Saturday, January 17, 2009

The plot against Gaza

Another Great Analysis
By Jonathan Cook
The Electronic Intifada

".....But it seems the Israeli army was far from convinced a "diet" would produce the desired result and started devising a more aggressive strategy. It was voiced last year by Israel's deputy defense minister, Matan Vilnai. He observed that, if Hamas continued firing rockets into Israel (in an attempt, though he failed to mention it, to break the blockade), the Palestinians "will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves." The Hebrew word "Shoah" has come to refer exclusively to the Holocaust.

Though his disturbing comment was quickly disowned, Vilnai is no maverick. He is a former major general in the army who maintains close ties to the senior command. He is also a friend of his boss, Ehud Barak, the Labor leader and Israel's most decorated soldier. The reference to the "shoah" offered a brief insight into the reasoning behind a series of policies he and Barak began unveiling from summer 2007.

It was then that hopes of engineering an uprising against Hamas faded. The diet regime had patently failed, as had a Fatah coup attempt underwritten by the United States. Hamas struck a pre-emptive blow against Fatah.....

At this point, Barak and Vilnai announced they were working on a way to justify in law the army directing artillery fire and air strikes at civilian neighborhoods of Gaza, as has been occurring throughout the current Gaza campaign. Vilnai, meanwhile, proposed declaring areas of the tiny enclave "combat zones" in which the army would have free rein and from which civilians would be expected to flee -- again a tactic that has been implemented over the past three weeks......

Instead Israel is planning to resort to its favorite diplomatic maneuver: unilateralism. It wants a solution that passes over the heads of Hamas and the Palestinians.....

Slowly, the hope is, Gaza's physical and political separation from the West Bank will be cemented, with the enclave effectively being seen as a province of Egypt.....

It is therefore seeking to isolate Tehran, severing all ties between it and Hamas, just as it earlier tried -- and failed -- to do the same between Iran and Hizballah. It wants the Palestinians beholden instead to the "moderate" block in the Arab world, meaning the Sunni dictatorships like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia that in turn depend on Washington for their security.

The prospects of Israel achieving all or even some of these goals seems improbable. Too often Israeli meddling in its neighbors' affairs has ended in unintended consequences, or "blowback." It is a lesson Israel has been all too slow to learn."

The Boss Has Gone Mad

By Uri Avnery
Palestine Chronicle

"........However, the worst results of this war are still invisible and will make themselves felt only in years to come: Israel has imprinted on world consciousness a terrible image of itself. Billions of people have seen us as a blood-dripping monster. They will never again see Israel as a state that seeks justice, progress and peace. The American Declaration of Independence speaks with approval of “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind”. That is a wise principle.

Even worse is the impact on hundreds of millions of Arabs around us: not only will they see the Hamas fighters as the heroes of the Arab nation, but they will also see their own regimes in their nakedness: cringing, ignominious, corrupt and treacherous.

The Arab defeat in the 1948 war brought in its wake the fall of almost all the existing Arab regimes and the ascent of a new generation of nationalist leaders, exemplified by Gamal Abd-al-Nasser. The 2009 war may bring about the fall of the current crop of Arab regimes and the ascent of a new generation of leaders – Islamic fundamentalists who hate Israel and all the West.

In coming years it will become apparent that this war was sheer madness. The boss has indeed gone mad – in the original sense of the word."

قوى سياسية كويتية: عباس غير مرغوب فيه ولا أهلاً ولا سهلاً به في الكويت

وصفته بأنه "خائن ومتآمر على الشعب الفلسطيني"

"الكويت - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام
قال مصدر إعلامي إنّ الحكومة الكويتية التزمت الصمت إزاء بيان وقعته القوى السياسية الرئيسة المشكلة للبرلمان الكويتي، طالبتها فيه بعدم توجيه الدعوة لرئيس السلطة المنتهية ولايته محمود عباس، لحضور القمة العربية الاقتصادية في الكويت. وذهبت تلك القوى إلى حد وصف عباس بأنه "خائن ومتآمر على الشعب الفلسطيني"، وفق تعبيره.

وذكر مصدر إعلامي في الكويت إنّ بياناً وقعته القوى السياسية الكويتية السبت (17/1)، دعا الحكومة في الكويت إلى عدم استقبال محمود عباس، واعتباره شخصاً "غير مرغوب فيه لخيانته وتآمره على شعبه"، كما قال.

وذكر المصدر أنّ البيان الذي وقعته كل من الحركة الدستورية (الإخوان المسلمون) والتحالف الوطني الإسلامي (شيعة)، التجمع الإسلامي السلفي، كتلة العمل الشعبي، وآخرون، قال مخاطباً عباس "عباس .. لا أهلا ولا سهلا في الكويت"، لم ترد عليه الحكومة، والتزمت المصادر الرسمية حياله الصمت، على اعتبار أنّ الكويت دولة مضيفة للقمة وأنّ الجهة المنظمة للقمة هي جامعة الدول العربية.

ويشهد الشارع الكويتي موجة تعاطف جارفة مع الشعب الفلسطيني، في ظل العدوان الصهيوني المتواصل على قطاع غزة، والذي دخل أسبوعه الرابع. وشهدت ميادين وشوارع كويتية، خلال الأسابيع الثلاثة الماضية، سلسلة من المسيرات والاعتصامات والتجمعات الجماهيرية غير المسبوقة، التي عبّرت عن التضامن مع قطاع غزة، ومساندة المقاومة الفلسطينية، وسط انتقادات لمواقف السلطة الفلسطينية وأدائها السياسي
. "

The Two Biggest Losers in The Israeli Gaza Invasion.....
Trying to Figure Out What to Do Now.

Israel set to swallow defeat in Gaza

Press TV

"A senior Israeli official has confirmed that Tel Aviv will announce a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza amid world condemnation of its conduct. "The Prime Minister [Ehud Olmert] will announce following this evening's cabinet meeting a unilateral ceasefire of hostilities in the Gaza Strip," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"If Hamas opens fire on Israeli forces, we reserve the right to respond," he added.

The proposed ceasefire has been met with strong criticism in the Israeli military, reported Debkafile, which is widely believed to have links with Israeli military and intelligence sources.

According to the report, Israel will end its war on Gaza without achieving its primary goals, including "halting rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip".......

Debkafile cited "security sources" as revealing that Israel has also assured the US and Egypt that it will stop its operations in Gaza within days and, at some point, open the six border crossings with the coastal sliver.

Hamas had earlier vowed to continue fighting Israel until all its demands, including the opening of Gaza border-crossings, are met by Tel Aviv.......

Gazan resistance and the world condemnation of Israeli crimes against Palestinians -- the native population of the land -- are seen as the primary reasons for Israel backtracking on its previously set goals.

Around 1,200 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 6,000 others have been wounded in the beleaguered sliver since December 27."

International Media Barred From Gaza By Israel, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Gaza, USA and the Arab regimes, by Carlos Latuff

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

The middle ground is eroding fast

By Alastair Crooke, London Review of Books, January 15, 2009

"‘We have to ask the West a question: when the Israelis bombed the house of Sheikh Nizar Rayan, a Hamas leader, killing him, his wives, his nine children, and killing 19 others who happened to live in adjoining houses – because they saw him as a target – was this terrorism? If the West’s answer is that this was not terrorism, it was self-defence – then we must think to adopt this definition too.’

This was said to me by a leading Islamist in Beirut a few days ago. He was making a point, but behind his rhetorical question plainly lies the deeper issue of what the Gaza violence will signify for mainstream Islamists in the future.

