The End Of All Crossroads

Where the TAXI makes a stop, to ponder upon which road mayhap be true

Tag: gaza strip

Russia will back Egyptian efforts to end Israeli aggression: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country will back Egyptian efforts to put an end to the Israeli aggression in the besieged Gaza Strip.


In a telephone conversation with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Friday, Putin said Russia planned to support Cairo’s efforts directed at normalizing the situation in the Palestinian territory, the Kremlin said in a statement.

The remarks come after Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Qandil visited the Gaza Strip on Friday, where he urged the world leaders to stop Tel Aviv’s attacks.

Qandil promised to intensify Egypt’s efforts to “stop this aggression and achieve a lasting truce.”

On Thursday, President Morsi also condemned the Israeli aggression as “unacceptable” and warned it could lead to instability in the region.

Some 25 people have been killed and more than 250 others injured in the new wave of attacks since November 14.

The Israeli regime frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the acts of aggression are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, in violation of international law, disproportionate force is always used and civilians are often killed or injured.





Russia urges united action against Israeli aggression

Moscow has called on the Arab League and the Middle East Quartet comprising Russia, the European Union (EU), UN, and US, to work together to end frequent Israeli aggressions against the Palestinians.

“The Quartet needs…to work together with the Arab League representatives and work out solutions together…to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

Lavrov made the remarks after at least one Palestinian was killed and seven others were injured by Israeli fire in the southern Gaza Strip despite an Egypt-mediated ceasefire agreement between the two sides on Wednesday.

Over 160 Palestinians, including women and children, were killed and about 1,200 others were injured in the Israeli attacks on Gaza that were carried out during the eight-day period starting November 14.

In retaliation, the Palestinian resistance fighters fired rockets and missiles into Israeli cities, killing at least five Israelis.

The Russian minister had also on November 15 lashed out at the Middle East Quartet for its failure to establish peace in the region.

Israel frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the acts of aggression are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, in violation of international law, disproportionate force is always used and civilians are often killed and injured.

The attacks rage on while Israel keeps up its crippling blockade on Gaza, which it imposed on the enclave in 2007.



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
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.


Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Russia chorus condemnation of Israel’s resort to force, US leads Western supporters

“The attacks on southern Israel, as well as Israel’s disproportionate shelling [of targets in Gaza], are entirely unacceptable,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Thursday.

By Raphael Ahren November 15, 2012, 6:16 pm


British Ambassador Matthew Gould speaking to reporters in front of the Kiryat Malachi house in which three Israeli were killed by rocket fire from Gaza, November 15, 2012. (photo credit: courtesy British embassy Tel Aviv) [click fos sourcepage]

On day two of Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel was getting strong support from several Western countries, led by the United States, while Egypt, Jordan, Russia and Turkey condemned the resort to force as disproportionate and overly aggressive.

“It is obvious that Israel has a legitimate right to defend itself and protect its own citizens against rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Thursday. “Now it is necessary that everyone contributes to deescalating the situation. Everybody needs to understand that we need to prevent worse things from happening. We call upon all parties to act wisely and in a deescalating manner,” Westerwelle said at press conference in Paris.

His British colleague William Hague said that Hamas “bears principal responsibility” for the current escalation of violence, condemning the organization and other terrorist groups for firing rockets from Gaza into southern Israel. “This creates an intolerable situation for Israeli civilians in southern Israel, who have the right to live without fear of attack from Gaza. The rocket attacks also risk worsening the plight of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, which is already precarious,” the foreign secretary said in a statement released on Thursday.

“Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza should cease attacks against Israel immediately,” Hague added. “I call on those in the region with influence over Hamas to use that influence to bring about an end to the attacks.”


On Wednesday, the British embassy in Tel Aviv had tweeted the following message: “We continue to call on all sides to exercise restraint to prevent a dangerous escalation that would be in no one’s interests.” The post has since been removed from the Twitter account.

Britain’s ambassador in Israel, Matthew Gould, sounded much more sympathetic on Thursday, during a visit to the Kiryat Malachi apartment in which three Israeli were killed by rocket fire from Gaza. “I’ve seen for myself upstairs the devastating effect these rockets have. I’ve seen for myself a family that has been destroyed by rocket attack,” he told Israeli reporters. “I have to tell you, personally it is absolutely devastating.”

The French ambassador in Israel, Christophe Bigot, also visited Kiryat Malachi, and expressed his solidarity with Israeli victims of rocket attacks.

The Foreign Ministry in Paris, however, was less supportive of Israel than London in the statement it released. “France is exceedingly worried about the deteriorating situation in Gaza and the South of Israel. It is calling on the parties to refrain from any escalation of violence since the Israeli and the Palestinian civilian population would inevitably pay the price.”

The United States was the first nation to express full solidarity and support for Operation Pillar of Defense. “There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel,” the State Department said in a statement released on Wednesday. “We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately. We support Israel’s right to defend itself, and we encourage Israel to continue to take every effort to avoid civilian casualties.”

Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres spoke to US President Barack Obama on Wednesday, briefing him on Operation Pillar of Defense. Netanyahu has since also spoken to President Francois Hollande of France, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Middle East Quartet representative Tony Blair. “I want to thank them for their understanding of Israel’s need to defend itself, and Israel’s right to defend itself,” Netanyahu told foreign reporters Thursday afternoon.

Other nations were less understanding of Israel’s use of force in Gaza.

“The attacks on southern Israel, as well as Israel’s disproportionate shelling [of targets in Gaza], are entirely unacceptable,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Thursday. “We urge all sides to end the military confrontation immediately and to prevent a new round of bloodshed in the Gaza Strip.”

Turkey, meanwhile, condemned Operation Pillar of Defense.

“We harshly condemn Israel’s offensive and it must be stopped immediately,” a statement released by Ankara’s foreign ministry said. Jerusalem’s campaign in Gaza was the latest incident that proves Israel’s “hostile policies,” the statement read.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters that he had spoken with senior Hamas officials and promised them to pressure the international community to do more to stop Israel’s “aggressive positions,” according to the Today’s Zaman newspaper.

Significantly. the two Arab neighbors with which Israel has peace treaties also denounced Jerusalem for its use of force.

“Israel’s aggressive policy placed the area again in a cycle of violence and instability,” Jordan’s information minister Sameeh Maaytah said. “This additional hostility… closes all doors on negotiations and the achievement of political arrangements. Israel deprives the Palestinian people of their political and national right to create an independent state… Israel’s aggression needs to be stopped and the Palestinian people need to be protected.”

Egypt was bitterly critical. The country’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi spoke with Obama, and Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr spoke with his American counterpart, Hillary Clinton, late Wednesday night, asking them for immediate US intervention “to stop the Israeli aggression,” Cairo said in a statement.

Egypt also recalled its ambassador in Tel Aviv to protest Israel’s military campaign.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, strongly condemned Israel’s assassination of Hamas’s military chief Ahmed Jabari on Wednesday. In a statement, the party called the targeted killing a “crime which should see a fast Arab and international response to stop a wave of similarly bloody massacres against the Palestinian people besieged in the Gaza Strip, and which are being used by the Israeli government for leverage in political conflicts raging within Israel.”

Israel seeks to drag the Middle East into “instability, confusion and chaos,” the statement continued. “But Israel should be warned that the changes recently witnessed in the Arab region, especially in Egypt, cannot allow Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people to go unpunished as in the past.”



Update: Egypt closes Rafah crossing

Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah border crossing after the Israeli occupation forces targeted the Palestinian side of the crossing with two missiles that exploded next to it. Israeli forces have escalated attacks on the border and targeted the tunnels on the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip.


The city of Rafah witnessed a state of panic due to the explosions, with many shops and businesses closing early.

Earlier on Thursday evening Presidential Spokesperson Yasser Ali announced that President Mohamed Morsy has instructed Prime Minister Hesham Qandil to head a high-level delegation to the Gaza Strip on Friday.

Qandil’s visit to Gaza will emphasize Egypt’s solidarity with the people of Gaza in the face of brutal Israeli aggression, Ali said, as well as meet the urgent needs of the Palestinian people.

“The Egyptian leadership informed us that Prime Minister Hesham Qandil will visit Gaza tomorrow, accompanied by a number of ministers. We welcome this visit and appreciate this courageous stand,” Hamas spokesperson Taher al-Nunu told AFP.

The visit “confirms the support of the Egyptian leadership, government, and people for the Palestinian people in the shadow of the Israeli war against them in Gaza,” he added, saying Qandil would meet Hamas premier Ismail Haniyeh.

The Health Ministry announced on Thursday the formation of a joint central operations room in collaboration with the Pharmacists and Doctors Syndicates, to treat injured Palestinians in Gaza.

Amgad Amin of the Pharmacists Syndicate in Cairo told Al-Masry Al-Youm that head of the syndicate Mohamed Abdel Gawad is now in the Gaza Strip leading a delegation of pharmacists.

Israeli media outlets reported that Egypt’s ambassador to Israel Atef Salem al-Ahl left Tel Aviv on Thursday. Cairo recalled the ambassador on Wednesday after a series of Israeli air strikes on Gaza killed Jabari and others, President Mohamed Morsy’s spokesperson said in a terse statement. Ahmed al-Helali, a member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that it was essential that the Egyptian ambassador not return to Israel as long as the attacks continue. He called on all revolutionary forces to unite to support Palestinian resistance.

Meanwhile, Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Yaakov Amitai left Cairo on Wednesday after being summoned by the Egyptian foreign ministry, state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported. However, Reuters quoted an Israeli diplomat in Jerusalem on Wednesday as saying that Amitai had returned to Israel before Tel Aviv launched its assault on the Gaza Strip.

