WHITE WASH WATCH | Goldstone’s Reconciderations on the Gaza Cast Lead Report

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Current hasbara influenced media and kept backwards media outside the occupied terrritories almost are vomiting their propaganda for the next whitewash of Israel’s genocide on Gaza. Below this post continuous updates of (unbiased) news will be published.

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.
~Adolph Hitler

Hasbara
Israel is using it’s hasbara (again) to make us and media believe, no warcrimes were committed during Operation “Cast Lead” on Gaza which took place from 27 December 2008 until 18 January 2009. The current status quo since Judge Goldstone reconsidered his earlier “findings” in the self investigation of Israel’s acts during the war on Gaza is the reason IOA recently even had the courage to call on the United Nations to withdraw the whole report.

With utmost shameless courage Israels Foreign Minister Lieberman from Moldavia, like Goldstone zionist himself stated it was no surprise for him Goldstone retracted his earlier statements, as for even Bibi and himself had exerted great efforts to achieve the same before… (even without us noticing of course)

Here the Hitler quote falls in place: “Make the Lie big, make it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it.”

In one line, the most catching description for the propaganda (in hebrew called Hasbara) of IOA, whitewashing every crime they commit or ever have been committing before. If this “tactic” does not work, everyone falls in state of denial again but never ever it has lead to a conviction of the zionist entity or the people ordering and forfilling the ongoing massacres on Palestinian people. The Nakba. 63 Year ethnic cleansing and IOA’s hasbara keeps the world stupid and backwards.

As soon as reports like Goldstone’s hit the media, and his remarks of “never mind…” hit some journalists using their own minds and opinion, IOA is twisting it’s behind like never before. Eternally victimized by their Holocaust, it seems it gives them the right to get away with every crime, oppression, assassination, expulsions, evictions, ethnic cleansing and plain massacres.

Zionist, have become, exactly and even worse like those, they once feared and hated themselves.

Needless to say this was not the first massacre since IOA announced it’s own statehood.
Click here for an overview of All Israeli Massacres on Palestinians.



Recapulating the Cast Lead Massacre
Over 1,400 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed during 22 days of Israeli shelling from sea, air and land. Palestinians in Gaza had nowhere to flee from Israel’s onslaught as the border has been closed for two years, with disastrous consequences for the 1.5 million in habitants of Gaza — the majority of them children and refugees.

In this time, IOA used indiscriminate force and violence, even made use of forbidden chemical weapons like white Phosphorus, DIME, depleted uranium and more. But still, IOA wants us to believe there was no crime committed at all. I regard this as an insult of our intelligence, but formost an magnum opus of denial of the crimes on Palestinians, the massacred and their loved ones who where left behind.

The ongoing Siege on Gaza already made it to the largest open air prison in the world, but the weapons used on the people of Gaza made it also the largest gas chamber in history. Even now – and probably long lasting and continuing – effects on all kinds of health, of born and even unborn life are horrendous. Birth defects, massive increase of diseases like cancer and more.

Not to be forgotten: The thousands of injured, handicapped, eye- arm- or legless Palestinian people who were mutilated for life…physically as well as mentally. The children, traumatized for life. But IOA committed no crime.

This is an appeal from occupiedpalestine, to use your common sense and mind to behold the facts and judge for yourself, for it is clear judge Goldstone and companions do not want you and us to believe the reality. And as long as IOA’s warcrimes stay unpunished, the zionist modus operandi of ethnic cleansing in any way possible will continue and increase. It not has been enough it has been to much already too long.

Palestine is not waiting to be the next to hear the world says again:Wir haben es nicht gewußt…

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Goldstone’s Backtrack: Some points to remember

by Tom Pessah on April 2, 2011 | Mondoweiss

Justice Goldstone, author of the famous report on the 2009 attack on Gaza, published an op-ed today in which he seemed to be retracting some of his claims. He wrote that “while the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy”

This claim was immediately picked up by Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, who sees it as making it “clear that IDF is a moral army.”

It is important to respond to these claims for several reasons: because they are false and misleading, and because they serve to buttress many Israelis’ self-image of being morally superior to Palestinians, since all Israeli violence towards civilians is supposedly accidental. Portraying such attacks as accidental is also linked to seeing them as inevitable, and therefore justified – which means they can happen again.

Mondoweiss’ Adam Horowitz has already responded to this, but here are some more points to keep in mind in regard to the 2009 Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

1. They were very well documented by a variety of sources. Human Rights Watch wrote that “First, the repeated use of air-burst white phosphorus in populated areas until the last days of the operation reveals a pattern or policy of conduct rather than incidental or accidental usage. Second, the IDF was well aware of the effects of white phosphorus and the dangers it poses to civilians. Third, the IDF failed to use safer available alternatives for smokescreens.”