Take Egypt. Mubarak has made no secret of his wish to see Israel teach Hamas a ‘lesson’. Hamas are sure that his officials urged Israel to proceed, assuring Amos Yadlin, Israel’s Head of Military Intelligence, at a meeting in Cairo that Hamas would collapse within three days of the Israeli onslaught....."

Video: George Galloway "The West has DOUBLE STANDARDS when it comes to Israel"

"George Galloway's powerful speech in the House of Commons debate on Gaza, Thu 15 Jan 2009 (5.30pm), highlighting the hypocrisy and brazen double-standards of Western foreign policy towards Israel policies, including assassinations and other war crimes.

George Galloway: I say to the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who is not in his place, that the international community is not impotent, but merely feigns impotence as an excuse for its failure to carry out its duties. Although the Minister's words were more robust, he essentially masked the same inaction as the languid and complacent Foreign Secretary, who performed in front of us on Monday ..... "

Old battles, new contenders in the Gulf

By Sami Moubayed
Asia Times

"As the Arab divide over support for Palestine exposes the inherent frailties of the Arab League, a remarkable power struggle has erupted between traditionally dominant Saudi Arabia and new player Qatar over who will take command of the crisis. With its booming economy, forward-thinking leader and Arab nationalist stance, Doha is emerging as a powerful challenger to Riyadh's supremacy in the Gulf......"

The medical conditions in Gaza

The Lancet

"During the past 2 weeks, The Lancet has been contacted by many doctors concerned at the desperate events unfolding in the Gaza Strip. All deplore all violence directed at civilians. But, in this politically inflammatory setting,the overwhelming sense we detect among our correspondents—and reflected in Special Reports by Jan McGirk, Mads Gilbert, and Erik Fosse, a Comment by Iain Chalmers,letters from David Worth et al and Rami Adbou et al, and further reports posted on—is that the violence launched on Gaza is taking an unjustifiable toll on civilian populations. At least 265 children have been killed so far, social infrastructures (UN buildings, schools, and government facilities) have been badly damaged, and agreed international norms of humanitarian behaviour in situations of conflict have been breached.

So far, several mobile clinics and ambulances have been damaged by Israeli attacks. At least six medical personnel have been killed. The proximity of battle has closed Ministry of Health clinics and hospitals. International law requires that all medical staff and facilities be protected at all times, even during armed conflict. Attacks on staff or facilities are serious violations of these laws.

Many doctors are currently working 24-h shifts. Ambulances are unable to operate because of disrepair and lack of access to replacement parts. Hospital equipment, medicines, and anaesthetics are in short supply, as are beds and medical personnel. Hospitals and clinics have had their electricity supplies cut. They are relying on fragile back-up generators. Many homes no longer have running water. Vaccination programmes,laboratory services, antenatal care, and school health services have all been interrupted.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)has asked for urgent access to wounded civilians. ICRC also reports that the Israeli army has failed to assist Palestinians in need of medical assistance and has imposed delays on ambulance access to neighbourhoods under fire. The ICRC has said that “the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded. It considers the delay in allowing rescue services access unacceptable”.

We find it hard to believe that an otherwise internationally respected, democratic nation can sanction such large and indiscriminate human atrocities in a territory already under land and sea blockade. The heavy loss of civilian life and destruction of Gaza’s health system is unjustified and disproportional, despite rocket attacks by Hamas. The collective punishment of Gazans is placing horrific and immediate burdens of injury and trauma on innocent civilians. These actions contravene the fourth Geneva Convention.

We are disappointed by the silence of national medical associations and professional bodies worldwide in response to this destruction and dislocation of health services. Their leaders, through their inaction, are complicit in a preventable tragedy that may have longlasting public-health consequences not only for Gaza,but also for the entire region. ■ The Lancet"

Time for Israel to be put on trial

A Palestinian UN worker inspects debris after an Israeli air strike on a UN school in Gaza where civilians were seeking refuge, 17 January 2009.

Elna Sondergaard, The Electronic Intifada, 17 January 2009
(Elna Sondergaard is the Director of the Human Rights Program and Associate Professor of Law at the American University in Cairo. From 2000-2004, she worked as a legal officer for UNRWA at their headquarters in Gaza)

"The brutal and indiscriminate Israeli attacks on the Palestinian population in Gaza during the last weeks have entailed numerous violations of basic norms of international law, such as the principles of proportionality and distinction (between civilians and combatants; and between civilian and military targets). Military acts such as intentionally targeting schools and other civilian facilities are considered violations of international humanitarian law in relation to which the state of Israel bears responsibility -- but they also constitute serious crimes under international law (e.g., war crimes and eventually crimes against humanity) in relation to which individuals should stand trial......

Putting perpetrators on trial would cost the international community nothing, but a lack of such individual responsibility and accountability would cost the civilians in Gaza dear leaving them without remedies and hope -- while politicians and soldiers would again be encouraged to think that they are exempted from the law and that they can get away with anything.

Thus, we cannot allow these crimes to remain untried."

Children of a Lesser God

Written by Vittorio Arrigoni
The Free Gaza Movement

"The children of a lesser Allah, the ones for whom the shelter of their mother and father's embrace has been forever shattered by a thunderbolt from the sky, continue to atone for the hatred passed on from one generation to the next, through no fault of their own. The soldiers with the Star of David are perfectly at ease in their roles as so many contemporary Herods, with 253 massacred Palestinian children so far. An endless horror, for which no soldier, no Israeli army officer, and the Israeli government have never been forced to face their responsibilities for these war crimes....."

Mubarak Calls for 'Unconditional' Ceasefire in Gaza


"17/01/2009 Egypt is securing its own border with the Gaza Strip and will never accept any foreign observers on its soil, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Saturday. "Egypt, in its efforts to stop the aggression, is working on securing its borders with Israel and the Gaza Strip and it will never accept the presence of foreign observers on its territory," [COMMENT: He is a liar! US Army Corps of Engineers Officers have been on Egyptian soil for some time, working with the Pharaoh's goons to blow up the tunnels supplying desperately needed food and medicine to the people of Gaza. Often these tunnels were exploded with Palestinians inside of them or poison gas was injected in the tunnels to kill the Palestinians, as if they were rats!] Mubarak said in a television address. "I say that is a red line we will not allow to be crossed," he added.

Mubarak also called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire inthe Gaza Strip and a withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territory......"

Resistance Rejects International Gaza Force

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Jan 17 (IPS) - Since the outset of Israel's war on the Gaza Strip, calls have been renewed for an "international force" to protect the civilian population. But Palestinian resistance factions, chief among them Hamas, reject the idea outright. "The resistance will not accept international forces (in the Gaza Strip)," Khaled Meshaal, head of Hamas's Damascus-based political bureau said recently on Syrian state television. "We know that such forces would only serve Israel and its occupation."

On Saturday (Jan. 10), Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas called for an "international presence" to "protect Palestinian civilians" in the Gaza Strip, which has been governed by Hamas since the summer of 2007. "We want the international force to be deployed in Gaza, not on the Egyptian border," he told reporters in Cairo.......

The idea has been floated before. Following Hamas's seizure of the strip from the PA in June 2007 (after Hamas won the elections in 2006), Abbas made public calls for an international force to be sent to the territory.......

But with the exception of Abbas's U.S.-backed Fatah party, the idea was quickly dismissed by Palestinian resistance factions as a non-starter. Hamas declared it "will not under any circumstances" allow international forces to enter the Gaza Strip, adding that such forces would be "greeted with artillery shells and missiles.".......

Although Abbas's proposal eventually fizzled out, it found endorsement by Israeli Cabinet Minister Avigdor Lieberman, head of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu Party. At the time, Lieberman went so far as to visit several North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) member states in an effort to garner support for NATO-led Gaza deployment.......

