Wednesday 14 January 2009

Kitties are worth more than babies??

WRITTEN BY Vittorio Arrigoni in Gaza

Take some kittens, some tender little moggies in a box", said Jamal, a surgeon at the Al Shifa, Gaza's main hospital, while a nurse actually placed a couple of blood-stained cardboard boxes in front of us. "Seal up the box, then jump on it with all your weight and might, until you feel their little bones crunching, and you hear the last muffled little mew." I stared at the boxes in astonishment, and the doctor continued: "Try to imagine what would happen after such images were circulated. The righteous outrage of public opinion, the complaints of the animal rights organisations…" The doctors went on in this vein, and I was unable to take my eyes off those boxes, sitting at our feet. "Israel trapped hundreds of civilians inside a school as if in a box, including many children, and then crushed them with all the might of its bombs.

What were the world's reactions? Almost nothing. We would have been better off as animals rather than Palestinians, we would have been more protected."

At this point the doctor leans towards one of the boxes, and takes its lid off in front of me. Inside it are the amputated limbs, legs and arms, some from the knee down, others with the entire femur attached, amputated from the injured at the Al Fakhura United Nations school in Jabalia, which resulted in more than fifity casualties. Pretending to be taking an urgent call, I took my leave of Jamal, actually rushing to the bathroom to bend over and throw up.

A little earlier I'd been involved in a conversation with Dr. Abdel, an ophtalmologist, regarding the rumours that the Israeli Army had been showering us with non-conventional weapons, forbidden by the Geneva Convention, such as cluster bombs and white phosphorous. The very same that the Tsahal Army used in the last Lebanese war, as well as the US air force in Falluja, still violating international norms. In front of Al Auda hospital we witnessed and filmed white phosphorous bombs being used about five hundred metres from where we were, too far to be absolutely certain there were any civilians underneath the Israeli Apaches, but so terribly close to us all the same.The Geneva Treaty of 1980 forbids white phosphorous being used directly as a war weapon in civilian areas, allowing it only as a smoke screen or for lighting.

There's no doubt that using this weapon in Gaza, a strip of land concentrating the highest population rate in the world, is a crime all on its own. Doctor Abdel told me that at Al Shifa hospital they don't have the medical and military competence to say for sure whether the wounds they examined on certain corpses were indeed provoked by white phosphorous bullets.But on his word, in twenty years on the job he had never seen casualties like those now being carried into the ward.

He told me about the traumas to the skull, with the fractures to the vomer bone, the jaw, the cheekbones, tear duct, nasal and palatine bones showed signs of the collision of an immense force against the victim's face.

What he finds inexplicable is the total lack of eyeballs, which ought to leave a trace somewhere within the skull even in case of such a violent impact. Instead, we see Palestinian corpses coming into the hospitals without eyes at all, as if someone had removed them surgically before handing them over to the coroner. Israel has let us know that we've been granted a daily 3-hour truce, from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.

These statements from the Israeli military summit are considered by the people of Gaza as having the same reliability as the Hamas leaders' declarations that they've just provoked a massacre of enemy soldiers. Just to be clear on this point, the soldiers of Tel Aviv's worse enemy are the very same who fight under the Star of David. Yesterday a war ship off the coast of Gaza's port picked out a large group of alleged guerrilla fighters from the Palestinian Resistance, moving as a united front around Jabalia. They shot their cannons at them. But as it turned out, they were their own fellow soldiers, with the shooting resulting in three being killed and about twenty injured. No one here believes in the truces that Israel declares, and as it happens, today at 2:00 PM Rafah was under attack by the Israeli helicopters.

There was also yet another massacre of children in Jabalia: three little sisters aged 2, 4 and 6 from the Abed Rabbu family were slaughtered. Just half an hour earlier in Jabalia, once again the Red Crescent hospital's ambulances were under attack. Eva and Alberto, my ISM colleagues were on board that ambulance and managed to film everything, passing those videos and photos on to all the major media.Hassan was kneecapped, fresh from mourning the death of his friend Araf, a paramedic who was killed two days ago as he came in aid of the injured in Gaza City. They had stopped to pick up the body of a man languishing in agony in the middle of the road, when they were under fire by about ten shots from an Israeli sniper. One bullet hit Hassan in the knee and the ambulance was filled with holes.

We're now at a death toll of 688, in addition to 3,070 injured, 158 dead children and countless missing. Only yesterday, we counted 83 dead, 80 of which were civilians. Thankfully, the death toll on the Israeli side is still only at 4.Travelling towards Al Quds hospital, where I'll be working all night on the ambulances, as I raced along on board one of the very few fearless taxis left, zig-zagging to avoid the bombs, on the corner of one street I saw a group of dirty street urchins with tattered clothes, looking exactly like the "sciusciĆ " kids of the Italian afterwar period. They threw stones towards the sky with slingshots, at far away and unapproachable enemy who was toying with their lives.

