The End Of All Crossroads

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Tag: palestine

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.

MAM/HMV

 

SOURCE:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/11/16/272661/russia-to-back-egypt-against-israel-putin/

[video + transcript] Ron Paul: How to End the Tragedy in Gaza


As of late Friday the ceasefire in Gaza seems to be holding, if tentatively. While we should be pleased that this round of fighting appears temporarily on hold, we must realize that without changes in US foreign policy it is only a matter of time before the killing begins again.

It feels like 2009 all over again, which is the last time this kind of violence broke out in Gaza. At that time over 1,400 Palestinians were killed, of which just 235 were combatants. The Israelis lost 13 of which 10 were combatants. At that time I said of then-President Bush’s role in the conflict:

“It’s our money and our weapons. But I think we encouraged it. Certainly, the president has said nothing to diminish it. As a matter of fact, he justifies it on moral grounds, saying, oh, they have a right to do this, without ever mentioning the tragedy of Gaza…. To me, I look at it like a concentration camp.”

The US role has not changed under the Obama administration. The same mistakes continue. As journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote last week:

“For years now, US financial, military and diplomatic support of Israel has been the central enabling force driving this endless conflict. The bombs Israel drops on Gazans, and the planes they use to drop them, and the weapons they use to occupy the West Bank and protect settlements are paid for, in substantial part, by the US taxpayer…”

Last week, as the fighting raged, President Obama raced to express US support for the Israeli side, in a statement that perfectly exemplifies the tragic-comedy of US foreign policy. The US supported the Israeli side because, he said, “No country on Earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.” Considering that this president rains down missiles on Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and numerous other countries on a daily basis, the statement was so hypocritical that it didn’t pass the laugh test. But it wasn’t funny.

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton traveled to Tel Aviv to meet with Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, but she refused to meet with elected Palestinian leaders. Clintonsaid upon arrival in Israel, “America’s commitment to Israel’s security is rock-solid and unwavering.” Does this sound like an honest broker?

At the same time Congress acted with similar ignobility when an unannounced resolution was brought to the House floor after the business of the week had been finished; and in less than 30 seconds the resolution was passed by unanimous consent, without debate and without most Representatives even having heard of it. The resolution, H Res 813, was so one-sided it is not surprising they didn’t want anyone to have the chance to read and vote on it. Surely at least a handful of my colleagues would have objected to language like, “The House of Representatives expresses unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders…”

US foreign policy being so one-sided actually results in more loss of life and of security on both sides. Surely Israelis do not enjoy the threat of missiles from Gaza nor do the Palestinians enjoy their Israel-imposed inhuman conditions in Gaza. But as long as Israel can count on its destructive policies being underwritten by the US taxpayer it can continue to engage in reckless behavior. And as long as the Palestinians feel the one-sided US presence lined up against them they will continue to resort to more and more deadly and desperate measures.

Continuing to rain down missiles on so many increasingly resentful nations, the US is undermining rather than furthering its security. We are on a collision course with much of the rest of the world if we do not right our foreign policy. Ending interventionism in the Middle East and replacing it with friendship and even-handedness would be a welcome first step.

 

SOURCE:
http://paul.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2030&Itemid=69

UNGA votes in favor of Palestinian statehood upgrade

By HERB KEINON
LAST UPDATED: 11/29/2012 23:56
PA UN status upgrade approvedl US, Israel oppose Palestinian statehood bid; Abbas at the UN: The Palestinians are in desperate need of peace, but window of opportunity is closing.

Sixty five years to the day after the UN voted for the partition of Mandatory Palestine – a move the Jews accepted and the Arabs rejected — the same body overwhelmingly voted Thursday to grant the Palestinian delegation there the upgraded status of non-member observer state.

The moment has arrived for the world to say clearly “enough of aggression, settlements and occupation,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said to the packed UN General Assembly on Thursday, ahead of the vote to upgrade the Palestinians’ status to non-member observer state.

Carlos Latuff

“We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a State established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the State that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine,” he said.

