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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

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:

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4 Boys Killed Playing on a Beach; 223 Palestinians, 1 Israeli Killed in Gaza Conflict

4:24 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

Israeli naval shelling [correction: air strikes] has killed four children on a Gaza beach. The deaths were witnessed by many international journalists, among them the UK Guardian‘s Peter Beaumont:

The first projectile hit the sea wall of Gaza City’s little harbour just after four o’clock. As the smoke from the explosion thinned, four figures could be seen running, ragged silhouettes, legs pumping furiously along the wall. Even from a distance of 200 metres, it was obvious that three of them were children.

Jumping off the harbour wall, they turned on to the beach, attempting to cross the short distance to the safety of the Al-Deira hotel, base for many of the journalists covering the Gaza conflict. They waved and shouted at the watching journalists as they passed a little collection of brightly coloured beach tents, used by bathers in peacetime.

It was there that the second shell hit the beach, those firing apparently adjusting their fire to target the fleeing survivors. As it exploded, journalists standing by the terrace wall shouted: ‘They are only children.’

In the space of 40 seconds, four boys who had been playing hide and seek among fishermen’s shacks on the wall were dead. They were aged between seven and 11; two were named Mohammad, one Zakaria and the youngest Ahed. All were members of the extended Bakr family.

The number of Palestinian dead is now at least 223. Israel and Hamas have agreed to a temporary, five-hour ceasefire requested by the UN on humanitarian grounds.

Maybe just maybe being direct eyewitnesses to a sample of Israel’s ‘carefully targeted’ killings will make a few more Western journalists courageous enough to tell the real Gaza story. The phrase ‘collective punishment’ might even be inserted occasionally into mainstream news or punditry, who knows? The tragedy has directly inspired Western headlines such as these:

And there are other hopeful signs of a break in the pro-Israel propaganda storm. For example, in a counter to the main ‘news’ (“Humanitarian Israel is telling Gazans to get out of the way!”) propaganda of the hours before the deaths of the four Gaza boys, the Dallas Morning-News presents this reality: Gaza civilians urged to evacuate often have nowhere to go.

More from Peter Beaumont on the Palestinian boys:

As relatives gathered not far from the Al-Deira hotel to bury the four dead boys, barely 90 minutes after the attack on the beach, the boys’ uncle, Abdel Kareem Baker, 41, said: ‘It’s a cold-blooded massacre. It’s a shame they didn’t identify them as kids with all of the advanced technology they claim they’re using.’

Meanwhile in Israel:

A well-known Israeli politician and parliament member has branded Palestinians as terrorists, saying mothers of all Palestinians should also be killed during the ongoing Israeli assault on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Ayelet Shaked of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party called for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers who give birth to ‘little snakes.’

‘They have to die and their houses should be demolished so that they cannot bear any more terrorists,’ Shaked said, adding, ‘They are all our enemies and their blood should be on our hands. This also applies to the mothers of the dead terrorists.’

208 Palestinians, 1 Israeli Killed in Gaza Conflict; Brits Blast Biased BBC Reporting

6:51 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

 

Brian Eno at a microphone

Musician Brian Eno & other UK residents are protesting not just Israel’s attack on Gaza, but the BBC’s biased reporting.

208 Palestinians have now died in Gaza, 80% of them civilians, and one Israeli civilian has died, but in limited good news many in Britain are protesting not just Israel’s air strikes but also the Western media’s biased, pro-Israel reporting. London protesters rallied outside the headquarters of the publicly funded BBC, saying its reporting disappears the “context or background” of Israel’s previous Gaza occupation and its never-ending air strikes on Gaza since 2006. The UK Independent quotes an open letter from the Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and other groups to the BBC Director General:

We would like to remind you that Gaza has no army, air force, or navy, while Israel possess one of the strongest militaries in the world. …

When you portray the occupier as the victim, and the occupied as the aggressor, we would like to remind you that resistance to occupation is a right under international law.

The Stop the War Coalition plans more demonstrations in the next several days against BBC’s Gaza reporting and Israel’s war on Gaza, in Birmingham, London, Glasgow, and Worcester.

The UK Guardian‘s Owen Jones had his own eyes on BBC bias a week ago in “‘Israel under renewed Hamas attack’, says the BBC. More balance is needed:”

‘Israel under renewed Hamas attack:’ this was last night’s BBC headline on the escalating bloodshed in Gaza. It is as perverse as Mike Tyson punching a toddler, followed by a headline claiming that the child spat at him. As Elizabeth Tsurkov, a Tel Aviv-based Israeli human rights activist, tweeted: ‘We are targeted by mostly shitty rockets. Gazans are being shelled with heavy bombs. We have shelters, sirens, Iron Dome. They have 0.’