Moussa Abu Marzouk, vice-president of Hamas's political bureau, called the idea of an international force to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza "ridiculous". "We've seen how international institutions have protected their schools and offices thus far," he said, in a reference to the Jan. 6 bombing of a United Nations Welfare and Relief Agency (UNRWA) school in which some 45 people -- mostly women and children -- were killed by Israeli artillery. "How can they be expected to protect the Palestinian people?".......

"As long as Hamas controls Gaza, no international force will be allowed in," Shadi told IPS. "This latest appeal by Abbas, whose popularity in the West Bank has nosedived since the beginning of the Israeli aggression in Gaza, is just empty words." ........"

Israel expects army officers to be prosecuted for war crimes

Irish Sun

"The Israeli government is preparing defenses for a “wave of international lawsuits” expected over its offensive in Gaza.

The government believes Israeli army officers and soldiers will be sued over actions in the 21-day old offensive which began on December 27.

A number of human rights organizations, and the International Red Cross, have already indicated they are looking at breaches of international law. The whole question of the legality of the Gaza War is also being examined.

Amnesty International has written to the United Nations Security Council calling for the establishment of full accountability for crimes committed in the Gaza conflict and for deployment of human rights monitors.

In the letter, Amnesty says it wants the Security Council to “take firm action to ensure full accountability for war crimes and other serious abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law.”......"

Four Israeli paratroopers hurt in Gaza

Press TV

"The Israeli military says four paratroopers, including two officers, have been critically wounded by mortar fire in the northern Gaza Strip.

"Four paratroopers, two of them officers, were seriously wounded, possibly by friendly fire," an army spokesman said Saturday.

Hamas-run al-Aqsa TV has also reported that two Israeli commanders and two soldiers were wounded in gun battles in Jabaliya.

"The circumstances under which they were injured is being looked into, as well as the possibility they were injured by friendly fire," according to the Israeli military.

The injured paratroopers have reportedly been engaged in intense fighting on the outskirts of Gaza City for several days.

Brigade commander Lieutenant-Colonel Avi Blot and several other fighters were also injured in clashes with Palestinian fighters a few days ago, Haaretz reported. Seven other brigade fighters were also wounded hours later by antitank missiles, one of whom sustained serious injuries. "

Current Al-Jazeera Online Poll

The question is:

Do you see that the absence of Mahmoud Abbas from the just concluded Gaza emergency summit in Doha, Qatar, serves Palestinian interests?

With over 3,000 responding, 77% said no.

Al-Jazeera Video: Gaza doctor's tragedy caught on Israeli TV - 17 Jan 09

"From Gaza, the Hebrew-speaking Palestinian doctor Abu al-Aish has been giving Israel's Channel 10 daily accounts from inside the war zone.

In his latest report, he called for help as his house was attacked by Israel. Three of his daughters were killed in the attack...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Aftermath of attacks on Tar El Hawa district - 16 Jan 09

"The Tar El Hawa neighbourhood has been the scene of particularly heavy fighting. Red Crescent facilities, a hospital and residential apartment blocks were among the buildings hit by the Israeli bombardment.

Al Jazeera's correspondent Sherine Tadros has been to see the aftermath and has found yet more evidence of Israel's apparent use of white phosphorus - a weapon that is illegal to use in civilian areas."

Real News Video: Gaza and the Palestinian Authority

"As casualties of the Israeli attack exceed 1000 dead and 4600 injured, ground troops circle in on Gaza City. The Real News spoke to George Rishmawi, founder of the independent media source called International Middle East Media Center. In this first interview in the series, Rishmawi says Israel must be tried in international courts for war crimes committed during this attack and condemns the Palestinian Authority for failing to take initiatives on that front. Rishmawi also says that if the stated Israeli goal was to stop the so-called rocket attacks on Southern Israel, after 20 days of bombing the Gaza Strip they are still failing. Though Israel’s stated strategic plan of the attack has been to eradicate Hamas, almost half of the dead are civilians. Rishmawi discusses how this will affect power relations in Palestine and the unending feud between Hamas and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority."

Real News Video: Phosphorus bombs in Gaza – the evidence

Guardian: Dr Ahmed Almi from the al-Nasser hospital describes serious injuries and chemical burns

(Click on cartoon by Dave Brown, The Independent, to enlarge)

UN condemns shelling of Gaza school

Palestinian civilians and medics run to safety during an Israeli strike over a UN school in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip, on Satuday 17 January.

The Independent

"A United Nations official has condemned an Israeli shelling attack that struck a UN school in the northern Gaza Strip and killed two people. Spokesman Chris Gunness said the school was crowded with 1,600 people who had sought shelter from Israel's three-week offensive in Gaza.

It was latest incident in which Israeli fire aimed at militants has struck a UN facility during the offensive. Gunness says Israel had the coordinates of the school and knew it was being used as a shelter. He says there should be an investigation into possible war crimes, and that anyone who is guilty should be brought to justice........ "

The Palestinians say: 'This is a war of extermination'

Ahdaf Soueif in Egypt
The Guardian, Saturday 17 January 2009

"Everyone says something new is going on here; something different. The residents of Egyptian Rafah are used to the sounds of rockets and shells exploding on the other side of their border, but they've never heard the sounds they've been hearing over the last 20 days. Twenty-five miles further into Egypt the general hospital at el-Arish is used to receiving the Palestinian wounded. The staff have never seen injuries like these before. The hospital forecourt is swarming with ambulances, paramedics, press. The wounded are raced into casualty....

"Look!" On a rubble-strewn street lay the body of a roasted and charred child. Two bones were sticking out where her thighs had been. "The dogs ate her legs," he explains. For a moment I put a hand over my eyes. The phone goes round the table, each man gravely contemplating the burned child on the screen. Then someone asks: "What will it take to make the Israelis stop?""

Guardian Video: Fresh evidence of Israeli phosphorus use in Gaza emerges

You Need to See This Video

Richard Norton-Taylor, Saturday 17 January 2009

"Gaza: lives in ruins
On January 14, Gazans from Khoza'a near Khan Younis were fired upon and forced to flee their homes. Thirteen were killed and 50 injured, and the whole areas was then destroyed by Israeli forces. Picking through the rubble of their ruined homes, former residents allege a series of human rights abuses in these personal testimonies"

"Fresh evidence of the firing of white phosphorus weapons by Israeli forces in Gaza has emerged from witnesses heard by the Guardian and first hand accounts by human rights groups of their use against civilians. Graphic descriptions of attacks by Israeli forces near the Gaza town of Khan Younis are contained in footage shot by Fida Qishta for the International Solidarity Movement and obtained by the Guardian.

A woman described how on Tuesday Israeli forces "started to fire phosphorus bombs against the people, of course, they are civilians ..." A man added: "A fire broke out and we have to leave out. Fires broke out on the top of the houses. We all jumped out with our women and daughters put off the fire. They were doing that, to help the special forces to occupy the houses. after we put off the fires, they started to shoot towards us. Then they started to raze the houses".

He said the fires were caused by phosphorus bombs and missiles.
Israeli artillery also fired white phosphorus shells at Gaza City, Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch, said yesterday. Three white phosphorus shells were fired at the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza City on Thursday, according to people there.......

Contact with the shell remnants cause severe burns, sometimes burning the skin to the bone, consistent with descriptions by Ahmed Almi, the Egyptian doctor at the Al-Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis after attacks last Tuesday. Almi said after an hour the entire body of one victim was burned.......

According to the report from the International Solidarity Movement, many patients at the Khan Younis hospital were suffering from serious breathing difficulties after inhaling smoke.

