| Israel Started This ‘War’ and Killed 1,000+ Based on A Very Big Lie!

Israel Started This War and Killed 1,000+ Based on A Very Big Lie ~ , AddictingInfo.org

Over the past several weeks – Israel’s constant bombing of innocent civilians in Gaza, Palestine has become a front page story. And while many people cling to their own biases and personal beliefs relative to whether or not they view Israel’s actions justified … what is concerning is how so few people actually understand what led to Israel turning Gaza into a death zone. Well – the Israeli government lied to start a war.

In June of this year – three Israeli teens went missing. The Israeli government knew they were dead but put a gag order on Israeli news organizations so they were unable to report this. They flooded Palestinians towns with Israeli military(source), arrested hundreds of Palestinians including people let go in prior political agreements (source), and looted their homes of their valuables (source) all under the pretext of looking for the “missing teenagers”.  Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu said there was “unequivocal proof” that Hamas was responsible for what he called “kidnappings” (source) and the US media reported it exactly as he said it.  If you were an American – you were told by the US media via the Israeli government that Hamas kidnapped three teenagers (source).  Netanyahu said he would show the evidence for the world to see (source) … days and weeks went by with no evidence but plenty of military actions against the Palestinian people.

Netanyahu incited violence against Palestinians and said that the Palestinian people will pay for these three kids getting kidnapped (source).  And that’s exactly what he got.  Over 10 Palestinians were killed by the IDF or by Israeli citizens in the coming days; one of them was burned alive by six Jews (source).  One Palestinian American teenager was filmed getting nearly beaten to death by the Israeli Defense Forces for simply not being Jewish (source).  There are to this day gangs of Jewish Israelis roaming the streets in Israel and Palestine looking to harm Palestinians just because of their ethnicity (source).  The message was – you hurt one of ours and we’re going make you pay the price.

For over a week – the Israeli government bombed Gaza unprovoked.  No missiles came from Gaza – the Israeli government said it was “retaliating” for the death of three Israeli teenagers who they said Hamas was responsible for killing.  Over a week of bombing Palestinian civilians in Gaza (source).  When asked for proof that Hamas was involved – this Israeli colonel said Israel didn’t need proof (source) they were simply going to bomb Palestine into the next century.  Operation “Protective Edge” began on July 7th (source) for what Israel called a response to rockets attacking Israel.  In reality – Hamas was really just retaliating against Israeli aggression that led to the murder of Palestinian civilians.

Well – as it turns out – Hamas wasn’t responsible for the kidnapping of those three Jewish kids despite all of the assurances by the Israeli government and parroting by the United States mainstream media.  It was all a lie.

As reported by Buzzfeed reporter Sheera Frenkel:

Hanan Ashrawi is a member of the PLO executive committee and she did an excellent job explaining why Israel is responsible for war crimes here:

“These are war crimes being committed before the world, before the eyes of the whole world and I just can’t understand how people sit back and say [it’s] self-defense. I just can’t take the language, I can’t take the propaganda, I can’t take the mantra that Israel has a right to defend itself. Against whom? Against innocent civilians? More than 80 children have been torn to bits. Is this self-defense?”

First – most people do not understand the big picture. So many think this is a religious war that’s gone on for 2,000 years. The person who thinks that is wholly misinformed. The Israeli government has been working for decades to steal as much land from the Palestinian people under the auspice of “security”. Even people who support a 2 state solution understand that geographically – Gaza is not linked to the West Bank which covers East Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron etc.

And with that lack of a contiguous border – Palestine has essentially been broken into two parts. Both parts have different leadership; Gaza is run by Hamas and the West Bank is run by Fatah or the Palestinian Authority. Both political groups have had their differences and infighting and this has made it very difficult for them to push for a bid at the United Nations to be a fully recognized country in the eyes of the world. And this bid to be a fully recognized country is what scares Israel the most; in fact – most Americans do not know that Israel to this day refuses to say what their borders actually are. For while the international community regards their borders to be set along the 1967 lines – the Israeli government will not accept this. In fact – even Hamas has called for the recognition of 1967 borders which is a de facto recognition of Israel as a state.

Bottom line – once Palestine is recognized as a country … their borders are recognized officially. And it is exactly this issue that has led Israel to start a war. In order for Israel to keep taking land from indigenous Palestinians in order to give it to Jews from Brooklyn and Russia – it needs there to be no borders. The only way to do that is to stop Palestine’s bid at the UN and the only way to do that is to break up the recent “unity government” between Hamas and Fatah where they have called for an technocratic government to run the show while they demonstrate solidarity.

And Netanyahu (source), his allies and American politicians dedicated to Israel and their wealthy pro-Israel donors have called for the breakup of the Palestinian unit government  (source) and (source).

And as Jewish News Service says HERE:

Some U.S. lawmakers are unconvinced. U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.  introduced a nonbinding resolution (H. Res. 622) on June 12, spelling out specific reasons to defund the unity government.

“All U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority should have been be suspended years ago, but openly joining a terrorist organization that kills women and children simply because they are Jewish should convince even the Obama administration to wake up and defund this madness,” said Franks. “With the formation by Fatah and Hamas of a unity government, it is all too clear why recent attempts at peace talks have failed. Peace talks will never be productive while only one party is seeking peace and another is openly courting terrorist allies.”

In the Senate, Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), two prospective 2016 GOP presidential candidates, have both called for defunding the PA. Cruz is yet to introduce his bill, while Paul’s Stand with Israel Act of 2014 (S. 2265), introduced June 17, is not expected to pass.

Still, in an op-ed for National Review last week, Paul blasted the White House and State Department for what he views as an indecisive, morally equivocating U.S. attitude towards the murder of the Israeli teens.

Norman Finkelstein – the passionate and outspoken professor – said it best on Democracy Now HERE:

As to how we got to where we are, the general context is perfectly obvious for anyone who wants to see it. A unity government was formed between the PA and Hamas. Netanyahu was enraged at this unity government. It called on the U.S., it called on the EU, to break relations with the Palestinian Authority. Surprisingly, the United States said, “No, we’re going to give this unity government time. We’ll see whether it works or not.” Then the EU came in and said it will also give the unity government time. “Let’s see. Let’s see what happens.”

At this point, Netanyahu virtually went berserk, and he was determined to break up the unity government. When there was the abduction of the three Israeli teenagers, he found his pretext. There isn’t a scratch of evidence, not a jot of evidence, that Hamas had anything to do with the kidnappings and the killings. Nobody even knows what the motive was, to this point. Even if you look at the July 3rd report of Human Rights Watch, they said nobody knows who was behind the abductions. Even the U.S. State Department, on July 7th, there was a news conference, and the U.S. State Department said, “We don’t have hard evidence about who was responsible.” But that had nothing to do with it. It was just a pretext. The pretext was to go into the West Bank, attack Hamas, arrest 700 members of Hamas, blow up two homes, carry on these rampages, these ransackings, and to try to evoke a reaction from Hamas.

This is what Israel always does. Anybody who knows the history, it’s what the Israeli political scientist, the mainstream political scientist—name was Avner Yaniv—he said it’s these Palestinian “peace offensives.” Whenever the Palestinians seem like they are trying to reach a settlement of the conflict, which the unity government was, at that point Israel does everything it can to provoke a violent reaction—in this case, from Hamas—break up the unity government, and Israel has its pretext. “We can’t negotiate with the Palestinian Authority because they only represent some of the Palestinian people; they don’t represent all of the Palestinian people.” And so Netanyahu does what he always does—excuse me, what Israeli governments always do: You keep pounding the Palestinians, in this case pounding Hamas, pounding Hamas, trying to evoke a reaction, and when the reaction comes—well, when the reaction comes, he said, “We can’t deal with these people. They’re terrorists.”

Israel lied to the American media and the American media parroted their lies.  The Israeli war on Palestine is still ongoing with over 1,000 dead vs. 3 Israeli civilians, thousands more wounded and a completely demolished infrastructure.  The Israeli cabinet unanimously rejected the last peace deal that was purportedly proposed by Secretary of State Kerry (source).

