Saturday, January 10, 2009

More Than 10,000 Demonstrate Against Gaza Massacre in Stockholm, Sweden

Contributed by Uffe

"We had a few rallies in Sweden today. In Stockholm we had the biggest since the march against the war on Iraq in 2003. Around 10 000 people in Stockholm marched towards the Israeli embassy.

You can see some pictures here: would say that it was a good manifestation with the Socialdemocratic partys leader in the demonstration as well......"

Mubarak Shoes, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)


Criticism of Israel’s conduct mounts

By Andrew England in Jerusalem and Vita Bekker in Tel Aviv
01.10.2009 The Financial Times

"As Israel’s offensive in Gaza enters its third week, the Jewish state appears to be rapidly losing the public relations war abroad as criticism from United Nations officials and humanitarian agencies has mounted amid the constant stream of pictures of dead and wounded women and children.

Israeli strikes on UN convoys and schools sheltering hundreds of Palestinians who fled their homes, as well allegations that Israeli troops prevented medical workers from retrieving dead and injured Palestinians, have increasingly called into question Israel’s conduct of the war.

A UN agency added to the increasing negative news flow with a report that cited witness testimony alleging that Israeli troops evacuated Palestinian civilians to a house in Gaza City and then repeatedly shelled the building 24 hours later, killing some 30 people inside.

And from the outset, Israel has been under fire for preventing foreign journalists from entering the strip – restrictions that were in place weeks before the bombardment started......

Al-Jazeera reported that a building used by journalists working in the strip, including Turkish and Chinese outlets, was hit by Israeli fire on Friday......"

Israel Fighting Also the UN

By Mel Frykberg

"RAMALLAH, Jan 10 (IPS) - A United Nations report that Israel ordered civilians into a building and then shelled it marks yet more evidence of widespread targeting of civilians in the Gaza assault.

The UN report calls for a war crimes investigation into Israel's shelling of a civilian building in Gaza city Jan. 4. It described the shelling as "one of the gravest incidents" since Israeli infantry and armoured troops entered Gaza.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) cited eyewitnesses to report that on Jan. 4 Israeli ground troops ordered more than 100 Palestinian civilians into a house in Gaza city. Allegre Pachecho, deputy chief of OCHA, said that the following day the building was hit by Israeli shells.

Israeli human rights groups say at least 30 people were killed in the shelling......."

Enough. It's time for a boycott

It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa. In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era". The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions was born.

Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause - even among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors in Israel. It calls for "the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions" and draws a clear parallel with the anti-apartheid struggle. "The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves ... This international backing must stop."

Yet even in the face of these clear calls, many of us still can't go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. But they simply aren't good enough. Economic sanctions are the most effective tool in the non-violent arsenal: surrendering them verges on active complicity. Here are the top four objections to the BDS strategy, followed by counter-arguments.

The War Isn’t Over, But Israel Has Lost

By Tony Karon

"I. The Last Waltz?

Repeating behaviors that have produced catastrophic failures and expecting a different result is insane; and when a person’s psychotic behavior puts himself and those around him in immediate physical danger, the responsibility of those who claim to be his friends is to restrain him. But even as Waltz With Bashir shows in multiplexes across the world as a grim reminder of the precedent for Israel’s brutal march of folly in Gaza, the U.S. (and the editors of the New York Times and Washington Post) insist that there is a sanity and rationality to sending one of the world’s most powerful armies into a giant refugee camp to rend the flesh and crush the bones of those who stand in its way — whether in defiance or by being unlucky enough to have been born of the wrong tribe and be huddling in the wrong place. By fighting its way to their citadel, they would have us believe, Israel can destroy Hamas and usher in a golden age of peace. Or, to borrow from the casual callousness of Condi Rice during the last such display of futile brutality, we are witnessing, again, the “birth pangs of a new Middle East.” Israel failed in 2006, just as in 2002 and 1982. This time, they tell us, will be different.........

Even as the realization begins to dawn that their adversary, once again, will emerge politically stronger from a military pummeling, the Israelis contemplate one last bloody foray into the heart of Gaza City, hoping that military action can weaken Hamas and force it to surrender to Israel’s terms. Some American policymakers even cling to the fantasy that they can reimpose the regime of the pliant Mahmoud Abbas on Gaza — a pathetic fantasy, to be sure, because close observers of Palestinian politics know that the only thing keeping Abbas in charge of the West Bank, right now, is the presence of the Israeli Defense Force, and it’s willingness to lock up his opponents. Conveniently, for example, Abbas doesn’t have to deal with his own legislature, which is dominated by Hamas, because Israel has locked up most of the legislators. Mahmoud Abbas has allowed himself to be turned into a Palestinian Petain, and even much of the rank and file of his own Fatah party has turned against him. Not even the Israelis believe he could control Gaza without them, and they are not inclined to stay........."

Israeli massacre at UN school exposed

Press TV

"The Israeli military has reportedly admitted that the shelling of a UN school, which killed dozens of Gazan civilians, was "unprovoked".

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said senior Israeli military officials have confessed that there was no gunfire emanating from the school when it came under fire from one of its tanks.

"In briefings senior officers conducted for foreign diplomats, they admitted the shelling to which IDF forces in Jabaliya were responding did not originate from the school," The Haaretz quoted Gunness as saying on Saturday.

Tel Aviv has attempted to justify its Jan 6 attack on the United Nations school as a response to "militant gunfire" and has released footage of the incident to substantiate its claims. Gunness, however, asserted that the footage released by Israel dated back to 2007 and was not related to the current incident...."

US plans massive arms delivery to Israel

Press TV

"The Pentagon seeks to hire a ship for a large arms delivery to Israel, adding to fears that Israel's military campaign in the region is to continue for long.

The US is trying to hire a merchant ship that can carry hundreds of tons of weapons from Greece to Israel later this month; Reuters reported citing tender documents it had obtained.

According to the US Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC), the ship will transport 325 standard 20-foot containers of what has been called 'ammunition' from the Greek port of Astakos to the Israeli port of Ashdod on two separate trips in the second half of January.....

This is while shipping brokers in London who have carried out weapon deliveries for the British and US military in the past say that shipment of such a large cargo of weapons to Israel is rare.

"Shipping 3,000-odd tons of ammunition in one go is a lot… this is pretty rare and we haven't seen much of it quoted in the market over the years," one broker said, on condition of anonymity......"

Al-Jazeera Video: Praying in defiance of Israel's war in Gaza - 09 Jan 09

"More than a dozen mosques have been hit in the course of Israel's war on Gaza.

But two weeks into the war, Muslim worshippers have not been deterred by the destruction, or the risks of going to pray at what could be a potential target.

Ayman Mohyeldin has this report from Gaza. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Protests against Gaza war held around the world - 09 Jan 09

"Friday has seen both peaceful and violent protests throughout the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, as ordinary people express their opposition to Israel's ongoing offensive in Gaza....."

Why is This Idiot Still Speaking in the Name of the Palestinians?
Has His Treason Not Been Enough Already?