The use of white phosphorous as a weapon – as opposed to its use as an obscurant and infrared blocking smoke screen – is banned by the Third Convention on Conventional Weapons which covers the use of incendiary devices. Though Israel is not a signatory to the convention.....

Israel's use of heavy artillery in residential areas of Gaza City violates the prohibition under the laws of war against indiscriminate attacks and should be stopped immediately, Human Rights Watch said yesterday. "Firing 155mm shells into the center of Gaza City, whatever the target, will likely cause horrific civilian casualties," Garlasco said."

US Journalists Call Livni 'Terrorist', 'Murderer of Civilians'


"17/01/2009 Shortly after signing “anti-smuggling agreement” with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Israel’s foreign minister Tzipi Livni came under journalists fire some accusing her of terrorism.

One of the journalists called Livni a "terrorist" and complained that Israel was preventing reporters from covering the war in Gaza. The event's host asked the man to settle for one question, but the latter cried out, "You let her speak here and don't let us ask questions. Since when are terrorists accommodated here?"

"What, are you like Zimbabwe?" another woman told the foreign minister.

The journalists took advantage of the opportunity and the stage to read out sections from human rights organizations' reports on Israel's conduct during Operation Cast Lead. Another journalist accused Israel of murdering innocent civilians......

While she was speaking inside, a protest was being held outside the building by an anti-war group calling themselves "Code Pink", who repeatedly chanted "there is a war criminal in this building.""

Hamas to Fight On if Israel Ceases Fire Unilaterally


"17/01/2009 "This unilateral ceasefire does not foresee a withdrawal" by the
Israeli army,” Hamas’s representative in Lebanon Oussama Hamdan said Saturday. He stressed the resistance group will fight on if Israel orders a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza.
"As long as it remains in Gaza, resistance and confrontation will continue," he said.
Speaking at a conference in Beirut, also attended by European representatives supporting the Palestinians, Hamdan added that Israel's proposal for a unilateral ceasefire, which was to be put to a vote of the security cabinet later on Saturday, was an "attempt to derail the Egyptian plan" for a reciprocal truce. “The different initiatives for a ceasefire were aimed at getting the Palestinians to concede things "which the enemy failed to achieve through the fighting,” he said.

Hamas would only agree to a ceasefire if the conditions set by the organization are met.
"I would like to suggest to all the mediators to focus in their initiatives on halting the offensive and lifting the blockade and not to touch anything else."

He called on regional elements to stand by the resistance and warned Israel that “if we don't hear what we want, we'll return to the fighting arena."
'Don't suggest that we surrender because we haven't been defeated and we won't be defeated. Our determination grows stronger every day, because our debt to the martyrs whose blood has been spilled is bigger. We shall continue fighting, so don't suggest that we surrender,” Hamdan stressed.

The senior Hamas official called on the Palestinian people to continue the struggle and addressed resistance fighters in Gaza.
"Just like the resistance was victorious in Lebanon in 2006, you will win in January 2009."

"There are elements in the region which believe that the enemy treats them as a partner. They don’t understand that the enemy treats them like servants or like an improved image of the ancient slaves, but this is the 21st century," he said signaling several leaders dubbed by the US as so called ‘moderate Arabs.’

He also criticized Mahmoud Abbas, whose term as PA leader ended in January 9, for not showing up at the Arab summit in Qatar.

Hamdan stressed that Israel's leaders should be put on trial for committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip. He told the Europeans that "the Zionist entity enjoys a special status in the European Union."

He also congratulated the presidents of Venezuela and Bolivia for severing their diplomatic ties with Israel, and ridiculed Arab leaders who he said were letting Israel act without disturbances. "

انقسام العرب رحمة

انقسام العرب رحمة

عبد الباري عطوان

"حروب القمم العربية التي اختتمت جولتها الثانية يوم امس بعقد' قمة غزة الطارئة' في الدوحة بحضور دول عربية نافذة مثل سورية والجزائر والسودان، واخرى اسلامية ذات ثقل مثل ايران وتركيا واندونيسيا، تعكس ظاهرة صحية في العمل السياسي العربي على عكس ما يتصور الكثيرون.
فالخلاف في وجهات النظر، بل وانقسام المنطقة العربية الى محاور متصارعة، هو حراك مطلوب لتحريك المياه العربية الراكدة المتعفنة، وضخ بعض اوجه الحياة في العروق المتصلبة، بعد سنوات من الجمود والوفاق العربي الكاذب المخادع الذي قاد الى حال الهوان الحالية والتي تنعكس في ابشع صورها في الصمت اكثر من ثلاثة اسابيع على المجازر الاسرائيلية في قطاع غزة.
ما حصل في قمة الدوحة على درجة كبيرة من الاهمية ليس بسبب القرارات المهمة التي صدرت عنها، مثل اقدام كل من موريتانيا وقطر على 'تجميد' العلاقات الدبلوماسية مع اسرائيل، وانشاء صندوق لاعادة اعمار القطاع، والمطالبة بلجنة تحقيق دولية في الانتهاكات الاسرائيلية لحقوق الانسان والجرائم ضد الانسانية المرتكبة، وانما ايضا لان هناك فئة من العرب قررت ان تكسر حاجز الصمت، وتخرج عن الطوق الامريكي ـ الاسرائيلي وتنتصر للاطفال الذين تطحن عظامهم الدبابات الاسرائيلية.
جميل ان تحدث حالة الفرز الراهنة في المواقف، وان تتكرس من خلال اتخاذ قرارات تستجيب لمطالب الشارع العربي ولو جزئيا، الامر الذي يؤكد ان المظاهرات الصاخبة التي عمت معظم العواصم العربية بدأت تعطي بعض الثمار، وتدفع بالنظام الرسمي العربي، او قطاع منه للتحرك وعمل شيء ما، بعد ان ظل هذا الحراك الشعبي 'جعجعة دون طحن' ولسنوات عديدة.
'ثقافة السلام' التي سادت المنطقة طوال السنوات الثلاثين الماضية بدأت بالتآكل، بعد ان ثبت عمليا عدم جدواها، ورفض الطرف الآخر التجاوب عمليا معها رغم كل المغريات الدسمة، من تطبيع سياسي ودبلوماسي، وحوار اديان، وتنازلات ضخمة عن الكثير من الثوابت العربية.
مبادرة السلام العربية التي جاءت العنوان الابرز لتلك الثقافة، فقدت الجزء الاكبر من شرعيتها في قمة الدوحة، عندما جرى سحب التأييد لها من قبل اكثر من نصف الدول العربية، ان لم يكن اكثر، وفصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية الاهم، وخاصة حركتي حماس والجهاد الاسلامي.
الرئيس عباس ربما لا يكون المخطئ الوحيد، فالسيد عمرو موسى امين عام الجامعة العربية انهى حياته السياسية بالانحياز الى 'محور الاعتدال'، عندما قاطع بدوره قمة الدوحة، وادار ظهره لكل المواقف 'الثورية' التي جعلت منه اسطورة يتغنى بها البعض، وينال شهرة واسعة بسببها.
اختلاف اساطين نظام العجز العربي 'رحمة'، وما كان له ان يتحقق الا بفضل شهداء قطاع غـــزة، والانتفاضات الاحتجاجية والتضامنية العارمة في الشوارع العربية والاسلامية بل والعالمية، فهذه هي المرة الأولى التي يفرض فيها الرأي العام العربي نفسه بقوة على حكامه او بعضهم، ويدفعهم لفعل شيء ما، فشكراً له.