For images of the effects of this war – you can see HERE, HERE, and HERE.

[Image courtesy of Mohammed Saber/EPA]

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Isr logic1

| #ExposingTruth: FAQ: Misperceptions about the Conflict in #Gaza!

FAQ: Misperceptions about the Conflict in GazaThe Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU)July 23, 2014. 

FAQ:

Q – What caused this latest outburst of violence?

DB –  “As soon as the Palestinian Authority national unity government was announced in April, Israel set its sights on destroying it.  It did so by first pressing for the government’s isolation and, when that failed, it used the deaths of three Israelis (kidnapped in an area of the West Bank that is entirely under Israel’s control) to demonize Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  Within 18 days of the Israelis going missing, Israel arrested hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank including 11 Parliamentarians and 59 former prisoners who were released in a prisoner exchange three years ago.  These people were arrested without any proof that these individuals were in any way involved in the deaths of the three Israelis.  In addition, Israel killed 10 Palestinians, including three children in the West Bank and demolished three houses.  Israel launched air raids on the Gaza Strip, as documented by the UN, killing two, including a 10-year-old child.  This happened before a single Hamas rocket was fired from Gaza.  When Israel failed to break up the unity government diplomatically, it turned to a brutal military attack.  What is clear is that the status quo is not the answer.  Returning to the 2012 ceasefire will not work as it was easily abused by Israel.”

GB – “Israel instrumentalized the tragic deaths of three Israeli youths, abducted and killed on June 12, to attack Hamas in the West Bank and disrupt Palestinian national reconciliation – a goal it had failed to achieve diplomatically. Israel arrested more than 400, searched 2,200 homes and other sites, and killed at least nine Palestinians in the process. We now know that Israel concealed evidence the youths were killed virtually immediately after abduction, and incited Israeli public opinion to a frenzy, directly leading to the brutal immolation of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. These cynical acts led to the escalation of violence along the Gaza border.”

NH – “Israel used the June 12 kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenage settlers to launch a brutal Israeli crackdown on the West Bank and East Jerusalem that human rights organizations have condemned as collective punishment. Israel particularly targeted Hamas members despite the lack of evidence and the organization’s denial of responsibility. The real target was the national unity agreement achieved by Hamas.

“The truth is, though, that this all-out Israeli assault on Gaza would have happened sooner or later. Israelis call their approach to Gaza “mowing the grass”. That is, they must attack and weaken Hamas every two or three years, even though Hamas has proven willing and able to respect a ceasefire, including by reining in other factions. This is one of the ways Israel “manages” its occupation and colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its occupation and siege of Gaza.”

 

Q – Is Israel acting in self-defense?

DB – “No. Israel cannot claim self-defense owing to the fact that it initiated the assault on the Gaza Strip and continues to maintain a brutal military occupation over the Gaza Strip (and the West Bank). Rather, Israel has an obligation under international law to protect Palestinians living under its military rule.”

GB – “Self-defense may not be claimed by a state that initiates violence, as Israel did in its violent assault on Hamas in the West Bank.”

NH – “No. A member state of the United Nations that has signed international conventions pledging to respect the laws of war has no right to indiscriminately attack civilians and civilian infrastructure. The very high number of Palestinian civilian casualties – men, women, children – give the lie to Israel’s claims to self-defense, as does Hamas’ proven willingness to uphold a ceasefire.

“Moreover, Israel cannot claim self-defense against a people whose land it has been militarily occupying and colonizing for decades, part of whose population it has placed under siege. Only a ceasefire can protect Palestinians and Israelis alike, and only an end to the occupation and siege can pave the way to a permanent peace.

“Hamas should also refrain from targeting civilian infrastructure but it is not a UN-member state and has not signed conventions binding it to uphold international law.”

 

Q – Is Israel attacking “Hamas targets”?

DB – “No. Israel appears to be attacking civilian homes and civilian infrastructure. To date, according to UN estimates, 80 percent of those killed are civilians, including over 150 children. Israel has bombed hospitals, schools and mosques – all illegitimate targets under international law. More than 2,000 homes and entire neighborhoods have been destroyed by Israel’s attacks. This is inconsistent with international law. Civilian structures, such as homes, are only lawful targets when they are being used for military purposes. The Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Convention on the Law of War provides that, ‘in case of doubt whether an object which is normally dedicated to civilian purposes, such as a place of worship, a house or other dwelling or a school, is being used to make an effective contribution to military action, it shall be presumed not to be so used.’ While Israel has argued that Palestinian homes are command centers, Human Rights Watch has dismissed those claims.

“Attacks that do not discriminate between civilians and combatants are illegal. Using Israel’s logic, this also means that any home of any past or present Israeli soldier or police officer is a legitimate target or any civilian area where military is present (such as the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv).  Clearly, this is not acceptable.

“This is not a video game in which the Israeli army is allowed to hunt down anyone associated with Hamas, irrespective of whether they are a combatant and without regard for civilian infrastructure.”

GB – “Israel appears to be categorizing any upper-level Hamas member as a ‘combatant,’ regardless of function. For example, it deliberately targeted Gaza police chief Taysir al-Batsh, injuring him and killing 18 members of his family, while he visited his cousin’s home. Police are civilians in international law, and this, on the face of it, appears to have been a clear war crime. So, likely, are the many other attacks that have been launched against private homes, although definitive conclusions must be left to further investigation. Israel has also attacked hospitals, water treatment facilities and sewer lines, and other civilian infrastructure that has nothing to do with Hamas. In fact, despite Israel’s claims to respect the international legal requirement of distinction between military targets and civilians, its actions speak of a policy to deliberately kill civilians as a means of weakening Hamas politically.”

NH – “No. The figures of civilian dead and injured undermine this claim. Compare the 433 Palestinian civilians killed by July 22 according to UN figures, out of an overall total of over 640 Palestinians killed, to two Israeli civilians killed.”

Q – Why has Hamas declined to accept a ceasefire?

DB – “Hamas and other factions were not consulted on the ceasefire proposal; Egypt was.  Egypt does not represent or speak on behalf of Palestine or Palestinians; only Palestinians do. It is silly to think that any progress can be made without a major party to the agreement present at the table. Moreover, Israel has currently rejected a humanitarian cease-fire to allow much-needed supplies into the Gaza Strip and to allow Palestinians to bury their dead.”

GB – “Hamas declined to accept a ceasefire offer about which it had not been consulted and which failed to meet basic requirements of fairness. Within 24 hours, however, Hamas and other Palestinian groups offered Israel a ten-year truce that would have ended Israel’s siege against the Gaza Strip, thus guaranteeing long-term stability in the region. Israel had not responded to that offer, but appears to prefer to periodically ‘mow the lawn.’”

NH – “Hamas is willing to accept a ceasefire, but one that would be respected by Israel and that would lift the siege on Gaza. The Palestinians in Gaza, the vast majority of whom are civilians, as well as the members of Hamas or other factions, have since 2007 faced the choice between a slow death or a quick one. Either they die through ill health and disease due to lack of potable water, poor nutrition, and lack of medical care as a result of the draconian siege imposed by Israel on Gaza that has also been upheld by Egypt. Or they die quickly when Israel decides to ‘mow the lawn.’

“Until the border crossings are open for the movement of people and goods, the Gaza Palestinians will be forced to live without the most basic rights.”

 

Q – Does Hamas use Palestinians as human shields?

DB – “The Gaza Strip is an area that is 26 miles (40 km) long and seven miles (12 km) wide at its widest point. With nearly 1.8 million Palestinians, the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Moreover, prior to this attack, 35 percent of the Gaza Strip was off limits – by threat of death – to Palestinians with Israel maintaining a ‘no-go’ zone in these areas.  That said, while Hamas fights from within this small area, it does not use Palestinian civilians as cover. To date, international investigations have concluded that there is no evidence to substantiate these long-made Israeli claims and yet the claims continue to be accepted by many, unchallenged. Ironically, the converse has been well-established: Israel has used Palestinian civilians as human shields when carrying out its military operations.”

