned Palestinian human rights and community-based organizations, are extremely disappointed by your performance, notably by your biased statements, your failure to act, and the inappropriate justification of Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law, which amount to war crimes.

Until today, you have taken no explicit and tangible measures to address the recent Israeli attacks in the occupied Palestinian territories since 13 June. Moreover, your statements have been either misleading, because they endorse and further Israeli false versions of facts, or contrary to the provisions established by international law and to the interests of its defenders, or because your words justify Israel’s violations and crimes.

You have undeniably assumed a biased position toward the current attack on Gaza and Israeli violations in the West Bank by failing to clearly condemn Israeli unlawful actions in the occupied Palestinian territories, while, on the other hand, not hesitating to accuse – sometimes mistakenly – Palestinian combatants in Gaza of violations of international law. …

As far as I can tell, this important condemnation of Ban ki-Moon has not been reported by any mainstream news source.

The other essential thing to check out, especially if you still want to believe in international human rights ‘law’, is the following by Marjorie Cohn, former president of the National Lawyers Guild:

US Leaders Aid and Abet Israeli War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes against Humanity
By Marjorie Cohn, Jurist
09 August 2014

By sending vast amounts of military aid to Israel, members of the US Congress, President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have aided and abetted the commission of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity by Israeli officials and commanders in Gaza. An individual can be convicted of a war crime, genocide or a crime against humanity [PDF] in the International Criminal Court (ICC) if he or she ‘aids, abets or otherwise assists’ in the commission or attempted commission of the crime, ‘including providing the means for its commission.’

There is growing evidence that Israeli leaders and commanders have committed the following war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity as defined in the Rome Statute for the ICC. US military aid has aided, abetted and assisted the commission of these crimes by providing Israel with the military means to commit them. …

Cohn makes the case very well. Not that it matters. Her report also did not exist as far as the mainstream media are concerned.

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86% of Gaza Dead Were Civilians (Believe the UN, Not NY Times’ Jodi Rudoren)

7:55 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

86% of Gaza Dead Were Civilians

As a pro-Israel propagandist, what would you do if the UN had just announced that 86% of those killed by Israel in its ‘war’ on Gaza were civilians? Would you:

1) Report the facts grudgingly but honestly.
2) Pretend the UN numbers don’t exist.
3) Misreport and slant the UN numbers so they favor Israel and add ‘for balance’ the alternative figures produced by an NGO allied with the Israeli military.

Well, obviously you’d choose 2 or 3. All except one American mainstream media outlet simply didn’t report the data provided by the UN’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (PDF). I have found only one mainstream publication that did so, France’s Liberation, and there you see the 86% civilians figure (my poor translation aided by Google):

Gaza By the Numbers: Deaths, Immense Devastation, A Crushed Economy
AFP 5 August 2014 at 14:29 (Updated: August 5, 2014 at 17:37)

Over 29 days the Hamas-Israel war has killed more than 1,850 Palestinians and 64 Israeli soldiers, destroyed hundreds of homes and ruined an already barely functioning economy. The Gaza conflict numbers at the beginning of the 72-hour truce:

- THE DEAD AND WOUNDED -

According to local emergency services, 1,867 Palestinians were killed and over 9,500 injured. According to a report Tuesday 0500 GMT the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the UN (OCHA), 1,814 Palestinians were killed. Among the 1,527 who were identified the overwhelming majority are civilians (1.312, 86%), including 408 children and adolescents and 214 women.

For its part, Israel lost 64 soldiers, its heaviest losses since the war with Hezbollah in 2006. Three civilians, including a Thai [resident], were also killed by rocket fire.

Liberation is working directly from the latest OCHA report:

Up to 08:00 on 6 August, the cumulative death toll among Palestinians was at least 1,849 according to preliminary data collected by the Protection Cluster from various sources, including 279 persons (15 percent) who could not be identified or their status established. Of the fatalities whose identity and status could be verified (1,570), (1,354 people) are believed to be civilians, including 415 children and 214 women, and nearly 14 percent (216) members of armed groups.

