Category Archives: Palestine

On Berlin Wall’s collapse anniversary, Palestinians punch hole through West Bank wall

Haaretz reports:

West Bank wall, Nov. 8, 2014.‘As the world marks the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s collapse Sunday, Palestinians knocked a hole through an altogether different wall this weekend.

Palestinian activists affiliated with local popular resistance committees broke through the West Bank separation barrier Saturday, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported.

“No matter how high walls are built, they will fall,” the popular committees said in a statement cited by Ma’an. “Just as the Berlin Wall fell, the wall in Palestine will fall, along with the occupation.”‘

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The Special Interest Problem: How AIPAC and the NRA Came to Rule American Politics

Lawrence Davidson writes for CounterPunch:

‘The problem of special interests or lobbies was one of the foremost concerns of the Founding Fathers of the United States. In their day they were called factions. James Madison, who is considered the architect of the U.S. Constitution, devoted the entire tenth Federalist Paper (1787) to the problem. He defined a faction as “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority … actuated by some common … interest, adverse to … the aggregate interests of the community,” and believed that within the context of liberal republicanism, they could never be eliminated. However, he did feel they could be controlled. To this end he sought to create representative bodies with high numbers of delegates and a wide diversity of interests in the hope that they would counterbalance each other.

When George Washington delivered his famous Farewell Address in 1796, he too noted the problem. Washington warned of “combinations and associations” which attempt to “direct, control, counteract and awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities” and thereby substitute their own desires for the “delegated will of the nation.” As Washington’s continued concern implied, James Madison’s approach to controlling special interests or factions never proved adequate.’

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Noam Chomsky at United Nations: It Would Be Nice if the United States Lived up to International Law

Israel Sidelined as Nations Pledge $5.4 Billion to Rebuild Gaza

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

‘Israeli officials were unsuccessful in their attempts to condition the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, badly damaged during the summer Israeli invasion, on a full disarmament of Hamas and other factions within the strip.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly demanded the precondition, but it was ultimately sidelined, as the donor nations pledged $5.4 billion for reconstruction, solely on the condition that the ceasefire with Israel hold.’

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British parliament passes non-binding motion to recognize Palestinian state

Anshel Pfeffer reports for Haaretz:

‘The British parliament voted Monday in favor of a non-binding motion to recognize the state of Palestine, in a majority vote of 274-12.

The vote, which followed a debate that lasted nearly five hours, has no practical significance since it does not oblige the British government to change its current policy of recognizing Palestine only after a peace deal is reached between Israel and the Palestinians. The vote passed thanks to the Labour Party’s mobilization, as well as the Conservative Party’s virtual absence from the vote.

Outside the Palace of Westminster over the course of the debate, a small group of Pro-Palestinian demonstrators held a banner saying “Time to start giving back what we had no right to take” – a reference to the 1917 Balfour Declaration in which the British government committed itself to establishing a “national home” for the Jewish people in Palestine. Inside, many of the speakers in the debate, in which over 50 members of parliament asked to participate, mentioned the Balfour Declaration as well, and with it what they saw as Britain’s special responsibility to solving the Israel-Palestine conflict.’

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Israel’s N.S.A. Scandal

James Bamford reports for The New York Times:

‘In Moscow this summer, while reporting a story for Wired magazine, I had the rare opportunity to hang out for three days with Edward J. Snowden. It gave me a chance to get a deeper understanding of who he is and why, as a National Security Agency contractor, he took the momentous step of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents.

Among his most shocking discoveries, he told me, was the fact that the N.S.A. was routinely passing along the private communications of Americans to a large and very secretive Israeli military organization known as Unit 8200. This transfer of intercepts, he said, included the contents of the communications as well as metadata such as who was calling whom.

Typically, when such sensitive information is transferred to another country, it would first be “minimized,” meaning that names and other personally identifiable information would be removed. But when sharing with Israel, the N.S.A. evidently did not ensure that the data was modified in this way.’

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John Pilger: Breaking the last taboo – Gaza and the threat of world war

John Pilger recently delivered a speech at the Edward Said Memorial Lecture in Australia:

C2t.jpg‘”There is a taboo,” said the visionary Edward Said, “on telling the truth about Palestine and the great destructive force behind Israel. Only when this truth is out can any of us be free.”

For many people, the truth is out now. At last, they know. Those once intimidated into silence can’t look away now. Staring at them from their TV, laptop, phone, is proof of the barbarism of the Israeli state and the great destructive force of its mentor and provider, the United States, the cowardice of European governments, and the collusion of others, such as Canada and Australia, in this epic crime.

The attack on Gaza was an attack on all of us. The siege of Gaza is a siege of all of us. The denial of justice to Palestinians is a symptom of much of humanity under siege and a warning that the threat of a new world war is growing by the day.’

