“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

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.
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.


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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Israeli air strikes struck a fuel tank off Gaza’s only electricity plant early Tuesday, forcing it to shut down, according to Palestinian officials. The attack threatens to cut off power to the more than 1.8 million residents of Gaza, who were only getting electricity a few hours a day.

Gaza’s power plant was forced to shut down after two tank shells hit one of three fuel tanks, said Jamal Dardasawi, a spokesman for Gaza’s electricity distribution company. The shelling sparked a large fire and a huge column of smoke was seen rising from the site. Dardasawi said 15 workers were trapped inside by the fire and that the damage would take months to repair. There was no immediate word on casualties.
Even before the shutdown, Gaza residents only had electricity for about three hours a day because fighting had damaged power lines.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, did not comment on the explosion at the plant, but told The Associated Press that Israel’s latest strikes signal “a gradual increase in the pressure” on Hamas.
“Israel is ”determined to strike this organization and relieve us of this threat,“ Lerner said.

At least 40 were killed in a series of Israeli strikes from land, air, and sea since midnight.

Journalist Izzat Duheir, 23, Turkiya Duheir, 80, Yasmin Duheir, 25, Mary Duheir, 12 , and Tasnim Duheir, 8, were killed in Israeli airstrikes targeting the Duheir family house in Rafah.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned of a "prolonged" military campaign in Gaza

Kerry - Hanging Tough - Refreshing

Obama is ratcheting up the rhetoric and the pressure on Israel to end the fighting in Gaza, and to end it now. Keep it up!

Sunday, July 27, 2014


BasNews, Mosul
A number of Mosul youths who have fled their city, have revealed that Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS) has ordered them to take up arms and fight the Iraqi army or go to Syria and fight the Syrian regime.
A group of Mosul youths who fled Mosul which has been under the control of ISIS insurgents since last month, told BasNews that the militant group has ordered all Mosul youths to take up arms and join them in their operations against the Iraqi and Syrian regimes.
One of the youths, who didn’t want to be named, said that ISIS has informed all the shop owners and government offices that if they know any youths, they should tell them join ISIS and go to the frontlines.
“Once you join the group then they will send to Syria or to fight the Iraqi army,” said the youth.
Since June 10th, ISIS has controlled Mosul and a number ofSunni majority cities in Northern Iraq and has imposed strict rulings on the residents of the areas.


Hamas is not the problem or the solution - The Right Wing Republican Party and the US government is the problem - Noam Chomsky


Staying home or going home means death, injury or suffering for the Palestinians, at the hands of Israel in Israeli controlled Gaza

"Israelis react the way they do due to years of dehumanisation of Palestinians. This is the basic tool they use to continue the occupation without having any moral doubts.
In recent years of the right wing government — the whole process of nationalistic and many times racist and anti-democratic legislation, a lot of violence against Muslims, Arabs and Leftists — Israel’s democracy is showing dangerous cracks. This should have worried many Israelis but unfortunately most of the Israelis are brainwashed by the one-sided media. Palestinian sacrifice is missing in the Israeli media.
— Gideon Levy

The Incredible cruelty and  brutality of Israel exposed

Standing for human liberty and justice and opposing the Israeli barbarism against the Palestinians

The World needs to know what Israel is doing to Gaza

“Israel is addicted to occupation” — Gideon Levy

Gideon Levy, veteran Israeli journalist and author of Punishment of Gaza, talks to TNS about the current round of violence

The News on Sunday (TNS): Why is Israel doing what it is doing?
Gideon Levy (GL): Israel wants to maintain the status quo — namely West Bank will be occupied, Gaza will be under siege and life in Israel will be peaceful. This is impossible. And life in Israel stopped being peaceful with the rockets falling into many cities and towns in Israel. And Israel found it suitable to react with massive bombing from the air and then from the ground operation. But those rockets did not fall from the sky for nothing because, you must know, the context – and, the context is that a few months ago Israel stopped the so-called peace talks with Mahmoud Abbas after kidnapping and murder of three young Israelis in the West Bank.

Israel declared war on Hamas in the West Bank. Israel arrested about 500 Hamas activists who had nothing to do with kidnapping and murder.

Israel stopped the salaries of about 40,000 employees in Gaza and Israel also declared that it is objecting to the unity government of Palestine. All this is the background to the present confrontation.

TNS: Who are the advisors that make-up such aggressive policies in the Israeli government, leading to extreme bloodshed which is disproportionate?
GL: This is not a question of certain advisors. This is the DNA of Israel. Israel has always over-reacted to resistance from Palestinians. And you have seen this one after the other – Operation Cast Lead, the First Lebanon War, the Second Lebanon War, the operations in Gaza and the fight against the Second Intifada. It has always been the same language of disproportionate aggression.

