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Friday, August 01, 2014

True US security interests are in the Americas - Not in Israel

Since the beginning of Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip against Hamas, five Latin American countries - Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Chile and El Salvador - have withdrawn their ambassadors to Israel in protest. Meanwhile, Bolivia has dubbed Israel a “ terrorist state" and rescinded its visa-free policy for Israeli travellers, and Chile has suspended free-trade negotiations.




When you see the video above, you may ask yourself how and why these Palestinian communities ended up in Latin America. The video below provides some historic insight :




Ben Fogel says that Israel, as an ‘apartheid’ state, systemically oppresses Israeli and Palestinian Arabs. This, and Israel’s “economic warfare” against Palestinians, is a crime against humanity
Imagine a state prone to attacking its neighbours in clear violation of international law. A state which systemically discriminates against a substantial proportion of the population on the basis of ethnicity. A state which has been illegally occupying supposedly sovereign land for decades, a state which has forcefully relocated millions of people to tiny crops of land in which they are denied access to the outside world and the ability to meaningfully exercise self-determination. A state in which people suffer daily harassment and are forced to produce a pass at regular military checkpoints in order to travel in the land of their birth. A state in which people are excluded from access to work and economic resources purely on the basis of ethnicity, all the while this same state is championed by its defenders as a bastion of Western Civilization and democracy in a hostile region. Does this scenario sound familiar at all?

It is undeniable that these practices within the state in question, Israel, closely parallels that of another state. This latter state has now been condemned to the dustbin of history: the state of apartheid South Africa. Apartheid South Africa had a penchant for attacking its neighbours on a regular basis, occupying other country’s land, and relocating the majority of the population to economically destitute Bantustans. All the while denying people basic rights purely on the basis of an accident of birth: their perceived race. It is for these reasons that a growing proportion of the international community have condemned Israel as an apartheid state which systemically discriminates against Palestinians purely on the basis of their ethnicity, which is no more than an accident of birth.

According to international law, apartheid can be defined as a crime against humanity committed “in the context of an institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime”.

Israel is guilty of gross human rights violations, including: indefinite detention and forcible transfer of peoples, assassination, economic warfare and numerous other actions of systemic domination taken against Palestinians and increasingly against Israeli Arabs in the name of ensuring the supremacy of a state based on Jewish ethnicity.

The state of Israel practices daily economic warfare aimed at preventing one of the already poorest areas in the region from having access to vital humanitarian goods, electricity and even rebuilding infrastructure which was destroyed in a “war”. The same war which the United Nations has described as a deliberate attempt to “humiliate and terrorise a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability”.

In the occupied territories themselves, as Israel continues to support and extend illegal settlements, the system of control implemented there includes “Jewish only settlements”, separate roads and military checkpoints. This, according to the defenders of Israel that supposedly belong to the Sovereign entity of the “Palestinian Authority”.

Thousands of Palestinians, some as young as 12 years old, are indefinitely detained every year under a brutal and authoritarian policy known as “Administrative Detention” in the name of Israel’s National Security. They have no access to legal rights. Since 1967 over 650 000 Palestinians have been “honoured guests” of the Israeli prison system, an average as high as 1 in 4 in the occupied territories. Recently Khadir Adnan, a Palestinian baker and activist, embarked on a 66 day hunger strike after being detained (not for the first time) under the Orwellian policy of Administrative Detention. The policy dates back to British colonial rule.

Khadir managed to force a deal for his release in April, but hundreds more languish behind bars facing torture and humiliation while having their stint in prison indefinitely extended. The courage of people like Khadir shows that even a state possessing (illegally) nuclear weapons and vast military capabilities, backed almost uniformly by the most powerful country on the planet can be defeated by individual acts of bravery.

Taking the bravery of people like Khadir and the example of the international campaign of solidarity that eventually helped bring the South African apartheid state to its knees, as inspiration a group of concerned students at Rhodes have come together to set up Israeli apartheid week on campus in the week of March 5-11. We are hosting this week in conjunction with over 90 cities worldwide and 11 other South African campuses. We aim to both create awareness around the issue, through a program of political education and ensure students get involved in a global campaign to fight for justice and human rights in Palestine.

Benjamin Fogel is a member of the Rhodes University organisation the Students for Social Justice (SSJ). He is also a freelance writer, and regular contributor to Amandla! 