There is no defence for Hamas firing rockets into civilian areas, and as sirens wail in Israel, the fear among ordinary Israelis should not be ignored or belittled. But the media coverage hardly reflects the reality: a military superpower armed with F-15 fighter jets, AH-64 Apache helicopters, Delilah missiles, IAI Heron-1 drones and Jericho II missiles (and nuclear bombs, for that matter), versus what David Cameron describes as a ‘prison camp‘ firing almost entirely ineffective missiles. …

The macabre truth is that Israeli life is deemed by the western media to be worth more than a Palestinian life: here is the ‘hierarchy of death‘ at work. According to the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, 565 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces since January 2009, while 28 Israeli civilians and 10 Israeli security personnel have been killed. The asymmetry of this so-called conflict is reflected in the death toll, but it is not reflected in the coverage.

Musician Brian Eno joined the BBC protests early, focusing on its biased reporting on the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers:

The most recent incident concerns the killing of three Israeli teenagers in Hebron. This admittedly disgusting crime has received an entirely disproportionate treatment: listening to the BBC one would be left with the impression that killing children had never happened in [the West Bank] before. But it has. And it happens with monotonous regularity. Not, by and large, to Israeli children, but to Palestinians. And not only killing, but imprisonment and torture and day-to-day harassment and brutality. This goes on all the time – and I see little reaction to it from the international media. Unfortunately, that increasingly includes the BBC, which now, like many others, seems to regard Palestinian lives as less valuable, less newsworthy.

The British protesters are inspirational, aren’t they? Just saying, but why don’t we here in the U.S. protest the horrible, racist coverage by U.S. news organizations of the Israel-Gaza conflict? They’re far worse than the BBC.

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90 Palestinians, 0 Israelis Die, But Obama Fights UN Condemnation of Israel’s Air War (Updated)

7:44 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

A photo of the U.N. Security Council chambers.

Will the U.N. Security Council condemn Israel’s air offensive on Gaza?

Should the headline be “76 Gaza Dead But _U.S._ Fights UN Condemnation“? (Updated to 90 at 7:45 p.m. ET, see comment 12). No, I don’t think so, the buck stops at President Obama’s desk. Here’s the news about maneuvering against possible UN condemnation of the bombing (whose victims are 80% civilians):

Jerusalem and Washington are trying to prevent the UN Security Council from condemning Israel’s air offensive in the Gaza Strip, in which dozens of Palestinian civilians have been killed, Israeli diplomats said Thursday. The Security Council is due to meet at 10 A.M. New York time to discuss the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

…Israeli diplomats say the United States is working with the council’s members, particularly Jordan, to ensure that the panel does not condemn Israel. Jordan represents the Arab countries in the Security Council.

Note that the UN deliberations are happening more or less now, as I write this. More news on the civilian killing:

Medical officials in Hamas-dominated Gaza said at least 60 civilians, including a four-year-old girl and boy, aged 5 who were killed on Thursday, were among the 76 Palestinians who have died in Israeli attacks since Tuesday.

…’The Jews say they are fighting Hamas and fighting gunmen while all the bodies we have seen on television are those of women and children,’ said Khaled Ali, 45, a Gaza taxi driver.

Rocket salvoes on Israel – the military said 442 projectiles have been fired since Tuesday, including nearly 100 on Thursday alone – have caused no fatalities or serious injuries.

Why Is It Happening?

Of course we don’t know, but a UK Guardian analyst has this well-informed take: IDF’s Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis. The article’s subheading: “Israel’s defence minister has confirmed that military plans to ‘uproot Hamas’ are about dominating Gaza’s gas reserves.” This is the kind of sensible, evidence-rich, ‘follow the money’ analysis that generally works for me…

Of course, the war can also be seen as normal national politics in Israel. Netanyahu has been pressured from the far right, after the killing of three Israeli teenagers in occupied Palestine, to kill Arabs. So, he is doing so. That’s the kind of country Israel is. Of course, the entire very well-publicized “search for three kidnapped teenagers” story was artificial in the extreme, and apparently employed precisely to whip up the ‘kill Arabs’ frenzy that then ostensibly pressed Netanyahu to do just that. So, I don’t buy the ‘he was pressured from the far right’ reasoning.

