Eva Bartlett, her courage puts many of us to shame!

*June 8 interview Related Links: -on Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban: https://www.rt.com/op-edge/240797-syria-moderate-voices-peace-stability/ https://www.rt.com/op-edge/334401-western-reporting-syrian-reality/ -Israel is treating al-Qaeda terrorists in their hospitals: “Israel is treating al-Qaeda terrorists in their hospitals and enabling their transit back and forth into Syria, as well as arming them—even Israeli media have reported that Israel is providing aid to al-Qaeda terrorists; even […]

via Interview on Syria and related, on the Richie Allen Show — In Gaza

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Israel doesn’t think US Taxpayers pay enough: Soliciting excess of $40 billion over ten-year period!

Complicity or Hypocrisy? Take your pick.

Currently the US $ is likened to monopoly money, i.e. printed paper. American homelessness is still rising, American homes are still being repossessed, American school budgets are still cut and cut some more…, the American welfare system was always sad and becoming sadder yet, American public medical care has always been atrocious, American unemployment is still too high, but US taxpayers are still funding Israel’s existence, not to mention picking up the tab for “Israel’s right to defend itself”.

30billionMilitaryAidtoIsrael

Let’s face it! America, the ‘land of golden opportunity’, is about six-feet under…

According to End The Occupation, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, since 1976 Israel has been “the highest recipient of U.S. foreign aid in the world. The congressional aid comes to about $1.8 billion a year in military aid and $1.2 billion in economic aid, plus another $1 billion or so in miscellaneous grants, mostly in military supplies, from various U.S. agencies. Tax-exempt contributions destined to Israel bring up the total to over $5 billion annually.”

“Israel (wealthier than a number of European Union member countries) receives 25 percent of the entire U.S. foreign aid budget.”

“Israel is the only country allowed to spend part of its military aid funds (25 percent) on its own domestic arms industry; all other recipients of U.S. military aid are required to use it to purchase U.S.-manufactured weapons.” – See more at: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=173#sthash.6aRB3NLj.dpuf

So these are the facts: Except for the homeless, the dying, children and the illiterate, which is another continuously unending despicable statistic throughout US history, not a single American citizen has the excuse for being uninformed about their government’s involvements in world affairs. Most especially when it comes to US financial aid to Israel, which you, the American taxpayer, fund like clockwork!

You, the American taxpayers, have no excuse to stay uninformed when activists across the globe have been rising up to stand in solidarity with Palestinians for decades. Yes, we all know the American media is censored, bought and paid for, but listen to this voice of experience…you cannot excuse ignorance by remaining uninformed!

There are countless global blogs and websites accessible through the internet, plus Facebook groups, twitter groups, and other numerous social media and activist sites.The list is endless to learn about the true state of ancient and current affairs concerning you and your country’s foreign affairs involvements. (Aside the website named above, another exceptionally informative website of shocking truths tailored most especially to the US citizen is

If Americans Knew, What every American needs to know about Israel/Palestine.)ifamericanskneworg

You, living in the US, are permitting your government to treat you like sheeple. You’re allowing your government to trample on your Constitution and ignore your constitutional rights! You empower the US government to effectively sign blank checks over to Israel on a daily basis, misusing your heard-earned cash! You should be outraged!

There’s absolutely no justification for you to keep turning a blind eye and burying your head in the sand against the stark, ugly truth of the American/Israeli collaboration against Palestine and the Middle East!

Following is another group of American citizens, alongside Native Americans, that has suffered immeasurably at the hands of the US government since its founding, Black-Palestinian Solidarity:

http://www.blackpalestiniansolidarity.com/release.html

BlackPalestinianSolidarity_AliceWalker

If only for a moment, you and every American would put aside cultural and/or religious differences, and watch the video by clicking the link below, ignorance will cease to exist:

WHEN I SEE THEM I SEE US

 

 

| Symbolic ‘war crimes’ tribunal to try Bush, Blair ~ time for a Real Trial next indicting Obomber too!

| Symbolic ‘war crimes’ tribunal to try Bush, Blair ~ time for a Real Trial next indicting Obomber too!

Symbolic ‘war crimes’ tribunal to try Bush, Blair

By SEAN YOONG,

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian-led activists will hold a symbolic trial this month for former President George W. Bush and British ex-leader Tony Blair on charges of committing crimes against peace in the Iraq war, the event’s organizers said Tuesday.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal is an initiative of Malaysia’s retired Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who staunchly opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The tribunal will convene a four-day public hearing starting Saturday to determine whether Bush and Blair committed crimes against peace and violated international law in the Iraq invasion, said Malaysian lawyer Yaacob Hussain Marican.