Israel accused of Gaza 'genocide'

The president of the UN General Assembly has condemned Israel's killings of Palestinians in its Gaza offensive as "genocide".

Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann also told Al Jazeera he had never believed that the UN Security Council would be able to stop the violence in Gaza and that Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, had practically told the UN to "mind their own business" by continuing the offensive.

"The number of victims in Gaza is increasing by the day... The situation is untenable. It's genocide," d'Escoto said at the UN in New York.

About 970 Palestinians have been killed and 4,300 injured since Israel began its Gaza offensive on December 27, which it says is to stop Palestinian fighters attacking Israel with rockets.

Emergency session

The UN General Assembly said on Tuesday that it was set to hold an emergency session on Thursday to discuss the crisis after a previous session was postponed last week ahead of a UN Security Council vote on the issue.

The Security Council adopted a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, but Israel has escalated its offensive and Palestinian rocket fire has also continued.

"There have been some who were under the illusion that the Security Council would do something that could help the situation," d'Escoto said. "I never thought so.

"Now we're faced with not only with a lack of compliance but with a prime minister of Israel who has practically responded to the Security Council by saying 'mind your own business'.

"It's unbelievable that a country that owes its existence to a general assembly resolution could be so disdainful of the resolutions that emanate from the UN."

D'Escoto, a former Roman Catholic priest and Nicaragua foreign minister, is known for his outspoken criticism of Israel and last year likened Israel's treatment of the Palestinians to the racist apartheid system previously used in South Africa.

Gabriela Shalev, Israel's ambassador to the UN, called d'Escoto an "Israel hater" for having hugged Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president and a vocal critic of Israel.

D'Escoto also said the UN had to bear some responsibility for the long-standing conflict in the Middle East as it had allowed the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, leaving the Palestinians stateless.

"You have to attack problems at their root cause and the Palestinian people have been subjected to subhuman treatment for decades and this [the Israeli offensive] is going to make matters worse."

250,000 Spaniards denounce Israel's bloodshed

In the largest pro-Palestinian demonstration in Europe so far, over 250,000 Spaniards denounce Israel's bloodshed in Gaza and call for ceasefire.

Protesters in Spain's capital Madrid and in other cities, including Seville, Malaga,Oviedo, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Ourense, carried banners saying 'Peace', 'SOS Gaza' and placards with the word 'Gaza' above a red-stained hand and mock blood-spattered bodies of children.

Police declined to give a figure but the organizers, which included the Socialist Party and trade unions, estimated the Sunday turnout at 250,000.

"It is my duty to call on Israel to implement an immediate cease-fire," Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who had attended the rally, told protesters in Ourense.

Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem's mother Pilar, also an actress, was among the speakers who addressed the crowd.

"The Spanish government has to do something. The Gaza Strip is now practically a concentration camp," AP quoted her as saying.

Sunday's protests are a follow-up of Barcelona's mass demonstration the previous day, where police estimated the crowd around 30,000 but according to organizers accounts, 100,000 people took to the streets. The demonstration was organized by an alliance of groups, which in the past had organized mass protests against the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Spain has a Muslim community of around 800,000 out of a 46.1 million population.

Meanwhile, 30,000 people protested in Brussels on Sunday denouncing the Israeli carnage in Gaza. Children carrying effigies of dead and bloodied babies were at the head of the procession.

Also in the Italian cities of Rome, Naples and Verona, thousands of people marched in pro-Palestinian rallies.

In Athens, Greece, dozens of children and their parents, carrying effigies and photos of bloodied children, marched to protest Israel's incursion and bloodshed in Gaza.

Latest figures show 900 Palestinians and 33 Israelis have been killed since Israel's onslaught on Gaza that began on December 27. More than 276 of the Palestinians killed are children. Over 4,000 Palestinians and 80 Israeli have also been wounded.

Press TV

Israeli intel targets Israeli protesters (Video)

From Vancouver, with Love: a prayer for Gaza from Elders of the Coast Salish Territory


Peace Rally, 10 January 2009, Vancouver, Canada (Coast Salish Territory).

Warning: Israel Plans to Strike Gaza Hospitals

"...The strategic plan of the Israeli war criminals, the blood sucker Ehud Olmert and his cabinet, Ehud Barak and his coward soldiers, Tzipi Livni and her team of criminals in the foreign ministry, the chief of the Israeli assassination teams Yuval Diskin, and others, is based on striking and destroying the Palestinian hospitals in Gaza as the third step of their ongoing campaign of genocide, ethnic cleansing and war crimes against humanity in Gaza. The strong smell of a new massacre against the paralyzed patients in Gaza’s hospitals is being spread widely through the Israeli and the International media..."