GB – “Hamas fights from within inhabited areas, as it must in the densely populated Gaza Strip. But few allegations that Hamas deliberately endangers civilians in order to escape attack have ever been substantiated. The claim seems designed to ‘blame the victim.’ Certainly, Palestinians themselves are perfectly clear that it is Israel that is spilling Palestinian blood.”

NH – “Israel has declared 44% of the Gaza Strip – an area less than half the size of New York City – a military “buffer zone.” Who is using whom as a human shield?”

 

Q – Does the Israel military take all possible precautions to prevent civilian casualties?

DB – “No. The ‘knock on the roof’ procedure – dropping a missile on a house in advance of its bombing – has resulted in deaths. According to Philip Luther of Amnesty International, ‘There is no way that firing a missile at a civilian home can constitute an effective “warning.” Amnesty International has documented cases of civilians killed or injured by such missiles in previous Israeli military operations on the Gaza Strip,’ he said.

“In addition, while Israel claims that it distributes leaflets, these leaflets do not tell people where they are to go to be safe.  As noted by Israeli human rights organizations, ‘Dispersal of leaflets does not grant the military permission to consider the area as if it were so-called “sterile,” assume that no civilians were left in the area and then proceed to attack civilian sites. The military must not assume that all residents have indeed left their homes.’

“Moreover, Israel claims that the Iron Dome defense system has been effective at preventing Israeli civilian deaths. Given this claim and given that the number of Israeli civilian casualties is 2 (as compared to 650 Palestinian deaths), it is clear that there are alternative means to address any rockets launched toward Israel without harming civilians in the process.”

GB – “Of course not, as several responses above indicate. Warnings to civilians to leave areas when they have no effective refuge are meaningless, and a number of Palestinians, including three boys of the Shuhaibar family, have been killed by Israel’s practice of ‘knocking on the roof’ – that is, firing what is supposed to be a warning missile before heavier ordnance is used.”

NH – “Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth. It is impossible to hit it from air, land, and sea without killing hundreds of civilians. The only way to prevent the killing and injuring of Gaza civilians is a ceasefire – and Hamas has honored past ceasefires. And the only way to achieve peace is through an agreement that ends Israel’s occupation and colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the siege of Gaza and respects other Palestinian rights long denied.”

Experts:

Diana Buttu, Human rights attorney, Ramallah-based analyst, former advisor to Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian negotiators, and Policy Advisor to Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network.

George Bisharat,
 Professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies, and former legal consultant to the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Nadia Hijab, Director of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies.

PAL EQUALITY 4

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| DOCUMENT: #ANC calls #Israeli ambassador to leave South Africa!

DOCUMENT: ANC calls Israeli ambassador to leave the countryPublished on 22 July 2014, Written by The African National Congress in Parliament (ANC).

Following nationwide protests across South Africa against the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza (Israel has killed over 400 Palestinians including 100 children in the last 10 days) the ANC in Parliament has called for the Israeli ambassador in South Africa to leave with immediate effect. The ANC must implement this and the decision to recall the South African Ambassador from Tel Aviv with urgency.


The ANC has called for the Israeli ambassador in South Africa to leave the country immediately

The ANC has called for the Israeli ambassador in South Africa to leave the country immediately

The African National Congress in Parliament is extremely outraged by the wanton and unjustifiable bombardment and killings of innocent civilians, including children, in Palestinian territory of Gaza by Israel military forces. We echo the widespread condemnation of these senseless attacks on defenceless Palestinians and call on the government of Israel to immediately cease with this blatant act of criminality.

It is unacceptable that as the Israeli military is flagrantly violating the territorial integrity of Gaza, claiming hundreds of lives and injuring thousands, the United Nations Security Council fails to intervene decisively in line with its powers. The office of the UN Secretary General issues statements which have not effect. The UN Security Council must stand up and act to support vulnerable Palestinian people at the time when they need their protection. The situation involving Palestine and Israel is an undeclared war, in which the aggressor, Israel, has destroyed the Palestinian economy, robbed people of their land, unilaterally changed borders, and unilaterally built a wall of exclusion
to keep Palestinians out of their land. When it feels provoked, it unleashes the most sophisticated military hardware on a defenceless people. Palestinians have been reduced to cheap labour for the Israel economy. This relentless destruction of the Palestinian territory and its people by Israel must be stopped. The international community needs to act in unison on this matter.

As the ANC in Parliament, we stand unapologetically with the people of Palestine and pro-Palestinian campaigners in an endeavour to exert pressure on Israel’s government to comply with the UN Security Council resolutions and stop its killings and gross persecution of Palestinian people. We remain resolute in our view that the only long lasting peaceful solution to the situation in the Middle East is the attainment of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine in which the two states exist side by side independently and peacefully.

Our strong condemnation of Israel’s violent aggression, however, does not in any way mean approval of the continuing firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel, which has put the lives of innocent civilians at risk.  We echo the call by the South African government for both parties to end all forms of aggression towards one another.

The ANC in Parliament will mobilise other political formations in this institution to take a principled stand against the criminal acts of Israel and further to ensure that Parliament as an institution formally condemns the deadly violence visited upon the people of Palestine. We will also invite other parties to the lunchtime picketing outside Parliament in support of the people of Palestine and in calling for peace in the Middle East region. As one of the measures to put pressure on Israel, we are of a firm view that our government must recall our ambassador to Israel and also ask the Israel ambassador to South African to leave with immediate effect.

During this International Nelson Mandela Day in which South Africans and the world are called upon to engage in noble acts in emulation of the world icon, we align ourselves with his profound statement that “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”.

stop israeli war crimes

UN rights council launches probe into Israel’s Gaza offensive ~ Ma’an News Agency.

GENEVA (AFP) — The UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday launched a probe into Israel’s Gaza offensive, backing efforts by the Palestinians to hold Israel up to international scrutiny.

The 46-member council backed a Palestinian-drafted resolution by 29 votes, with Arab and fellow Muslim countries joined by China, Russia, and Latin American and African nations.

The United States was the sole member to vote against, while European countries abstained.

Israel’s latest offensive on Gaza, dubbed “Operation Protective Edge,” has left over 650 Palestinians dead, most of them civilians. Over 4,000 Palestinians have been injured.

Thirty-one Israelis, all but two of them soldiers, have also died in the fighting, in addition to a foreign civilian worker who died Wednesday after being hit by mortar fire in southern Israel.

| ‘We have nothing left to lose. I would rather die with my family under the rubble of our house than have a humiliating truce’: Palestinian youth demand justice!

‘We have nothing left to lose. I would rather die with my family under the rubble of our house than have a humiliating truce’: Palestinian youth demand justice ~ , Mondoweiss.

I awoke Sunday morning to news of a massacre in Gaza that evoked memories of Sabra and Shatila – not in terms of absolute numbers, but in the nature of its brutality.  An estimated 60 Palestinians had been killed, more than 300 injured and hundreds more forced to flee their homes as Israeli troops and tanks barreled into Shejaiya, a neighborhood in eastern Gaza City. Spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra reported that Israeli forces had denied ambulances access to the houses under siege, saying that the area was a “closed military zone.”

Palestinian youths gesture during a demonstration next to the security fence standing on the Gaza border, east of Khan Yunis, in the Gaza Strip, on November 23 2012. (Photo: AFP - Said Khatib)

And yet. amidst the reports of destruction, pain and loss, there were Facebook posts like this one from Malaka Mohammed, a young woman from the same Gazan neighborhood who is studying international law in the UK: “Watching Al-Jazeera and my friends and relatives among the casualties. And still strong. I have not seen my family as strong as today. We will never give up till we get our freedom.” For an hour and a half, her father refused to evacuate, even as the bombs were landing at a rate her neighbor described as “more than three in one second.”

In a post the day before, from the Jabalya refugee camp, Sarah Ali (a contributor to a collection of short stories called Gaza Writes Back) wrote: “Last night was horrible. My house shook every five minutes! Except for half an hour in the evening, we’ve been without electricity for over 48 hours. Due to the long blackout, we had no water as well. The Israelis have (again) bombed a main power generator that supplies electricity to many areas. There was Israeli shelling from the sea, air and land. I could hear the kids in our neighbors’ houses crying in terror all night. This is not about destroying Hamas; this is about destroying every Palestinian in Gaza, destroying our lives, crushing our dignity and morale. Let it be known to (Israel) that the more they kill and destroy, the stronger we become. We have nothing left to lose. Now I would rather die with my family under the rubble of our house than have a humiliating truce. No justice, no peace.”