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Gideon Levy: ‘Holocaust makes Israelis think international law doesn’t apply’

Lara Marlowe writes for The Irish Times:

‘Gideon Levy is preaching in the wilderness. Week after week, the columnist for Haaretz newspaper tells his compatriots what they do not want to hear: that the siege of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank are immoral and counter-productive; that the continued seizure of Palestinian land and the construction of settlements is a “criminal enterprise” intended to foil any chance for peace.

[...] Levy is grateful to Amos Schocken, the third-generation owner of Haaretz, for standing by him. Some 2,000 readers cancelled subscriptions because of his July 14th column criticising Israeli air force pilots who bombed Gaza… During the war, Levy was threatened, heckled and spat upon. Haaretz hired bodyguards to protect him. Yariv Levin, the leader of the Likud Yisrael Beiteinu coalition in the Knesset, said he should be tried for treason, which carries the death penalty in time of war.’

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Jerusalem teachers warn of increase in racism after Gaza war

Yarden Skop reports for Haaretz:

‘Teachers in Jerusalem say they are concerned about facing more racism than ever before in the capital’s schools, especially following Operation Protective Edge. As the school year opens, the Education Ministry has published lesson plans on racism to be taught during the first two weeks, but many teachers say that is not enough.’

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Losing the Plot: Israel’s Premier to Face New Gaza Reality

Ramzy Baroud writes for The Palestine Chronicle:

‘Netanyahu’s war-turned-genocide in Gaza has backfired badly – his strategy has helped resurrect Hamas, the very movement he tried desperately to crush

Aside from being a major military setback, Israel’s war on Gaza has also disoriented the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu like never before. Since the announcement of a ceasefire on 26 August, his statements appear erratic and particularly uncertain, an expected outcome of the Gaza war.’

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War is a racket: $6 billion Gaza reconstruction aid will be ‘made in Israel’

EurActiv reports 

How did we miss that one? Destruction in Gaza, July 2014. Photo: Oxfam International via Flickr.‘As the world gears up to finance Gaza’s $6bn reconstruction after Operation Protective Edge, an EU source has revealed that Israel will earn billions of euros by making sure that all the steel, concrete and other materials and other aid are sourced in Israel and benefit Israeli companies.

At least 65,000 people in the Gaza Strip are homeless after the recent seven-week conflict. Infrastructure ranging from water desalination centres to power plants lies in ruins.

No formal Israeli ban prevents the import of reconstruction materials that were not made in Israel, but EU sources speaking on condition of anonymity say that in practice, Israeli security demands present them with a fait accompli.’

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The Untold Story of the Shejaiya Massacre in Gaza: A Former Israel Soldier Speaks Out

A War on Gaza’s Future? Israeli Assault Leaves 500 Kids Dead, 3,000 Injured, 373,000 Traumatized

‘As the Israeli offensive in Gaza resumes, we look at the impact the military campaign has had on the children of Gaza. More than 467 Palestinian children have died since July. That is more than the combined number of child fatalities in the two previous conflicts in Gaza. According to the World Health Organization, more than 3,000 children have been injured, of which an estimated 1,000 will suffer from a life-long disability. The United Nations estimates at least 373,000 children require direct and specialized psychosocial support. And, based on the total number of adults killed, there may be up to 1,500 children orphaned. Gazan children’s right to an education has also been severely compromised with at least 25 schools reportedly damaged so severely that they can no longer be used. We speak to Pernille Ironside, chief of UNICEF’s Gaza field office. “There isn’t a single family in Gaza who hasn’t experienced personally death, injury, the loss of their home, extensive damage, displacement,” Ironside says. “The psychological toll that has on a people, it just cannot be overestimated, and especially on children.”’ (Democracy Now!)

Gaza counts cost of war as more than 360 factories destroyed or damaged

Harriet Sherwood reports for The Guardian:

Gaza‘s economy will take years to recover from the devastating impact of the war, in which more than 360 factories have been destroyed or badly damaged and thousands of acres of farmland ruined by tanks, shelling and air strikes, according to analysts. Israeli air strikes on Gaza have resumed since a temporary ceasefire brokedown on Tuesday after rockets were fired from Gaza. The Israeli Defence Force said it launched air stikes on 20 sites on Friday morning and Gaza health officials said two Palestinians were killed in an attack on a farm.

Almost 10% of Gaza’s factories have been put out of action, said the Palestinian Federation of Industries. Most other industrial plants have halted production during the conflict, causing losses estimated at more than $70m (£42m), said the union of Palestinian industries. The UN’s food and agriculture organisation (FAO) said about 42,000 acres of croplands had sustained substantial direct damage and half of Gaza’s poultry stock has been lost due to direct hits or lack of care as access to farmlands along the border with Israel became impossible. More than 9% of the annual fishing catch was lost between 9 July and 10 August, it added.’