Kawther Salam

Israeli MP and leader Avigdor Liberman stated that "Gaza has to be erased from the map by nuclear bombs, like what Americans used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki." And the war criminal foreign minister Tzipi Livni said that Israel’s campaign against Hamas in Gaza "is serving the interest of the Palestinian Authority as well as that of Israel". Liebermann is a cousin of a member of the US Senate who has the same name. Livni is the offspring of a family of terrorists, murderers and thieves who emigrated from Poland.

The strategic plan of the Israeli war criminals, the blood sucker Ehud Olmert and his cabinet, Ehud Barak and his coward soldiers, Tzipi Livni and her team of criminals in the foreign ministry, the chief of the Israeli assassination teams Yuval Diskin, and others, is based on striking and destroying the Palestinian hospitals in Gaza as the third step of their ongoing campaign of genocide, ethnic cleansing and war crimes against humanity in Gaza. The strong smell of a new massacre against the paralyzed patients in Gaza’s hospitals is being spread widely through the Israeli and the International media.

The Jewish lobbies that own and control the international media are spreading the propaganda about supposed "hidden senior of Hamas officials under the hospitals in Gaza". The chief of the Israeli intelligence of the Shin Bet, Yuval Diskin, said during last week while meeting with the cabinet to plan new crimes, that senior of Hamas officials had found refuge in the hospital basements because they know Israel would not target them due to the patients in the upper floors. Diskin said that he and his team believe that Hamas political activists are in the basements of the Shifa Hospital. The Israeli cabinet spread Diskin unfounded beliefs, suspicions and rumors as justification before destroying the hospitals of Gaza over the heads of thousands of sick and injured people. Thousands of the weakest and most sick civilians are treated at Gaza’s hospital would pay the price for Diskin’s paranoid suspicions and beliefs.

The Israeli war propaganda based on Diskin’s suspicions and beliefs is spread in the media and used to justify genocide and war crimes, in the same way like the Israeli war criminals spread rumors about Hamas Rockets which hit Israel towns just some days before striking Gaza. Is it not strange that supposedly "thousands" of rockets were fired by destitute people, which caused almost no damages in years, but that exactly before the planned massacre, suddenly there were several dead and more material damage?

The international media, paid, owned and controlled by the jewish zionists, associated to AIPAC and other organizations, are taking care to spread the garbage of the Israeli military so that all journalists are converted into a part of the army because they only report from the office of the military spokespersons. All the Israeli media is involved in the war crimes and is censored by an IDF team.

The IDF also controls the western media.I received an e-mail from somebody who introduced himself as a member of AIPAC, perhaps he wanted to intimidate me. The person who wrote me argued that I should read AIPAC news and rely on their "credibility" before reporting about the conflict. The writer had written me before that his uncle is a rabbi in Tel-Aviv.
Also, an Israeli soldier, from an Israeli propaganda team sent me an e-mail in which he argued that I should post Israeli war propaganda in my articles. Other members of Israeli propaganda teams tried to post comments on my blog explaining in full details the IDF point of view.

As a preparation for the coming Israeli massacres, the US declared that their military had sought to hire a second merchant ship to deliver ammunition to Israel this month after Israel dropped all missiles which they have during their attack in Gaza. The new ship will carry 325 standard 20-foot containers and will arrive in Israel through the Suez canal. In the meantime the US Navy transportation command has said that the deliveries of weapons would be delayed, and before that, they stated that the weapons were not for use by the Israelis. Do these people seriously think that anybody believes them?


A Free Palestine Has Never Been Closer!

" the current Palestinian resistance against Zionist fascism, the only outcome for the Palestinians is to approach victory and the only option for the Zionists is to sustain cumulative defeat. There will come a point when there will be enough quantitative change in the geopolitical spectrum that a qualitative change will occur. This will occur when the Palestinian steadfast, supported by an Arab populist movement within an international sea of solidarity, crosses the threshold where the losses for the colonial axis are more than the gains. We are at that point..."

Yousef Abuddayeh

While the depth and breadth of pain of the ongoing Zionist massacre against the Palestinian people is immeasurable, victory for the Palestinian people has never been closer. Although the past 18 days of pure fascistic Zionist murder spree have to date killed more than 971 Palestinians and have injured over 4,400, the resulting local, national, regional, and international conditions are all pointing towards a political crisis of monumental scale for the tripartite axis. Composed of the US, the Zionist Israeli polity, and various Arab regimes, this tripartite axis of colonial and neo-colonial conquest is now facing a dead-end spanning geopolitics, demographics, and economy.

