Saturday, December 27, 2008

Massive Israeli carnage leaves hundreds of Gaza victims

From Khalid Amayreh in Ramallah

"27 December, 2008
More than 230 Palestinians were killed and several hundred others injured Saturday when Israeli warplanes and combat helicopters carried out massive aerial bombing attacks targeting numerous police and security-related buildings throughout the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian officials and spokespersons in both Gaza and the West Bank used epithets such “carnage,” “massacres,” and “war of extermination” to describe the deadly Israeli raids.
The intensity of the bombing, say Gaza citizens, were unprecedented in living memory.
The attacks began around noon Saturday during the rush hour when as many as a hundred F-16 war planes and attack helicopters launched air-to-ground missiles on numerous buildings in the Gaza Strip, causing widespread death and destruction......

Israeli commentators described the aerial blitz as representing the Israeli version of “shock and awe.”

Targeting police facilities
One of the deadliest raid targeted a police graduation ceremony in downtown Gaza, killing and maiming dozens of cadets. The fact that the graduation ceremony had been allowed to proceed as scheduled may indicate that Hamas was taken by surprise.

Black smoke was bellowing from as many as 30 buildings targeted by the Israeli air force as headless bodies were strewn around the bombed buildings. Some of the bombed facilities were later bombed again, apparently to wreak more death on civilian and rescue teams.
The targets of the massive aerial bombings were mostly police stations and headquarters of law-enforcing agencies.

Rescue sources said that the death toll as of 6:00 pm Saturday reached 210 with more than 450 people injured, some quite badly. The same sources said the number of casualties was likely to rise as additional victims were still buried under the rubble and unaccounted for.

Among the martyrs were Gaza police chief Tawfiq Jabbre and Ismael Ja’abari, a local security chief. Muawiya Hasanin, Chief of public hospitals in Gaza, described the raids as “a real massacre.” “This is a real massacre, it is a war of extermination, carried out by Israel against the defenseless Palestinian masses.” Hasanin said 200 people were killed and as many as 300 others were injured. According to Hasanin, 70 of the martyrs were badly burned and mutilated beyond recognition. He added that some of the victims were still buried under the rubble of destroyed buildings. Hasanin said that 120 people injured in the bombings were in serious to critical condition. He called on friendly states and organizations to extend urgently-needed medical assistance to save lives. “This carnage is bigger than our limited means. We are doing our best to deal with this unprecedented situation.” Many of the victims were hastily buried because Gaza hospital morgues were filled to capacity.

Palestinians in the Occupied territories and in Israel reacted angrily to the wanton killings in the Gaza Strip. A three-day period of national mourning was announced in the West Bank.
More over, thousands of people took to the streets, demanding immediate stoppage of the Zionist aggression and calling for the immediate restoration of Palestinian national unity.
In al-Khalil (Hebron) in the southern West Bank, hundreds of youths hurled stones on Israeli occupation soldiers at the Bab el Zawiya neighborhood. Several boys were reportedly injured by rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades. Similarly, hundreds of youngsters hurled stones at an Israeli army outpost north of Ramallah. A number of boys were also reported injured by rubber bullets.
Palestinian security forces dispersed the protesters before returning to their nearby barracks.

At the official level, while most PA officials condemned the “criminal onslaught,” at least publicly, some PA leaders voiced a certain degree of satisfaction at the devastating raids on Gaza. Al Tayeb Abdul Rahim, a leading aide to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas called on “Fatah supporters in Gaza to show more patience and steadfastness.”
We promise you that the Palestinian legitimacy will return soon to Gaza,” Abdul Rahim said during an interview with the Fatah-run Palestine TV. Moreover, the Fatah organization sent a circular to its regional chapters asking them to refrain from showing any sign of public gloating over the Israeli bombing in Gaza.

Egyptian regime stands accused
Meanwhile, Hamas officials have accused the Egyptian leadership of colluding with Israel against the movement. Fawzi Barhum, a prominent Hamas official, revealed that Egypt had informed Hamas that Israel wouldn’t attack Gaza, adding that the “criminal onslaught” wouldn’t have taken place without a clear collusion with Israel by “certain regional players.” “Today we pay the price of the Arab collusion with Israel. These massacres wouldn’t have occurred had it not been for official Arab silence and European and American acquiescence with Israel......

Arab commentators were particularly infuriated by the failure of Abul Gheit to challenge the bellicose remarks uttered by visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Cairo on Thursday. Livni said during a joint press conference with Abul Gheit that Israel would destroy Hamas and change the reality in Gaza. However, Abul Gheit remained silent, refusing to challenge the Israeli minister.........

Several Arab commentators accused Egypt and the American-backed Palestinian authority of having tacitly encouraged Israel to carry out the bombing campaign against Hamas in the hope that this would eventually allow the Israeli-backed Fatah organization to re-conquer the Gaza Strip.

The death toll of “Black Saturday” is the highest Palestinians have incurred since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war."

International Witnesses speak out from Gaza

The Free Gaza Movement

"(Besieged Gaza, Palestine - 27th December 2008) - Human Rights Defenders from Lebanon, the UK, Poland, Canada, Spain, Italy and Australia are present in Gaza and are witnessing and documenting the current Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Due to Israel's policy of denying access to international media, human rights defenders and aid agencies to the Occupied Gaza Strip, many of these Human Rights Defenders arrived in Gaza with the Free Gaza Movement's boats. FREE GAZA boats have broken Israel's siege of Gaza five times in the past four months.

"At the time of the attacks I was on Omar Mukhtar street and witnessed a last rocket hit the street 150 meters away where crowds had already gathered to try to extract the dead bodies. Ambulances, trucks, cars - anything that can move is bringing injured to the hospitals. Hospitals have had to evacuate sick patients to make room for the injured. I have been told that there is not enough room in the morgues for the bodies and that there is a great lack of blood in the blood banks. I have just learned that among the civilians killed today was the mother of my good friends in Jabalya camp."

- Eva Bartlett (Canada) International Solidarity Movement

"Israeli missles tore through a children's playground and busy market in Diere Balah, we saw the aftermath - many were injured and some reportedly killed. Every Hospital in the Gaza strip is already overwhelmed with injured people and does not have the medicine or the capacity to treat them. Israel is committing crimes against humanity, it is violating international and human rights law, ignoring the United Nations and planning even bigger attacks. The world must act now and intensify the calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel; governments need to move beyond words of condemnation into an active and immediate restraint of Israel and a lifting of the siege of Gaza"

- Ewa Jasiewicz (Polish and British) Free Gaza Movement

"The morgue at the Shifa hospital has no more room for dead bodies, so bodies and body parts are strewn all over the hospital."

- Dr. Haidar Eid, (Palestinian, South African) Professor of Social and Cultural Studies, Al Aqsa University Gaza......."

