Category Archives: Hamas

HyperNormalisation by Adam Curtis

Documentary by British filmmaker Adam Curtis released on 16th October 2016 exclusively on BBC iPlayer. (BBC)

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From Gaza to Aleppo: A Handy Guide for Defending War Crimes

Stephen Zunes writes for In These Times:

Given the United States’ disastrous record in the Middle East—most critically the invasion and occupation of Iraq—and the manifold lies coming out of Washington to justify its policies, many Americans are understandably skeptical about U.S. interventions and the rationalizations used to defend them. This leads many Americans to oppose both direct intervention in Syria and the arming of rebel factions—and rightly so.

But while there is room for debate on some aspects of the conflict, certain elements of the anti-war movement and the anti-imperialist Left—such as the U.S. Peace Council, the ANSWER Coalition, some Green Party leaders and even Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire—go beyond opposing U.S. intervention and implicitly (and in some cases, explicitly) defend the corrupt and autocratic regime of Bashar al-Assad. They minimize or deny its responsibility for war crimes, attempt to discredit the reputable human rights organizations that document these crimes, treat virtually the entire Syrian opposition as its most extreme and violent components and attack fellow Leftists who disagree with them.

Many of the arguments used to defend the Syrian regime’s devastating attacks on rebel-held cities are eerily similar to those used by U.S. politicians, in their public statements and in a series of bipartisan Congressional resolutions, to defend Israel’s massive assaults on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. By combining segments of these statements and resolutions supporting Israel’s “right to self-defense” with certain anti-imperialists’ writings on Syria, I was able to put together the ultimate guide to defending war crimes.

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The Next Gaza War

Max Blumenthal writes for Tom Dispatch:

‘“A fourth operation in the Gaza Strip is inevitable, just as a third Lebanon war is inevitable,” declared Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in February. His ominous comments came just days after an anti-tank missile fired by the Lebanon-based guerrilla group Hezbollah killed two soldiers in an Israeli army convoy. It, in turn, was a response to an Israeli air strike that resulted in the assassination of several high-ranking Hezbollah figures.

Lieberman offered his prediction only four months after his government concluded Operation Protective Edge, the third war between Israel and the armed factions of the Gaza Strip, which had managed to reduce about 20% of besieged Gaza to an apocalyptic moonscape. Even before the assault was launched, Gaza was a warehouse for surplus humanity — a 360-square-kilometer ghetto of Palestinian refugees expelled by and excluded from the self-proclaimed Jewish state. For this population, whose members are mostly under the age of 18, the violence has become a life ritual that repeats every year or two. As the first anniversary of Protective Edge passes, Lieberman’s unsettling prophecy appears increasingly likely to come true. Indeed, odds are that the months of relative “quiet” that followed his statement will prove nothing more than an interregnum between Israel’s ever more devastating military escalations.

Three years ago, the United Nations issued a report predicting that the Gaza Strip would be uninhabitable by 2020. Thanks to Israel’s recent attack, this warning appears to have arrived sooner than expected. Fewof the 18,000 homes the Israeli military destroyed in Gaza have been rebuilt. Few of the more than 400 businesses and shops damaged or leveled during that war have been repaired. Thousands of government employees have not received a salary for more than a year and are working for free. Electricity remains desperately limited, sometimes to only four hours a day. The coastal enclave’s borders are consistently closed. Its population is trapped, traumatized, and descending ever deeper into despair, with suicide rates skyrocketing.’

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Israel Attacked Gaza One Year Ago Today: Interview with Max Blumenthal

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

One year ago today, Israel invaded, bombed and shelled Gaza, and continued to do that for the next seven weeks. According to the U.N., at least 2,104 Gazans were killed — 1,462 of whom (69 percent) were civilians, including 495 children. A total of 6 Israeli civilians, and 66 soldiers, were killed. The shockingly high civilian death rate in Gaza included the now-iconic imagery of four young boys from the same family being killed by Israeli warships while they played on a beach in front of a hotel filled with foreign journalists.

Months after the attack concluded, U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon visited Gaza and labeled the destruction “beyond description,” far worse than prior Israeli attacks. At least 17,000 homes “were obliterated or severely damaged during the conflict,” and it will take two decades to rebuild them; that means that “nearly 60,000 people have lost their homes.” On countless occasions, entire large families of Gazans were instantly extinguished by Israeli violence. Because the population of Gaza is so young — 43 percent are under the age of 15, while 64 percent are under the age of 24 — the majority of its residents know little beyond extreme suffering, carnage, violence and war.

