Finally! A US News Organization Analyzes Israeli Crimes

945545_492651977471625_495791703_nI love this Noam Chomsky quote:

The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.

And what in the spectrum of acceptable opinion has been so strictly limited regarding American foreign policy? The opinions on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.

In America, within those limits the Israeli’s are just defending themselves from rabid savages, infected with Jihad, bent on slaughtering every non-Muslim around the globe. And the acceptable, lively debate is between with what and with how much force should the Israeli’s use.

But maybe something is changing.

The Associated Press (AP) on Friday reported on an investigation they conducted into the homes bombed by Israeli jet-fighters during the Summer’s “50-day” war. The AP investigated the vast majority of home-bombing sites, interviewed witnesses, collected death certificates, and worked with both Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups. And, amazingly, it is a damning report on  Israeli actions so well thought-out and thorough it is impossible not to be struck by the findings.  Here are some:

– Children younger than 16 made up one-third of the total: 280 killed, including 19 babies and 108 preschoolers between the ages of 1 and 5.

– In 83 strikes, three or more members of one family died.

– Among those killed were 96 confirmed or suspected militants – or just over 11 percent of the total – though the actual number could be higher since armed groups have not released detailed casualty lists.

– The remainder of the 240 dead were males between the ages of 16 and 59 whose names did not appear in connection with militant groups on searches of websites or on street posters honoring fighters.

Unlike other coverage found in the American mainstream media, the report gives hard numbers and anecdotes from survivors and witnesses explaining the disregard for Gazan life shown by the Israelis. The piece also discusses the nature of the war crimes committed by the Israelis and how they break international law, as did, it seems, Hamas with their rocket attacks.

But that’s beside the point.

The issue here, in this post,  is not the tragic and maddening findings but the fact that a major and extremely respectable American media outlet reported  outside of the spectrum.

Rise up over the study’s findings. Applaud and champion those who exposed them.

 

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Some Fair Questions About Breaking of Aug. 1 Israel-Palestine Ceasefire

As the Palestinian death toll quickly closes in on 2,000, it would seem the responsibility for which side broke the August 1st ceasefire is still a bit murky.  07ISRAEL1-videoSixteenByNine540-v2

It was initially reported by Israel that Palestinian militants had emerged and opened fire and captured an Israeli soldier when IDF was destroying a tunnel around Rafah.  Two points should be noted here.

First, the Israeli military’s version of events is always taken as gospel by American media while the Palestinian version is typically brushed off by being given a sentence or two most of the time.  Any perusing of articles about the breaking of the ceasefire on Friday would certainly prove that.  But hey, Israel has no interest in giving a biased version of events, do they?

Second, one might ask why it is okay for the Israeli military to continue operations, possibly inside Gaza (most stories took the IDF’s word that the event occurred “around Rafah” but did not further specify), during the ceasefire and destroying the tunnels.  It should be noted the tunnels were largely created because of the illegal blockade of Gaza by Israel (an act of war, of course) and were used to transport “building materials, foods, medicines, drugs, and people, accounting for an estimated $700 million per year“.  If Palestinian militants were on Israeli territory blowing up important roads used for transporting weapons and ammunition being resupplied by the U.S., what would the reaction be?

Then there are the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping and killing of the IDF soldier.  It would seem exactly how the young man died should be heavily questioned and examined.  Israel claims they recovered evidence to suggest he had died but not a body.  Very little detail is given.  While on the other hand, Hamas claims it lost contact with the militants in the area possibly involved in the battle and suggest they were killed by the Israeli attack on the area after the ceasefire was declared off.

This would beg a couple of important questions: was the Israeli soldier killed by friendly-fire and is this the reason Israel knows he is dead and can’t recover the body?  Was the soldier buried under the rubble of a building Israel destroyed that day?

There doesn’t seem to be much interest in investigating this possibility.  If it were true he was killed by his own military, it would put even more pressure on Israel to explain why it is using such ferocious attacks on a civilian population it has illegally oppressed for so many years.