1,354 is 86.2% of 1,570. But instead of acknowledging these non-controversial figures, generated by the UN, an organization that is independent of the two warring sides, the New York Times’ Jodi Rudoren chooses “3)” and promotes the views of the Israeli-military linked Meir Amit. Not surprisingly but still preposterously it claims about half of the Gaza dead were combatants (or ‘militants’, the term the NY Times prefers for the Gaza government’s soldiers). As for the UN figures, here’s how she deals with the UN’s OCHA:

The United Nations — which had a lower death toll, 1,814 — said that at least 72 percent were civilians …

But wait, Jodi, I go to that link and it says this:

Over 85 per cent of Palestinian fatalities since the start of the emergency are believed to be civilians (excluding those whose bodies could not be identified or their status determined …

So, obviously, you’re lying. No, I don’t accept that you ‘made a mistake’ or that you seriously think all the bodies that could not be identified (yes, that is a nightmare image) were the bodies of combatants.

Greg Mitchell very capably and with all the essential sarcasm handles Rudoren’s stenography for the war criminals:

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1,843 Palestinians, 67 *Israelis Killed in Gaza Conflict; Boycott Israel (BDS) Now More than Ever

8:59 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

Gaza officials say 1,831 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed and more than a quarter of the impoverished enclave’s 1.8 million residents displaced. As many as 3,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed or damaged.

Israel has lost 64 soldiers in combat and three civilians to Palestinian cross-border rocket and mortar fire …

As before, the Palestinian total becomes higher, 1,843 deaths, because I’ve added the twelve Palestinian protesters that Israel has killed in West Bank protests. If the UN’s 80% estimate is accurate, about 1,474 of the dead in Gaza were civilians. 3 out of 67 or 4.5% of the Israeli dead were civilians (*one was a Thai resident of Israel). (The 4.5% figure results from a deliberate and explicit change in the Gaza resistance’s targeting strategy, which has gone 100% unnoticed in Western mainstream ‘news’/propaganda.)

If We Do Nothing Israel’s Apartheid State Has Won

I have come around to thinking that Israel could very well have won this war, because its purpose has been to destroy Gaza’s democratically elected government — i.e., Hamas — creating sufficient chaos in Gaza so that there can be no progress toward a unified Palestinian government. Is Gaza in chaos? Yes. Is it isolated? Yes. Is Hamas weakened? No, not now, not when it is the symbol of resistance to Israel. But, what about six months from now, when Israel’s destruction of the blockade-defying tunnels limits even more severely food, water, medicines and any ability to reconstruct Gaza’s water and sewage systems, and its businesses, schools and hospitals? We know Israel’s goal has always been to keep Gaza impoverished, but now it has the capacity and probably the willingness to go further, to enact a true siege that sickens and starves a people to death. Many in Israel want to ethnically cleanse Gaza. Do the masters of the concentration camp plan to make life literally unliveable?

So I disagree with Alex Cockburn, who dismisses Israel’s achievements from the war/conflict/massacre here: Israel-Gaza conflict: What has Israel achieved in 26 bloody days? I think where Cockburn loses his argument is in these two sentences, where he writes that Israel has foolishly pulled the Palestine issue out of obscurity:

By its actions, Israel has put the Palestinian issue firmly back on the international agenda from which it had largely disappeared since the Arab uprisings of 2011. Only a few months ago, a friend sympathetic to the Palestinians lamented to me that, in his travels in the US, Europe and the Arab world, he had seldom heard the words ‘Palestine’ or ‘Palestinians.’

But why was that, and what is to prevent renewed invisibility in a few months time, but this time with Gazans in a much deeper state of economic crisis than ever before? Cockburn adds that, usually, “the sufferings of the four million Palestinians penned into Gaza and the West Bank are invisible to people in the rest of the world.” That is exactly the problem and challenge for those who want justice for Palestine, and realizing how horrible conditions could become inside Gaza, I commented yesterday:

Unless the world commits itself to BDS and Boycott Israel, the war is a win for Netanyahu and the ethnic-cleansing state of Israel. But there are signs of passion and action on the BDS front, and it won’t take much to have a huge effect. As we saw with South Africa, corporations react dramatially to a decline in profits!