As harrowing as that data is, it tells only a small part of the story. Statistics like these have an abstract property to them: cold and clinical. Viewing the devastation of Gaza through their lens can have a distancing effect. They erase the most affecting facts: the stories of human suffering and devastation caused by this attack, the sadism and savagery that drove it.’

READ MORE AND LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW…

Gaza Remains in Ruins a Year After Deadly Israeli Assault: Interview with Mohammed Omer

‘As Gaza marks one year since the launch of Israel’s devastating 50-day assault, it remains in a state of crisis. The assault killed 2,200 Palestinians, including 550 children. On the Israeli side, 73 people were killed, all but six of them soldiers. A year later, none of the 12,000 homes destroyed in Gaza have been rebuilt, in part due to the ongoing Israeli blockade. The World Bank is warning the Gaza economy is on the verge of collapse. Overall unemployment now stands at 43 percent — the highest in the world. We speak with Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer, author of “Shell-Shocked: On the Ground Under Israel’s Gaza Assault.”‘ (Democracy Now!)

Israeli Report Finds 2014 Gaza War “Lawful” and “Legitimate” Ahead of Critical U.N. Investigation: Interview with Yousef Munayyer and Gideon Levy

‘The Israeli government has released a report that concludes its military actions in the 2014 war in Gaza were “lawful” and “legitimate.” The findings come ahead of what is expected to be a critical United Nations investigation into the 50-day conflict that Israel has dismissed as biased and refused to cooperate with. More than 2,200 Palestinians died in what was called “Operation Protective Edge,” the vast majority civilians. On Israel’s side, 73 people were killed, all but six of them soldiers. In its report, Israel says it made “substantial efforts” to avoid civilian deaths, insisting Hamas was to blame for the high number of civilian casualties and accusing Hamas militants of disguising themselves as civilians and of converting civilian buildings into military centers. We are joined by Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the former executive director of The Jerusalem Fund. We also go to Tel Aviv to speak with Gideon Levy, Haaretz columnist, whose latest piece is “Israel washed itself clean of Gaza’s dead beach children.”‘ (Democracy Now!)

Rebuilding Gaza could take a century if Israel keeps blockade, says Oxfam

Kieran Guilbert reports for Reuters:

‘The rebuilding of homes, schools and hospitals in Gaza could take more than a century to complete unless an Israeli blockade restricting imports of construction materials into the Gaza Strip is lifted, aid agency Oxfam said on Thursday.

Gaza needs more than 800,000 truckloads of building materials to repair infrastructure damaged in the 2014 war with Israel, yet less than a quarter of one percent of the materials needed have entered Gaza in the last three months, Oxfam said.”

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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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Israeli Spies Once Poisoned Hamas Leader Khaled Mashal

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

Be Wary of Stories Quoting One “Israeli Official”

Joshua Keating writes for Slate:

‘This morning, a number of outlets including the BBC, AFP, and Reuters quoted claims by an unnamed Israel official who said that the Israeli government and Hamas had agreed to a ceasefire due to take effect tomorrow morning. The reports were quickly denied by both Hamas and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman though there are apparently ongoing talks facilitated by the Egyptian government in Cairo.

It’s not unusual for conflict statements to come out of a government during combat and high-pressure negotiations. The quick reversal struck me only because the New York Times led its front page this morning with an article declaring that a ground invasion of Gaza is “increasingly likely” according to a “senior Israeli military official.” The official “spoke on the condition of anonymity under military protocol” and “said that his assessment was based on “the signals I get””.’

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Report: Hamas, Islamic Jihad offer 10-year truce

Ma’an reports:

Hamas and Islamic Jihad have submitted a list of 10 demands to Egypt to establish a 10-year truce with Israel, the Hebrew-language daily Maariv reported Wednesday. Maariv quoted a “high-profile” Palestinian source as confirming that Hamas and Islamic Jihad were willing to sign a truce if their 10 conditions were met.

The first demand, according to Maariv, is the withdrawal of Israeli military tanks from the border fence area to a distance that enables Gaza farmers to access their fields and tend them freely. In addition, Israel must free all Palestinian prisoners detained after the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the southern West Bank including those who were freed as part of Gilad Shalit prisoner swap. This precondition also includes softening procedures against all prisoners in Israeli custody.’

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Fatah and Hamas agree landmark pact after seven-year rift

Peter Beaumont and Paul Lewis report for The Guardian:

Photograph: Majdi Mohammed/APThe two main rival Palestinian factions have signed an accord designed to end seven years of sometimes violent division, paving the way for elections later in the year and the formation of a unity government within weeks.

The move, after a day of talks between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza that lasted until three in the morning, comes less than a week before the expiry of the deadline for US-sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on 29 April and is certain to complicate US efforts to seek another nine-month extension to those talks.