“Outrage” On Gaza Crisis and Other Issues by Chomsky

noam_chomsky2-620x412Here at STL we have tried to get away from just posting links to and summaries of interesting articles in favor of insight discussions and leave the link sharing to Twitter. But this new discussion piece by “The most important intellectual of our time,” Noam Chomsky , according to the NYT, over at ZNet is just too important for you to miss. Follow the link below:

Outrage

 

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Latest Thoughts On Israel/Gaza Strip Conflict

20140730-ISRAEL-slide-C9B1-superJumboI was reading the front page story on the NYT’s website about the Israel/Gaza Strip conflict and found five bits of information that drew my interest.

First,

Israel’s aerial assaults on targets in Gaza broadened on Tuesday, with barrages that destroyed Hamas’s media offices, the home of a top leader and what Palestinians said was a devastating hit on the only electricity plant, plunging the enclave of 1.7 million into deeper deprivation with no power, running water or sewage treatment.

Second,

Israel’s military made clear it had widened the scope of the bombing campaign in Gaza to hit the political structures of Hamas and another militant group, Islamic Jihad, including the home of Ismael Haniya, the No. 2 Hamas official behind Khaled Meshal, its leader-in-exile in Qatar. But Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said it was unclear whether Israel had been responsible for the debilitating strike on the power plant, where an enormous fire hurtled thick, black smoke skyward, visible for miles.

Third,

The shutdown of the power plant, which Israel previously attacked in 2006 and which sat idle for weeks this past winter for lack of fuel, threatened to turn the situation in Gaza into a major humanitarian crisis. The facility powers water and sewage systems as well as hospitals, and it had been Gaza’s main source of electricity in recent days after eight of 10 lines that run from Israel were damaged.

Fourth,

F-16 and Apache helicopter strikes also ruined the headquarters of the Al Aqsa satellite television and radio channels affiliated with Hamas.

and Fifth,

Also flattened was the Financial Monitoring Authority, a government building where some Hamas leaders kept offices. Relatives of Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, own the home next door, which was damaged; Mr. Sourani said his brother, his brother’s wife and his 94-year-old aunt were in the house at the time of the strike and had received no warning.

My question here is what happened to the stated goal of stopping rocket fire into Israel and eliminating Hamas’ smuggling tunnels? What’s all of this now? Collective punishment and the destruction of Hamas is the only real goal.

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Palestine Borders and Demographics Prove to be A Ghetto

Thanks to a good idea given to me by my partner here at STL, I started to research and analyze some geographic information regarding the Jewish land-grab in Palestine. I then followed by studying some demographic info on the Gaza Strip and drew some interesting conclusions. Here’s what I found:

First, some great maps over at Wikipedia with adjoining historical context info and links portraying the boundaries of Palestine/Israel since the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement (The linked information could have you reading for days it’s so interesting).

Evolution of Mandate Palestine and modern Palestinian Territories

150px-Proposals_for_the_Mandate_of_Palestine_1916-19.svg

1916-22 Proposals: Three proposals for the post World War I administration of Palestine. The red line is the “International Administration” proposed in the 1916 Sykes–Picot Agreement, the dashed blue line is the 1919 Zionist Organization proposal at the Paris Peace Conference, and the thin blue line refers to the final borders of the 1923-48 Mandatory Palestine.
Jewish_Land_Ownership_in_Mandatory_Palestine,_1947.svg1947 (Actual): Mandatory Palestine, showing Jewish-owned regions in Palestine as of 1947 in blue, constituting 6% of the total land area, of which more than half was held by the JNF and PICA. The Jewish population had increased from 83,790 in 1922 to 608,000 in 1946.

 

United_Nations_Partition_Plan_for_Palestine_map.svg1947 (Proposal): Proposal per the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine (UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (II), 1947), prior to the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. The proposal included a Corpus Separatum for Jerusalem, extraterritorial crossroads between the non-contiguous areas, and Jaffa as an Arab exclave.

Palestinian_Territories,_1948-67.svg1948-67 (Actual): The Jordanian occupied West Bank and Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip (note the dotted lines between the territories and Jordan / Egypt), after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, showing 1949 armistice lines.

Palestinian_National_Authority_within_Israel,_2013.svg1993-Current: Extant region administered by the Palestinian National Authority (under Oslo 2).