But Again, Condoleezza and Livni Have to Be Obeyed, or Else!

So the PA Charade Continues

Wherever I go, I hear the same tired Middle East comparisons

On both sides of the Atlantic the experience has been weirdly repetitive

By Robert Fisk

"......And so it goes on and on and on. Needless to say, I'm waiting for the same writers to ask how we'd feel if we lived in Don Mills or Brossard or Dublin and came under sustained attack from supersonic aircraft and Merkava tanks and thousands of troops whose shells and bombs tore 40 women and children to pieces outside a school, shredded whole families in their beds and who, after nearly a week, had killed almost 200 civilians out of 600 fatalities.

In Ireland, my favourite journalistic justification for this bloodbath came from my old mate Kevin Myers. "The death toll from Gaza is, of course, shocking, dreadful, unspeakable," he mourned. "Though it does not compare with the death toll amongst Israelis if Hamas had its way." Get it? The massacre in Gaza is justified because Hamas would have done the same if they could, even though they didn't do it because they couldn't. It took Fintan O'Toole, The Irish Times's resident philosopher-in-chief, to speak the unspeakable. "When does the mandate of victimhood expire?" he asked. "At what point does the Nazi genocide of Europe's Jews cease to excuse the state of Israel from the demands of international law and of common humanity?"......

My favourite moment came when I pointed out that journalists should be on the side of those who suffer. If we were reporting the 18th-century slave trade, I said, we wouldn't give equal time to the slave ship captain in our dispatches. If we were reporting the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp, we wouldn't give equal time to the SS spokesman....."

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)
And For Dessert.....
.....Bombe Surprise!

By Dave Brown, The Independent

Massacre of a family seeking sanctuary

The Samounis claim they were guided to a safe haven by Israeli troops – only to be cut down by shells

By Donald Macintyre and Said Ghazali in Jerusalem and Fares Akram in Gaza

The Independent
Saturday, 10 January 2009

"....Some explain that Israeli troops had explicitly told them to remain in the building – in several cases after actually escorting them there.....

....When the smoke began to clear, she looked around and saw what she says were between 20 and 30 bodies, and 20 wounded. The dead included her own husband Tawfiq, her father-in-law Rashed, who "was hit in the head and whose brain was on the floor", and a five-month-old baby "whose whole brain was outside his body".....

Ahmad says they counted 25 bodies – 10 adults and the rest children. One of the infants was the five-year-old daughter of his cousin Salah. "Her last words were 'Baba, Baba' and she died," he said. "She was hit in the head."....

Interviewed at Al Quds hospital yesterday, Ibteffam Al-Samouni said soldiers had "fired missiles" in the neighbourhood on Sunday and broke into five houses inhabited by Samouni family members and told the residents to leave. They had then walked to the warehouse belonging to their relatives. She added: "The soldiers told us: 'Stay there and shut the door, habbibi [my love]."

"We are civilians, we are farmers, we don't take part in any kind of resistance," said the 30-year-old woman.

After the shelling on Monday, she tried to escape. But, she says, there was shooting from Israeli forces as they walked from the building despite the fact that members of the group were waving white flags and shouting in Hebrew: "Kattan, Kattan [We have kids]." One of the men, Iyad, was shot in the leg by soldiers. "They ordered us to keep moving and not take the wounded man," she recalls. It was not until three days later that his body was recovered and brought to the hospital......"

More, but worse

The Guardian, Saturday 10 January 2009

""We are very violent," Lieutenant Colonel Amir, commander of an Israeli combat engineers unit, admitted as he explained that he will use any method to prevent casualties among his troops. Meysa a-Samuni would not disagree. She is the 19-year-old survivor of the shelling of a house in the Zeitoun district of Gaza in which 30 people died, six of them members of her family. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs would not disagree either. It told us how Israeli soldiers had rounded up 100 Palestinian evacuees and put them in the house, which then was shelled, although the UN stopped short of saying the shelling was deliberate. But it did accuse soldiers of preventing the Red Cross from evacuating the wounded for three days. A few doors away, four children were found cowering next to the body of their dead mother....

....But the governments who let the Gaza campaign continue by undermining calls for an immediate ceasefire, are just as responsible. They, too, have Palestinian blood on their hands....

...Hamas are still intact as a military organisation. They continue to fire rockets, and have started to attack Israeli fixed positions around Gaza City and the major refugee camps. If Israeli forces retreat, their leaders face awkward questions in an election campaign about what has been achieved. If they press on, they face equally searching issues: what can further military action do to change Hamas's calculation that they are withstanding and enduring? War has its own momentum, and if the endgame is the dismemberment of Hamas, there is only one way to do that - house-to-house fighting and reoccupation.....

...And yet Israeli leaders are as disunited about the goals as they are unclear about how to achieve them. They have tactics but lack strategy. The death toll could triple and they could be in the same position this time next week."

Hasbara spam alert

With Israel's foreign ministry organising volunteers to flood news websites with pro-Israeli comments, Propaganda 2.0 is here

Richard Silverstein, Friday 9 January 2009

"The hasbara brigade strikes again! You always hear about Israeli attempts at media manipulation. Everyone knows it's going on but usually the process happens through cyber insurgents like those involved with Giyus (and its media monitoring software, Megaphone). Now, we know that the Israeli foreign ministry itself is orchestrating propaganda efforts designed to flood news websites with pro-Israel arguments and information.

A reader of my blog has received the following email which documents both the efforts and the agency that originated them.....

In some instances, western media may intentionally or unintentionally fall victim to manipulation. Tony Karon points out that pro-Israel journalist-historian Michael Oren has published several stories since the Gaza incursion began in US media outlets like the New Republic and Los Angeles Times. He is also on active duty with the IDF in Gaza serving as a public affairs officer liasing with foreign media. You will find nothing noting this in the Los Angeles Times op ed. In effect, the media is allowing advocates like Oren to pass themselves off as disinterested experts when they are anything but. It behooves editors to do some due diligence when they publish any piece that advocates for one side or the other to determine whether there may be conflicts of interest or other unacknowledged factors influencing a commentator's judgment.

It seems we are now well and truly in the world of Propaganda 2.0."

Enough. It's time for a boycott

The best way to end the bloody occupation is to target Israel with the kind of movement that ended apartheid in South Africa

Naomi Klein
The Guardian, Saturday 10 January 2009

"It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa. In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era". The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions was born.....

It was this kind of cold business calculation that led many companies to pull out of South Africa two decades ago. And it's precisely the kind of calculation that is our most realistic hope of bringing justice, so long denied, to Palestine."

UN human rights chief accuses Israel of war crimes

Official calls for investigation into Zeitoun shelling that killed up to 30 in one house as Israelis dismiss 'unworkable' ceasefire

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
The Guardian, Saturday 10 January 2009

"The United Nations' most senior human rights official said last night that the Israeli military may have committed war crimes in Gaza. The warning came as Israeli troops pressed on with the deadly offensive in defiance of a UN security council resolution calling for a ceasefire.

Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, has called for "credible, independent and transparent" investigations into possible violations of humanitarian law, and singled out an incident this week in Zeitoun, south-east of Gaza City, where up to 30 Palestinians in one house were killed by Israeli shelling.

Pillay, a former international criminal court judge from South Africa, told the BBC the incident "appears to have all the elements of war crimes"......."

الوزراء العرب و'غزوة نيويورك'

الوزراء العرب و'غزوة نيويورك'

عبد الباري عطوان

"رفضت الحكومة الاسرائيلية قرار مجلس الامن الدولي الاخير الذي طالبها بوقف عدوانها والانسحاب من المناطق التي احتلتها في قطاع غزة. واحبطت بهذا الرفض السريع والواضح احتفالات الوفد الوزاري العربي الذي يرأسه السيد عمرو موسى امين عام الجامعة العربية، الذي اعتبره، اي القرار، انتصارا للدبلوماسية العربية.
وهو ان هذه الدول ارسلت وزراء خارجيتها الى الامم المتحدة ليس من اجل وقف الحرب، وانما للادعاء بانها تفعل شيئا، واعطاء العدوان الاسرائيلي الوقت الضروري لانهاء مهمته في القضاء على فصائل المقاومة في قطاع غزة.
شمعون بيريس رئيس الدولة العبرية قال في حديث لصحيفة اسبانية نشرته امس، ان الحكومات العربية هي التي شجعت حكومته على غزو قطاع غزة. وكشف ان مسؤولين عرباً اتصلوا به من اجل ابلاغه بمباركتهم اي خطوة تقدم عليها اسرائيل لاجتثاث حركة 'حماس' من القطاع.
كلام بيريس هذا يؤكد ما نشرته صحيفة 'هآرتس' الاسرائيلية حول ابلاغ الرئيس حسني مبارك نظراءه الاسرائيليين بعدم السماح لحركة 'حماس' بتحقيق اي انتصار في الحرب الاسرائيلية الحالية مهما كلف الامر.
قطاع غزة تحول فعلاً إلى 'معسكر اعتقال' أشبه بمعتقلات النازية حيث جرى اغلاق كل حدوده ومعابره، وأصبح لا خيار أمام أي من سكانه غير مواجهة الموت قتلاً أو جوعاً.
حال المقاومة في القطاع، هو مثل حال جنود القائد الاسلامي طارق بن زياد، الذي أحرق سفنه، وقال لهم 'البحر من خلفكم والعدو من أمامكم' مع فارق بسيط وهو ان هؤلاء لم يحرقوا سفنهم، ولم يكونوا في طريقهم لفتح أراضي بلاد أخرى لإعلاء راية الاسلام، وإنما هم مرابطون على أرضهم يدافعون عن كرامتهم وعن أمة عريقة من خلفهم، ولإبقاء راية الاسلام مرفوعة شامخة على روابيها. ومثلما انتصر طارق بن زياد وجنده المؤمنون سيكون النصر من نصيب هؤلاء بإذن الله.
لا بد أن الزعماء العرب المتواطئين مع العدوان قد شعروا بالاكتئاب، وهم يرون الملايين يوم أمس يتدفقون إلى الشوارع، وينتصرون للمقاومة التي خذلوها، وللمحاصرين الذين شددوا الحصار لخنقهم وتجويعهم. فهذه المظاهرات الغاضبة التي راهن هؤلاء على زوالها وتراجع زخمها بمرور الوقت، تثبت ان معلومات أجهزتهم الأمنية القمعية وتحليلاتها خاطئة، وان عملية التغيير بدأت فعلاً في المنطقة، وهي قطعاً ليست في صالح هؤلاء الزعماء والادارة الأمريكية حليفتهم وحامية معظمهم

Qassam Brigades: We’ve Killed 12 Israeli Soldiers Friday


"10/01/2009 On the 15th day of Israel’s onslaught on the Gaza Strip, the Zionist entity killed more than 806 Palestinians and injured more than 3150 others, yet the goal to break the will of the people and the resistance has been futile. The Israel occupation army has been stunned by the Palestinian resistance’s fighting techniques, capabilities and determination. On Saturday morning, the Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad resistance movement carried out an attack against an Israeli army unit north of the Gaza Strip and confirmed its fighters inflicted losses in the unit’s ranks.

The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas said its armed wing, the Izzeddine Qassam Brigades, killed 12 Israeli special forces soldiers Friday, including eight in an ambush in Beit Lahyia.....

Israeli authorities are imposing a total blackout on the course of its ground operation to avoid what they call “the negative effect on the home front.” Yet, under the pressure of Arab and international media, the Zionist army was forced to acknowledge the killing of at least 15 soldiers.
Israel bombed a building housing several media offices in Gaza in a clear sign to the Zionist entity’s ire of relaying the massacre being committed in Gaza live on TV screens......

On Friday, the Qassam Brigades fired rockets at the main Israel Air Force base in Tel Nof, some 45km north of Gaza and 27km south of Tel Aviv. The base serves as a squadron base for fighter jets and helicopters."

Rice Justifies Israel's Killing of Civilians in Gaza

(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)

"10/01/2009 US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it is "hard" for Israeli occupation forces to spare civilian lives in the densely-populated Gaza Strip.

"It is very difficult in circumstances like Gaza, which is a very densely populated area," Rice told reporters on Friday when asked if Israel is living up to its humanitarian obligations during its massive military offensive on Gaza.

During its now two-week military campaign, at least 804 Palestinians have been martyred and thousands others have been injured.....

At the White House, spokesman Scott Stanzel said the administration is "very concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza" but echoed Rice's comments on the "difficulties" Israel faces. "We want to see that situation improve," he said. "However, it is a difficult situation. It is a conflict area. And this situation will not improve until Hamas stops lobbing rockets into Israel." "

Friday, January 9, 2009

Good Riddance......
Don't Let The Door Slam Your Rear......
On Your Way Out.....

Tel-Aviv: Around 10,000 Jews and Arabs in a militant protest against the war

Two main protests have been organised in Israel, against a background of brutal anti-democratic moves by the regime to silence opposition to the war. These have included threats by the secret services and mass arrests in the recent week, mainly of Israeli-Palestinians - 300 are thought to be still held.

The IOF Has Been Making Extensive Use of American-Supplied White Phosphorus Shells in Shelling Residential Areas in Gaza, as Seen in This Photo. Remember the Wide Use of White Phosphorus in Fallujah, Iraq, by US Marines? Do You See the Same Pattern? I wonder Why?

Please see the story about this horrible and forbidden weapon in Times Online titled, "Gaza victims' burns increase concern over phosphorus" posted yesterday; just scroll down.

Field up-date on Gaza from the Humanitarian coordinator, UN office for Occupied Palestinian Territories

On 8 January, an Israeli tank shell struck a house in a cooperative housing project for doctors in the Zeitoun area in Gaza City, killing a Ukrainian woman married to a Palestinian doctor and their child, the first reported foreign casualties at this point.
MoH figures as of 17.00 hours 9 January are 800 dead and at least 3,300 injured since 27 December. The danger to medical staff and the difficulty of extracting the injured from collapsed buildings makes proper evacuation and estimation of casualties difficult.