Yeah, Boycott Israel!

In Ending Israel’s occupation: why BDS is more important now than ever, Ahmed Moor recently summarized the argument for BDS:

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1,662 Palestinians, 66 Israelis* Dead As Obama, Ban Ki-Moon, Media Create Gaza ‘Reality’

3:03 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

Some 1,650 Palestinians have been killed and more than 8,000 injured in the 26 days since the conflict started, according to the Gazan health ministry. The United Nations estimates that four-fifths of the dead were civilians. Palestinian officials say more than 300 were children. On the Israeli side, 63 soldiers and three civilians have died.

To reach the Palestinian total of (about) 1,662 deaths in the title, I’ve added the twelve Palestinian protesters that Israel has killed in West Bank protests (two more yesterday). If the UN’s 80% estimate is accurate, 1,330 of the dead in Gaza were civilians. 3 out of 66, or 4.5%, of the Israeli dead (*one of whom was a Thai resident of Israel) were civilians.

As for the alternative reality that President Obama, UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon and the mainstream media are experiencing, it’s quick and clear just to comment between the lines of a typical current Gaza ‘news’ report, this one by AP:

Israel bombards Gaza as it searches for soldier
By IBRAHIM BARZAK and ARON HELLER
Saturday, August 2, 2014, at 2:50 a.m. ET

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel bombarded the southern Gaza town of Rafah on Saturday as troops searched for an officer they believe was captured by Hamas in an ambush that shattered a humanitarian cease-fire and set the stage for a major escalation of the 26-day-old war.

“They believe,” not ‘they say’? AP reporters are skilled mind readers? Or did the Israeli spokespeople just seem like honest folk, real straightshooters? Gonna (NOT) be similarly naive/trusting toward Gaza military spokespeople?

The Israeli military has said it believes the soldier was grabbed in a Hamas ambush about an hour after an internationally brokered cease-fire took effect Friday morning.

And Hamas said he was probably in a clash an hour or so before the cease-fire start, but the AP reporter won’t relate that equally credible [or more credible] scenario this high in the report, will he? Reminder: no one has any way of knowing which side is telling the truth, but please, PLEASE, don’t tell the readers that!

The Hamas military wing on Saturday distanced itself from the soldier’s alleged capture,

It didn’t “distance itself,” as that means Hamas had earlier ‘closely’ associated itself with the alleged capture. From the start Hamas has said it knows nothing about it.

which has prompted widespread international condemnation.

It has prompted condemnation only in the West and at the UN. Why would those siding with the Gaza resistance condemn the capture of an enemy soldier? I mean, what is wrong with capturing an enemy soldier?

President Barack Obama, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and others have called for his immediate and unconditional release.

Bizarro world! Again, a soldier in an army that is invading and flattening Gaza, creating all sorts of gross carnage, was allegedly captured. Why is that to be condemned? If you favor the Palestinian side in this lopsided conflict, I suppose you might simply say ‘good job’ to the Gaza military. And why should a prisoner of war be unconditionally released? Why not in exchange for some of the over 500 Palestinian officials and activists captured and jailed without charges and for no real reason by Israeli forces in the weeks leading up to the conflict/massacre?

And what is with Obama, and especially Ban, completely buying the Israeli version of events? Okay, we all knew Obama would readily accept the Israel/AIPAC-dictated ‘reality’, but Ban is at least officially a ‘non-partisan’ neutral on Israel/Palestine affairs. Nonetheless, he was “shocked and profoundly disappointed by” the Palestinians because, well, because of Israel’s evidence-free assertions. He has absolutely NO IDEA, of course, who violated the ceasefire. The UN is no longer the UN, sadly …

At least 35 Palestinians were killed in the bombardment and shelling in and around the city of Rafah early Saturday, said Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra, adding that the area’s main hospital was evacuated because of the strikes.

