Saturday, January 24, 2009

410 children killed by Israel, by Carlos Latuff

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Eyewitness in Gaza: Yesterday and Tomorrow

By Ewa Jasiewicz – Gaza
(Ewa Jasiewicz is an experienced journalist, community and union organizer, and solidarity worker. She is currently Gaza Project Co-coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement (
Palestine Chronicle

"We're like trees, we have our roots and they allow us to grow, little by little, we grow up and then they cut us down. But, whatever they throw at us, whatever they do to us, we are still here and we will still be here – Om Bassim, Jabaliya Camp, January 2009.

'Our Home'

At the beginning of this war, when the bombs first started falling intensively, I remember lying on a mattress, late at night, I don’t remember where, maybe in Beit Hanoun hospital, maybe in Beit Lahiya. As I slipped into sleep, I could hear explosions, thuds, one after the other, some near, some distant, some to our east, to our west, again and again. In my semi-consciousness I felt they were all going off in my house, in my home, that the bombs were exploding in different rooms, upstairs, downstairs, next door, under me, over me. I didn't feel fear, I felt a closeness, a holding together. Maybe it was a consequence of Gaza being an incarcerated space, a walled camp, so small and close-knit, a prison, but also, a house, a home, with families in every part, every corner, every room, a community of relatives from north to south, every explosion and massacre felt acutely, felt intimately as if it had happened to ones own family, in the home, this home......."

Amnesty International Calls on Israel to Urgently Disclose Weapons and Munitions Used in Gaza

Doctors Are Having Difficulty Treating Wounded with Unexplained Charred and Severed Limbs

Amnesty International Press Release


"(New York) -- Saying doctors are finding new and unexplained patterns of injury among the wounded in Gaza, Amnesty International today called on the Israeli authorities to urgently disclose all weapons and munitions their forces used during military operations to prevent the loss of more lives.

"It is vital and urgent that the Israeli authorities disclose all relevant information including what weapons and munitions they used," said Donatella Rovera, who is leading Amnesty International's investigations team in Gaza. "More lives must not be lost because doctors do not know what caused their patients' injuries and what medical complications may occur. They have to be fully informed so that they can provide life-saving care."........ "

Photos of destruction of the Red Crescent hospital in Tel el-Hawa, Gaza


From Prof. Abdelwahed
Department of English
Faculty of Arts & Humanities
Al-Azhar University of Gaza

Click here for more shocking photos of the deliberate bombing of a HOSPITAL!

Assad Congratulates Palestinians on Gaza Victory


"24/01/2009 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad congratulated Hamas politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal on the Islamic resistance movement's victory over Israel in Gaza at a meeting in Damascus on Saturday, official media said. Assad "congratulated the Palestinian people on the victory scored by the resistance in the Gaza Strip," the official SANA news agency said......"

COMMENT: Is that not the same Assad who was, until a few weeks ago, "negotiating" indirectly with Olmert through the good offices of the Turkish government? Was he not the same Assad who called for "direct negotiations" with the terrorist state? Was he not the same Assad who confidently predicted that Israel would return the Golan back to him?

Now he congratulates the Palestinians. Before, and after Israel's humiliating defeat by Hizbullah in 2006, he congratulated Hizbullah and the Lebanese. When is he going to stop being a cheerleader for others and try to put up a fight to regain the Golan?

Oh, I forgot: he is the head of a despised regime and Arab regimes are not known for their performance in fights with Israel. After all, the Syrian regime lost the Golan when it was beaten, together with the Egyptian and Jordanian regimes, in just 6 days in 1967!

We should never lose sight of the nature of Arab regimes and their mendacity, Assad's included.

Gaza Needs Many Years to Heal

by Dr. Mona El-Farra
Common Dreams

"I am still in Cairo. With a sad heart I am watching home from a distance. The hardest days were when I went to the Rafah Crossing point. I was only one kilometer away from Gaza, but could not enter. I was told that as a Palestinian with dual nationality, I can get in but not out.

While at the border I was greatly touched by the expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people. I met doctors from Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Greece, Turkey and many other countries who came to help the people of Gaza in defiance of Israel's savage attacks on children, women, and men. We must all work on continuing and expanding these solidarity efforts on different levels. We cannot let Israel get away with its crimes against humanity in Gaza.

I want to thank you all for your solidarity as well as for your practical support. Whether you donated one pound or thousands of pounds, your support and your continuous protests let the people of Gaza feel that they are not alone and will never be forgotten.

I am still in daily contact with friends, relatives, and fellow doctors back home. And I conveyed to them your messages of support and solidarity. I also visited dozens of the injured who were transferred to Egyptian hospitals. They are in great need of rehabilitation after their wounds heal.

I want to share the results of the concrete support for Gaza that the Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) delivered:
3 ambulances
20 tons of medicine
30 tons of powdered milk and fortified baby cereal
50 wheelchairs
Thousands of coloring books and crayons for kids
Thousands of meals handed-delivered daily to displaced families taking shelter at UN schools

I thank you all, with a special thank you for the teams of volunteers in different areas of Gaza who worked under fire to meet the needs of our community, and for the emergency workers who worked tirelessly to reach the injured and dead. Time is gold in saving lives but Israel deliberately delayed and shot at emergency vehicles leading to the death of 15 emergency workers and countless Gazans.

The 22 days of Israeli attacks on Gaza was just one episode in a long line of catastrophes for Palestinians. Our struggle for justice and freedom continues.

To help MECA send more medical aid to Gaza for thousands of sick and injured people living under siege, visit"

"The Incendiary IDF"

The Israel Defense Forces use phosphorous shells--and forfeit credibility.

by Kenneth Roth
Human Rights Watch

"Throughout the recent war in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) insisted that it took extraordinary care to spare civilians. But it then prevented journalists and human rights monitors from entering Gaza during the conflict to independently verify this claim.

Now that Human Rights Watch and other observers have been let in, it has become clear that hundreds of Palestinian civilians were not the only casualties of the fighting. So was the credibility of the IDF......

Awful as it is to have white phosphorous raining down on you, the IDF probably caused more civilian casualties with its use of 155 mm high-explosive artillery shells in Gaza. These weapons can injure civilians from blast and fragmentation over an area with a radius of as much as 300 meters. That's roughly the equivalent of taking three football fields, lining them end to end and then rotating them around the point of the shell's impact. In the densely populated residential areas of Gaza, where Human Rights Watch saw these shells used on Jan. 15, they can cause extensive civilian casualties. Such use clearly violates the laws-of-war prohibition of indiscriminate attacks because the shells strike military targets and civilians without distinction........"

Al-Jazeera Video: UN struggles to house displaced after Gaza war - 24 Jan 09

"Israel has rejected international calls to fully reopen border crossings into Gaza, delaying the massive task of reconstruction on the strip.

That's adding to the woes of the tens of thousands of displaced people.

Zeina Awad reports from Gaza City."