Friday, January 16, 2009

How to sell 'ethical warfare'

Claim moral superiority, intimidate enemies and crush dissent – Israel's media management is not just impressive, it's terrifying

By Neve Gordon

One of my students was arrested yesterday and spent the night in a prison cell. R's offence was protesting the Israeli assault on Gaza. He joins over 700 other Israelis who have been detained since the beginning of Israel's ruthless war on Gaza: an estimated 230 of whom are still behind bars. Within the Israeli context, this strategy of quelling protest and stifling resistance is unprecedented, and it is quite disturbing that the international media has failed to comment on it.

Simultaneously, the Israeli media has been towing the government line to such a degree that no criticism of the war has been voiced on any of the three local television stations. Indeed, the situation has become so absurd that reporters and anchors are currently less critical of the war than the military spokespeople. In the absence of any critical analysis, it is not so surprising that 78% of Israelis, or about 98% of all Jewish Israelis, support the war.

...This latter claim appears to have considerable resonance among Israelis, and, yet, it is based on a moral fallacy. The fact that one could be more brutal but chooses to use restraint does not in any way entail that one is moral. The fact that the Israeli military could have razed the entire Gaza Strip, but instead destroyed only 15% of the buildings does not make its actions moral. The fact that the Israeli military could have killed thousands of Palestinian children during this campaign, and, due to restraint, killed "only" 300, does not make Operation Cast Lead ethical.

The Palestinians say: 'This is a war of extermination'

The Palestinians say: "This is a war of extermination." They describe bombs which break into 16 parts, each part splintering into 116 fragments, the white phosphorus which water cannot put out; which seems to die and then flares up again.
According to the medics here, to reports from doctors inside the Gaza Strip and to Palestinian eye-witnesses, more than 95% of the dead and injured are civilians. Many more will probably be found when the siege is lifted and the rubble is cleared. The doctors speak of a disproportionate number of head injuries - specifically of shrapnel lodged in the brain.

They also speak of the extensive burns of white phosphorus. These injuries are, as they put it, 'incompatible with life'. They are also receiving large numbers of amputees. This is because the damage done to the bone by explosive bullets is so extensive that the only way the doctors in Gaza can save lives is by amputating.

Palestinian Doctor's Daughters killed while he is interviewed on Israeli TV

By Assaf

Dr. Ezz-El-Din Abu El-Eish is a Palestinian gynecologist from Beit Lahiya, in the NE corner of the Gaza Strip. He works at Israel's largest hospital, Tel Hashomer near Tel Aviv.

This impressive and peaceful man has been stranded at home during the war. Israel's Channel 10 TV has regularly interviewed him by phone about the situation. On one occasion, a tank gun aimed at his home - and Israeli media intervention saved him.

No such luck today.

(the link is a Hebrew site, the clip starts auto-playing after a few seconds. the article comes after a short commercial). What we see in the clip is Israeli anchor Shlomi Eldar holding a cellphone with Dr. Abu El-Eish on the other side, howling with misery. A tank shell has just hit his home and immediately killed three of his children (apparently they cut off the first seconds when the shell actually hit).

Text below the video frame says that the doctor's brother and two of his brother's children also died. Eldar barely holds himself from crying, and then offers help. Ambulances evacuated some of the wounded to Israel.

The Palestinians Should Always Keep This Image in Mind....
And Be Very Clear About the Organic Alliance Between The House of Saud and Zion

IDF troops posing as Hamas

Page image of censored haaretz article. They removed the article by Amira Hass from their website.

No Other Option?!

by Sam Bahour

I watch in shock, like the rest of the world, at the appalling death and destruction being wrought on Gaza by Israel; and still it does not stop. Meanwhile, we see a seemingly never-ending army of well-prepared Israeli war propagandists, some Israeli government officials, and many other people self-enlisted for the purpose, explaining to the world the justifications for pulverizing the Gaza Strip, with its 1.5 million inhabitants. Curious about how Israel, or any society for that matter, could justify a crime of such magnitude against humanity, I turned to my Jewish Israeli friends today to hear their take on things. One after another, the theme was the same. The vast majority of Jewish Israelis has apparently bought into the state-sponsored line that Israel was under attack and had no other option available to stop Hamas' rockets. More frightening is the revelation that many Israelis--including one person who self-identifies as a former "peace activist"--are speaking of accepting the killing of 100,000 or more Palestinians, if "need be".

قطر: عباس لم يحضر قمة غزة الطارئة بسبب ضغوط وقال إنه إذا حضر فسيكون ذبح نفسه

قالت "إن لم نجتمع لمثل هذه الغاية الملحة فمتى نلتقي"

"غزة - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

دحضت دولة قطر ادعاءات مستشاري محمود عباس رئيس السلطة المنتهية ولايته بشأن عدم وصول عباس إلى الدوحة للمشاركة في القمة، مؤكدة أن عدم مشاركته هو تعرّضه لضغوط خارجية كبيرة.

وقال رئيس الوزراء القطري الشيخ حمد بن جاسم بن جبر آل ثاني، في مؤتمر صحفي عقده في ختام قمة غزة الطارئة في الدوحة اليوم الجمعة (16/1): إن محمود عباس "اعتذر عن حضور قمة غزة الطارئة بسبب تعرضه".

ونقل الشيخ آل ثاني عن عباس، خلال مكالمة هاتفية جرت بينهما أمس الخميس قوله: "إذا حضرت قمة غزة الطارئة فسأكون ذبحت نفسي من الوريد إلى الوريد"، وأكد رئيس الوزراء القطري أن هذا الكلام موثّق.

وأضاف الشيخ آل ثاني يقول: "دعونا الفصائل الفلسطينية لحضور القمة بعد اعتذار محمود عباس عن الحضور". وكان أمير دولة قطر قد قال في كلمته الافتتاحية "كان بودنا لو حضر رئيس السلطة عباس معنا اليوم ليناقش قضية شعبه في غزة، ولكنه آثر عدم الحضور"، متابعاً "إن لم نجتمع لمثل هذه الغاية الملحة فمتى نلتقي ولأي أهداف"، على حد تعبيره.

وكان نمر حمّاد مستشار محمود عباس السياسي قد برر عدم حضور عباس للقمة بأنها لا تفيد القضية الفلسطينية، وأنها تساهم في تعميق الانقسام العربي.

COMMENT: What a traitor and ZIONIST STOOGE!

Gaza invasion: Powered by U.S. fuel

Taxpayers are spending over $1 billion to send refined fuel to the Israeli military -- at a time when Israel doesn't need it and America does.

It's well known that the U.S. supplies the Israelis with much of their military hardware. Over the past few decades, the U.S. has provided about $53 billion in military aid to Israel. What's not well known is that since 2004, U.S. taxpayers have paid to supply over 500 million gallons of refined oil products -- worth about $1.1 billion –- to the Israeli military. While a handful of countries get motor fuel from the U.S., they receive only a fraction of the fuel that Israel does -- fuel now being used by Israeli fighter jets, helicopters and tanks to battle Hamas.

According to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, between 2004 and 2007 the U.S. Defense Department gave $818 million worth of fuel to the Israeli military. The total amount was 479 million gallons, the equivalent of about 66 gallons per Israeli citizen. In 2008, an additional $280 million in fuel was given to the Israeli military, again at U.S. taxpayers' expense. The U.S. has even paid the cost of shipping the fuel from U.S. refineries to ports in Israel.

In 2008, the fuel shipped to Israel from U.S. refineries accounted for 2 percent of Israel's $13.3 billion defense budget. Publicly available data shows that about 2 percent of the U.S. Defense Department's budget is also spent on oil. A senior analyst at the Pentagon, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press, says the Israel Defense Force's fuel use is most likely similar to that of the U.S. Defense Department. In other words, the Israeli military is spending about the same percentage of its defense budget on oil as the U.S. is. Therefore it's possible that the U.S. is providing most, or perhaps even all, of the Israeli military's fuel needs.

