Palestine and the Arab World

Arab democracy and resistance

Archive for July 2014

Let everyone account for their actions at the Hague …

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Fire raging in Gaza’s main power plant following an overnight Israeli airstrike, south of Gaza City. Photograph: Oliver Weiken/EPA

‘Israel has the right to defend itself’ and ‘Hamas are a terrorist organization’ are two phrases that are constantly run together in the media coverage of the Gaza siege right now, cynically called Operation Protective Edge by Israel. What does this mean? It means that Israeli Forces have absolute impunity when it comes to violation of International Humanitarian Law in hammering the people of Gaza because as everyone knows, the entire population is marked as ‘terrorists’ .  What we are witnessing now on our television screens goes way beyond any of the previous sieges on Gaza. Different UN agencies are doing what they can and there has been three press conferences in the last couple of hours. We have not seen destruction and killing on this scale in Gaza ever before. Operation Protective Edge has taken the destruction of civilian life to a new level. Let the international community look at the work of Israel on communities like Shujayea in this short film and make their own mind up about war crimes. The film is by Amjad Almalki and Ahmad Ashour and it contains a warning about some of the images. The footage is very moving.

John Ging, the United Nations Head of Humanitarian Aid Office has just given a statement saying clean water is now urgent in Gaza. Bread lines are endlessly long.  With Gaza’s only power plant being destroyed there is now power for to run purifying plants. So there are zero facilities for providing clean water to 1.6 million people. Ging has just said the World Health Organization are extremely worried because 23 Medical Centers have been destroyed and emergency drugs and equipment have been destroyed along with the centres.  WHO are saying medical aid has to be gotten into Gaza immediately. WHO make this statement wilst there are long ques of ambulances on the Egyptian side of the Rafa crossing not being allowed to enter Gaza. If for whatever reason we were seeing Israel suffering in this way the world would have moved instantly.  But this is the Palestinians who have had exactly this sort of treatment since 1948 when three quarters of a million were driven out of their homes and over 500 villages destroyed.

Chris Gunness, the United Nation’s man on the ground has also just spoken. Near to tears he has said seven of his UNWRA staff have been killed by Israel. After leaflets were dropped on areas like Shujayea by Israel telling families to leave the area, many sought safety in UN Centers and many of these centers have been now also been shelled repeatedly. Along with UN staff many women and children who had been in the centers thinking they would be safe have been killed. Nineteen were killed in a crowded market also in Shujayeya when women had thought it safe enough to go out and buy any bread that was available. Seventeen people were killed in that market. Ambulances still cannot get into the area to tend the injured as I write this. Al Quds university has been shelled and there is black smoke over the whole of strip. Colleagues over the Egyptian border in Al Arish tell me that Gaza is one mass of dense black smoke. Ambulances are lined up at the Rafah border and not being allowed to cross so that they can give help. Over six thousand people have been seriously injured.

In the past the United States have withheld loan guarantees worth billions because of Israel’s barbarous treatment of the Palestinians. Israelis think this is not going to happen again because of the deep bond on underlying values. But it exactly that link which is worrying the US right now. The world is looking at some incredibly disturbing images that are too close to images in the past associated with the US in Vietnam and that is a real worry for Washington.

Gunness claims there is evidence of the Israeli forces ignoring co-ordinates being given to them repeatedly and is now saying evidence must be put before the UN showing Israeli war crimes. This is a person who is seeing everything and not likely to make such statements without there being real cause. Gunness represents the UN in Gaza and he is clearly charging Israel with war crimes. There are thousands and thousands who have had to leave their homes and are moving from one center to next as more leaflets drop.

Israel is not going after Hamas because of rockets and it is not going after them because they refuse to recognize the Jews only state of Israel. Israel is going after Hamas because they stand outside of the great Oslo deception and they have now become part of a Palestinian unity government. Everything Israel has been about in the last thirty years has been about separating Palestinian from Palestinian. Separation strategies have been pushed with over 600 checkpoints, an illegal apartheid wall and similarly illegal settlements. The photograph below shows graffiti that can be found all over the West Bank. I personally have seen this onmany occasions. It expresses something fundamentally disturbing that is at work in Israel’s violence right now.