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Israel, Oil, & Military-Industrial Complex Drive Syria Regime Change

11:31 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

Anyone with any sense of who and what drives U.S. foreign policy has been blackly pessimistic as the Congressional ‘bomb Syria’ vote approaches. But the charade of a debate goes forward in our campaign-contributions-driven Congress, Secretary of State Kerry giving them assertions not evidence (If the evidence underlying the assertions were real don’t you think Kerry would’ve shown it to us immediately?), but ‘our’ representatives magically in a buying mood for that b.s. I could pause and point out that even the assertions indicate a catastrophic accident occurred, where Syrian conventional bombardment hit rebel sarin gas stores, and that this matches what on-the-ground Ghouta residents say happened (in the year’s most important ignored news story — thanks mintnews.com).

But hell, discussing evidence and assertions … what does it matter when three of America’s main determiners of foreign policy all are bent on destroying Syria? By my count the U.S. has four main foreign policy power constellations: (in no particular order) the Israel lobby, the oil and gas lobby, the military-industrial complex, and the finance industry. Finance is sitting this one out but the other three are gung ho for regime change or Syria destroyed (transformed into squabbling, unstable mini-states).

ISRAEL LOBBY: While I agree with Ohio Barbarian (in The Pro-Israel Argument Against American Military Intervention in Syria) that chaos or regime change in Syria doesn’t help the people of Israel, it is nonetheless what Israeli neocons have long wanted. And they are employing the full force of their Israel Lobby in order to get what they want

This goes back at least to 1996 and “A Clean Break,” the neoconservative game plan that they’ve with great success gotten the U.S. to implement. Syria is mentioned with great deja vu:

“Syria challenges Israel on Lebanese soil. An effective approach, and one with which Americans can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon, including … by establishing the precedent that Syrian territory is not immune to attacks emanating from Lebanon by Israeli proxy forces…”

Back to the present, we of course have plenty to choose from, beginning with this news yesterday on the pinnacle of the Israel Lobby, AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee):

AIPAC comes out for strike on Syria– and mentions Iran more often than Syria:

As NJ Senator Robert Menendez said at the Kerry hearing today in the Senate, Syria is about Iran. And it is for AIPAC too. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee broke its silence today, urging a vote for the Syrian strike.

… why does Obama need AIPAC? Could it be because AIPAC can get 70 Senators’ signatures on a napkin in 24 hours?

But, as I said, there’s much to choose from. Read the following from July, 2006, when Israel was slaughtering Lebanese villagers and razing ‘Shia’ apartment blocks:

Seeing a major opportunity to regain influence lost as a result of setbacks in Iraq, prominent neoconservatives are calling for unconditional U.S. support for Israel’s military offensives in Gaza and Lebanon and “regime change” in Syria and Iran, as well as possible U.S. attacks on Tehran’s nuclear facilities in retaliation for its support of Hezbollah.

And just cuz I like the word ‘stoopid’ in a headline: Syria is About Iran & Israel, Stoopid

OIL & GAS LOBBY: The stakes are high and this lobby surely will do its best to get the U.S. to bomb and kill Syrians for its interests.

Iran, Iraq, Syria sign major gas pipeline deal

July 25, 2011: “Iran, Iraq, and Syria have signed a deal for the construction of the Middle East’s largest gas pipeline, which would transit Iranian gas from Iran’s South Pars gas field to Europe via Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea.”

War against Iran, Iraq AND Syria?

On July 23, 2011, Pepe Escobar writes: “Against the interests of Washington, for whom integrating Iran is anathema, the pipeline bypasses two crucial foreign actors in Syria – prime “rebel” weaponizer Qatar (as a gas producer) and logistical “rebel” supporter Turkey (as the self-described privileged energy crossroads between East and West).” …

“Europeans – who endlessly carp about being hostages of Gazprom – should be rejoicing. But instead,” …

“It’s not far-fetched to imagine the EU totally forgetting about a pipeline that will ultimately benefit its citizens and issuing – under US pressure – a directive branding Iran-Iraq-Syria as a terrorist axis; lobbying for a no-fly zone applying to all; and recruiting jihadis all over for a Holy War against the axis, supported by a fatwa issued by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.”

Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern

This is a recent article in the Guardian by Nafeez Ahmed, subtitled “Massacres of civilians are being exploited for narrow geopolitical competition to control Mideast oil, gas pipelines.” It also provides the story going back more than a decade of neocon plans to undermine Syria in order to get at Israel nemesis Hezbollah. Ahmed is executive director of the UK’s Institute for Policy Research & Development.

MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: Hell, I don’t have much that is immediate on these folks other than Rep Alan Grayson: “Nobody Wants This Except the Military-Industrial Complex”. And note that the Israel Lobby’s neoconservative “search for enemies” serves the Pentagon’s most pressing need, and neoconservatives have close ties to the Pentagon.

In an essentially all-capitalist world, one that is (unfortunately) increasingly united on the policies of generating profits for millionaires and squeezing the poor, the best policy for every economic sector except for oil and gas and arms is peace. So the real ‘need’ for massively bloated military power is minimal, and the last couple decades’ conflict of the ages — the Islam fanatics thing — has been mostly hype and false flag b.s. brought to us by the U.S., Saudi Arabia (Al Qaeda’s homies), and Israel (which has its own military-industrial complex that needs to NOT solve the Israel-Palestine conflict).

A little more Grayson: “I did notice, for what it’s worth, that the manufacturer of the missiles that would be used has had an incredible run in their stock value in the last 60 days. Raytheon stock is up 20 percent in the past 60 days as the likelihood of the use of their missiles against Syria becomes more likely. So I understand that there is a certain element of our society that does benefit from this, but they’re not the people who vote for me, or by the way the people who contribute to my campaign. Nobody wants this except the military-industrial complex.”

Thanks Mr. Grayson for at least mentioning one of the three elephants in the room.

‘Israel’ Disappears Palestinian Village, AP Disappears Perpetrators

4:29 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

Scratch an obscure hillside in Israel and you find the tragedy and brutality of the Nakba, Israel’s 1948 ethnic cleansing [big map file] of Palestine’s Arab peoples. So, when the AP published Friday one of its many ’normal country’ articles about Israel, describing the excavation of an ancient hillside that was the Philistine town of Gath and later the Arab village of Tell es-Safi (the location also happens to be on the ‘Palestine’ side of the 1947 UN armistice line), a reader should demand that the article answer the following question: “What about Tell es-Safi, why was it abandoned by its inhabitants in 1948?” Wikipedia:

On 7 July [1948] Givaiti* commander Shimon Avidan issued orders to the 51st Battalion to take the Tall al-Safi area and “to destroy, to kill and to expel [lehashmid, leharog, u´legaresh] refugees encamped in the area, in order to prevent enemy infiltration from the east to this important position.”[16] According to Benny Morris, the nature of the written order and, presumably, accompanying oral explanations, probably left little doubt in the battalion OC’s minds that Avidan wanted the area cleared of inhabitants.[17][18]

*The Givati was a brigade of the Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary force from 1920-1948 that would later form the core of the Israeli Defense Forces.

The AP instead reports the ethnic cleansing of the village in the following way, the passive construction excusing and disappearing the Israeli perpetrators:

… later the site became home to an Arab village, Tel el-Safi, which emptied during the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.

(The Israeli university conducting the archaelogical dig is even more demure, referring not at all to the Arab ghost town or 1948 but only to “the site known as Tell es-Safi.”)

Almost always, when a news story touches on recent Palestinian or Israeli history, the anonymous Wikipedia army crushes the mainstream press. Wikipedia regularly provides readers the full, important truth. Wikipedia of course has lots of flaws — among them that it doesn’t have an encyclopedia entry entitled ‘The Nakba’ — but in this case: Wikipedia good, unafraid, unbiased, complete truth; AP bad, afraid, pro-ethnic-cleansing biased, very important truth left out.

And the whole truth matters, because it would inform clueless Americans — on this topic the vast majority — about ‘why they hate us’. ‘They’ hate the U.S. government for its always unquestioning but now increasingly enthusiastic support for Israel’s ethnic cleansing project, which is ongoing in July 2011, 63 years after the village of Tell es-Safih was cleansed and disappeared.

In the late 19th century, Tell al-Safi was described as a village built of adobe brick with a well in the valley to the north.[13] James Hastings notes that the modern village prior to its depopulation also contained a sacred walī.[7]

The villagers of Tall al-Safi were Muslim, and they had a mosque, a marketplace, and a shrine for a local sage called Shaykh Mohammad. In 1944 a total of 19,716 dunums [1 dunum = .25 acres] of land were used for cereals, while 696 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards.[14]

To stop the ethnic cleansing please support Desmond Tutu’s call for the boycott of and divestment from an apartheid Israel.