Meanwhile, Back in the Holy Land….

All cartoons are posted with the artists’ express permission to TPZoo.
Paul Jamiol
Jamiol’s World

It seemed, this year, that a new insanity gripped the United States:  The Newtown mass murder of little children, followed by reports that others were planning similar crimes.  Then the NRA out there stumping for arming every man, woman & child in the country.

Insanity grips the “Holy Land” as well: Brinksmanship of the most deadly kind. And, again, children are dying. For what?  ‘Tis this insanity that inspired the following poem, written several years ago:

CRYSTAL TIME

      When dreams are swept away,
And the jagged edges of crystal time
      Have etched their painful memories in the hourglass;

When angry seas crash
      Upon the upturned fist of the shore,
            Well worn,
            Well worn,
And the clay breathed no more;

When blinding Truth and Reality collide
      Into time’s crystal,
            Blinding,
            Binding,
And the sounding of the bell,
      The deep sounding of the bell,
            Tolling,
            Tolling,
Prophesying the virtues of the sand,
      (The sounding of the bell,
            The sweet sounding of the bell)
      Tolling for the dust;

Then tears shall fall,
            Falling,
            Falling,
      For the Counter of the sand.

THIS IS THE OPEN THREAD OF THE DAY. PEACE BE WITH YOU.

Ann Wright: Pirates and PR

From Truthout

Laura Flanders from GritTV interviews Retired U.S Military Colonel and U.S. State Department Official Ann Wright, now anti-war activist and Freedom Flotilla survivor to give her first hand account of what really happened during the Freedom Flotilla raid.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The latest on the MV Rachel Corrie..

At 5:50 AM Israeli time the ship Rachel Corrie was boarded and taken by the Israeli Navy. They apparently jammed all communications and there is no word on what happened next.
Three navy boats were involved.

More here. More here.

Then… This is the report from the AP:

They don’t mention being boarded..

UPDATE 1: The Jerusalem Post is now reporting that the the boat was in fact NOT boarded, but is being followed.

UPDATE 2Report: ‘Rachel Corrie’ near Alexandria, sailing along coast

The Rachel Corrie, an Irish ship planning to break Israel’s blockade on Gaza was reported early Saturday to be sailing along the North African coast and had recently passed Alexandria in Egypt.

According to the report on Israel Radio, the ship was planning to reach Gaza at 7 AM when it would be visible from the coast, so that any boarding could be filmed.

Juan Cole of Informed Comment wrote a good post today on this situation with this ship carrying humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza: Rachel Corrie Steaming toward Gaza – Likud Vows it will Not Arrive

From Huffington Post earlier today: Gaza Blockade: Israel Vows To Block Rachel Corrie, New Aid Ship

Who is Rachel Corrie? Also, from Wikipedia..

Today CNN named Rachel’s parents Craig and Cindy Corrie today’s “Most Intriguing Person[s]”.

The memorial site set up for Rachel. You can read her emails that she sent home from Gaza just before she was killed.

Visit The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.

Listen to this interview with Rachel’s father Craig Corrie discussing the ship MV Rachel Corrie being named after his daughter, which aired May 30, 2010:

UPDATE 3: Salem-News.com reports: Freedom Flotilla’s MV Rachel Corrie Spotted Off Gaza Coastline

Israeli Defense Forces have Twittered confirmation that the Rachel Corrie has not been boarded. The IDF says they want the Rachel Corrie to proceed to the port of Ashdod, Israel, but the activists aboard the remaining vessel dedicated toward breaking the siege of Gaza, say they will stay on course, for the port at Gaza.

Ben Wedeman of CNN reported around 10:06 p.m. west coast time via Twitter, that, “Through binoculars can see ship to Northwest with smaller vessels around it. Could be Rachel Corrie.

It was reported at 10:17 p.m. that Israeli naval activity in the Gaza port is more intense than usual, presumably in anticipation of the arrival of the Rachel Corrie. (Read on..)

UPDATE 4: 6 Minutes ago from CNN (11 PM PST):

Ashdod, Israel (CNN) — The Israeli military has been in contact with an Irish-owned aid ship headed for Gaza, but has not boarded the boat, Israeli military officials said Saturday.

A crew member on board who spoke to CNN Saturday night said three Israeli ships were following the MV Rachel Corrie, a cargo ship loaded with humanitarian aid and bound for Gaza in defiance of an Israeli blockade.