ALABAMA ON THE MEDITERRANEAN:




MORE BACKGROUND ON THE HONEST MAN AND HUMANIST- MAX BLUMENTHAL

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

More Israeli terror bombing attacks against civilian areas of Gaza, using US supplied F-16s of course. You wont see any ground patrols from the IDF or street to street urban fighting, “US marine style”. The Israelis prefer US armor and warplanes and the credit cards extended to them by the US Conga Line




Gaza: at least 19 killed and 90 injured as another UN school is hit

UN official condemns ‘in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces’


(Reuters) - Israel killed at least 19 Palestinians sheltering in a school in Gaza's biggest refugee camp on Wednesday, a U.N. official said, as Egyptian mediators prepared a revised proposal to try to halt more than three weeks of fighting.
Some 3,000 Palestinians, including many women and children, were taking refuge in the building in Jebalya refugee camp when it came under fire around dawn, Khalil al-Halabi, director of northern Gaza operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said.
"There were five shells - Israeli tank shells - which struck the people and killed many of them as they slept. Those people came to the school because it a designated U.N. shelter, he said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said militants had fired mortar bombs from the vicinity of the school and troops fired back in response. The incident was still being reviewed.
UNRWA said on Tuesday it had found a cache of rockets concealed at another Gaza school - the third such discovery since the conflict began. It condemned unnamed groups for putting civilians at risk.
In addition to the 19 dead, some 125 people were wounded at the Jabalya school, including five in critical condition, Halabi said. An UNRWA source said the agency had recovered fragments from the shells.
Blood splattered floors and mattresses inside classrooms, and some survivors picked through shattered glass and debris for flesh and body parts to bury.
Israel has been shelling in Jebalya, where some 120,000 people live, since Tuesday, in what the chief Israeli military spokesman, Brigadier-General Motti Almoz, described as a slight broadening of its campaign against militants in the Hamas Islamist-dominated Gaza Strip.
Israeli tank fire also struck the main market in Jebalya on Wednesday, killing at least three people and wounding 40 others, the Gaza Health Ministry said. Seven members of one family died in an Israeli attack in Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip.
The ministry said 1,270 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed since Israel began its offensive on July 8 with the declared aim of halting cross-border rocket fire.
In ground operations launched 10 days later, the army has said its main mission is to locate and destroy tunnels that militants have built under the frontier and have used to launch attacks inside Israel.
On the Israeli side, 53 soldiers and three civilians have been killed. Public support remains strong for continuing the operation in the hope of preventing future flareups.
HAMAS DEFIANT
Mohammed Deif, the shadowy leader of Hamas's armed wing, said in a broadcast message on Tuesday that Palestinians would continue confronting Israel until its blockade on Gaza - which is supported by neighboring Egypt - was lifted.
Five rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel on Wednesday, landing harmlessly in open areas, police said.
Israel has balked at freeing up Gaza's borders under any de-escalation deal unless Hamas's disarmament is also guaranteed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to review progress with his security cabinet later on Wednesday, and a Palestinian delegation was expected in Cairo for discussions on an elusive truce.
In previous bouts of fighting between Israel and its neighbors, the United States has often leaned on the Israelis to stop after incidents that cause high civilian casualties. Washington appears to have less sway with either side this time.
Egypt said on Tuesday it was revising an unconditional ceasefire proposal that Israel had originally accepted but Hamas rejected, and that a new offer would be presented to the Palestinian representatives.
UNRWA, the main U.N. relief agency in Gaza, said it was at "breaking point" with more than 200,000 Palestinians having taken shelter in its schools and buildings following calls by Israel for civilians to evacuate whole neighborhoods before military operations.
Both U.S. President Barack Obama and the U.N. Security Council have called for an immediate ceasefire to allow relief to reach Gaza's 1.8 million Palestinians, followed by negotiations on a more durable end to hostilities.
Efforts led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week failed to achieve a breakthrough, and the explosion of violence appeared to dash international hopes of turning a brief lull for the Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival into a longer-term ceasefire.
In a statement on Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was "extremely concerned about the escalating fighting in and around Gaza" in which civilian infrastructure and U.N. facilities have come under fire.
"Everything must be done to prevent civilian victims and to uphold humanitarian law," he said. "I urge both sides to agree to an immediate ceasefire and to resume negotiations about a long-term ceasefire on the basis of the Egyptian suggestions."