Hmm, what more could’ve been said about that? So, immediately after Palestinian soldiers killed two Israeli soldiers, and one more disappeared, Israel decides to turn Rafah into hell on earth. Collective punishment, anyone? I don’t know where AP got its numbers, but this is collective punishment:

Around 100 people in Rafah have been killed and hundreds more injured since fighting restarted after an internationally brokered ceasefire collapsed on Friday morning. At least a dozen have been killed elsewhere in Gaza and scores wounded. Health officials said the main hospital in Rafah had to be evacuated due to shelling on Friday afternoon.

(And wasn’t there a similar scenario a week ago: ‘two or three Israeli soldiers die, big Gaza neighborhood (Shujaiyah) turns to rubble’?) Okay, back to the AP:

Elsewhere in Gaza, Palestinian officials reported more than 150 airstrikes including one against the Islamic University in Gaza City. Heavy shelling continued along the border areas. The fiercest battles took place near the site of Friday’s attack and purported abduction, near Rafah, about 3 kilometers inside the strip and close to the borders with Israel and Egypt.

And these “fiercest battles,” weren’t they in essence Israel bombarding homes, businesses, and that hospital in Rafah? How has AP managed to transform those massacres into ‘battles’, when no more Israeli soldiers died after the two deaths and alleged capture in the morning?

Well, I think I’ve run out of copyright forbearance. Suffice it to say most of the rest of the article is about that soldier. It appalls me that my government, the U.S. government, called his capture “barbaric,” when what was barbaric was the Israeli response, a mass killing of civilians. It also sickens me that one Israeli soldier’s photo and his family’s feelings are being played up more than those of any of the actual innocent victims of the conflict. Soldiers are not innocent. They are war criminals if they direct their firepower at places where there are surely civilians. Based on those parameters, we know from the percentages of civilian dead that many Israel soldiers are war criminals and few if any Gaza government soldiers are. ‘Just following orders’ doesn’t cut it

U.S. Supplies the Munitions, Israel the Carnage: 1,371 Palestinians, 59 Israelis Die in Gaza Conflict

4:27 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

Carnage at U.N. school as Israel pounds Gaza Strip

Israeli shelling killed at least 15 Palestinians sheltering in a U.N.-run school and another 17 near a street market on Wednesday, Gaza’s Health Ministry said, with no ceasefire in sight after more than three weeks of fighting.

Israel’s security cabinet decided to continue its offensive in the enclave and there was no sign of a halt to a 23-day conflict in which 1,346 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have died. On the Israeli side, 56 soldiers and three civilians have been killed. …

That Reuters figure for Palestinian casualties has since been updated at Aljazeera to 1,361, with 6,780 injured. Among the dead are 315 children. I’ve added the ten Palestinians killed in the West Bank Gaza-solidarity protests.

The latest post at the Aljazeera live blog will leave you speechless:

BREAKING UPDATE: Al Jazeera’s @PattyCulhane reports the #Pentagon confirms delivery of two types of munitions to #Israel in the last week: 120mm mortar rounds and 40mm grenades, while calling for a ceasefire in #Gaza

A must read corrective to Israeli and U.S. mainstream propaganda is From Gaza: I Would Rather Die in Dignity Than Agree to Living in an Open-Air Prison (July 28). Mohammed Suliman, Palestinian human rights worker in Gaza, opens by contrasting a bustling, lively but impoverished Gaza to what it’s like now, and closes with an eloquent explanation of ‘why we fight’:

… A ceasefire might be negotiated and agreed upon. Hamas might soon stop firing rockets, but then will Israel cease to exercise its violence against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank on a daily basis? The reality is that if Palestinians stop resisting, Israel won’t stop occupying, as its leaders repeatedly affirm. The besieged Jews of the Warsaw ghetto had a motto ‘to live and die in dignity.’ As I sit in my own besieged ghetto, I think how Palestinians have honored this universal value. We live in dignity and we die in dignity, refusing to accept subjugation.