TNS: Was Israel waiting to start this operation?
GL: They were talking about another operation on Gaza for a long time, but I don’t think anyone had expected it or was interested in this confrontation. The belief that Israel can do all this and Hamas would not react was either unbelievable arrogance or blindness or both.

TNS: Where do you see this current assault on Gazans going?
GL: Apparently, there will be a ceasefire. But as long as Israel does not change its policy, a deep change, a substantive change, a basic change – namely to lift the siege from Gaza — nothing will change, and we can prepare ourselves for another confrontation in a few months, another year or two. As long as the problems are not really solved, nothing will change.

TNS: In your July 20 column for Haaretz, you wrote that the demands of Hamas for ceasefire were not bad and that Israel should talk to Hamas. What do you think Hamas really wants?
GL: Right now, Hamas wants lifting of the siege. And Hamas was on its way to the unity government. Maybe Hamas is not willing to talk to Israel directly. Surely, Israel is not willing to talk to Hamas. The fact is, would Israel support or would Israel be willing to negotiate with the unity government. It would put Hamas in a different place — because they would be directly or indirectly a partner in any kind of political process. But, instead, Israel chose to fight against the unity government and not let Mahmoud Abbas really negotiate over any kind of settlement. Therefore, I do not see this current government of Israel changing its policy.

TNS: How do people in Gaza look at Hamas? Would more people join Hamas as a result of the current Israeli operation?
GL: Most of the Palestinians are looking at Fatah, and Mahmoud Abbas who is trying to get to any kind of settlement with Israel through diplomacy. And they see he cannot reach anywhere, cannot achieve anything for Palestinians.
On the other hand, they see Hamas resisting — and, I must say, quite courageously. I am sure the national instinct would be more support to the Hamas.
As you know, people of Gaza are suffering again like a few people in the world suffer. Firstly, they want a ceasefire. So, the first option would be to end Israeli aggression and then time will show if Hamas would get any substantial achievement other than the ceasefire. Secondly, Hamas could go on running Gaza. I am sceptical this would be the case. I think people of Gaza would have to prepare for the next confrontation. There is no other way for them.

TNS: Is there any debate among Israeli parliament on what is happening?
GL: Right now there is no debate. Gaza is desperate. But, it does not make people any less devoted. We know from history that people who are desperate are more devoted to fight. What do they have to lose?

TNS: Does Israeli media raise any voice against the current operation in Gaza?

Israelis react the way they do due to years of dehumanisation of Palestinians. This is the basic tool they use to continue the occupation without having any moral doubts.

GL: Unfortunately, Haaretz is the only lighthouse in the Israeli media. TV, newspapers, radio and social networks are in a militaristic mode. And there is little tolerance to protest, opposition and resistance. The government or the security establishment does not dictate this. The media in Israel is quite free. Media is willing to please public and public is right wing.

TNS: Can you give us more context of why the Israeli society reacts the way it does to the plight of Gazans and Palestinians?
GL: Israelis react the way they do due to years of dehumanisation of Palestinians. This is the basic tool they use to continue the occupation without having any moral doubts.
In recent years of the right wing government — the whole process of nationalistic and many times racist and anti-democratic legislation, a lot of violence against Muslims, Arabs and Leftists — Israel’s democracy is showing dangerous cracks. This should have worried many Israelis but unfortunately most of the Israelis are brainwashed by the one-sided media. Palestinian sacrifice is missing in the Israeli media.

TNS: Why is there insensitivity among Israeli public towards the suffering Palestinians?
GL: There are two ways to get out of the trauma of persecution: one, become more sensitive to human rights and persecution; and two, as the late PM Golda Meir said that after the holocaust Jews have a right to do whatever they want. In many ways, Israelis share Meir’s sentiment, together with the feeling that Israelis are the chosen people. It is also based in understandable fears that Holocaust might happen again.
Also, Arabs and Muslims, who live in Israel are discriminated against and there has been a ugly campaign against them in recent years.

TNS: How do you look at the US intervention in the Israel-Palestine conflict?
GL: The US support for Israel makes Israelis believe that they have a right to do whatever they want. The people of the US need to question why their country supports Israel and if it serves their interest or even that of Israel’s. These questions are being raised slowly. The answers lie in the domestic politics of the US. Even Barrack Obama, whose heart is in the right place, is unable to alter the US domestic policy.

TNS: Can Israel not defend itself without massacring Gazans?
GL: There are two ways of dealing with a drug addict: One, to give him more money; and two, force him to go into rehabilitation. Now, Israel is addicted to occupation and the US is supplying money, instead of sending it to a rehabilitation centre.