The military said it made an identification request to the boat but had not issued a warning to the vessel. The MV Rachel Corrie was 40 miles from shore, the military said.

The BBC is also reporting that the Israeli navy has intercepted the MV Rachel Corrie, but not boarded as yet. The Israeli navy  has warned the people aboard the MV Rachel Corrie that they will not let them reach Gaza.. The latest from BBC.. – Israeli navy ‘shadowing’ Rachel Corrie Gaza aid ship

UPDATE 5: According to the IDF Spokesperson Twitter page :

19 minutes ago “according to last update, Rachel Corrie ~40 miles from shore”, 23 minutes ago “Rachel Corrie has now rejected 2nd call from IDF navy to dock at Ashdod Port”

Further updates will be in the comments..

“Closed Zone”

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

This new animated short (90 seconds) released today on the internet is by the Israeli creator of the Oscar-nominated “Waltz with Bashir” Yoni Goodman.

From Huffington Post:

Yoni Goodman said he hoped the 90-second animated film, “Closed Zone,” would draw attention to the plight of Gaza’s civilians.

“People talk about Hamas, but there are many civilians there who are not Hamas supporters but who are suffering from this blockade,” the animator said.

Israel has kept Gaza’s borders largely sealed since the Islamic militant Hamas took over the seaside territory in June 2007. Since then, Israeli has heavily restricted Palestinians from leaving Gaza and limited the goods that can enter.

The film was commissioned by the Israeli human rights group Gisha. Goodman said that as an Israeli, he hoped the film could challenge the view that most Israelis favor violence.

“I want people in the West to see it, to see that there are people in Israel who are against war, who want peace,” he said.

From the website: Closed Zone:

Continue reading

Israel admits to using White Phosphorus in Gaza


The incident being investigated is believed to be the firing of white phosphorous shells at a UN school in Beit Lahiya on January 17. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Common Dreams (Sunday Times Online):

After weeks of denying that it used white phosphorus in the heavily populated Gaza Strip, Israel finally admitted yesterday that the weapon was deployed in its offensive.

“Yes, phosphorus was used but not in any illegal manner,” Yigal Palmor, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told The Times.

This is of course a surprise to no one. So, what would make it illegal?

The weapon is legal if used as a smokescreen in battle but it is banned from deployment in civilian areas. Pictures of the attack show Palestinian medics fleeing as blobs of burning phosphorus rain down on the compound.

The above photo is  of a UN school in Beit Lahiya on January 17, 2009. People are running. It’s a school. Looks like a civilian area to me.. Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. What area in Gaza would NOT be considered a civilian area? These weapons are not the sort to target out an individual or small group, they spread out and kill indiscriminately.

Will Israel be charged with war crimes for its use of these terrible weapons in densely populated areas? I doubt it:

The Ministry of Defence gave lawyers the task before the attack of investigating the legal consequences of deploying white phosphorus – commonly stocked in Nato arsenals and used by US and British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan – inside the Gaza Strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, and one of the most densely populated places in the world.

“From what I know, at least one month before it was used a legal team had been consulted on the implications,” an Israeli defence official said. He added that Israel was surprised about the public outcry. “Everyone knew we were using it, and everyone else uses it. We didn’t think it would get this much attention,” he said.

Because Israel is not a signatory to the treaty that created the International Court of Justice in The Hague, it cannot be tried there. Any country that is a signatory to the Geneva Convention, however, can try to prosecute individuals who took part in the Gaza operation as culpable of war crimes.

The BBC reports further: Israel defends use of phosphorus

Today, Chris Hedges (TruthDig) wrote: With Gaza, Journalists Fail Again

Continue reading

Is this what it will take…?

This is beyond heartbreaking…

The Raw Story

War is cruel. But sometimes, a story comes along that redefines what cruel really means.

Saturday morning, a Palestinian doctor who reports for Israel’s channel 10 television witnessed three of his daughters killed by Israeli bombs, even as his first moments of insane panic and grief were broadcast live.

Israeli officials said shells were dropped in response to sniper fire in the area.

Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Ashi is an uncommon man. A Palestinian who works for an Israeli hospital, Dr. Ashi has been giving Israelis daily reports on the military campaign in Gaza.

“No one can get to us,” he screamed in Arabic on a live phone call with a channel 10 anchor. “My God … My God …”

Dr. Ashi told the anchor his family had just been killed, and that he was “overwhelmed.”

