The End Of All Crossroads

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Tag: gaza bombing

[+ images] In Gaza, It’s the Occupation, Stupid

“The answer is simple, and increases the chances of security on all sides: End the occupation.”

Amy Goodman – Nationofchange / OP-ED

“The Palestinian people want to be free of the occupation,” award-winning Israeli journalist Gideon Levy summed up this week. It is that simple. This latest Israeli military assault on the people of Gaza is not an isolated event, but part of a 45-year occupation of the sliver of land wedged between Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, where 1.6 million people live under a brutal Israeli blockade that denies them most of the basic necessities of life. Without the unwavering bipartisan support of the United States for the Israeli military, the occupation of Palestine could not exist.

At the time of this writing, the overall Palestinian death toll of the seven-day assault, dubbed Operation Pillar of Cloud by the Israel Defense Forces, is more than 116, more than half of them civilians, including 27 children and 11 women. Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets from Gaza into Israel, which, to date, have killed three Israeli civilians.

President Barack Obama said on Sunday, “There is no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So, we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians.”

“No one questions that right,” responds Richard Falk, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and the author of more than 50 books on war, human rights and international law.

“The question is: When and how is it appropriate? Here, as before in 2008, when Israel launched a similar devastating attack on the population and people of Gaza, there were alternatives, and this kind of approach to security ends up with a new cycle of violence at higher levels of intensity. It’s time for the international community to take some responsibility for protecting the people of Gaza.”

Since 2000, according to an article from the British medical journal The Lancet, the Israeli military has killed more than 6,000 Palestinians. They are harassed at checkpoints, imprisoned arbitrarily, denied clean water and sanitation, and suffer from systemic malnutrition, all part of the illegal siege and blockade. World-renowned linguist and author Noam Chomsky recently visited Gaza, describing it as the world’s largest open-air prison.

Amidst reports of an imminent ceasefire, I spoke with Dr. Mona El-Farra in Gaza. She is the health chair of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society of the Gaza Strip, which, as part of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, is protected under the Geneva Conventions. “Airplanes are still in the sky, drones are in the sky, and we can h ear intermittent shelling. People are tense, hoping for a cease-fire, but people don’t want a cease-fire at any cost. We want guarantees from Israel that this will not happen again.”

I asked her what it is like to endure an air raid: “Every other minute, directly in my area, the airplanes are there, and they hit within 100 meters of my building. You can overhear from the other areas, because it is very noisy, F-16s bombing with large explosions. The whole building shakes, and some of my windows have been shattered.” Dr. El-Farra and her 20-year-old daughter hide under their table. She gets only a few minutes sleep at a time. “With every air raid, you can see the fire from my window, the fire and the smoke.”

She also braves the open streets to attend to her responsibilities with the Red Crescent Society. They have set up phone banks to provide psychological counseling to Gazans who are dealing with death and injury, who are living under the stress of continuous air bombardment and the threat of imminent ground invasion. “We have terrified children in Gaza, children who do not have enough water, do not have enough food, no medicine … with all that, children have no safe place. There is no place safe in Gaza. I don’t know what will happen next if this madness continues. In the last week, it has been like hell for us. It is ugly, it is horrible.”

Jody Williams, winner of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative told me, “It is very hard to think about Israel calling what it is doing defending itself when it is occupying Palestinian territory. It’s collective punishment. We cannot support punishing an entire population because of the policies and attacks of Hamas. It’s illegal.”

The answer is simple, and increases the chances of security on all sides: End the occupation.

© 2011 Amy Goodman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate


ABOUT Amy Goodman

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 900 stations in North America. She is the author of “Breaking the Sound Barrier,” recently released in paperback and now a New York Times best-seller.

SOURCE: Nation Of Change
http://www.nationofchange.org/gaza-it-s-occupation-stupid-1353572725

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“Flatten” Gaza like Hiroshima and “mow” the population, Israeli public figures urge

“Ben-Ari is also notorious for his incitement against Africans and for his hatred of Christians. In July he tore up a New Testament, calling it “abominable” and threw it in the trash.”

Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Sun, 11/18/2012 – 23:20

Among the latest horrifying examples of incitement to mass murder by Israeli public figures, Gilad Sharon, the son of former prime minister and notorious war criminal Ariel Sharon, has called for the Israeli army to “flatten” Gaza as the US flattened the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945 with an atomic bomb.

Palestinian doctors gather to pray around the bodies of four children from the al-Dallu family killed along with seven other persons when an Israeli missile struck a family home in Gaza City on 18 November. (Majdi Fathi / APA images)

“The residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas. The Gazans aren’t hostages; they chose this freely, and must live with the consequences,” wrote Sharon in the extremist publication The Jerusalem Post. Sharon elaborated:

We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.

There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire.

Were this to happen, the images from Gaza might be unpleasant – but victory would be swift, and the lives of our soldiers and civilians spared.

Sharon added that “There is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip.”