“We did not come here to add further complications to the peace process, which Israel’s policies have thrown into the intensive care unit; rather we came to launch a final serious attempt to achieve peace,” he said. “Our endeavor is not aimed at terminating what remains of the negotiations process, which has lost its objective and credibility, but rather aimed at trying to breathe new life into the negotiations and at setting a solid foundation for it based on the terms of reference of the relevant international resolutions in order for the negotiations to succeed.”

Abbas said that the Palestinians will accept no less than “the independence of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, to live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel, and a solution for the refugee issue on the basis of resolution 194.”

Abbas said nothing about immediately resuming negotiations with Israel without preconditions, though he did pledge to “act responsibly and positively in our next steps, and we will to work to strengthen cooperation with the countries and peoples of the world for the sake of a just peace.”

Abbas, who called the resolution a “birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine,” used the recent fighting in Gaza to frame his request for the statehood upgrade and painted both Israel and its birth in demonic colors.

“Palestine comes today to the United Nations General Assembly at a time when it is still tending to its wounds and still burying its beloved martyrs of children, women and men who have fallen victim to the latest Israeli aggression, still searching for remnants of life amid the ruins of homes destroyed by Israeli bombs on the Gaza Strip, wiping out entire families, their men, women and children murdered along with their dreams, their hopes, their future and their longing to live an ordinary life and to live in freedom and peace,” he said.

“The Israeli aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip has confirmed once again the urgent and pressing need to end the Israeli occupation and for our people to gain their freedom and independence,” Abbas continued, obviously not mentioning the rocket and missile bombardment of Israeli cities from Gaza.

“This aggression also confirms the Israeli government’s adherence to the policy of occupation, brute force and war, which in turn obliges the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and towards peace,” he said.

The Palestinian people, Abbas said, “miraculously recovered from the ashes of Al-Nakba of 1948, which was intended to extinguish their being and to expel them in order to uproot and erase their presence, which was rooted in the depths of their land and depths of history.”

In Abbas’ telling of history, “hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were torn from their homes and displaced within and outside of their homeland, thrown from their beautiful, embracing, prosperous country to refugee camps in one of the most dreadful campaigns of ethnic cleansing and dispossession in modern history.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor, dismissed the move as empty symbolic posturing, that will change nothing tangible on the ground, but push the chances of securing a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians into the distant future.

The vote was not expected until after midnight, but Israel only expected that a few countries — the US, Canada, the Czech Republic, Micronesia, and the Solomon Islands – would vote against the move.

The resolution was presented to the General Assembly by the representative of Sudan, who called this a victory for the “values of truth.”

Staunch European allies such as Germany and the Netherlands, who opposed Palestinian admission into UNESCO last year as a state, were among those who this time only abstained. And other friendly countries, such as Italy, voted for the move.
The vote took place on the annual “Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Senior diplomatic officials voiced deep disappointment at the EU vote. Up until a few days ago, when France declared that it would support the move, senior officials held out hope that the EU might abstain as a bloc, something that would have deprived the Palestinian Authority of a moral victory.

One senior official said that the recent fighting in Gaza tipped the European scales, with the Europeans worrying that if PA Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would not gain some kind of diplomatic victory, he would loses all stature and authority.

“Had the vote taken place before the Gaza operation, the EU would have voted differently,” one official said.

Israel’s immediate reaction is expected to be the deduction from tax transfers it makes to the PA each moth of some NIS 800 million the PA owes to the Israel Electric Corporation.

Hours before the vote, Netanyahu – realizing that Israel was facing a stinging diplomatic defeat — said that regardless of how many vote against Israel, “no force in the world will get me to compromise on Israel’s security.”

He also said no force in the world could sever the thousands-year-old tie between the Jewish people and the land of Israel.

Netanyahu said that the decision will “Not change anything on the ground. It will not further the establishment of a Palestinian state, but will make it more distant.”

Netanyahu’s comments came while touring an exhibit of recently declassified documents marking the upcoming 35th anniversary of Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem at the Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.

“Israel’s hand is always extended in peace, but a Palestinian state will not be established without recognition of the state of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, without an end-of-conflict declaration, and without true security arrangements that will protect Israel and its citizens.”