In dozens of conversations with other youth in Gaza (who make up 65 percent of the population of nearly 1.8 million), the opinion was nearly universal: Despite their heavy losses and the gross imbalance of power, they do not want a ceasefire that merely stops the immediate fighting and promises to open negotiations on their other grievances. (The Gaza Strip has been under Israel’s control in some fashion for 47 years, but with suffocating intensity since 2007. Israel strictly limits travel in and out; controls the supplies that come in, including a ban on most construction materials; and prohibits virtually all exports, thus crippling the economy and triggering one of the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the Arab world.)

No. What they insist on – demand – is a ceasefire tied to an end to their repression, even if it means more death and destruction for their people. Life is meaningless, they say, if it is spent under the boot of an oppressor.  My conclusion after numerous interviews with ordinary youth, from one end of Gaza to the other? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his spokesmen are wrong when they accuse Hamas of ordering a sheep-like people to act as human shields or to remain in their homes in the face of warnings to evacuate. The decisions of tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza to stay in their homes until they were literally forced to leave were for some an act of desperation, saying they had nowhere else to go. (UN schools already are crammed with 84,000 displaced individuals.) However, for many others, they were the principled actions of a proud, independent people. And when Hamas rejected the ceasefire unilaterally declared by Egypt and Israel, it had the support of the vast majority of residents.

“Honestly, most of the Gazan people are urging the resistance to continue fighting until they achieve our conditions – which is simply to be able to live as humans with freedom and dignity,” says Fadi Alshaer, a 29-year-old who studied English at the Islamic University of Gaza and lives in the Rafah area. “People here don’t believe that Israel will do anything to give us back our rights if they are not forced to.”

Ola Ziada, a 24-year-old news reporter and English instructor in Gaza’s Jabalya camp, is even stronger:   “If they accepted the ceasefire with no preconditions, then I would consider it a betrayal of the blood that has been shed, of the four kids who were murdered just for playing on the beach. We would rather die than go back to the way we were before, imprisoned and forbidden from enjoying what a human should have for a decent life. We have been negotiating for decades and we have gotten nothing. I believe this is the war to determine whether to be or not to be.”

Of course, there are others who have paid a dear price who reluctantly feel otherwise. Omar Mansour, who lives in a town in northern Gaza that has been hit particularly hard, believes the casualties are too high and an internationally negotiated ceasefire should be accepted, even with no pre-set conditions. After holding out even after the Red Crescent tried to help his family evacuate, Mansour finally accompanied his parents to the home of friends in Gaza City when two relatives were killed and much of his block was destroyed. Still, he says he will return in the next day or so, despite the continued violence in his area. “I’m not afraid of death. All I’m afraid of is to watch them destroying my lovely house,” he says.

Mansour doesn’t disagree, however, when Alshaer, Ziada and others point out that the only significant “wins” the Palestinians have ever achieved is not through pleas to the United Nations or international courts, but through rocket fire (such as the concessions achieved at the end of the 2012 “eight-day war”) or abductions of soldiers (Gilad Shalit is a case in point, who was released in return for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners).

Lest one think that these are the fantasies of young people not properly schooled in history or the lessons of life, consider these words of Haider Eid, associate professor of postcolonial and postmodern literature at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University:

“The urgent question facing us in Gaza is not just how to survive for today, but how to hold Israel accountable to international law and basic principles of human rights; how to stop the current escalation and the ongoing massacre and how to stop this from ever happening again.

“Knowing that the credible Goldstone report on suspected war crimes in Gaza in 2008-09, and reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are all ignored or undermined, there is a bitter awareness that we in Gaza can have no expectation of Israeli accountability for the current onslaught…What Palestine needs from the world today is not just a condemnation of the Gaza massacres and siege, but also a delegitimization of the ideology that produced this policy and justifies it morally and politically, just as the racist ideology of apartheid was delegitimized.”

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| #WarCrimes: Israel’s cowardly “Knock on the Roof!”

Israel’s cowardly “Knock on the Roof” ~ Redress Information & Analysis.

We urge everyone who is disgusted by Israel’s sadistic slaughter of captive Palestinians in Gaza to write immediately to their MP or Senator enclosing the link to the video below (http://vimeo.com/93150954), which exposes the depths to which the Zionist occupier has sunk.

Please ask your MP or Senator to reply explaining what the government intends to do, as it cannot continue to shirk its sworn obligations and disgrace its people.

| Israel Lobby Tries (and fails) to Intimidate Another UK MP!

Israel Lobby Tries (and fails) to Intimidate Another UK MP ~ , deLiberation.

Here we go again.

On 8 July British MP ‘Battling’ Bob Russell was speaking during a House of Commons debate on the national curriculum in schools.

bob-russell-MP

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm130708/debtext/130708-0002.htm ….

Sir Bob Russell (Colchester) (Liberal Democrat):

“The Secretary of State referred to more coverage of world history. On the assumption that the 20th century will include the holocaust, will he give me an assurance that the life of Palestinians since 1948 will be given equal attention?”

Michael Gove, Education Secretary [and fervent Friend of Israel]:

“These are delicate waters, into which I fear to tread too definitively. One thing I would say is that there has been near universal welcome and support for the centrality of the holocaust and the unique evil inherent in the holocaust being in the national curriculum. Once one gets on to the position of the state of Israel after 1948, it is probably better if I step back. I have strong views on the matter and I would not wish to impose them on the curriculum.”

Sir Bob’s question was a “shoah slur”, screamed the Jewish Chronicle, and he immediately came under attack as reported here in Jewish News http://jewishnews.co.uk/lib-dem-mp-sir-bob-russell-condemned-for-shoah-comments/

Jeremy Newmark, of Britain’s Jewish Leadership Council said,

“These remarks are a shocking piece of Holocaust denigration. There is simply no comparison between the two situations. It is worrying that so soon after the David Ward affair another MP thinks it is acceptable to play fast and loose with the language of the Holocaust in this context.”

Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, added:

“To try to equate the events of the Holocaust – the systematized mass murder of 6 million Jews – with the conflict in the Middle East is simply inaccurate as well as inappropriate.”

“Bob Russell is a fringe, marginal voice in the community. All parties have them sadly”,

said Gavin Stollar, chairman of Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel.

Nobody is claiming equivalence in the numbers. But Palestinians, and indeed the wider world community, are entitled to feel there is nonetheless a disturbing comparison.

The word ‘holocaust’ is centuries old and has several meanings, one being “any mass slaughter or reckless destruction of life”.  For those interested in the figures, Israel’s B’Tselem shows that between year 2000 and the start of Israel’s ‘Cast Lead’ assault on Gaza in 2008 the Israelis’ vast standing army, equipped with the most advanced American-funded weaponry, killed 4,790 Palestinian civilians in their homeland. Of these, 952 were children. Yes, 952 young Palestinian lives horribly snuffed out and their parents left desolated.

The Palestinian resistance, with their primitive weapons, killed 490 Israeli civilians, including 84 children.  That’s a slaughter rate of 11 to 1 by the Israelis – reckless in anyone’s language. Since then Israel’s ‘destruction of life’ score has soared thanks to Operation Cast Lead (an act of infamy which slaughtered 1,400 Gazans, including 320 children and 109 women, horribly maimed thousands more, and is regarded by many as a holocaust in its own right) and the more recent Pillar of Cloud Operation as well as the countless air strikes in-between.

Although the Holocaust Education Trust and Zionists generally would like exclusive use of the H-word for Jewish victims, they must understand that there have been other holocausts besides the ‘Big One’ of World War 2. If there is such a thing as a Palestinian holocaust it is a slow motion one. The extermination may be on a smaller scale but is nevertheless of towering significance because it has been carried out in the Holy Land – of all places – and against Christians and Muslims.