Al-Jazeera Video: Israel launches missile attacks on Gaza - 27 Dec 08


Sunday, December 28, 2008 2:00 PM
Rockefeller Center - 50th St. and 5th Ave.
March to Zionist Consulate - 42nd St. and 2nd. Ave NYC

We must act now, before the massacres continue! Over 200 people were killed in Gaza on Saturday, December 27 in a series of Israeli attacks - with US-made and paid for weaponry - upon the Palestinian people. These cold-blooded killings come on top of a siege on Gaza that has killed hundreds by depriving them of medical care, deprived Gazans of electricity, power and fuel and attempted to strangle the life of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The people of Gaza are standing steadfast in the face of these massacres but our voices must be heard to demand an immediate end to the massacres and an end to US aid to Israel! The Israeli military is promising more massacres - we must say no NOW!

Rally Organized by: Al Awda-NY, Arab Muslim American Federation, International Action Center, US Palestine Community Network of NY, General Union of Palestinian Students-NY, Brooklyn Parents for Peace

Israeli raid on Gaza, by Carlos Latuff

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Gaza massacres must spur us to action

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 27 December 2008

".....But today's horrific attacks mark only a change in Israel's method of killing Palestinians recently. In recent months they died mostly silent deaths, the elderly and sick especially, deprived of food and necessary medicine by the two year-old Israeli blockade calculated and intended to cause suffering and deprivation to 1.5 million Palestinians, the vast majority refugees and children, caged into the Gaza Strip. In Gaza, Palestinians died silently, for want of basic medications: insulin, cancer treatment, products for dialysis prohibited from reaching them by Israel.....

Once again we are watching massacres in Gaza, as we did last March when 110 Palestinians, including dozens of children, were killed by Israel in just a few days. Once again people everywhere feel rage, anger and despair that this outlaw state carries out such crimes with impunity.

But all over the Arab media and internet today the rage being expressed is not directed solely at Israel. Notably, it is directed more sharply than ever at Arab states. The images that stick are of Israel's foreign minister Tzipi Livni in Cairo on Christmas day. There she sat smiling with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Then there are the pictures of Livni and Egypt's foreign minister smiling and slapping their palms together......

....Everywhere people ask, what did Livni tell the Egyptians and more importantly what did they tell her? Did Israel get a green light to turn Gaza's streets red once again? Few are ready to give Egypt the benefit of the doubt after it has helped Israel besiege Gaza by keeping the Rafah border crossing closed for more than a year.

On top of the intense anger and sadness so many people feel at Israel's renewed mass killings in Gaza is a sense of frustration that there seem to be so few ways to channel it into a political response that can change the course of events, end the suffering, and bring justice......."

Hezbollah to Gazans: You Are Not by Yourselves


"27/12/2008 The head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council Sayyed Hachem Safieddine confirmed on Saturday that the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were not standing by themselves.

Speaking during a protest in Southern Suburb of Beirut against the Israeli barbaric massacres, Sayyed Safieddine addressed Gaza residents saying, “You are not alone in this ordeal and the coming days will prove that the right that Gaza people are defending will obtain victory.”

His eminence compared the current Gaza aggression to the Lebanon Second War in July 2006, saying “the decision is American taken in the White House, the Zionist machine is executing and the collusion is Arab that has paved for this aggression.”

Sayyed Safieddine addressed the people of Gaza telling them thae they, along with the resistance, would achieve victory “as we did in 2006”, adding “you (Gazans) will stay in the victorious position.” .........

Meanwhile, Hezbollah issued a statement on Saturday confirming that Israel is committing an Israeli war crime and genocide against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, saying that this calls for an instant move by the international community and its institutions, and especially the United Nations and the Security Council considering their suspicious silence a clear collusion with this aggression.

The statement added, “The condemnation language adopted by the Arab countries and their league is not capable of covering their shameful stance anymore, since allowing to block the Palestinian people is considered a participation in the siege instead of supporting this people in the whole civil and military fields to make them capable of deterring the aggression.”

Hezbollah concluded its statement saying that the nation is called for a strict stance and to exert its maximum capabilities against the barbaric Israeli aggression, under the US auspices along with the international community."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you believe that the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza are taking place with an official Arab cover?

With over 9,000 responding so far, 92% said yes.

Al-Jazeera Video: Hamas press conference after Israeli Gaza strikes - 27 Dec08

BBC Video: Scores die in Israeli air strikes

مصادر: عمرو سليمان وليفني اتفقا على عملية محدودة بالقطاع

تنديد بالصمت العربي واتهام لمصر بالتغرير بحركة حماس

"رام الله ـ القدس العربي ـ من وليد عوض ـ علمت "القدس العربي" من مصادر دبلوماسية عربية وثيقة ان اللواء عمرو سليمان رئيس المخابرات المصرية ابلغ عواصم عربية بان اسرائيل ستشن هجوما محدودا على قطاع غزة من اجل الضغط على حركة حماس لاجبارها على القبول بالتهدئة بدون اي شروط مسبقة.

وقالت هذه المصادر ان اللواء سليمان شدد على وزيرة الخارجية الاسرائيلية تسيبي ليفني على ضرورة تجنب وقوع ضحايا في اوساط المدنيين خلال العملية العسكرية حتى لا تستخدم صور الابرياء في تاليب الشارع العربي .

واكدت مصادر في حركة حماس مقربة من الدكتور محمود الزهار لـ "القدس العربي" السبت بان مصر ابلغت حماس ليل الجمعة بان اسرائيل موافقة على البدء بمفاوضات للوصول الى تهدئة جديدة وانها لن تشن هجوم على قطاع غزة قبل استنفاد القاهرة كل جهودها للوصول الى تهدئة ما بين تل ابيب وفصائل المقاومة.

واوضحت المصادر لـ"لقدس العربي" بان تاكيد القاهرة لحماس بان اسرائيل لن تشن هجوم على قطاع غزة هو ما منع وزارة الداخلية في الحكومة الفلسطينية المقالة بقطاع غزة من اخلاء المقرات الامنية الفلسطينية.

واشارت المصادر بان وزارة الداخلية التابعة لحماس كانت تخلي المقرات الامنية في القطاع عند كل تهديد اسرائيلي الا انها هذه المرة لم تخل المقرات الامنية بناء على التطمينات المصرية للحركة الليلة الماضية بان اسرائيل لن تقوم باي هجوم على قطاع غزة خلال الـ 48 ساعة القادمة خاصة وان يوم السبت عطلة رسمية ودينية في اسرائيل ولن تقدم خلالها على البدء بهجوم على القطاع.

واعتبرت المصادر المقربة من الزهار بان مصر اشتركت في خديعة حماس والتغرير بها من خلال التأكيد لها بان اسرائيل لن تشن هجوم على القطاع وهذا ما اكدته وزيرة الخارجية الاسرائيلية تسيبي ليفني في لقائها الخميس بالرئيس المصري حسني مبارك وفق ما بلغت به حماس الخميس من خلال مساعدين لمدير المخابرات المصرية اللواء عمر سليمان.

هذا وشن سلاح الجو الاسرائيلي السبت هجوما على مقرات الاجهزة الامنية بالقطاع مما اسفر عن سقوط اكثر من 150 شهيدا. ........ "

فصائل فلسطينية تتحدث عن مؤامرة تشارك فيها دول عربية

عوض الرجوب-الخليل

"وجه عدد من الفصائل الفلسطينية أصابع الاتهام مباشرة إلى المستوى الرسمي العربي بالمشاركة في مؤامرة كبيرة تستهدف قطاع غزة وإنهاء فكر المقاومة والتحرير الذي تبنته الفصائل ومن يقف إلى جانبها.