Al-Jazeera Video: BBC spurns Gaza appeal - 23 Jan 09

"The British Broadcasting Corporation is defending its decision not to air a fund-raising appeal for the victims of the Gaza crisis. The televised appeal would be for the Disasters Emergency Committee, an organisation which represents a number of aid agencies. But, the broadcaster says it does not want to compromise public confidence in its impartiality. Al Jazeera's Fergal Parkinson reports. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Doctors struggle to treat Gaza victims - 23 Jan 2009

"Promiment human rights groups have been blaming Israeli army tactics for the difficulty that doctors in Gaza are having in treating their patients.

Al Jazeera's Todd Baer reports from Khan Younis where doctors believe that illegal chemical weapons were behind some injuries. "

A Must See Video: Unseen Gaza High Quality

Contributed by Lisette

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

"Source Channel 4, televised on 22.01.09 on Channel 4 11:05pm. This shows a truer picture of the Massacres, Carnage and Terrorist War-Crimes by the IMF (Israeli Murder Force), that they tried to hide by disallowing Foreign Journalists into Gaza!!! But the TRUTH ALWAYS COMES OUT THANK GOD!!! "

The Pharaoh Ehud Mubarak, A Partner in the Gaza Genocide

Egypt 'Not Bound' by Anti-Smuggling Pact

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

(Click on cartoon by Carlos Latuff to enlarge)

"CAIRO, Jan 24 (IPS) - The U.S. and Israel signed a memorandum of understanding last week ostensibly aimed at combating arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip. Egypt, however, which shares a 14-kilometre border with the embattled territory, rejected the accord as an infringement on its national sovereignty [COMMENT: Do not believe this "rejection" by the Pharaoh. This is just a smokescreen to hide behind. He is fully on board with USrael to keep the Gaza ghetto sealed and the genocide going!].

"Egypt was not even a signatory to this document," Tarek Fahmi, political science professor at Cairo University and head of the Israel desk at the Cairo-based National Centre for Middle East Studies, told IPS. "Egypt is not obliged to follow security procedures arranged behind its back."

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) outlines general procedures aimed at stopping weapons smuggling into the Gaza Strip. The strip, governed by Palestinian resistance faction Hamas since 2007, was recently the target of a devastating, three-week-long Israeli military campaign that ended Jan. 17.

Signed in Washington by outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the accord notes that "securing Gaza's border is indispensable to realising a durable and sustainable end to fighting in Gaza." With this stated aim, the document commits Washington to "accelerate its efforts to provide logistical and technical assistance and to train and equip regional security forces in counter-smuggling tactics."......

According to Fahmi, any new security arrangement on the border would require formal changes to the 1979 Egypt-Israel Camp David peace agreement. "But in the past, when Egypt wanted to modify the agreement to allow it to increase its border forces, Israel has adamantly refused," he said.

The Camp David protocols stipulate that Egypt can deploy no more than 750 border police on its borders with Israel and the Gaza Strip.......

According to a "senior Israeli political source" quoted by Ha'aretz, the number of Egyptian police on the border with Gaza could be tripled to reach a total of 2,250. But it remains unclear, the newspaper added, whether new border procedures would entail an amendment of the Camp David protocols or would merely represent a "tacit agreement" between the two countries."

Plots, sense and nonsense: the view from the post bag

By Robert Fisk

"....First, here's reader Jack Hyde tipping me off about a possible (real) reason behind Israel's bloodletting in Gaza. He encloses a paper by University of Ottawa economist Michel Chossudovsky (COMMENT: This article was posted here, on Palestinian Pundit on January 8.) who says that "the military intervention of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves". It's not exactly The Plot. But it's something that Obama and his lads and lasses may need to study in the next few days.

For according to Chossudovsky, British Gas and its partner, the Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company – owned, apparently, by two Lebanese families – were granted 25-year oil and exploration rights off the Gaza coast by Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority in 1999. About 60 per cent of reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to "Palestine" (wherever that is these days).

But since the Hamas election victory in 2006 and its coup in Gaza in 2007, the Hamas government has been by-passed, even though poor old "President" Mahmoud Abbas, marooned in the West Bank, can only glimpse the Mediterranean from a hill near Jenin. Many negotiations later – and after Israeli "defence" officials claimed that the Palestinians could be paid only in goods and chattels for their gas rather than cash which might go to the dreaded Hamas – there was a proposed agreement under which Palestinian gas from Gaza wells would be channelled via undersea pipelines to the Israeli port of Ashkelon, thus transferring the control of gas sales to Israel. British Gas withdrew from these talks in December 2007.

But in June of 2008 – when, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz, Israel began its invasion plans for Gaza – Israel suddenly asked British Gas to resume talks. And, so says Chossudovsky, negotiations began again for the purchase of natural gas from the Gaza offshore fields. Israeli tanks have now driven out of the Gaza Strip, but Israeli naval vessels still control the coast and there's an obvious question: if the Israelis can continue to violate international law by seizing Palestinian land in the West Bank, why cannot they seize the sovereignty of Palestinian gas fields off Gaza? If Israel can annex Jerusalem, why not annex Gaza's maritime areas?......"

Benn accuses BBC of betrayal over Gaza appeal

The Independent

"Veteran politician Tony Ben accused the BBC today of a "betrayal" of its public service obligations following its decision not to broadcast a public appeal for funds for Gaza.

Having spoken on the Today programme, he will address a pro-Palestine rally called by the Stop the War coalition outside Broadcasting House in central London.

The former Labour MP and Stop the War president will say: "The decision of the BBC to refuse to broadcast a national humanitarian appeal for Gaza, which has left aid agencies with a potential shortfall of millions of pounds in donations, is a betrayal of the obligation which it owes as a public service.

"The destruction in Gaza, and the loss of the lives of over a thousand civilians and children, has shocked the world as Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki Moon, made clear, when he saw the devastation for himself.

"The human suffering that the people of Gaza have experienced over the last few weeks has appalled people who have seen it for themselves on their television screens.

"To deny the help that the aid agencies and the UN need at this moment in time is incomprehensible and it follows the bias in BBC reporting of this crisis, which has been widely criticised......"

In praise of… the Disasters Emergency Committee

Broadcasters are wrong to boycott the Gaza appeal

Editorial, Friday 23 January 2009 15.13 GMT

""No politics. No boundaries. Send us money now. We'll rush your aid to the people of Vietnam," the Disasters Emergency Committee appealed in 1967, courtesy of a broadcast carried by the BBC, presented by Peter Snow. It did not judge the rights and wrongs of the conflict, or promise that aid would only reach those to the north or south of the border that then divided the country. It simply made the point that desperate people needed help. What was true of Vietnam then is true of Gaza today, which makes it all the more unfortunate that for the first time in 43 years a DEC appeal has been launched without the support of Britain's major broadcasters. The BBC's lame excuse yesterday – that it wants to "avoid any risk of compromising public confidence in the BBC's impartiality in the context of an ongoing news story" – could of course have applied to Vietnam 30 years ago, or any number of appeals since then. Broadcasters supported the DEC's call for public help in Sudan, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the first Gulf war and in Lebanon in 1982. What has changed now? The committee, which brings together 13 UK charities including the British Red Cross and Oxfam, decided to act this week because in Gaza its three criteria have been met: aid is needed, aid can be delivered and the public want to help. The DEC, which says it "regrets" the broadcasters' refusal, is pressing ahead regardless. Anyone who wants to donate to its appeal should call 0370 60 60 900 or visit"

Guardian Video: War on Gaza – the aftermath

Residents of Jabaliya refugee camp, north of Gaza City, pick up the pieces of their lives from the rubble of Israeli bombing

Fida Qishta, Friday 23 January 2009

(Click here to play)

In Pictures: Child victims in Gaza

Shahed Abu Sultan, eight, was killed by a bullet apparently fired from a helicopter as she sat on her father’s lap at the doorway to their home in the Jabaliya refugee camp on 5 January. Her father, Hussein, 40, wrote a message to his daughter which hangs on their sitting room wall: “I cried a sea of tears for you but those tears have not calmed my heart because you left, my daughter. I have no tears remaining, but my heart wants to go on crying blood, my daughter, my beloved Shahed.”