 

Second, I found some telling demographic information from the CIA World Factbook regarding the Gaza Strip that I found profoundly important:

  1. The area of the Gaza Strip is only 360 sq. km., which is only twice the size of Washington D.C., yet, the population of the nation’s capital is only 632,323, while Gaza’s population is 1,816,379.
  2. Gaza has a 22.5% unemployment rate with 38% of its people living below the poverty line.
  3. Gaza is under siege by air, land, and sea. The World Factbook even includes in the information regarding Gaza’s maritime activities, that, “[E]ffective 3 January 2009 the Gaza maritime area is closed to all maritime traffic and is under blockade imposed by Israeli Navy until further notice.”

So what should we say is going on here is that the Israelis are trapping the prisoners of the Gaza Strip into, and I use this term in light of how controversial it is, a Ghetto. I am not contending that the Jews are consciously doing what the Nazis did to them. Far from it. I just believe that they need to look into their own tragic past and hopefully derive some empathy for the people they have been bombing now for two weeks now.

 

 

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effective 3 January 2009 the Gaza maritime area is closed to all maritime traffic and is under blockade imposed by Israeli Navy until further notice

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Photos from Gaza

Just a collection of photographs I pulled off major news media sites like the NYT and The Post. 12scenes-superJumbo12gaza-cnd1-superJumbo12GAZA-2-superJumbo SUSPECTS-superJumbo12scenes2-superJumbo Smoke and fire from an Israeli bomb rises into the air ove Gaza City04302705-2722 Israeli air attack on Gaza APTOPIX Mideast Israel Palestinians

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Israel Playing The Victim

16ISRAEL-master675According to a NYT report today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is blaming the new joint Palestinian Authority for the disappearance/kidnapping of three missing Israeli teenagers from West Bank settlements in public statements today made to the International community. He is placing blame more specifically on Hamas, who just reconciled with the West-Bank base Fatah party to form the new joint P.A., but he said that P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas is directly responsible.

So what does Israel do but completely overreact with extreme acts of violence even though there is no proof that Hamas is behind the kidnapping? The article reports:

Hamas members of Parliament, former ministers, imams and professors were among those arrested in the night raids in Nablus, Jenin, Ramallah and other West Bank cities, villages and refugee camps. Israel also carried out six airstrikes in the Gaza Strip overnight that Palestinian health officials said wounded a 15-year-old girl and a 27-year-old woman, and it closed its commercial and pedestrian crossings into Gaza with exceptions only for fuel deliveries and humanitarian emergencies.

Now if Hamas would be behind these kidnappings it would be a breach of international law and should be treated as such. But as Qadura Fares, the Palestinians’ former minister of prisoner affairs, said, “the kidnapping is the result of the peace-process stalemate,” and the Israeli’s are using the incident to “make political gains.” The frustration with Israel’s planted obstacles to peace has kindled much resentment amongst Palestinians.

But, as usual, Israel is playing the victim here. They played to the international community today with Netanyahu speaking English, to appeal to the West, and spewed their usual apocalyptic predictions of Israel’s destruction at the hands of Muslim extremists.

But do they not now threaten the region the most with their over-use of military power?

 

 

 

 

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Young Palestinian Man Commits Suicide for Attention to Poverty

A 20 year old man in Gaza sets himself on fire in protest over his family’s, and others, dire economic situations. This article gives some great stats from reputable sources regarding how bad the economic realities in Gaza really are due to Israel’s brutal policies.

Read Here.

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Hunger Strikes Becoming Affective in West Bank

The armed resistance by the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza has yielded few results over the decades, but a break with these tactics may lead to new gains.

The number of hunger-striking prisoners in “administrative detention,” i.e., being held in Israeli prisons with no formal charges, has risen to 1,500 with the remaining 3,200 threatening to join them if they are held in this legal limbo for a further indefinite amount of time. (Read here)

As a supporter of the Palestinian case for human rights, I believe that these nonviolent strategies are the most effective path to their ends. The world responds to peaceful demonstrations much more sympathetically and more quickly than they do when the use of terrorism is employed. And with the development of social media the causes and protests of the Palestinian will spread like wildfire.

I believe nonviolent protests will be the path to peace if the Palestinians choose them as a main strategy.