The overall political balance today is that the two forces that are diametrically opposed to each other (colonists and colonized) are that much more entrenched in their positions. On the one hand, the axis of colonists and neo-colonists is running out of political space to maneuver.

The fight today is in the very last homes (actual houses) where the Arab people live, be it in Palestine, Lebanon, or Iraq. In this context, the only option available is to physically conquer not only the very families that reside in these last homes, but also impose a political structure that would be acceptable to these same embattled families. Lebanon and Iraq both have shown that this would not be possible in any way, regardless of the level of military devastation used. In the case of Palestine, it has been tried before numerous times, and has failed each and every time without exception. In fact, the same areas of Gaza currently under attack by the Zionists are the ones that were literally erased with bulldozers during the early seventies to make room for the advances of the Zionist armies. The Zionists' scorched earth policy is also efficiently scorching any Zionist ability to impose its will, directly through military rule or indirectly through proxy powers such as that of Mahmud Abbas.

Additionally, the repeated brutality during the past few years in Iraq, Lebanon, and now Palestine again, targeting all aspects of society through direct bombardment and long term forced starvation, has forever exposed the role played by local and regional complicit functionaries. The Arab masses in every Arab state are now increasingly calling for regime change in unison, directly accusing their leadership of treason in an unprecedented manner. Undoubtedly, this is a prerequisite prelude to organized political movements leading to change. This is a dangerous condition for all Arab despots, as they have now exposed their role in total, including their inability to conquer the conscience of the Arab people. It is for this specific reason that the United States opted not to veto UN Security Council resolution 1860, simply to give its allies of Arab functionary regimes a fig leaf with which to return home. Anyone following the official Egyptian television and print media can detect a highly defensive and overt pushback by the regime in an attempt to justify that it did not commit treason. It actually uses these very terms. This is unprecedented, particularly since the vast majority of Egyptian population is also overtly making the charge of treason at the risk of imprisonment, indicative of the dictatorial regime.

The banning of Palestinian Arab political parties from running in the upcoming Israeli elections within 1948 Palestine is perhaps the biggest indication of the crisis the Zionists and their allies are facing. While we are certain that the majority of political activists will race to point to the organically and structurally racist character of the Zionist polity, and they are certainly correct in that, we opt to consider the real causes and implications of such a decision.

Effectively, the Zionist political leadership is succumbing to its exclusivist need for self-preservation as a colonial settler polity. Effectively, the Zionists are unable to use even a feeble fig leaf to cover its Apartheid system. How else would a polity expel 20% of the population from political representation, albeit superficially, while simultaneously scorching its surrounding in the literal meaning of the word? The Zionist political system is clearly showing significant signs of implosion. It cannot reconcile settler colonialism with democratic representation, and certainly cannot reconcile citizenship with theocratic exclusion. Hence the two major attributes of Zionism (exclusion and colonialism) are the very same factors that the Israeli polity is now facing.

This was the case in South Africa. Several decades after it was founded as a settler colony, and years following the imposition of the Apartheid system as a state policy, it too had to face the inevitable: settler colonialism and democratic representation cannot be reconciled. And it too imploded during a time when many believed that it was the strongest military power in the area and one of the most powerful in the world. Naturally, South Africa's strongest ally was at that time the Zionist polity itself, given the equivalence in ideology, form of government, and militarist nature. In fact, just as the Zionist regime continuously attacks Lebanon, the Apartheid regime continuously attacked neighboring states.

Interestingly enough, the two decades leading to the implosion of Apartheid witnessed a similar political scene as the one currently faced by Zionists:

(1) International condemnation that eventually led to widespread boycotts, sanctions, and charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. This is underway and is expanding. In that regard, we call for a widespread boycott of all aspects related to the Zionist polity, including economic, cultural, sports, political, and diplomatic. This boycott must evolve into sanctions. As an initial step, popular sanctions can be implemented through the process of divestment, to be followed by official sanctions. The Arab people must lead this effort by ending all aspects of normalization with Zionism, forced as it maybe.

(2) Collapse of the surrounding regimes, leading to regional economic, diplomatic, and political isolation. All surrounding regimes are facing major challenges that will require structural political change.

(3) Internal contradictions caused by political dynamics, demographic changes, and the inability to impose on a long term basis a racist structure of government on a colonized people; hence the banning of the Arab Palestinian parties from the elections.

(4) Political and organizational defection within the social structure as well as in within allies.

(5) Failure of the military option to secure military victories over a significantly less equipped population. While the Zionist army must show actual military victory and full control, the Palestinians need only withstand the assault and brutality. At the conclusion of the assault, the Zionist army will have to withdraw leaving the resistance movement that spans the entire Palestinian political spectrum (not just Hamas) that much stronger in terms of its political influence. The Gaza Strip will be ungovernable by any entity not supported by the Palestinian people.