“For these people who have been immune from prosecution, we want to put them on trial in this forum to prove that they committed war crimes,” Yaacob told The Associated Press.

Activists sent information about the charges to Bush and Blair recently but received no response, Yaacob said.

Francis Boyle, an American international law professor based in Illinois, will be among the prosecutors at the hearing, which follows two years of investigations by a Malaysian peace foundation founded by Mahathir that looked into complaints by people affected by the Iraqi war.

The effort is modeled after a 1967 Vietnam war crimes panel convened in Sweden and Denmark by philosophers Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre, Yaacob said. The Vietnam tribunal said the U.S. committed acts of aggression against Vietnam and bombarded civilian targets, but it was mostly ignored in United States.

The Kuala Lumpur tribunal will have a seven-member panel of judges including two retired judges from Malaysia’s highest court, peace activist Alfred Lambremont Webre of the United States and Mumbai-based lawyer Niloufer Bhagwat of India.

If the tribunal finds Bush and Blair guilty, it will enter their names into a symbolic “Register of War Criminals.”

The tribunal is also scheduled to hold a separate hearing next year on charges of torture linked to the Iraq war against former U.S. officials including ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld and ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Yaacob said.

Also see earlier blog post:

| Witness legal history being made by the in absentia due trial of Bush + Blair for War Crimes: Nov 19-22! http://wp.me/p1xXtb-nb

Al Jazeera World: Gaza Lives On

The more israel wants to break and destroy Palestine and her People, the more determined the Palestinian People are to live and save their country, cultures and beliefs.

Uploaded by AlJazeeraEnglish on Nov 15, 2011

The Israeli blockade may have taken a heavy toll on Gazans, but this film reveals life and hope among the devastation.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

| Voices from East Jerusalem

New DCI report: Voices from East Jerusalem, The Situation facing Palestinian Children (2011)

[25 October 2011] – Today, DCI-Palestine released a new report: Voices from East Jerusalem, The Situation facing Palestinian Children. The report addresses the impact of Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem, through administrative and legal measures aimed at limiting the population growth and development of the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, while actively encouraging the influx of Israeli settlers into the occupied territory.

Through the voices of 15 children and three mothers, the report sheds some light on the day to day hardships they face living under prolonged military occupation, focusing on three main issues:

House demolitions – This affects approximately 32 percent of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem that do not comply with Israeli zoning requirements, exposing at least 86,500 Palestinian residents to the risk of having their homes demolished.

Settler violence – Between January 2010 and the end of May 2011, the UN recorded 24 cases in which Palestinian children have been injured by settlers in East Jerusalem, and one fatality.

According to the UN, these figures are ‘comprehensive but not exhaustive.’ The figures also do not include cases of harassment or intimidation which did not result in physical injury.

Arrest and detention – Between November 2009 and October 2010, 1,267 criminal files were opened against Palestinian children living in East Jerusalem who were accused of throwing stones. In a sample of 20 cases, 80 percent of the children reported being subjected to physical violence during their arrest, transfer or subsequent questioning.

PDF Report: “Voices from East Jerusalem, The Situation facing Palestinian Children”

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Truth about gaza (WAKE UP WORLD)!

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the worlds major sources of instability. Americans are directly connected to this conflict, and increasingly imperiled by its devastation.

It is the goal of If Americans Knew to provide full and accurate information on this critical issue, and on our power and duty to bring a resolution.

“I saw the images and they were disturbing. Images are of the Israeli assault against civilians in Gaza. I did not imagine things in Gaza are going as they are; therefore I forwarded it on to you so that you witness the crimes against humanity that the Israelis carry out.”

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| Whitewashing War Crimes, treat the Palmer report with the contempt it deserves!

Give the Palmer report the contempt it deserves

By Khalid Amayreh in Israeli-occupied Jerusalem

04 September 2011

On Friday, 2 September, a pro-Israeli body at the United Nations released a brazenly unbalanced report concluding that Israel’s four-year  blockade of some 1.7 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip was “legal” and  “within the barometers of international law.”

The scandalous report, dubbed as the Palmer report, also concluded that the manifestly criminal  Israeli assault on a Turkish ship carrying solidarity activists and humanitarian materials  to besieged Gazans, which occurred 18 months ago and killed at least nine Turkish citizens and injured many others, was also legal.