There are at least three more reasons why it should be included in the British schools curriculum. Britain as the military power and subsequently the mandated power in the Holy Land was instrumental in creating the situation. The slaughter, deprivation and illegal occupation resulting from British duplicity is still going on after 65 years. And the intolerable mess we allowed to develop but took no action to resolve is a matter of deep national shame and a major cause of world unrest.

When researching for the book ‘Radio Free Palestine I asked my local education authority (Cambridgeshire, a leader in the UK) if the Arab-Israeli conflict and its causes were taught in school. The answer was no, unless you picked the Middle East option at A-level, and even then teaching only “scratched the surface”. So the book contains this passage:

“The truth about Palestine doesn’t sit well with Britain’s now crumbling reputation for fair play. Its name has been airbrushed from maps and purged, like a dirty word, from diplomatic lexicons. Even today the subject is only haphazardly taught in our schools. For older generations like mine it was never on the curriculum.”

In contrast, the Nazi holocaust against Jews is a compulsory subject in the history curriculum at all state secondary schools in England and the government has created a UK Envoy for post-Holocaust Issues. In 2008 the government and the Pears Foundation jointly funded a £1.5 million three-year national project to improve teaching and learning about the Holocaust.

Refusal to give the long-running crisis in the Holy Land proper emphasis in world history teaching is a denial of the Palestinian holocaust and the nakba (the ‘catastrophe’ of 1947-49 when nearly 750,000 Arabs were dispossessed of their homes, villages, towns and cities and driven into exile by Jewish terrorists and Israeli militia. Many died or were massacred in the process. Those who survived have not been allowed to return). Israel’s illegal military occupation is the longest in modern times with no prospect of ending while corrupt politicians rule the international scene.

British children must be given an opportunity to understand that Britain’s complicity in such a cruel state of affairs can never be tolerated again, just as they are already learning that Nazi atrocities at Auschwitz and elsewhere must never happen again. Bob Russell is surely right to call for the curriculum to give equal attention to the causes and effect of the Palestinians’ suffering and he should be applauded for seeking a balanced approach in these matters.

The big stink over David Ward

Complainer Jeremy Newmark (above) mentions the David Ward affair, referring to another Liberal Democrat MP who earlier made this remark on his website: “Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.

Chiefs of the Holocaust Educational Trust and the Board of Deputies of British Jews kicked up a huge fuss, loudly complaining that Ward “deliberately abused the memory of the Holocaust” and his remarks were “sickening” and “offensive”.

The Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Alistair Carmichael, agreed that Ward’s remarks were “wholly inappropriate” and that singling out ‘the Jews’ in that way crossed a red line.

For speaking out on the Israeli regime’s crimes Ward was treated like a delinquent and comprehensively humiliated. The Jewish Chronicle reportedhttp://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/102865/clegg-response-david-ward-%EF%AC%81g-leaf  that party leader Nick Clegg told Ward he must work alongside Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel (LDFoI) “to identify and agree language that will be proportionate and precise” in future debate. He should attend meetings with LDFoI representatives in order to achieve a better understanding of “the legitimate concern” that his comments caused within the wider Jewish community. Disciplinary steps would then be reviewed.

Gavin Stollar said: “LDFoI has essentially been appointed as probation officers for David Ward. If we are not convinced that he is salvageable then we’ll be in the position to report back to the leader and the chief whip and express our views. Rather than making him a martyr, LDFoI welcomes the opportunity to educate one of our MPs.”

There are no reports to show that Ward complied with any of this arrant nonsense.

And who is this upstart Stollar, who thinks it’s his place to re-educate elected members of the British Parliament? Here he is http://ldfi.org.uk/2011/10/11/chair-gavin-stollar-meets-tzipi-livni-after-lib-dems-secure-changes-to-universal-jurisdiction-law/  warmly shaking the bloody hand of Tzipi Livni, who is on several wanted lists for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Livni, Israel’s former foreign minister, was largely responsible for the holocaust inflicted on innocent Palestinians, trapped in their tiny enclave with the borders sealed, over Christmas and New Year 2008/9. Her office afterwards issued a statement saying she was proud of her decisions in Operation Cast Lead, the murderous blitz she unleashed.

No-one, least of all ‘Battling’ Bob Russell or David Ward, need lectures or re-education from the likes of Stollar and his fellow stooges.

Stuart Littlewood

15 July 2013

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| #GazaUnderAttack: Hamas and the ceasefire that wasn’t!

#GazaUnderAttack Hamas and the ceasefire that wasn’t ~ Mohammed Omer, Middle East Eye 2014.

When rumors began spreading late on Monday about a possible Hamas-Israel ceasefire brokered by Egypt,  Ismail Haniyeh – the top Hamas leader in Gaza – appeared on a pre-recorded TV interview from an unknown location to address Palestinians.

In the video, Haniyeh’s message was clear – he wanted to reassure Gazans that he and Hamas were unwilling to compromise on the innocent blood spilled in Gaza during the last nine days.

“It is not possible for any party to bypass the conditions set by Palestinian Resistance to implement a period of calm” he said in the clip.

Hamas have since said says the ceasefire draft wasn’t seen by then until after it was made public, suggesting to them that the ceasefire proposal was more a media ploy rather than a true political initiative to end the conflict.

“We want to stop the aggression on our people, but the problem is the realities of Gaza such as the starvation siege, closure of borders, the humiliation of people”, Haniyeh said.

There appears to have been a consensus between Hamas and the Al-Qassam Brigades, its military wing, on the Egyptian proposal. Al-Qassam gave a press statement on Tuesday at 4 am saying it “was not worth the ink it was written with”.

Al-Qassam dismissed any talk of a ceasefire, saying its battle with “the enemy” will “increase in ferocity and intensity.”

A way forward?

All Palestinian factions appear to agree on the ceasefire conditions they would accept: A lifting of the siege on Gaza, prisoner releases, an end to Israeli attacks and a halt to any Israeli disruption of plans for a Palestinian unity government.

Khaled Al Batsh, the senior leader of Islamic Jihad on Tuesday told reporters in Gaza City that there was nothing new in his group’s position, although he added that his movement appreciates the role Egypt plays.

“As far as calming down, there has been communications, but it has not reached the desired level. Initiatives should not come through media, but through the known channels of communications of the factions and resistance leaders”.

The Palestinian Resistance Committee’s position is the same as Hamas, with spokesman Abu Mujahed telling journalists, “We have not received any initiative, and for us there is no ceasefire or calming measures”.

Under the Egyptian proposal, hostilities would “de-escalate” at 9am (06.00am GMT) before a full ceasefire 12 hours later if all parties agreed.

However, Israeli air strikes continued in different parts of Gaza. The first targeted a residential tower in Sheikh Zayed, leaving four people injured, according to medical sources. Later at noon, Tuesday, several airstrikes continued in different parts in Gaza, the heaviest hit was west Gaza City, and Asda entertainment city, in Khan Yunis.

At time of press the death toll stood at 193 killed and 1,400 injured over the past nine days of attacks – the UN has estimated that 77% of these are civilians.

It is likely that communication channels are established between the Resistance leaders and Egyptian Intelligence and, it is only through these that Hamas could convince Islamic Jihad and Palestinian Resistance Committee to accept an offer.

However, it does not appear that any of the three parties is willing to compromise on the conditions agreed upon by the Palestinian Resistance factions.

Israeli intelligence on Tuesday had started to call using pre-recorded announcement on hundreds of Gaza land phones, asking Palestinians in Gaza to pressure Hamas to accept a ceasefire, say locals to MEE in Gaza City.

Still, political analyst Dr Mukhair Abu Sada of Al Azhar University is optimistic that the coming hours will see some form of ceasefire.

“I don’t think Hamas can say no to an Egyptian initiative” he says. Adding “I estimate that they will have some reservations concerning ending the siege and release of prisoners”.

“Saying no to Egypt will put Hamas in political isolation – it’s true they feel ignored and humiliated that no one talked to them”, he adds to MEE.

