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Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Vampire State On the Rampage in Gaza

As Western 'Democratic' Leaders Applaud - Palestinian Children and Civilians are Murdered

Once again the Israeli state has been revealed in all its naked glory - a throwback to the settler colonial states of Southern Africa and the European states in the 1930's.  Israel represents a combination of both imperialist aggression coupled with settler colonial barbarism.

It is no surprise that the BBC has run with Israel's propaganda stories, that their murderous attacks from the air were a 'response' to rockets fired upon them.  As many of the articles I will post show, this is a pretext and a lie.  But lies in the service of the State have never caused the BBC and its editors to lose any sleep.  When the BBC began to become slightly more impartial in the early years of this century, there began a Zionist campaign to reign it in, with blessing of the Blair and Brown governments.  Mark Thompson, the BBC's Director General and a Zionist who had turned a blind eye to the sexual predator Jimmy Saville, led the charge with his infamous decision to veto the Disasters Emergency Committee's appeal on the BBC.  This was unprecedented, except for a similar veto in the Lebanon.

Many other blogs will concentrate on the human tragedies involved.  This is understandable and I will not shy away from covering solidarity action and the toll of death and destruction that Israel is causing to the defenceless people of Gaza.  But it is important to understand why Israel is doing what it is doing, how it is enabled by the West to do it and why Western leaders are complicit in Israel's mayhem and murder.

I will therefore be carrying articles which I think are of particular use to the solidarity movement e.g. Ali Abunima's excellent time-line on Israel's mendacity and duplicity in agreeing a ceasefire at the same time as planning to break the same ceasefire with the assassination of Hamas's military leader, Ahmad al-Jabari.

Also of interest is the article by Professor Moshe Machover, a long-standing Israeli anti-Zionist and socialist.

I issue just one word of caution.  We must build the strongest and biggest solidarity movement, but we should never be tempted into accepting the Zionist narrative that to oppose what Israel does is to be 'anti-semitic'.  Just as South Africa called itself a 'white' nation, so Israel sees itself as the representative of a 'Jewish' nation.  Most Jews are, of course, Zionists but most Zionists are not Jewish.  Their base lies in the Christian bible belt of the American South and in the boardrooms of American and European multi-nationals.  Our response must always be a political one, not a reflection of the racist and racial politics of Zionism.

I will also be parochial and focus in particular on the solidarity action in the city in which I live, Brighton & Hove.  Fifty miles south of London, it has had - as regular readers of the blog will know - an active campaign against an Israeli company based on the West Bank - Sodastream for the past few months.  Yesterday evening there was an impromptu demonstration to Sodastream (or Ecostream as it calls itself).  Tomorrow there will be another such demonstration.

Tony Greenstein

Israel launches offensive on people of Gaza

Moshé Machover, November 15, 2012

Moshé Machover condemns the latest assault and calls for global solidarity

Israel’s current “Pillar of Defence” assault on the Gaza Strip has some uncanny parallels with the “Cast Lead” massacre of December 2008/January 2009. Both attacks were carried out shortly before general elections.

In the February 2009 elections, Kadima, the senior party in the coalition that perpetrated Cast Lead, got the largest number of Knesset seats, but was unable to form a coalition – which led to the the present coalition, headed by Netanyahu and his Likud party. Now Netanyahu seems to be repeating the exercise, hoping that it may improve his electoral position in the forthcoming January 2013 elections.

In both cases the assault was preceded by a series of low-profile Israeli provocations, such as killing a Gaza teenager playing football in sight of Israeli snipers or sinking fishing boats off the Gaza coast. These carefully calibrated incidents are off the radar of the Israeli and Western media, but a sufficient number of them serve eventually to provoke retaliation in the form of unguided rockets fired more or lass at random from Gaza into Israel. These are widely reported and enable Israel to claim that its massive assault is a retaliation rather than the other way around. In both cases, Israel violated a cease-fire agreement brokered by Egypt. This time, the cease-fire agreed on Monday, 12 November, was broken by Israel’s assassination of the senior Hamas military chief, Ahmad al-Ja’abari. This was calculated to escalate the spiral of death and was followed by a massive Israeli bombardment, and is ongoing as I write.