Breaking the Silence testimonies show that “Fire power was insane. We went in and the booms were just mad. The minute we got to our starting line, we simply began to fire at suspect places. You see a house, a window, shoot at the window. You don’t see a terrorist there? Fire at the window. In urban warfare, anyone is your enemy. No innocents.”

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and others, collected many testimonies of attacks on civilians. For example:

The al-Helu family had been told to evacuate their house in Zaytoun, eastern Gaza, but while they were attempting to flee, Israeli soldiers opened fire on them. Farah was shot in the stomach and bled to death two hours later

2. As Adam wrote:

The U.N. committee of independent experts (led by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis) which was charged with following the Israeli and Palestinian investigations following the Goldstone report […] point to Israel’s unwillingness, and in fact inability, to investigate the policies of the Israeli military as the greatest fault of the Israeli investigation to this point… The experts’ report also addresses the structural reason the Israeli investigation has failed to look into military policy. Evidently the Israeli office responsible for investigating the question of crimes committed in Gaza is the same office that would be responsible for providing legal counsel to the Israeli military’s Chief of Staff and other military authorities. So basically, office that would accusing the military of committing crimes is the same one that would be defending them from the same charges.

As a result, few officers have been charged in relation to crimes committed. An internal IDF investigation found two officers responsible for dropping phosphorus bombs on civilians, and all they got was a little reprimand in their personal files.

On the other hand, an anti-war activist was given three months in jail for riding his bicycle too slowly at a protest.

3. The claim that there was no policy behind this stems from a poor understanding of civilian-military relations in Israel. The details of policy are often not set by the government, but they give army officers leeway to set these policies, and then don’t take any significant steps to punish them for causing human rights violations. For example, the 1982 invasion of Lebanon was supposed to end, according to the government’s decision, 40 kilometers north of the border. The army initiated a full invasion, and no one was ever reprimanded for this discrepancy. In 2000, some government ministers wanted to limit the use of force against Palestinian protestors at the beginning of the second Intifada, while the army shot an estimated million bullets (as can be seen in the excellent Israeli documentary “a Million Bullets in October,” available on Youtube). In 2006 the Chief of Staff asked the government for permission to attack Lebanese infrastructure and was refused (see Shelah’s and Limor’s book on that war)- but infrastructure was attacked nonetheless. And so it was in Gaza: as I mentioned an internal IDF investigation found two officers responsible for dropping phosphorus bombs on civilians, and all they got was a little reprimand in their personal files.

The background for such actions was ongoing incitement to attack civilians – Deputy Defense secretary Vilnai’s threat to bring a “Shoah” on Gaza or the hate leaflets distributed to soldiers entering the Strip – and many more examples.

4. It is true that the army is taking criticism of its actions more seriously than after the attack on Lebanon in 2006. This can only be explained as a direct result of international pressure, which hopefully could prevent some loss of civilian life in the future. In other words, instead of praising the army’s liberality, Goldstone should be praising the international community of activists for successfully putting pressure on the army to investigate its own actions..

5. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t believe the hype. Don’t believe the hype.

Tom Pessah is a graduate sociology student at UC Berkeley.

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What the Goldstone op-ed doesn’t say

by Yaniv Reich on April 2, 2011 | Mondoweiss

 

Israel is “vindicated”, claims FM Lieberman about Richard Goldstone’s latest op-ed in the Washington Post, adding that “we knew the truth and we had no doubt it would eventually come out.” Netanyahu has gone so far as to demand the Goldstone report be retracted from the UN. Among all the celebrations and self-congratulatory pats on the back, it is worth pausing for a moment to ask: what exactly does Goldstone’s latest essay vindicate?

The answer seems much less clear than Israel’s unconditional supporters want to argue. The most charitable portions of his piece (to Israel) suggest that “if I [Goldstone] had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” This statement is so patently obvious as to be meaningless, particularly given Israel’s steadfast non-cooperation at the time of the investigation, but let’s assume Goldstone means this in a substantive way. He did publish this piece under a headline of “reconsidering the Goldstone report” after all.

What else is there in this op-ed that suggests a change from the original Goldstone report? The op-ed focuses on a very select group of three themes. The first point relates to the ongoing investigations into allegations of war crimes. Goldstone refers to the UN committee of independent experts’ report to support this argument, and he quotes that report to the effect that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.” The second key claim in Goldstone’s op-ed is confusing, but suggests that the ongoing investigations have proven that Israel did not attack civilians as a matter of intentional policy. How these conclusions have been reached before the investigations, which the Goldstone report called for as its primary recommendation, have been concluded is unclear. The third theme is that Hamas has not done any of the good things Israel has done: Hamas did deliberately target civilians, Hamas didn’t investigate anything, Hamas continues to be guilty of war crimes by firing rockets into civilian areas, and Goldstone admits he was maybe “unrealistic” and “mistaken” to believe Hamas would investigate itself.

