Wednesday 31 December 2008

Arab FMs Meet in Cairo Five Days after Israeli Gaza Op

Arab Foreign Ministers met in Cairo to discuss the situation in Gaza, five days after the deadliest Zionist offensive against Palestinians that claimed the lives of more than 390 people and injured at least 1750 others.

The "divided" Arabs, who are still undecided whether the 390 Gaza martyrs who have fallen since the beginning of the aggression "deserve" an urgent Arab summit, finally decided on Wednesday to "break" their "deadly" silence.

Thus, the Arab FMs held their "emergency" meeting and sought a common Arab position towards the Zionist massacres committed against Palestinians in the strip.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa addressed the Arab FMs at the opening session, calling for the adoption of a strong Arab stance against the aggression. Mussa said Israeli raids were the result of the absence of an Arab stance and a split in Palestinian ranks.

The Arab League chief called for an immediate meeting of rival Palestinian factions. "We call on our Palestinian brothers to hold an immediate reconciliation meeting," Mussa said. "Gaza is paying the price of upheaval in Israel as a result of upcoming parliamentary elections," he stressed.

However, Mussa said that the resistance should not be responsible for "exploiting the blood of the Palestinians for political ends." He claimed that resisting occupiers is a legitimate right, but individual or mass "suicide" is unacceptable and every act should be well studied.

Mussa urged at the same time Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to ask the United Nations Security Council to stop the Israeli aggression on Gaza and said that all Arab countries were supporting him. "We should keep the UN Security Council non-aligned toward Gaza crisis," he concluded.

For his part, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal urged Palestinian factions to unify and form a national unity government. "The division among the Palestinian people will help Israel to achieve victories," he said.

Following the opening session, the foreign ministers held a closed door meeting away from the media.

393 Martyrs, 1995 Injured as Israeli Op Enters 5th Day

Over 393 Palestinians martyrs and more than 1995 injured as the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip enters its fifth day and most of the Arab leaders along with the international community are adopting “Hear-no, See-no, Speak-no” policy.

At a time the Israeli occupation army says that it has finished preparing for a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, however, it will not begin such an incursion until it receives the go-ahead from the Israeli government, which is still discussing whether it should first agree to a 48-hour cease-fire intended to prevent further escalation as the Israeli officials seem to be split over such decision.

Meanwhile, Hamas armed military wing, Ezz-eddine al-Qassam brigades confirmed Tuesday that the continuation of the Israeli aggression would be faced by widening the range of the Resistance’s missiles on the Israeli settlements.

In a fresh Israeli raid, two Palestinians were killed in Khan Younis, southern the Strip and at least one was injured.

Early Wednesday, Israeli aircraft pounded what the army said “smuggling tunnels” under the Gaza-Egypt border, setting off a huge explosion in a fuel tunnel, witnesses said, as other aircraft hit Hamas positions in Gaza City. No casualties were reported. The military said government buildings were hit, including an office of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

A Palestinian medic has joined the procession of martyrs and two others wounded when an Israeli missile struck next to their ambulance during a clash east of Gaza City, Palestinians said. On Tuesday, at least 30 Palestinians - including two sisters aged 5 and 12 - were killed in Israeli occupation attacks on Gaza.

More than 390 Palestinians, including 45 children, have been killed and over 1950 injured by Israeli forces since Operation Cast Lead began on Saturday, according to Palestinian sources.

The Israel Air Force continued its intensive search for rocket launchers on Tuesday. "We haven't finished the work yet," Israeli army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday.

Israel bombed dozens of smuggling tunnels in Rafah Tuesday night, the second such attack in two days. The attack came after Israel advised the Egyptian army to move its soldiers away from the border so they wouldn't get hurt in the bombing. Aside from the tunnels, the number of targets attacked by the air force decreased on Tuesday.

Israeli warplanes bombed the Hamas government complex in Tel al-Hawa, in the Gaza City area, knocking down the seven-story buildings housing Hamas' foreign, finance and labor ministries early Tuesday. In a separate attack, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's office was bombed a second time.

The Israeli Navy also took part in the operation, with navy ships attacking targets along the Gaza coast.

Hamas' military wing vowed that if Israel attempted to bring its troops into the Strip, the children of Gaza would soon be collecting the occupation soldiers' body parts.

There are no IV units, no syringes, and every square meter is used for treating the injured, but the medical staff at Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, which has been working nonstop since the Israeli occupation army operation was launched, has no plans to give up.

"This is a catastrophic situation. All the corridors, operating rooms and trauma rooms are filled with injured people, but we won't let anyone die without a battle," the hospital's manager, Dr. Hassan Khaled, said on Tuesday afternoon.

Despite the feeling of helplessness, Shifa's manager reported that all the doctors and nurses are willing to help. "The alternative is being Israel's slave, and that will never happen," Dr. khaled said.

"You, the Israelis, are the strongest people in the world. Bombing houses, universities and police stations is insane," said Khaled.

"You're fooling yourselves when you say Hamas is a big threat to Israel. Hamas is only a representative of the Palestinian people. These strikes will never oppress Hamas. You are asking us to forget we are humans and to forget we have a right to live. We won't give up, no matter how many people are injured."

Khaled concluded, "In the past day, 22 children and nine women arrived in the hospital and died of their wounds. Some 150 children and 73 women were injured, and all this only in the last 24 hours."

Sayyed Nasrallah: Palestinian Resistance Will Triumph

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah reiterated on Wednesday that the Israeli deadliest offensive against Gaza launched since Saturday was identical to what had taken place in Lebanon during the July 2006 war and expected that the Palestinian Resistance would achieve victory and Zionist entity would be defeated once again. His eminence stressed that the Palestinian Resistance was still tenacious and solid, pointing out that its base wasn't affect by the massacres committed until now.

Sayyed Nasrallah was speaking through a large screen as he marked the fourth night of Ashoura at the Sayyed Shouhadaa complex in Beirut's southern suburb (Dahiyeh).

His eminence pointed that there was more than one aspect in the offensive against Gaza, noting that the air raids against Palestinians, the martyrs who have fallen, the destruction which is taking place were not the whole picture. Sayyed Nasrallah praised the Palestinian Resistance for its steadfastness and firmness, the Gaza people for their sense of responsibility and support for the Resistance.

The Resistance leader noted that the Palestinian Resistance was benefiting from the July 2006 war better than the Israelis, noting that the lessons are making Israelis appear even weaker. His eminence remarked that the Israelis didn't have any "declared goal" for the war they are launching on Gaza. "In Lebanon, they announced very high goals since the first day but they failed to achieve anyone of them," Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out, noting that for these reasons, they seem really perplexed in Gaza. "They didn't even say that they seek to tumble the Hamas government or put an end to the Resistance status," his eminence said. "They don't even dare to say that they aim at preventing resistance factions of launching rockets," his eminence noted, mocking at the "rubber title" of "changing the situation in the ground."

"Israelis doubt their own ability to achieve the goals and this is complete failure," Sayyed Nasrallah stressed, noting that the Palestinian Resistance seems, in contrast, committed to victory. His eminence expected that the Resistance would triumph at the end given that time was not in Israel's interest, recalling that air raids could not settle the battle.

Sayyed Nasrallah uncovered an international plot to impose a humiliating settlement on Palestinians, saying that Hamas was the only obstacle for such a conspiracy. "They are preparing for an international conference to be attended by Americans, Israelis, Europeans and the so-called moderate Arabs in order to end the conflict and impose a humiliating settlement on Palestinians," his eminence asserted.

However, Sayyed Nasrallah expressed belief that the Palestinian Resistance was strong and would achieve victory just like Resistance in Lebanon did in August 2006 "when the Israeli PM announced victory only four days after launching war." His eminence said that the Palestinian Resistance actually absorbed the first blow and its base wasn't affected by it. "This Gaza, although deemed weak, is putting today 208 settlements and 635 thousands Israelis in the danger zone," his eminence said.

"Because of resistance and steadfastness, because of rejecting compromises or surrender, the Gaza strip is already triumphing and Israel witnessing defeat," Sayyed Nasrallah declared, calling on everyone to believe on the Palestinian Resistance and back it through all possible means. His eminence renewed his calls to the Arab regimes to support Gaza and the Egyptian government to open crossings for Palestinians.

Sayyed Nasrallah recalled that a majority of Lebanese has assumed responsibility and fought against occupation until throwing it out. "This national sense of responsibility allowed the Resistance to persist and develop since 1985," renewing commitment to the Resistance choice. "It's not that we want to have a Resistance and weapons, but it's our responsibility to commit to the Resistance," his eminence said, recalling that Lebanese had to choices "whether we live with honor and dignity or with degradation, and if we choose the dignity, then we have responsibilities to assume."