Self Defense, not Genocide!, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Breaking News: Israel targets Press TV station in Gaza

Breaking News: Press TV Bombed in Gaza!

"Israeli forces have targeted the office of Press TV and the Iranian Arab-language satellite channel al-Alam in the Gaza Strip.

There were two people wounded in the Israeli attack, a Press TV correspondent said Friday, adding that Press TV's sister channel, Al-Alam, which was also based in the building has been affected by the attack.

According to our correspondent Hamoudi Gharib, the building was targeted even though the staff had kept light projectors working on the roof of the building 24 hours a day to mark the building. The journalists working in the building had been given safety assurances that the building would not be targeted by mistake, after its coordinates were handed to organizations responsible for the journalist safety, including the UN.

The Press TV team said they received no warnings ahead of the Israeli strike, which only targeted journalists and news crew who were in the building. The team's equipment, including satellite transmission devices installed on the roof, have been damaged.

Press TV has been one of the few news networks which has provided extensive coverage of the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip, which has claimed the lives of some 783 Palestinians. "

Threat of epidemics in Gaza

RAMALLAH, 9 January 2009 (IRIN) - The total halt to vaccinations in Gaza since the Israeli offensive began on 27 December could result in epidemics, a risk increased by Gaza’s high population density and dire living conditions, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on 8 January.

"If vaccinations are stopped for one or two weeks this is enough to cause a widespread outbreak of avoidable diseases - such as measles, hepatitis and polio - amongst children and the larger population," WHO health officer Mahmoud Daher told IRIN by telephone from Gaza. "Stopping the vaccinations has serious implications for children in Gaza," UNICEF spokesperson Merixie Mercato based in Jerusalem told IRIN.

An estimated one million people in Gaza, including 560,000 children, are living with minimal water and electricity, said Save the Children.

"The breakdown of the water and sewage systems can increase the risk of diarrhoea and other viral diseases, particularly amongst children and the elderly," said WHO’s Daher.

WHO says 34 of the 58 primary healthcare centres managed by the Gaza health ministry were functioning as of 8 January. Those not functioning are all in risky areas.

Tens of thousands flee Rafah

Rafah residents told IRIN by phone that tens of thousands had fled heavy Israeli bombardments, with some seeking refuge at UN institutions or at homes of friends and relatives in areas further from the border but still in the south.

IRIN was told of the case of one woman from Rafah who said she and her children had to sleep on the street as she could not find any refuge and simply ran as far away from the border with Egypt as possible, as Israel was conducting air strikes against smuggling tunnels in the area.

Gaza: Palestinian journalist, his wife and mother-in-law killed by Israeli artillery

"The Palestinian News Agency, WAFA, reported that a Palestinian journalist, his wife and his mother in law, were killed on Thursday evening when Israeli troops shelled their home in Gaza city.

Eyhab Al Wahidi worked as a cameraman for the Palestinian President's Office in Gaza. The children of Al Wahidi, now orphaned due to the killing of their parents and grandmother, also sustained serious injuries.

While international and Israeli journalists have been kept out of the Gaza Strip throughout the two-week long Israeli offensive, Palestinian journalists who have managed to get reports out of Gaza via the internet and cellular phones have reported being targeted by Israeli forces.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights reports that eight Palestinian journalists have been killed by the Israeli Army between the years of 2000 to 2008.

The Israeli Army embarked on its current military offensive on Saturday December 27, 2008. The Palestinian Ministry of Heath in Gaza stated that the death toll in Gaza by Thursday evening stands at 765; half of the casualties are children and women, in addition to 3,200 injured, among them 500 in critical condition. "

Criticism of Israel's war crimes mounts

'We are very violent', says Israeli commander

by Jonathan Cook

Global Research, January 9, 2009

"NAZARETH. Criticism by international watchdog groups over the increasing death toll in Gaza mounted this week as the first legal actions inside Israel were launched accusing the army of intentionally harming the enclave’s civilian population.

The petitions – over attacks on medical personnel and the shelling of United Nations schools in Gaza – follow statements by senior Israeli commanders that they have been using heavy firepower to protect soldiers during their advance on built-up areas. “We are very violent,” one told Israeli media.

There is also growing evidence that Israeli forces have been firing phosphorus shells over densely populated areas in a move that risks violating international law by inflicting burns on civilians.....

Photographs of pale blue artillery shells lined up by tanks stationed on the edge of Gaza have been identified as American-made phosphorus munitions. Neil Gibson, a missiles expert for Jane’s, told the London Times that the shells were an “improved modelthat burned for up to 10 minutes.

Although such shells are allowed when used solely as a smoke screen, they are banned as a chemical weapon if used as an anti-personnel munition. Palestinian and international medics in Gaza have reported large numbers of burns victims with injuries difficult to treat.

Yesterday, Amnesty International also accused Israeli soldiers of using Palestinian civilians as human shields – a charge Israel has repeatedly levelled against Hamas.

Malcolm Smart, a spokesman, said: “Israeli soldiers have entered and taken up positions in a number of Palestinian homes, forcing families to stay in a ground-floor room while they use the rest of their house as a military base and sniper position.” "
(Click on cartoon by Mr. Fish to enlarge)

Too much to mourn in Gaza

The Deeb family was preparing bread when they were killed in their home by Israeli shelling.

Eva Bartlett writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 8 January 2009
(Eva Bartlett is a Canadian human rights advocate and freelancer who spent eight months in 2007 living in West Bank communities and four months in Cairo and at the Rafah crossing. She is currently based in the Gaza Strip after having arrived with the 3rd Free Gaza Movement boat in November. She has been working with the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza, accompanying ambulances while witnessing and documenting the ongoing Israeli air strikes and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip)

"After finishing a shift with the Palestine Red Crescent Society yesterday morning, we went to the United Nations-administered al-Fakhoura school in Jabaliya, which was bombed by Israeli forces, killing at least 40 displaced people who were taking shelter there. When we arrived, prayers were happening in the street in front of the school. I'd seen prayers in open, outdoor places in Palestine and Egypt. But these days, when I see a mass of people praying, in front of al-Shifa hospital, in the streets of Jabaliya, I think of the mosques that have been bombed, and of the loss of lives and sanctuaries. And yesterday I thought of the loss of another safe haven......"

Testimony: Gaza family massacred, survivors detained

Testimony, B'Tselem, 8 January 2009

"Meysa Fawzi al-Samuni, 19, a married homemaker with an infant daughter, is a resident of Gaza City. The following testimony was given to B'Tselem's Iyad Haddad by telephone on 7 January 2009....

The soldiers told us that they would release us and leave only Musa and his uncle Emad in case Hamas came. I understood that they intended to use them as "human shields." They ordered us to leave the house, and we walked along the street about 400-500 meters until we found an ambulance, which took me and my daughter to al-Shifa Hospital. The others from my family continued to walk in the street. Later, some of them also arrived at the hospital.