The report was reportedly prepared by a group of fanatical Zionists who thought that Israel could do nothing wrong and that its victims, whether Turks or Arabs, were either terrorists or sub-humans whose lives had no sanctity whatsoever.

The obscene disregard of truth inherent in that infamous and biased document showed that professionalism and objectivity were the last things on the minds of that commission’s members.

Indeed, the victims of the Gaza siege, which ironically  is yet to be lifted, have every right under the sun  to cry out to the seventh heaven, in anger and bitterness, wondering what right  the Nazi-like entity, Israel, ever had to withhold medicine and  food supplies, fuel and  other  basic necessities from the people  of Gaza.

To justify its murderous and enduring blockade, which killed (and continues to kill) thousands of innocent people, including children, and devastated the lives  of hundreds of thousands others, Israel invoked  the mantra of arms smuggling into Gaza.

However, the truth of the matter is that under the rubric of preventing the alleged smuggling  of weapons  into the coastal  enclave, Israel repeatedly demonstrated that it was hell-bent  on  starving ordinary Gazans by denying  them badly-needed medicine and by ruining their originally meager  economy, causing  real starvation with catastrophic proportions.

In fact, some Zionist officials boasted rather gleefully and sadistically about Israel’s ability to make the people of Gaza go on a diet. Unfortunately, the sickening remarks were not prominently featured in the Jewish-controlled American and western press whose coverage of Israeli criminality fell markedly short of basic professional standards.

In the final analysis, when people, including Jews, think, behave and act like the Nazis, these people ought to be compared with the Nazis, let alone treated as the Nazis were treated.

Failing to hold these comparisons due to “special sensitivities” such as the fear of being branded “anti-Semitic” is both a betrayal of human conscience and professional standards.

Gaza is not a state, it is rather an impoverished and heavily-populated coastal enclave packed with refugees who had been forced to flee their native towns and villages at the hands of terrorist Jewish gangs coming from Eastern Europe.

Israel claimed ad nauseam it left Gaza for good. However, the truth of the matter is that the Nazi-apartheid regime retained its erstwhile tight control of Gaza’s territorial water, border crossings as well as air space.

And when the Islamic  liberation movement, known as Hamas, won meticulously  internationally observed elections, Israel lost its composure and decided to impose draconian  sanctions encompassing  everything  entering Gaza or coming out of the blockaded territory.

The criminal siege, which many courageous international observers compared with the Nazi siege of the Ghetto Warsaw during the Second World War, was always made to produce maximum suffering and pain thanks to a never-ending series of criminal aggression that mainly targeted innocent civilians.

Israeli leaders, most of them are actually  certified war criminals,  were  quoted on several occasions  as saying that the targeting of  innocent  Palestinian  civilians by the Israeli  occupation army  was meant to force the civilians  to rise up against their elected government.

There is no doubt that the deliberate and planned targeting of innocent children by Israel is a criminal act. Even Israeli human rights organizations, such as B’tselem, admit that it is.

The fact,  that the whoring  press and TV networks  in New York, London, or Montreal don’t see it this way doesn’t make the reality of Israeli  criminality any less nefarious.

Genocide or an attempted genocide doesn’t become less evil if and when perpetrated by Jews. This is what Israel’s ignorant supporters in the West ought to realize, the sooner the better.

In light, one is prompted to treat the Palmer report with the contempt it deserves. In the final analysis, judging murder, including haphazard murder, as legal because Jews are involved is the ultimate expression of moral bankruptcy, dishonesty and maliciousness.

The same thing applies to the other conclusion about the murderous attack on Marmara, the Turkish aid ship sailing in international waters in May 2011.  That ship was carrying peaceful activists who wanted to reach the shore of Gaza to deliver urgently-needed relief materials, including milk, to besieged Gazans.

Yet, instead of allowing the ship to proceed to its destination unhindered, the Gestapo-like Israeli marines ganged up on innocent and unarmed men and women, riddling them with bullets from all sides.

The Turks and other activists onboard Marmara never ever posed any real threat to the Jewish Rambos. How could they possibly do that, unless we adopt the proverbial criminal logic that it was the victims’ heads and chests that hit the bullets, not the other way around, which puts the blames decidedly on the victims!

Unfortunately, the government of Israel resorted to hasbara and lies and stone-walling to escape responsibility, claiming that its soldiers’ lives were endangered, a claim that shouldn’t be dignified by commenting on it.