“My God … My girls …” he cried. “Shiomi … Can’t anybody help us please?”

The news anchor asked Dr. Ashi where his house is, and cameras followed as the journalist frantically tried to employ his network of contacts to send help to the doctor. Shortly thereafter, the Israeli Army allowed a Palestinian ambulance to speed to his location.

Only one of al-Ashi’s daughters survived.

“Everybody in Israel knows that I was talking on television and on the radio,” said Dr. Ashi. “That we are home, that we are innocent people.

“Suddenly, today, when there was hope for ceasefire, on the last day I was talking to my children … Suddenly, they bombed us; a doctor who takes care of Israeli patients. Is that what’s done? Is that peace?”

Was this Israel’s pinpoint bombing?  Were these girls “terrorists?”  What’s it gonna be? — Oops, sorry!

Apparently there is a cease-fire now.  How long will it last?  What is it going to take?  How much is enough?

UPDATE:  Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish is demanding an explanation from the Israeli defense minister about the shelling of his house.

“No gunfire emanated from my home, and no one from Hamas got near it; if they had, I would have shot them myself,” the doctor said.

Official: U.N. Gaza complex hit with white phosphorus

Raw Story

CNN’s John Roberts talked with John Ging who is the director of UNRWA in Gaza. Ging believes that Israeli shells that recently struck the U.N. complex contained white phosphorus. “It looks and smells like phophorus and it’s burning like phophorus. That’s all I can say. That’s why I’m calling it phophorus,” said Ging.

The complex under fire is the U.N. central distribution facility in Gaza. “We’re trying to deal with our whole transport compound. It’s on fire and now have some danger spreading into the warehouse, where all of the food and thousands of tons of food and medicine. This is a hub of the whole operation, the whole United Nations operation in Gaza, this is the hub, where it all comes to, gets distributed from,” he said.

Is this payback for the U.N. working so hard to bring about a ceasefire? For not supporting Israel in this ‘exercise’ (slaughter)?

More from The Guardian and BBC News, and Times Online.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

From The Guardian report:

The local headquarters of the UN refugee agency was set ablaze by what appeared to be phosphorus shells today as Israeli forces pushed deeper into Gaza City, unleashing the heaviest onslaught on the densely packed neighbourhoods since the military operation began nearly three weeks ago.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, expressed “strong protest and outrage” and demanded an investigation into why there was an attack on the compound of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), a well-known location in Gaza marked with blue UN flags. The number of casualties in the Gaza Strip, now 1,055 according to local UN officials, had “reached an unbearable point”, Ban added.

However, Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, told Ban later that troops shelled the building in response to gunfire coming from within…

Right…

The Independent reports: Brown condemns Israeli attack as “indefensible”.

Who and what is Hamas?

TheRealNews Network:

Eric Margolis: Hamas is more of a threat to corrupt Arab regimes than to Israel

This is a very interesting, and quite educational interview. Instead of painting everything in black and white, Eric Margolis describes some gray areas…

Nothing is ever simple, nor all good versus all bad. This is part one of this interview. I’ll post Part two when it is put up.

UPDATE: Part 2 – Hamas and the Arab world

Eric Margolis: Egypt is a corrupt dictatorship that’s afraid of Hamas


Gaza updates

The 10 year old Palestinian Loay Soboh, who lost his eyes in an Israeli air strike, at Shifa hospital in Gaza before being taken to Saudi Arabia for treatment - Reuters

The 10 year old Palestinian Loay Soboh, who lost his eyes in an Israeli air strike, at Shifa hospital in Gaza before being taken to Saudi Arabia for treatment - Reuters

I’ve compiled another list of links to articles and opinion pieces from today on the bombardment of Gaza.

“Catastrophically Misguided and Incomprehensible Policy”–Renowned Jewish Playwright Tony Kushner Speaks Out Against Israel’s Assault on GazaDemocracy Now!

Children heavily represented among 917 dead, say officials Irish Times

War in Gaza: Abbas accuses Israel of trying to ‘wipe out’ PalestiniansTimes Online

Take your pick – there are many articles posted here – AntiWar.com

Gaza: The War on ChildrenCommon Dreams

Does Israeli Intelligence Lie?Common Dreams

Gaza and the End of DaysConsortium News

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert Claims to be Able to Order Bush AroundInformed Comment

And this is interesting. Juan Cole puts together a historical timeline in photos of Gaza through various occupations:

Occupied Gaza in PhotographsInformed Comment

Continue reading

CNN reports on Israel’s use of white phosphorous weapons

Raw Story:

CNN’s Ben Wedeman reports that Israel is hesitant to answer questions about its use of white phosphorous weapons.