As far as I know, the dead and wounded who were under the ruins are still there. I didn't see that any of them had been brought to the hospital."

Al Nakba 2009

Thursday, 08 January 2009 20:37
Written by Vittorio Arrigoni for Il Manifesto

The Free Gaza Movement

"They parade in fear, their eyes looking upwards, surrendering to the sky showering terror and death upon them, fearing the earth that keeps shaking under every step they take, opening craters where there were houses, schools, universities, markets, hospitals, and burying their lives within them forever. I've seen caravans of desperate Palestinians evacuate Jabalia, Beit Hanoun and all the refugee camps in Gaza, crowding the United Nations' schools like earthquake survivors, like victims of a tsunami which is eating into the Gaza Strip day by day, along with its civilian population, without pity or compliance with human rights and the Geneva Conventions. Most of all, without a single Western government stirring a finger to stop this massacre, or sending medical staff out here, or stopping the genocide that Israel is smearing its hands with in these hours....."

Despite UN Resolution, Israel Resumes Killing More Civilians


"09/01/2009 To hide its failure in the Gaza Strip and in a bid not to lose the whole image of its so-called “unbeatable army”, Israel on Friday carried on heavy attacks in the Strip after the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for an immediate end to the Israeli aggression.

Israeli staged more than 50 air strikes which Palestinian emergency services said killed at least 25 civilians....

Palestinian medics say almost 800 people have been killed, including more than 260 children, since the Israeli aggression launched against the Strip on Dec.27 and there were over 3200 wounded.

Residents of Gaza City said that Israel Air Force warplanes dropped bombs on the outskirts of the city and other Gazans reported shelling by the Israeli Navy.

Seven Palestinians from one family, including an infant, were killed early today, the 14th day of the conflict in Gaza, when Israeli jets bombed a five-storey building in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza. There was heavy aerial bombing on the outskirts of Gaza City, and Israeli naval ships shelled Deir el-Balah, in central Gaza....."

U.S. Weaponry Facilitates Killings in Gaza

By Thalif Deen

"UNITED NATIONS, Jan 8 (IPS) - The devastating Israeli firepower, unleashed largely on Palestinian civilians in Gaza during two weeks of fighting, is the product of advanced U.S. military technology.

The U.S. weapons systems used by the Israelis -- including F-16 fighter planes, Apache helicopters, tactical missiles and a wide array of munitions -- have been provided by Washington mostly as outright military grants....."

UN:Israel moves Gazans to house, bombs it'

Press TV

"Israeli forces move near 110 Palestinians into a house and shell it repeatedly 24 hours later, killing about 30 people, a UN reports says.

"According to several testimonies, on 4 January Israeli foot soldiers evacuated approximately 110 Palestinians into a single-residence house in Zeitun (half of whom were children) warning them to stay indoors," AFP quoted the United Nations' report as saying on Friday.

"Twenty-four hours later, Israeli forces shelled the home repeatedly, killing approximately 30," the report added.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) called the bombardment as "one of the gravest incidents after the beginning of Israeli onslaught on Gaza since December 27. "Those who survived and were able walked two kilometers to Salah
Ed Din road before being transported to hospital in civilian vehicles
. Three children, the youngest of whom was five months old, died upon arrival at the hospital
," OCHA said....."

The Gaza Ghetto Uprising

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD- Bethlehem
Palestine Chronicle

"....The Gaza Ghetto uprising was so inconvenient to designs to dominate the Middle East, that it was met with uncommon brutality. This had to be coupled with massive and well-funded media campaigns abroad to hide the realities while preventing media access to Gaza. But independent coverage in Europe and elsewhere show that Israeli forces shelled two universities, three colleges, police stations, several residential neighborhoods, three UN schools, roads, bridges, and a children playground. 700 Palestinians were killed in two weeks and over 3000 injured. Half of the victims are women and children and half the men are noncombatants. Relative to US population, this would be like killing 132,000 US citizens in two weeks. The Red Cross and UN agencies report massive violations of Israeli obligations under International law in many cases amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ironically, in the past 60 years the US used its veto power twice as often to protect Israel from International law than to protect US interests.

The real reason for the onslaught on Gaza is also not about fundamentalist Islam. The US and Israel are happy to support those when they tow the party line (take Saudi Arabia for example). Like the attack on Lebanon in 2006 Gaza is pummeled to accept the colonization and power structures. In that context we can understand Israeli Deputy “Defense” minister Matai Vilnai who warned once that continuing resistance would bring upon Palestinians a “bigger holocaust”. Indeed resistance to colonization and occupation are natural and enshrined in International law and can only be obliterated by genocide....."

The Same Old Change

Obama's Middle East 'czar' signals the Lobby's still in charge

By Justin Raimondo

"The news that Dennis Ross will be appointed the special envoy to Iran – and, more, that he will function as a Middle East "czar" – is "staggeringly bad news," as Philip Weiss so trenchantly put it. The appointment, Weiss avers, is "illustrative of the fact that neoconservatism by one of its more amenable names is still in our lives, and the Israel lobby is a big component of the Establishment. Dennis Ross, who pushed the settlements in '92. Dennis Ross, who moved from party to party with indifference, because he had a bigger power than party behind him. ...A friend says that Dennis Ross in Arabic means, Expletive you!".....

With Hillary and Ross at the helm of State, expect prolonged negotiations in the form of a series of ultimatums directed at Tehran, punctuated, perhaps, by a series of incidents, close calls that don't quite spark a war but keep the embers burning. All this drama leading inexorably to a preordained denouement – the third gulf war. "

The West Bank: We're all Hamas now - supporters of Fatah unite behind enemy

Mahmoud Abbas's popularity has been caught in the crossfire of the Gaza invasion

By Ben Lynfield in Ramallah
The Independent

"Even if Israel wins on the battlefield or in the diplomatic corridors it is already paying the price of its Gaza onslaught in intensified hatred in the hearts of its Palestinian neighbours in the West Bank. The campaign also appears to be increasing public scepticism about the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's chosen path of negotiations as the way to establish an independent state alongside Israel....

Palestinian Authority security forces are keeping a tight lid on protests, preventing confrontations with Israeli troops and arresting anyone raising Hamas banners at rallies. But displays of identification with the beleaguered Gazans are everywhere...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Peace plan - 08 Jan 09

Part 1:

Part 2:

"Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, have proposed a plan to end the fighting in Gaza, including a call for an immediate ceasefire between Palestinian armed factions and Israel.

Joining presenter David Foster on Inside Story are Nickolay Mladenov, a member of the European parliament and its delegation for relations with Israel; Richard Burden, a member of the UK parliament, and chair of the Britain-Palestine All Party Group; and also Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor-in chief of the Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Israeli war on Gaza continues after second lull - 08 Jan 09

"The toll in Israel's War on Gaza now stands at 763 Palestinians dead and well over three thousand wounded. And the military onslaught is heading into a second week of bombardment with even less relief for the territory's residents.