TNS: How do you look at Egypt’s role in the current situation?
GL: For Egypt to not open borders to homeless and injured is problematic. The current regime is known for its hatred of Hamas — because Hamas did or did not murder a few Egyptian soldiers and officers a few years ago. And General Sisi will never forget it. He treats Hamas like garbage. Therefore, his efforts to bring a ceasefire are not genuine. For him, Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, his most bitter enemy. This enables Israel to continue.

TNS: So, who would be a partner for peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict in the Middle East as Egypt cannot be trusted?
GL: Egypt cannot be trusted. But there is no other alternative, as Israel does not trust Turkey and Qatar. So I am afraid it would be Egypt. The ceasefire process would be on Egypt’s pace. Ultimately, Egypt together with the US will be the mediators, probably with Mahmoud Abbas.

TNS: Does the global protests in support of Gaza have any effect on Israeli perception of the operation?
GL: Israelis have convinced themselves that the world is against them. So, why would they bother? And, then, they have the US support. They think they have nothing to worry. And do not forget that the pro-Gaza protests are shown to the Israeli public via Israeli media, which makes everything look comfortable.

TNS: Why do you support the one-state solution?
GL: I preferred the two-state solution previously. Now, I do not think it is possible with half a million settlers. So, it is a choice between a democratic state and an apartheid state — and I do not see a third option.

The interview was conducted on July 22, 2014.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Stepping aside from the Netanyahu created crisis in Palestine, ISIS advances and Iraq and Syria are losing. The ultimate reality is that the US will end up with only one natural ally to defeat ISIS: Iran

How the U.S. Allowed ISIS to Form a Terrorist Army

July 25, 2014

The United States has sent additional military advisers to Iraq and increased the number of drone flights to 50 per day, up from one flight a month. Yet so far this has done little to stop the rise of the jihadist terror group, the Islamic State, abbreviated as ISIS or ISIL, which has transformed itself from a loosely aligned band of militants to a full-blown army of terrorists, Brett McGurk, the deputy assistant defense secretary for Iraq and Iran, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
“ISIL is worse than al Qaeda,” said McGurk. “ISIL is no longer simply a terrorist organization. It is now a full-blown army seeking to establish a self-governing state through the Tigris and Euphrates valley in what is now Syria and Iraq.”
McGurk’s testimony shows just how quickly ISIS has grown and established itself as a legitimate military force. Back in February, McGurk warned that the threat from al Qaeda was increasing in Iraq. In the last six months, ISIS has broken with al Qaeda and introduced elements of sharia law across western Iraq and eastern Syria. It is now on the verge of taking Baghdad.
“We did see this coming,” said Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA). “And that makes it even more troubling that the administration didn’t do what was necessary to prevent [ISIL] from taking over such a large swath of Iraq.”
Royce and other Republicans on the committee slammed the Obama administration for failing to conduct drone strikes against ISIS. McGurk, however, said that it was not clear if a drone strategy would effectively stop the group.
“The first principle, and the president’s policy is that we want to enable local actors to be able to secure their own space as best we can. That was also the desire of the Iraqi government,” McGurk said. “The information we have now on these networks is night and day from where it was in May, when the request from the Iraqis first came in. And there is a significant risk, Mr. Chairman, of taking any military action without that level of granularity.”
“There will not be an exclusively U.S. military solution to ISIL,” added Elissa Slotkin, a defense department deputy for policy. “Iraqis must do the heavy lifting.”
Partisan squabbling continued throughout the hearing. This overshadowed the stark reality contained in McGurk’s testimony: The United States does not have an effective strategy for stopping Iraq, short of the unthinkable: sending troops back to Iraq to dismantle the group.
As McGurk and Slotkin said, drone strikes would be an ineffective way to stop ISIS. The group controls too large an area for precision strikes to be effective.
The only other option offered by McGurk and Slotkin was to assist the Iraqi military in its fight against ISIS. But the ease of the ISIS advance, combined with fractional fighting within the Iraq army, inspires little confidence in Iraq’s ability to turn back the group.
The creation of an organized ISIS military is also troubling for neighboring countries. The group has stated that it wants to expand its territory to Jordan, Lebanon, and parts of Israel. It now has the means to invade – which raises the prospect for war in the region. 
The inability of the U.S. to take effective action to stop ISIS was best summed up by former Air Force pilot and Iraq war veteran Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).
“The administration is just paralyzed – they don’t know what to do,” Kinzinger said. “Political solutions are not something that we can put in a microwave and expect to happen in a short amount of time.”