Dr Mussa Abu Marzouq, deputy chief of Hamas, wrote on his Facebook page earlier this afternoon that the proposal was still being studied. It seems that he has been approached as the entry point for Hamas leadership, based in Cairo.

Yet, some Palestinians reject accepting the proposal. London-based political analyst, Dr Ibrahim Hamami condemned the statement by Dr Abu Marzouq.

“Those who say Dr Abu Marzouq is forced to make such statements, and that’s politics. No sir, it’s better he keeps silent and politics that offer compliments on blood are not needed”, he says.

The coming hours will be critical; whether ceasefire kicks in with the conditions of Hamas and resistance factions, or the continuation of a deadly war.

Israeli threats of a ground invasion are dominating talk on Gaza’s streets. However, the Al-Qassam Brigades remain defiant in the face of the prospect: “we can’t wait for that, as this is the only option to liberate our Palestinian prisoners”, the group said in a statement.

 

Israeli air strikes on Gaza city resumed around 3pm local time (AFP)

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| Op-Edge + Blood for gas: Why Bibi is punishing Gaza!


Blood for gas: Why Bibi is punishing Gaza ~ Pepe Escobar, RT.

So Bibi’s got his brand new war. Operation Protective Edge, the current slow motion ethnic cleansing super production conducted in Gaza by the Israeli Attack, sorry, Defense Forces (IDF), is Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s wet dream.

A quick recap is essential. US Secretary of State John “Bullhorn” Kerry was conducting a sham exercise known as “peace talks” between Israel and Palestine. As expected, it failed miserably. Hamas and the PLO in Palestine then formed a technocratic unity government. Bibi was, predictably, furious.

Smoke billowing from buildings following an Israeli air strike as a projectile falls in the background in Gaza City.(AFP Photo / Jack Guez)

Smoke billowing from buildings following an Israeli air strike as a projectile falls in the background in Gaza City.(AFP Photo / Jack Guez)

Then two Palestinians – not Hamas – kidnapped three Israeli teenager settlers hitchhiking at night near Hebron. One of the hitchhikers somehow managed to call an Israeli police emergency number on his mobile. The kidnappers freaked out and shot the hitchhikers on the spot, dumping their bodies.

Then all of Israel freaked out. For three weeks, tens of thousands of soldiers were involved in search parties. The media went berserk – immolating Palestinians in a racist funeral pyre.

There’s wild speculation all across the Arab street this has been an Israeli false flag. Evidence, though, seems to point to the 10,000-strong Qawasmeh tribe in the Hebron region – which is known historically to openly antagonize Hamas and attack Israeli settlers. There’s also the possibility the kidnappers wanted to use the hitchhikers for an exchange with Palestinian prisoners.

Bibi and Shin Bet military intelligence knew from the start the three settlers were dead – and who was responsible. But Bibi simply could not pass up the opportunity to use the incident – during the frenzied three-week search – as a build-up to go after Hamas in both West Bank and Gaza, an operation planned way in advance.

This past Tuesday, the Israeli military spelled it all out: “We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard.” And in perfect Newspeak, the operation was branded a “just war.” (A detailed background to the conflict can be seen here.)

Palestinians gather around the remains of a house which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City July 14, 2014.(Reuters / Mohammed Salem )

Palestinians gather around the remains of a house which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City July 14, 2014.(Reuters / Mohammed Salem )

Israel wants it all

The numbers don’t do justice to the appalling carnage. By Monday, over northern Gaza, after Israel warned residents to leave the area to avoid airstrikes, at least 167 people were killed – the majority of them women, children and elderly civilians, 30 by Israeli rockets – and over 1,000 injured. Two hundred houses, not military installations, were totally destroyed and over 1,500 houses partially damaged.

Compare it to zero deaths in Israel. An IDF spokesperson gruesomely boasted that Gaza – a de facto slum/concentration camp – was being bombed every 4 1/2 minutes.

Each homemade rocket fired by the Palestinians cost less than $1,000. Meanwhile, a single Israeli Iron Dome missile supposed to intercept them costs up to $100,000 (without including the launching and control systems). On top of this, since Thursday a ground invasion has been dubbed “imminent.”

That Bibi is able to get away with this is all the Arab street – and most of the Global South – needs to know about America’s battleship/aircraft carrier in the Middle East. What most people don’t know about is those 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, worth at least $4 billion, discovered 14 years ago off the Gaza coast.

It’s easy to forget that at the time of Israel’s previous invasion of Gaza – Operation Cast Lead – gas fields in Palestine were outright confiscated by Israel. This “operation” was already an energy war, as Nafeez Ahmed analyzed here.

Then there is the Bigger Picture – the 122 trillion cubic feet of gas plus the potential 1.6 billion barrels of oil in the Levant Basin spread over the territorial waters of Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus and – of course – Gaza. These waters are as incandescently disputed as rocks and shoals in the South China Sea. Needless to say, Tel Aviv wants it all.

And to complement the picture, Israel faces an upcoming energy security nightmare, detailed here.

Even Tony Blair, the Phantom of the Opera, is involved. As the (failed) Quartet Middle East envoy, Blair came up with the brilliant plan of “developing” the Gaza gas fields via an agreement between British Gas and the Palestinian Authority, totally excluding Hamas and the people of Gaza.

The way Gaza is kept as a concentration camp, subjected to non-stop collective punishment, may be revolting enough. But then it must be added the key economic component: by all available means Gazans must be prevented from accessing the Marine-1 and Marine-2 gas fields. These will be gobbled up by Israel. From every angle, and for all practical purposes, Israel lords over all Palestinian natural resources – land, water and energy.

So here’s the “secret” of Operation Protect the Zionists, sorry, Protective Edge: without smashing Hamas, which controls Gaza, Israel cannot drill off the Gaza coast. For Bibi as well as the Knesset, the possibility that the Palestinians could have access to their own gas-generated wealth is an absolute red line.

And the EU may be on it as well. No one in Brussels will admit it, but it’s easy to conceive “strategists”regarding this takeover of Palestinian gas fields opening the door in the future for the EU being less dependent on Gazprom, and a substantial importer of (stolen) Israeli gas.

Israel’s Newspeak is old news; after all they are masters of fooling no one but themselves. Expandingon what Michael Klare has brilliantly detailed, the new, open-ended, collective punishment inflicted on Gaza is most of all a blood-for-gas energy war.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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| #GazaUnderAttack: Israel awakens the Palestine it tried to crush!

The brutal war unleashed on Gaza has one aim – and it has nothing to do with the three killed settlers. Netanyahu knows he has to crush a collective Palestinian spirit that’s emerged despite Israel’s decades of assimilation efforts.

When the bodies of three Israeli settlers – two teenagers, Aftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar, both 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19 – were found on 30 June near Hebron in the southern West Bank, Israel went into a state of mourning and a wave of sympathy flowed from around the world. The three had disappeared 18 days earlier in circumstances that remain unclear.

The entire episode, particularly after its grim ending, seemed to traumatize Israelis into ignoring harsh truths about the settlers and the militarisation of their society. For instance, one of the three has since been accused of humiliating Palestinian prisoners, while another was reportedly an occupation soldier.

Amid a portrayal of the three as hapless youths, although one was a 19-year-old soldier, commentators have failed to provide badly needed context to events. Few, if any, assigned the blame where it was most deserved – on expansionist policies which have sown hatred and bloodshed.

Before the bodies’ discovery, the real face of Netanyahu’s notoriously right-wing government was well-known. Few held Illusions about how “peaceful” an occupation can be if run by figures such as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, and Deputy Defence Minister Danny Danon. But because “children” – the term used by Netanyahu himself – were involved, even critics didn’t expect an exercise in political point-scoring.

The was sympathy elicited for the missing settlers case, but it quickly vanished in the face of an Israeli response (in the West Bank, Jerusalem and later a full-scale war on Gaza) largely seen as in the crucible of world opinion as disproportionate and cruel. Rather than related to the tragic death of three youths, this response obviously reflected Netanyahu’s grand political calculations.

As mobs of Israeli Jews went out on an ethnic lynching spree in Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank that some likened to a “pogrom”, occupation soldiers conducted a massive arrest campaign of hundreds of Palestinians, mostly Hamas members and supporters.