Imran Khan looks at events on the 13th day of Israel's war on Gaza."

Al-Jazeera Video: Paramedics risking their lives amid war in Gaza - 08 Jan 09

"It's a tough job as it is, but for the paramedics and ambulance drivers of Gaza right now it's impossible. Hundreds of health workers are risking their lives on a daily basis in order to save others.

Sherine Tadros has spent a day with some of them. This is her exclusive report."

The UN in Israel's sights

The shelling of schools in Gaza caps off a tumultuous relationship between the UN and Israel

Ian Williams, Thursday 8 January 2009

"....The IDF, of course, always behaves as if it is shocked, shocked, that wild firing into the most densely populated territory in the world produces civilian casualties.

But now let us compare international reactions. A Serb mortar shell into the market place in Sarajevo in 1995 led to much-belated Nato and UN intervention against the perpetrators. Here the US that called for that action has, as in 2006 in Lebanon, resisted almost unanimous international calls for a ceasefire, and is now belatedly converted to the idea, albeit hedged around with enough qualifications to keep the blood flowing into Gaza's already overflowing sewers a little longer.

When the US does move, it will almost certainly be, as in Lebanon, to use the UN security council as a fireman's ladder to let Israel get down gracefully from the gory pole it has once again mounted. It is too much to hope that the perpetrators will appear before an international court?

But one can anticipate that even more Israeli politicians and generals will be checking with their lawyers as well as their travel agents before going on any trips abroad."

Talking to Hamas is a step toward peace

Barack Obama's apparent willingness to engage with Hamas is heartening. Peace cannot be achieved without talking to all sides

Jonathan Freedland, Thursday 8 January 2009

"..... Second, even the limited opening to Hamas apparently under discussion in the Obama circle is pretty conditional. It seems to be premised either on Hamas taking a "decisive drubbing" in Gaza or on a reconciliation with Fatah. Neither of those outcomes is guaranteed.

Nevertheless, those of us who have long believed that peace depends on engaging with all parties to a conflict – and that peace is made with your enemies rather than with your friends – have reason to be cheered by this news, tentative as it is......"

British link with drone aiding the Israeli war effort

David Pallister
The Guardian, Friday 9 January 2009

"An Israeli-owned British company has been drawn into the political controversy over arms sales to Israel prompted by the assault on Gaza.

UAV Engines, of Lichfield, Staffordshire, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of engines for drones - unmanned aerial vehicles that are becoming critical frontline systems for military and civilian use around the world.

The company, known as UEL, is owned by the Israel drone specialists Silver Arrow, a subsidiary of the Israeli defence contractor Elbit Systems.

One of its rotary Wankel engines is used in Elbit's Hermes 450 drone. A version of the 450 makes up a squadron of the Israeli air force and has been seen over Gaza in the current conflict, being used for surveillance and targeting for Israel's F-16 strike fighters...."

Obama camp 'prepared to talk to Hamas'

Incoming administration will abandon Bush's isolation of Islamist group to initiate low-level diplomacy, say transition sources

Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington, Friday 9 January 2009

"The incoming Obama administration is prepared to abandon George Bush's ­doctrine of isolating Hamas by establishing a channel to the Islamist organisation, sources close to the transition team say.

The move to open contacts with Hamas, which could be initiated through the US intelligence services, would represent a definitive break with the Bush ­presidency's ostracising of the group. The state department has designated Hamas a terrorist organisation, and in 2006 ­Congress passed a law banning US financial aid to the group.

The Guardian has spoken to three ­people with knowledge of the discussions in the Obama camp. There is no talk of Obama approving direct diplomatic negotiations with Hamas early on, but he is being urged by advisers to initiate low-level or clandestine approaches, and there is growing recognition in Washington that the policy of ostracising Hamas is counter-productive. A tested course would be to start ­contacts through Hamas and the US intelligence services, similar to the secret process through which the US engaged with the PLO in the 1970s. Israel did not become aware of the contacts until much later......

Richard Haass, a diplomat under both Bush presidents who was named by a number of news organisations this week as Obama's choice for Middle East envoy, supports low-level contacts with Hamas provided there is a ceasefire in place and a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation emerges.

Another potential contender for a ­foreign policy role in the Obama administration suggested that the president-elect would not be bound by the Bush doctrine of isolating Hamas. "This is going to be an administration that is committed to negotiating with ­critical parties on critical issues," the source said.

There are a number of options that would avoid a politically toxic scenario for Obama of seeming to give legitimacy to Hamas. "Secret envoys, multilateral six-party talk-like approaches. The total isolation of Hamas that we promulgated under Bush is going to end," said Steve Clemons, the director of the American Strategy ­Programme at the New America ­Foundation. "You could do something through the Europeans. You could invent a structure that is multilateral. It is going to be hard for the neocons to swallow," he said. "I think it is going to happen."......"

ثقافة الاستسلام المخجلة

ثقافة الاستسلام المخجلة

عبد الباري عطوان

"بعض المواقف التي تتخذها الحكومة المصرية هذه الايام عصية على الفهم، وترفع ضغط المرء في الوقت نفسه، بسبب طبيعتها المغرقة في الاستفزاز، واثارة الاعصاب، مثل اصرارها على منع اكثر من مئة طبيب جاءوا من مختلف انحاء العالم، بعضهم مصريون، من الدخول الى قطاع غزة، للانضمام الى زملائهم في المستشفيات الذين انهاروا كليا من شدة التعب والاعياء، وتعاظم اعداد الجرحى في مستشفياتهم المتهالكة بسبب النقص في المعدات والادوية وحتى الكهرباء
ثم متى كان النظام المصري يحرص على ارواح البشر، ألم يتواطأ مع هذا العدوان الاسرائيلي، ويشجع جنرالاته على غزو قطاع غزة، والاطاحة بـ'الامارة الاسلامية' فيه؟ ألم يتقدم بمبادرة الهدف منها القاء عجلة انقاذ لمهندسي هذه الحرب من مأزقهم الراهن، ومساعدتهم على تحقيق اهدافهم بالقوة العسكرية وعلى اجساد الشهداء والجرحى، وهي الاهداف التي فشلوا في تحقيقها عبر سياسات الحصار والتجويع؟
في مستشفيات قطاع غزة اكثر من اربعة آلاف جريح، بعضهم ينزفون حتى الموت لعدم قدرة الاطباء على اسعافهم، ولعدم وجود غرفة عمليات او معدات طبية كافية، ومع ذلك يغلق الرئيس المصري حسني مبارك المعبر في وجوه هؤلاء الاطباء المتطوعين الذين لبوا نداء الواجب والضمير الانساني، وكأنه يريد ان يموت العدد الاكبر من الجرحى الفلسطينيين حتى ينتقم شخصيا من ابناء قطاع غزة الذين لا يكن لهم اي ود، ولا يبدي اي تعاطف مع مآسيهم.
النظام المصري يفقد احــــترامه، بعد ان فقد دوره الاقليمي والدولي بسبب هذه السياسات والمواقف المخجـــــلة، فالمــــبادرة التي تقدم بها لوقف الحرب في قطاع غزة قوبلت بالاستهجان والاستهتار من جمــــيع الاطراف، ولم تصمد يوما واحدا، حيث رفضتها معظم الاطراف، لان صاحبها لا يتمتع بأي ثقل، وصاغها بطريقة تخدم اهداف العدوان ودون التشاور مع الطرف المعني، وهو فصائل المقاومة، من منطلق الغرور والعنجهية الفارغة
يعتصرنا الألم ونحن نرى اهلنا يواجهون آلة القتل الاسرائيلية وحدهم، ونتألم بحرقة عندما نرى رضيعا يبكي الى جانب جثث والدته ووالده واشقائه بعد ان مزقتهم الصواريخ الاسرائيلية، ولكن ما يطمئننا ان هذه الدماء لن تذهب هدرا، لانها ستؤسس لمرحلة جديدة، عنوانها المقاومة، واسقاط كل مشاريع الهزيمة والاستسلام