وربط ممثلو الفصائل في تصريحات للجزيرة نت بين زيارة وزيرة الخارجية الإسرائيلية تسيبي ليفني لبعض الدول العربية وبدء الحملة الإسرائيلية التي أوقعت حتى الساعة المئات من الشهداء والجرحى.

وبينما جدد هؤلاء مطالبتهم بوحدة فلسطينية في الرد على جرائم الاحتلال ونبذ الخلافات والتصريحات "التي لا تخدم سوى الاحتلال" ووقوف عربي إلى جانبهم، ربط مراقبون حشد القوات المصرية على الحدود مع غزة بما أسموه علما مسبقا بالعملية.

مؤامرة مكتملة
القيادي في الجبهة الشعبية بدران جابر يصف ما يجري في غزة بأنه "مؤامرة اكتملت صورتها ووصلت حدها الأقصى.. الشركاء فيها كثر"، لكنه أعرب عن ثقته بأن الشعب الفلسطيني سيتجاوز المحنة.

وقال إن الكل هدف للاحتلال ولا يجوز لأي كان أن يقف متفرجا، مضيفا أن "البعض نسي أن له دورا في حماية الشعب الفلسطيني لأنه من الشعوب المكلومة والمناضلة"، في إشارة إلى مصر والدول العربية الأخرى.

وحمل جابر الاحتلال بشكل مباشر والصمت العربي الرسمي مسؤولية المجازر، مطالبا بحماية شعب أعزل يعيش في ظروف الحصار وليس له حول ولا قوة في مواجهة أقوى جيش في المنطقة.

من جهته قال القيادي في حركة فتح حسام خضر إن العملية كانت متوقعة بعد حملات التحريض التي قام بها الإعلام الإسرائيلي مؤخرا، غير مستبعد أن تكون على غرار حملة السور الواقي التي حدثت في الضفة الغربية عام 2002.

وأضاف أن "إسرائيل أخذت الضوء الأخضر لتنفيذ عملية غير مسبوقة من خلال جولات لمسؤوليها في المنطقة"، مطالبا أبناء حركة فتح والقوى الفلسطينية بالتحرك والاحتجاج العلني العنيف ضد المجازر البشعة والتعبير عن رفضها لما يجري.

وطالب خضر حركة حماس بالتجاوب مع نداءات الوحدة الوطنية، كما طالب الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس بالتحرك الفوري وتجنيد الرأي العام لوقف المجازر، مؤكدا أن "إسرائيل ما كانت لتقوم بما قامت به لولا الوضع الفلسطيني المخجل والمتمثل في الانقسام".

وانتقد خضر من يلوم مطلقي الصواريخ، مضيفا أن ذلك يدل على "قصور رؤية ونظر" لأن إسرائيل تعد العدة منذ فترة طويلة لضرب قطاع غزة وتجريده من سلاحه وضرب البنية العسكرية لحركة حماس والمقاومة الفلسطينية ككل.

وشدد على أنه "لا يجوز أن نتطوع لنبحث عن مبررات للاحتلال الذي يستهدف شعبنا"، مؤكدا أن ما يجري في غزة لا يقل عما يجري في الضفة من استيطان وقتل واغتيالات "رغم تقديم كل شيء لإسرائيل، ومع ذلك هي ماضية في سياستها".

جريمة النظام
من جهته وصف القيادي في حركة حماس رأفت ناصيف الحملة الإسرائيلية بأنها "جريمة النظام العربي الرسمي تُنفذ بأيدي صهيونية"، مؤكدا أنها تستهدف بشكل أساسي "التجربة الناجحة ذات المصداقية التي تنفذها حماس".

وتابع أن ما يجري هو "محاولة لإرغام الشعب الفلسطيني على التوقيع والاعتراف بالكيان الصهيوني وابتزاز موقف الاستسلام ووقف مشروع المقاومة والكرامة والتحرير، لكن هذا لن يحدث بإذن الله".

وقال إن من يحمل مطلقي الصواريخ المسؤولية لا يريد أي مصلحة وطنية وهو الذي أفشل الحوار الفلسطيني، مطالبا باتخاذ مواقف واضحة ضده لأنه "لا يجوز أيا كانت الخلافات أن نخرج لنتهم بعضنا بعضا ونعفي الاحتلال".

وكان الناطق باسم حركة حماس فوزي برهوم لمح في تصريحات إذاعية إلى أن مصر التي استقبلت وزيرة الخارجية الإسرائيلية تسيبي ليفني على علم بالعملية، حين قال إنها اتصلت بمسؤولين من حماس وأبلغتهم بأن "الوضع سيكون اليوم هادئا وأن المعابر ستفتح، لكن ما حدث هو حرب إبادة
COMMENT: Egypt obviously was notified about the upcoming massacre by Livni in her meetings with Ehud Mubarak and break-their-legs-Abul Gheit. Yet, the malicious Egyptian regime assured Hamas that there would be no attack during the upcoming 48 hours, when it knew otherwise. The question is: was this to lull Hamas into a false sense of security? If so, why did Hamas after being taken for a ride so many times by the Pharaoh, trust such a Zionist Arab??

Int’l, Arab Collusion against Humanity in Gaza


".....Anwar Raja, the media official in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said to Al-Manar that there is an international and Arab collusion against the Palestinians in the besieged Strip and against the Palestinian cause. Raja accused Egypt of participating in the Israeli siege adding that Egypt was opening Rafah crossing now in front of the funerals instead of opening it in front of Gaza children during the holidays.

Moreover, Hezbollah International Relations officer Nawwaf Moussawi said that the current situation in Gaza is very similar to Lebanon July war in 2006 where Israel launched an aggression against Lebanon under an international and Arab umbrella. Moussawi added that the main aim of this Israeli, international and Arab conspiracy is to eliminate the Palestinian cause."

The Ghetto Behind the Wall is Set Ablaze. (AP)

Bodies of Palestinians are seen at Shifa hospital in Gaza December 27, 2008.