Children of Gaza: stories of those who died and the trauma for those who survived

Amal Abed Rabbo, two, photographed by her family after she died in an Israeli attack outside her house in the village of Izbit Abed Rabbo, Gaza, on 7 January 2009

Rory McCarthy reports from Gaza City on the individual stories of some victims and the physical and psychological toll on an estimated 350,000 youngsters, Friday 23 January 2009

"Amira Qirm lay on a hospital bed today with her right leg in plaster, and held together by a line of steel pins dug deep into her skin. For several days after her operation Amira, 15, was unable to speak, and even now talks only in a low whisper.

In her past are bitter memories: watching her father die in the street outside their home, then hearing another shell land and kill her brother Ala'a, 14, and her sister Ismat, 16, and then the three days that she spent alone, injured and semi-conscious, trying to stay alive in a neighbour's abandoned house before she could be rescued last Sunday.....

Only now, after most of the dead have been buried, is the first properly researched reckoning of the toll emerging. What already stands out is the striking cost borne by the children of Gaza, who make up more than half of the 1.5 million people living in this overcrowded strip of land.

The Palestinian death toll after three weeks of Israel's war was 1,285, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, or 1,268, according to the al-Mezan Human Rights Centre. Among those dead were at least 280 children......"

BBC under pressure to reverse Gaza appeal decision

Politicians and Muslim leaders describe broadcaster's refusal to air aid appeal as inexplicable, feeble and dereliction of duty

Nicholas Watt and agencies, Saturday 24 January 2009

"The BBC came under renewed pressure from the government today to "stand up" to the Israeli authorities and broadcast an appeal to raise emergency funds for Gaza.

Douglas Alexander, the international development secretary, yesterday rebuked Britain's broadcasters for refusing to air an emergency appeal for Gaza by Britain's Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).

In a letter to the BBC, Sky and ITV, Alexander expressed his "disappointment" that the appeal would not be broadcast.

Today the health minister Ben Bradshaw, a former BBC journalist, described the decision not to screen the appeal as "inexplicable" and dismissed the corporation's explanation for its position as "completely feeble".

The BBC refused to broadcast the humanitarian appeal for Gaza on the grounds that it did not want to risk public confidence in its impartiality. The decision meant other broadcasters also refused to air the appeal by the committee, the umbrella group for 13 aid charities......

The former Government minister Tony Benn will today join a protest against the decision outside the BBC's Broadcasting House. He used an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme to broadcast an appeal himself, urging listeners to send gifts to PO Box 999 London EC3A 3AA, or donate via freepay account 1210 at the Post Office.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said it viewed the BBC's decision to disallow an appeal by the DEC for Gaza as "a serious dereliction of its public duty".

In a statement, the MCB said: "We urge the corporation's governors to urgently reverse its decision which would severely jeopardise efforts to raise millions of pounds of voluntary contributions for emergency humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

"In sabotaging the DEC appeal broadcast, the BBC is clearly acting against the public interest. As custodians of the public trust in the BBC its governors must act immediately to avoid the blame of being complicit in denying humanitarian aid to the desperate people of Gaza."......"

COMMENT: Interestingly, a current poll by the Guardian shows that 81% of the public believes that the BBC is wrong in refusing to air the appeal. Does the BBC really represent the public interest or that of the Zionist lobby??

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Abbas MAFIA is at it, Again! Professor Abdel Sattar Kassem's Car Bombed in Front of his House!

منفلتو "فتح" وأجهزة عباس يفجرون سيارة الدكتور عبد الستار قاسم في نابلس

"رام الله - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

أقدمت عناصر منفلتة من حركة "فتح" وأجهزة محمود عباس الأمنية في مدينة نابلس في الضفة الغربية المحتلة على تفجير عبوة ناسفة في السيارة الخاصة بالدكتور عبد الستار قاسم أستاذ العلوم السياسية في جامعة النجاح والمحلل السياسي المعروف أثناء وجوده داخل بيته، ما أدى إلى تدميرها وإلحاق أضرار بمدخل المنزل.

وأكد قاسم في تصريحات له عقب الاعتداء الذي وقع مساء الجمعة (23/1) أن الانفجار نجم عن قنبلة محلية الصنع أدت إلى احتراق السيارة بشكل كامل إضافة إلى تضرر باب منزله القريب من موضع السيارة المشار إليها.

وقال الأكاديمي الفلسطيني بأنه كان داخل منزله ويجلس على الحاسوب، فأخبره جيرانه بصوت انفجار خارج المنزل، وأثناء خروجه تبين احتراق سيارته بقنبلة محلية. مشيراً إلى أن الحادث وقع بعد دقائق من وصوله لمنزله بعد مشاركته في ندوة تلفزيونية على فضائية "القدس" وجه فيها انتقادات حادة لسلطة رام الله.

وحول سؤاله عن اتهامه لأحد؛ قال قاسم بأنه تعرض قبل أسبوع لتهديد عبر الهاتف من قبل مجهولين ونفذوا تهديدهم بحرق السيارة، وأشار في الوقت ذاته إلى حادثة سابقة تعرض لها واتهم حينها أجهزة عباس، لكنه ختم كلامه بحمده لله أنه لم يصب بأذى جراء الحادث.

ويأتي هذا الاعتداء على خلفية الانتقادات التي يوجهها قاسم لسلطة رام الله وتنسيقها الأمني ومحاربتها للمقاومة الفلسطينية."

A bomb goes off under the car of a university professor

"RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- A bomb exploded, Friday evening, under the car of Abdel-Sattar Qasem, a professor of political science at the Najah University in Nablus, in the northern West Bank. No one was injured in the explosion.

Qasem said after the incident that the bomb, which seems to be locally manufactured, set fire to the car destroying it completely and the fire caused damage to the door of his house in front of which the car was parked.

He added that he was in his house working on his computer when his neighbours alerted him to the explosion and the fire.

Qassem had earlier in the day participated in a panel at al-Quds satellite channel during which he severely criticised the Ramallah Palestinian Authority and the incident took place minutes after his return home from this engagement, making Fatah vandals, or Abbas's security agencies, the prime suspects of being behind the attack.

On the question of who could be behind such a crime, Qasem said that he received threats a week ago from unknown individuals and it seems that they carried out their threat today. He also pointed out that there was a previous incident for which he blamed Abbas's security men at the time."