What's more, Israel does not need the U.S. handout. Its own recently privatized refineries, located at Haifa and Ashdod, could supply all of the fuel needed by the Israeli military. Those same refineries are now producing and selling jet fuel and other refined products on the open market. But rather than purchase lower-cost jet fuel from its own refineries, the Israeli military is using U.S. taxpayer money to buy and ship large quantities of fuel from U.S. refineries.

Palestinian Astrophysicist in U.S. Recounts How His 11 Year-Old Son Died When Israeli Warplanes Bombed His Family’s House

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"As the Palestinian death toll in Israel’s assault on Gaza climbs above 1,100, we take a look behind the statistics. Suleiman Baraka is a Palestinian astrophysicist working at Virgnia tech with NASA. His 11 year-old son, Ibrahim, was killed in an Israeli airstrike on his house. His wife and three other children are now homeless in Gaza, along with 17 members of his family. In his first broadcast interview in the U.S., Suleiman Baraka tells his story. We also speak with Suleiman’s brother, Sayed, who arrived at the house seconds after it was bombed....."

Protection of Civilians Weekly Report-OCHAOPT

As of 15 January, almost 32% of all fatalities (346) have been children. Approximately 1709
children have been wounded, some with multiple injuries.

Preventing the evacuation of wounded/Lack of access for ambulance teams
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) is receiving an average of 130 appeals for the
evacuation of wounded per day. Many closed areas require Israeli approval for entry. However,
Israeli authorities have not approved PRCS to enter several areas, mostly in northern Gaza.

PRCS reported that it takes approximately six hours to receive approval to enter closed areas to
evacuate Palestinian wounded. PRCS also reported cases where corpses of people who died as
far back as 3 January have not yet been removed for lack of Israeli approval
, and expressed its
concern over the possible health impact of the decomposition of bodies in the streets.

Although Israeli authorities have alleged the looting of food aid by Hamas militants, there has been no reported theft or misuse of these supplies.

Bloody Israeli Assault on Gaza Enters Fourth Week, Palestinian Death Toll Climbs to Over 1,100

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"It’s Day 21 of Israel’s assault on Gaza. Israeli warplanes attacked forty targets across Gaza overnight, as Israeli troops backed by tanks have pushed deep into the heart of Gaza City. Since Israel started its bombardment of Gaza, over 1,100 Palestinians have been killed and more than 5,200 wounded. At least 700 civilians are among the dead, including more than 350 children. We speak with Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi...."

Statement by Mr. Max Gaylard, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator

Intense Israeli shelling hit the main UNRWA compound in Gaza City and three hospitals - Al Wafa, Al Fata, and Al Quds. Two ambulances were also hit by Israeli fire. The Al-Quds hospital was surrounded by Israeli forces and the administrative and pharmacy buildings of the hospital were shelled and badly damaged. Fires broke out and all of the patients and staff were evacuated. The patients were later transferred to Shifa hospital.

Sixteen health facilities have been damaged and sixteen ambulances have been damaged or destroyed since the start of the Israeli military operation on 27 December 2008 and 13 health workers have been killed and 22 have been injured.

US, Israel Work Together to Prevent UN From Criticizing Attack on HQ

An attempt by the British government and other members of the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israel’s attack on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency headquarters in the Gaza Strip was foiled today, after Israel found out about the attempt and demanded United States ambassadors prevent it.

According to Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Carmon “this is the first time we have succeeded in thwarting an attempt to act against us thanks to reliable firsthand information received from the Foreign Ministry and the IDF.”

European Union ambassadors called the meeting following the attacks, but the Israeli diplomats alerted the United States to it and the later prevented the council from achieving a resolution.

غزة: غيرت اللعبة بالدم

عادل سمارة
كنعان النشرة الألكترونية

"ستكون جريمة أفظع من 1948 إذا لم يتم التقاط اللحظة، وإلغاء كافة قنوات الوصول للاعتراف بالكيان. لا بد من قطع الطريق على استسلام الدولة القطرية للاعتراف. هذه اللحظات تحديداً تقتضي منع الدولة القطرية من ضم الكيان إلى "جامعة للدول العربية". إن الانتصار السياسي اليوم اهم من العسكري. يجب أن ينتصر خيار المقاومة ورفض قنص نتائج المجزرة من قبل المشروع الأميركي الصهيوني لشرق اوسط "عميل". لم تنته المعركة بعد، أقصد السياسية، دون معرفة نتائج العسكرية. فالمعركة التي بدأت ملامحها في الولادة، هي انقسام الأمة إلى شعبي ورسمي. إلى مقاوم ومساوم. فيجب انتزاع الراية لصالح المقاومة، وهو ممكن جداً. ما تجهز له الأنظمة القطرية هو مؤتمر قمة بعد المذبحة ينضم إليه الكيان كدولة جوار.
حينما سُئل اسحق رابين في آذار 1985، وكان وزير حربية الكيان:
ـ ما الحل لمواجهة الانتفاضة؟
ـ الحل هو أن أطرد 600 ألف فلسطيني من الضفة الغربية إلى الأردن.

Israel using Holocaust guilt to continue Gaza op, says British Jewish MP

A British lawmaker declared Thursday that Israel was taking advantage of the guilt many non-Jews feel over the Holocaust to ruthlessly press ahead with its offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

Gerald Kaufman, a governing Labour Party legislator, sharply criticized Israel in a House of Commons debate on Gaza, arguing that the Jewish state has exploited guilt that much of the world feels for having ignored the slaughter of six million of Jews during World War II.

Kaufman, a frequent critic of Israel who was raised as an Orthodox Jew, commented on the claim that large numbers of the Palestinian victims were militants. "I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants," he said.

Kaufman urged the British government to impose an arms embargo on Israel.

"My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town.... A
German soldier shot her dead in her bed, he said. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza," the MP said.

The IDF has no mercy for the children in Gaza nursery schools

BY Gideon Levy

The public's shocking indifference to these figures is incomprehensible. A thousand propagandists and apologists cannot excuse this criminal killing. One can blame Hamas for the death of children, but no reasonable person in the world will buy these ludicrous, flawed propagandistic goods in light of the pictures and statistics coming from Gaza.

One can say Hamas hides among the civilian population, as if the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv is not located in the heart of a civilian population, as if there are places in Gaza that are not in the heart of a civilian population. One can also claim that Hamas uses children as human shields, as if in the past our own organizations fighting to establish a country did not recruit children.

A significant majority of the children killed in Gaza did not die because they were used as human shields or because they worked for Hamas. They were killed because the IDF bombed, shelled or fired at them, their families or their apartment buildings. That is why the blood of Gaza's children is on our hands, not on Hamas' hands, and we will never be able to escape that responsibility.

Video: Chomsky on Gaza

Israel Must Lose

A collective statement by UK-based academics and writers
January 16, 2009 By Many Authors
Source: Guardian

"The massacres in Gaza are the latest phase of a war that Israel has been waging against the people of Palestine for more than sixty years. The goal of this war has never changed. The goal has been to use overwhelming military power to eradicate the Palestinians as a political force, one capable of resisting Israel's ongoing appropriation of their land and resources.

Israel's war against the Palestinians has turned Gaza and the West Bank into a pair of gigantic political prisons. There is nothing symmetrical about this war in terms of principles, tactics or consequences. Israel is responsible for launching and intensifying it, and for ending the most recent lull in hostilities.