In this image taken from APTN video, Palestinian men carry two injured children into hospital after Israeli aircraft struck.(AP)

A Palestinian woman wounded in Israeli missile strikes is helped into the emergency area at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008. (AP)


Smoke billows from the Gaza Strip following Israeli air strikes on the southern town of Rafah.(AFP)

Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli air strike in the southern town of Rafah. Israel has launched a massive wave of air strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 140 Palestinians. (AFP)

Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli air strike in Rafah, a town in the southern Gaza Strip.(AFP)

A wounded Palestinian is rushed to the hospital after Israeli air force attacked Gaza City December 27, 2008.(Reuters)

Smoke rises after an Israeli bomb exploded in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip December 27, 2008. Israel's air force fired about 30 missiles at targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, destroying several Hamas police compounds and killing more than 140 people. (Reuters)

In this image taken from APTN video men stand outside a destroyed police station after Israeli aircraft struck Hamas security compounds across Gaza in Gaza City on Saturday Dec. 27, 2008.(AP)

Palestinians carry the body of a Palestinian killed in an Israeli missile strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008.(AP)

Palestinians run for cover following an Israeli missile strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008.(AP)

Palestinians gather at the site of a security compound used by the Islamic group Hamas following an Israeli missile strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes demolished dozens of Hamas security compounds across Gaza on Saturday in unprecedented waves of simultaneous air strikes. (AP)

Over 140 Pal. Martyred, 200 Hurt in IAF Gaza Strikes


"27/12/2008 Medical sources report at least 140 Palestinians have been killed and over 200 wounded in a series of Israeli occupation Air Force strikes on the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

Gaza health official Moawiya Hassanain confirmed the report, saying 120 Palestinians have been killed in the airstrikes.

The massive Israeli bombardment of Gaza is "only just the beginning," Israeli military spokesman Avi Benayahu told army radio on Saturday. "This is only just the beginning of an operation launched after a security cabinet decision. It could take time. We have not fixed a timeline and we will act according to the situation on the ground," he said.

A series of Israeli occupation strikes targeted Hamas compounds throughout the Gaza Strip, causing widespread panic, Hamas officials said on Saturday.

Al-Manar correspondent in Gaza said that what is going on is an unprecedented massacre against the Palestinians in the Strip.

"I'm afraid we have at least 40 dead," police spokesman Islam Shahwan told Hamas radio earlier in the day on Saturday. He said a police compound in Gaza City was hosting a graduation ceremony for new personnel when it was attacked.

IAF strikes on Saturday on the police headquarters in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip killed police Chief Tawfiq Jabber, Hamas radio reported.

At least two people were killed and 30 wounded from an attack in Khan Younis, a refugee camp in the south of Gaza.

TV footage showed bodies of more than a dozen black-clad security men lying on the ground in one area. Palestinian witnesses say one of the missiles struck Hamas police headquarters in Gaza City, with at least 50 people among the casualties in the attack.

Residents reported hearing at least 15 explosions. Many of Hamas' security compounds are in residential areas, and the airstrikes took place as children were leaving school. Plumes of black smoke rose over Gaza City, sirens wailed through the streets and women frantically looked for their children......

On Friday, Egyptian officials said that Egypt had begun boosting the security along its border with Gaza, in anticipation of the imminent occupation army operation within the territory, fearing an Israeli incursion would result in a breach of the border."

Let The Zio Slaughter Begin, With Arab Zionist Leaders Cheering!

Israeli missiles target Gaza


"Israel has launched air strikes on Hamas installations in Gaza Strip, killing at least 120 people and causing heavy damage, according to officials and witnesses.

At least 30 missiles were fired at targets on Saturday, with the head of emergency services in Gaza saying that at least 200 people were also wounded.

Hamas and other Palestinian groups said that they have ordered their fighters to avenge the Israeli attack.

Among those killed in Israel's latest offensive was Tawfiq Jabber, the Gaza police chief.

Islam Shahwan, a Hamas police spokesman, said that the attacks destroyed most of the police headquarters in the Gaza Strip and that a police graduation ceremony was hit [COMMENT: You hold police graduation ceremonies when you knew that Israel was going to attack at any minute? How smart is that Hamas?] as it was being held in Gaza City.

The unprecedented number of simultaneous strikes were described as "massive" by the AFP news agency......."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Golden Madoff, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

War Clouds Over Gaza

Why Must Israeli Electioneering Always Require Spilling of Palestinian Blood?


".....Olmert, for one, has decidedly not forgotten the Lebanon fiasco. In fact, he remembers it all too well. And this is the second reason for a possible Gaza attack: a tarnished reputation that must be salvaged. He will seize on an opportunity to correct the missteps of 2006 and restore the standing of Israel’s armed forces—and himself—inside and outside the country.

Olmert believes the circumstances this time are different. First, Hamas is far less organized, disciplined, and militarily capable than Hezbollah. Second, Gaza has been sufficiently ‘softened up’ after months under siege and its population deprived of food, medicine and fuel. As an added bonus, he is ensured of the full support of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Livni was recently in Cairo for talks with Mubarak under the pretense of discussing renewal of the ceasefire agreement. After Mubarak’s half-hearted call for one was rebuffed, he politely asked Israel to show “restraint” in dealing with Gaza. Normally an Arab leader would be loathe to meet with such a high-level representative of the Israeli government due to the criminal embargo imposed on the tiny territory, let alone be so deferential in language. But Egypt has not only been complicit in the siege by keeping its Rafah border crossing with Gaza closed, they apparently also have given Israel the green light to invade.

As reported on Dec. 24 in the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman met last week with the head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Bureau of Diplomatic- Security, Amos Gilad. Suleiman told Gilad that Egypt would not be opposed to a limited Israeli incursion into Gaza with the aim of toppling Hamas.

So the stage is set.

Leadership credentials will be built on spilling Palestinian blood. The image of the mighty Israel Defense Forces will be rehabilitated, albeit against a besieged and starving population. Egypt, along with the Arab monarchies, will watch approvingly from the sidelines. And the remarkable ability of the human spirit to resist foreign invasion and occupation will again, in the end, triumph."