Moreover, in an effort to come out clean of this murderous obscenity, Israel made numerous insinuations about the humanitarian organization that planned and chartered the aid voyage, calling it terrorist.

Well, the Jewish state and its numerous mouthpieces of mendacity would automatically call anyone giving the Palestinians a helping hand terrorist even if that one were Jesus Christ or Moses, the son of Amram.

This is their way of demonizing and dehumanizing their victims, just as the Nazis did several decades ago.

It is really heartening that the Turkish government has decided to show Israel that Turkish blood is a red line and that Israel could no longer mobilize its Free Mason tools in Turkey to bully the Turkish leadership to grovel before Jewish feet. These days are over.

The  reported decision to expel the Zionist ambassador from Ankara, along  with the planned   downgrading  of  security relations with the  Jewish Reich in  occupied Jerusalem, should only be the beginning  of  a new strategic approach  on the part  of  Turkey toward Israel, an approach  that must demonstrate  to Jews and non-Jews alike  that Muslims are human beings, too, and have dignity like  everyone else.


Ma’an News Agency: UN statehood bid ‘threatens Palestinian rights’

Published today (updated) 24/08/2011 20:28

Palestinian Abbas addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York [MaanImages/Omar Rashidi, File]

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian team responsible for preparing the United Nations initiative in September has been given an independent legal opinion that warns of risks involved with its plan to join the UN.

An initiative to transfer the Palestinians’ representation from the PLO to a state will terminate the legal status held by the PLO in the UN since 1975 that it is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, according to the document.Crucially, there will no longer be an institution that can represent the inalienable rights of the entire Palestinian people in the UN and related international institutions, according to the brief.Representation for the right to self-determination will be gravely affected, as it is a right of all Palestinians, both inside and outside the homeland, the opinion says. A change in status would severely disenfranchise the right of refugees to return to their homes and properties from which they were displaced.

The seven-page opinion, obtained by Ma’an, was submitted to the Palestinian side by Guy Goodwin-Gill, a professor of public international law at Oxford University and a member of the team that won the 2004 non-binding judgement by the International Court of Justice that the route of Israel’s wall was illegal.

The Palestinian team, headed by Saeb Erekat, has been preparing an initiative to replace the PLO at the UN, substituting it with the State of Palestine as the representative of the Palestinian people.An actual state cannot be created in September, as Israel’s occupation continues, so the debate is focused on whether membership should be requested from the Security Council or if the General Assembly should be asked to grant recognition of a state as an “observer,” a status that conveys less than full UN membership.

Yet, almost no considerations have been made in terms of the dramatic legal implications for Palestinian rights which this legal brief says will occur should the PLO lose its status.

The brief is to “flag the matters requiring attention” so that a substantial amount of people who have interests in, for example, the right of return, are not “accidentally disenfranchised.”

First of all, the prospect of substituting the PLO with the State of Palestine raises “constitutional” problems in that they engage the Palestinian National Charter and the organization and entities which make up the PLO, according to the brief. Second is “the question of the ‘capacity’ of the State of Palestine effectively to take on the role and responsibilities of the PLO in the UN; and thirdly, the question of popular representation,” the opinion says.

The Palestinian Authority, which was established by the PLO as a short-term, administrative entity, “has limited legislative and executive competence, limited territorial jurisdiction, and limited personal jurisdiction over Palestinians not present in the areas for which it has been accorded responsibility,” the brief points out.

It notes that the PA “is a subsidiary body, competent only to exercise those powers conferred on it by the Palestinian National Council. By definition, it does not have the capacity to assume greater powers.”

The PA cannot “dissolve” its parent body or establish itself independently of the PNC and the PLO, the report also says. Moreover, it is the PLO and the PNC which derive their legitimacy “from the fact that they represent all sectors of the displaced Palestinian people, no matter where they presently live or have refuge.”

Particularly crucial are the potential implications for Palestinians in the Diaspora. The majority of Palestinians are refugees, and all of them are represented by the PLO through the PNC.

“They constitute more than half of the people of Palestine, and if they are ‘disenfranchised’ and lose their representation in the UN, it will not only prejudice their entitlement to equal representation … but also their ability to vocalise their views, to participate in matters of national governance, including the formation and political identity of the State, and to exercise the right of return,” the legal briefing says.