- See more at:

Belligerent Israel and Belligerent Hamas on a 12 hour break but the legitimate demands of the Palestinians needs to be addressed - The tunnels are a side show which Israel will exploit to keep the game going

What was unlawful in Mississippi and Alabama in the 1960s is standard practice by the Israelis in occupied Palestine - US financial and military support of these illegal acts should be fought in US Courts


Why Hamas is winning the war

Published Friday, Jul. 25 2014, 8:36 PM EDT
Last updated Friday, Jul. 25 2014, 11:28 PM EDT

Israel and Hamas did agree to a 12-hour humanitarian truce to begin at 7 a.m. Saturday. Mr. Kerry said he would continue efforts to close the gap between the parties over the weekend.
Terms of the broader proposed ceasefire agreement, which included a seven-day humanitarian truce, were not released, but Israeli sources said the agreement would give a victory to Hamas.
That may be, but in so many other ways, Hamas already is winning.
War, as the Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz said, is the continuation of politics by other means. And victory is not only measured by body counts. The fact that more than 800 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in this conflict, compared with 38 Israelis, three of them civilians, tells us that Israel is winning on the battlefield. Hamas, however, is playing for higher, longer-term stakes.
“Hamas’s strategic objective,” said Ariel Ilan Roth, director of the Washington-based Israel Institute, “is to shatter Israel’s sense of normalcy.” In pursuit of this goal Hamas certainly has succeeded. By their rockets with longer range and bigger payloads, the militants have brought the war to the doorstep of many more Israelis than ever before. They have put “panic in the eyes of Israelis,” in the words of the Hamas MP and prominent imam Naif Rajoub. And with its labyrinth of tunnels beneath Israel’s frontier, Hamas has undermined Israelis’ sense of invulnerability.
Neither Hamas nor the Palestinians of Gaza have yet been knocked off balance. Remarkably, support for Hamas may never have been greater. This was not what Israel expected when it launched this war earlier this month, blaming Hamas for starting the conflict and emphasizing how the militants use civilians as human shields.
And it’s certainly not what Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wanted. The fact that Gazans are largely united in opposition to Israel and that support for Hamas extends also to the West Bank, where Mr. Abbas presides, has left the Fatah Party leader scrambling for relevance.
Indeed, pro-Hamas anti-Israel protests have broken out in the West Bank in areas near Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus on a scale not seen since the 2000-2005 second intifada. The protests Friday in Ramallah had the blessing of Mr. Abbas and his party. Seven Palestinians have been killed since late Thursday in clashes with the Israeli army.
To preserve his hold on power, Mr. Abbas was forced to go from being a supporter of Egypt’s first ceasefire proposal – one that Israel supported and that simply called for the parties to halt fire with no concessions to Hamas – to being an antagonist of Israel. It was Mr. Abbas’s initiative that dragged Israel before the UN Human Rights Council this week, leading to a UN inquiry into alleged Israeli war crimes in waging its war in Gaza.
Rather than continuing to support Israel’s position on a ceasefire, Mr. Abbas was moved to support Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal’s position instead. That position calls for a number of moves that, in effect, would end the state of siege Israel maintains on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Chalk up another win.
Israel certainly has recorded considerable victories of its own in this conflict. The Iron Dome anti-missile system has proved to be a wonder, shooting down most rockets headed for populated areas, and helping keep Israel’s casualties to a minimum. Israeli operations to unearth and destroy Hamas tunnels and to root out Hamas’s command centre in the Gaza town of Shejaia, while costing Israel a substantial number of casualties, have been battlefield triumphs.
Israel’s exemplary practice of issuing warnings before strikes on certain neighbourhoods or buildings has given Israel a degree of respect and understanding in the international community, as has Israel’s exposing of Hamas’s technique of using civilians as human shields, a likely war crime.
But the goodwill Israel enjoyed at the start of this conflict has been squandered as the number of civilian deaths has risen. As British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond cautioned Thursday, “As this campaign goes on and the civilian casualties in Gaza mount, Western public opinion is becoming more and more concerned and less and less sympathetic to Israel.”
What good are Israel’s so-called “pinpoint attacks” when other possible consequences are ignored?
On Monday night in Gaza City, Israel carried out a targeted attack on someone in the 10-storey Al Salam Towers apartment building. It appeared that a carefully aimed missile entered the building at about the fifth floor; it still is unclear who the target was. But the effect of the missile was to take out the supports on which the five upper storeys rested. They collapsed together, as in the manner of the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, coming to rest like a stack of six pancakes atop the fourth storey.