We’re tired of war. I, for one, have had enough of bloodshed, death and destruction. But I also can no longer tolerate the return to a deeply unjust status quo. I can no longer agree to live in this open-air prison. We can no longer tolerate to be treated as sub-humans, deprived of our most basic human rights. We are trapped here, trapped between two deaths: death by Israeli bombs and missiles, and death by Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

We want to be able to get in and out of Gaza freely, whenever we choose. Why should our students not be granted their right to study at universities of their own choice? Why should our patients be left for their own death as Israel deprives them of receiving medical treatment in hospitals outside of Gaza? Our fishermen want to fish in our sea waters without the prospect of being shot at and killed. We deserve the right to access clean water, electricity and our most basic needs. And yet we can’t because Israel occupies. It occupies not only our land but our bodies and our destinies. No people can tolerate this injustice. We, too, are humans.

I apologize, by the way, for not updating sooner (huge computer problems). Below is something from yesterday (another reminder of the huge “don’t you wish U.S. artists had cojones” file (Selena Gomez is an honorable exception), a statement by a hundred Spanish artists — the media has focused on Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz — protesting the carnage and genocide (warning: translated by me and Google Translate):

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Gaza Conflict: 1039 Palestinians, 43 Israelis Dead; Israel Bombs Another Hospital [UPDATED]

7:04 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

851 Palestinians (844 in Gaza, 7 in the West Bank) and 38 Israelis have died in the Gaza conflict. 80% or about 680 of the Palestinians and three of the Israelis (one of whom is a resident and not a citizen) were civilians. [UPDATE: at the time of the Saturday morning truce, the number of dead had risen to 890 Palestinians and 40 Israelis.] [UPDATE 2: After a grueling day of digging up bodies from the rubble, the Palestinian death toll is now 1039 (1032 in Gaza and 7 in the West Bank. More Israeli soldiers had died before the truce, so the Israeli total increased to 43.] As noted in the casualty figures, Israel has expanded its killing to the West Bank: Israeli troops kill Palestinian teens in W.Bank protests. And Israel continues to target and bomb schools (see UN school shelled leaving 15 dead) and hospitals. The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) reported Friday night from Beit Hanoun Hospital:

“It’s now chaos, the military is shelling directly at us. There are two patients on the second floor and we think they’re okay, but we can’t move them easily as they’re bed-bound. I’m bleeding from a head wound and there’s another person injured. People are very frightened,” stated Fred Ekblad, Swedish ISM activist.

At 19:00, Beit Hanoun Hospital was first hit by an Israeli tank shell and the shooting and shelling has continually increased.

This afternoon, Israeli forces destroyed an ambulance in Beit Hanoun, killing one paramedic and critically injuring another.

The ISM medical team statement added:

This is the third Israeli attack on Gazan medical facilities and personnel in the last 24 hours. The first resulted in the destruction of Al Durrah Children’s Hospital in Gaza City last night. A two year-old child in the Intensive Care Unit was killed, and 30 others injured.

Since Israel began its attack on Gaza, 13 ambulances have been completely destroyed and two paramedics have been killed. Throughout the massacre, medical staff and facilities have been repeatedly targeted.

In other, possibly good news, Israel has agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire to begin at 8:00 am Saturday morning in Israel, with the condition that Israel not stop searching out and destroying the tunnels that in a very limited way have broken Israel and Egypt’s illegal siege. According to Israeli news reports, Hamas has also agreed to the short ceasefire. Looking at that condition, should they?

In any case my sympathies to the Palestinians who somehow have to figure out a way to resist the overwhelming force of Israeli arms, the constant death from the air even when Hamas has stopped firing rockets, and the siege (‘Unless Israel lifts its blockade of Gaza, no ceasefire can work‘), which is killing people as effectively as bombs do. The Angry Arab sums up:

Brief history of Palestinian resistance
They did nothing and they ignored them. They resorted to armed struggle and then they called them terrorists. They throw rocks at Israelis and they called told them that they should stick to civil disobedience and just bang pots and pans. Then (some) resorted to suicide bombings and then they told them: see, you are losing support. They were told that armed struggle is when they only attack soldiers. And then they sat quietly. And then they resisted Israeli war crimes and were told that Israeli soldiers’ families are really sad and upset and that they should not operate from “population centers” and that they should move to a field in Belgium if they really want to attack Israeli soldiers.