Al-Jazeera is reporting the same:

مجهولون يفجرون سيارة أكاديمي بالضفة

"ألقى مجهولون قنبلة حارقة على سيارة أستاذ العلوم السياسية بجامعة النجاح الدكتور عبد الستار قاسم قرب منزله بنابلس بالضفة الغربية.

وفي اتصال مع الجزيرة قال عبد الستار إن الحادث وقع بعد إجرائه مقابلة تلفزيونية مع فضائية القدس. وأضاف أنه تلقى تهديدات قبل أيام بعد مقابلة مع تلفزيون الأقصى.

واتهم قاسم جهات رسمية بالوقوف وراء تفجير السيارة التي احترقت بالكامل, نافيا وجود أي خلافات أو خصومات شخصية مع أحد.

وأشار إلى أنه أطلق عليه أربع رصاصات في أحد التهديدات, مضيفا أن "جهات أمنية هددتني في السابق ونفذت التهديد".

كما أوضح الأكاديمي الفلسطيني أن الهدف من تلك التهديدات هو تكميم الأفواه ومعاقبة من يتكلم بالاعتداء على ممتلكاته ووظيفته، على حد تعبيره. وأكد أيضا أنه يتعرض للاعتداء بشكل متكرر بواقع مرة أو مرتين سنويا

War Crimes, by Carlos Latuff

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Obama urges Israel to open Gaza borders

Under its ceasefire, Hamas has given Israel until Sunday to open the borders. Much of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure has been destroyed during the three-week Israeli offensive and, without building materials and other supplies, there is little hope of rebuilding the water, sewage and power networks as well as private homes and key government buildings...

But in comments referring to the Gaza conflict he added: “I was deeply concerned by the loss of Palestinian and Israeli life in recent days and by the substantial suffering and humanitarian needs in Gaza. Our hearts go out to Palestinian civilians who are in need of immediate food, clean water, and basic medical care, and who’ve faced suffocating poverty for far too long.”

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you expect a change in American policy as regards the Palestinian cause under Obama?

With over 2,500 responding so far, 88% said no.

Al-Jazeera Video: Gaza in Ruins: A news special

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Al-Jazeera Video: Mosques not spared in Gaza war - 23 Jan 09

"Gazans have started the massive task of rebuilding, after Israel's three-week war on the strip.

Even its 24 mosques weren't spared.

But for the first time since the offensive ended, Muslims will be able to hold Friday prayers....."

The Zionist Pharaoh at Work: Egyptian Security interrogate wounded Palestinians on homemade shells, arms smuggling

"A number of injured Palestinians who received treatment in Egyptian hospitals and returned to Gaza said that the Egyptian Security interrogated some of them, and demanded they reveal information on the locations of manufacturing plants used to produce homemade shells, and the tunnels that are being used to smuggle arms, as well as food and medical supplies, into the Gaza Strip.

Some of the wounded Palestinians said that they were violently interrogated at the hospitals, and were threatened to be thrown out of Egypt, without completing medical treatment.

They added that after they partially recovered from their wounds, they were interrogated and were asked to provide information on the resistance, and were asked “not to help or be affiliated with Hamas”.

One of the residents said in a phone interview with Al Jazeera that the Egyptian Security told him “to inform the resistance that Egypt will not allow arms smuggling, and will not allow Hamas to rebuild its military power”. He added that after he recovered from his wounds, a physician asked him to wait in a room adjacent to the hospital, and later on interrogators came to the room and asked him to provide them with information “after vowing that whatever he says will remain a secret”." “They asked me about the resistance, and how it stores weapons, how long can the resistance hold in Gaza under Israeli attacks, they asked me to provide them with information about the leadership of Hamas”, he said, “at first they were nice with me, but when I told them I have no information, one of the interrogators struck me on my wound, and said, do not lie, you are a Hamas and Qassam member, we will not allow you to continue your treatment, we will throw you to the dogs”.

Video: Chomsky on Gaza, 1/13/2009

"Noam Chomsky's recent address on the Israeli atrocities in Gaza.

Jan. 13th, 2009
Wong Auditorium, MIT Cambridge, MA "

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Part 6/6:

Come On Down For Your Freedom Medals

A Great Piece by John Pilger

"......As satire was made redundant when Henry Kissinger and Rupert Murdoch were honoured for their contributions to the betterment of humanity, Bush's ceremony was, at least, telling of a system of which he and his freshly-minted successor are products. Although more spectacular in its choreographed histrionics, Barack Obama's inauguration carried the same Orwellian message of inverted truth: of ruthlessness of criminal power, if not unending war. The continuity between the two administrations has been as seamless as the transfer of the odious Bono's allegiance, symbolised by President Obama's oath-taking on the steps of Congress - where, only days earlier, the House of Representatives, dominated by the new president's party, the Democrats, voted 390-5 to back Israel's massacres in Gaza. The supply of American weapons used in the massacres was authorised previously by such a margin. These included the Hellfire missile which sucks the air out of lungs, ruptures livers and amputates arms and legs without the necessity of shrapnel: a "major advance", according to the specialist literature. As a senator, then president-elect, Obama raised no objection to these state-of-the-art [sic] weapons being rushed to Israel - worth $22 billion in 2008 - in time for the long-planned assault on Gaza's fenced and helpless population. This is understandable; it how the system works. On no other issue does Congress and the president, Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, give such absolute support. By comparison, the German Reichstag in the 1930s was a treasure of democratic and principled debate......."

Olmert, Barak, Livni Okay Egyptian anti-Smuggling Plan


"23/01/2009 A few days following their defeat against the Palestinian Resistance in the Gaza strip, the Israeli "war trio" reportedly approved security arrangements with Egypt aimed at thwarting flow of arms into the besieged strip, apparently seeking to achieve through diplomacy what they have failed to achieve militarily.

Indeed, the limited Israeli cabinet, consisting of Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni approved Thursday night the security arrangements with Egypt aimed at preventing the smuggling of arms into Gaza. The arrangements mostly concern technical matters and Egyptian operating methods to stop the smuggling from within its borders......

On Sunday, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told the Israeli cabinet that Israel's offensive on Gaza failed to wipe out Hamas's network of arms smuggling tunnels below the border with Egypt which Palestinians will now likely rebuild. Speaking at the end of the weekly cabinet meeting, Diskin said he feared the situation along the border, known as the Philadelphi route, would return to the pre-war status quo unless agreements with the US and Egypt on greater surveillance are followed through."

Hamas Fights on Uneven Battlefield

By Thalif Deen

"UNITED NATIONS, Jan 22 (IPS) - In the 1967 movie classic the "Battle of Algiers", which recreated Algeria's war of independence against France, a handcuffed and shackled insurgent leader, Ben M'Hidi, is brought before a group of highly-partisan French journalists for intense interrogation.

One of the journalists asks M'Hidi: "Don't you think it is a bit cowardly to use women's handbags and baskets to carry explosive devices that kill so many innocent people [in cafes and night clubs]?"

Responding with equal bluntness, the Algerian insurgent retorts: "And doesn't it seem to you even more cowardly to drop napalm bombs on unarmed villages on a thousand times more innocent victims?"

"Of course, if we had your fighter planes, it would be a lot easier for us," he adds. "Give us your bombers, and you can have our handbags and baskets."