Sayyed Nasrallah has started his speech by focusing on the principle of "responsibility" in general. Sayyed Nasrallah pointed that responsibility wasn't limited to a specific geographic surrounding or dimension. His eminence stressed that whenever the human being is given a mind, freedom, choice and will, this means that he's responsible and he has to assume this responsibility.

His eminence emphasized that responsibility should include everything that surrounds us, noting that everyone should assume his responsibilities towards others but also towards the environment, trees, water, nature, and even animals. Noting that the youth generation was a generation of responsibility, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that the highest level that produces a sense of responsibility within the human being was the spiritual and religious factor.

Sayyed Nasrallah tackled the issue of "greenhouse effect," noting that it constitutes nowadays one of the toughest challenges within the international community. His eminence pointed to a role for the US administration or the "greatest Satan" in this field, stressing that the US crimes are not limited to invading Iraq and Afghanistan but extend to the environmental cause. "The US is, until today, refusing to engage into any agreement that would restrict the Greenhouse effect due to the American greediness and avarice," his eminence said. "No matter how many millions of people are killed, the important thing for the American Administration is that US companies continue manufacturing and earn ill-gotten gains," Sayyed Nasrallah added, warning that such gains would lead one day to cause the biggest catastrophe and greatest Divine punition as to the American administration.

Obama's Gaza silence condemned

Hundreds have been killed after days of Israeli bombardment of Gaza [AFP]

Despite growing pressure on Barack Obama to speak out on the crisis in Gaza, the US president-elect has remained silent on the issue.

Obama, holidaying in Hawaii, has made no public remarks on Israel's unrelenting military assault on the Palestinian territory, which has left more than 380 people there dead.

The former Illinois senator spoke out after last month's attacks in Mumbai and has made detailed statements on the US economic crisis.

But some fear that the US president-elect's reluctance to speak out on the Gaza raids could be sending its own message.

"Silence sounds like complicity," Mark Perry, the Washington Director of the Conflicts Forum group, told Al Jazeera.

"Obama has said that Israel has the right to defend itself from rocket attacks but my question to him is 'does he believe that Palestinians also have the right of self-defence?'"

Support for Israel

Israel says the operation is necessary to prevent Palestinian rocket attacks on the south of the country.

And Obama repeatedly spoke out in support for Israel during his election campaign, describing the country as one of the US' greatest allies and has vowed to ensure its security.

He caused anger in the Arab world when he told a pro-Israel lobby group in June that Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel.

He also visited Sderot, the Israeli town close to Gaza regularly targeted by Palestinian rocket fire, in July, to show his support for residents.

Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, has cited comments Obama made during that visit in his own justification for launching the assault.

"Obama said that if rockets were being fired at his home while his two daughters were sleeping, he would do everything he could to prevent it," Barak was reported as saying on Monday.

Obama's aides have repeatedly said he is monitoring the situation and continues to receive intelligence briefings but that he is not yet US president.

But George Bush, the current US leader, has also remained silent on Israel's attacks although the White House has offered its support to Israel.

Arabs pessimistic

Many Arabs were cautiously optimistic about Obama's election victory in November, in the belief that a fresh face in the White House would be better than Bush, who invaded Iraq and gave strong support to Israel.

But his choice of a foreign policy team, especially Hillary Clinton as US secretary of state and Rahm Emanuel as his White House chief-of-staff, have raised doubts that much will change.

But some see his see his silence as symptomatic of caution over his own position and the power of the Israel lobby.

"He wants to be cautious and I think he will remain cautious because the Arab-Israeli conflict is not one of his priorities," Hassan Nafaa, an Egyptian political scientist and secretary-general of the Arab Thought Forum in Amman, told Reuters.

"Obama's position is very precarious. The Jewish lobby warned against his election, so he has chosen to remain silent (on Gaza)," added Hilal Khashan, a professor of political science at the American University of Beirut.

Protests demand change

However many in the US have called on Obama to speak out personally on events in Gaza.

Protesters gathered at Obama's transition office in Washington DC on Monday, and outside his holiday residence in Hawaii on Tuesday, to demand he do more.

"The Obama administration is working hand in glove with the Bush administration and...there is no reason that they can't work together to get something done," Mike Reitz, a federal government worker, told Al Jazeera at the transition office protest.

At another protest against Israel's actions in Gaza outside the White House on Tuesday, some were sceptical about Barack Obama's commitment to Middle East peace-making.

"Is this the change that you were talking about?," said Reza Aboosaiedi, a computer specialist from Iran.

"If this is the change, you have a very, very deep problem, because if you add them up with the other economic problems and other problems in America, having this kind of problem in the Middle East, I don't think he can manage it."

But others at the protest still saw some hope that the former Illinois senator could make a difference.

"I would like to think that he would be more active than Bush in trying to push an agenda to bring Israel and Palestine together to have peace talks, but I don't know," said Bob Malone, a lawyer.

"But I'm an optimist, so I hope so."

Iran urges Arabs to act on Gaza

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, has told the Arab League it should take action "quickly" to end the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Speaking on Wednesday as Arab ministers met in Cairo, Ahmadinejad warned that setting up committees and making speeches would not be an adequate response to the offensive that has killed nearly 400 Palestinians.

"If the Arab League does not want to do anything today, when does it want to act?" he told a rally in Zahedan in southeast Iran, the Reuters news agency reported.

Ahmadinejad did not suggest what action Arab leaders should take.

"Aren't these oppressed Palestinians Arabs? So, when should the capacity of the Arab League be used? The Arab League should act quickly," he said.

He said that simply setting up committees or making speeches would only allow Israel to continue its actions.

The Iranian leader also criticised the United Nations' response to the assault on Gaza.

"To which nations does this UN belong? This security council is for the security of which part of the world?" he said.

Unity urged

At the opening of the Cairo meeting, Amr Moussa, general secretary of the Arab League, called for an immediate meeting of rival Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah.

However, expectations were extremely low that the summit would achieve a major breakthrough in the crisis.

Nisreen Al Shamayleh, reporting from Cairo for Al Jazeera, said that despite widespread protests across the Arab world it was unlikely that the league would agree a concrete response.

"We have seen strong reaction from the Arab street and strong condemnation of the Israeli attacks and Arab inaction and silence," she said.

"Many people believe it shouldn't have taken 390 Palestinian casualties and 2,000 Palestinian injuries for the Arab ministers to get together."

She said the outcome of the meeting could echo the league's emergency summit on the war in Lebanon in 2006, which failed to lead to a concrete response.

Jordan's Prince El Hassan Bin Talal told Al Jazeera he believed that action from league members was "overdue" and that more demonstrations would be held across the Arab world in protest against Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip

"I think the need for the organisation of an Islamic conference position is long overdue and one of an Arab League position is also overdue," he said.

Meanwhile, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, arrived in Syria at the start of his of a diplomatic tour of the region.

Rula Amin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Damascus, said: "It is pretty ironic that more than 22 countries are meeting and expectations are very low that they will do anything to help and now all hopes are pinned on the Turkish prime minister."

Tuesday 30 December 2008

Occupation 101

A thought-provoking and powerful documentary film on the current and historical root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unlike any other film ever produced on the conflict -- 'Occupation 101' presents a comprehensive analysis of the facts and hidden truths surrounding the never ending controversy and dispels many of its long-perceived myths and misconceptions.

The film also details life under Israeli military rule, the role of the United States in the conflict, and the major obstacles that stand in the way of a lasting and viable peace. The roots of the conflict are explained through first-hand on-the-ground experiences from leading Middle East scholars, peace activists, journalists, religious leaders and humanitarian workers whose voices have too often been suppressed in American media outlets.

The film covers a wide range of topics -- which include -- the first wave of Jewish immigration from Europe in the 1880's, the 1920 tensions, the 1948 war, the 1967 war, the first Intifada of 1987, the Oslo Peace Process, Settlement expansion, the role of the United States Government, the second Intifada of 2000, the separation barrier and the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, as well as many heart wrenching testimonials from victims of this tragedy.

Open letter from Palestinian Refugee Family living in the Gaza Strip, SOS

Your Excellencies,

The world looks and watches in silence, while the closure of the Gaza strip is still ongoing leaving 1.5 million people facing a severe shortage in the basics of life. With serious economic and humanitarian impacts on their lives, they even lost their faith on the international, Arabic worlds.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is intensifying, with hunger and malnutrition reaching alarming levels. Children are searching the dump compounds looking for food, or other stuff that they can sell and benefit of, instead of living their lives as other children in the world.