The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas said it has no role in the death of the settlers, and this appears plausible since they rarely hesitate to take credit for something carried out by their military wing. Israeli military strategists were well aware of that.

This war on Hamas, however, has little to with the killed settlers, and everything to do with the political circumstances that preceded their disappearance.

Nakba and a new Intifada

On 15 May, two Palestinian youths, Nadim Siam Abu Nuwara, 17, and Mohammed Mahmoud Odeh Salameh, 16 were killed by Israeli soldiers while taking part in a protest commemorating the anniversary of the Nakba, or ‘Great Catastrophe’. Video footage shows that Nadim was innocently standing with a group of friends before collapsing as he was hit by an Israeli army bullet.

The Nakba took place 66 years ago as the so-called Arab-Israeli conflict emerged. An estimated one million Palestinians were forced out of their homes as they fled a Zionist invasion. Israel was established on the ruins of that Palestine.

Nadim and Mohammed, like the youths of several generations since, were killed in cold blood as they walked to remember that exodus. In Israel, there was no outrage. However, Palestinian anger, which seems is in constant accumulation – being under military occupation and enduring harsh economic conditions – was reaching a tipping point.

In some way, the deaths of these Palestinian youths were a distraction from the political disunity that has afflicted Palestinian leaderships and society for years. Their deaths were a reminder that Palestine, as an idea and a collective plight and struggle, goes beyond the confines of politics or even ideology.

Their deaths reminded us that there is much more to Palestine than the whims of the aging Palestinian Authority ‘President’ Mahmoud Abbas and his Ramallah-based henchmen, or even Hamas’s regional calculations following the rise and fall of the ‘Arab Spring.’

The Israeli reaction to the settlers’ death has been different. After the bodies’ discovery, fellow settlers and right-wing Israelis began exacting revenge from Palestinian communities. The mob was united by the slogan “death to the Arabs”, reviving a long-disused notion of a single Palestinian identity that precedes the emergence of Fatah and Hamas.

Perhaps paradoxically, the grief and anger provoked by the death of Mohammad Abu Khdeir, 17, who was burnt alive by Israeli settlers as part of this lashing out, has furthered this reawakening of a long-fragmented Palestinian national identity.

An identity that had suffered due to Israeli walls, military tactics and the Palestinians’ own disunity, has been glued back together in a process that resembles the events which preceded the first and second uprisings of 1987 and 2000 respectively.

Much can be said about the hypocrisy in which Western governments have responded to the deaths of Palestinians and Israelis, the sorry state of Arab affairs, the pressure placed on the increasingly collaborative Abbas to find the killers, and the lack of a serious response to Israeli army and settlers abuse of Palestinian youth, including an American-Palestinian boy. But Palestinian collective action is hardly motivated by the renowned hypocrisy of the West. The greatest Palestinian priority for now is finding a common strategy that would cement unity and eventually achieve their national aspirations.

Unity government

However, unlike in the previous Intifadas, the hurdles towards a unified voice this time seem insurmountable. Abbas is a weak leader who has done so much to meet Israel’s security expectations and so very little to defend the rights of his people. He is a relic from a bygone era who merely exists because he is the best option Israel and the US have at the moment.

In the aftermath of the Israeli violent response to the killing of the settlers, Abbas laboured to coordinate with the massive Israeli search. At times, he stayed away as Israeli troops brutalised Palestinians in the West Bank.

It is clear that there can be no third Intifada that leaves Abbas and his wretched political apparatus in place. This is precisely why Palestinian Authority goons prevented many attempts by Palestinians in the West Bank to protest the Israeli violence unleashed in the occupied territories, which finally culminated into a massive war against Gaza that has killed and wounded hundreds. These very PA officers who stood by as the army raided Palestinian homes at will were the ones that swiftly moved to crush Palestinians who tried to assemble in protest.

Whatever credit Abbas supposedly gained by closing ranks with Hamas to form a unity government last June has been just as quickly lost. It has been overshadowed by his own failures to live up to commitment under the unity deal, and the relevance of his ‘authority’ was quickly eclipsed by Israeli violence, highlighting his and his government’s utter irrelevance to Israel’s political calculations.

A Hamas re-launch

When Israel launched its massive arrest campaign, which mainly targeted Hamas in the West Bank, the Hamas’ political wing was already considering “alternatives” to the unity government in Ramallah. This was not seen in statements by Hamas officials, who refused to reveal their frustration with Abbas and his Ramallah echelon, but rather in the clearly worded remarks uttered by senior Hamas official Dr Ahmed Yousef in an interview with Ma’an news agency.

“The (Rami) Hamdallah government has failed to fill” the political vacuum left open by the dismantling of the Hamas government in Gaza, Yousef said. “We are talking about an all-faction leadership to prevent security chaos and solve the crisis of salaries for the Gaza Strip’s civil servants,” he added.

Hamas’s objectives were not being met. The unity deal was meant to achieve several goals: end Hamas’s political isolation in Gaza, resulting from the intensifying of the siege by Egypt’s dictator Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, solving the economic crisis in the Strip, and also allowing Hamas to revert to its old brand, as a resistance movement first and foremost.

Hamas was perhaps hoping for a similar political arrangement like the one enjoyed by Hezbollah in Lebanon: to hold massive political sway, to maintain its military presence and to navigate its way between resistance and politics as it sees fit. It is a difficult model to duplicate though, since the physical topography and political landscape of Palestine is largely different from Lebanon.

Even if Hamas succeeded in establishing a new brand based on resistance/political model, Israel was determined to deactivate any potential for Palestinian unity. Destroying that unity became almost an obsession for Netanyahu.

The disappearance of the settlers gave Netanyahu’s quest a new impetus. He immediately began a campaign pressuring Abbas to break away from Hamas. In fact, Abbas became the target for a Zionist campaign that goes beyond Israel. His language was closely monitored, and criticized by the likes of the pro-Israel Anti-defamation league. ADL, which is always supportive of Israeli wars on Gaza, fumed when Abbas used the term ‘genocide’ to describe the killing campaign.

While Abbas was surviving in a state of political irrelevance, Hamas launched a fierce resistance campaign in Gaza. It united various resistance groups, including those affiliated with Abbas’s own party, Fatah, and began responding with barrage of rockets into Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and elsewhere. Although few Israelis were hurt, at least at the time of writing this article, while hundreds of Palestinians were killed and wounded, Hamas’s show of prowess further alienated Abbas, now growingly seen, along with his authority as ‘collaborators’ with Israel.

Majdi, a 28-year-old from Deheisheh refugee camp put it best: “The Palestinian police are mercenaries for the Israeli occupation; they just watch and do nothing.”

An embattled Bibi

Netanyahu has focused his attacks on Hamas. He wants to eradicate them from the West Bank, per his own statements, then strike them and other resistance groups in Gaza. His motivations are many, including the need for periodic strikes that constantly erode the preparedness of the resistance every few years – past assaults were launched in 2006, 2007, 2008-9, 2012 and now 2014.

But this time there were new objectives inspired by new circumstances, including the fact that Netanyahu’s own government, which stood on a very shaky ground since its inception – partly due to constant infighting between Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni and others on the far right – is in political trouble.

Livni’s last threat to leave the government was made on June 11, a day before the settlers disappeared. The right wing union, between the prime minister’s own Likud party, and that of Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu was dissolved on July 07.

Such cracks in Netanyahu’s coalitions seem too deep for even a massive war on Gaza to remedy.

Backlash

There is still more to Israel’s war on Gaza than this. Fearing an intifada that would unite Palestinians, threaten the PA, and slow down the construction of illegal settlements, Netanyahu’s war on Gaza means to distract from the slowly building collective sentiment among Palestinians throughout Palestine, and among Palestinian citizens in Israel.

This unity is much more alarming for Netanyahu than a political arrangement by Fatah and Hamas necessitated by regional circumstances. The targeting of Hamas is an Israeli attempt at challenging the emerging new narrative that it’s no longer about Gaza and its siege anymore, but the entirety of Palestine and its collectives regardless on which side of the Israeli “separation wall” they live.