I want to first highlight several general observations about what this op-ed does and doesn’t say. Then I will address these three themes in detail.

What the Goldstone Op-Ed Doesn’t Say

Limited to one of seven categories of possible war crimes

The Goldstone commission’s findings on deliberate attacks on civilians is one of at least seven broad findings (which comprise hundreds of specific incidents) that raise issues about Israel’s conduct. These other key findings include: (1) Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza, which constitutes a form of collective punishment and so violates the Fourth Geneva Conventions; (2) The political institutions and buildings of Gaza cannot be lawfully considered part of the “Hamas terrorist infrastructure” and so Israel’s attacks on them are unlawful; (3) Israel taking insufficient measures to protect the Palestinian civilian population; (4) “indiscriminate” attacks (as distinct from “deliberate” attacks) killed many civilians without any credible military rationale for those actions; (5) Israeli use of weapons, such as white phosphorous and flechette missiles, which, although not banned under current international law, were used in ways that do violate the laws of war; and (6) Israel’s deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure, including industrial plants, food production facilities, sewage treatment plants, and water installations; this destruction has no military justification (for example, Israel’s “wanton destruction” of Mr. Sameh Sawafeary’s chicken coops, killing all 31,000 chickens inside despite there being no military activity in the area) and could constitute a crime against humanity.

Goldstone’s op-ed pointedly excludes discussion of all of these very serious charges of possible war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, so it’s odd that FM Lieberman and his hasbara “excreta” (his word, not mine) think Israel is somehow absolved of all responsibility. One cannot avoid the impression that Israel’s unconditional supporters stillhaven’t actually read the report.

Overlooks key impacts of the report

One of the strangest omissions in the op-ed was the recognition that, assuming Israel is conducting investigations in good faith (again, more on that terrible assumption below), it was the Goldstone report that caused Israel to conduct these investigations. The best evidence this is the case was Israel’s absolute refusal to investigate anything except the credit card theft case, until, that is, it got worried that Israeli leaders might end up in the International Criminal Court. More evidence to support this argument can be found in Israel’s response to a conflict without a Goldstone kick in the rear: the 2006 Lebanon war. In that case, Israel constituted the whitewashing Winograd Commission, which didn’t even pretend to investigate the “the government policies and military strategies that failed to discriminate between the Lebanese civilian population and Hizbullah combatants and between civilian property and infrastructure and military targets”, as Amnesty International and other human rights organizations observed. Thus, without the Goldstone report, there is absolutely no reason to believe Israel would be conducting the investigations for which Goldstone is largely praising now.

Another important impact, which was a direct result of the report’s recommendations, was the policy changes, such as “new Israel Defense Forces procedures for protecting civilians in cases of urban warfare and limiting the use of white phosphorus in civilian areas.” I have argued elsewhere that these policy changes acknowledge implicitly that Israel had not been minimizing civilian casualties, as it argues so vociferously, or else there wouldn’t be any possible policy changes that could further minimize civilian harm. Either civilian casualties were being minimized before, in which case the policy changes are meaningless, or are minimized now (hypothetically, of course), in which case Israel wasn’t doing its utmost to protect civilians from harm before. It certainly can’t be both. Either way, these policy changes are directly related to the report, a point Goldstone’s op-ed also makes.

Validity of Specific Claims Made in Goldstone’s Op-Ed

The credibility of Israel’s investigations

Goldstone’s op-ed gives the strong impression that, despite the length of Israel’s military investigations being “frustrating”, Israel has “appropriate processes” in place. It is difficult to understand where this belief comes from, because it certainly does not appear in this form in McGowan Davis report he cites (McGowan Davis chairs the UN committee of independent experts monitoring implementation of the Goldstone report recommendations). That report paints are far less appealing picture of Israeli’s military investigations, noting, for example, that:

  1. “That Israel’s military justice system provides for mechanisms to ensure its independence”, but “the Committee further noted that notwithstanding the built-in structural guarantees to ensure the MAG’s [Military Advocate General’s] independence, his dual responsibilities as legal advisor to the Chief of Staff and other military authorities, and his role as supervisor of criminal investigations within the military, raise concerns in the present context given allegations in the FFM report that those who designed, planned, ordered, and oversaw the operation in Gaza were complicit in international humanitarian law and international human rights law violations.”
  2. “The Committee does not have sufficient information to establish the current status of the on-going criminal investigations into the killings of Ateya and Ahmad Samouni, the attack on the Wa’el al-Samouni house and the shooting of Iyad Samouni.. . . As of 24 October 2010, according to media reports, no decision had been made as to whether or not the officer would stand trial.” This case is of course cited directly by Goldstone, yet his arguments are incompatible with the actual McGowan Davis report.
  3. “The Committee has discovered no information relating to four incidents referred to in the FFM [Goldstone] report: incident AD/02, incident AD/06, the attack on the Al-Quds hospital, and the attack on the Al-Wafa hospital. Nor has the Committee uncovered updated information concerning the status of the criminal investigations into the death of Mohammed Hajji and the shooting of Shahd Hajji and Ola Masood Arafat, and the shooting of Ibrahim Juha. Accordingly, the Committee remains unable to determine whether any investigation has been carried out in relation to those incidents.”
  4. “It is notable that the MAG himself, in his testimony to the Turkel Commission, pointed out that the military investigations system he heads is not a viable mechanism to investigate and assess high-level policy decisions. When questioned by commission members about his “dual hat” and whether his position at the apex of legal advisory and prosecutorial power can present a conflict of interest under certain circumstances, he stated that “the mechanism is calibrated for the inspection of individual incidents, complaints of war crimes in individual incidents (…). This is not a mechanism for policy. True, it is not suitable for this.” “
  5. “The Committee expressed strong reservations as to whether Israel’s investigations into allegations of misconduct were sufficiently prompt. In particular, the Committee expressed concern about the fact that unnecessary delays in carrying out such investigations may have resulted in evidence being lost or compromised, or have led to the type of conflicting testimony that characterizes the investigations into the killings of Majda and Raayya Hajaj, and the inconclusive findings reported with respect to the tragic deaths of Souad and Amal Abd Rabbo and the grave wounding of Samar Abd Rabbo and their grandmother Souad.”
  6. “The promptness of an investigation is closely linked to the notion of effectiveness. An effective investigation is one in which all the relevant evidence is identified and collected, is analyzed, and leads to conclusions establishing the cause of the alleged violation and identifying those responsible. In that respect, the Committee is concerned about the fact that the duration of the ongoing investigations into the allegations contained in the FFM report – over two years since the end of the Gaza operation – may seriously impair their effectiveness and, therefore, the prospects of achieving accountability and justice.”

These conclusions of the McGowan Davis report give a very different impression of mechanisms for accountability in Israel’s military justice system than one would understand from a casual reading of Goldstone’s latest op-ed. For additional, excellent analysis of these points, Adam Horowitz’s piece at Mondoweiss is a must-read.

Was it a deliberate policy of targeting Palestinian civilians?

If this op-ed “vindicates” anything, it seems to be about Israel deliberately targeting civilians as a matter of policy. The Goldstone report investigated 11 specific cases, which were concerning because civilians were killed “under circumstances in which the Israeli forces were in control of the area and had previously entered into contact with or at least observed the persons they subsequently attacked, so that they must have been aware of their civilian status.” After reviewing the details of these cases, which included not only the attack on the Samouni family (discussed in the op-ed) but also attacks on a mosque at prayer time and the shootings of civilians waving white flags, the report concludes:

“From the facts ascertained in the above cases, the Mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of willful killings and willfully causing great suffering to protected persons and as such give rise to individual criminal responsibility.” (Goldstone report, pp. 16)

This finding, of course, is precisely why the report recommends that Israel launch credible investigations into possible wrongdoing, which Goldstone claims Israel is now doing (more on this later). In that sense, Israel’s investigations confirm many of the key findings of the Goldstone report, a point I’ve raised previously.

The conclusion above, which is easily the strongest charge in the entire Goldstone report, has very little to do with Goldstone’s latest statement that “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.” The Goldstone commission and other human rights investigations have never said the IDF maintains a policy of deliberately targeting civilians. This is a red-herring; nobody seriously believes there is a high-level policy to murder civilians. The actual issue is that “these incidents indicate that the instructions given to the Israeli forces moving into Gaza provided for a low threshold for the use of lethal fire against the civilian population” (Goldstone report, pp. 16). This low threshold was an intentional policy, as has been confirmed by dozens of soldiers’ and officers’ statements. For example, many people have commented before about how the IDF “rewrote the rules of war for Gaza”, in particular by getting rid of “the longstanding principle of military conduct known as ‘means and intentions’—whereby a targeted suspect must have a weapon and show signs of intending to use it before being fired upon—as being applicable before calling in fire from drones and helicopters in Gaza last winter.” The intentional, deliberate policy was one of “literally zero risk to the soldiers”, an order that is inescapably related to the high civilian casualties among the Palestinians. For these reasons the main argument in Goldstone’s latest op-ed, which FM Lieberman erroneously believes “vindicates” Israel, is entirely besides the point.