But the Arab region has changed radically since 2009, and is now much more volatile and less predictable. This means that flaring up of the local fire may ignite a regional conflagration. This too may serve Netanyahu’s hidden agenda: a protracted regional war may provide a smokescreen for a major ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the territories occupied by Israel since 1967. This is a long-term plan supported by all major Zionist parties. It is designed to resolve the contradiction between the deep-seated Zionist opposition to the creation of a Palestinian sovereign state, however small, in any part of pre-1948 Palestine, and the even greater “demographic peril”, as it is openly described in Israeli public society, of Arab majority in that land. It would lead to a “One-State Solution” Zionist style: the whole of Palestine turned into Greater Israel, with a predominant Jewish majority.

Progressive world public opinion must be urgently mobilised to halt the current bloodshed and prevent an even greater catastrophe.

A list of global emergency protests can be found here.

Moshé Machover is an Israeli socialist, founding member of Matzpen. His collection of essays, Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and Resolution, has recently been published by Haymarket Books.

PCHR - Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

PRESS RELEASE

IOF Continue the Offensive on the Gaza Strip:
Civilian Deaths Rise to 10, Including 6 Children, and 253 Others, Including 62 Children, Wounded

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have continued the offensive on the Gaza Strip. Over the past 24 hours, IOF have intensified aerial, marine and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip. The number of Palestinians who have been killed has mounted to 19, including 10 civilians. The civilian victims include 6 children and a woman. Additionally, 257 Palestinians, including 253 civilians, have been wounded - this number includes 62 children and 42 women. The latest development since the press release issued by PCHR yesterday noon have been as follows:

The Northern Gaza Strip:

IOF have launched 130 airstrikes targeting agricultural areas in the vicinity of houses, and paramilitary training sites. As a result of these attacks, 3 Palestinian civilians, including two children, have been killed, and 66 others, including 63 civilians, were wounded - this number includes 16 children and 6 women. Additionally, a number of houses and a mosque have been damaged.

At approximately 22:30 on Thursday, 15 November 2012, Odai Jamal Nasser, 15, and Fares Ahmed al-Basyouni, 8, were killed while they were inside their houses, which are located a few meter away from an agricultural plot belonging to the Shabat family which was hit by an Israeli missile in al-Wad area in Beit Hanoun town. Additionally, 22 Palestinian civilians, including 14 children and 3 women, were wounded.

Earlier, at noon, Marwan Abdul Rahman Mohammed Abu al-Qumsan, 52, an UNRWA teacher, was killed when IOF bombarded a space area near Nour al-Huda Mosque in al-Israa neighborhood in the southeast of Beit Lahia town. He had been visiting the house of his brother, Radwan, 76, who was also seriously wounded.

Gaza City:

Israeli warplanes launched dozens of air strikes on Gaza City, targeting governmental buildings, civilian property and other objects. The most significant targets was the building of the Civil Department of the Ministry of Interior in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in the south of the City. The building was totally destroyed and a number of nearby buildings and houses were heavily damaged. Israeli fighter jets bombarded also the building of the Collection and Inspection Center of Gaza Municipality near Abu Mazen Square. The building was completely destroyed and a number of nearby houses and buildings were heavily damaged. Israeli fighter jets further bombarded a plot belonging to an ecclesiastic center near the Roots Restaurant in the southwest of Gaza City.

Additionally, Israeli gunboats bombarded an electricity transmitter near the house of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya in the Beach camp. A number of houses and a civilian car were heavily damaged.

On Thursday evening, 15 November 2012, 10-month-old Haneen Khaled Ahmed Tafesh died of wounded she had sustained in the head when an Israeli warplane bombarded her family's house in al-Zaytoun neighborhood. Her mother and another two persons were wounded in the same attack.

On Friday morning, 16 November 2012, Kamal Mohammed Murad Maqat, 23, died from a heart attack, when IOF bombarded a plot located near his house in Sheikh Radwan neighborhood.

As a result of Israeli airstrikes, 60 Palestinian civilians, including 10 women and 13 children, have been wounded.

The Central Gaza Strip:

IOF have launched 21 airstrikes targeting agricultural plots, space areas and paramilitary training sites. As a result of these attacks, 4 Palestinian civilians, including two children and a woman, were injured, and a number of houses and a school have been extensively damaged.