Karma Nabulsi, a former PLO representative and now a professor at Oxford University, says she is familiar with the document. Palestinian officials have also seen the legal opinion, she says.

“Without question, no Palestinian will accept losing such core rights for such a limited diplomatic initiative in September,” she says. “First, we will not have liberated territory upon which to establish a State. But in losing the PLO as the sole legitimate representative at the UN, our people immediately lose our claims as refugees to be part of our official representation, recognized by the world.

“This is an urgent and critical issue for our whole people. We must ensure our representatives advance our rights in international forum, not weaken or endanger them. Of course now that the legal dangers have been raised so fully, I am confident the initiative will protect the status of the PLO as sole legitimate representative in the UN in order to advance the rights” of the Palestinian people.

Nabulsi says Goodwin-Gill opinion has defined and clarified the “red lines” in legal terms.

“The PLO is the representative of the people, not just a part of the people; the PLO is the architect and creator of the Palestinian Authority; that any change in who represents the people or a part of the people requires an expression of the popular will and international recognition,” she explained.

“Neither the Palestinian Authority nor the PLO can alter the role and structure of the PLO without the agreement of the entire Palestinian people. In any case, the PLO and the Palestinian people were not aware that by losing the PLO as representative at the UN, it would create such legal dangers. Now they are.”

She concluded: “Obviously, we need clarity from the PLO on this critical issue, and it is important that the Palestinian public everywhere, especially the refugees in the [Diaspora], are given concrete reassurances that representation of their core rights — on both representation and right of return — will remain untouched in September.”

In the weeks ahead, the IMEU will offer journalists a series of informative and timely briefings on the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN.

Please join us online or by phone this Thursday, August 25, 2011, for the first of these briefings:

“Escalation in the Occupied Territories: Will Violence Derail Palestinian UN Vote Before September?” 

As the September UN vote on Palestinian statehood approaches, Israel has ratcheted up its military incursions around the West Bank. In Hebron this past Monday an Israeli raid resulted in dozens of injuries and arrests. In Jenin, the renowned Freedom Theater has come under intense harassment, with young actors being detained without charge for weeks on end. And after unknown assailants in the Sinai killed eight Israelis, Israel subjected Gaza to two days of bombing despite the fact that Gaza groups denied responsibility for the attack. The bombardment of Gaza — which left 15 Palestinians dead, at least 5 of whom were civilians, including a two-year-old and a 13-year-old child — threatened a new outbreak of violence and briefly ended the unilateral ceasefire enforced by Hamas in the coastal strip for the past two years. The uptick in tensions has left many Palestinians wondering whether Israel is hoping to stir up unrest in order to derail the upcoming push for Palestinian statehood.

We hope you will join this timely discussion.

WHEN: Thursday, August 25, 2011 @ 11:30 AM ET.

GUEST: Diana Buttu, former legal adviser to Palestinian negotiators and a current Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Ms. Buttu is also a Policy Advisor to Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network.

LISTEN live by calling (347) 989-8355 or by visiting http://www.blogtalkradio.com/imeu/2011/08/25/escalation-will-violence-derail-palestinian-un-vote-before

HOW: QUESTIONS may be posed live via telephone, by pressing 1 during the call to be placed in the queue, by live chat on the press briefing webpage, or via Twitter by including @THEIMEU in your tweet with your question.

If you miss the call, the discussion will be archived at the link above or you can find it by visiting the IMEU at www.imeu.net.

CONTACT: Call Ismail Khalidi at (646) 824-7982 or email ismail@imeu.net for quick access to sources in the U.S., Israel and Palestine for this and other developing stories.

IMEU: Eilat Attacks and Escalation in Gaza

FOREVER! Gaza in our hearts!

INSTITUTE FOR MIDDLE EAST UNDERSTANDING
IMEU ~ 21 August 2011

In Gaza City on August 20, 2011 ~ murdered by Israel

A deadly three-pronged attack by unidentified gunmen on Israeli soldiers and civilians near the Red Sea resort town of Eilat on Thursday triggered a serious escalation in violence, with Israel launching three nights of air raids on the Gaza Strip.Following the attacks, Israeli forces also pursued the attackers into Egypt, where Egyptian security officers were shot dead, sparking a diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
Prior attacks
Even before Thursday’s attack, Israel carried out a series of deadly military actions in Gaza last week.Early on Tuesday 16 August, Israeli warplanes launched an airstrike that killed a 29-year-old Palestinian man. The Israeli military said the strike was in response to a rocket from Gaza that caused no damage or injuries.In a separate incident later on Tuesday, Israeli troops shot dead a teenager near Gaza’s boundary with Israel. Palestinian medical officials said the teen was shot more than 10 times.
Triple strike
According to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, six Israeli civilians and one soldier were killed during Thursday’s triple attack.In the first incident, men following a public bus opened fire with Kalashnikov assault rifles. The attack took place on Israel’s Highway 12, about 12 miles north of the city of Eilat.