Over the past couple of weeks I have spoken with academics from all over the UK. I have met with colleagues working right across the disciplines and they have invariably expressed outrage and anger. Right now in the press there is one professional organization after another stating their abhorrence at Israel as a modern day Sparta. Operation Protective Edge is not a one off attack. Since the closure of Gaza in 2006 there has been one siege after another. Israel even attacked the convoy of boats carrying aid to Gaza and killed seven people on the Mava Marmara. It is not a question of Hamas recognizing Israel’s right to exist. It is a much more a question of the civilized world recognizing Israel’s constant violation of international law. We see Israeli pushing one grotesque war after another in the Middle East. Will it next be Iran? What sort of state functions by making constant war? Does Israel think the Palestinians will cower before them because they have behaved like Nazis? Do they think the international community will feel closer to them because they are killing civilians in Gaza?


Written by uprisings230950

July 30, 2014 at 5:51 pm

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So the Israeli war cabinet agrees to a 24 hour cease-fire but say they are keeping the ground forces in Gaza and they are still destroying tunnels.  They say there can be no humanitarian aid going into Gaza.  And they call this a truce.

This is the same Israel that claims it only targets Hamas combatants.  Israel targets Palestinians full stop.  Their is neither the protection on non-combatants nor any limitations on what they are prepared to do to destroy the people.

There has been no proportionality.  Even hospitals, schools and clinics have been shelled.  Netanyahu even went on the television claiming there was no closure of Gaza and it was possible to import and export as elsewhere.  These are not lies.  They are the statements made by a state that has lost all sense of reality.

And they say they want a 24 hour truce.  No one should be taken in by Israeli lies.  All internationals call for an ending of the seige, removal of the ground forces, and the complete opening of Gaza.  We want the Port of gaza opened so that supporters can travel directly to Gaza.  We want the Rafah border crossing opened for imports and exports.

Written by uprisings230950

July 26, 2014 at 10:16 pm

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Israel: a state of criminality

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Look at this.  Where is proportionality?  How could this be focused on combatants?  This is indiscriminate bombing.  Can anything Israel says be trusted?  Can Israel be considered legal?  No critique is accepted.  Listen to Regev.  These are criminals, completely outside human international humanitarian law.

There have been over 1,000 Palestinians murdered.  This is not the first time of course.  This is the third siege since 2006.  This is no longer a question to be settled by Israel and Gaza.  This is an international issue.

Thus whilst the standard rap is reproduced about Israel having the right to defend itself the inter national community must move things on to a question of international humanitarian law.  The US has no say in the issue.  If a consortium of states along with Palestinian representatives put a file before the International Criminal Court then we can expect to see some resolution.  But nothing is going to be settled until Israel’s leaders are in the Hague.

There are no newspapers in the English language that are not denouncing Israel.  All recognise indiscriminate bombing.  No one single newspaper is not denouncing Israel.  The position of Israel is now impossible.  There are thousands and thousands of people on the streets in almost all British cities.  Outside the Israeli Embassy in London there are record crowds.

Conferences must be called in all the European and American cities and strategies worked out for getting Israel in front of the International Criminal Court.  Whatever the outcome of the cease-fire agreement, this time Israel really has gone too far.


Written by uprisings230950

July 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm

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Israel and Kerry should be hanging their heads in shame …

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Security for Israel?

How many ways are there of covering the truth? Even though a statement had already been made in Israel, John Kerry could not even bring himself to say that the Israeli war cabinet had met and thrown out Kerry’s proposals. Similarly, he could not say that the US were not unhappy with a Palestinian unity government. Kerry choked on anything that sounded remotely like mentioning Hamas, even though the whole world has seen them stand up to the Israeli army with incredible courage. Netanyahu and Kerry are embarrassed and that could not be covered.

Yet Kerry stood in front of the international press in Cairo and immediately went into the Washington speak about security for Israel. This is the Israel that occupies the West Bank, the Israel that builds settlements and Jews-only roads that cut Palestinian communities in half and the Israel that maintains the inhuman  closure of Gaza. Kerry then has the nerve to introduce his “peace initiative” by babbling on about Israel’s right to security. It is Israel’s security that denies security for everyone else, especially five million Palestinians.

There have been demonstrations all around the world in support of Palestine and there has been nothing in support of the Israel’s madness. Does this not mean anything to Kerry? He talks about Israelis having the right to feel secure in their schools and says absolutely nothing about Israel shelling several UN schools. Israel are now bombing everything and anything in Gaza and the whole world is watching.   And Obama and Kerry wonder why people everywhere loathe America.

The US spineless support for Israel is the problem. It is not anything remotely like the solution and no one knows what the hell the talk about there being “a framework in place” means. Kerry concluded his announcement by saying he was going to Paris.  Again, he could not bring himself to mention that he was talking to Qatar, Turkey and European representatives.