As of Sunday night, the end of the fifth day of Israel’s air assault on Gaza, more than 70 Palestinians, half of them civilians, had been killed in hundreds of Israeli airstrikes.
“Don’t give a hoot about Goldstone”

Meanwhile in a message to soldiers, Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari of the National Union party exhorted soldiers to kill without thought or mercy.

“Brothers! Beloved soldiers and commanders – preserve your lives! Don’t give a hoot about Goldstone! There are no innocents in Gaza, don’t let any diplomats who want to look good in the world endanger your lives[;] at any tiniest concern for your lives – Mow them!,” Ben-Ari was quoted as saying by the website HaKol HaYehudi.

Ben-Ari was referring to the UN-commissioned Goldstone report that documented war crimes and crimes against humanity during Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza which left more than 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, dead.

“We love you alive and smiling, not, heaven forefend, ‘just’ and dead in Gaza – Sodom [-] there are no righteous men, turn it into rubble. Paint it red! We are worried about you and rely on you. We all do, all of the Nation of Israel,” Ben-Ari added.

The phrase “the Nation of Israel” refers to all members of the Jewish religion, not to citizens of the State Israel, notes Dena Shunra who translated Ben-Ari’s comments.

On 15 November, the second day of an Israeli assault, Ben-Ari addressed a hate rally in Tel Aviv, calling for more bloodshed in Gaza. New video of that rally, which this blog reported on previously, shows Ben-Ari in action.

Ben-Ari is also notorious for his incitement against Africans and for his hatred of Christians. In July he tore up a New Testament, calling it “abominable” and threw it in the trash.

Read more examples of incitement to violence by Israeli public figures, for example the prominent rabbi who says the Israeli army “must learn from the Syrians how to slaughter the enemy.”

All of these inciters will no doubt be pleased that in the bloodiest attack of Israel’s assault so far, 11 Palestinians from a single family, including four young children and an 81-year-old woman, were killed on Sunday when an Israeli bomb flattened their home.

 

SOURCE: Electronic Intifada
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/flatten-gaza-hiroshima-and-mow-population-israeli-public-figures-urge

Who is doing the killing in Gaza? Noam Chomsky and others challenge world’s media

“Bias and dishonesty with respect to the oppression of Palestinians is nothing new in Western media and has been widely documented. Nevertheless, Israel continues its crimes against humanity with full acquiescence and financial, military and moral support from our governments, the U.S., Canada and the EU.”

 

The degree of terror felt by ordinary Palestinian civilians in Gaza is barely noticed in the media, in stark contrast to the world’s awareness of terrorised and shock-treated Israeli citizens.

 

 

By Noam Chomsky and others
rabble.ca
14 November 2012

WHILE COUNTRIES across Europe and North America commemorated military casualties of past and present wars on November 11, Israel was targeting civilians.

On November 12, waking up to a new week, readers at breakfast were flooded with heart rending accounts of past and current military casualties.

There was, however, no or little mention of the fact that the majority of casualties of modern day wars are civilians.

There was also hardly any mention on the morning of November 12 of military attacks on Gaza that continued throughout the weekend.

A cursory scan confirms this for Canada’s CBC, Globe and Mail, Montreal’s Gazette, and the Toronto Star. Equally, for the New York Times and for the BBC.

According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) report on Sunday November 11, five Palestinian civilians including three children had been killed in the Gaza strip in the previous 72 hours, in addition to two Palestinian security personnel.

Four of the deaths occurred as a result of Israeli military firing artillery shells on youngsters playing soccer. Moreover, 52 civilians had been wounded, of which six were women and 12 were children. (Since we began composing this text, the Palestinian death toll has risen, and continues to rise.)

Articles that do report on the killings overwhelmingly focus on the killing of Palestinian security personnel. For example, an Associated Press article published in the CBC world news on November 13, entitled ‘Israel mulls resuming targeted killings of Gaza militants,’ mentions absolutely nothing of civilian deaths and injuries. It portrays the killings as ‘targeted assassinations.’ The fact that casualties have overwhelmingly been civilians indicates that Israel is not so much engaged in “targeted” killings, as in “collective” killings, thus once again committing the crime of collective punishment.

Another AP item on CBC news from November 12 reads ‘Gaza rocket fire raises pressure on Israel government.’ It features a photo of an Israeli woman gazing on a hole in her living room ceiling. Again, no images, nor mention of the numerous bleeding casualties or corpses in Gaza. Along the same lines, a BBC headline on November 12 reads ‘Israel hit by fresh volley of rockets from Gaza.’ Similar trends can be illustrated for European mainstream papers.

News items overwhelmingly focus on the rockets that have been fired from Gaza, none of which have caused human casualties. What is not in focus are the shellings and bombardments on Gaza, which have resulted in numerous severe and fatal casualties. It doesn’t take an expert in media science to understand that what we are facing is at best shoddy and skewed reporting, and at worst willfully dishonest manipulation of the readership.

Furthermore, articles that do mention the Palestinian casualties in Gaza consistently report that Israeli operations are in response to rockets from Gaza and to the injuring of Israeli soldiers. However, the chronology of events of the recent flare-up began on November 5, when an innocent, apparently mentally unfit, 20-year old man, Ahmad al-Nabaheen, was shot when he wandered close to the border. Medics had to wait for six hours to be permitted to pick him up and they suspect that he may have died because of that delay.