The Israeli government is preventing essential supplies from reaching the imprisoned population inside by continuing the closure of all terminals since more than 18 months. 1.5 million People – majority of them are refugees- are denied the ability to feed themselves, and to support their families, or even to receive any medical services as they are cut off from the outside world.

UNRWA as a welfare organization finds itself responsible for not only Palestinian refugees but also non refugees who can not find any source of decent living. With the current deteriorating situation in Gaza due to the severe closure, UNRWA food warehouses in Gaza are completely empty and closed their doors in the face of thousands of families that totally depend on the food assistance distributed by UNRWA. Since Israel started its closure of Gaza UNRWA is facing a severe budget problems, therefore its services has been affected, and many thousands of refuges are deprived from receiving any food distribution, or other essential services. Without UNRWA services, the people of Gaza will face starvation and hunger which lead to more violence, and radical opinions.

It’s hard to imagine that in the 2lst century a complete nation can be punished under the eyes and silence of a modern world, it is hard to imagine that in the 21st century families spend their night hungry, and children spend their nights studying on the dim light of a candle. It is even worse to imagine that in the peak of the world modernization, a whole nation locked in a small place and denied a freedom of movement.

Israel theoretically ended the occupation of Gaza, but the truth is that Israel is controlling the aspects of lives of the 1.5 million living in Gaza.

Our son Mustafa -9 years old- insisted to participate in this open letter saying;” what is the benefit from teaching us human rights in school, while on reality we do not practice any, I have the right to play, to be free, and to have electricity “he comments with his nice smile “I dream of a decent life, and fruit. My dream is to travel and see the world, It is not my fault that I was born as Palestinian refugee living in Gaza, it is just my fate which I have nothing to do with. It is not only me, but it is all other Gazans kids. I am always frustrated since there is nothing to do Why me?! And why us?! Please answer my questions!”

Ahmed-8 years’ old- added “ I want to play freely without hearing any shooting sound” “ I want to watch TV all the day since there is electricity, I wish I could forget my worst dream where I got killed”

Our little daughter Salma-2.5 years’ old- in her simple words say” there is no Kahraba-electricity-, and she freaked out whenever she hears any loud sound”

Even our little boy Mohammed 4 months old can not find any yogurt, or baby formula to help him while his mother is at work. Sometimes I and my wife blame ourselves for bringing our children into this world.

My wife-Najwa- writes and said” My letter is addressed to the world, outside the borders of the Gaza strip, where I am sure that every thing is different and a life.

I am a Palestinian refugee; my parents are refugees too, as well as my grandparents. I have been raised in a place called a refugee camp, in the southern of Gaza strip, and now after I got married I still live in another place in the middle of Gaza strip called a camp too. My husband is a refugee too as well as his parents and grandparents, I have four kids, and in their ID mentioned a refugee too. A definition of those who lost their homeland, and lived in another place that is not theirs.

We lost our homeland, and forced to live in these camps where houses are so close to each other, the streets are so small and dark, unpaved, hard to be sunny even at the middle of the day. No infrastructure, nothing. If you want to say something at your home, other will hear it.

Though the life inside the camp was not promising, but I can tell memories of my own, nice memories, of how our life was not easy but we enjoy it, unlike my kids.

We urge you all to do something to save our kids and their future, and treat us as human beings who have the right to have a decent life.

Please, accept our highest consideration and respect.

Best regards,

Taher El-Assar, Najwa El-Assar (Sheikh Ahmed), Mustafa El-Assar, Ahmed El-Assar, Salma El-Assar, Mohammed El-Assar

Nuseirat Refugee Camp, Gaza Strip.


The Secretary General of the United Nations

The President of United States

The EU Commissioner

The Prime Minister of United Kingdome

The President of the Arab League

The Prime Minister of Japan

The Prime Minister of Israel

UN slams Hamas, Israel over Gaza crisis

UN chief Ban Ki-moon condemns both Hamas and Israel for the war in the Gaza Strip, expressing concern over rising number of civilian casualties.

"I am deeply alarmed by the current escalation of violence in and around Gaza. This is unacceptable," Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at a press conference at the UN's headquarters in New York.

He also condemned the "excessive use of force by Israel in Gaza" while recognizing "Israel's right to defend itself" against Hamas rocket attacks.

The UN chief expressed concern over the harm caused to children in Gaza and highlighted the need for strict observance of international humanitarian law by both sides of the conflict.

"I am also pained at the death, injury and damage to United Nations personnel and premises as well as to others associated with our programs," he added.

Ban further criticized world powers for not doing enough to stop the fighting. He urged regional and international partners to "use all possible means to end the violence and encourage political dialogue, emphasizing peaceful ways of resolving differences."

He called on Arab foreign ministers-- who are to meet soon in an emergency session-- "to act swiftly and decisively to bring an early end to this impasse," and noted that "other world leaders must also step up efforts to support a longer term resolution of the issue."

Yemeni protesters storm Egypt Consulate

Hundreds of demonstrators have stormed the Egyptian Consulate in Aden to protest against Egypt's role in Israel's offensive against Gaza.

According to a Yemeni security official, the protesters, who were mostly students from the University of Aden, "vandalized furniture before they were removed peacefully from the building."

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, further added that the demonstrators attacked the front gate, threw computers from windows, and climbed the two-story building to the roof and set fire to the Egyptian flag on Tuesday.

There have been no reports of casualties as it was unclear whether consular staff were in the building at the time of the protest.

More than 360 Palestinians have lost their lives and 1600 others wounded after Israel launched air operations against the coastal sliver on Saturday.

Four Israelis have also been killed and eight others injured in the past four days.

On Tuesday, the Israeli forces voiced readiness to begin a ground operation in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli rabbis: Thou shalt kill civilians

Four leading Israeli rabbis have sanctioned the murder of civilian population in the Gaza Strip amid the Israeli onslaught on the region.

"When a population living near a Jewish town sends bombs at the Jewish town with the purpose of killing and destroying Jewish lives there, it is permitted, according to Jewish Law, to fire shells and bombs at the firing sites, even if they are populated by civilians," read a ruling issued by Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe and Rabbi Meir Mazuz.

The four added that a warning should be issued prior to any attacks; however, they reiterated that the army's response to rocket or mortar fires may be immediate "even if there is no time for a warning."

The rabbis argued that the army should announce that it would bomb any civilian community from which a rocket is fired to force the local residents into confronting those who fire rockets or mortars at Israeli targets.

Rabbi Mazuz is a member of the Shas Council of Torah Sages.

The ruling seems to give a free hand to Israeli commanders to attack Gaza's civilian population and persuade those troops who have reservations to kill civilians due to humanitarian considerations.

Tel Aviv launched an "all-out war" against the enclave allegedly to put an end to rocket attacks by Palestinian factions on Israel. IAF warplanes and helicopters have so far pounded over 300 targets, including schools and TV stations across the coastal area since Saturday.

Israeli tanks and troops were also deployed along the border with the Gaza Strip.

The attacks have left at least 385 people killed and 1,800 others wounded, Palestinian medical sources told Press TV.

According to UN officials, 57 civilians, including women and children, are among the victims.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, however, has downplayed the high number of civilian deaths saying civilian casualties are a quite normal outcome of war.

The Hanukkah Massacre in Gaza: The Sacrificial Lamb to Israeli-American-Arab Interests

“What thou hast done to thyself none else did,
Thou has caused pain to the spirit of the Prophet
Ignorant of the witchery of the Frank (the west),
Behold the mischief hidden in his sleeve!
By his diplomacy all nations prostrate,
Unity of the Arabs crushed to pieces,
As long as they are caught in his vicious trap,
The Arabs shall not enjoy a moment's peace."

–Muhammad Iqbal, famed Pakistani Poet, “The Glory of Iqbal”, by Shakyh Abdul-Hanan Ali Nadwi

“The Arabs are right when they paint America as a great Zionist conspiracy.” –Douglas Rushkoff, New York University and other Schools, “Wrestling with Zion”, Grove Press, 2003
Author of: Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism”, among many other books)

"No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices."
– Edward R. Murrow, the famed CBS Journalist and Anchor

While the Christians celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, Bush the Christian offers one last massacre gift to Israel during Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, where the only Jewish light seen over Gaza is Bush’s green light to dispose of Palestinian civilians and the lights of missiles and rockets fired from the latest American war planes courtesy of the ignorant but complicit American taxpayer.