(Additional reporting by Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem and Alexandra Hudson in Berlin; Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Paul Taylor)

The massacre in Gaza spares no one, and includes the disabled and sick in hospitals, children playing on the beach or on the roof top, with a large majority of non-combatants. Hospitals, clinics, ambulances, mosques, schools, and press buildings have all been attacked, with thousands of private homes bombed, clearly directing fire to target whole families killing them within their homes, depriving families of their homes by chasing them out a few minutes before destruction.

An open letter for the people in Gaza

Paola Manduca , Iain Chalmers , Derek Summerfield , Mads Gilbert , Swee Ang on behalf of 24 signatories
We are doctors and scientists, who spend our lives developing means to care and protect health and lives. We are also informed people; we teach the ethics of our professions, together with the knowledge and practice of it. We all have worked in and known the situation of Gaza for years.

On the basis of our ethics and practice, we are denouncing what we witness in the aggression of Gaza by Israel.

We ask our colleagues, old and young professionals, to denounce this Israeli aggression. We challenge the perversity of a propaganda that justifies the creation of an emergency to masquerade a massacre, a so-called “defensive aggression”. In reality it is a ruthless assault of unlimited duration, extent, and intensity. We wish to report the facts as we see them and their implications on the lives of the people.

We are appalled by the military onslaught on civilians in Gaza under the guise of punishing terrorists. This is the third large scale military assault on Gaza since 2008. Each time the death toll is borne mainly by innocent people in Gaza, especially women and children under the unacceptable pretext of Israel eradicating political parties and resistance to the occupation and siege they impose.

This action also terrifies those who are not directly hit, and wounds the soul, mind, and resilience of the young generation. Our condemnation and disgust are further compounded by the denial and prohibition for Gaza to receive external help and supplies to alleviate the dire circumstances.

The blockade on Gaza has tightened further since last year and this has worsened the toll on Gaza's population. In Gaza, people suffer from hunger, thirst, pollution, shortage of medicines, electricity, and any means to get an income, not only by being bombed and shelled. Power crisis, gasoline shortage, water and food scarcity, sewage outflow and ever decreasing resources are disasters caused directly and indirectly by the siege.1

People in Gaza are resisting this aggression because they want a better and normal life and, even while crying in sorrow, pain, and terror, they reject a temporary truce that does not provide a real chance for a better future. A voice under the attacks in Gaza is that of Um Al Ramlawi who speaks for all in Gaza: “They are killing us all anyway—either a slow death by the siege, or a fast one by military attacks. We have nothing left to lose—we must fight for our rights, or die trying.”2

Gaza has been blockaded by sea and land since 2006. Any individual of Gaza, including fishermen venturing beyond 3 nautical miles of the coast of Gaza, face being shot by the Israeli Navy. No one from Gaza can leave from the only two checkpoints, Erez or Rafah, without special permission from the Israelis and the Egyptians, which is hard to come by for many, if not impossible. People in Gaza are unable to go abroad to study, work, visit families, or do business. Wounded and sick people cannot leave easily to get specialised treatment outside Gaza. Entries of food and medicines into Gaza have been restricted and many essential items for survival are prohibited.3 Before the present assault, medical stock items in Gaza were already at an all time low because of the blockade.3 They have run out now. Likewise, Gaza is unable to export its produce. Agriculture has been severely impaired by the imposition of a buffer zone, and agricultural products cannot be exported due to the blockade. 80% of Gaza’s population is dependent on food rations from the UN.

Much of Gaza's buildings and infrastructure had been destroyed during Operation Cast Lead, 2008—09, and building materials have been blockaded so that schools, homes, and institutions cannot be properly rebuilt. Factories destroyed by bombardment have rarely been rebuilt adding unemployment to destitution.

Despite the difficult conditions, the people of Gaza and their political leaders have recently moved to resolve their conflicts “without arms and harm” through the process of reconciliation between factions, their leadership renouncing titles and positions, so that a unity government can be formed abolishing the divisive factional politics operating since 2007. This reconciliation, although accepted by many in the international community, was rejected by Israel. The present Israeli attacks stop this chance of political unity between Gaza and the West Bank and single out a part of the Palestinian society by destroying the lives of people of Gaza. Under the pretext of eliminating terrorism, Israel is trying to destroy the growing Palestinian unity. Among other lies, it is stated that civilians in Gaza are hostages of Hamas whereas the truth is that the Gaza Strip is sealed by the Israelis and Egyptians.