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Israel Mobilizes 10,000 More Reservists for Gaza War

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

‘With signs the ongoing Israeli war on the Gaza Strip is again escalating, the Israeli government has ordered the mobilization of another 10,000 reservists, bringing the number called up so far during the war to 96,000.

Israeli military officials say that the 10,000 will replace other reservists who are being temporarily sent home for rest, which also suggests that they are planning the war to be long enough they have to do troop rotations.’

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Holocaust survivors and their descendants accuse Israel of ‘genocide’

The Independent reports:

‘Dozens of Holocaust survivors, together with hundreds of descendants of Holocaust survivors and victims, have accused Israel of “genocide” for the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza since the conflict erupted in July. In an open letter released by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and published as an advert in The New York Times, the group calls for a full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel over its “wholesale effort to destroy Gaza”.

“Genocide begins with the silence of the world,” the statement reads, “We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people.” The statement also condemns the United States for its financial and diplomatic support of Israel. The signatories express alarm at “the extreme, racist dehumanization of Palestinians in Israeli society, which has reached a fever pitch.”’

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Netanyahu warns Gaza civilians after Israel destroys apartment block

Reuters reports:

Image AP Photo/Adel Hana‘Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Palestinian civilians on Sunday to leave immediately any site where militants are operating, one day after Israel flattened a 13-storey apartment block in Gaza. Israeli aircraft fired a non-explosive rocket at the building as a signal to residents to get out before attacking it on Saturday. Seventeen people were wounded in the strike on the structure, which Israel said had housed a Hamas command centre.

“I call on the inhabitants of Gaza to evacuate immediately from every site from which Hamas is carrying out terrorist activity. Every one of these places is a target for us,” Netanyahu said in public remarks at a cabinet meeting. With no end in sight to fighting in its seventh week, Netanyahu’s tough talk seemed to indicate a move towards bolder strikes against Hamas targets in densely populated neighbourhoods, even at the risk of raising more international alarm.’

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UN Announces Members For Gaza Probe Panel, Angers Israel

Avaneesh Pandey reports for The International Business Times:

‘The United Nations Human Rights Council, or UNHRC, in a statement released Monday, announced the appointment of three experts to an international commission of inquiry that will investigate allegations of war crimes and violations of “international humanitarian and human rights laws” during the Israeli military’s assault on the Gaza Strip.

[...] The international commission of inquiry, which was launched on July 23 after 29 countries voted in its favor, is slated to submit its report by March 2015. Israel, responding to Monday’s announcement, reiterated its earlier stance and denounced the UNHRC panel as a “kangaroo court,” Al Jazeera reported… Hamas, on the other hand, said that the formation of the commission was an important step forward… The UNHRC announcement came on the second day of a 72-hour cease-fire between Hamas and Israel during which the two sides have resumed indirect talks in Cairo, mediated by Egypt.’

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If the Nobel Peace Prize can be handed to Obama, why not hand it to the Israeli Defence Force?

Robert Fisk writes for The Independent:

‘But seriously. Is Dermer, one of Benjamin Netanyahu’s most trusted advisers, simply delusional? At one point in his extraordinary address, he even referred to the RAF’s carpet-bombing of German cities in the Second World War – as if this was the template for Israel’s “restraint”. It was like the old Blair refrain that whatever mistakes we made in Iraq, we weren’t as bad as Saddam. Well, I should hope not. But then Dermer went on: “I especially will not tolerate criticism of my country at a time when Israeli soldiers are dying so that innocent Palestinians can live.” These soldiers, according to Dermer, were being sent “into the hornet’s nest of Palestinian terror” – but WERE TRYING TO SAVE “INNOCENT” PALESTINIAN LIVES!’

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John Pilger talks Gaza, Ukraine & Western media bias

Are we creating personalized propaganda bubbles?

Mark Strauss writes for i09:

The Biggest Source of Disinformation On The Gaza Conflict Is Ourselves‘New data visualizations give a startling picture of online activity during the latest conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. And they reveal just how much online media and social networks help us to create our own information bubbles, customized to reinforce our political beliefs.

Gilad Lotan is the chief data scientist at betaworks, which has launched high-profile companies that include SocialFlow and bitly. Looking at Lotan’s network graph of Twitter traffic from his blog i love data, I can’t help but feel that we really are living in a version of The Matrix. The media constructs our reality and we’re plugged into it 24/7. Except here, in theory, we have the freedom to make our own decisions.