As of this writing 284 Palestinians have been murdered, over 700 injured (many in critical condition); most are innocent civilians living in the most densely populated area in the world—Gaza. This is the highest one day total of dead and injured by Israel’s terrorism since its founding in 1948. Given Israel’s total siege of Gaza for over 18 months preventing any food, water, medicines, and fuel to enter, the injured are taken to the only hospital in Gaza where the siege ensured that not enough medical supplies are available to save the dying infant, the pregnant mother or the elderly grandparent.

Bush and Rice after receiving the highest awards and most expensive gifts, including over $350,000 of Jewelry for Condi Rice from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf nations, and Jordan, justify Israel’s slaughter with the usual mantra that Israel has the right to “retaliate and defend itself”. For eight years Bush and Rice have not only defended Israel’s massacres but actually provided military and financial support as it launched military strikes across its borders attacking the Occupied Territories, the 2006 indiscriminate bombing for 34 days of Lebanon including the dropping of 1.5 million cluster bombs three days before the ceasefire, to the bombing of the alleged Syrian nuclear facility.

And what did the new and improved “hope and change” President elect Obama say regarding the genocide in Gaza: “NO COMMENT”.

Israel’s slaughter has taught Obama a lesson even before he takes office—don’t mess with Israel or you’ll be burned. He’s shackled by his strong support of Israel during his candidacy and by his Jewish occupied White House. Obama will begin his term fearful of the Israeli lobby and devoid of any chutzpah to alter events in the MidEast, especially in reigning Israel’s wanton power to strike at will, even against Iran, having been castrated by a foreign lobby, much like the dog he seeks for his daughters.

The American-Israeli-Arab alliance became the “axis of evil” to eliminate all Islamic resistance and political parties in the Middle East, all under the pretext of a “war on terror” and the establishment of democracy and liberty in the Middle East, something this evil alliance truly fears lest it leads to the overthrow of Arab tyrannical dictatorships, ends America’s cheap access to oil, and the unification of the entire Arab Muslim world against Israel’s military hegemony in the region.

"Oh Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name."
–Madam Rolande -from the guillotine platform during the French Revolution

Gaza—Oh, Gaza—you bleed, you die, you’re buried in total obscurity from a world that has surrendered you to Israel to do as it wills. Given that America, Israel, and the Arab governments have all declared you an “enemy entity” and all Gaza Palestinians as “enemy combatants” you’re total annihilation is justified in the eyes of this evil axis.

While Israel is the actual murderer, Pro-American tyrannical Arab regimes are the enablers, the second green lighters if you will. In public they issue the usual “condemnations”, “laying the blame and responsibility on Israel”, calling for an urgent Arab summit and demanding a halt to all military actions, calling upon the Security Council to meet knowing very well that both the United Nations and Arab League are American proxies, all the while in private they support Israel’s genocide against Hamas and Hezbollah despite the massacre of thousands of civilians.

During the inhumane strangling siege of Gaza, Egypt closed its borders to either provide supplies to the starving Palestinian children or allow the sick and injured Palestinians to enter Egypt for treatment, meanwhile providing gas to Israel. Not one single Arab government came to the humanitarian rescue of the beleaguered Palestinians, in effect supporting the Israeli-American determination to eliminate Hamas at any cost.

Two days prior to this slaughter Tzipi Livni, Israel’s Foreign Minister and Kadima Party candidate for Prime Minister, visited Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Israel’s closest Arab ally, to announce that Israel will launch an offensive to eliminate Hamas. Did Mubarak give his Arab green light to this slaughter? Secondly, Mahmoud Abbas, “President” of the West Bank, visited Bush in the Oval office. Did Abbas, the Israeli American darling, give his approval for this slaughter?

As customary in Israeli elections candidates compete as to who is the greater genocider of Palestinians, who will continue the mass construction of illegal settlements, sabotage any international peace efforts, and lay the groundwork for the eventual expulsion of Palestinians from their occupied land. Given that Benjamin Netanyahu, Likud’s rightwing extremist candidate, promises the greater genocide of Palestinians, Livni, his opponent, must project a stronger determination to be the Palestinian Terminator.

Among Livni’s candidate proposals is to expel Israeli Arab citizens from their homes (again) and settle them in the future Palestinian “state”; in effect proposing another ethnic cleansing. (Haaretz 12/11/08)

In the middle is Ehud Barak, the Labor Party Defense Minister, who endured intense political criticism for his “soft” approach to Gaza’s rockets, thus this Hanukkah massacre to bolster his political position. He states that this will be a long and painful military onslaught until Hamas is in effect eliminated from Palestine. To further increase his popularity he promises a massive ground invasion.

This is the same Barak who stated the following when he was Prime Minister during the Second Intafada:

"If we thought that instead of 200 Palestinian fatalities, 2,000 dead would put an end to the fighting at a stroke, we would use much more force..."
– Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, quoted in Associated Press, November 16, 2000

Although Barak, a military hero, did recognize the legitimacy of the Palestinian resistance by saying:

"I would have joined a terrorist organization."
– Ehud Barak's response to Gideon Levy, a columnist for the Haaretz newspaper, when Barak was asked what he would have done if he had been born a Palestinian.

But what about the Arab League of Despots, Tyrants, and Corrupt Traitors of Islam and Arabs?

As usual, the Arab League has called for an immediate summit of Arab leaders to discuss the genocide in Gaza. So far less than half of the leaders have agreed to attend although they may send low level representatives. Arab leaders are more competent in fighting each other than fighting foreign domination or deadly occupations. Where have the trillions of oil dollars gone? Where have the hundreds of billions of dollars of purchased American weapons gone—gathering dust in the Arabian Desert? Such weapons are meant as symbolic deterrents against each other and Iran but are meaningless in any war given that the Arab military forces are just as illiterate, incompetent, lazy and corrupt as their leaders.

But let’s assume that there is an Arab Summit to pacify the Arab street. Here’s what will happen.

Several leaders won’t attend because of their hurt feelings from words spoken by other leaders, because America says so, and because they want to save face due to the consistent abject failure of Arabs to do anything meaningful internally or externally. There are 57 Muslim nations and 50 Muslim Ambassadors in Washington D.C. with only one Israeli Ambassador. Can you guess who has the real power in D.C? Who’s on television defending the genocide, who’s writing op-eds in the major papers, who’s on radio, who’s launching the most aggressive public relations campaign to justify the genocide? Obviously it’s not the 50 Muslim Ambassadors who are totally absent from the American political, social, and media scene. They are true reflections of their leaders in their total incompetence. But wait, you can find them in D.C. at strip clubs, exclusive night clubs, parading with beautiful women, and...well, you get the picture. They are on an “Alcoholic Jihad” while the majority of American Muslims and American Muslim organizations are laying low with their cowardly heads buried in their comfort niches content with launching a “Jihad by Email” in the usual hallmark of reactive actions. Like their brethren natives back home, American Muslims despite their wealth and high education are AWOL, disconnected from the suffering of Muslims around the world fearful of losing their jobs, of being harassed, or worse, ending up on a “list”.

Back to the Arab League:
If they meet, here’s their patented Arab bellicose communiqué:

“We condemn Israel’s aggression, demand the world interferes and stop all military actions, call for the full support of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians based on U.N. Resolutions 242, 338 and a lifting of the siege of Gaza, encourage Obama to adopt the Arab Peace Plan and his direct involvement to resolve the conflict (obviously not their responsibility), demand Israel allow humanitarian aid to reach Gaza, and indirectly criticize Hamas for this Israeli massacre.”

The final part of the Communiqué will read (my interpretation):
“If Israel persists again on killing another thousand Palestinians, the Arab League will call for another Summit to discuss that genocide too.”

Israel was founded by terrorism with support of the British and American “democracies”. It lives by terrorism, and God willing will end by terrorism. A nation that massacres its neighbors and mankind by the sword shall perish by the sword, that according to the Old Testament (Exodus 21:14) and the New Testament (Matthew 26:52).

Israeli-Zionist society is predicated on a concept of religious/national exclusivity, resting on the distinction between “Jew” and “Non-Jew” that is institutionalized into all the formal state structures and on a concept of democracy as no more than rule by the majority without any protection of the right of minorities. Israel’s approach to conflict resolution is based on the premise that “might makes right”, coupled with a complete disregard for internationally recognized standards of state behavior and, as noted, a particularly cavalier disregard for the principles and resolutions of the United Nations….Indeed—the Machiavellian power machinations of persons, such as Henry Kissinger—who gave Israel carte blanche in the Middle East to assure its effectiveness as a “surrogate power” for American interests—or the craven subservience and political expediency of those members of Congress who have wanted the money and votes domestic pro-Israeli forces could deliver...the common denominator amongst all the American peace efforts is their abysmal failure.”