CNN has more details here.

The international group Human Rights Watch is accusing Israel of firing weapons containing white phosphorus into Gaza. The group demands that the alleged practice cease.

The group’s researchers in Israel “observed multiple air-bursts of artillery-fired white phosphorus over what appeared to be the Gaza City/Jabaliya area” on Friday and Saturday, the organization said on its Web site.

“Israel appeared to be using white phosphorus as an ‘obscurant’ [a chemical used to hide military operations], a permissible use in principle” under the laws of war, the HRW posting said.

“However, white phosphorus has a significant, incidental, incendiary effect that can severely burn people and set structures, fields, and other civilian objects in the vicinity on fire,” the posting said. “The potential for harm to civilians is magnified by Gaza’s high population density, among the highest in the world.”

HRW said the use of white phosphorus in Gaza would violate “the requirement under international humanitarian law to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian injury and loss of life.” Read on…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Gaza update Pt. 2

Israelis Rain ‘Phosphorous Bombs’ Over Gaza – Common dreams

“There is no doubt that Israel is using phosphorous bombs over Gaza. Israel is flagrantly violating the Fourth Geneva Convention,” says Raji Sourani, head of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza.

“This is not the first time we have documented Israel using this kind of prohibited weapon against Gaza’s civilian population,” Sourani told IPS on phone from Gaza.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) confirmed Sourani’s assessment in a statement it released on Friday. Its researchers said they had seen “multiple air-bursts of artillery-fired white phosphorous over Gaza city.”

“I’ve been on the border for the last few days watching the Israeli artillery firing white phosphorus shells into refugee camps,” Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at HRW told France TV channel 24…

Rights group: Israel uses incendiary bombs in Gaza – Seattle PI

Human Rights Watch said Sunday that Israel’s military has fired artillery shells with the incendiary agent white phosphorus into Gaza and a doctor there said the chemical was suspected in the case of 10 burn victims who had skin peeling off their faces and bodies.

Researchers in Israel from the rights group witnessed hours of artillery bombardments that sent trails of burning smoke indicating white phosphorus over the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. But they could not confirm injuries on the ground because they have been barred from entering the territory.

The chief doctor at Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza said he treated several victims there with serious burns that might have been caused by phosphorus. He said, however, that he did not have the resources or expertise to say with certainty what caused the injuries…

Continue reading

Gaza update

AP photo / Abdel Kareem Hana

AP photo / Abdel Kareem Hana

As the death toll in Gaza tops 900, Israel continues it’s “iron fisted” bombardment of the Palestinians.  Here’s the latest news roundup:

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is not self-defence — it’s a war crime, Time Online

Israel battle Hama as toll passes 900, The Raw Story

Israelis “edge into urban Gaza,” BBC News

The Language of Death, by Chris Hedges, Truthdig

The incursion into Gaza is not about destroying Hamas. It is not about stopping rocket fire into Israel. It is not about achieving peace. The Israeli decision to rain death and destruction on Gaza, to use the lethal weapons of the modern battlefield on a largely defenseless civilian population, is the final phase of the decades-long campaign to ethnically cleanse Palestinians. The assault on Gaza is about creating squalid, lawless and impoverished ghettos where life for Palestinians will be barely sustainable. It is about building ringed Palestinian enclaves where Israel will always have the ability to shut off movement, food, medicine and goods to perpetuate misery. The Israeli attack on Gaza is about building a hell on earth.

Battered by Israel, Hamas faces tough choice, Truthout

In US, war of words over Gaza, Common Dreams

Hugely popular comedian Jon Stewart, who is Jewish – birth name, Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz – was lauded by the Muslim Public Affairs Council this week for a scathing “Daily Show” segment entitled, “Israel Invades Gaza … Missile Tov!”

The Comedy Central host, noting that rockets lobbed from Hamas into Israel are not new, posed the question, “Why does Israel feel that they have to react so strongly right now?”