Khan Yunis:

IOF have launched 18 airstrikes on Khan Yunis. The targets included a house belonging to Mohammed al-Sinwar, a leader of the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) in al-Satar al-Gharbi area in the north of Khan Yunis, which was completely destroyed. Additionally, 5 nearby houses and the buildings of the Youth Dawn Association and al-Jaleel Association were heavily damaged, while a Palestinian civilian was injured when a wall collapsed over him while he was sleeping. As a result of other attacks, an UNRWA clinic in the west of the town was heavily damaged, and 4 civilians, including two children, were wounded.

On Thursday evening, two-year-old Waleed Mahmoud al-Abadla died of wound he had sustained throughout the body, when IOF bombarded a farmland near his family's house, where he was playing, in al-Qarara village, northeast of Khan Yunis, in the morning.

Rafah:

IOF have launched 18 airstrikes on various areas in Rafah, targeting agricultural plots, space areas and paramilitary training sites. The Israeli artillery also shelled the town sporadically.

Seven Palestinian civilians, including 5 members of the Fouju family (a man, his wife and their three children), were wounded while they were inside their houses when an Israeli missile hit Zourob Square in the west of the town on Thursday evening, 15 November 2012.

Dozens of houses and public facilities have been extensively damaged.

PCHR reiterates condemnation and expresses utmost concern for these crimes, and:

1- Warns of deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip in light of this new Israeli military escalation and the tightened closure.
2- Calls upon the international community to act immediately to stop these crimes, and renews the call to the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligation under Article 1 of the Convention to ensure that it is respected at all times, and their responsibilities under Article 146 to pursue perpetrators of serious violations of the Convention, which are determined in Article 147, which lists violations of the Convention amounting to war crimes.

Public Document
**************************************
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 - 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail: pchr@pchrgaza.org, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org
-----------------------------------
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and write "subscribe" in the subject line.

Stop a New Israeli Massacre in Gaza: Boycott Israel Now!

Occupied Palestine, 15 November 2012

On November 8, Israel carried out an attack on civilians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip, shooting 13-year-old Ahmad Abu Daqqa while he played football with friends. By November 14, Israel had intensified its attacks on Gaza and begun to implement an intensive plan of aggression that at the time of writing has killed at least 15 Palestinians, including at least 6 children, and injured over 150, predominantly civilians.

Despite biased Western media reports to the contrary, it is clear that Israel has initiated and escalated this new assault [1] on the eve of its upcoming parliamentary elections, underlining the time-honoured Israeli formula of Palestinian bodies for ballots.[2]

It is worth noting that a great majority of the Gaza population are refugees ethnically cleansed by Zionist militias and later the state of Israel during the 1948 Nakba and denied by Israel their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes of origin.

This belligerent aggression is the most murderous and inhuman Israeli attack on the Palestinian people since the Gaza massacre of 2008-09, which killed more than 1,400 and injured more than 5,000 Palestinians, mainly civilians. The US and Europe have so far been successful in preventing Palestinian recourse to international justice mechanisms for Israeli crimes against humanity that took place during the massacre and that were documented by a UN Fact Finding Mission as well as a team of international law experts commissioned by the Arab League. Urgent action must be taken to prevent Israel from acting with such impunity again.

The 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza have endured the worst of Israeli impunity and violence including being placed under a medieval siege, being subjected to deliberately created food insecurity and frequent acts of Israeli  state terrorism. It is the duty of all supporters of international law and universal human rights to hold Israel accountable through effective measures, such as those called for in the global, Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the broadest coalition in Palestinian civil society, including all major political parties,  trade unions, social movements and NGO networks, calls on:
- People of conscience around the world to intensify BDS campaigns to hold Israel accountable, and to pressure their governments to immediately suspend arms trade with Israel, implement trade sanctions, and bring to justice all Israeli officials and military personnel who took part, at all levels, in Israel’s crimes against Palestinians in Gaza.

- Civil society organisations, including trade unions, universities, trade unions, student groups and NGOs, to boycott Israeli goods, divest from all Israeli and international companies that are complicit with Israel’s occupation and apartheid, and call for governments to implement military embargoes and trade sanctions on Israel.

- Governments, especially Arab and friendly governments, to respect their legal obligation to protect the Palestinian right to life and self-determination and to impose sanctions on Israel to immediately end its assault on, and cease its illegal siege of the occupied Gaza Strip and its policies of colonialism and apartheid that oppress the Palestinian people.