Like the Algerian insurgents, Hamas militants were not fighting on a level battle field - as the Israeli military unleashed its massive firepower on a virtually defenceless population in Gaza, killing over 1,300 Palestinians in the 22-day conflict.

"Perhaps it would be interesting to see the roles reversed: the Palestinians with American fighter planes and battle tanks and the Israelis with homemade rockets," says one Arab diplomat, striking a parallel with the Algerian insurgency......"

Cornering of Civilians Unprecedented, Says UN Official

By David Cronin

"BRUSSELS, Jan 22 (IPS) - Israel's refusal to allow civilians any exit route from Gaza as its defence forces rained bombs down on schools and houses appears unprecedented in modern warfare, a United Nations investigator has said.

Richard Falk, the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, described the sealing off of the Gaza Strip in order to ensure that nobody could flee it as "a distinct, new and sinister war crime."

"For the first time in a military operation, the civilian population as a whole has been locked into a war zone," he told a meeting of the European Parliament by telephone. "No children, women, sick people or disabled people were allowed to leave. For the first time, the option of becoming a refugee has been withheld."......"

هيكل: المرحلة المقبلة لفرض التسويات وتصفية حماس

Please See The Link to The English Equivalent, as Posted by Al-Manar, Below the Arabic Text.

"اعتبر الكاتب والصحفي المصري محمد حسنين هيكل أن المرحلة المقبلة ستشهد محاولة لتصفية حركة المقاومة الإسلامية (حماس) عبر سلاح عملية إعمار قطاع غزة في أعقاب العدوان الإسرائيلي الذي تواصل على مدى ثلاثة أسابيع.

وأكد هيكل في حلقة خاصة على قناة الجزيرة أن حلف شمال الأطلسي (الناتو) سيلعب الدور الأبرز في المرحلة المقبلة التي سيتم خلالها فرض الأمر الواقع على العرب "الذين لم يكن لهم أي دور في وقف العدوان على قطاع غزة على عكس ما توهمه بعضهم".

وفي السياق أكد هيكل أن مبعوث اللجنة الرباعية الدولية توني بلير هو "مهندس" الزج بالحلف الأطلسي في المنطقة العربية من خلال ترتيبه زيارات القادة الأوروبيين للمنطقة "في لحظة فراغ".

وفي هذا الصدد أشار هيكل إلى أن الاندفاع الأطلسي يستغل انشغال الولايات المتحدة بشأنها الداخلي في ظل الأزمة المالية.

وشدد الصحفي المصري على أن اعتمادات الإعمار ستجري تحت رعاية الأطلسي، وعلى أن هناك كما هائلا من أموال الإعمار التي ستوظف لإغفال الجانب السياسي للقضية الفلسطينية.

ولعل أبرز وأخطر ما ورد في تحليل هيكل, ترتيبات الأمر الواقع والتسويات التي قال إنها ستفرض في المنطقة, وبالتالي ستكون هناك حقائق -لا حلول- تفرض بأساليب مختلفة: الإعمار والضرب والتهدئة. وحث هيكل العرب على الانتباه إلى خطورة ما يحاك ضد منطقتهم التي "تواجه أحوالا خطيرة جدا".

ترتيبات وتحركات
من جهة أخرى تناول هيكل بالتحليل التحركات الأوروبية التي سبقت إعلان إسرائيل عن وقف إطلاق النار من جانب واحد.

وكشف في هذا السياق أن الإدارة الأميركية هي من دفع إسرائيل لوقف الهجوم على غزة كي لا تفسد حفل تنصيب الرئيس باراك أوباما, وحتى لا تتم عملية التنصيب وسط أنهار الدم والنيران التي تلتهم الفلسطينيين في غزة.

ووفقا لتحليل هيكل فإن الجميع بمن فيهم العالم العربي تحركوا في الوقت الضائع, وأن العرب لم يلعبوا في الواقع أي دور في وقف القتال. وقال بهذا الصدد إن العرب لم يكونوا مدركين لما يجري في هذه المرحلة.

وأضاف أن ما جرى وما يجري وما سيجري يتطلب الكثير من التحقيق والحساب مع النفس ومع الآخرين. وحث هيكل العرب على أن يتحركوا في اتجاه محاسبة إسرائيل, أو على الأقل تسجيل ما اقترفته من جرائم عبر استدعاء الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة بان كي مون ليدلي بشهادته أمام الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة حول زيارته الخاطفة لغزة.

غير أنه استبعد في المقابل إمكانية محاسبة إسرائيل على مجازرها في غزة أمام أي من المحاكم الدولية المتخصصة في جرائم الحرب وغيرها.

وأشار في هذا الإطار إلى أن ما حصل في القطاع على امتداد ثلاثة أسابيع كان مجازر غير مسبوقة في التاريخ, مشيرا إلى دور قناة الجزيرة في نقل الصورة إلى العالم في مقابل التعتيم الذي مارسته إسرائيل عبر منع المراسلين الغربيين من دخول غزة, بل وحتى محاولة ثني بان كي مون عن زيارة القطاع.

خطورة بالغة
وفي سياق تحليله للحرب وتداعياتها, أوضح محمد حسنين هيكل أن إسرائيل استغلت لحظة فراغ في الساحة الدولية, خاصة الفترة الانتقالية في الولايات المتحدة بين إدارتي جورج بوش وباراك أوباما.

وأضاف أن تل أبيب قامت بما كان مطلوبا منها, قائلا في هذا الصدد إن الحرب على غزة بدأت بإشارة سماح أميركية بهدف إزالة عقبات على رأسها حركة حماس التي كانت ترفض تسويات الأمر الواقع التي جرت محاولة فرضها عبر مؤتمر أنابوليس وما بعده.

وحسب تأكيد هيكل, كان مطلوبا ضرب حماس لأنها تسلحت ولأنها عقبة في طريق التسوية, مؤكدا أنه كان من بين العرب من يحرض على ضربها.

وحسب تقديره أيضا كان القتل المروع والجنون الذي تعرضت له غزة بمنزلة "دروس" للآخرين, وأكد أن سوريا كانت المقصودة في هذه المرحلة وليس إيران.

وحين تطرق إلى التحركات الدبلوماسية التي تمت في الوقت الضائع, أشار هيكل إلى ما تعرضت له مصر من استغلال سياسي عبر لقاء شرم الشيخ الذي رأى فيه أولى علامات تشكل مرحلة جديدة سمتها البارزة تدخل الحلف الأطلسي في البحرين الأبيض المتوسط والأحمر بحجة مكافحة منع تهريب الأسلحة إلى قطاع غزة.

ودلّل على ذلك بالاتفاقية الأمنية التي أبرمتها وزيرة الخارجية الأميركية كوندوليزا رايس ونظيرتها الإسرائيلية تسيبي ليفني قبل ساعات من توقف القصف

Haykal Unveils Plot to "Dissolve" Hamas Resistance

Gaza conflict 'remains unsettled'


"Hamas and Israel are observing separate ceasefires after a 22-day Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.

Alastair Crooke, founder of the Conflicts Forum think-tank, shares his thoughts on the conflict, the region and what Obama might bring to the mix.