The point which could not be covered up was that Israel has not defeated Gaza. They have thrown everything at that narrow strip of land and they have beaten no one. They have murdered and maimed children mercilessly and they have beaten no one. Long live Palestine and its wonderful people who have shown the world what dignity means.  If Israel thinks they have come out of the last couple of weeks looking like anything but cowards then they have all gone a little Netanyahu.



Written by uprisings230950

July 25, 2014 at 7:41 pm

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Protective edge …

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Whilst young people battle on the streets of East Jerusalem with the Israeli Occupation Forces many questions are starting to be asked about the Palestinian leadership over the last twenty years.  Who has been protecting whom over these years?

Some sort of an answer is alluded to on various websites which are reporting that the Abbas family were sneaked out of the West Bank earlier in the week to Jordon.  At the same time Mohammed Shehada has increased the personal security surrounding President Abbas.

Endless questions emerge about the role of the Palestinian Authority, especially since 2006 …  Wheeling and dealing has always been common knowledge but in the context of mass muder in gaza, all these intrigues are now looked at in a new light.  The attack on the Un school in gaza yesterday focused much thought …

This is the third seige on Gaza since 2009.  The enforced closure of Gaza has meant endless suffering for people in that narrow strip of land.  Some are asking the difference between dying from Israeli bombs and dying from the closure where water and basic medicines cannot be obtained.  Yet they have kept going and they have built after each assault on schools, hospitals and clinics.

John Kerry, now in Cairo, is reported to be saying he will “talk” with the PA leader. But what is there to talk about?  The blockade of Gaza has to be lifted before anything of consequence can be discussed, surely.  All this is going on behind the scenes whilst Palestinian demonstrators are being shot at Qalandia.

If the international community is serious about ending the violence then the root cause of that violence has to be removed and the occupation ended at the same time as the blockade of Gaza is lifted.  Palestinians simply wanted to live as any other people.

End the closure, pull out the Israeli army and dismantle the checkpoints and apartheid wall.  Peace is that simple.


Why when it comes to a solution do diplomats look towards the Palestinians?  The Palestinians are not steeling land.  The Palestinians are not setting up checkpoints and setting up settlements in downtown Tel aviv.   It is Israel who are in a position to bring about a solution.  It is Israel who are in a position to end the occupation.  But for some reason none of the “brokers” of peace confront Israel.  So the problem is not just that the occupations continues, the closure of Gaza continues.  It is the cowardice and complete complicity of the international community, which falls behind the US that continues the violence.

At some point, it will be international civil society that moves beyond the suits.  It will be the growing support for Palestinian freedom that will step up to the mark.  Today we are seeing huge demonstrations in Berlin.  We have seen battles in London and Paris.  Ordinary people want justice for Palestine.  No one thinks the Palestinian cause can be put off any longer.  Israel not only has to be opposed; there has to be a coordinated effort amongst professions to get their leaders to the Hague.  At one point or another, individuals like Livni will answer for their murders.

The task for right-minded people everywhere now is to step up the boycott, step up the call for sanctions …


I am also sick of hearing the massacre being described as a war.  A war suggests some sort of conflict based on two armies that are roughly equal.  If the Palestinians had anything like the same military power as the Israelis we would see Israel showing its true colours.

Israeli politics are based on the Israeli state being backed unconditionally by Washington.  The idea that John kerry can jump on and off planes announcing that he is looking for peace is a crazy claim.  If the Obama team want peace then they have to stand up to Israel.  Right now it looks like American foreign policy comes out of Tel Aviv …  And they call themselves a super power.

Israel has to pull out of Gaza and call an end to the closure.  This is a minimal demand but it would be a move in the right direction …


Written by uprisings230950

July 25, 2014 at 10:32 am

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Are the Israelis using Flachettes ?

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Mads Gilbert

So the charge against Israel is that they are not just shelling civilians, they are also using flechettes. I remember visiting Lebanon after Israel’s hostilities had been discontinued in 2006 and seeing acres of cluster bombs. Again in violation of international humanitarian law …

There are far too many of these charges. Surely if Israel is not guilty of these charges they would welcome an independent inquiry organized by the Human Rights Committee. It would be in everyone’s interests to have a full investigation …

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July 24, 2014 at 8:26 pm

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For Israel nothing changes …

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This is 2009

This is 2014

Five years later we are hearing the same reports. Accident? Make up your own mind. If you want further examples then go back to 2002 …

Nothing changes for Israel because they think themselves outside the law?  Hospitals fare no better than schools …

Written by uprisings230950

July 24, 2014 at 8:13 pm

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