(6) The inability of the regime to impose a governing system that would be acceptable to the colonized, an inability that is significantly exacerbated with the level of brutality imposed. Hence, the obedient PA option is null and void at this point.

(7) Recognition by the US and Western allies that role played by the regime is a threat to the interests of the Western powers in the area. This has not yet occurred in the Zionist case, albeit starting.

(8) Loss of economic trade and supply of needed natural resources, including the once available labor pool.

(9) A reversal in the flux of people, where more colonists leave than colonists arrive.

(10) A full collapse in all attempts to normalize the conquest. This is a major task for the Arab political spectrum throughout the Arab Homeland (A-Wattan Al-Arabi).

These factors lead to a conclusion that Zionism as a political system is unable to survive in the long term, just as was the case for Apartheid. This is because it needs extraordinary brutality over a lengthy period to force the presence of an exclusivist political system that cannot survive otherwise.

As such, in the current Palestinian resistance against Zionist fascism, the only outcome for the Palestinians is to approach victory and the only option for the Zionists is to sustain cumulative defeat. There will come a point when there will be enough quantitative change in the geopolitical spectrum that a qualitative change will occur. This will occur when the Palestinian steadfast, supported by an Arab populist movement within an international sea of solidarity, crosses the threshold where the losses for the colonial axis are more than the gains. We are at that point.

Here, it is critical to recognize the importance of progressive and principled solidarity movements. They constitute the only sea within which a liberation movement can survive. Just as the resistance in the Gaza Strip is carried out by the entire spectrum of the Palestinian population (it is not Hamas vs. Israel, it is the Palestinian people in their entirety resisting a colonial project in Gaza and everywhere), the solidarity movement must be all inclusive. The FPA recognizes the principled role played by many organizations and political parties worldwide, and we ask that this role be amplified and expanded. The Palestinian struggle remains a critical anchor for all anti-colonial struggles everywhere, including the fight to end war and occupations.

In the US, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition has been that principled ally to the Palestinian people, standing firm on the fundamentals of the struggle as a national liberation even when under massive Zionist and liberal attacks. While we recognize that there will always be damage caused by the attacks of camouflaged Zionists, the gains of a principled position far exceed that damage. In that context, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition has evolved and has been the principled political and organizational space from within the Palestinian and Arab community can organize on large scale in the US. It is also the vehicle to appropriately make the needed links of a reciprocal solidarity with other targeted peoples and communities - the stronger the movement, the faster the victory.

The Free Palestine Alliance
January 13, 2009
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Hear, O Israel!!

WRITTEN BY Stefano Sarfati Nahmad

Hear, Hear O Israel!
You have massacred infants and blamed their parents for it
saying that they used them as shields. I can think of nothing,
nothing more disgraceful.
Only in the space of a generation, in the name of that suffering,
you have caused suffering to others: you have hermetically sealed them
in a territory, and you started to slaughter them with the most sophisticated
of arms, indestructible armoured tanks, state-of-the-art helicopters
brightening the night-time sky as if it were day, to strike them more efficiently.
But 668 dead Palestinians and 4 dead Israelis is not a victory, it’s just
a defeat for you and for humanity as a whole.

Hear, O Israel!
I do not repudiate my history, or that of my family, which had
undergone the Shoah. But I repudiate you, the Israeli State, because you
believed that to make the credit of the Shoah mature, you would
be allowed to rid yourself of the Palestinian people and occupy their land.
But that is not the way things operate, life does not work that way. The people of Israel
have to live their own lives and not live by means of the deaths of others.

Hear, O Israel!
I do not repudiate my history, or that of my family, which had
undergone the Shoah, but today I am Palestinian. I am on the side
of the Palestinian people and their heroic resistance. I am with the
heroic resistance of the Palestinian women who kept on giving birth
to little Palestinian girls and boys in the refugee camps, in the villages
from which you had uprooted their olive trees, stolen their land. I am with the thousands
of Palestinians jailed in your prisons for having only resisted
your annexation plans.

Hear, O Israel!
There will be no Israel without Palestine, but there could be Palestine
without Israel, because your credit, by now completely dried up
by your mad and suicidal policies, was not towards the Palestinian
people who never raised a finger against you, but it was towards the people
of Germany, Italy, Poland, France, Hungary
and Europe in general; and they are to be blamed for their inaction.
Hear, O Israel, hear these names: Deir Yassin, Tel al-Zaatar,
Sabra and Chatila, Gaza. They are some names, names written
in the annals of history, that
will be voiced every single time one sees the name: Israel.