On Tuesday morning, the leg of one man could still be seen dangling in the air, as the rest of his body was pinned inside the collapsed building. The Israeli military, no doubt, had no intention of causing such collateral damage. But at least 15 people, including three children, were killed in this targeted attack.
Hamas’s own battlefield accomplishments are not insignificant. Just as its arsenal of long-range missiles has taken the war to Israel’s civilians, Hamas’s tunnels and overall combat preparedness have taken the battle to the Israeli forces.
In the 22-day war that began at the end of 2008 and extended into early 2009, Hamas militants ran rather than fight. Not this time.
Israelis say they are astonished at the extent of the group’s tunnels and the determination of its fighting forces. The 35 Israeli officers and soldiers killed in fighting, mostly in the battle for control of the tunnels and the bloody battle of Shejaia, are testament to Hamas’s acquired skills. In the entire 2009 ground campaign, only eight Israeli soldiers were killed by resistance forces. (Four others died from friendly fire.)
If Hamas has uncovered any weakness in the Iron Dome system it is that a big enough salvo of rockets makes it more possible for at least one rocket to get through. And it only takes one.
Targeting Ben Gurion Airport east of Tel Aviv was also a shrewd move. Most rockets aimed in that direction either fell harmlessly in open areas, or were shot down by the Iron Dome. One, however, this past week, landed about a kilometre from the airport and destroyed a house. It was enough to cause a stampede of airlines cancelling service for at least 24 or 48 hours. Some still have declined to return.
The odds of a rocket hitting a moving plane are remote in the extreme, but hitting a building is conceivable, and airlines already were skittish because of the downing of a Malaysian aircraft over war-torn eastern Ukraine earlier in the week. Hamas chalked up another triumph.
The conflict has also exposed rifts in Israel. Gangs shouting “Death to Arabs” and “Death to Leftists” broke up a peaceful protest against Israel’s war in Gaza last Saturday night in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square.
Witnesses say the goons then went on a rampage in the city’s downtown, even as Israeli troops were expanding their ground operation in Gaza.
Similar scenes were re-enacted during the past week in Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem, showing a sinister side to Israeli society. “As soldiers fight in Gaza, right-wing extremists have organized ad-hoc militias to fight the ‘war at home,’” noted Israeli political writer Asher Schechter, writing in Haaretz.
Such battles reveal a growing schism in Israeli society, a product of the war with Hamas and the issues that underlie it. Writing in this week’s Foreign Affairs magazine, Mr. Roth of the Israel Institute, noted that sowing discord in Israeli society, such as witnessed in the past two weeks, is one of several ways in which Hamas is winning this war.
While not in itself bringing Israel to its knees, such discord eats away at the cohesion that has given Israel its historic strength to face its enemies.
But it is in the strategic areas that Hamas has enjoyed its greatest success.
By holding out so resolutely, and turning down ceasefire proposals, Hamas has succeeded in putting its wish list before the world.
Mr. Meshaal, the Hamas political leader based in Qatar, presented the list to the public Thursday.
The people of Gaza, he said, want an internationally backed commitment to ending Israel’s siege of Gaza and the targeted killings it carries out inside Gaza. They want an international airport, a seaport, an opening to the outside world. They don’t want the situation where they are “controlled by a few border crossings that turn Gaza into a huge prison, where no one can leave even for medical treatment or to work.”
If Hamas is offered those things, or a good number of them, its leaders say they’ll stop firing at Israel. A growing number of people around the world don’t think those demands are unreasonable.
Israel thought that by abandoning Gaza in 2005, pulling out all Israeli settlers and soldiers, and building a wall around it, Israel would enjoy quiet.

This war has shown that such an approach won’t ever be successful.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Appalling Rogue Israeli Army Shells Another School Filled With Civilians, Kills 15 And Wounds 200

Gaza City (CNN) -- A strike on a UN shelter in Gaza on Thursday has killed and injured multiple people, a United Nations spokesman said Thursday.
The coordinates of the school, which was serving a shelter for families in Gaza, had been given to the Israeli military, said the spokesman, Chris Gunness.
He tweeted that coordinates of the shelter in Beit Hanoun had been provided to the Israeli army before the strike as a precaution, an effort to prevent a strike on it. The shelter is in an area in northern Gaza that has been the scene of tremendous violence recently.
The UN tried twice to coordinate with Israelis to evacuate the shelter ahead of the strike, he said.Gunness posted: "Precise co-ordinates of the UNRWA shelter in Beit Hanoun had been formally given to the Israeli army RT" and then minutes later tweeted: "Over the course of the day UNRWA tried 2 coodinate with the Israeli Army a window for civilians 2 leave & it was never granted RT."