—Cheryl A. Rubenburg, Associate Professor of International Relations, Florida International University in “Anti-Zionism: Analytical Reflections”, p. 195

My dear Palestinians, you are alone in this world forsaken even by your own incompetent disunited power hungry leaders whose allegiance is not to you but to foreign interests. They are ignorant and disillusioned in their belief that there is an actual governmental institution that each seeks to dominate. Abu Mazen has thrown his lot with the Israeli-American-Arab alliance that seeks to eliminate the freely elected Hamas in Gaza. While Hamas has shown its total political failure, unable to comprehend that “irrational exuberance”, and enthusiasm served with foolish bellicosity is no match for Israel’s 3M domination of the western world’s foreign policy: Money—Media—Military Power. Although Hamas is a legitimate resistance movement its policies and methods of resistance are utterly stupid and counterproductive. The time, place, and circumstances that allowed other national resistance movements to succeed is totally lacking in Palestine: unity of purpose and collaboration—easy access to financial aid and military weapons from foreign powers—well trained militias and competent charismatic political and military leaders—successful short and long term strategic plans—and most importantly, a savvy knowledge on media manipulation and public relations. These elements are what made the Zionist terrorist groups successful in their theft of Palestine and the ethnic cleansing of its people. Neither Fatah, Hamas or any other Palestinian party or group is blessed with these elements. It’s incredulous that there are multiple Palestinian parties disunited in purpose and often are fighting each other than their occupier.

Hamas, created with Israel’s aid and blessings, has failed its people in providing them with their most basic needs or providing the political and public relation leaders able to articulate and communicate the legitimacy of their cause to the outside world. Hamas, when will you learn that the world lives and dies by the “image” of events? Israel can kill and within seconds have articulate spokespersons on television justifying their actions, yet you’re unable to develop any relations with any worldwide media to present your case. In this, you’re joined by the entire Arab Muslim world.

Stop the madness of the useless rockets that recently killed two Palestinian girls. They do nothing but provide Israel the excuse and the support of the international community to massacre the innocent. The entire world including Mahmoud Abbas and the Arab Muslim world join America, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations (the four stooges of the Road Map) in blaming you for Israel’s slaughter even if Israel attacks Gaza preemptively. Fight with intellectual vigor, with intelligence, with a media savvy campaign, develop articulate English speaking spokespersons, utilize the internet, but stop the counterproductive bellicosity and stupid rockets. In today’s world “image” wins western hearts and minds, especially of Americans. You’re facing the most powerful “evil empires” in the world, America and Israel, and you can’t win.

I beg you, for the sake of the four-year-old Palestinian girl shot through the head by an Israeli sniper, bury her in peace and bury your rockets and pompous words and begin a resistance of non-violence. You’ll pay a heavy price but all independence struggles demand huge sacrifices.

In few Arab and Muslim cities protestors are expressing their anger against America and Israel. I say to them and to all Muslims, first clean your house of the tyrants, hold on to God’s covenant, and patiently develop your economic and military strength and you will ultimately succeed in liberating your lives, lands, and resources from America’s imperialism that uses its military as an instrument to satisfy the selfish unlimited consumption of its people.

“Indeed, Allah will never change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”
(Quran 13:11)

The massacre of the Palestinians continues unabated with blood, tears, and screams going unseen and unheard by a callous world. The Arab leaders have done their part—most have issued “press releases” to urge a return to the cease fire that Israel broke and indirectly blame Hamas for forcing Israel’s hand, the hand that has never stopped killing and expelling Palestinians since 1948. No Arab leader has publicly appeared to condemn this atrocity.

Israel’s brilliant media strategy is to prevent western journalists from entering Gaza to document the dead and charred bodies lining the streets while allowing free access to the Arab media to further inflame the Arab Muslim world against American policies and interests, perhaps leading to terrorism against Americans and their institution, thereby justifying Israel’s “war of terror upon the innocent”. You see America, these Arabs and Muslims are hate-filled terrorists indoctrinated by Islam’s teaching of killing Jews and Christians.

The dead Palestinians are martyrs who will enter Paradise, but it is us, the living, who will continue to endure hell on earth at the hands of the Israeli-American-Arab axis of evil with their smart bombs and stupid policies.

“As for those who take the deniers of the truth for their allies in preference to the believers - do they hope to be honored by them when, behold, all honor belongs to God alone?" (Quran 4:139)

Our constant hope is that in the end Divine Justice will prevail against the murderous oppressors.

Long live Palestine and its yearning for freedom and independence from the “axis of evil”.

A Poem for Gaza

Rami Kenazi

I never knew death until I saw the bombing of a refugee camp
Craters filled with disfigured ankles and splattered torsos
But no sign of a face, the only impression a fading scream
I never understood pain
Until a seven-year-old girl clutched my hand
Stared up at me with soft brown eyes, waiting for answers
But I didn't have any
I had muted breath and dry pens in my back pocket
That couldn't fill pages of understanding or resolution

In her other hand she held the key to her grandmother's house
But I couldn't unlock the cell that caged her older brothers
They said, we slingshot dreams so the other side will feel our father's presence
A craftsman
Built homes in areas where no one was building
And when he fell, he was silent
A .50 caliber bullet tore through his neck shredding his vocal cords
Too close to the wall
His hammer must have been a weapon
He must have been a weapon
Encroaching on settlement hills and demographics

So his daughter studies mathematics
Seven explosions times eight bodies
Equals four Congressional resolutions
Seven Apache helicopters times eight Palestinian villages
Equals silence and a second Nakba
Our birthrate minus their birthrate
Equals one sea and 400 villages re-erected
One state plus two peoples…and she can't stop crying
Never knew revolution or the proper equation
Tears at the paper with her fingertips
Searching for answers
But only has teachers
Looks up to the sky and see stars of David demolishing squalor with hellfire missiles

She thinks back words and memories of his last hug before he turned and fell
Now she pumps dirty water from wells, while settlements divide and conquer
And her father's killer sits beachfront with European vernacular
She thinks back words, while they think backwards
Of obscene notions and indigenous confusion

This our land!, she said
She's seven years old
This our land!, she said
And she doesn't need a history book or a schoolroom teacher
She has these walls, this sky, her refugee camp
She doesn't know the proper equation
But she sees my dry pens
No longer waiting for my answers
Just holding her grandmother's key…searching for ink


An Earthquake on top of your head

Dr. Eyad Al Serraj

A wounded girl is carried to hospital after Israel's attack on Gaza Photograph: Majed Hamdan/AP

Dr Eyad Al Serraj, a practising psychologist in Gaza City, describes his family's terror as the Israeli attack began

The bombing went on for about 10 minutes. It was like an earthquake on top of your head. The windows were shaking and squeaking. My 10-year-old was terrified, he was jumping from one place to another trying to hide. I held him tight to my chest and tried to give him some security and reassure him. My 12-year-old was panicking and began laughing hysterically, it's not normal. I held her hand and calmed her and told her she would be safe. My wife was panicking. She was running around the apartment looking for somewhere to hide.

We live on the ground floor so we headed to the basement.

Not very far from our home is the headquarters of the police and there was a massive bomb. The chief of police was killed. Two streets away there was another bomb and more people were killed. The office of the president is about one kilometre from our house and it was also bombed.

We went downstairs to the basement and tried to hide ourselves from the shelling. The child of one of our relatives, who lives in our building, finally came home from school. We hadn't been able to find her. All the phone connections were jammed. She came home and she was in a very serious state of shock. She was pale and trembling and she was describing dead bodies in the streets. On her way home she passed Hamas people in uniform and they were dead.

I had been very apprehensive when I woke up this morning. I had some bread, some cheese and a glass of tea. Like all the people in Gaza I felt that something was going on and something very serious. When Israel allowed the delivery of food and fuel [when it ended the blockade of Gaza yesterday] I said to myself and my friends that Israel is really planning a massive strike. They don't want to be blamed for starving the people.

I was sitting in the living room with my family trying to figure out what to do today for lunch, it's our main meal. What to cook and how to cook, whether we have enough to eat. There was no rice so I wanted to have lentil soup and my wife said "No, there's no lentils in the market." I said "What else can we do?" She said "I bought some cans of food." We were discussing this when suddenly the whole thing erupted. Suddenly there was a big explosion.