Gaza has been bombed continuously for the past 14 days followed now by invasion on land by tanks and thousands of Israeli troops. More than 60 000 civilians from Northern Gaza were ordered to leave their homes. These internally displaced people have nowhere to go since Central and Southern Gaza are also subjected to heavy artillery bombardment. The whole of Gaza is under attack. The only shelters in Gaza are the schools of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), uncertain shelters already targeted during Cast Lead, killing many.

According to Gaza Ministry of Health and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA),1 as of July 21, 149 of the 558 killed in Gaza and 1100 of the 3504 wounded are children. Those buried under the rubble are not counted yet. As we write, the BBC reports of the bombing of another hospital, hitting the intensive care unit and operating theatres, with deaths of patients and staff. There are now fears for the main hospital Al Shifa. Moreover, most people are psychologically traumatised in Gaza. Anyone older than 6 years has already lived through their third military assault by Israel.

The massacre in Gaza spares no one, and includes the disabled and sick in hospitals, children playing on the beach or on the roof top, with a large majority of non-combatants. Hospitals, clinics, ambulances, mosques, schools, and press buildings have all been attacked, with thousands of private homes bombed, clearly directing fire to target whole families killing them within their homes, depriving families of their homes by chasing them out a few minutes before destruction. An entire area was destroyed on July 20, leaving thousands of displaced people homeless, beside wounding hundreds and killing at least 70—this is way beyond the purpose of finding tunnels. None of these are military objectives. These attacks aim to terrorise, wound the soul and the body of the people, and make their life impossible in the future, as well as also demolishing their homes and prohibiting the means to rebuild.

Weaponry known to cause long-term damages on health of the whole population are used; particularly non fragmentation weaponry and hard-head bombs.45 We witnessed targeted weaponry used indiscriminately and on children and we constantly see that so-called intelligent weapons fail to be precise, unless they are deliberately used to destroy innocent lives.

We denounce the myth propagated by Israel that the aggression is done caring about saving civilian lives and children’s wellbeing.

Israel's behaviour has insulted our humanity, intelligence, and dignity as well as our professional ethics and efforts. Even those of us who want to go and help are unable to reach Gaza due to the blockade.

This “defensive aggression” of unlimited duration, extent, and intensity must be stopped.

Additionally, should the use of gas be further confirmed, this is unequivocally a war crime for which, before anything else, high sanctions will have to be taken immediately on Israel with cessation of any trade and collaborative agreements with Europe.

As we write, other massacres and threats to the medical personnel in emergency services and denial of entry for international humanitarian convoys are reported.6 We as scientists and doctors cannot keep silent while this crime against humanity continues. We urge readers not to be silent too. Gaza trapped under siege, is being killed by one of the world's largest and most sophisticated modern military machines. The land is poisoned by weapon debris, with consequences for future generations. If those of us capable of speaking up fail to do so and take a stand against this war crime, we are also complicit in the destruction of the lives and homes of 1·8 million people in Gaza.

We register with dismay that only 5% of our Israeli academic colleagues signed an appeal to their government to stop the military operation against Gaza. We are tempted to conclude that with the exception of this 5%, the rest of the Israeli academics are complicit in the massacre and destruction of Gaza. We also see the complicity of our countries in Europe and North America in this massacre and the impotence once again of the international institutions and organisations to stop this massacre.

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Lancet Medical Journal Denounces Israel’s Aggression, Targeting of Children, and Attempts to Kill Gaza – Seven Quotes

Doctors and scientists, on behalf of 24 signatories, in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet,write:
Seven crucial quotes:
  • Gaza is being killed by one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated modern military machines.
  • This is a “military onslaught on civilians in Gaza”
  • These attacks aim to terrorize
  • We witnessed targeted weaponry used indiscriminately and on children
  • We denounce the myth propagated by Israel that the aggression is done caring about saving civilian lives and children’s well-being.
  • Israel’s behaviour has insulted our humanity, intelligence, and dignity as well as our professional ethics and efforts.
  • [S]hould the use of gas be further confirmed, this is unequivocally a war crime for which, before anything else, high sanctions will have to be taken immediately on Israel with cessation of any trade and collaborative agreements with Europe.
The Lancet is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal.  It is one of the world’s oldest and best known general medical journals, and has been described as one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. – Wikipedia