In Lotan’s view, however, that’s a big part of the problem…’

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ICG’s Nathan Thrall: Likely solution for a lasting ceasefire was on the table before Israeli assault and over 1,800 dead

‘Is a lasting ceasefire in Gaza possible — and on what terms? Our guest Nathan Thrall has laid out a possible plan for a ceasefire in his new article in the London Review of Books, “Hamas’s Chances.” Thrall writes: “The obvious solution is to let the new Palestinian government return to Gaza and reconstruct it. Israel can claim it is weakening Hamas by strengthening its enemies. Hamas can claim it won the recognition of the new government and a significant lifting of the blockade. This solution would of course have been available to Israel, the U.S., Egypt and the Palestinian Authority in the weeks and months before the war began, before so many lives were shattered.” Speaking to us from Jerusalem, Thrall is a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, covering Gaza, Israel, Jordan and the West Bank. He also addresses Hamas’ accusation that Israel misled the world about the alleged capture of an Israeli soldier. On Friday, Israel said one of soldiers, Lt. Hadar Goldin, had been captured near Rafah. His suspected abduction led to an Israeli offensive in Rafah that killed more than 100 people and the collapse of a U.S.- and U.N.-brokered ceasefire.’ (Democracy Now!)

Netanyahu Vows ‘Prolonged’ Gaza Campaign

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

‘Despite a 72-hour ceasefire starting early Tuesday morning, supposedly to give way to negotiations in Cairo on a settlement of the conflict, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to rule out ending the Gaza War.

Dismissing the negotiations, Netanyahu insisted the military operation would continue until the entire Gaza Strip became “calm,” and that there would be no cessation of fire before that. Even during Monday’s humanitarian “ceasefire,” Israel never really ceased fire, and continued to pound refugee camps around Rafah, killing more civilians, including an eight-year-old girl.’

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Snowden Documents Detail Spying Partnership Between US, Israel That Enables Occupation of Palestine

Kevin Gosztola reports for Firedoglake:

‘Documents provided by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden to journalist Glenn Greenwald reveal specific details on the close relationship between the NSA and Israeli spy agencies and how cooperation enables military operations, such as the assault that has been ongoing in Gaza and has now killed over 1,800 Palestinians.

Previously, Greenwald reported in September 2013 on a “memorandum of understanding” between the NSA and Israeli intelligence from Snowden, which showed the NSA shared “raw intelligence” including the data of Americans with Israel. It also noted a document that stated, ”The survival of the state of Israel is a paramount goal of US Middle East policy.”

In his most recent report for The Intercept, Greenwald describes an information paper dated April 19, 2013, which was marked “top secret.” It indicates, “NSA maintains a far-reaching technical and analytic relationship with the Israeli SIGINT [signals intelligence] National Unit (ISNU) sharing information on access, intercept, targeting, language, analysis and reporting.” This relationship has brought about a stronger intelligence relationship between the United States and Israel and “prompted an expansion to include other Israeli and US intelligence organizations such as CIA, Mossad and the Special Operation Division (SOD),” which is a division of Israeli Defense Intelligence.’

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The Demonization of Gaza: Israel’s Reversion to Old Colonial Tactics

James Abourezk, a former US senator from South Dakota, writes for CounterPunch:

‘It is amazing how quickly Israel has learned the elements of colonial staying power.  It is even more amazing how the American media has taken up the cause of racism against the Palestinians.

We can start with how the Israelis, and their lobby headquartered in Washington, have managed to demonize Palestinians, with the result that Israel can undertake a massive slaughter and be barely criticized for it both by our media.   We can begin with Israel’s request to the US government a couple of decades ago to label Hamas as a “Terrorist Group,” which our government happily agreed to do.   Other people in other parts of the world have tried this tactic, with some success, but for the most part such rebels are labeled “insurgents.”

Demonization of those you occupy is an essential first step to allow a colonial power to do what it wishes with the people being occupied.  How else can one explain the lack of meaningful protests by Americans, who have furnished the money and the weapons to the maiming and the slaughter by Israel of thousands of Palestinians in the many wars its Army has conducted against the Palestinians.

It is useful to look back at our own colonial experience to understand what our government is doing to abet this slaughter of innocents.’

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What Gaza looks like 28 days after Operation Protective Edge

Gaza

View more photographs @ The Independent

Netanyahu emphasizes “all options open” but signs point to drawdown

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

Map of Gaza with deaths per region and location of shelters‘Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered troops to redeploy and continue the invasion of the Gaza Strip, though reports of some of the troops being moved out of the strip are a sign Israel is winding down the war.

Netanyahu denied that the war was coming to an end, but said it would continue “only on the basis of security considerations,” and that “all options are open” for further escalation.

…The apparent Israeli strategy at this point is to draw down the Gaza War to an eventual halt without any negotiated settlement, to avoid having to make any concessions on the blockade of the Gaza economy in a ceasefire.’

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Israeli Spies Once Poisoned Hamas Leader Khaled Mashal

Israeli scholar Illan Pappe on the history behind the Israel-Palestine conflict

Palestine in 1896