ليفني تهدد.. أبو الغيط يصمت

ليفني تهدد.. أبو الغيط يصمت
عبد الباري عطوان
"ان تهدد تسيبي ليفني وزيرة الخارجية الاسرائيلية باجتياح قطاع غزة، و'سحق' المقاومة فيه، وحركة 'حماس' بالذات، فهذا أمر متوقع، ولا جديد فيه، ولكن ان تصدر السيدة ليفني هذه التهديدات من قلب عاصمة عربية، قدّم شعبها وجيشها آلاف الشهداء من أجل فلسطين، فهذا أمر مستهجن، علاوة على كونه مهيناً، وغير مقبول.
كنا ننتظر من السيد أحمد أبو الغيط وزير الخارجية المصري الذي كان يقف إلى جوارها، وهي تطلق هذه التهديدات، وتلوح بيدها غاضبة، ومتوعدة، في المؤتمر الصحافي المشترك الذي عقداه في ختام مباحثاتها مع الرئيس المصري حسني مبارك، كنا ننتظر منه أن يحتج، أو أن يطلب منها احترام حرمة المكان، ومشاعر عشرات الملايين من المصريين، ولكنه لم يفعل، نقولها بأسف شديد، وتصرف كأنه وزير خارجية كوستاريكا أو السويد، عندما ساوى بين الجانبين، الفلسطيني والاسرائيلي، بمطالبتهما بضبط النفس وعدم توتير الأوضاع.
الحكومة المصرية دعت السيدة ليفني لزيارتها ليس للاحتجاج على حشودات جيشها استعداداً لاجتياح قطاع غزة وإحكام اغلاق
المعابر ووقف كل أسباب الحياة عن مليون ونصف مليون انسان، وانما سعياً للتهدئة، أو بالأحرى لاستجدائها، لأن هذا الاجتياح، في حال حدوثه، سيشكل أكبر إحراج لمصر، وسيخلق لها صداعاً أمنياً وأخلاقياً مزمناً، ربما ينعكس على شكل توترات داخلية، وتهديدات لأمنها القومي، هي في غنى عنها في مثل هذا الظرف الذي تتزاحم فيه المشاكل عليها من كل جانب.
الحكومة المصرية مرتبكة، وتصرفاتها توحي بذلك، فهي تستدعي السفير السوري في القاهرة للاحتجاج على مظاهرة أمام سفارتها في دمشق للمطالبة بفتح معبر رفح، ولكنها لا تجرؤ على استدعاء السفير الاسرائيلي للاحتجاج لأن حكومته ترتكب مجازر في قطاع غزة، وتمارس حصاراً تجويعياً على أهله، وتتصرف كأنها دولة في القطب الشمالي، أثناء الاجتياح الاسرائيلي لجنوب لبنان، أو أثناء مجزرتي قانا الأولى والثانية.
مصدر قوة 'حماس' وفصائل المقاومة الاخرى يتمثل في التمسك بأدبيات المقاومة والثوابت الوطنية والأخلاقية العربية، والاسلامية، والالتصاق بالمواطنين الفلسطينيين وترجمة طموحاتهم في التصدي لمشاريع التصفية الامريكية والاسرائيلية لقضيتهم برجولة وشجاعة، والدليل الأبرز على ذلك ان كل اشهر الحصار الاسرائيلي العربي الرسمي فشلت في تأليب أبناء القطاع ليثوروا على هذه الفصائل، بل ما حدث هو العكس، ومن غير المستبعد ان تطلق مأساة غزة شرارة قد تشعل الشارع العربي، وربما تحرك الجيوش للانقلاب على قياداتها المتخاذلة المتواطئة مع اي عدوان اسرائيلي خاصة اذا صمد المقاومون لبضعة ايام في مواجهة الغزاة.
فما يحدث في غينيا حالياً، حيث تحرك الجيش وجنرالاته لملء الفراغ الدستوري بوفاة الرئيس، ومنع خلفائه الفاسدين من تولي السلطة، هو درس يمكن ان يتكرر في أكثر من عاصمة عربية، وبالتحديد في مصر، التي قد تواجه مثل هذه الحالة في اي وقت من الأوقات، حيث يرفض الشعب المصري في غالبيته الارث السياسي الراهن، واستمراره عبر خطط الخلافة.
اجتياح قطاع غزة لن يوقف الصواريخ، ولن يجلب الأمن للمستوطنات والبلدات الاسرائيلية وان اوقفها، اي الصواريخ، فلفترة محدودة، وفوق كل هذا وذاك، لن يقضي على حركات المقاومة الفلسطينية، فالقوات الاسرائيلية احتلت القطاع لعقود، واغتالت الشيخ احمد ياسين مؤسس حركة 'حماس' ومعظم قادتها الميدانيين مثل الدكتور الرنتيسي، وحجازي، والمقادمة والمهندس يحيى عياش، فماذا حدث؟..
ازدادت الحركة قوة وصلابة، بينما في المقابل ازداد خصومها 'المعتدلون' الفلسطينيون ضعفاً وهواناً. وانعكس ذلك في نتائج الانتخابات التشريعية الفلسطينية الاخيرة.
غزة اصبحت 'معضلة' اسرائيلية، مثلما هي معضلة عربية، لأنها ردت الاعتبار لسلاح المقاومة، واعادت توحيد الشارع العربي خلفها، لأن شعبها لم يركع لسياسات التجويع والارهاب، وعقوق ذوي القربى، ناهيك عن تآمرهم ضده في وضح النهار.
ايهود باراك لم يتوقف عن التهديد باجتياح القطاع طوال الاشهر العشرة الماضية، ولكنه لم يفعل، ليس رأفة بالشعب الفلسلطيني، وانما رعباً من النتائج، فالاجتياح يعني استفزاز المقاومة واستبسال عناصرها في مواجهة الدبابات الاسرائيلية، واطلاق مئات الصواريخ على عسقلان، واسدود، وبئر السبع، وربما تل ابيب، فكل الاحتمالات واردة، والمفاجآت واردة ايضاً، فمن كان يتوقع صمود المقاومة الاسلامية اللبنانية اربعة وثلاثين يوماً وتحقيق اهم انتصار حقيقي في تاريخ الصراع العربي الاسرائيلي، واقامة 'مقابر جماعية' لدبابات الميركافا فخر الصناعة العسكرية الاسرائيلية؟
صحيح ان مساحة قطاع غزة لا تزيد عن 150 ميلاً مربعاً، وليس فيه غابات او ادغال او جبال 'تورا بورا' الشامخة، ولكن فيه رجالاً مؤمنين، مستعدين للشهادة في ميدان المواجهات، على الشهادة جوعاً، ومرضاً، بفعل الحصار.
نقولها للمرة الألف، ماذا ستفعل السيدة ليفني بقطاع غزة بعد احتلاله، اذا تمكنت قواتها من تحقيق ذلك؟ هل ستبقى في القطاع كقوة احتلال ام ستسلمه الى الرئيس عباس، ام ستنسحب منه هروباً، مثلما فعل جنرالاتها بعد هزيمتهم في جنوب لبنان؟ هل تذكر او تتذكر السيدة ليفني وباراك وزير دفاعها اساطير المقاومة في القطاع التي دفعت ارييل شارون لابتلاع 'قرص سم الانسحاب' المهين، والمغادرة دون شروط؟
اجتياح قطاع غزة اذا وقع، ورغم الكوارث الانسانية التي يمكن ان تلحق بأهله من جرائه، وعشرات، بل ربما مئات الشهداء، الذين سيسقطون نتيجة له، هذا الاجتياح، ربما يكون مفيداً للقضية الفلسطينية في هذا التوقيت بالذات، من حيث فضح النظام الرسمي العربي اولاً، وكشف الوجه النازي الحقيقي لاسرائيل، الديمقراطية الوحيدة في المنطقة، امام العالم بأسره، واسدال الستار على مهزلة المفاوضات وابطالها في الجانب الفلسطيني على وجه الخصوص.
قطاع غزة اصبح عنوان الكرامة العربية والاسلامية، والبديل المشرّف للرد على عملية سلمية مهينة مذلة لم تقدم للفلسطينيين غير المستوطنات والحواجز الامنية، والسور العنصري، والاعتداءات في الخليل، والأهم من ذلك مسؤولين فلسطينيين ادمنوا التسول والاستجداء، وحوّلوا الشعب الفلسطيني الى شعب من المتسولين او الشحاذين، بعد ان كان، وكوفيته، رمزاً للاباء والشمم والثورة على الظلم.
فألف تحية الى أهل غزة وكل الشرفاء في الشعب الفلسطيني والأمة العربية
A Palestinian Santa:

A Palestinian demonstrator dressed as Santa Claus uses a sling-shot to hurl stones at Israeli border police during a demonstration against Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bilin near Ramallah, Friday, Dec. 26, 2008. (AP)

Ehud Mubarak Tightening the Siege on Gaza to Help The IOF Killing Machine and Prevent Palestinians From Escaping with Their Lives!