Condemning Hamas

Hamas certainly, and unlawfully, does deliberately target civilians. This is not only grotesque but illegal, and Hamas military leaders should be referred to the International Criminal Court for this since Hamas’ political leadership has refused to investigate the matter themselves and hold those responsible for war crimes to account. But, of course, this was already well known by anybody who read the Goldstone report, which wrote:

“The Mission has further determined that these [8000 rocket] attacks [since 2001] constitute indiscriminate attacks upon the civilian population of southern Israel and that where there is no intended military target and the rockets and mortars are launched into a civilian population, they constitute a deliberate attack against a civilian population. These acts would constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity.”

One could have also reached the same level of awareness by reading any of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or other human rights organizations‘ press releases and reports. In this sense, there is absolutely nothing new about Hamas in Goldstone’s latest op-ed, yet some Israelis and Jewish groups seem surprised (see, e.g., AIPAC’s one of many tweets on the matter).

A Sad, Integrity-Damaging Turn

The first time I saw Judge Goldstone speak in person he was striking in his equanimity and unshakeable commitment to international law. Even in the face of hate-filled attacks by Jews in the audience, who compared his report to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, he handled himself with a level of firm principle that I imagined to be unmovable. The second time I saw him speak in public a year later, he seemed tired and worn down by the relentless attacks against him by those who chose to attack the messenger instead of deal with the message. It was nothing concrete that he said, but there was a withered tone in his voice and a sort of quiet resignation that his best intentions had been so vehemently manipulated—and misunderstood.

Goldstone’s latest op-ed is something else altogether. It does not challenge a single concrete finding in the entire report, and he has not conceded absolutely anything to his critics in that way. In fact, his findings under severe constraints have held up remarkably well with time. But the tone and timing of this current piece suggest that somehow the report should be “reconsidered”, that it was somehow wrong. Moreover, his comments seem to intentionally mislead about the content of the UN independent committee’s findings on due process in Israel. This is nothing more than a bone to Israel’s apologists, which is deeply misleading for all the reasons discussed here. I am afraid this is a sad, integrity-damaging turn for a man who had singlehandedly done so much to protect people from war crimes in Israel, Palestine, and elsewhere.

And he should have known better, that is, he should have known that this craven gesture to Israel would not allow his enemies to forgive him and welcome him back to the broader Jewish community. Already the enemies, sensing weakness, attack for the final kill attempt. Jeffrey Goldberg, with the tone of the intellectual gatekeeper he fashions for himself, makes it clear this doesn’t change the “blood libel.” The editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, David Horovitz, tells Goldstone “an apology is not good enough“. We can expect much, much more of such attacks.

Goldstone has done neither international law and accountability for war crimes—nor himself—any favors with this latest, depressing op-ed.

This post originally appeard on Yaniv Reich’s blog Hybrid States.

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Gaza Again Under Israeli Attacks

Due to increased violent and deadly Israeli attacks on Gaza below an overview of updates with related news which will be continuously updated.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

GAZA ATTACK March 22, 2011

Overview of Related News: http://wp.me/p16sn9-4BK
Live Updates P1: http://wp.me/p16sn9-4BE
Live Updates P2: http://wp.me/p16sn9-4D3
Live Updates P3: http://wp.me/p16sn9-4DQ

GAZA ATTACK March 21, 2011

Live Updates P1:http://wp.me/p16sn9-4yD
Live Updates P2:http://wp.me/p16sn9-4yK
Live Updates P3:http://wp.me/p16sn9-4yT
Live Updates P4:http://wp.me/p16sn9-4zc

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Confirmed Names of Martyrs

(List only displays the martyred since March 16, 2011 for a complete overview of this years shuhada go here)

Mohammed Jihad al-Halw, 11 years old, killed on March 22, 2011
Yasser Ahed al-Halw, 16 years old , killed on March 22, 2011
Yasser Hamed al-Halw, 50 years old, killed on March 22, 2011
Mohammed Saber Harara, 20 years old, killed on March 22, 2011
Adham Al-Hazareen, , killed on March 22, 2011
Sa’dy Halas, 23 years old , killed on March 22, 2011
Muhammad Atyeh Al-Harazeen, 27 years old, killed on March 22, 2011
Muhammad Abed, 31 years old, , killed on March 22, 2011
Mustapha Ahmad Sehwel, 5 years old, died 10 days after attack on on March 21, 2011
Imad Faraj Allah, 16 years old, died on March 20, 2011
Qasem Abu Eteiwi, 16 years old, died on March 20, 2011
Ghassan Fathi Abu Omar, 25, years old, died on March 16, 2011
Adnan Yousef Eshtewy, 23 years old, died on March 16, 2011