UNSCR 1860…Israel’s Real Fiasco Exposed


"09/01/2009 The United Nations Security Council approved Gaza Strip ceasefire resolution number 1860. The resolution, submitted by Britain, passed with a majority of 14 votes. The United States abstained from voting. Notably, the word "Hamas", the key Palestinian party in the Israeli war on Gaza is not mentioned in the document......Israel maneuvered at the UN and attempted to postpone the vote by 24 hours to score any achievement from its Gaza war, but failed.....

Observers see the UNSCR as a gift to some Arab nations, namely the so called moderate Arab regimes, to save face as they came under intense public pressure to secure an immediate end to Israel's 13-day war on Gaza that has killed more than 760 Palestinians.
It was one of the rare times that Arabs insist on not leaving New York before reaching a resolution on an issue because the magnitude of the massacre in Gaza has brought their regimes on the brink of danger.....

Tel Aviv’s military and political dilemma lies here.
For 14 days, more than 30,000 Israeli soldiers, air forces, naval forces, security forces, thousands of raids, more than 4,000 Palestinian civilian victims and more than 110 Israel army casualties, the Zionist entity has failed to achieve a single point to claim it can come out of the Gaza war with an upper hand. Militarily speaking, the Israeli army needs salvation fast. Politically speaking, Israel has not scored any results of its aggression on Gaza, therefore it has literarily nothing to bargain on, except from threatening to target more civilians.

As Israel is more likely to emerge broken, again, from this war while Hamas and other resistance movements are still strong, calm, still firing rockets at settlements and fighting back and inflicting heavy losses in occupation army ranks, Tel Aviv is in denial.
It finds it difficult to accept Hamas having an official role in Gaza after the war ends as including the resistance group in governance will never mean the “new security reality” that Israel promoted as one of its objectives. "

Hamas: Abbas No Longer Heads PA


"09/01/2009 Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's term in office expires on Friday.....

Abbas was elected in January 2005 to a four-year term.

Hamas officials said that as of Friday they would not recognize Abbas's status as president of the PA. But they also made it clear that they would not demand his resignation for now "because of the war" in the Gaza Strip.

However, Hamas and some Palestinian legal experts have openly challenged Abbas's right to remain in power after the expiration of his term. "Thursday was Abbas's last day in office," said Osama Hamdan, the Hamas representative in Lebanon. "Our position on this issue is clear: Abbas's term in office has expired."......"

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Three simple proposals

A very good piece by Jean Bricmont

There are surely millions of us, invisible to each other, enraged and powerless as we watch the massacre of Gaza and listen to our media describe it as a "retaliation against terrorism", "Israel’s right to defend itself". We have reached a point where answering the Zionist arguments is both useless and unworthy of humanity. So long as it is recognized that the shells landing on Ashkelon are likely to have been fired by descendants of the inhabitants of that region who were driven out by the Zionists in 1948, talk of peace is a smoke screen for continued Israeli assault on the survivors of that great injustice.

Israel's Dress Rehearsal for Lebanon

Blue Star Rampage

An Important Article

By Mike Whitney

".....The reason the rationale for invading Gaza keeps changing, (from rocket-fire to Hamas infrastructure to strengthening deterrents to weapons smuggling to ceasefire violations etc) is because the real purpose of the operation is to conduct a dress rehearsal for the impending invasion of Lebanon. Israel has never recovered from its defeat at the hands of Hezbollah during the 33 Day war in 2006, so it is preparing for a reprisal. The attack on Gaza is just a "dry run"; a confidence-building exercise to strengthen morale and put the finishing touches on the battle plan. That's why there's such a disparity between the implicit risks of the current operation and its minuscule strategic gains. It's not really Hamas that is in the cross-hairs, but Hezbollah; and this time, Israel hopes to crush them with overwhelming force. The massive week-long aerial bombardment, the pounding by heavy artillery units, and the deployment of elite troops and armored divisions all presage a massive Normandy-type invasion of Lebanon with the probability of high casualties........

This is while Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quoted as telling the French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday that "today Hamas and Tomorrow Hezbollah," will come under attack......

The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported this comment by Head of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin in its January 6 edition: "Yadlin said, 'Hezbollah might carry out a low-profile attack by means of a Palestinian organization that would be limited and not set the border alight.' He added that forces also remained on high alert in light of a possible Hezbollah strike against an Israeli target abroad." (Ha'aretz, 1-6-09)

Who really wants another war; Hezbollah or Israel?....."

COMMENT: Was Israel behind the rockets fired from Lebanon on Israel, in a false flag operation, to provide the justification for attacking Hizbullah and South Lebanon?

This Genocide Will Not Be Televised: Red Cross finds starving children with 12 corpses in Gaza 'house of horrors'

Times Online

"The International Committee of the Red Cross has accused the Israeli military of "unacceptable" conduct and breaching international humanitarian law after discovering four emaciated children living next to the corpses of their mothers and other adults in bomb-shattered houses in Gaza City.

The ICRC said that it had spent four days seeking Israeli guarantees of safe passage so that it could gain access to the houses in the badly damaged Zaytun neighbourhood of the city. It was finally allowed to send in a rescue team and four Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulances yesterday afternoon and said today that what they found was shocking.

In one house they discovered four small children, alive but too weak to stand, next to the bodies of their dead mothers. In all their were 12 dead bodies lying on mattresses.

In another house they found 15 survivors of the Israeli bombardment, several of them wounded, and in a third, three corpses. At that point they were ordered to leave by Israeli soldiers manning a post some 80 metres away, but they refused to do so........"

Egypt Pulls Down the Shutters on Aid

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Jan 8 (IPS) - Egyptian authorities have almost fully sealed the border with Gaza, preventing delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid.

"The government has expressly forbidden the entry of aid convoys laden with food into the Gaza Strip," Emmad al-Din Moustafa, member of the Popular Committee for Aiding Gaza told IPS. "The continued border closure -- like the Israeli assault itself -- constitutes a crime against humanity.".....