In the second incident, an Israeli military vehicle several miles away was hit by a roadside bomb, while mortars were fired at workers building a fence along Israel’s border with Egypt.

The third incident was a gun battle between Israeli forces and militants. According to the UN peacekeeping force in the Sinai, Israeli forces pursued the gunmen across the Egyptian border, and an Israeli helicopter fired on Egyptian security officers, killing at least three of them.

Gaza blamed

Israeli officials immediately blamed the attacks on Palestinian armed groups from Gaza, claiming the gunmen crossed into the Sinai Peninsula through tunnels from Gaza, and then infiltrated Israel.

“This is not speculation, not conjecture, not joining the dots. They are sure these terrorists left Gaza,” said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev.

In the first Israeli airstrike following the Eilat attacks, Israel targeted the leadership of the Popular Resistance Committees, a secretive armed group in Gaza. According to the Palestinian news agency Maan, the strike hit the home of official Khaled Shaath, who was killed instantly. His two-year-old son Malek later died of injuries sustained in the strike.

The raid, in the city of Rafah, killed four other men reported to be senior members of the PRC.

Following the bombardment, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, “We have killed the heads of the organization that sent the terrorists.”

Lack of evidence

Aside from the insistence of Israeli officials, no evidence has come to light clearly linking the Eilat incident to any group in Gaza. Indeed, Hamas and the PRC themselves denied responsibility for the attacks.

In addition, the governor of Egypt’s North Sinai region, Abdel Wahab Mabruk, denied militants had entered the territory from Gaza, citing his country’s heavy security presence in the area.

In a striking turnaround on Saturday, the Israeli military’s chief spokesperson, Lt. Colonel Avital Leibovitz, denied that Israel blamed the PRC for the Eilat attack.

In an interview with The Real News Network’s Lia Tarachansky, Leibovitz said, “We did not say that this group was responsible for the terror attack. We based this on intelligence information as well as some facts that [we] actually presented an hour ago to some wires and journalists.”

As evidence that the attackers came from Gaza, she said, “Some of the findings that were from the bodies of the terrorists, and they are using, for example, Kalashnikov bullets and Kalashnikov rifles [which] are very common in Gaza.”

Leibovitz’s claim makes little sense, however, since the Kalashnikov is the most popular gun on the planet, with more than 75 million produced since the Second World War. Paul Woodward, the author of the blog War in Context, responded to this assertion saying, “that’s about as logical as saying they know they came from Gaza because they appeared to be Arabs.”

Gaza under fire

Despite the apparent lack of concrete evidence linking the Eilat attackers to groups in Gaza, Israel pressed ahead with an air offensive on Gaza.

The first night of airstrikes left a total of seven Palestinians dead, including a 13-year-old boy named Mahmoud Abu Samra, who according to medics was killed when Israeli warplanes struck a Hamas intelligence compound in Gaza City.

After three nights of Israeli bombardment, the death toll in Gaza stood at 14 Palestinians dead and more than 40 wounded.

The bombing also damaged civilian infrastructure, including government and NGO offices, water and sewage pumps, and a psychotherapy clinic.

Lopsided response

Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, including the PRC and the military wing of Hamas, responded to the Israeli strikes by launching rockets into Israeli territory.

Some of these rockets were homemade projectiles – so-called Qassam rockets – that ordinarily have a maximum range of five kilometers, although some have been recorded to fly up to 20 kilometers (12 miles). These crude rockets are completely unguided and rarely cause casualties.

Armed groups also fired Grad missiles, another primitive weapon, originally developed by the Soviet military in the 1960s. In contrast with the Qassam, however, the Grad is in fact a deadly weapon. One Israeli man was killed by a Grad fired from Gaza into the city of Beersheba on Friday.

By any measure, however, the armaments of the Palestinian guerilla fighters are no match for those of the Israeli armed forces. In three days of strikes on Gaza, the Israeli military has already used American-made F-16 fighter jets and Apache helicopters, along with unmanned aerial drones.