Egypt’s official news agency MENA quoted an informed diplomatic source as saying that contrary to several reports, Egypt did not ask the Israeli ambassador to leave. Over the last year, the ambassador usually spends the weekend in Israel, leaving on Thursday and returning on Sunday. He said it is not certain whether he will return on Sunday or not.

He went on to say that there are several steps Egypt can take in response to the brutal aggression on Gaza.

“It may be sufficient to summon the ambassador from Tel Aviv for consultation, a step less severe than withdrawing him,” he said. “The difference is when you summon the ambassador for consultation, it will be for a limited period and it is known that he will return within days. But when you start with withdrawing the ambassador, it means that Egypt has chosen the strongest option from the beginning.”

If the attack continues and there are more casualties, according to the diplomat, it will be possible that the Israeli ambassador to Egypt becomes persona non grata, or is expelled. Both have the same result in legal terms, he explained, but expulsion would constitute a stronger statement diplomatically.

The next step, he says, would be to freeze relations. Countries usually start with freezing economic relations, and this is usually associated with an escalation before a declaration of war. In this case, the potential impact on economic relations with the United States must be closely studied.

This is merely theoretical talk about the options available, the diplomatic source said, stressing that he does not have specific information about what steps will be taken.

Hundreds of protesters rallied in front of the Arab League in Cairo against the Israeli assault on Gaza Thursday, chanting slogans and carrying Palestinian flags, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.

In televised remarks earlier Thursday, President Mohamed Morsy rejected what he called Israel’s aggression in Gaza, saying it threatened to destabilize the region, while Cairo called on the US to stop Israel’s strikes.

“The Israelis must understand that we do not accept this aggression, which could lead to instability in the region,” Morsy said, as Israeli air forces pummeled Gaza and militants fired rockets back in a deadly tit for tat.

In an earlier telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr “called on the United States to immediately intervene to bring to an end the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza,” the ministry said in a statement.

“As long as the Israeli aggression continues, the situation will worsen in a way that will make it uncontrollable,” Amr told Clinton late Wednesday.

He called on Washington to “use its contacts with Israel to bring to an end this aggression.”

The Suez Canal Authority has denied reports that it prevented the passage of Israeli ships according to several news sources.

Egypt, which in 1979 became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, previously withdrew its ambassador after a Palestinian uprising that began in 2000, when President Hosni Mubarak was still in power.

Morsy, an Islamist elected in June after Mubarak’s overthrow in 2011, has promised to take a harder line on Israel than his predecessor, who was accused of doing little to stop the Jewish state’s devastating assault on Gaza in December 2008-January 2009.

Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip on Thursday, German news agency DPA reported.

“Work would resume on both sides of the border in order to be ready for the arrival of any injured Palestinians so they could be transferred to Arish Public Hospital, which is ready to receive them,” a security source told DPA.

Also on Thursday morning, Major General Mohamed Refaat Shehata, head of the Egyptian intelligence services, returned to Cairo from Turkey to follow up on recent developments in Gaza.

Sources told DPA that Shehata arrived from Istanbul on Thursday, cutting his trip to discuss bilateral cooperation between Egypt and Turkey short. An Egyptian-mediated ceasefire between Hamas and Israel failed Wednesday following the Israeli assassination of Ahmed al-Jabary, the commander of Hamas’s Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades.

Shehata is expected to attempt to negotiate a new truce between Israel and Hamas, as he had played an important role in securing the original ceasefire. Cairo often plays a mediator role between Israel and Hamas whenever violence erupts between the two sides.

Tight security measures have been taken in South Sinai Governorate, particularly focusing on the main roads entering the area and on the border regions of Taba and Negev, in anticipation of any jihadist elements attempts to attack Israeli tourists.

An official source in Taba land port said that Israeli tourists have increasingly chosen not to holiday in Taba anyway, despite tourist resort offers. Sami Salman, head of the Association of Taba and Nuweiba Investors, said the current events will affect tourism in all of Sinai.


In Pictures: Gaza Strip under Israeli attack

After Israeli attacks, Palestinians mourn for their dead friends and relatives.
Anne Paq Last Modified: 12 Nov 2012 07:28

Over the past 48 hours, the Israeli army has escalated their aerial and ground attacks against the Gaza Strip. At least five Palestinians, including children, have been killed, and more than 30 others, including 6 women and 12 children, have been wounded.

Four of these deaths and 38 of the injuries, some of them serious, resulted from an Israeli attack in the al-Shoja’iya neighborhood east of Gaza City which occurred on Sunday.

The Israeli army said that four soldiers were injured when an “anti-tank missile was fired at an IDF patrol along the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip”.

On the first day of the attack, Shifa hospital struggled to deal with the number of injured Palestinians.

In response to Israeli attacks, Palestinian fighters have been sending rockets to Israel while Israel continues to attack different locations in the Gaza Strip, including during the funeral of one of the Palestinians killed in Jabaliya.

Click the pictures to go to Aljazeera’s article.