Egypt boosts security on Gaza border

"Egyptian security forces prepare for possible IDF operation in Gaza that officials fear could lead to breach of border

Egypt has boosted security along its border with the Gaza Strip in anticipation of an Israeli attack on the Hamas-ruled territory, officials said on Friday.

Officials and residents in north Sinai said they fear a repeat of the Palestinian breach of the border in January, when tens of thousands of Gazans poured into Egypt after gunmen in Gaza blew holes in the border barricade.

There is a heavy security presence near the border with Gaza,” a security official told AFP. “We are worried that because of Israeli pressure, the Palestinians will breach the border.”

An AFP correspondent said police had set up checkpoints on roads leading to the border and that some north Sinai residents have begun stocking up on food.

We are preparing to be ready if there is breach,” said north Sinai governor Abdel Fadil Shusha......"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you believe that not firing Palestinian rockets from Gaza Would Prevent an Israeli Attack on Gaza?

With about 1,000 responding so far, 89% said no.

The biggest bully in the west

This article by Harold Pinter, who died on Wednesday, first appeared in the Guardian in December 1996

Harold Pinter, Friday 26 December 2008

".....Sometimes you look back into recent history and you ask: did all that really happen? Were half a million "communists" massacred in Indonesia in 1965 (the rivers clogged with corpses)? Were 200,000 people killed in East Timor in 1975 by the Indonesian invaders? Have 300,000 people died in Central America since 1960? Has the persecution of the Kurdish people in Turkey reached levels which approach genocide? Are countless lraqi children dying every month for lack of food and medicine brought about by UN sanctions? Did the military coups in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Chile result in levels of repression and depth of suffering comparable to Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and the Khmer Rouge? And has the US to one degree or another inspired, engendered, subsidised and sustained all these states of affairs? The answer is yes. It has and it does. But you wouldn't know it.

It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the US throughout the world have been systematic, constant, clinical, remorseless and fully documented but nobody talks about them. Nobody ever has. It's probably more than a newspaper or TV channel's life is worth to do so. And it must be said that as the absolute necessity of economic control is at the bottom of all this, any innocent bystander who raises his head must be kicked in the teeth. This is entirely logical. The market must and will overcome......."

Taking a 'Banksy Tour' in Bethlehem

By Michael Scott Moore in Jerusalem
Der Spiegel

"Paintings by the West's favorite graffiti artist, Banksy, are part of everyday life for Palestinians around Bethlehem. Some images have been erased, others protected -- but some inspire an odd local lore.

In the West Bank, Israel's security barrier has started to resemble the western side of the Berlin Wall. The Israeli side is bleak and clean, but on the Palestinian side graffiti can flourish. I knew the British painter Banksy had tagged the wall a few years ago, but I had no idea where his stencils were. At first I didn't care -- I was just here to see Bethlehem -- but my taxi passed a stencil I had seen in news reports, a dove wearing a bulletproof vest. So I snapped a picture.

My driver got excited. "You like Banksy?" he said. "You want a tour? I can show you all the pictures."......"

Socrates vs. Dick Cheney, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Carlos Latuff: Cartoonist and opinion-maker; an Interview


"He has been alternatively praised and vilified in the press for his depictions of suffering in places like the Palestinian Territories, Iraq, and the slums of Latin America. But Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff says he is not out to please anyone. MENASSAT spoke with Latuff on the heals of a newly released series of cartoons about Iraqi journalist Muntazer Al-Zaidi.

BEIRUT, December 23, 2008 (MENASSAT) — Carlos Latuff, 40, is nothing short of a one-man cartoon wrecking-ball when he hits the ink.

Based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Latuff has spent the last 15 plus years crafting a style that can best be described as "populist cartooning." He has touched on issues like Apartheid in South Africa, the plight of Native Americans in the US and the oppression of Tibetans in China.

But perhaps his most controversial series to date is "We are all Palestinians," in which he compares the actions taken by the Israeli government towards Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip directly to the Nazi's treatment of Jews.

In a December interview with the Jewish cultural scholar Eddy Portnoy, Latuff said, "It happens to be Israeli Jews that are the oppressors of Palestinians. If they were Christians, Muslims or Buddhists, I would criticize them the same way.".....

MENASSAT reached Latuff in Rio de Janeiro and conducted this on-line interview......"

Ashkenazi: We Will Use Full Force to End Gaza Rockets


"26/12/2008 The Israeli occupation army continued its preparations Thursday for military action in the Gaza Strip. Reportedly, a "limited operation" will begin within days that will combine an air attack with some ground operations against Hamas and other Gaza resistance groups.

The Israeli cabinet has given the go-ahead for an operation of a few days' duration with clearly defined goals.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will hold a series of meetings Sunday with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (called the kitchen cabinet) to discuss the option of a potential Gaza operation.

The meetings Olmert is expected to hold on Sunday will relate to three issues. The first is preparation of the home front: Olmert wants to know what reinforcement of buildings can be completed before military action is taken, and to urgently complete whatever can be completed in terms of reinforcement.

The second issue involves humanitarian aid shipments to Gaza which Israel is to approve during the week. Olmert wants reports on stockpiles of essential items to ensure that a humanitarian crisis does not break out in the Strip during military action.

The third issue involves diplomatic moves to garner international support for military action against Hamas.

A government official in Tel Aviv said there would be no moves before all necessary preparations are in place........"

Break-Their-Legs-Aboul Gheit is More Concerned About Shalit Than 1.5 Million Starving Palestinians

Egypt FM: Gaza Operation May Lead to Harming of Shalit


"26/12/2008 Captured Israeli occupation soldier Gilad Shalit is alive and being treated well by his captors, but an Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip may hurt efforts to bargain for his release, Egypt's foreign minister told Israeli daily Haaretz Thursday.
Ahmed Aboul Gheit also warned Israel that the situation in Gaza "might get out of hand".

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni landed in Cairo Thursday and met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Omar Suleiman, the head of the country's intelligence service and Gheit. She told them Israel will not continue to restrain itself from responding to the barrage of rockets launched by Gazan resistance fighters for long........"

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - The future of Gaza - Dec 25

Part 1:

Part 2:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Unscripted: Green Zone Theater and the Shoe Drama

By Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle

".....What also confused the script is that al-Zaidi was not al-Qaeda, or an al-Qaeda sympathizer, not a foreign fighter, not a member of the dissolved Ba’ath Party, nor was he affiliated with it in any way, and not even an Iraqi Sunni, for any such affiliation would fit perfectly in the political and media scripts that would demonize the man as an enemy of the Iraqi people, stability, democracy, freedom, and the rest of the redundant clichés. Al-Zaidi is simply an Iraqi man who has, as a journalist, highlighted the suffering of his people as politely, ‘objectively’ and ‘professionally’ as he could, and when he could no longer tolerate the lies told in the Green Zone’s ever malicious drama, he scrapped the script altogether, chucking his shoes at the main actor: This is a farewell kiss, you dog! This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.” His words, although uttered for the first time in the Green Zone theater, echoed the voices of millions of Iraqis outside, who have chanted these words, for six long, tragic years."