As this new attack on the people of Gaza shows, Israel will continue its belligerence, aggression and state terrorism unless it is made to pay a heavy price for its crimes against the Palestinian, Lebanese and other Arab peoples. As the last seven years of the global BDS movement and the long history of past international solidarity with the struggle against apartheid in South Africa have shown, the most effective, sustainable and morally consistent form of solidarity with the oppressed is for international civil society and conscientious people around the world to apply boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the oppressor and all institutions that collude in maintaining and justifying its oppression. It is high time for BDS against Israel.  This is the clearest path to freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians and the entire region.

BDS National Committee (BNC)

[1] For a timeline that explains how Israel has initiated this new attack, see 
[2] http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/11/15/bodies-for-ballots.html

Below was the impromptu demonstration of around  200 people on Thursday night which marched from the Old Steine to Sodastream's shop in the Western Road.  I made an off the cuff speech calling for a large picket/demonstration outside Sodastream on Saturday



Editorial
The Guardian, Thursday 15 November 2012 22.09 GMT

Attack on Gaza: Egypt's biggest challenge yet

The Guardian, Thursday 15 November 2012 22.09 GMT 

The Arab spring skirted around the central fire in the Middle East: Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel's actions have wheeled it straight back onto centre stage

Israel's decision to assassinate the Hamas chief of staff Ahmed al-Jabari and launch a full-scale air and sea bombardment against the militants in Gaza can be attributed to a number of factors – of which the need to stop missiles raining down on the south of the country is the least convincing. A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was apparently being negotiated, through Egyptian intelligence, when the decision to kill Jabari was taken. Jabari, a man who undoubtedly dedicated his life to war against Israel, was also the man who enforced the truce for the last five and a half years over armed groups in the strip.

One man involved in the mediation to release Gilad Shalit claimed that hours before he was assassinated Jabari received the draft of a permanent truce agreement. War is never so near when peace is on offer. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, learned this lesson while trying to mediate peace talks between Syria and Ehud Olmert, just before Operation Cast Lead was launched at the end of 2008. Whatever was going on immediately before the strike on Jabari, a ceasefire has been negotiated after each outbreak of hostilities with Gaza militants. What was different this time?

The proximity of the Likud primaries and the general elections in Israel undoubtedly played a role. The attacks on Lebanon in 1996 and Gaza in 2008/9 both happened on the eve of elections, although military action turned into electoral defeat. But at the time the opportunity to turn a drama into a crisis was too good to miss. Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu had been deprived both of a strike on Iran and a Republican president in the White House. An attack on Gaza re-established his national security credentials while wiping all possible rivals off the television screens, particularly the possible comeback of former premier Olmert, whose boast, too, was that he "took care" of Gaza. Ehud Barak, the defence minister, is fighting for votes just to get back into the Knesset.

The third calculation is the riskiest of the lot. It is not to test Hamas or to re-establish deterrence over other militant groups in Gaza. It is to test Egypt. The biggest difference between the current attack on Gaza and all the other ones is that today the regional furniture has changed. One of the two countries with which Israel had signed a peace treaty has gone through a revolution, bringing Islamists to power, and the other, Jordan, is being rattled by the same forces to its very bones. Kuwait, Bahrain, the Emirates, and parts of Saudi Arabia are all gripped by the same fever. The working assumption was that the further and deeper the Arab spring spread, the more Israel would have to temper the urge to hammer militants in Gaza with the need to keep its peace treaty intact with Egypt. With the call-up of reservists and missiles striking close to Tel Aviv, that theory is now being tested to destruction.
It has already led to one diplomatic consequence. For the first time since the siege of Gaza started, an Egyptian prime minister, Hisham Qandil, will on Friday visit Gaza. The Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, is right to be furious. He had done everything, from his point of view, to avoid a confrontation with Israel this early in his presidency. He launched a military operation against militants using Sinai to attack Israel. He began to seal up the tunnels under the Rafah border with Gaza, and limited the opening hours of the border crossing itself. This was the triumph of pragmatism over belief, because it made for very bad politics back home. Behind Morsi stands a tidal wave of anti-Israeli resentment from the Arab street, both Islamist and secular, of which Israeli diplomats had a small taste when they had to be rescued from a mob in Cairo. Try as Morsi might to avoid having to open the Pandora's box of the treaty with Israel, that now is the direction in which he is being pushed.

The Arab spring skirted around the central fire in the Middle East: Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel's actions have wheeled it straight back onto centre stage. 


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