Al Jazeera: Can Israel be said to have achieved its aims through its offensive on Gaza?

As time goes on, it will become more and more clear that Israel has not achieved the aims that it set for itself. The intended aim - that by an overwhelming show of force it would make people both docile and deterred - has not been achieved.

The core of the conflict itself – the rockets and the issue of the opening of the crossings [into Gaza] – remains completely unsettled. And Israel has not defeated Hamas in a military sense, despite massive destruction of property and people's lives......."

Bush's 'puppet in Kabul' will not go quietly

By Patrick Cockburn

"Hamid Karzai is fighting for his political life. He has often been written off as "the mayor of Kabul", but he does not intend to go quietly just because the Pentagon has increasingly seen him as an obstacle to its plans for a "surge" or increase in US troop strength by 20,000 or 30,000 to try to turn the corner in the Afghan war......."

Fatah fears Gaza conflict has put Hamas in the ascendancy

Palestinian party created by Yasser Arafat suffers sharp decline in support

By Patrick Cockburn in Nablus
Friday, 23 January 2009

"The Islamic movement Hamas is taking over from Fatah, the party created by Yasser Arafat, as the main Palestinian national organisation as a result of the war in Gaza, says a leading Fatah militant. "We have moved into the era of Hamas which is now much stronger than it was," said Husam Kadr, a veteran Fatah leader in the West Bank city of Nablus, recently released after five-and-a-half years in Israeli prisons. "Its era started when Israel attacked Gaza on 27 December."

The sharp decline in support for Fatah and the discrediting of Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, because of his inertia during the 22-day Gaza war, will make it very difficult for the US and the EU to pretend that Fatah are the true representatives of the Palestinian community. The international community is likely to find it impossible to marginalise Hamas in reconstructing Gaza.

"Hamas has been highly successful in portraying itself as the party of the resistance, and Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas as the opponents of resistance at a time [when] the public wants to resist," said Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian minister of planning. He adds that Mr Abbas was badly damaged in the eyes of Palestinians when he blamed Hamas for Israel's assault on Gaza in the conflict's first two days.

...... "The Hamas era comes 40 years after Karamah began the Fatah period," he says.

Aside from Gaza there is another reason why President Abbas and Fatah are weak. Long years of negotiations with Israel have achieved nothing while red-roofed Israeli settlements have sprouted on every West Bank hilltop. .......

The rise of Hamas and the demise of Fatah is best explained by the failure of President Abbas to achieve anything through negotiations for ordinary Palestinians. "We in Fatah have failed to remove a single Israeli checkpoint," admits Mr Kadr. "It takes me as long to reach Ramallah 50 kilometres away as it would to fly from Jordan to Ankara."

He believes the Gaza war has spread the seeds for another Palestinian uprising. "The coming uprising will be very hard for both the Palestinians and the Israelis," he warns, though he does not forecast when it will occur. He points to a television in his office on which a young Palestinian girl called Dalal is shown picking through the ruins of her house in Gaza where all her family had died and only her cat had survived. "Can you imagine how Palestinians feel when they see this?" he asks."

A Guardian Poll: Is the BBC right on Gaza?

The BBC has refused to broadcast a humanitarian appeal for Gaza, saying it doesn't want to risk compromising public confidence in its impartiality. The Disasters Emergency Committee, on the other hand, says the appeal is "a response to humanitarian principles". Is the BBC justified in its decision?

Is the BBC justified in refusing to air the Gaza aid appeal?

20% Yes. To show it would undermine the BBC's impartiality
80% No. The decision will stop vital aid reaching Gaza

From London to Gaza

Despite official apathy to the suffering in Gaza, Londoners are gathering for a solidarity convoy to deliver aid to Palestine

George Galloway, Friday 23 January 2009

"......That's why I've taken the initiative to launch a solidarity convoy from Britain to Gaza, through north Africa, headed by firefighting equipment donated by the Fire Brigades Union. The convoy will contain trucks and vans from towns and cities across the country containing medicines and other necessities the Palestinians of Gaza desperately need.

This is not an alternative, of course, to the vast amounts of aid that ought to be airlifted now to Gaza. The purpose of the convoy, however, is not simply to bring aid. It is to provide a focus for solidarity and actions such as those in Birmingham city council, which has taken a big step towards boycotting Israel. I think the time is ripe to push these issues into London councils and the London Assembly. The mayor of London's silence over Gaza is out of step with the feeling of most Londoners. That gap is going to be keenly felt in the coming months.

The convoy's route through north Africa is deliberately chosen. It will take it through big Arab centres and into Egypt, which holds the key to the liberation of Gaza and Palestine. The response to the call for the convoy has been overwhelming. Mosques, community groups, trade unions and other organisations are busy organising to get a truck on the road and to fill it with useful things.

In my experience it is tapping something wider than a basic humanitarian response to the suffering in Gaza. I cannot think of anything better to forge the bonds of social solidarity the government says it wants to see. In the 1930s ordinary people across Europe rallied to aid the people of Republican Spain, who faced the bombing of towns and the massacres of civilians by the jackbooted General Franco. The cry was "Aidez L'Espagne!" – today the call should be "Viva Palestina!""

Thursday, January 22, 2009


It gives me great pleasure to introduce the very talented political cartoonist Khalil Bendib. As you could easily tell, he is one of my favorite cartoonists. A daily visit to his web site is a must for me, and he has been gracious to let me post his cartoons, as soon as they appear, on Palestinian Pundit (PP).

I apologize to Khalil and to our readers for the delay in publishing this interview, which was conducted by emails. I originally hoped to have the interview ready about 15 days ago, but the horrific attacks on Gaza and all the time I have been spending updating the blog and trying to keep up with all the news, comments, protests, etc have caused this delay.

Many of our readers who admire Khalil’s work have been asking questions about him and some had not heard of him before seeing his cartoons here. So, I was delighted when he agreed to have this interview which will give all of us a better idea who this highly creative cartoonist is. Khalil was kind enough to supply a photograph for this interview.

His most recent book of cartoons, Mission Accomplished, has garnered great reviews by the likes of Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, Publishers Weekly, among many others. You can check it out at

PP: Please give us a brief biographic introduction

Khalil: I was born during the famous Battle of Algiers some 50 + years ago, into the worst possible war atmosphere, which gave me my instinctive identification with all oppressed people in the world in general, and with the Palestinians in particular. My family barely escaped being wiped out by the French and I was born a war refugee. I had two uncles who were tortured by the French, one of whom died of it, but then, not one Algerian family was spared in those years. One and a half million Algerians perished in the genocidal war waged by the French colonial state against the natives of Algeria. We Algerians feel the nightmare of colonialism continues, unabated, in Palestine, under “new management”... And we can’t accept it.

PP: How long have you been doing political cartoons? Do you do other types of cartoons: Comics? Commercial?

Khalil: My first drawings as a kid (3 years old,) were of courageous Algerian soldiers saluting the banned Algerian flag. I was already obsessed with politics. So I think I was ALWAYS a political cartoonist, in a way...

PP: Your cartoons appear in Muslim Observer and Corp Watch; where else?