Right now I feel very anxious about what's going to happen. I'm worried about how many more people are going to die.

Damaged Gaza aid boat docks in southern Lebanon - 30 Dec 08

URGENT! Israeli Navy Attacking Civilian Mercy Ship! TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY!

The Dignity, a Free Gaza boat on a mission of mercy to besieged Gaza, is being attacked by the Israeli Navy in international waters. The Dignity has been surrounded by at least half-a-dozen Israeli warships. They are firing live ammunition around the Dignity, and one of the warships has rammed the civilian craft causing an unknown amount of damage. Contrary to international maritime law, the Israelis are actively preventing the Dignity from approaching Gaza or finding safe haven in either Egypt or Lebanon. Instead, the Israeli navy is demanding that the Dignity return to Cyprus - despite the fact that the ship does not carry enough fuel to do so. Fortunately, no one aboard the ship has yet been seriously injured.

There are 15 civilian passengers representing 11 different countries (see below for a complete list). At approximately 5am (UST), well out ininternational waters, Israeli warships began surrounding the Dignity, threatening the ship. At 6:45am (UST) we were able to establish brief contact with the crew and were told that the ship had been rammed by the Israeli Navy in international waters, and that the Israelis were preventing the ship from finding safe harbor. We heard heavy gunfire in the background before all contact was lost with the Dignity.

It is urgent that you TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION!

CALL the Israeli Government and demand that it immediately STOP attacking the Dignity and endangering the lives of its passengers!

CALL Mark Regev in the Prime Minister's office at:
+972 2670 5354 or +972 5062 3264

CALL Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence at:
+972 33697 5339 or +972 50629 8148

The Dignity departed from Larnaca Port in Cyprus at 7pm (UST) on Monday 29 December, bound for war-devastated Gaza with a cargo of over 3 tons of desperately needed medical supplies donated by the people of Cyprus. A tour request, the ship was searched by Cypriot Port authorities prior to departure, to certify that there was nothing "threatening" aboard - only emergency medical supplies.


Civilians aboard the Dignity being threatened by the Israeli military:

(UK) Denis Healey, Captain Captain of the Dignity, Denis has been involved with boats for 45 years, beginning with small fishing boats in Portsmouth. He learned to sail while at school and has been part of the sea ever since. He's a certified yachtmaster and has also worked on heavy marine equipment from yachts to large dredgers. This is his fourth trip to Gaza.

(Greece) Nikolas Bolos, First Mate Nikolas is a chemical engineer and human rights activist. He has served as a crew member on several Free Gaza voyages, including the first one in August.

(Jordan) Othman Abu Falah Othman is a senior producer with Al-Jazeera Television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the on going military on slaught.

(Australia) Renee Bowyer Renee is a school teacher and human rights activist. She will remain in Gaza to do human rights monitoring and reporting.

(Ireland) Caoimhe Butterly Caoimhe is a reknowned human rights activist and Gaza Coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement. She will be remaining in Gaza to do human rights monitoring, assist with relief efforts, and work on project development with Free Gaza.

(Cyprus) Ekaterini Christodulou Ekaterini is a well-known and respected freelance journalist in Cyprus. She is traveling to Gaza to report on the conflict.

(Sudan) Sami El-HajSami is a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, and head of the human rights section at Al-Jazeera Television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the ongoing military onslaught.

(UK) Dr. David HalpinDr. Halpin is an experienced orthopaedic surgeon, medical professor, and ship's captain. He has organized humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza on several occasions with the Dove and Dolphin. He is traveling to Gaza to volunteer in hospitals and clinics.

(Germany) Dr. Mohamed Issa Dr. Issa is a pediatric surgeon from Germany. He is traveling to Gaza to volunteer in hospitals and clinics.

(UK/Tunisia) Fathi Jaouadi Fathi is a television producer and human rights activist. He will remainin Gaza to do human rights monitoring and reporting.

(USA) Cynthia McKinney Cynthia is a former U.S. Congresswoman from Georgia, and the 2008 GreenParty presidential candidate. She is traveling to Gaza to assess the on going conflict.

(Cyprus) Martha Paisi Martha is a senior research fellow and experienced human rights activist. She is traveling to Gaza to do human rights work and to assist with humanitarian relief efforts.

(UK) Karl Penhaul Karl Penhaul is a video correspondent for CNN, based out of Bogotá, Colombia. Appointed to this position in February 2004, he covers breaking news around the world utilizing CNN's new laptop-based 'Digital News gathering' system. He is traveling to Gaza to report on the on going conflict.

(Iraq) Thaer Shaker Thaer is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the on going military onslaught.

(Cyprus) Dr. Elena Theoharous, MPDr. Theoharous is a surgeon and a Member of the Cypriot Parliament. She is traveling to Gaza to assess the on going conflict, assist with humanitarian relief efforts, and volunteer in hospitals.

Palestine's Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood

"...The evil only exists because the good remain silent..."

Mustafa Barghouti

Mustafa Barghouti Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative

The Israeli campaign of 'death from above' began around 11 am, on Saturday morning, the 27th of December, and stretched straight through the night into this morning. The massacre continues Sunday as I write these words.

The bloodiest single day in Palestine since the War of 1967 is far from over following on Israel's promised that this is 'only the beginning' of their campaign of state terror. At least 290 people have been murdered thus far, but the body count continues to rise at a dramatic pace as more mutilated bodies are pulled from the rubble, previous victims succumb to their wounds and new casualties are created by the minute.

What has and is occurring is nothing short of a war crime, yet the Israeli public relations machine is in full-swing, churning out lies by the minute.

Once and for all it is time to expose the myths that they have created.

1. Israelis have claimed to have ended the occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2005.

While Israel has indeed removed the settlements from the tiny coastal Strip, they have in no way ended the occupation. They remained in control of the borders, the airspace and the waterways of Gaza, and have carried out frequent raids and targeted assassinations since the disengagement.

Furthermore, since 2006 Israel has imposed a comprehensive siege on the Strip. For over two years, Gazans have lived on the edge of starvation and without the most basic necessities of human life, such as cooking or heating oil and basic medications. This siege has already caused a humanitarian catastrophe which has only been exacerbated by the dramatic increase in Israeli military aggression.

2. Israel claims that Hamas violated the cease-fire and pulled out of it unilaterally.

Hamas indeed respected their side of the ceasefire, except on those occasions early on when Israel carried out major offensives in the West Bank. In the last two months, the ceasefire broke down with Israelis killing several Palestinians and resulting in the response of Hamas. In other words, Hamas has not carried out an unprovoked attack throughout the period of the cease-fire.

Israel, however, did not live up to any of its obligations of ending the siege and allowing vital humanitarian aid to resume in Gaza. Rather than the average of 450 trucks per day being allowed across the border, on the best days, only eighty have been allowed in - with the border remaining hermetically sealed 70% of the time. Throughout the supposed 'cease-fire' Gazans have been forced to live like animals, with a total of 262 dying due to the inaccessibility of proper medical care.

Now after hundreds dead and counting, it is Israel who refuses to re-enter talks over a cease-fire. They are not intent on securing peace as they claim; it is more and more clear that they are seeking regime change - whatever the cost.

3. Israel claims to be pursuing peace with 'peaceful Palestinians'.

Before the on-going massacre in the Gaza Strip, and throughout the entirety of the Annapolis Peace Process, Israel has continued and even intensified its occupation of the West Bank. In 2008, settlement expansion increased by a factor of 38, a further 4,950 Palestinians were arrested - mostly from the West Bank, and checkpoints rose from 521 to 699.

Furthermore, since the onset of the peace talks, Israel has killed 546 Palestinians, among them 76 children. These gruesome statistics are set to rise dramatically now, but previous Israeli transgressions should not be forgotten amidst this most recent horror.

Only this morning, Israel shot and killed a young peaceful protester in the West Bank village of Nihlin, and has injured dozens more over the last few hours. It is certain that they will continue to employ deadly force at non-violent demonstrations and we expect a sizable body count in the West Bank as a result. If Israel is in fact pursuing peace with 'good Palestinians', who are they talking about?

4. Israel is acting in self-defense.

It is difficult to claim self defense in a confrontation which they themselves have sparked, but they are doing it anyway. Self-defense is reactionary, while the actions of Israel over the last two days have been clearly premeditated. Not only did the Israeli press widely report the ongoing public relations campaign being undertaken by Israel to prepare Israeli and international public opinion for the attack, but Israel has also reportedly tried to convince the Palestinians that an attack was not coming by briefly opening crossings and reporting future meetings on the topic. They did so to insure that casualties would be maximized and that the citizens of Gaza would be unprepared for their impending slaughter.