It is not enough then to call for another ceasefire, or for additional humanitarian assistance. It is not enough to urge the renewal of dialogue, and to acknowledge the concerns and suffering of both sides. If we believe in the principle of democratic self-determination, if we affirm the right to resist military aggression and colonial occupation, then we are obliged to take sides - against Israel, and with the people of Gaza and the West Bank.

We must do what we can to stop Israel from winning its war. Israel must accept that its security depends on justice and peaceful coexistence with its neighbours, and not upon the criminal use of force.

We the undersigned believe that Israel should immediately and unconditionally end its assault on Gaza, end the occupation of the West Bank, and abandon all claims to possess or control territory beyond its 1967 borders. We call on the British government and the British people to take all feasible steps to oblige Israel to comply with these demands, starting with a thorough programme of boycott, divestment and sanctions.


Israeli assault injures 1.5 million Gazans

by Jonathan Cook
(Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest book is “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is
Global Research, January 16, 2009

".....In truth, they ignored every diplomatic overture from Hamas, including offers of indefinite truces, while they invested their energies in the coming ground invasion. In particular they worked on plans, noted in the Israeli media back in spring 2008, to “level” Gaza’s civilian neighbourhoods and create “combat zones” from which civilians could be expelled.

One aspect of the blockade that seems to have been overlooked is the way it has been used to “soften up” Gaza, and Hamas, before Israel’s attack. For three years Gaza’s population has been denied food, medicines and fuel.

Every general knows it is easier to fight an army – or militia – that is cold, tired and hungry. Could there be a better description of the Hamas fighters, as well as those “women and children”, currently facing Israel’s tanks and warplanes? "

Fade out on George W Bush

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"What a record: stolen elections, corporate greed, fraud and corruption, unlimited spending, wealth redistribution (to the top), no checks and balances, rampant militarization, the destruction of Iraq, permanent war, and unquantifiable, unrepayable national debt. Not many world emperors are able to create a vast wasteland, call it a government, and then retire......"

مشعل: الكيان الصهيوني أصبح اليوم عاجزة عن النصر على المقاومة فكيف لو واجهتها الأمة

طالب قمة الدوحة بتحقيق مطالب المقاومة ودعمها

"الدوحة - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

أكد خالد مشعل، رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس" على أن فصائل المقاومة ورغم كل هذا الدمار في غزة "لن تقبل الشروط الإسرائيلية لوقف إطلاق النار، لأن المقاومة على ارض غزة لم تهزم، وإسرائيل فشلت في الميدان".

وقال مشعل، متحدثاً باسم الفصائل الفلسطينية أمام القمة العربية التي عُقدت في العاصمة القطرية الدوحة وحضرها وعدد من قادة وممثلي الفصائل، إن الكيان الصهيوني ورغم كل جبروته يستهدف الأطفال والمستشفيات والمساجد، إسرائيل ترتكب جريمة، وعليه أدعو القمة إلى أن تتحرك على كل الصعد لإدانة إسرائيل ومحاكمتها قريباً".

وأشار في كلمته إلى أن الكيان الصهيوني لم يعد ذلك الكيان الذي انتصر علينا في الماضي، وقال: "إسرائيل أصبحت اليوم عاجزة عن النصر على المقاومة؛ فكيف لو واجهتها الأمة صفاً واحداً"، موضحاً في الوقت ذاته أن الإدارة الأمريكية لم تعد اليوم تملك الهيمنة وفرض الشروط علينا، وقد تأزمت بسبب المقاومة العراقية"، مطالباً الدول العربية أن تأخذ خياراتها وتتعامل مع الإدارة الأمريكية بمنطلق الندية"

وطالب خالد مشعل القمة العربية بتبني مطالب الشعب الفلسطيني بوقف العدوان والانسحاب الصهيوني من غزة ورفع الحصار وفتح المعابر، مشدداً على ضرورة أن يتحمل الكيان الصهيوني مسؤولية ما لحق بالشعب الفلسطيني من دمار وضحايا.

وأكد على "حق شعبنا في المقاومة وتعزيز صمود شعبنا حتى يرحل الاحتلال، وندعو إلى وقف كل أشكال التطبيع والعلاقات مع الإسرائيليين بكل أشكالها وتفعيل المقاطعة مع الكيان الصهيوني". داعياً إلى تعزيز دعوة أمير قطر بجهد عربي ثم دولي لإعادة إعمال غزة، كما دعا إلى رعاية عربية للمصالحة الفلسطينية. "

Gaza's medics: "They know they are going to die"

Eva Bartlett writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 15 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 third 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)

A grieving husband helps load his wife's body into a morgue refrigerator.

""If this thing doesn't stop in another week, some of them will die. And they know it," Alberto said about the war on Gaza, as we looked at a photo I'd taken of Saber today. I'd thought the same thing earlier, when I said "yatiek al-afia" (have strength) to each medic climbing into their ambulances. They'd gotten "coordination" to go to one of the many areas within Gaza that the Israeli military has invaded, taken over, and prevented medics from reaching for nearly two weeks now. The coordination process is a joke, necessitating the Red Crescent to ask the Red Cross to ask for Israel's permission to pick up those the Israeli army has killed or injured, or terrified into hiding in their homes, or even locked into their houses and abused, shot, or shelled, as with one testimony from Ezbet Abed Rabbo and another from the Zeitoun area....."

Israel bombs UN agency headquarters in Gaza City

Interview, The Electronic Intifada, 15 January 2009

"The Electronic Intifada interviewed Sami Mushasha, spokesperson for the UN agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) following Israel's bombing of its quarters today.

The Electronic Intifada: Can you describe the extent of the damage suffered by UNRWA in the bombing of the headquarters today and exactly where the site is that was bombed?

Sami Mushasha: The UNRWA headquarters are in the al-Rimal district in the center of Gaza City. The location is well known to the Israeli authorities as is the fact that they enjoy UN immunity. The damage is great. Although we do not know the exact extent yet, we have lost many trucks, cars and food aid supplies.

We are trying to put out the fires and hopefully, God willing, we will be able to restore things as soon as possible.

Early reports say that three people were injured but we do not know if they were refugees [taking shelter there] or UNRWA personnel........"

GAZA: The conflict is having terrible effects on Gaza's children

Ewa Jasiewicz reports From Gaza

The Sunday Herald

"'A boy next to me, he went crazy, he was overwhelmed, he saw the massacre, the street was full of blood, the nails from the shells were as long as your hand' ......

The family pause together. "Jabaliya used to be so beautiful," says Roweeya, 17, a visiting aunt, pouring tea for us. "There is a garden close by, full of orange trees. The Israelis keep blasting missiles into it.""

Still Breathing

Friday, 16 January 2009 13:11
by Caoimhe Butterly
(Caoimhe Butterly is an Irish human rights activist presently in Gaza working in Jabaliya and Gaza city as a volunteer with ambulance services and as co-coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement, She can be contacted on 00970-598273960 or at sahara78@hotmail.

The Free Gaza Movement

"The morgues of Gaza's hospitals are over-flowing. The bodies- in their blood-soaked white shrouds- cover the entire floor space of the Shifa'a hospital's morgue. Some are intact, most horribly deformed, limbs twisted into unnatural positions, chest cavities exposed, heads blown off, skulls crushed in. Family members wait outside to identify and claim a brother, husband, father, mother, wife, child. Many of those who wait their turn have lost numerous family members and loved ones....

And yet, in the face of so much desecration, this community has remained intact. The level of social solidarity and support between people is inspiring, and the steadfastness of Gazan Palestinians continues to humble and inspire all those who witness it. The level of sacrifice demands our collective response- and a recognition that demonstrations are not enough. Gaza, Palestine and it's people continue to live, breathe, resist and remain intact and this refusal to be broken is a call and challenge to us all."