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ஜ۩۞۩ஜ

By Israeli Attacks March 2011 martyred Palestinians

انّا للہ و انّا الیه راجعون

May Allah Subhana wa Ta’ ala grant the Shuhada Jannatul Firdaus, and ease it for their families, loved ones and anyone around them. Allahumma Ameen ya Rabbil Alameen. ‘ Inna Lillahi wa ‘ Inna ‘ Ilayhi Raji’un, Allahu Akbar

ஜ۩۞۩ஜ

Israeli tanks take part in fatal Gaza Strip raid

Map

Israeli tanks have entered the northern Gaza Strip, sparking fighting that killed one Palestinian and injured two.

AFP news agency reported that seven tanks had made a limited incursion 200m into Palestinian territory on Tuesday, sparking a shootout with militants.

Other reports suggested armoured vehicles and bulldozers were involved.

Hamas emergency services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said Amjad al-Zaanein, 23, had been killed by Israeli tank fire east of Beit Hanoun.

Local Palestinians said the casualties had been collecting stones to recycle into bricks when they came under fire.

Israel’s military has not commented on the reportsd of tank fire, but said Gaza militants had fired four mortar shells at Israel earlier on Tuesday.

Cross-border violence has escalated in recent weeks. Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules the enclave, has appealed for calm, urging other militant factions to stop their attacks on Israel.

It is two years since a war in Gaza which left 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.

BBC News – Israeli tanks take part in fatal Gaza Strip raid.

Gazan youth issue manifesto to vent their anger with all sides in the conflict

An anonymous group of students has created a document to express their frustration born of Hamas’s violent crackdowns on ‘western decadence’, the destruction wreaked by Israel’s attacks and the political games played by Fatah and the UN

Ana Carbajosa
The Observer, Sunday 2 January 2011

    Hamas security forces ride a vehicle in Gaza A Gazan group of young people have issued a manifesto to vent their anger about the situation in Palestine. Photograph: Mohammed Salem/ReutersThe meeting takes place in a bare room in a block of flats in the centre of Gaza City. No photographs, no real names – those are the conditions. 

    This is the first time that a group of young Palestinian cyber-activists has agreed to meet a journalist since launching what it calls Gaza Youth’s Manifesto for Change. It is an incendiary document – written with courage and furious energy – that has captivated thousands of people who have come across it online, and the young university students are visibly excited, but also scared. “Not only are our lives in danger; we are also putting our families at risk,” says one of them, who calls himself Abu George.

    Gaza Youth’s Manifesto for Change is an extraordinary, impassioned cyber-scream in which young men and women from Gaza – where more than half the 1.5 million population is under 18 – make it clear that they’ve had enough. “Fuck Hamas…” begins the text. “Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community!”

    It goes on to detail the daily humiliations and frustrations that constitute everyday life in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian slice of land that Israel and Egypt have virtually sealed off from the world since Hamas was elected to power in 2006.

    “Here in Gaza we are scared of being incarcerated, interrogated, hit, tortured, bombed, killed,” reads the extraordinary document. “We are afraid of living, because every single step we take has to be considered and well-thought, there are limitations everywhere, we cannot move as we want, say what we want, do what we want, sometimes we even can’t think what we want because the occupation has occupied our brains and hearts so terrible that it hurts and it makes us want to shed endless tears of frustration and rage!”

    The text ends with a triple demand: “We want three things. We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask?”

    On Facebook, the group calls itself Gaza Youth Breaks Out. When the cyber-activists wrote the manifesto three weeks ago, they gave themselves a year to gather enough support before thinking about further steps. But their text has travelled around the world at an unexpected speed and has harvested thousands of supporters, many of them human rights activists, who say they are ready to help.

    Now, the authors are dealing with the impact of a document that could be a turning point in the life of the Strip. “We did not expect this to be so big,” one of them admits. Eight people – three women and five men – wrote the text. They are normal students, from the more secular elements of Gazan society. All declare themselves to be non-political and disgusted with the tensions and rivalries that divide Palestinians between Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, and Fatah, the more secular party which governs the Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank. “Politics is bollocks, it is screwing our lives up,” said one member of the group. “Politicians only care about money and about their supporters. The Israelis are the only ones benefiting from the division.”

    Two of the group have been detained by the Gazan authorities several times, accused among other crimes of “immoral” behaviour. They say that they have been abused in jail and claim that physical and psychological punishment is commonplace in Gaza’s detention centres.

    Another one obtained a scholarship to attend a workshop at an American university, but he says Israel did not issue a permit that would allow him to leave the Strip.