Meanwhile, local activists say the situation in the Gaza Strip has become dire.

"Many Gazans can't find food," said Moustafa, who is in regular contact by telephone with several families across the border. "If the situation doesn't drastically improve in the next three days, people will starve to death. Meanwhile 50,000 tonnes of food is sitting in Al-Arish, awaiting the authorities' permission to make the crossing. Where are the international humanitarian institutions, like the UN?"

Doctors and medical experts have been barred from entering the Gaza Strip. On Tuesday (Jan. 6), a group of 55 Egyptian medical volunteers of varying specialties from universities throughout the country were prevented from crossing into Gaza. "Although we signed a statement saying we were responsible for our own safety, the border authorities at Rafah refused us entry without explanation," Yasser Mohamed, a heart surgery specialist at Cairo University and one of the medical volunteers, told IPS from Al-Arish. "Shortly afterwards, the minister of health -- who happened to be in the area -- told us we couldn't enter Gaza because 'Israel had not given its approval'.

"Doctors in Gaza, who are usually trained only in general medicine, are in desperate need of our skills," added Mohamed. "If we were let in, we could save lots of lives."

According to Al-Bulk, security forces on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing are leaving nothing to chance. "Police forces in Rafah and Al-Arish have been beefed up substantially since the Israeli campaign began," he said. "And they have orders to fire on anyone attempting to breach the border." "

Gaza's Steadfastness (Somoud)
By Naser Jafari

This Holocaust Will Not Be Televised: Gaza victims' burns increase concern over phosphorus

Times Online

The pale blue 155mm rounds are clearly marked with the designation M825A1, an American-made white phosphorus munition

"Photographic evidence has emerged that proves that Israel has been using controversial white phosphorus shells during its offensive in Gaza, despite official denials by the Israel Defence Forces.

There is also evidence that the rounds have injured Palestinian civilians, causing severe burns. The use of white phosphorus against civilians is prohibited under international law......"

How the Nutty Professor Misstates, Misrepresents and Misapplies the Law

The Dershowitz Check-Up Continues


"In the minds of some of his colleagues, and a law student reporter at the Harvard Law Record, Professor Alan Dershowitz's unique views of Israel's obligations under international law are reflected in the "private legal memoranda" that he churns out from time to time in his moonlighting job as "Of Counsel to the Government of Israel". In this role, as one of his former students explained, Harvard's Nutty Professor advises Israel "how to appear to be acting legally to the eyes of the American public".

One recent bit of international legal advice that Dershowitz is said to be particularly proud of is his recent Memorandum regarding the current 'Legal Standard' identifying those who the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) can 'legally' target in Gaza. These days one can witness his opus mini being read word for word off a cue card by IDF spokesman, Benjamin Rutland.

Mr. Rutland, speaking on January 3, 2009 to FOX TV by video-link, read to the interviewer,

"Our definition of who we can legally target is that it can be anyone, I repeat, anyone, who is involved in any way, as the Government of Israel shall determine, with terrorism or who supports Hamas, in any qualitative way. That person obviously becomes a lawful target. This ranges from the strictly military institutions and includes the political institutions that provide the logistical funding and human resources for the terrorist arm of Hamas."

The extremely broad scope of the IDF's new 'legal standard' would appear to mean that Israel can now legally kill anyone in Gaza including the 48 civilians seeking shelter in UNWRA's Fakhura girls elementary school or the three members of the Al-Sultan family, 15 hours earlier, as they emerged from the toilets in the courtyard of Asma school, in the Shati refugee camp north of Gaza City.

Philippe Sands, Professor of International Law, University College London notes, "Once you extend the definition of combatants in the way that IDF is doing and associate individuals who are only indirectly or peripherally involved, it becomes an open-ended definition, which undermines the very object and purpose of the rules that are intended to be applied."..... "

Resistance Groups: Egypt's Ceasefire Plan Not Valid


(Graphic by Carlos Latuff)

"08/01/2009 Palestinian groups based in Syria, including Hamas, believe the Egyptian plan aimed at securing a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip "has no valid basis," a Palestinian official said on Thursday. "Palestinian organizations, notably Hamas, see no valid basis in the Egyptian plan for a solution to the crisis" in Gaza, Khaled Abdel-Majid, spokesman for Palestinian groups based in Damascus, said.

He noted that the common position came after a meeting of eight Palestinian movements based in the Syrian capital, including the Resistance Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups.

"The Franco-Egyptian initiative does not contribute towards finding a solution since it is a threat to the resistance and the Palestinian cause, allowing the enemy to continue its aggression," the groups said in a statement.

The Damascus-based movements "reject the presence of international forces or observers in Gaza, since this is aimed at defending the security of the occupation and reinforcing the blockade against the resistance."....... "

نشطاء مصريون يهددون بتفجير خط إمداد الغاز لإسرائيل


"هدد نشطاء مصريون بتفجير خط الأنابيب الذي يمد إسرائيل بالغاز المصري ما لم تلتزم الحكومة المصرية بتنفيذ حكم قضائي بوقف تصديره، واتهم النشطاء الحكومة بأنها "تمد الكيان الصهيوني بالوقود الذي تدير به آلتها العسكرية التي تسحق أطفال ونساء غزة".

Riding on Fire

A Third Intifada?

Beit Hanoun, Gaza.


"I’ve been working with the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance services in Jabaliya, Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya for the past 5 days and nights.

For the past five days the Red Cross and the Red Crescent emergency services have been blocked from evacuating the injured and the dead from key areas surrounding Jabaliya and Gaza City. Special Forces have occupied houses in the areas of Zeitoun, Atarturah, Zoumo and Salahedeen.

Paramedic Ali Khalil’s team was shot at on Monday afternoon. He told me, 'We had been told we had the go-ahead from the Israeli army through co-ordination with the Red Cross but when we arrived at the area we were shot at. We had to turn back'. Yesterday afternoon, a medical volunteer, Hassan, was shot in the leg as he and his colleague had to drop the stretcher they were carrying after coming under Israeli sniper fire. There are reports of scores of dead bodies lying in the streets un-claimed. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society estimates there are 230 injured which they haven’t been able to pick up.

There are reports of 18 corpses in one home alone and the injured dying from treatable wounds because of a lack of access to medical treatment......."

Former Amb. Martin Indyk vs. Author Norman Finkelstein: A Debate on Israel’s Assault on Gaza and the US Role in the Conflict

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"The Israeli assault on Gaza is entering its thirteenth day. Some 700 Palestinians have been killed, with many thousands more wounded, and a humanitarian crisis is mounting. Ten Israelis have died, four by “friendly fire.” A ceasefire has not been reached, and the offensive continues. We host a debate between Martin Indyk, the former US ambassador to Israel and Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs during the Clinton administration, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and author of, Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East, and Norman Finkelstein, author of several books, including The Holocaust Industry, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict and Beyond Chutzpah....."