Muntazer al-Zaidi, by Carlos Latuff

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Caution: Settlers Ahead

The House of Cards


".....I stayed in the area and woke up in the morning to the news that settlers had attacked a nearby village, spray painting racial slogans and stars of David on the village's mosque. I have seen stars of David painted by settlers before, mostly on the walls of Palestinian shops and homes in Hebron, but I am still taken aback each time I see it. Do they not remember Kristallnacht? Or do they specifically remember Kristallnacht?

Another friend told me she had been on a bus the week before that was stopped by Israeli soldiers. "You should turn around and go a different way," said a soldier to the driver. "There are settlers up ahead waiting to attack." So the bus turned around, went a different way.....They could place a sign in the road saying, "Caution: Settlers Ahead" and it would seem as natural to the soldiers as a sign saying "Caution: Storm Conditions Ahead" or "Caution: Road Curves ahead." It is as though the condition of settler attacks is unpreventable......

One wonders why the settlers have not been removed. And the answer is simple: These settlers serve the interests of the Israeli government....

....People might start to realize that occupation is not defined solely by presence of settlers (Gaza is experiencing the worst of occupation right now, though the settlers left more than three years ago). People might start to realize that there are Palestinians inside Israel who are treated less than equally, to say the least. People might start to realize that half of the Palestinian population has never set foot in any part of Palestine, and that more than two thirds are not permitted to live in their original villages. In other words, people might get to the core of the issue.

The ideological settler movement is, in many ways, holding together the fragile house of cards that is Israel. It has worked for a while, but it will not work forever. In front of this house we can add one more sign: "Caution: Collapse of Zionism Ahead.""

Greek Riots, by Khalil Bendib

(click on cartoon to enlarge)

This Genocide Will Not Be Televised: Choking Off The Last Gaza Lifeline

Israel Gives Ultimatum to Tunnel Owners in Southern Gaza

"Thursday December 25, 2008 12:17 by Rami Almeghari - IMEMC&Agencies

Israel announced on Thursday an ultimatum for smuggling tunnels' owners on the Egypt-Gaza border lines.

Leaflets dropped by Israeli warplanes on the border lines read that all those working on tunnels must leave the place in 24 hours, before the Israeli air crafts destroy the tunnels.

This is the first time in the past few years that Israel has made such a declaration, as the tunnel trade on the border lines has flourished over the past 18 months, because Israel has closed all of Gaza's border crossings, only allowing a limited quanty of commodities through the border from time to time. "

"حماس": تهديدات ليفني من القاهرة "تطوّر خطير" لن تخيفنا .. والنار لن تبقى في حجرنا

قال إن الاحتلال يحضّر لتصعيد ضد غزة بغطاء عربي

"دمشق - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام
انتقدت حركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس"، التهديد الذي أطلقته وزير الخارجية الصهيونية تسيبي ليفني، ضدها عقب لقائها بالرئيس المصري حسني مبارك في القاهرة اليوم الخميس، واعتبرت ذلك "تطوراً خطيراً"، وقالت بأنها لن تقبل معه بأن تبقى النار في حجرها.

وأعرب الدكتور سامي أبو زهري، المتحدث باسم حركة "حماس"، في تصريحات صحفية، عن أسفه لإطلاق تصريحات ليفني ضد الشعب الفلسطيني في غزة من القاهرة، وقال "تصريحات ليفني من القاهرة بعد لقائها بالمسؤولين المصريين، والتي أطلقت من خلالها تهديداتها للشعب الفلسطيني وأكدت أنّ الوضع في غزة سيتغيّر، هي تصريحات خطيرة".

وأضاف أبو زهري أنّ تلك التصريحات "تؤكد أنّ الاحتلال الإسرائيلي ماض في التحضير لتصعيد واسع ضد غزة، في ظل صمت عربي إن لم نقل بغطاء عربي، لأنه من الخطير أنّ تهديد الشعب الفلسطيني أُطلق من القاهرة وعلى مسمع من الوزير (الخارجية المصري أحمد) أبو الغيط الذي لم ينتقد ذلك"، كما قال.

وأشار أبو زهري إلى أنّ هذه التصريحات تعني أنه بات من الواضح أنّ هناك تحضيراً لتصعيد كبير في ظل قبول عربي بتنفيذ هذا العدوان، من دون عدم التحرك لفتح معبر رفح لتخفيف الحصار في ظل العدوان، والذي من المتوقع أن يتصاعد. وأضاف المتحدث "نحن نؤكد أنّ تهديدات ليفني لا تخيف الحركة، وأنّ أي تصعيد إسرائيلي سيكون له آثاره الكبيرة، لأنّ "حماس" لن تقبل بأن تبقى النار في حجرها"، على حد تعبيره.

وكانت وزير الخارجية الصهيونية تسيبي ليفني قد أكدت في تصريحات صحفية لها عقب لقائها بالرئيس حسني مبارك في القاهرة، أنّ الوضع في غزة سيتغيّر، ووصفت "حماس" بأنها "منظمة إرهابية"، وهي تصريحات تأتي بعد معلومات كانت صحف عبرية قد نشرتها قبل أيام، من أنّ جهات عربية أعطت الجانب الصهيوني الضوء الأخضر لما سمته "قطع رؤوس" قادة "حماس
". "

Championing global human rights: interview with Richard Falk

Victor Kattan, The Electronic Intifada, 24 December 2008

"Earlier this month, Israeli authorities deported Professor Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, who had arrived in the country to conduct his duties to investigate rights abuses in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Electronic Intifada contributor Victor Kattan interviewed Falk about the motivation behind his deportation, comparisons he has made between Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and Nazi crimes committed during World War II, his dual role as an academic and a human rights advocate, and how defenders of Israel deflect attention from what is happening on the ground by attacking critics of the state's policies.

Richard Falk is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice, Emeritus, Princeton University and a member of the New York Bar. He is currently Visiting Distinguished Professor of Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has, since March 2008, been the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Falk is the author of over 20 books on international law and served on the MacBride Commission of Inquiry to investigate the atrocities in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut in 1982, as well as a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations at the onset of the second Palestinian intifada in September 2001. His latest book Achieving Human Rights was published by Routledge in October 2008........"

Israeli Army Gets Green Light for Gaza Operation


"25/12/2008 The Israeli defense establishment is currently preparing for a military move against Hamas targets in Gaza after it received the green light Wednesday from the Israeli Cabinet.

During a cabinet meeting about the situation in and outside the Gaza Strip, a senior Israeli occupation army officer gave ministers in attendance an overview of the potential retaliatory moves that the defense establishment is planning against Hamas' regime. A media blackout was declared on the deliberations.

By late morning Wednesday, the Magen David Adom rescue service declared its highest level of alert.

An Israeli official told Israeli daily Haaretz that Israel's response will go beyond the air raid, "Our response will be substantial and painful to Hamas," the official said......."

Arab Puppet Rulers Prepare Public Opinion to Support Israeli Attacks on Gaza!