It is very good to see both that the ‘suicide bomber’ era is long in the past and that the Palestinian resistance is obviously targeting the Israeli military and not civilians. The numbers don’t lie, and they say that only one side, the Israelis, are the blood-soaked barbarians. On this matter, one more note from the Angry Arab:

Hamas targets
Today, for example, Arabic media reported that Qassam announced targeting a nuclear weapon site outside of Tel Aviv. Tomorrow, all US media will ignore the announcement and will say that Hamas announced targeting “Israeli population centers”.

Finally, Jon Snow of Britain’s Channel 4 has written a remarkably sad, humane piece on a reporter’s personal experiences inside Gaza during the bombing, and the telling contrasts when he crosses into Israel:

… I know not their story, nor how, alone seemingly, they were the only Palestinians, in that brief half-hour of Israeli aerial ceasefire, to have been allowed across.

But holding [their] girl baby connected me again to the wardfuls of small children so brutally smashed by this odious war. Connected me too to the ever-present reality that the average age in Gaza is 17 and that a quarter of a million are children are, like the babe in my arms, small children.

… Gaza’s agony … deepened with the UN school attack as I was crossing. I feel guilty in leaving, and for the first time in my reporting life, scarred, deeply scarred by what I have seen, some of it too terrible to put on the screen.

It is accentuated by suddenly being within sumptuously appointed Israel. Accentuated by the absolute absence of anything that indicates that this bloody war rages a few miles away. A war that the UN stated yesterday has reduced 55 per cent of Gaza’s diminutive land to a no-go area.

723 Palestinians, 35 Israelis* Killed in Gaza Conflict; Israel Reservists Refuse to Serve

8:06 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

703 Palestinians [Update 7 a.m. ET: 723 Palestinians] (around 560 civilians), 35 Israelis* (three civilians, *including one Thai resident) have now died in the Gaza conflict, and from various directions pressure is building on Israel. The most important word in the following lead sentence, I think, is the one I’ve emphasized:

Israel faced new political and economic pressures Wednesday to negotiate a halt to the Gaza war, with its rising toll of death and destruction, as cease-fire talks ground forward and the Israeli tourism industry was upended as major foreign airlines extended their suspension of flights over fears of Palestinian rocket fire.

Even the mainstream media now recognizes that Hamas has transformed the conflict from just another collective punishment orgy against Gaza into a war over the brutal siege, obviously ‘illegal’ under what is called ‘international law’, that Israel has punished Gaza with for voting Hamas into office in 2006. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal:

Let’s agree first on the demands and on implementing them and then we can agree on the zero hour for a ceasefire … We will not accept any proposal that does not lift the blockade … We do not desire war and we do not want it to continue but we will not be broken by it.

Meanwhile, growing numbers of Israeli reservists are refusing to serve in the Gaza war (whenever Israel launches one of its frequent wars, it calls up thousands of reserves). Read the petition at
We are Israeli reservists. We refuse to serve.
The introduction, written by journalist and former Israeli soldier Yael Even Or, is actually more to the point than the petition itself:

We are more than 50 Israelis who were once soldiers and now declare our refusal to be part of the reserves. We oppose the Israeli Army and the conscription law. Partly, that’s because we revile the current military operation. But most of the signers below are women and would not have fought in combat. For us, the army is flawed for reasons far broader than “Operation Protective Edge,” or even the occupation. We rue the militarization of Israel and the army’s discriminatory policies. One example is the way women are often relegated to low-ranking secretarial positions. Another is the screening system that discriminates against Mizrachi (Jews whose families originate in Arab countries) by keeping them from being fairly represented inside the army’s most prestigious units. In Israeli society, one’s unit and position determines much of one’s professional path in the civilian afterlife.

To us, the current military operation and the way militarization affects Israeli society are inseparable. In Israel, war is not merely politics by other means — it replaces politics. Israel is no longer able to think about a solution to a political conflict except in terms of physical might; no wonder it is prone to never-ending cycles of mortal violence. And when the cannons fire, no criticism may be heard.