It is also misleading to claim self-defense in a conflict with such an overwhelming asymmetry of power. Israel is the largest military force in the region, and the fifth largest in the world. Furthermore, they are the fourth largest exporter of arms and have a military industrial complex rivaling that of the United States. In other words, Israel has always had a comprehensive monopoly over the use of force, and much like its super power ally, Israel uses war as an advertising showcase of its many instruments of death.

5. Israel claims to have struck military targets only.

Even while image after image of dead and mutilated women and children flash across our televisions, Israel brazenly claims that their munitions expertly struck only military installations. We know this to be false as many other civilian sites have been hit by airstrikes including a hospital and mosque.

In the most densely populated area on the planet, tons upon tons of explosives have been dropped. The first estimates of injured are in the thousands. Israel will claim that these are merely 'collateral damage' or accidental deaths. The sheer ridiculousness and inhumanity of such a claim should sicken the world community.

6. Israel claims that it is attacking Hamas and not the Palestinian people.

First and foremost, missiles do not differentiate people by their political affiliation; they simply kill everyone in their path. Israel knows this, and so do Palestinians. What Israel also knows, but is not saying public ally, is how much their recent actions will actually strengthen Hamas - whose message of resistance and revenge is being echoed by the angry and grieving.

The targets of the strike, police and not Hamas militants, give us some clue as to Israel's mistaken intention. They are hoping to create anarchy in the Strip by removing the pillar of law and order.

7. Israel claims that Palestinians are the source of violence.

Let us be clear and unequivocal. The occupation of Palestine since the War of 1967 has been and remains the root of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Violence can be ended with the occupation and the granting of Palestine's national and human rights. Hamas does not control the West Bank and yet we remain occupied, our rights violated and our children killed.

With these myths understood, let us ponder the real reasons behind these airstrikes; what we find may be even more disgusting than the act itself.

The leaders Israel are holding press conferences, dressed in black, with sleeves rolled up.

'It's time to fight', they say, 'but it won't be easy.'

To prove just how hard it is, Livni, Olmert and Barak did not even wear make-up to the press conference, and Barak has ended his presidential campaign to focus on the Gaza campaign. What heroes…what leaders…

We all know the truth: the suspension of the electioneering is exactly that - electioneering.

Like John McCain's suspension of his presidential campaign to return to Washington to 'deal with' the financial crisis, this act is little more than a publicity stunt.

The candidates have to appear 'tough enough to lead', and there is seemingly no better way of doing that than bathing in Palestinian blood.

'Look at me,' Livni says in her black suit and unkempt hair, 'I am a warrior. I am strong enough to pull the trigger. Don't you feel more confident about voting for me, now that you know I am as ruthless as Bibi Netanyahu?'

I do not know which is more disturbing, her and Barak, or the constituency they are trying to please.

In the end, this will in no way improve the security of the average Israeli; in fact it can be expected to get much worse in the coming days as the massacre could presumably provoke a new generation of suicide bombers.

It will not undermine Hamas either, and it will not result in the three fools, Barak, Livni and Olmert, looking 'tough'. Their misguided political venture will likely blow up in their faces as did the brutally similar 2006 invasion of Lebanon.

In closing, there is another reason - beyond the internal politics of Israel - why this attack has been allowed to occur: the complicity and silence of the international community.

Israel cannot and would not act against the will of its economic allies in Europe or its military allies in the US. Israel may be pulling the trigger ending hundreds, perhaps even thousands of lives this week, but it is the apathy of the world and the inhumane tolerance of Palestinian suffering which allows this to occur.

'The evil only exists because the good remain silent'

From Occupied Palestine. . .

Eine Kleine Nacht Murder: How Israeli Leaders Kill for their People's Votes

"...In Israeli politics, Arab blood is translated into votes. It would obviously be very reasonable to charge Livni, Barak and the current IDF Chief of Staff Ashkenazi with first-degree murder, crimes against humanity and the obvious breach of the Geneva Convention. But it would be far more intelligible to take into account that Israel is a ‘democracy’. Livni, Barak and Ashkenazi are giving the Israeli people that which they want: it is called Arab blood and it must come in vast quantity..."

Gilad Atzmon

In order to grasp the latest devastating murderous Israeli expedition in Gaza one must deeply comprehend the Israeli identity and its inherent hatred towards anyone who fails to be Jewish and a hatred against Arabs in particular. This hatred is imbued in the Israeli curriculum, it is preached by political leaders and implied by their acts, it is conveyed by cultural figures, even within the so-called ‘Israeli Left’.

I grew up in Israel in the 1970’s people of my generation are nowadays the leaders of the Israeli army, politics, economy, academia and the arts. We were trained to believe that ‘a good Arab is a dead one’. A few weeks before I joined the IDF in the early 1980’s, General Rafael Eitan, the Chief of Staff at the time announced that the “Arabs were stoned cockroaches in a bottle”. He got away with it, he also got away with the murder of many thousands of Lebanese civilians in the 1st Lebanon war. In a word, Israelis manage to get away with murder.

Luckily enough, and for reasons that are still far beyond my comprehension, at a certain stage I woke up out of that Hebraic lethal dream. At one point I left the Jewish state, I evaded the Jewish hate mongering, I had become an opponent of the Jewish state and any other form of Jewish politics. However, I am utterly convinced that it is my primary duty to inform every being that is willing to listen about that which are we up against.

As much as Zionism was there to transform Jews, and by “giving them a State of their own” make them like any other people, it failed miserably. The Israeli barbarism as we have seen this week and too many times before is far beyond bestiality. It is killing for the sake of killing. And it is indiscriminate.

Not many people in the west are aware of the devastating fact that killing Arabs and Palestinians in particular is a very effective Israeli political recipe. The Israelis are indeed confused people. As much as they insist upon seeing themselves as a ‘Shalom seeking’[1][1] nation, they also love to be led by politicians with an astonishing record of unlawful murderous activity. Whether it was Sharon, Rabin, Begin, Shamir or Ben Gurion, Israelis love their ‘democratically elected leaders’ to be belligerent hawks with their hands dripping with blood and backed by a solid record of crimes against humanity.

We are weeks before an election in Israel and as it seems, both Kadima PM candidate Foreign minister Tzipi Livni and Labour PM candidate Defence minister Ehud Barak, are trailing well behind Likud PM candidate the notorious Hawk Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu. Livni and Barak need their little war. They must prove to the Israelis that they know how to engage in mass slaughter.

Both Livni and Barak have to provide the Israeli voter with some real exhibition of devastating carnage, so the Israelis can trust their leadership. This is their only chance against Netanyahu. Seemingly, Livni and Barak are throwing tons of bombs on Palestinian civilians, schools and hospitals because this is exactly what the Israelis want to see.

Unfortunately, Israelis are not known for mercy and grace. Instead they are appeased by retaliation and vengeance, they are cheered by their own limitless brutality. When an Ex-Israeli Air Force Chief Commander Dan Halutz was asked how it feels to drop a bomb on a highly populated neighbourhood in Gaza, his answer was short and precise. ‘It feels like a light bump on the right wing’. Dan Halutz’s cold deadly manner was enough to secure his promotion into the IDF Chief of Staff post shortly thereafter. It was General Halutz who led the Israeli army into the second Lebanon war, it was this man who perpetrated the destruction of Lebanese infrastructure and large parts of Beirut.

Seemingly, in Israeli politics, Arab blood is translated into votes. It would obviously be very reasonable to charge Livni, Barak and the current IDF Chief of Staff Ashkenazi with first-degree murder, crimes against humanity and the obvious breach of the Geneva Convention. But it would be far more intelligible to take into account that Israel is a ‘democracy’. Livni, Barak and Ashkenazi are giving the Israeli people that which they want: it is called Arab blood and it must come in vast quantity. This repetitive murderous practice, conducted by Israeli politicians reflects on the Israeli people as a whole rather than just a few politicians and generals. We are dealing here with a barbarian society that is politically driven by bloodthirstiness and lethal inclinations. There should be no mistake, there is no room for these people amongst nations.