Translator’s Note: This poem is a reference to the most important Jewish prayer, Shema Yisrael, which is recited in the morning and in the evening by all practicing Jews and it is the prayer that even secular Jews will have been taught and have heard more than any other. Primo Levi wrote a memorable version of it which was the incipit of his first book, “If this is a man”, the title of which is a line from his adaptation of this prayer. It is often used in a way to stir the conscience of the listener, but it is especially directed at a Jewish public, which may intend the Shema as a moral obligation to hear, remember and bear witness.

Translated by Mary Rizzo for Tlaxcala,

Israel...An Abnormal State

Who complained to the United Nations Security Council about the firing of Qassam rockets by the Hamas government in Gaza? The government of Israel.

And when the Security Council met to discuss the threat from Gaza, who refused to send its foreign minister to UN Headquarters so as "not to legitimize the Security Council's discussion of the operation against Hamas"? And who left the most important international arena to its UN ambassador, while the Palestinians and Arab countries flooded the building with high-level delegations? The government of Israel.

Who demanded in every diplomatic encounter that the Security Council impose sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear program and punish Syria for smuggling weapons to Hezbollah, and then accused Iran and Syria of ignoring U.N. resolutions?

And when, over Israel's objections, that very council passed Resolution 1860 calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, who proclaimed that it would not accept it and intended to continue fighting? The government of Israel, of course.

It would be funny if it were not a matter of national importance: Israel complains to the UN about the Hamas government, and the next day claims that Hamas is not worthy of recognition and that the Security Council should not be discussing the conflict. Someone in Jerusalem is confused. Or not: Israel wants the international community, represented by the Security Council, to protect it from Hamas, Syria and Iran, but not to hamper the Israel Defense Forces operating with all its strength in Gaza. The problem is that the international community rejects this arrangement and wants to intervene even when it hampers Israel.

As usual with us, political rivalries affect foreign-policy discourse. Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak pass responsibility to Tzipi Livni and the Foreign Ministry for the diplomatic downfall in the UN. Livni defends herself with the argument that she warned them of the expected resolution, and that the prime minister was the one who forbade her from taking part in the deliberations. Olmert hoped that his personal friendship with George W. Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy would allow him to torpedo a Security Council resolution, but his friends disappointed him and preferred to back up their foreign ministers. Sarkozy did not postpone the discussion and Bush did not veto the resolution.

Israel's problematic conduct in the UN is doubtless affected by disagreements among its leaders, but it reflects a deeper problem. Israel has not yet decided whether to be a normal member of the international community and pay the price of normalcy, or to remain isolated on the outside. This dilemma began almost with the establishment of the state, and has persisted since. The natural tendency of Israeli diplomats is to see the UN and its institutions as insignificant, as a famous statement by David Ben-Gurion once intimated. It was a kind of hostile organization, controlled by a majority opposed to Israel, which is saved only by an American veto in the Security Council.

In recent years, Israel has tried to soften its attitude and normalize its relationships with the international organization. The Foreign Ministry is proud of the involvement of Israelis in UN institutions and the resolutions Israel has initiated in the General Assembly. The Security Council has been perceived as an asset in dealing with Iran and Hezbollah, and even in negotiations with the Palestinians. Only four weeks ago, Livni praised Resolution 1850, which supported the Annapolis process, and called for a continuation of talks on a final agreement. In the days before the war in Gaza, the Security Council resolution was seen as a tool to strengthen Kadima as the party of negotiations and peace against the rejectionism of Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud.

But then came the crisis, and Israel returned to her old rejectionist stance. Once again it had to beg America to save it, and came out humiliated. In retrospect, Jerusalem tried to soften the embarrassment, and claimed that the resolution was not so bad. If that's the case, why did Israel demean itself in a failed attempt to prevent it? Would it not have been preferable to send the foreign minister to New York to demonstrate involvement and concern, and also to talk about the resolution in a positive way after it was passed?

In eight days, a new president will move into the White House, one obligated to strengthening the influence of international institutions. Barack Obama will not be in a hurry to cast a veto for Israel's sake. Israel should become involved in this process and not be seen as the disturbed child of the international community.

On the 18th Day, “The Invincible Army” Still Faces Fierce Resistance

On the 18th day of “Operation Cast Lead”, the “Invincible army” seems to be sinking more and more in the Gaza quagmire after the Palestinian resistance has confronted it in one of the fiercest battles since the beginning of the ground offensive.

After claiming that Hamas has lost over 60 percent of its military capabilities, the Palestinian resistance movement exchanged heavy fire with advancing Israeli forces in open areas in Gaza thus refuting Israel claims. Israeli ground forces have not been able to advance into Gaza amid total media blackout on the course of the operation and losses in army ranks.