    “We are supposed to be the engine of change in this society, but our voices are muted. In the press, at university, there is no room in our society to talk freely, out of the frame, without putting yourself and your family at risk,” says one, who wants to be called Abu Yazan. He adds: “In Gaza, you feel watched at school, in the streets, everywhere. You can be thrown into jail at any time. [Hamas] will threaten you with ruining your family reputation and that would be it.”

    These youngsters do not represent anybody except themselves, but their call for change has resonated strongly, not only abroad but also inside Gaza. Their Facebook page already has thousands of friends – including, they say, many from the Strip.

    The causes of frustration are legion. The Israeli blockade forbids Gazans to travel in and out of the Strip without a permit, which is difficult to obtain. For Gazan students who wish to study abroad, the most difficult part is not being accepted at a foreign university or getting a scholarship, but simply being able to travel.

    Inside the Strip, things do not get much better. Israeli shelling which follows the launching of rockets into Israel by Palestinian militants is part of their everyday life. Power cuts and ruinous sanitary conditions are among the side-effects of the embargo suffered by Gaza’s inhabitants.

    With high unemployment in the Strip and little access to other job markets after graduation, many feel that they have reached a dead end. Some keep studying and accumulating degrees and foreign languages, which they learn via the internet, hoping for better days to come. Others kill their time smoking hookahs with their friends day after day. There is an increasing number who rely on drugs to cope with their conflict traumas and frustrations.

    Going out, meeting friends in cafés – let alone clubs or discotheques – or attending cultural events has become an increasingly complicated task as Hamas cracks down on western “decadence”.

    In Gaza there are no theatres and few concerts aside from the Islamic musical performances organised by the Hamas authorities. In the places where young men and women are allowed to meet, considered an “oasis” by the less conservative youth, the police are quick to interrogate mixed couples suspected of not being married or engaged.

    The “last straw” for the writers of the Gaza manifesto came a month ago, when Hamas closed Sharek, an internationally financed organisation offering training and summer activities for thousands of adolescents and young people. Sharek had also became a hang-out place for the more liberal-minded in Gaza. Human Rights Watch recently issued a statement condemning its closure. “Hamas authorities in Gaza should allow an organisation that helps children and youth to reopen, and penalise officials who have harassed its workers,” it said.

    According to Ihab Al Ghusain, a spokesman for the Hamas Ministry of the Interior, the problems highlighted by Gaza’s disaffected youth are sometimes the result of over-zealous officials. “There are no laws prohibiting men and women sitting together in public places in Gaza,” he said. “But some policemen at their own initiative interrogate the couples. Those policemen should be punished.”

    He says that proof of the government’s commitment to Gaza’s young generation is that it has declared 2011 the Year for the Youth. But the authors of the youth manifesto are unlikely to be persuaded by such symbolic initiatives. The group is currently investing most of its time and energy in debating new strategies to pursue a web-based platform for change. The new year may yet become one for the youth of the Strip, but perhaps not in the way Hamas intended.

    The Manifesto

    “Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community!

    “We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference like the Israeli F16s breaking the wall of sound; scream with all the power in our souls in order to release this immense frustration that consumes us because of this fucking situation we live in…

    “We are sick of being caught in this political struggle; sick of coal-dark nights with airplanes circling above our homes; sick of innocent farmers getting shot in the buffer zone because they are taking care of their lands; sick of bearded guys walking around with their guns abusing their power, beating up or incarcerating young people demonstrating for what they believe in; sick of the wall of shame that separates us from the rest of our country and keeps us imprisoned in a stamp-sized piece of land; sick of being portrayed as terrorists, home-made fanatics with explosives in our pockets and evil in our eyes; sick of the indifference we meet from the international community, the so-called experts in expressing concerns and drafting resolutions but cowards in enforcing anything they agree on; we are sick and tired of living a shitty life, being kept in jail by Israel, beaten up by Hamas and completely ignored by the rest of the world.

    “There is a revolution growing inside of us, an immense dissatisfaction and frustration that will destroy us unless we find a way of canalising this energy into something that can challenge the status quo and give us some kind of hope.

    “We barely survived the Operation Cast Lead, where Israel very effectively bombed the shit out of us, destroying thousands of homes and even more lives and dreams. During the war we got the unmistakable feeling that Israel wanted to erase us from the face of the Earth. During the last years, Hamas has been doing all they can to control our thoughts, behaviour and aspirations. Here in Gaza we are scared of being incarcerated, interrogated, hit, tortured, bombed, killed. We cannot move as we want, say what we want, do what we want.