Khalil: They appear in over 1,700 small and mid-size newspapers across the country, all those small enough to be “under the radar.” They also occasionally appear in the New York Times, USA Today, LA Times and other large papers. But large corporate newspapers can’t really stand me, because my cartoons point out their lies and propaganda. Among my regular clients are many Muslim newspapers, Black newspapers, progressive and environmental magazines, and web sites. Minuteman Media News Service is the news service that distributes my cartoons weekly to 1,700 papers.

PP: Do you always use black and white in your cartoons? Why?

Khalil: I only do them in color if my clients specifically ask for color (Corpwatch, mostly). It takes more time to color them and it isn’t necessary in 99% of the papers, which have strictly black and white editorial pages.

PP: What is your political philosophy/ ideology?

Khalil: I don’t like to pigeonhole or typecast myself and I am critical of ALL narrow ideologies. Being from a Third World, Arab Muslim country but living in the West, in the belly of the imperial beast so to speak, I’m able to see political events from both sides of the issues. That is, with both eyes, which gives me a well-rounded perspective, whereas most of my colleagues in the US are blind in one eye and only see things with their Western, Eurocentric eye.

PP: If there is one unifying theme, what is your message in the cartoons? What do you hope to achieve?

Khalil: Denouncing injustice and hypocrisy would be the common, underlying theme to most of my cartoons. Pointing out the yawning gap between the official discourse (the propaganda) and the actual deeds, which usually fly in the face of the rhetoric. Palestine is the perfect example: the gap between the Zionist lies according to which Israel is the eternal victim and their genocidal deeds and policies against the native Palestinians. Since 99% of our media is helping to spread that propaganda, I see it as my special duty and mission to debunk those lies. The same thing with Islamophobia, etc... And, sadly, I’m the only one in North America who dares to do that. All other cartoonists are either asleep at the wheel or complicit.

PP: Can you amplify on your cartoons in defense of Islam and standing up against attacks on Muslims?

Khalil: Islmaophobia has replaced anti-Semitism (ironically, many Zionist Jews now are the leaders of this old form of hatred called anti-Semitism, and it is now directed against Muslims and Arabs instead.) Since no other cartoonist in this country dares or bothers to denounce this horrible form of discrimination and vilification, it makes it, by default, my job to ring the alarm.

PP: Your cartoons about the post 9/11 US; can you amplify on those? Attacks on Arabs and Muslims, loss of civil liberties, fear mongering, etc.

Khalil: Muslims and Arabs are only the most recent scapegoats in a long line of historically oppressed groups (Blacks, native Americans, Latinos, etc...) We are now the preferred “other” or “enemy,” for obvious reasons: our old countries are vulnerable and ripe for the taking. Witness what happens in Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, etc. But that weakness is only temporary, and eventually, no amount of military might or media propaganda will be enough to subdue those populations much longer. In the meantime, it is our job, here in the US, to make as many of our fellow Americans aware of what is truly happening, to educate the world, in order to hasten the demise of injustice and oppression.

PP: Your cartoons in defense of Palestine and the Palestinians; can you amplify on them?

Khalil: Just like the Algerians and so many others before them, the Palestinian people are a heroic people who will, after many painful sacrifices, prevail in the end and win back their land and their freedom. This is not the first time they have been occupied: Remember the Crusades? In the end they will triumph, there is no possible doubt about that. The only question is at what cost, sadly, as we can see before our very eyes in Gaza, as we do this interview.

PP: How recent is your experience with the Arab/ Muslim world? Have you lived or traveled there recently?

Khalil: I have never lost touch with my native North Africa. I go back to Algeria and Morocco, where I still have most of my friends and relatives, on a regular basis. I have never been to the Middle East, but have been a part of the Middle Eastern community in California and the rest of the country, and have been declared an “honorary Palestinian” many times over by my Palestinian brothers and sisters out here. Besides the cartoons, I have done several sculptures honoring Palestine: See my web site,, under “Public art”. My first statue was a tribute to Palestinian-American peace activist Alex Odeh, whom I knew in LA and who was murdered in Santa Ana by a member of the JDL in 1985; another one is the monument commemorating the Deir Yassin massacre of 1948.

PP: Have you tried other creative mediums besides cartoons, such as writing, poetry, etc?

Khalil: I do sculptures, ceramics, paintings, and also quite a bit of political comedy these days (“Prez in the Fez”:

PP: Do you have something to say about the backwardness and helplessness of the Arab world today and the corruption of the Arab rulers and their subservience to the US? What is your advice to the ordinary citizen living in those countries; what should he/she be doing to improve their condition?

Khalil: Yes, we Arabs suffer from a double-whammy: the corruption and shameless despotism of our own rulers back in the old country as well as the naked opportunistic imperialist aggression coming from outside our countries: France, Great Britain, Israel and now even the US. So we have a double mountain to climb, but I have great faith in our future generations of Arab and Muslim Americans to catch up and rectify these problems, inshaAllah.

PP: How about Arab and Muslim Americans; what is your hope and message to them? What should they be doing or not doing?

Khalil: As I was saying earlier, the hope comes from both the young Arab and Muslim Americans. I regularly get invited to do workshops and lectures for groups of youngsters across the country, and seeing how bright and strong in their identity our youth is in this country gives much hope and encouragement. I truly believe that, in a generation or so (20 to 30 years) our community will have accumulated so many brilliant lawyers, doctors, engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs, artists, actors and journalists (just like in the old days of Andalusia,) that it will become impossible to tread on our communities anymore, either here in America or back in Palestine and the rest of the Middle East. I believe that we’re about to gradually reach critical mass, just like other American ethnic communities before us, and Islamophobia and the victimization of Palestinians and other Arabs will soon become a thing of the past. So my message to our younger ones, is keep studying and working hard, don’t forget who you are, and soon we’ll show the world what we’re capable of!

PP: This is an unfair question, but can you identify two or three of your favorite cartoons?

Khalil: I can’t really pick between my children (cartoons or even among my cartoon books), but here are three that I consider among my classics.

(Please click on the cartoons to enlarge)

PP: Thanks Khalil for granting us this interview. We will always keep our eyes open to catch your next great cartoon and to post it here on Palestinian Pundit.

The One-State Solution


THE shocking level of the last wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence, which ended with this weekend’s cease-fire, reminds us why a final resolution to the so-called Middle East crisis is so important. It is vital not just to break this cycle of destruction and injustice, but also to deny the religious extremists in the region who feed on the conflict an excuse to advance their own causes.

المخابرات المصرية تبتز جرحى غزة للإدلاء بمعلومات عن سلاح المقاومة

Egyptian Security Contractors for Zion!

هددتهم بوقف علاجهم "إن لم يعترفوا

"القاهرة - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

قال جرحى فلسطينيون تلقوا العلاج في مستشفيات مصرية وعادوا إلى قطاع غزة إن قوى الأمن المصرية حققت مع بعضهم وطالبتهم بمعلومات عن أماكن تصنيع الصواريخ وكيفية تهريب الأسلحة إلى القطاع.