Olmert urges Gazans to reject their Hamas rulers

"Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday urged Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to reject their Hamas rulers and warned he would not hesitate to use force to stop them from firing rockets at southern Israel.

"Hamas is firing on us and on the power station meant to give Gaza electricity. Stop them. Stop your enemy and ours," Olmert said in an interview with Al Arabiya television, according to his office.

"I will not hesitate to use Israel's might to strike Hamas and [Islamic] Jihad. How? I will not go into details now," the prime minister said in an appeal carried by the Arab news broadcaster which is widely watched in Gaza.......

The premier was further quoted as saying: "Israel left Gaza about three years ago with no intention of returning? Is the spirit of Islam to kill innocent children, to fire rockets at kindergartens and civilians? I don't think that is the spirit of Islam.

"That Hamas does this in opposition to the spirit of Islam is the main reason for your suffering, and ours. I say to you in a last minute call, stop it. You, the residents of Gaza, can stop it." "

Please Hand Me Two Pairs of Size 12 Boots, Now!

Livni Vows from Cairo to End Hamas Control in Gaza

The Spirit of Christmas

By Nadia W. Awad – The West Bank
Palestine Chronicle

".....It is also heart-warming to see Jews around the world defy ruthless criticism and accusations of betrayal by supporting the Palestinians in their demands for an independent state of their own. Just this week, we read about Adalah-NY, who joined forces with Jews against the Occupation NYC to sing Christmas carols in freezing weather while handing out leaflets informing passersby of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev’s financing of illegal settlement construction and land theft in Palestine. Together, Adalah and Jews against the Occupation have convinced UNICEF, Oxfam, and a number of Hollywood stars to distance themselves from Leviev’s company and money. As Ethan Heitner from Adalah-NY explained, “Their actions show that Leviev’s wealth and diamonds can’t buy impunity.”

In London, another group, the Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, along with the Palestinian group Open Bethlehem, organized a Christmas service in one of London’s largest churches, with the surprise blessing of the Church of England. The service, entitled “Bethlehem Now: Nine Alternative Lessons and Carols”, included a reworking of traditional Christmas carols. Instead of singing about tidings of comfort and joy, the participants sang about war crimes, assassinations and the oppression of Palestinians. The reworked carols included favorites such as ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’, ‘The Holly And the Ivy’, and ‘Hark The Herald Angels Sing’. The’ Twelve Days of Christmas’ lyrics were most poignant:

Twelve assassinations/ Eleven homes demolished/ Ten wells obstructed/ Nine sniper towers/ Eight gunships firing/ Seven checkpoints blocking/ Six tanks a-rolling/ Five settlement rings/ Four falling bombs/ Three trench guns/ Two trampled doves/ And an uprooted olive tree.

Despite being accused of hijacking Christmas for hatred, of being self-hating Jews, anti-Semitic and the usual array of insults that follow such an event, the service was deemed a huge success and is likely to become an annual occurrence.

The reworked lyrics were in fact scarily accurate in their description of Israeli atrocities. Back in Palestine, Israel, in a fit of ‘generosity’ perhaps due to the Christmas season of cheer, announced that it would be issuing permits to ‘approved’ West Bank Christians, allowing them to enter Jerusalem this year for Christmas. In an annual tradition, Israel ‘permits’ the approved Christians to pass through one of the two main checkpoints into Jerusalem for a limited time each Christmas, providing they receive approval from the Israeli military beforehand and submit a biometric scan of one hand for tracking purposes......"

The Two-State Solution Now a Three-Way Stalemate

Wed Dec 24

".....That, of course, may be what President Abbas - and others in the Arab world hostile to Hamas - are counting on, as the only plausible scenario for restoring Fatah's control over Gaza. Abbas has threatened to call new presidential and parliamentary elections if Hamas won't recognize him as president after January 9, but that's an empty threat. Hamas controls Gaza, and it rejects holding new parliamentary elections there ahead of schedule. And Abbas is hardly assured of winning a solid mandate even in the West Bank, where the Fatah party's retains control but is beset by an image of corruption. Calling an election on the West Bank would risk seeing a turnout so low as to make a mockery of the poll. With such dubious prospects for an election, the most likely scenario for changing the balance of power in Gaza remains Israeli military intervention.

"The Palestinian Authority is expecting the Israeli Defense Force to go into Gaza and defeat Hamas, and then restore the control of Abu Mazen [Abbas]," an Israeli security official tells TIME. But the Israeli security establishment is skeptical of Abbas' ability to maintain control in Gaza, and continues to see risk outweighing reward from an invasion - although that calculation could change very quickly if a rocket fired from Gaza inflicted mass casualties in Israel.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council characterized as "irreversible" the Israeli-Palestinian talks that have been held at the behest of the Bush Administration over the past year. But they have simply been conversations that have resulted in no actual movement forward on the ground. The grim reality confronting all three sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as the Obama Administration, in the New Year, is that the situation remains deadlocked, and that the stalemate will more likely be broken by a new round of violence than it is by any peace talks. "

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gaza Ghetto, by Carlos Latuff

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

HRW Says US Intervention Worsening Somalia Crisis

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"This past year, Somalis have experienced the worst violence in a decade. In a new report, Human Rights Watch says the United States is only making the crisis worse. The report states, “The United States, treating Somalia primarily as a battlefield in the global war on terror, has pursued a policy of uncritical support for transitional government and Ethiopian actions, and the resulting lack of accountability has fueled the worst abuses.” We speak to HRW’s Leslie Lefkow......"

A New Partner In Syria?

By David Ignatius
Washington Post
Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"DAMASCUS, Syria -- President Bashar al-Assad says he doesn't want to send a message to Barack Obama, exactly, but to express a three-part hope for the incoming administration's Middle East policy:

First, he hopes Obama won't start "another war anywhere in the world, especially not in the Middle East." And he trusts that the doctrine of "preemptive war" will end when George W. Bush leaves office.....

Asked whether Syria was prepared to restrain Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite militia in Lebanon, Assad said this was a matter the Israelis should sort out in separate negotiations with the Lebanese. Indeed, he promoted the idea of the other negotiating tracks -- which would draw in, at least indirectly, Hezbollah and Hamas...... "

Race to the bottom

The upcoming Israeli elections appear set to be a competition in racist extremism
By Khaled Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem
Al-Ahram Weekly

"As Israeli political parties and factions choose their lists of candidates to contest the 10 February elections, extremism and anti-Palestinian discourse are becoming the name of the game.

Last week, the Likud Party elected a list of 41 candidates, including Moshe Feiglin, an extreme right-wing religious fanatic who openly calls for violent ethnic cleansing of non-Jews from Israel-Palestine....

Seeking to foster the image of a tough leader, mainly to counter Netanyahu's reputed hawkishness, Livni has also been calling for "crushing the Hamas regime", and for "responding with strength to every projectile fired on Israel from the Gaza Strip".

Her statements, especially about crushing Hamas, however, are not being taken seriously by her other lesser rival, Labour Party leader and Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak. Barak said this week that those who call for conquering Gaza might know how to enter the coastal enclave, but they have no idea how to get out once in. "