Answer: the Obama inauguration. “I get it. … Israel gets their bombing in before the Jan. 20 ‘hope and change’ deadline … it’s like a civilian carnage Toyota-thon!” he said to roars of approval from his audience.

Misreading Gaza, The Nation

Israeli troops battle Hamas amid Egyptian truce talks, AFP

U.N. rights council hits Israel over Gaza, Reuters

Joe the Plumber berates Israeli press for not being patriotic enough, guardian.co.uk

[Wurzelbacher] rounded on the Israeli reporters whose newspapers have been criticised by some as no better than cheerleaders for the war. Wurzelbacher thought they hadn’t been supportive enough.

“It makes me sick to see the way you behave. You guys need to be protective of your homes, your children, your family,” he said.

Joe the Non-Plumber also had this to say:

I think media should be abolished from, uh, you know, reporting. You know, war is hell. And if you’re gonna sit there and say, “Well look at this atrocity,” well you don’t know the whole story behind it half the time, so I think the media should have no business in it.  (ThinkProgress)

Nice of PJTV to send an ignorant clown to “report” from a war zone…

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Bill Moyers on Israel/Gaza

Commentary on this video from Glenn Greenwald (Common Dreams):

On his PBS Journal Show last night, Bill Moyers delivered a poignant essay on Israel/Gaza (video below).  The whole segment is worth watching — it begins with coverage of a mostly ignored anti-war march this week in Washington (while media hordes, down the street, fixated on the Roland Burris circus) — but Moyers’ essay begins at roughly the 2:20 mark.

The most striking aspect is that sober, fact-based, even-handed commentary like this about Israel automatically subjects one to widespread, profoundly ugly accusations of being “anti-Israel” and even “anti-Semitic,” to the point where not a single U.S. Senator and no House member other than a handful dare utter anything other than unquestioning support for Israeli actions, such that most members of the U.S. Congress are, literally, far more willing to question and oppose American military actions than Israel’s military actions (the establishment discussion rules are virtually identical to those that prevailed in the pre-Iraq-war days, though even more rigidly enforced:  one can question the efficacy of the Israeli attack from the perspective of Israeli interests, but may not question its morality, legality or justifiability)..
More….

Transcript of the video with Moyers.

Friday Gaza Updates

9 January: A cluster bomb disperses hundreds of bomblets in the northern Gaza Strip - Photograph: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

This list of links is very long today, but there is a lot of ground to cover.

To start with, as evidenced in the above photo, cluster bombs are being used in Gaza. Wikipedia has a very thorough page on cluster bombs – including who uses them, who produces them, and who stockpiles them. There was an agreement (Cluster-Bomb Ban) signed by 111 countries on May 28th, 2008, a process that began in Oslow Norway on February 2007, and these countries vowed to get rid of their stocks of these devices in the next eight years, as well as to not produce, store, or use them any more. The countries that voted against the ban? The United States, Russia, Israel, India, China, and Pakistan. Could plans have already been in place to use cluster bombs in Gaza?

Informed Comment: UN: Ceasefire Call Ignored; The Miseries of Settler Colonialism (Vote for Juan Cole and Informed Comment in the 2008 Weblog Awards for “Best Middle East or Africa Blog“. He deserves it. Vote early, and vote often!)

Truthout: Obama Camp “Prepared to Talk to Hamas”

The Guardian (UK): Talking to Hamas is a step toward peace by Jonathan Freedland

Common Dreams: Gaza Victims’ Burns Increase Concern Over Phosphorus

The Independent (UK): Gaza hopes die under barrage from both sides

Israel and Hamas responded to a UN peace demand by hammering away at each other with bombs, shells and rockets today.

Ignoring international pleas for the fighting in Gaza to cease, Israel continued its air attacks and the Palestinian militants kept up their missile barrages.

The Palestinian death toll for the two-week conflict rose to 777, many of them children. Thirteen Israelis have also been killed.

Overnight the UN Security Council had approved a resolution calling urgently for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. The US, Israel’s closest ally, abstained from the vote…

BBC: UN ceasefire call goes unheeded

Mohammed Salem/Reuters

Gaza: Smoke rises from buildings amid the Israeli offensive Photograph: Mohammed Salem/Reuters

The Independent (UK): The West Bank: We’re all Hamas now – supporters of Fatah unite behind enemy

The Guardian: Israel shelled Palestinians after evacuating them, UN says

At least 30 people were killed in the Zeitoun district of Gaza after Israeli troops repeatedly shelled a house to which more than 100 Palestinians had been evacuated by the Israeli military, the UN said today.