ونقلت موقع "الجزيرة نت" الإخباري على شبكة "الانترنت" عن الجرحى قولهم إن قوى الأمن المصرية حققت في المستشفيات مع عدد منهم بشكل عنيف، وهددت الرافضين للتحقيق بالملاحقة وعدم السماح لهم بإكمال العلاج في المستشفيات المصرية.

وأوضح المصابون أنهم بعد أن تماثلوا جزئياً للشفاء خضعوا للاستجواب من قوى الأمن المصرية الذين طلبوا منهم الإدلاء بمعلومات عن المقاومة، كما طالبوهم بعدم العودة لمساعدة حركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس".

وقال أحد الذين بقوا للعلاج في مصر باتصال هاتفي مع "الجزيرة نت" إن قوى الأمن طلبت منه إبلاغ المقاومة في غزة بأن القاهرة لن تسمح لهم بتهريب السلاح إلى غزة، ولن تسمح لحماس بإعادة بناء قدراتها من جديد.

وأوضح الجريح أنه فور تعافيه من الإصابة طلب منه الطبيب الانتظار في غرفة جانبية بالمستشفى، ومن ثم جاء إليه محققون من المخابرات المصرية وتعهدوا له ببقاء ما يدلي به من معلومات طي الكتمان.

وأضاف "سألوني عن المقاومة وكيف تخزن أسلحتها وكم يمكن أن تصمد فصائل المقاومة في غزة في وجه إسرائيل"، مشيراً إلى أنهم طلبوا منه معلومات عن حركة "حماس" وقياداتها "المختفية".

وقال أيضاً إنه في البداية كان التعامل معه "لطيفاً للغاية" لكنه حين أنكر معرفته بالمقاومة ضربه أحد المحققين على مكان الجرح، وقال له "لا تكذب أنت من حماس وكتائب القسام، ويجب أن تتحدث وإلا فلن نسمح لك بإكمال العلاج وسنرميك كالكلاب
". "

Out of the rubble

The war on Gaza has brought Palestinian politics to a breaking point. Mouin Rabbani wonders if a new national movement can emerge.

A Very Good Analysis and Recommended Reading
By Mouin Rabbani
The National

".......At a press conference the following day convened by Abu Ubaida, the spokesperson of the Martyr Izz al Din al Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, the movement went one step further. “The Resistance”, Abu Ubaida intoned, “is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people”.

What these statements make clear is that Hamas will no longer engage with Abbas, and is even less inclined to throw him a lifeline in the form of a national unity government he would appoint. These statements are not so much a direct challenge to his leadership as a confirmation that his legitimacy has been fatally damaged by the Gaza war. Even his hand-picked prime minister, Salam Fayyad, told journalists that the PA in Ramallah has been “marginalised”.

Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip has produced a transformational moment in Palestinian politics. It is a moment all too reminiscent of the period succeeding the 1967 War when the credibility of the prevailing Arab order collapsed and – deriving their legitimacy from the barrel of a gun – Yasser Arafat and a coalition of Palestinian guerrilla organisations seized control of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).......

..... The devastation in Gaza has made the inclination to challenge Israel and its occupation and the will to defy international pressure the central criteria for Palestinians. But Abbas will not be a party to this process: instead his ejection from the body politic has become its non-negotiable precondition. Because if there is one message it is “no more business as usual.” ......

....... It is a process that is certain to see the formal renunciation of the catastrophic Oslo agreements, and perhaps the abolition of the PA as well......

Key to this is Abbas’s relationship to his people: simply put, it never existed......

Abbas has by contrast been an inveterate elitist, who seems to have regarded the Palestinian population as an obstacle to be overcome so that the game of nations could proceed ......

Cursed with exceptional self-regard, Abbas has always shown disinterest in the opinions of others. From the moment he convinced himself of the sincerity of Bush’s visions, which put the onus on the Palestinians to prove they qualify for membership in the human race and are worthy of being spoken to by Tsipi Livni and Condoleezza Rice, there was no turning back. Henceforth the Palestinian security forces would point their weapons exclusively at their own people, and only Saeb Erakat would be aimed at Israel. At the United Nations, once a primary arena for the Palestinian struggle, Abbas’s emissary Riad Mansour was too busy drafting a resolution declaring Hamas a terrorist entity to deal with more trivial Palestinian concerns. It was simply impossible to steer Abbas towards a change of course, let alone a national dialogue that could produce a genuine strategy......

While many are arguing that Abbas is now paying the price for his passivity while Israel slaughtered Palestinians in Gaza, this is only one part of the story. At least as important is the manner in which he has conducted himself since December 27 – comprehensively out of touch with his own people, as if deliberately so, and dealing with the Gaza Strip as if it is a foreign country he has never heard of.

In his initial response Abbas laid responsibility for the conflict at Hamas’s doorstep, in one stroke reducing his role to that of a factional leader opportunistically siding with his cousin against his brother. More to the point, he unleashed the full power of his security forces against his own people. Not to prevent a Hamas coup in the West Bank, or even attacks against Israel, but to suppress pro-Palestinian demonstrations of the kind permitted even within Israel.......

There is no longer anything Abbas can say or do to remain in power. The only relevant question is if he will jump before he is pushed – with the coup de grace almost certain to come from within the Fatah movement or the ranks of the public rather than Islamist circles.

No less importantly, there is now also nothing his sponsors and allies can do to save his skin. Utterly cynical initiatives like that by the Europeans promising aid to a national unity government – which, when formed in 2007, served as a pretext for them to continue to boycott the PA – will achieve nothing. Bribes, threats, even wars or peace conferences can no longer prevent the emergence of a new Palestinian national movement. We do not yet know its shape, nor how it will emerge. At this point the only certainty is that unless it can more authentically represent the will and aspirations of its people – by challenging rather than accommodating the status quo – and thereby make more effective progress toward basic objectives, it will not last long."

Falk likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

Press TV

"There is more than enough evidence that Israel committed war crimes in its three week-long offensive into Gaza, says a UN investigator.

UN special rapporteur Richard Falk called for an independent inquiry into Israel's violation of international humanitarian law. Falk said Israel's actions against the besieged Gazans are reminiscent of "the worst kind of international memories of the Warsaw Ghetto" which included the starvation and murder of Polish Jews by Nazi Germany in World War Two.

"There could have been temporary provision at least made for children, disabled, sick civilians to leave, even if where they left to was southern Israel," said the Jewish American academic on Thursday.

Falk, who was denied entry to Israel in December, said Gazans may have been mentally scarred for life because Israel made no effort to allow civilians to escape.

Israeli officials moved closer to being prosecuted for war crimes after Norwegian medics in Gaza found traces of depleted uranium on Gaza victims, suggesting that Israel used the illegal weapons in its war on the impoverished territory, which houses some 1.5 million Palestinians.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), there is a "high risk of developing cancer from exposure to radiation emitted by ... depleted uranium weapons. This risk is assumed to be proportional to the dose received." The Geneva Convention has classified depleted uranium ammunitions as 'illegal weapons of mass destruction' due to their high radioactivity and toxicity.

Israel faces potential war crimes charges over its excessive use of other controversial weapons on the densely-populated coastal strip.......

Falk, dismissed Israel's argument that the assault was for self-defense, saying that "the UN charter, and international law, does not give Israel the legal foundation for claiming self-defense." "