Israel immediately responded by saying the Palestinian president,Mahmoud Abbas, was moving to peace with Hamas instead of peace with Israel. “He has to choose,” said the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. “Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel? You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace, so far he hasn’t done so.”

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Israel Bombs 29 Locations in Gaza

Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency claims planned suicide attack shows al-Qa’ida is taking root in Palestine

From The Independent:

Israel says it has arrested two Palestinians from East Jerusalem who were planning to carry out attacks for al-Qa’ida with the help of foreign suicide bombers posing as Russian tourists.

The men were recruited by another al-Qa’ida agent in the Gaza Strip, said Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency – the second Israeli report in as many months suggesting the militant network was taking root among Palestinians.

Hamas Islamists governing Gaza rejected the spy agency’s account as “silly fabrications”, saying it was an attempt to justify Israeli military strikes in the territory.

Security experts say al-Qa’ida and its global agenda have for a long time had only a only fringe appeal among Palestinians as they pursue a more nationalist conflict with the Jewish state.

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Egypt plans Gaza intervention if Sinai crisis continues

From Ma’an News:

The Egyptian army has established a precautionary plan for military intervention in the Gaza Strip if attacks on Egyptian troops in the Sinai Peninsula intensify, Egyptian security officials said Wednesday.

Officials told Ma’an that Egyptian reconnaissance planes had entered the Gaza Strip’s airspace and examined a number of locations in Rafah and Khan Younis to be targeted if military attacks against Egyptian troops intensify in Sinai.

Egyptian aircraft could also target vehicles which travel across the border area delivering smuggled goods, sources added. More smuggling tunnels could also be destroyed, and sources highlighted that “all options are open.”

According to Egyptian military sources, the ongoing attacks in Sinai are carried out by organizations based both in Sinai Peninsula and in the Gaza Strip.

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RECENT SINAI/GAZA NEWS:

Hamas claims increased contact with European countries ~ Guardian

Hamas security guards on Gaza's border with EgyptThe Guardian

European governments including Britain have stepped up back-channel contacts with Hamas despite an official EU policy of political isolation, in an effort to understand and possibly influence debate in the Islamist group about its future direction, according to four senior Hamas officials.

Meetings between Hamas and European government representatives and intermediaries have taken place in Gaza, Cairo and European capitals over recent months, the officials said.

The EU banned contact between its member states and the Islamist organisation when the latter took over Gaza in 2007, and Hamas is classified as a terrorist organisation by Brussels.

The Hamas officials, who spoke to the Guardian over recent weeks, declined to give specific details of meetings. “These countries trust us not to disclose information about contacts,” said Ahmed Yousef, a member of Hamas’s decision-making body, the shura council, and a former deputy foreign minister.

FULL ARTICLE @ THE GUARDIAN

Cairo seeking Israeli okay to widen Sinai offensive ~ Times of Israel

SEE ALSO: Egypt Masses Tanks Along Gaza Border as Coup Fears Grow (Antiwar)
SEE ALSO: Hamas denies 32 of its operatives killed in Sinai (Jerusalem Post)

by 
Times of Israel

As attacks in the Sinai escalate, the military leadership in Egypt is reportedly seeking Israeli approval to launch a broad campaign to root out Islamic extremists in the largely wild peninsula.

The operation is expected to begin in the next several days, but Egyptian authorities need an okay from Jerusalem under the peace treaty between the countries, the Times of London reported Thursday.

There have been several attacks on Egyptian troops in the Sinai over the last several days, the army says, as jihadists, including Palestinians from Gaza according to some reports, have attempted to take advantage of a lack of stability since the ouster of president Mohammed Morsi in an army coup.

An Israeli army source told the British paper that Jerusalem saw no reason to decline Cairo’s request.

FULL ARTICLE @ THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

Morsi’s ouster spells trouble for region’s other Islamist movements ~ Washington Post

by The Washington Post

The ouster on Wednesday of Egypt’s elected Muslim Brotherhood government barely a year after it took office represents a significant setback for the Islamist movements that have proved the biggest beneficiaries so far of the Arab Spring revolts.

From Tunisia to war-torn Syria, anti-Islamist activists have begun expressing unhappiness with the religious parties empowered by freedoms the turmoil unleashed. That the backlash has crescendoed in Egypt — the Arab world’s political and cultural trendsetter and the birthplace of the Muslim Brotherhood 80 years ago — is likely to resonate far beyond, perhaps most forcefully in Syria.

FULL ARTICLE @ THE WASHINGTON POST

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