The Guardian: Hamas rejects UN call for Gaza ceasefire

The NY Times: Israel and Hamas Rebuff U.N. Cease-Fire Call

Truthdig: Why Do They Hate the West So Much, We Will Ask by Robert Fisk

Democracy Now!: List of headlines dealing with Gaza

McClatchy: Next step in Gaza campaign divides Israeli leaders

Telegraph (UK): Israeli strike on civilian house may be ‘war crime’ says UN

The United Nations has called for Israel to be investigated for war crimes over the shelling of a house full of Palestinian civilians which left dozens dead.

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the attack, first revealed in The Telegraph, on members of the extended Samouni family in the Gazan town of Zeitoun “appears to have all the elements of war crimes.”

Her remarks came after the International Committee of the Red Cross accused Israel of breaking the rules of war by failing to help the wounded in the incident.

According to the ICRC, four infant children were found too weak to stand after clinging for 48 hours to what ambulance crew believed to be the corpses of their mothers while Israeli soldiers were less than 100 yards away.

Under the rules of war, soldiers have an obligation to treat properly the survivors of combat.

Continue reading

Thursday Gaza Updates

Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters

NY Times: U.N. Suspends Food Aid Into Gaza

The United Nations suspended its food aid deliveries into Gaza on Thursday after one of its contract drivers was killed during an Israeli attack on a delivery convoy at a border crossing, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency said…

NY Times: Gaza Children Found With Mothers’ Corpses

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday it had discovered “shocking” scenes — including small children next to their mothers’ corpses — when its representatives gained access for the first time to parts of Gaza battered by Israeli shelling. It accused Israel of failing to meet obligations to care for the wounded in areas of combat…

The Nation: Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction by Naomi Klein

It’s time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa…

In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on “people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.” The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions–BDS for short–was born…

Common Dreams: An Unnecessary War by Jimmy Carter

I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided…

Common Dreams: War Is Hell by Helen Thomas

The Israelis will never find a better friend than President George W. Bush, who has blocked any early call by the United Nations for a ceasefire in Gaza.

In doing so, Bush has enabled the Israelis’ brutal land, sea and air offensive against the Palestinians, mostly with American-supplied weaponry.

According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, Bush was informed of Israel’s plans for the offensive and gave the green light for the heavy bombardment of the Palestinians in Gaza. Reports from the area said more than 600 Palestinians — militants and civilians and some 70 children — have been killed…

Democracy Now!: Former Amb. Martin Indyk vs. Author Norman Finkelstein: A Debate on Israel’s Assault on Gaza and the US Role in the Conflict

The Guardian: Red Cross criticises Israel for blocking access to Gaza injured

Israel today came under fierce criticism from humanitarian groups for delaying access to the injured during its offensive in Gaza as fresh fighting killed at least 11 people, taking the death toll over 700.

The unusually strong condemnation coincided with a UN announcement that it was suspending its operations in the territory in response to what it said were Israeli attacks.

The International Committee of the Red Cross accused Israel of “unacceptable” delays in letting rescue workers reach three homes in Gaza City that had been hit by shelling…

Common Dreams: Neoconservatism Dies in Gaza by Juan Cole

The Gaza War of 2009 is a final and eloquent testimony to the complete failure of the neoconservative movement in United States foreign policy. For over a decade, the leading figures in this school of thought saw the violent overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the institution of a parliamentary regime in Iraq as the magic solution to all the problems in the Middle East. They envisioned, in the wake of the fall of Baghdad, the moderation of Hezbollah in Lebanon, the overthrow of the Baath Party in Syria and the Khomeinist regime in Iran, the deepening of the alliance with Turkey, the marginalization of Saudi Arabia, a new era of cheap petroleum, and a final resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on terms favorable to Israel. After eight years in which they strode the globe like colossi, they have left behind a devastated moonscape reminiscent of some post-apocalyptic B movie. As their chief enabler prepares to exit the White House, the only nation they have strengthened is Iran; the only alliance they have deepened is that between Iran and two militant Islamist entities to Israel’s north and south, Hezbollah and Hamas…

Continue reading

Protest!

shalom2salam writes in the text for the video:

This song is dedicated to the thousands of ordinary people around the world, including many Jews, who worked together to break the Israeli siege on Gaza in August 08 by sailing two small wooden boats from Cyprus to Gaza and bringing medical supplies, baby food, and other necessities. Since that first siege-busting voyage, the Free Gaza movement has succcessfully sent to Gaza four additional boats, and are planning on sending many more. They have shown that the concerted efforts of ordinary civilians working together in the name of justice can confront and successfully challenge Israel’s brutal policies.