More Arab Than the Arabs: Turkish PM: Israel Should Be Barred from UN


"16/01/2009 Turkey's prime minister on Friday said Israel should be barred from the United Nations while it ignores the body's calls to stop its Gaza war. "How is such a country, which does not implement resolutions of the UN Security Council, allowed to enter through the gates of the UN (headquarters)?" Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Erdogan spoke before UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrives in Ankara to discuss the conflict. His comments reflected a growing anger in Turkey, over Israel's Gaza operation.

Erdogan accused Israel of attacking civilians under the pretext of targeting Hamas resistance movement.

Israel's offensive in Gaza entered its 21 day Friday, as the Israel Air Force continues attacking the strip and killing civilians, while rockets fired from Gaza kept pounding Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

President Abdullah Gul on Friday renewed calls for an immediate cease-fire and also urged U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to focus on a comprehensive, long-lasting and fair solution once in office."

Israeli Attacks on Gaza Escape Global Media Scrutiny

By Thalif Deen

"UNITED NATIONS, Jan 15 (IPS) - Israel's relentless air attacks on a besieged Gaza, which have killed over 1,000 Palestinians and destroyed hundreds of homes, continue to take place away from the gaze of the international news media.

A country that claims to be the only multi-party democracy in the Middle East, Israel has barred all foreign journalists from entering Gaza, triggering strong protests not only from the United Nations but also from human rights groups and media organisations......."

Gaza: A New Middle East Indeed

By Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle

"....Neither Rice, nor Bush, nor Olmert were indeed interested in shifting the status quo in the Middle East in anyway that might jeopardize Israel’s regional standing, as a powerful ally with astounding military outreach. Indeed, there was hardly anything new in the New Middle East. Like the old one, the New Middle East was also meant to be achieved from behind the barrel of a gun. But why the element of ‘newness’?

It was very clear to both Israel and the United States that their Middle East policies were failing, and miserably so; but both governments were still insistent that the problem is not in the use of force, but rather, not using enough of it. It’s, perhaps, the kind of arrogance that accompanies power. But arrogance can also be the powerful downfall......

In fact, the new ‘New Middle East’ did more than that. It once more renewed a long abandoned idea in the minds of many Arabs, especially Palestinians, that resistance was not futile after all.

Hezbollah’s triumph, and its ability to thwart various attempts at igniting a civil war in Lebanon, accompanied by the group’s leader, Hasan Nasrallah’s fiery speeches began penetrating the Arab psyche, defeated and accustomed to defeat. Nasrallah became the new Jamal Abdul Nasser, and like Abdul Nasser of Egypt, he too polarized Arabs: peoples vs. regimes......"

Israeli Officials Can’t Seem to Get Stories Straight on UN Attack

Food, Fuel Aid Destroyed: But Was It Intentional?

"Though it caused a minimal number of direct casualties, the Israeli attack on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) made headlines across the world and sparked a litany of public condemnations, not the least of which because UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said the building was attacked with white phosphorus shells, which Israel had previously denied using.

The attack also set the aid warehouse on site ablaze, destroying tons of emergency food and fuel aid intended for the 1.5 million people living in the densely populated warzone making it potentially more injurous to the civilian population than many bloodier attacks. But was the attack just another random hit by an Israeli military responsible for a myriad of attacks on targets that had nothing to do with their overall mission, or a deliberate strike? As with its attack last week on the United Nations girls’ school, the Israeli government is having a little trouble getting its story straight......"

Phosphorus denial outweighed by evidence

Times Online

"....Despite growing evidence, first revealed by The Times , that white phosphorus was being used by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) during attacks on Gaza, Israel’s military has denied firing shells with the chemical as a payload. Spokesmen for the IDF have repeatedly stated that Israel has used only weapons that meet international rules on warfare, and that it has not resorted to any system that other countries, including Nato members, have not deployed in past battles.

The evidence that white phosphorus shells have been fired as a smoke screen is so compelling that the denials have increasingly lacked credibility.

By firing such shells into a densely packed urban environment there was always the danger that particles of ignited white phosphorus could land on the skin of an innocent civilian...."

US, Israel Work Together to Prevent UN From Criticizing Attack on HQ

Israeli Envoy Brags of "Thwarting An Attempt to Act Against Us"

"An attempt by the British government and other members of the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israel’s attack on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency headquarters in the Gaza Strip was foiled today, after Israel found out about the attempt and demanded United States ambassadors prevent it.

According to Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Carmon “this is the first time we have succeeded in thwarting an attempt to act against us thanks to reliable firsthand information received from the Foreign Ministry and the IDF.”....."

Israel versus America

Is the 'special relationship' over?

By Justin Raimondo

".......The Gaza offensive has caught the US off-guard, and brought simmering US-Israeli tensions to a boil. What Gaza signals is a new turn for the Israelis, a clean break, if you will, with their status as an American puppet in the Middle East. They are clearly going off on their own, intent on waging a war of unmitigated aggression against all their neighbors. Their expansionist tendencies have lately taken on pretty grandiose dimensions, as Seymour Hersh reported in his exposé of their activities in Kurdistan. That this little adventure was leaked to Hersh by sources in and around the US intelligence community and government circles was doubtless another contributing factor to the growing US-Israeli split.

Events are rapidly reaching a dramatic climax, and Gaza is just the start. Even as Israel makes the case that it represents the West, and deserves our support, it becomes less Western, and more like a typical Middle Eastern despotism garbed in the somewhat soiled raiment of "democracy." The banning of the Arab parties, and the rise of Avigdor Lieberman, a racist and a theocrat, as a leading Israeli politician, augur ill for the future of Israel as a liberal democracy. As the Israelis hurl themselves into a furious campaign to push outward and establish the old dream of a "Greater Israel," the claim that they are the region's only democracy becomes an ever more hollow boast. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Gaza truce talks - 16 Jan 09

With Patrick Seale and Abdel Bari Atwan

Part 1:

Part 2:

"Diplomatic efforts to end the conflict are continuing both in and outside of the Arab world.

An Israeli delegation is in Cairo to discuss a ceasefire plan. Egypt says it has obtained agreement from Hamas on the broad outlines of a truce. The group, however, says it still has some reservations...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Arab-Americans flock to Gaza protests - 15 Jan 09

"The war on Gaza has sparked demonstrations worldwide. In the US, where support for Israel remains strong, there has been a growing protest movement against the war. It is particularly strong among Arab-Americans, especially those of Palestinian origin...."

Al-Jazeera Video: No place is safe for Gazans - 15 Dec 09

"Mosques, hospitals, schools and homes have been hit as the Israeli air raids in Gaza City become more intense.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros, reporting from Gaza on the 20th day of the war, says there is no place of refuge left for Gazans in the densely populated territory. "

Al-Jazeera Video: The war on Gaza evokes anger in Lebanon - 15 Dec 09

"Protests have been held in Lebanon against Israel's war on Gaza and Hezbollah has held several huge rallies in recent days.

But as Al Jazeera's Rula Amin reports, while the support for the Palestinians is strong, not everyone in Lebanon wants another war with Israel."

Real News Video: Obama and Gaza

Eric Margolis: Israel has handed the Obama administration a 'fait accompli' Part 3/3

This is just a small part of what Israel's Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai promised Gaza in February 2008, when he said, ".....[the Palestinians] will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah (Hebrew for Holocaust) because we will use all our might to defend ourselves...."

United Nations workers and Palestinian firefighters try to put out fires and save bags of food aid at the UN headquarters after it was hit by Israeli bombardment (with white phosphorus shells) in Gaza yesterday. (AP)