Then, on November 8, a 13-year-old boy playing football in front of his house was killed by fire from the IOF that had moved into Gazan territory with tanks as well as helicopters. The wounding of four Israeli soldiers at the border on November 10 was therefore already part of a chain of events where Gazan civilians had been killed, and not the triggering event.

We, the signatories, have recently returned from a visit to the Gaza strip. Some among us are now connected to Palestinians living in Gaza through social media. For two nights in a row Palestinians in Gaza were prevented from sleeping through continued engagement of drones, F16s, and indiscriminate bombings of various targets inside the densely populated Gaza strip.

The intent of this is clearly to terrorise the population, successfully so, as we can ascertain from our friends’ reports. If it was not for Facebook postings, we would not be aware of the degree of terror felt by ordinary Palestinian civilians in Gaza. This stands in stark contrast to the world’s awareness of terrorised and shock-treated Israeli citizens.

An extract of a report sent by a Canadian medic who happened to be in Gaza and helped out in Shifa hospital ER over the weekend says: “the wounded were all civilians with multiple puncture wounds from shrapnel: brain injuries, neck injuries, hemo-pneumo thorax, pericardial tamponade, splenic rupture, intestinal perforations, slatted limbs, traumatic amputations. All of this with no monitors, few stethoscopes, one ultrasound machine. …. Many people with serious but non life threatening injuries were sent home to be re-assessed in the morning due to the sheer volume of casualties. The penetrating shrapnel injuries were spooky. Tiny wounds with massive internal injuries. … There was very little morphine for analgesia.”

Apparently such scenes are not newsworthy for the New York Times, the CBC, or the BBC.

Bias and dishonesty with respect to the oppression of Palestinians is nothing new in Western media and has been widely documented. Nevertheless, Israel continues its crimes against humanity with full acquiescence and financial, military and moral support from our governments, the U.S., Canada and the EU.

Netanyahu is currently garnering Western diplomatic support for additional operations in Gaza, which makes us worry that another Cast Lead may be on the horizon. In fact, the very recent events are confirming such an escalation has already begun, as today’s death-count climbs. The lack of widespread public outrage at these crimes is a direct consequence of the systematic way in which the facts are withheld and/or of the skewed way these crimes are portrayed.

We wish to express our outrage at the reprehensible media coverage of these acts in the mainstream (corporate) media.

We call on journalists around the world working for corporate media outlets to refuse to be instruments of this systematic policy of disguise. We call on citizens to inform themselves through independent media, and to voice their conscience by whichever means is accessible to them.

Hagit Borer, U.K.
Antoine Bustros, Canada
Noam Chomsky, U.S.
David Heap, Canada
Stephanie Kelly, Canada
Máire Noonan, Canada
Philippe Prévost, France
Verena Stresing, France
Laurie Tuller, France

 

Obama to PM: Green Light, But Watch Out for Civilians

“U.S. President Obama and EU Foreign Policy chief Ashton both expressed understanding, if not support, for Israel’s operation in Gaza”

 

By David Lev
First Publish: 11/15/2012, 8:59 AM

Binyamin Netanyahu
Israel news photo: Flash 90 (click for sourcepage)

So far, the world’s leaders seem to be backing Israel’s defensive action in Gaza. U.S. President Barack H. Obama and EU Foreign Policy chief Katherine Ashton both expressed understanding, if not support, for Israel’s situation, and for the need to break the back of Hamas and other Gaza terror groups that have rained thousands of rockets over the heads of Israelis in the Negev for the past decade.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke to Obama early Thursday, in which “the President reiterated to Prime Minister Netanyahu the United States’ support for Israel’s right to self defense in light of the barrage of rocket attacks being launched from Gaza against Israeli civilians,” a White House statement said. “The President urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.”

The statement said Obama and Netanyahu agreed that Hamas needed to stop attacks on Israel to “allow the situation to de-escalate.” Obama and Netanyahu spoke after the Israeli leader, who has had a rocky relationship with the current US administration, briefed Vice President Joe Biden on the latest events in Gaza.

Obama also spoke with Egyptian leader Mohammed Morsi, stressing Egyp’s “central role in preserving regional security,” the White House said. “In their conversation, President Obama condemned the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and reiterated Israel’s right to self-defense,” the White House statement said.

The UN Security Council, at an emergency closed session, discussed the situation in Gaza without coming to any decisions. But during the meeting, U.S. Ambassador to the UN strongly defended Israel, saying that said there was no justification for the violence that “Hamas and other terrorist organizations” are aiming at Israel.

“We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately,” Rice said, adding that the rocket attacks were harming efforts to end the Middle East conflict and create a PA state. “Hamas claims to have the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that does nothing but set back the Palestinian cause,” said the US ambassador, who is considered a frontrunner to become the next US secretary of state. “Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza nor to move the Palestinian people any closer to achieving self determination and independence,” Rice said.