And in an update:

At a time when Gaza civilians, including women and children, are being slaughtered by the hundreds (by now 700 Palestinians have been killed, and some 3,000 others are wounded — most of whom are civilians, including women and children) it is not time to sing about peace. It is time to act, productively, to stop this barbarism and insanity.
1. If you are Jewish or have Jewish friends, ask them to sign:
“Jews Call on Israeli Soldiers to Stop War Crimes”
http://www.ajjp.org/campaigns/signSta…
2.Demand from your leaders immediate international intervention to stop the massacres. Demand the U.N. General Assembly establish an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel under Article 22 of the UN Charter.
Details here:
http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=3856

Israel approves tougher war on Hamas

Raw Story

Israel on Wednesday approved an even tougher war on Hamas, warning residents to flee southern Gaza ahead of planned bombardments of cross-border tunnels, as the Palestinian death toll passed 700.

After a brief lull to allow Gaza’s beleaguered population to hunt for food and fuel, Defence Minister Ehud Barak was given the green light by the security cabinet to order a deeper offensive into Gaza towns as part of the campaign to halt Hamas cross-border rocket attacks.

More…

More from Times Online.

Hamas Rejects Gaza Cease-Fire

CBS News

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday that Israel had accepted an Egyptian-French cease-fire plan for the Gaza Strip, but Hamas officials in Syria told CBS News that they could not agree to the plan because it does not guarantee open border crossings or an end to a crippling blockade.

More…

Here are a few more articles that have been posted today:

Israel’s Collective Punishment of Gaza by Marjorie Cohn

Truthdig: Israeli Voices for Peace (Amy Goodman)

Truthdig: Bring In the Peacekeepers?

Firedoglake: Gaza Update: US Troops Role Proposed

AlterNet: Israeli Militants Poised to Resettle Gaza After Assault

Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead” is reported to have overwhelming support among the Israeli public, but few are as enthusiastic as the former residents of the Israeli settlements in Gaza. As tens of thousands of Israeli troops descend on Gaza in an apocalyptic frenzy, scores of determined settlers are prepared to enter in their wake…

Common Dreams: Can Congress Speak Out Against Gaza Violence? Yes, They Can!

Common Dreams: Killing Children is Never Legitimate

From the AP: AP Gaza reporter finds hometown in rubble (A glimpse through a reporter’s eyes..)

IPS: Israel May Face Charges for War Crimes

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Wednesday Gaza Updates

Oxdown GazetteDeath in Jebaliya: Israel Flouts International Law

The United Nations has called for an independent investigation after a third UN school has been has been hit by an Israeli strike, killing 40 people and injuring 45. It’s the third strike on a UN school in the last 24 hours, as Al Jazeera’s Roza Ibragimova reports.

I cannot believe that the woman who speaks in the middle of this video (speaking for Israel) is saying that they are not responsible for the killing. Instead, she blames Hamas, saying they ‘boobytrapped’ the people who were killed in the school – the people who were there trying to flee the fighting. That school was struck by two Israeli tank shells.

More on that latest school struck at the BBC: Strike at Gaza school ‘kills 40’

Todays gathering of news and opinion from Juan Cole at Informed Comment. It is especially informative today.

Robert Scheer of Truthdig asks “Why Do So Few Speak Up for Gaza?

Why are we so indifferent to the death and destruction in Gaza?

The major news outlets meekly accepted Israel’s banning of journalists from entering Gaza as an excuse for downplaying collateral civilian casualties, our president-elect, Barack Obama, has had little to say about an invasion that will much complicate his future Mideast peace efforts, and most commentators easily rationalize Israel’s many-more-eyes-for-an-eye killings.

Why is it that there is such widespread acceptance, beginning with the apologetic arguments of President Bush, that whatever Israel does is always justified as necessary to the survival of the Jewish state?

It is not….

Common Dreams: Doctors Stuck at Bottleneck on Egypt-Gaza Border

Continue reading