Israel is one of the best-armed states in the region, possessing more than 500 combat aircraft, more than 3,300 tanks, nuclear weapons, and its own communications and surveillance satellites.

End of the ceasefire

After 24 hours of strikes, the military wing of Hamas, Al-Qassam Brigades, announced on Friday that it no longer considers itself bound by a unilateral ceasefire that had been in place since the end of Israel’s winter offensive in Gaza in 2009.

The truce was agreed upon by all of the armed factions in Gaza, and was periodically reaffirmed in consultations among the groups. However, a handful of small, radical Salafist groups refused to abide by the ceasefire.

In spite of intermittent confrontations, the ceasefire had produced relative calm in Gaza and its surroundings. The Hamas government took pains to enforce the truce, frequently jailing members of splinter groups who violated the agreement.

Hamas and the rival Fatah movement reaffirmed the ceasefire when they signed a reconciliation agreement in April 2011.

Although some Palestinian individuals and groups violated the ceasefire over the course of two and a half years, Israel has violated it with far more deadly consequences.

According to data compiled by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, from the end of the 2009 offensive until 28 July 2011, Israeli military action killed 202 Palestinians in Gaza.

By contrast, during the same period, according to the UN database, Palestinian armed groups killed only three Israeli soldiers. Israeli government data show that Palestinian shelling from Gaza during this time killed another two people.

FOREVER! Gaza in our hearts!

War in Context: Israel’s security strategy — when in doubt, assault Gaza

by PAUL WOODWARD ~ 21 August 2011

 

A Palestinian man carries the body of Islam Greagea, a five-year-old boy killed in an Israeli air strike, at a hospital in Gaza City on August 19, 2011


Three days after the attacks by gunmen outside Eilat in southern Israel, what do we know about the identities of the gunmen? Almost nothing.

In the mainstream media they are blithely referred to as “Palestinian gunmen” yet so far the only basis for this description is the unsubstantiated word of Israeli officials. Those officials have provided no real evidence to back up their claims.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to assign responsibility for the attacks with the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees yet both they and Hamas denied any involvement.

Generally speaking, Palestinian militant groups are not shy about claiming responsibility for attacks against Israelis — especially those that can be described as military operations where Israeli soldiers are killed or injured. Indeed, the problem is more often that too many groups — not too few — want to claim the honor.

This suggests a rather obvious explanation about why no Palestinian group announced that it directed the attacks: it wasn’t a Palestinian operation.

The Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson refused to endorse Netanyahu’s assertion about the PRC role and the only “proof” of Palestinian involvement the IDF presented was the use of Kalashnikovs — as though 100 million Kalashnikovs, 20% of the firearms available on the planet, are now stockpiled in Gaza!

What other evidence is there about the gunmen? They were wearing Egyptian military uniforms.

Just before the Eilat attacks, Egyptian security forces declared Operation Eagle — an effort to bring security to the lawless Sinai — a success.

Deputy Interior Minister Ahmad Gamal Eddin said at a press conference last week that the campaign has so far managed to arrest members of al-Takfeer wal-Hijra and to collect arms and illegally acquired military uniforms.

Militant Salafists based in the Sinai are believed to have been periodically blowing up the Egypt-Israel gas pipeline this year. They are well-armed and possess Egyptian military uniforms. Were they behind the Eilat attacks? It seems a bit more plausible than the IDF’s Kalashnikov-based analysis.

Meanwhile, Hamas has once again agreed to take the lead in enforcing a ceasefire with Israel.

A Hamas official in Gaza says that all of Gaza’s militant groups have agreed to a cease-fire aimed at ending a three-day round of violence with Israel.

The official says Egypt helped broker the cease-fire, which will go into effect this evening. He says Egypt told the groups that Israel would halt its airstrikes only if the Palestinian groups stopped shooting first, and that Hamas security personnel would enforce the agreement.

He spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because the agreement had not officially been made public.

Earlier on Sunday, AP reported that Israeli officials arrived in Cairo. Moreover, Israeli sources confirmed that the reduced IDF strikes on Gaza in the last 24 hours was an intentional move aimed at allowing Egypt to mediate a cease-fire, as well as out of fear for the defense and diplomatic relationship with Egypt.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak issued a harsh warning to those responsible for the latest rocket fire on southern Israel, saying those who act against Israel “will have their heads separated from their bodies.”

Thus speaks Israel’s own Salafist military commander.