This petition, long in the making, has a special urgency because of the brutal military operation now taking place in our name. …

P.S. – One reason, in my humble opinion, that the war is falling apart for the Israeli leadership, and is ‘getting away’ from its simple apparent purpose, ‘do something about those missiles’, is that you can’t do anything (just) about the missiles. Israel has three realistic (which doesn’t mean civilized) choices: 1) destroy Gaza and kill or deport all its Palestinians, 2) do nothing and accept the missiles in the way people accept traffic accidents (which kill far more people in Israel than missiles from Gaza do), or 3) negotiate a long-term peace agreement with Hamas (notes: not with the PLO; Egypt is the worst possible intermediary). Instead of choosing one of those three, Israel has chosen something else, and the backfiring sound can be heard all around the world.

496 Palestinians, 20 Israelis Die in Gaza Conflict; Why the Shujaiyah Massacre?

6:33 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

A donkey

In one article, a Washington Post writer seems more concerned with livestock than human lives.

Yesterday was the most deadly day in the Gaza conflict, and 496 Palestinians (80% of them civilians) and 20 Israelis (2 of them civilians) have now died. What made the numbers skyrocket was mainly Israel’s massive and indiscriminate shelling of the Gaza’s Shujaiyah neighborhood. The photos are grueling (some of the most heartrending and stark are here), as are written descriptions of the chaos and death:

An ambulance sat on shot-out tyres, shrapnel punched through its sides. A charred car lay flattened as if by a giant hand. Smoke rose from one end of the street in a dark billowing curtain.

Fallen trees, tangled electricity cables and drifts of rubble covered the road, smashed, chopped and torn apart by Israeli shells and bombs that slammed into this Gaza City district at a rate of one every five seconds on Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday.

A body was carried out of a ruined house, then a second and a third – seven in total from buildings within a hundred metres of each other during a brief agreed lull in the fighting to evacuate the dead and wounded. A little further along, bodies lay in the street where they had fallen, mostly scorched figures – one still in a yellow dressing gown – others missing limbs.

Inside the shelled neighborhoods, scores of people lay dead, others were wounded with scenes of entire buildings destroyed. Houses were still ablaze from the IDF onslaught, with corpses burnt almost beyond recognition, with the dead numbering both young and old, including small children. …

The injured from Shejaia were rushed to Gaza City’s central Shifa Hospital. Chaos reigned inside the hospital as wounded children were brought to the overflowing emergency room, forcing the medical staff to treat the wounded in a hallway.

Why did Israel let loose this hell on a residential neighborhood? One plausible theory (translated from the Arabic by the Angry Arab) is that its military was reacting angrily to the deaths of a surprising number of Israeli soldiers late Saturday and early Sunday:

Let us talk coldly and without agitation: by the admission of Israeli sources themselves–and they lie to the extreme to the extent that lying can be effective–the Golani Brigade lost more than 18 soldiers between yesterday and today, and most of them in the battle of Shuja`iyyah. The sources did not reveal the number of injured but they are in the tens, and may exceed a hundred. The horrible massacre against the people of Shuja`iyyah was a manifestation of Israel frenzy after the attack. …

The Gaza government called the Shujaiyah attack a “heinous massacre” and the Arab League described it as a war crime, but as for our West, “condemnation from international leaders was muted. Amid floundering efforts to start meaningful ceasefire talks, there was little sign of real pressure on Israel to lessen or halt the killing of civilians.”

Meanwhile, in propaganda watch:

The Washington Post is very outraged about the coverage of Gaza; the wrong victims are getting too much attention

‘The death of almost this entire herd went largely unreported in Israel and abroad, even though those who cared for the animals said they were traumatized by the sight of so much blood and carnage.’

Yeah, don’t you just love Angry Arab? And hate the Washington Post?

Angry Arab also links to an analysis that rings true on how most Arabs must be feeling right now, by Saudi Arabian writer Khaled Almaeena:

Read the rest of this entry →