A true Palestinian unity, culminating in a massive popular Intifada is the kind of war Netanyahu cannot possibly win.

– Ramzy Baroud is a PhD scholar in People’s History at the University of Exeter. He is the Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. Baroud is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

Photo credit: Lebanese children protest the airstrikes of Israel to Gaza in Beirut, Lebanon on July 11, 2014 (AA)

 

| IDF’s Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas to avert Israeli energy crisis!

IDF’s Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis ~ Dr. Nafeez Ahmed,  Guardian Environment Blogs.

Israel’s defence minister has confirmed that military plans to ‘uproot Hamas’ are about dominating Gaza’s gas reserves.

Yesterday, Israeli defence minister and former Israeli Defence Force (IDF) chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon announced that Operation Protective Edge marks the beginning of a protracted assault on Hamas. The operation “won’t end in just a few days,” he said, adding that “we are preparing to expand the operation by all means standing at our disposal so as to continue striking Hamas.”
A Palestinian boy plays in the rubble of a home wrecked in an Israeli air raid on Beit Hanoun, Gaza

A Palestinian boy plays in the rubble of a house destroyed in an Israeli air strike on Beit Hanoun, Gaza. Photograph: Khalil Hamra/AP

 

This morning, he said:

“We continue with strikes that draw a very heavy price from Hamas. We are destroying weapons, terror infrastructures, command and control systems, Hamas institutions, regime buildings, the houses of terrorists, and killing terrorists of various ranks of command… The campaign against Hamas will expand in the coming days, and the price the organization will pay will be very heavy.”

But in 2007, a year before Operation Cast Lead, Ya’alon’s concernsfocused on the 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered in 2000 off the Gaza coast, valued at $4 billion. Ya’alon dismissed the notion that “Gaza gas can be a key driver of an economically more viable Palestinian state” as “misguided.” The problem, he said, is that:

“Proceeds of a Palestinian gas sale to Israel would likely not trickle down to help an impoverished Palestinian public. Rather, based on Israel’s past experience, the proceeds will likely serve to fund further terror attacks against Israel…

A gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority [PA] will, by definition, involve Hamas. Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel – or all three… It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.”

Operation Cast Lead did not succeed in uprooting Hamas, but the conflict did take the lives of 1,387 Palestinians (773 of whom were civilians) and 9 Israelis (3 of whom were civilians).

Since the discovery of oil and gas in the Occupied Territories, resource competition has increasingly been at the heart of the conflict, motivated largely by Israel’s increasing domestic energy woes.

Mark Turner, founder of the Research Journalism Initiative, reported that the siege of Gaza and ensuing military pressure was designed to “eliminate” Hamas as “a viable political entity in Gaza” to generate a “political climate” conducive to a gas deal. This involved rehabilitating the defeated Fatah as the dominant political player in the West Bank, and “leveraging political tensions between the two parties, arming forces loyal to Abbas and the selective resumption of financial aid.”

Ya’alon’s comments in 2007 illustrate that the Israeli cabinet is not just concerned about Hamas – but concerned that if Palestinians develop their own gas resources, the resulting economic transformation could in turn fundamentally increase Palestinian clout.

Meanwhile, Israel has made successive major discoveries in recent years – such as the Leviathan field estimated to hold 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas – which could transform the country from energy importer into aspiring energy exporter with ambitions to supply Europe, Jordan and Egypt. A potential obstacle is that much of the 122 trillion cubic feet of gas and 1.6 billion barrels of oil in the Levant Basin Province lies in territorial waters where borders are hotly disputed between Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Cyprus.

Amidst this regional jockeying for gas, though, Israel faces its own little-understood energy challenges. It could, for instance, take until 2020 for much of these domestic resources to be properly mobilised.

But this is the tip of the iceberg. A 2012 letter by two Israeli government chief scientists – which the Israeli government chose not to disclose – warned the government that Israel still had insufficient gas resources to sustain exports despite all the stupendous discoveries. The letter, according to Ha’aretz, stated that Israel’s domestic resources were 50% less than needed to support meaningful exports, and could be depleted in decades:

“We believe Israel should increase its [domestic] use of natural gas by 2020 and should not export gas. The Natural Gas Authority’s estimates are lacking. There’s a gap of 100 to 150 billion cubic meters between the demand projections that were presented to the committee and the most recent projections. The gas reserves are likely to last even less than 40 years!”

As Dr Gary Luft – an advisor to the US Energy Security Council – wrote in the Journal of Energy Security, “with the depletion of Israel’s domestic gas supplies accelerating, and without an imminent rise in Egyptian gas imports, Israel could face a power crisis in the next few years… If Israel is to continue to pursue its natural gas plans it must diversify its supply sources.”

Israel’s new domestic discoveries do not, as yet, offer an immediate solution as electricity prices reach record levels, heightening the imperative to diversify supply. This appears to be behind Prime Minister Netanyahu’s announcement in February 2011 that it was now time to seal the Gaza gas deal. But even after a new round of negotiations was kick-started between the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and Israel in September 2012, Hamas was excluded from these talks, and thus rejected the legitimacy of any deal.

Earlier this year, Hamas condemned a PA deal to purchase $1.2 billion worth of gas from Israel Leviathan field over a 20 year period once the field starts producing. Simultaneously, the PA has held several meetings with the British Gas Group to develop the Gaza gas field, albeit with a view to exclude Hamas – and thus Gazans – from access to the proceeds. That plan had been the brainchild of Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair.

But the PA was also courting Russia’s Gazprom to develop the Gaza marine gas field, and talks have been going on between Russia, Israel and Cyprus, though so far it is unclear what the outcome of these have been. Also missing was any clarification on how the PA would exert control over Gaza, which is governed by Hamas.

According to Anais Antreasyan in the University of California’s Journal of Palestine Studies, the most respected English language journal devoted to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Israel’s stranglehold over Gaza has been designed to make “Palestinian access to the Marine-1 and Marine-2 gas wells impossible.” Israel’s long-term goal “besides preventing the Palestinians from exploiting their own resources, is to integrate the gas fields off Gaza into the adjacent Israeli offshore installations.” This is part of a wider strategy of:

“…. separating the Palestinians from their land and natural resources in order to exploit them, and, as a consequence, blocking Palestinian economic development. Despite all formal agreements to the contrary, Israel continues to manage all the natural resources nominally under the jurisdiction of the PA, from land and water to maritime and hydrocarbon resources.”

For the Israeli government, Hamas continues to be the main obstacle to the finalisation of the gas deal. In the incumbent defence minister’swords: “Israel’s experience during the Oslo years indicates Palestinian gas profits would likely end up funding terrorism against Israel. The threat is not limited to Hamas… It is impossible to prevent at least some of the gas proceeds from reaching Palestinian terror groups.”

The only option, therefore, is yet another “military operation to uproot Hamas.”

Unfortunately, for the IDF uprooting Hamas means destroying the group’s perceived civilian support base – which is why Palestinian civilian casualties massively outweigh that of Israelis. Both are obviously reprehensible, but Israel’s capacity to inflict destruction is simply far greater.

In the wake of Operation Cast Lead, the Jerusalem-based Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (Pcati) found that the IDF had adopted a more aggressive combat doctrine based on two principles – “zero casualties” for IDF soldiers at the cost of deploying increasingly indiscriminate firepower in densely populated areas, and the “dahiya doctrine” promoting targeting of civilian infrastructure to create widespread suffering amongst the population with a view to foment opposition to Israel’s opponents.

This was confirmed in practice by the UN fact-finding mission in Gaza which concluded that the IDF had pursued a “deliberate policy of disproportionate force,” aimed at the “supporting infrastructure” of the enemy – “this appears to have meant the civilian population,” said the UN report.

The Israel-Palestine conflict is clearly not all about resources. But in an age of expensive energy, competition to dominate regional fossil fuels are increasingly influencing the critical decisions that can inflame war.

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is an international security journalist and academic. He is the author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It, and the forthcoming science fiction thriller, ZERO POINT. ZERO POINT is set in a near future following a Fourth Iraq War. 

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