Netanyahu, who said that none of the conditions he reiterated are even mentioned in the Palestinian’s UN resolution, said that peace is only achieved through negotiations and not by unilateral declarations “which do not take into consideration Israel’s vital security and national interests.”

Netanyahu recommended not being impressed by the applause that will likely be heard later at the UN.

“I remember the international community’s applause that the government of Israel received when it decided to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza,” he said. “We got applause and then rocket fire. We left Gaza, and Iran entered, exactly like what happened in Lebanon.”

Netanyahu said he would not enable another Iranian base to be established, this time in Judea and Samaria, a kilometer away from Jerusalem.

“It does not matter how many will vote against us, there is no force in the world that will cause me to compromise on Israeli security and there is no force in the world able to sever the thousands year connection between the people of Israel and the Land of Israel,” he said.

.

“We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a State established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the State that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine,” he said.

“We did not come here to add further complications to the peace process, which Israel’s policies have thrown into the intensive care unit; rather we came to launch a final serious attempt to achieve peace,” he said. “Our endeavor is not aimed at terminating what remains of the negotiations process, which has lost its objective and credibility, but rather aimed at trying to breathe new life into the negotiations and at setting a solid foundation for it based on the terms of reference of the relevant international resolutions in order for the negotiations to succeed.”

Abbas said that the Palestinians will accept no less than “the independence of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, to live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel, and a solution for the refugee issue on the basis of resolution 194.”

Abbas said nothing about immediately resuming negotiations with Israel without preconditions, though he did pledge to “act responsibly and positively in our next steps, and we will to work to strengthen cooperation with the countries and peoples of the world for the sake of a just peace.”

Abbas, who called the resolution a “birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine,” used the recent fighting in Gaza to frame his request for the statehood upgrade and painted both Israel and its birth in demonic colors.

“Palestine comes today to the United Nations General Assembly at a time when it is still tending to its wounds and still burying its beloved martyrs of children, women and men who have fallen victim to the latest Israeli aggression, still searching for remnants of life amid the ruins of homes destroyed by Israeli bombs on the Gaza Strip, wiping out entire families, their men, women and children murdered along with their dreams, their hopes, their future and their longing to live an ordinary life and to live in freedom and peace,” he said.

“The Israeli aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip has confirmed once again the urgent and pressing need to end the Israeli occupation and for our people to gain their freedom and independence.” Abbas continued, obviously not mentioning the rocket and missile bombardment of Israeli cities from Gaza.

“This aggression also confirms the Israeli Government’s adherence to the policy of occupation, brute force and war, which in turn obliges the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and towards peace.

The Palestinian people, Abbas said, “miraculously recovered from the ashes of Al-Nakba of 1948, which was intended to extinguish their being and to expel them in order to uproot and erase their presence, which was rooted in the depths of their land and depths of history.”

In Abbas’ telling of history, “hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were torn from their homes and displaced within and outside of their homeland, thrown from their beautiful, embracing, prosperous country to refugee camps in one of the most dreadful campaigns of ethnic cleansing and dispossession in modern history.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor, dismissed the move as empty symbolic posturing, that will change nothing tangible on the ground, but push the chances of securing a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians into the distant future.

The vote was not expected until after midnight, but Israel only expected that a few countries — the US, Canada, the Czech Republic, Micronesia, and the Solomon Islands – voted against the move.

The resolution was presented to the General Assembly by the representative of Sudan, who called this a victory for the “values of truth.”

Staunch European allies such as Germany and the Netherlands, who opposed Palestinian admission into UNESCO last year as a state, were among those who this time only abstained. And other friendly countries, such as Italy, voted for the move.
The vote took place on the annual “Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Senior diplomatic officials voiced deep disappointment at the EU vote. Up until a few days ago, when France declared that it would support the move, senior officials held out hope that the EU might abstain as a bloc, something that would have deprived the Palestinian Authority of a moral victory.

One senior official said that the recent fighting in Gaza tipped the European scales, with the Europeans worrying that if PA Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would not gain some kind of diplomatic victory, he would loses all stature and authority.

“Had the vote taken place before the Gaza operation, the EU would have voted differently,” one official said.