Why the Israeli are people so remote from any notion of humanism is a big question. The generous and naïve humanists amongst us may argue that the Shoah left a big scar in the Israeli soul. This may explain why Israelis are obsessively cultivating that very memory with the support of their Diaspora brothers and sisters. The Israelis say ‘never again’ and what they mean is that Auschwitz should never reoccur, this somehow allows them to punish the Palestinian for the crimes committed by the Nazis. The realistic amongst us do not buy this argument anymore. They start now to admit that it is more than possible that the Israelis are so incredibly brutal just because this is how they are. It goes far beyond rationality or pseudo-analytical assumptions. They say, ‘this is what the Israelis are and there is not much we can do about it anymore’. The realistic amongst us come to admit that killing is how the Israelis interpret the meaning of being Jewish. Gravely, many of us come to admit that there is no alternative humanist secular Jewish value system to replace the Hebraic murderous one. The Jewish state is there to prove that Jewish national autonomy is an inhuman concept.

I grew up in post-1967 Israel. I was raised in the wake of the Israeli mythical victory, we were trained to worship the “Israeli who shoots from the hip” the platoon commando who shoots his Uzi automatic rifle in the direction of the Arabs and manages to win against four armies in just six days.

It may have taken me two decades too long to understand that the Israeli who ‘shoots from the hip’, was actually the master of indiscriminate killing. Barak was one of those 1967 heroes, he was a master indiscriminate killer. Apparently, the Israeli cabinet has just approved his plan for the biggest raid on Gaza since 1967. Livni is more or less my age, as we read the news, she internalised the message. She is now accumulating the necessary credentials as an indiscriminate murderer. Both Barak and Livni are taking Israel and Palestine into an election campaign of slaughter. Arab and Palestinian blood is the fuel of Israeli politics.

I may just suggest to Livni and Barak that it may not help them in the polls. Netanyahu is a genuine authentic hawk. He doesn’t have to pretend to be a murderer, and as much as I despise him, he has yet to take Israel into a war. He probably understands better than them what power of deterrence is all about.

A Small Note to my followers & blog readers.

I've been busy with attending the Emergency Gaza Protests and just have not had time to post articles.
I hope we all keep Gaza and the people of Palestine in our prayers.
Protests are happening ALL week across the UK, do your bit and attend a few!

Sunday 28 December 2008

Britain and US refuse to demand end to Israeli airstrikes on Gaza

Nicola Smith - TimesOnline

Britain and the United States were on a collision course with their European allies last night after refusing to call for an end to Israeli airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza.

The wave of attacks marked a violent end to President George W Bush’s sporadic Middle East peace efforts. The White House put the blame squarely on Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organisation, for provoking the Israeli blitz.

Britain echoed the call for “militants” to stop firing rockets into Israel while calling for “maximum restraint” to avoid casualties.

The response was in sharp contrast to demands by the European Union for an “immediate ceasefire” and criticism by France of the use of “disproportionate force”.

“Hamas’s continued rocket attacks into Israel must cease if the violence is to stop,” said Gordon Johndroe, the White House spokesman, in Texas where Bush is spending the holidays at his Crawford ranch.

Britain declined to condemn Israel for the onslaught and called for an end to rocket attacks by militants.

Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, blamed Hamas for the raid. “The United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza,” she said.

Gordon Brown, the prime minister, said: “I am deeply concerned by continuing missile strikes from Gaza on Israel and by Israel’s response today.

“Peaceful means are the only way of reaching a lasting solution to the situation in Gaza. I call on Gazan militants to cease all rocket attacks on Israel immediately. These attacks are designed to cause random destruction and to undermine the prospects of peace talks led by President Abbas.”

Brown added: “I understand the Israeli government’s sense of obligation to its population. Israel needs to meet its humanitarian obligations, act in a way to further the long-term vision of a two-state solution and do everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties.”

The muted response of Britain and America was in sharp contrast to the statement issued on behalf of Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, who called for an immediate ceasefire and the renewal of the truce declared by Hamas leaders, which had expired on December 19.

“I call for an immediate cessation of military actions on both sides,” he said.

“The EU has repeatedly condemned rocket attacks against Israel. The current Israeli strikes are inflicting an unacceptable toll on Palestinian civilians and will only worsen the humanitarian crisis.”

The French presidency of the EU issued a statement on behalf of the 27-nation bloc, condemning both sides. “The EU condemns the Israeli bombardments as well as rocket attacks from Gaza. It demands that this stops immediately,” it said.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, also went further than Britain and America in condemning the use of “disproportionate” force.

In a statement from Paris he said that he “strongly condemns the irresponsible provocations which led to this situation as well as the disproportionate use of force”. The statement added that he “deplores the heavy civilian losses and expresses his condolence to the innocent victims and their families”.

The EU’s criticism of Israel’s actions was echoed by Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general, who said he was “deeply alarmed” and appealed for “an immediate halt to all violence”.

Israeli leaders have stepped up their rhetoric against Hamas in recent days, leaving no doubt about their intentions. Gabi Ashkenazi, chief of staff of the Israeli defence forces, said on Thursday: “We will need to use our full force to hit the terrorist infrastructure.”

Arab People, Not Regimes, Express Solidarity with Gaza

Hussein Assi

Once again, Arab regimes and Arab people seem to be living on two opposite river banks.
For the second consecutive day, the Zionist entity continued its bloody offensive against the Palestinians in the Gaza strip, committing the worst-ever massacres.

For the second consecutive day, many Arab regimes maintained their deadly official "calm," or even worse, their "verbal denunciation" to the attacks. Yet, none of the Arab leaders took any "practical measure," except for calling for an "urgent" Arab summit on Friday, a week after the Israeli offensive that claimed the lives of more 270 Palestinians in less than 24 hours!

In contrast with the expected Arab official reaction to Zionist aggressions, Arab peoples have staged angry demonstrations across the Arab world to condemn Israeli barbarism and to express support for Palestinian Resistance. Demonstrations also called on the international community to assume its responsibilities towards the Palestinians and the crimes against humanity committed by Israel.

One of the biggest demonstrations took place in the Yemeni capital Sanaa Sunday where the General People's Congress (GPC), National Democratic Coalition and civil society organizations organized a solidarity rally in the Capital Secretariat against the brutal Israeli attacks against the Palestinian people in Gaza. Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Capital Secretariat and called for an Arab and Islamic unified stand against Israel’s illegal actions.

Syria, in turn, witnessed a huge rally where tens of thousands of Syrians gathered at the center of Damascus, protesting the Israeli aggressions and the Arab regimes' calm. They declared solidarity with Gaza and called to stop the aggressions as soon as possible. They also set fire to Israeli and US flags.

Beirut also witnessed for the second consecutive day multiple solidarity movements against the Israeli attacks. Palestinian and Lebanese protesters gathered outside the UN-ESCWA, calling for a responsible international reaction to the massacres. Protesters held candles and Palestinian flags, chanting anti-Israel slogans.
Demonstrations also have been held at the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, mainly the Ain el-Helwe camp in Sidon in south Lebanon. Dozens of youths took to the streets to express solidarity with the Palestinians and set fire to tires. A huge rally is also set to take place in the southern city on Monday.

Around 20,000 people took to the streets of Egyptian cities on Sunday to protest against the attacks. The largest protest saw around 8,000 people demonstrate on the streets of Assiut, a city in southern Egypt of 400,000, a security official said, with another 3,000 gathering in Minya, south of Cairo. A security official said 4,000 people took part in another anti-Israel and pro-Gaza demonstration in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, the security official said. Another 4,000 people rallied outside the Doctors' Syndicate in the capital against the Israeli onslaught that has also wounded more than 600 Palestinians in the isolated enclave on Egypt's northeastern border.

Jordanians are also set to protest against the Israeli attacks on Sunday afternoon. On Saturday, hundreds of protesters in the Jordanian capital Amman demonstrated in front of the nearby UN headquarters, waving Hamas banners and condemning Israel's strikes.

Thousands of people marched in the Moroccan capital to protest Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip and called for revenge for the more than 270 Palestinians martyred. A crowd estimated at 3,000 carried signs denouncing the "Israeli aggressors" and chanted that "with our soul, with our blood, we will sacrifice for you, Gaza!"

Meanwhile, a general strike was observed all across Palestinian territories Sunday in protest at the Israeli massacre in Gaza. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) had called for a general strike and rallies and declared state of mourning. Commercial stores closed and Palestinian flags were brought to half-mast.
Some of the rallies developed into clashes between the Israeli occupation forces and the protestors in Ramallah, where dozens were injured with Israeli bullets.
Angry demonstrations also broke out in Oum el-Fahem, Nazareth, Sahnin and Tamra in northern occupied Palestine in response to a call from leaders of the Arab community. Protesters chanted slogans condemning Israeli aggressions and waved Palestinian flags.
In Bethlehem, municipal officials switched off Christmas lights in protest at the violence.