    “ENOUGH! Enough pain, enough tears, enough suffering, enough control, limitations, unjust justifications, terror, torture, excuses, bombings, sleepless nights, dead civilians, black memories, bleak future, heart-aching present, disturbed politics, fanatic politicians, religious bullshit, enough incarceration! WE SAY STOP! This is not the future we want! We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask?”

Gazan youth issue manifesto to vent their anger with all sides in the conflict | World news | The Observer.

Gaza police pay tribute to fallen colleagues

Gaza police pay tribute to fallen colleaguesEXCLUSIVE PICTURES

Police officers in Gaza have gathered to remember fallen colleagues who were among the first victims of Israeli bombs during Operation Cast Lead two years ago. The officers took part in a commemorative march through the streets of Gaza City on the second anniversary of the devastating Israeli bombardment and invasion which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, among them 313 children; most of the children were aged 11-17 although almost 50 of those killed by Israeli soldiers were under 5 years old. The subsequent UN Goldstone Inquiry into the conduct of the war concluded that Israel had committed “war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity” during the three weeks of the assault.

Gaza police pay tribute to fallen colleagues.

 

 

 

 

 

Canadians protest Israel’s Gaza siege

PRESS TV | Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:21AM

File photo
Pro-Palestinian groups in Canada have staged a demonstration to mark the second anniversary of the Gaza war and protest Tel Aviv’s crippling siege of the coastal strip.

Scores of people gathered outside the Israeli consulate in the Canadian city of Toronto on Monday to commemorate the second anniversary of the Israeli carnage in the Gaza Strip.

On December 27, 2008, Israel launched a massive offensive against the densely populated coastal enclave, leaving more than 1,400 Palestinians dead and thousands more injured.

The protesters condemned the Israeli war crimes during the 22-day war and the killing of hundreds of children during the relentless bombardment of civilian positions and residential areas during the onslaught.

The demonstrators also called for an immediate end to the paralyzing blockade of the impoverished Gaza Strip, which is home to nearly 1.5 million Palestinians.

The Monday gathering was also meant to raise awareness of a Canadian aid boat which will set sail for the besieged enclave next spring.

During the past two years, several international groups have attempted to break the siege of Gaza by sea and by land.

On May 31, a Turkish-organized Freedom Flotilla was severely attacked by Israeli navy commandos in international waters.

The bloody takeover of the six-ship convoy left nine Turkish activists dead and injured more than 50 others onboard the civilian fleet.

While the naval closure of the Gaza Strip — tightened since 2007 — stands, the Free Gaza Movement in Canada has organized an aid boat to Gaza.

Set to sail in early 2011, the convoy has already collected USD 125,000 in donations, in the face of enormous efforts from pro-Zionist groups to block further funds for the aid mission.

MRS/HRF

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PressTV – Canadians protest Israel’s Gaza siege.

Palestine Israel – one of several Massacres

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Palestinians rally to mark 2nd anniversary of Israeli invasion of Gaza – International Middle East Media Center

Monday December 27, 2010 22:46author by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC News Report post

A somber gathering in Gaza City marked the day two years ago in which over 200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed within the first two hours of an Israeli invasion that lasted three weeks, and resulted in over 1400 total Palestinian deaths. 14 Israelis, mostly soldiers, were killed in the 3-week long invasion.

Map of Gaza (file photo)
Map of Gaza (file photo)

Similar vigils and marches were held in cities around the world by human rights activists to remember those who were killed, and to call for justice and an end to the siege on Gaza that has deprived the Palestinian population of their livelihood and forced them into abject poverty.

Around 1,000 people gathered in the Ezbat Abed Rabu neighborhood, an area that was completely flattened by Israeli air strikes during the invasion two years ago, leaving dozens of remaining family members who survived the bombing homeless. They continue to live in tents two years later, as Israeli officials continue to refuse to allow building materials into Gaza.

Even donated building materials carried by ship and truck from Europe and other countries have been refused entry by Israeli officials, and were confiscated by the Israeli military and then sold in Israel, with no compensation to the donors.

During Monday’s memorial gathering, a member of the political wing of the Islamic Jihad party, Mohammed al-Hindi, spoke to the crowd about Israel’s increasing armaments at the border, which include dozens of new armored tanks provided by US tax dollars. Al-Hindi said the threat of a new invasion of Gaza is real and imminent, and said that Palestinian resistance fighters are prepared to fight in the case of such an invasion.

He said that recent threats issued by Israeli politicians “ are taken seriously by Palestinian resistance factions”, and that the fighters “are ready for sacrifice” to try to repel the threatened attack.

The Hamas party issued statements commemorating the two-year anniversary of the Israeli invasion, and planted 1,440 trees in northern Gaza – one for each Palestinian killed in the invasion.