The Prime Minister’s Office had no immediate reaction after the vote, but has made clear in recent days that it would free Israel of its obligations under the Oslo accord since Jerusalem views the move as a blatant violation of the underlying principle of those agreements: that all outstanding issues be resolved through negotiations, not through unilateral actions.

Israel’s immediate reaction is expected to be the deduction from tax transfers it makes to the PA each moth of some NIS 800 million the PA owes to the Israel Electric Corporation. Further steps are expected if the Palestinians use this new status and try to join other UN bodies or, as a result of their enhanced status, attempt to haul Israel or Israelis before the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court on war crime charges.

Hours before the vote, Netanyahu – realizing that Israel was facing a stinging diplomatic defeat — said that regardless of how many vote against Israel, “no force in the world will get me to compromise on Israel’s security.”

He also said no force in the world could sever the thousands-year-old tie between the Jewish people and the land of Israel.

Netanyahu said that the decision will “Not change anything on the ground. It will not further the establishment of a Palestinian state, but will make it more distant.”

Netanyahu’s comments came while touring an exhibit of recently declassified documents marking the upcoming 35th anniversary of Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem at the Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.

“Israel’s hand is always extended in peace, but a Palestinian state will not be established without recognition of the state of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, without an end-of-conflict declaration, and without true security arrangements that will protect Israel and its citizens.”

Netanyahu, who said that none of the conditions he reiterated are even mentioned in the Palestinian’s UN resolution, said that peace is only achieved through negotiations and not by unilateral declarations “which do not take into consideration Israel’s vital security and national interests.”

Netanyahu recommended not being impressed by the applause that will likely be heard later at the UN.

“I remember the international community’s applause that the government of Israel received when it decided to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza,” he said. “We got applause and then rocket fire. We left Gaza, and Iran entered, exactly like what happened in Lebanon.”

Netanyahu said he would not enable another Iranian base to be established, this time in Judea and Samaria, a kilometer away from Jerusalem.

“It does not matter how many will vote against us, there is no force in the world that will cause me to compromise on Israeli security and there is no force in the world able to sever the thousands year connection between the people of Israel and the Land of Israel,” he said.

 

SOURCE:
http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=294029

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.

MAM/HMV/SS

SOURCE:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/11/23/274150/russia-urges-united-action-against-israel/

[+ 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

“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

Israel must “flatten Gaza” like the US flattened Japan, says Sharon’s son

“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.”

 

A chilling article by Gilad Sharon, son of the former Israeli prime minister, in the Jerusalem Post.
By George Eaton Published 19 November 2012 7:32

 

Palestinians search the debris of a destroyed home following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City. Photograph: Getty Images.

 

If you want some indication of how extreme parts of Israeli political opinion have become, then read the chilling piece by Gilad Sharon, the son of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, in today’s Jerusalem Post.

After writing that the civilians of Gaza “are not innocent” since they elected Hamas, Sharon declares:

“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.”

While Sharon’s invocation of Hiroshima is shocking, he isn’t the first prominent figure to make the comparison between Gaza and Japan. Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister and the leader of the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu (which recently merged with Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud) said in January 2009, during the last major Israeli assault on Gaza, that Israel

“must continue to fight Hamas just like the United States did with the Japanese in World War II. Then, too, the occupation of the country was unnecessary.”

It was, of course, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that enabled the US to avoid an occupation. Would Israel ever consider the same solution? It sounds unthinkable, but Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed in October 2009 that Lieberman “had threatened to use nuclear weapons against Gaza” (see the final line of this Guardian report).

Further evidence of the mindset of those currently leading Israel was supplied by Eli Yishai, the country’s deputy prime minister, who declared at the weekend: “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for forty years.”

 

SOURCE:  New Statesman

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2012/11/israel-must-flatten-gaza-us-flattened-japan-says-sharons-son

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

 

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.”

 

SOURCE: http://www.timesofisrael.com/egypt-jordan-turkey-and-russia-chorus-condemnation-of-israels-resort-to-force-us-leads-western-supporters/

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.

Reuters

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.

SOURCE: http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/update-egypt-closes-rafah-crossing