Hamas said its resistance fighters detonated explosives under an Israeli armored vehicles and battled Israeli occupation forces backed by IAF and navy fire in what was described as the most ferocious fight in Gaza so far. Explosions and the sounds of heavy machine gun fire echoed continuously through the city of Gaza. An Israeli paratroops officer was critically injured Monday night after an explosive device blew up inside a booby-trapped building in northern Gaza. Two other soldiers were also wounded in the incident. Also four more occupation soldiers were wounded in night battles, according to the occupation army.

The fierce battle comes as the Israeli media has widely speculated that the occupation leadership may approve an expansion of its massive offensive in Gaza despite ongoing talks in Egypt on how to end the Israeli aggression against the Strip.

The tanks retreated shortly after dawn from the neighborhoods of Tal al-Hawa and Sheikh Ajlin. At least one Palestinian was martyred in the nighttime fighting although the toll was expected to be higher, medics said. Palestinian medical officials said at least 971 people in the Gaza Strip have been martyred, including over 280 children, and around 4400 other wounded since Israel began its offensive on December 27.

Medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported Tuesday that the occupation army shelling was not allowing the Palestinians to remove dead bodies from several of the fighting spots along the strip. The Palestinians reported that about a dozen bodies, two of which are believed to be those of Islamic Jihad's al-Quds Brigades, have been left in the area between Rafah and Kahn Younis.

Human rights groups report shortages of vital supplies including water, in the Gaza Strip, due to the aggression. A fuel shortage has brought frequent power blackouts.

Clashes between occupation troops and resistance fighters were also reported around the southern town of Khan Yunis. Israeli warplanes pounded the densely-populated coastal strip with more than 60 air strikes overnight. Over 45 Palestinians were reportedly martyred in the overnight aggression and on Tuesday.

Hamas kept up its defiance in the face of the onslaught, vowing it would emerge victorious. In a rare televised address on Monday, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya vowed: "We are approaching victory. I tell you that after 17 days of this foolish war, Gaza has not been broken and Gaza will not fall."

Israeli cabinet minister Shaul Mofaz said Israel was "very, very close" to achieving the goals of the campaign, the deadliest it has waged against Palestinians in decades.

"I assume that in the coming week, the situation will be assessed and a decision made at a cabinet meeting on whether and how to continue the operations," Mofaz told Army Radio.

Meanwhile, Israeli occupation army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on Tuesday claimed his troops have inflicted damage on Hamas in Gaza, but will continue fighting to achieve more.

Ashkenazi claimed that Israeli soldiers are doing exceptional work and Hamas fighters, infrastructure and government institutions have been dealt a serious blow. But he said that, "We still have work to do."

Israel ignored a UN Security Council resolution - on which the United States abstained but backed in principle - which called last week for a truce. UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who is to head to the Middle East on Tuesday, called on Israel and Hamas to immediately stop the fighting, saying "too many people have died." The Security Council was to hold closed-door consultations on the crisis later on Tuesday.

Another message to readers.

Looks like I can't keep away from this blog :D
I will try and make time to post articles, but next week is make or break week for me :@

Oh before I forget, I'd like everyone to attend Demonstrations for Gaza - attend as many as you can! not only is it a great experience but the people of Gaza need to know that the world hasn't given up on them.
Oh by the way if you do happen to come across wierdo muslims who claim demonstrations are "haram" then slap them. & I'm talking about a bitchy slap.


Byeeee <3

Israel to do what US did to Japan in WWII?

The head of an Israeli opposition party says Tel Aviv should deal with Gaza the same way the US dealt with Japan in World War II.

"We must continue to fight Hamas just like the United States did with the Japanese in World War II," Avigdor Lieberman, the head of an ultra-nationalist opposition party, said Tuesday.

Japan was brought down to its knees before surrendering in 1945 after the US dropped two atomic bombs on the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Lieberman was quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying that Israel needed to decisively "break the will" of Hamas in the Gaza Strip -- home to some 1.5 million Palestinians.

Tel Aviv launched Operation Cast Lead on Dec. 27 to put an end to rocket attacks on southern Israel. At least 940 Palestinians have died during the offensive, while some 4,400 others have been wounded.

The Israeli army has sustained serious casualties since a ground operation into Gaza was launched in the second week of the attacks. Official numbers indicate at least 10 Israeli soldiers have been killed in battles against Hamas fighters.

Hamas, the democratically-elected ruler of the coastal sliver, demands a cessation of an 18-month Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip before its fighters suspend rocket attacks.

"Israel won't be secure so long as Hamas is in power, and therefore we need to come to a decision that we will break the will of Hamas to keep fighting," said Lieberman, who quit Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's coalition government last year.

Gaza now Israeli weapons testing lab?

Israel has turned Gaza into a research laboratory to test out its new "extremely nasty" weapons on Palestinians, a medical expert says.

After working for 10 days at the Shifa Hospital in the war-torn Palestinian territory, Dr. Mads Gilbert, a member of a Norwegian triage medical team in Gaza, blasted Israel for conducting experimental military work in the impoverished strip.

"There's a very strong suspicion I think that Gaza is now being used as a test laboratory for new weapons," Gilbert told reporters at Oslo's Gardermoen airport upon his return home on Monday.

Dr. Gilbert said the kinds of injuries he and his colleague Erik Fosse had seen during their ten-day aid work in Gaza had proven that Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME) was being used in the embattled territory.

DIME, which is an experimental kind of explosive, is believed to have strong biological effects in those who are hit by the "low lethality" weapons.

Survivors close to the lethal range may have their limbs amputated as their soft tissues and bones are shredded to pieces. The victims may also subsequently contract cancer from the micro-shrapnel embedded in their body tissue within just four to six months.

"This is a new generation of very powerful small explosives that detonates with an extreme power and dissipates its power within a range of five to 10 meters (16-98 feet)," said Gilbert.

"We have not seen the casualties affected directly by the bomb because they are normally torn to pieces and do not survive, but we have seen a number of very brutal amputations... without shrapnel injuries which we strongly suspect must have been caused by the DIME weapons," he added.

The weapon "causes the tissue to be torn from the flesh. It looks very different (from a shrapnel injury). I have seen and treated a lot of different injuries for the last 30 years in different war zones, and this looks completely different," said Fosse, 58.

"If you are in the immediate (vicinity of) a DIME weapon, it's like your legs get torn off. It's an enormous pressure wave and there is no shrapnel," he explained.

Israel had also used the weapon in the 2006 war with Lebanon and previously in Gaza.

"We are not soft-skinned when it comes to war injuries, but these amputations are really extremely nasty and for many of the patients not survivable," he added.

Following reports on the use of suspected chemical weapons in Gaza, the United Nations Human Rights Council decided to dispatch a fact-finding mission to investigate human rights violations committed in the territory.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Tuesday that "Accountability must be ensured for violations of international law," suggesting that the Council consider a mission to assess violations committed by both sides in the conflict.

The latest casualty figures according to Health officials have topped 940 since the operation began on 27 December, while some 4,400 others have been wounded.

Senior United Nations officials have expressed grave concern about reports that over 40 per cent of the Palestinians killed in the Israeli offensive, and almost half of the wounded, are women and children.

The new report comes on top of earlier reports which revealed the Israeli military had used controversial white phosphorus shells on Gazans.

The Times said on Thursday that it had identified stockpiles of M825A1, a US-made White Phosphorus munition, from high-resolution pictures taken from Israeli artillery units on the Gaza border.

A phenomenon characteristic of the chemical -- also known by the military as WP or Willie Pete is that it can burn through flesh to the bone and leave bodies "entirely shriveled with black-green skin."

Earlier last week, Gilbert's team, told Press TV that medics had found depleted uraniumin some Gaza residents.

The reports of profound human sufferings come as Israel continues to reject the fact that it has imposed a humanitarian crisis among the battle-hardened 1.5 million population of Gaza.

Israeli war on Gaza claims 930 lives so far mostly civilians

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation forces' war on Gaza Strip has entered its 18th day on Tuesday with the number of victims rising to 930 and the injured to 4300 the vast majority of whom are civilians.

Dr. Muaiwya Hasanein, the director of ambulance and emergency in the health ministry, told the PIC on Tuesday that the martyrs included 286 children and 95 women. He added that the victims were mostly civilians in the light of the continued IOF shelling on densely populated residential areas.

He noted that 375 of the wounded are in very serious conditions, and pointed out that the wounded included 1490 children and around 690 women.

Hasanein said that 13 paramedics and doctors were killed in the IOF deliberate targeting of medical teams while 32 others were injured and 15 ambulance cars were destroyed along with a number of civil defense vehicles.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian armed wings led by the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, succeeded in repulsing the second IOF attempt to advance into Gaza city from several axes.

Qassam sources said that 11 IOF army vehicles were destroyed in the violent clashes at the outskirts of Gaza city.

PIC reporters said that the IOF tanks tried to advance at dawn Tuesday under concentrated air and sea bombardment that included the use of the internationally banned incendiary bombs.

Qassam fighters confronted the advancing tanks with RPGs and explosive devices, which forced those tanks to retreat.

Local sources noted that the IOF troops infuriated over their failure to enter Gaza city opened indiscriminate firing at residential quarters inflicting an unspecified number of martyrs and wounded who could not be evacuated due to the continued IOF shelling.