Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Brothers, Sisters, Cousins, Wives, Husbands, Friends, Daughters, Sons, Colleagues, Neighbors

The first 187 names of those murdered in the ongoing Gaza massacre were released today:

Ibrahim Al-Jamaj
Ibrahim Al-Jamaj
Isma'il Al-Husari
Isma'il Salem
Isma'il Ghneim
Eyman Natour
Eyhab Ash-Shaer
Ibrahim Mahfoudh
Abu Ali Ar-Rahhal
Ahmad Al-Halabi
Ahmad Al-Kurd
Ahmad Al-Lahham
Ahmad Al-Hums
Ahmad At-Talouli
Ahmad Zu'rub
Ahmad Abu Jazar
Ahmad Radwan
Ahmad 'Udah
Ahmad Abu Mousa
Ahmad Tbeil
Adham Al-Areini
Osama Abu Ar-Rus
Osama Abu Ar-Reish
Osama Darweish
Ashraf Ash-Sharabasi
Ashraf Abu Suhweil
Amjad Abu Jazar
Ameen Az-Zarbatli
Anas Hamad
Anwar Al-Bardini
Anwar Al-Kurd
Ayman Abu Ammouna
Ayman An-Nahhal
Ibrahim Abu Ar-Rus
Basil Dababish
Bassam Makkawi
Bilal Omar
Bahaa Abu Zuhri
Tamir Qreinawi
Tamir Abu Afsha
Tawfiq Al-Fallit
Tawfiq Jabir
Thaer Madi
Jabir Jarbu'
Hatim Abu Sha'ira
Hamid Yasin
Husam Ayyash
Hasan Baraka
Hasan Abid Rabbo
Hasan Al-Majayda
Hussein Al-A'raj
Hussein Dawood
Hussein 'Uroq
Hakam Abu Mansi
Hamada Abu Duqqa
Hamada Safi
Hamdan Abu Nu'eira
Haydar Hassuna
Khalid Zu'rub
Khalid Abu Hasna
Khalid An-Nashasi
Khalid Shaheen
Raed Dughmush
Rami Ash-Sheikh
Raafat Shamiyya
Riziq Salman
Rif'at Sa'da
Rafiq Na'im
Ramzi Al-Haddad
Ziyad Abu 'Ubada
Sarah Al-Hawajiri
Salim Abu Shamla
Salim Qreinawi
Sa'id Hamada
Salim Al-Gharir
Suheil Tambura
Shadi Sbakhi
Shahada Quffa
Shahada Abd ar-Rahman
Sabir Al-Mabhouh
Suhayb Abu 'Iffat
Suhayb Abd al-'aal
Tal'at Salman
Tal'at Basal
'Aasim Ash-Shaer
'Aasim Abu Kamil
Abid Ad-Dahshan
Abd ar-Raziq Shahtu
Abd as-Sami' An-Nashar
Abdul-Fattah Abu 'Uteiwi
Abdul-Fattah Fadil
Abdullah Juneid
Abdullah Al-Ghafari
Abdullah Rantisi
Abdullah Wahbi
Arafat Farajallah
Azmi Abu Dalal
Isam Al-Ghirbawi
'Alaa Al-Qatrawi
'Alaa Al-Kahlout
'Alaa 'Uqeilan
'Alaa Nasr Ar-Ra'i
Ali Awad
Imab Abu Al-Hajj
Omar Darawsha
Omran Ar-ran
Anan Ghaliya
Gharib Al-Assar
Fayiz Riyad Al-Madhoun
Fayiz Ayada Al-Madhoun
Fayiz Abu Al-Qumsan
Camellia Al-Bardini
Ma'moun Sleim
Mazin 'Ulayyan
Muhammad Al-Ghimri
Muhammad Al-Halabi
Muhammad Asaliyya
Muhammad Az-Zatma
Muhammad Az-ahra
Muhammad Gaza
Muhammad An-Nuri
Muhammad Abu Sabra
Muhammad Abu 'Amir
Muhammad Abu Libda
Muhammad Hboush
Muhammad Al-Mabhouh
Muhammad Sha'ban
Muhammad Abu 'Abdo
Muhammad Salih
Muhammad Tabasha
Muhammad Al-Habeil
Muhammad Abdullah Aziz
Muhammad Abdul-Wahhab Aziz
Muhammad Awad
Muhammad Abd An-Nabi
Muhammad Salih
Muhammad An-Najari
Muhammad Hamad
Muhammad Barakat
Muhammad Muhanna
Mahmoud Al-Khalidi
Mahmoud Abu Harbeid
Mahmoud Abu Matar
Mahmoud Abu Tabour
Mahmoud Abu Nahla
Mustafa Al-Khateib
Mustafa As-Sabbak
Mu'ein Hamada
Mu'ein Al-Hasan
Mumtaz An- Najjar
Mansour Al-Gharra
Nasser Al-Gharra
Nahidh Abu Namous
Nabil Al-Breim
Nathir Al-Louqa
Ni'ma Al-Maghari
Na'im Kheit
Na'im Al-Kafarna
Na'im Al-Anzi
Nimir Amoum
Hisham Rantisi
Hisham Al-Masdar
Hisham Abu 'Uda
Hisham 'Uweida
Humam An-Najjar
Hanaa Al-Mabhouh
Haytham Hamdan
Haytham Ash-Sher
Wadei' Al-Muzayyin
Wasim Azaza
Walid Abu Hein
Walid Jabir Abu Hein
Yasser Ash-Shaer
Yasser Al-Lahham
Yahya Al-Hayik
Yahya Sheikha
Yahya Mahmoud Sheikha
Yousif Thabit
Yousif Al-Jallad
Yousif Sha'ban
Yousif Diab
Yousif Al-Anani
Yousif An-Najjar
Younis Ad-Deiri

Thousands in San Francisco Demonstrate Against the Israeli Massacre of Gaza, 12-30-08

Oh, What A Day -- Cynthia McKinney on the DIGNITY

Link to original at Free

December 30, 2008: Oh What a Day! by Cynthia McKinney

Link I'm so glad that my father told me to buy a special notebook and to write everything down because that's exactly what I did.

When we left from Cyprus, one reporter asked me "are you afraid?" And I had to respond that Malcolm X wasn't afraid; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn't afraid. But little did I know that just a few hours later, I would be recollecting my life and mentally preparing myself for death.

When we left Cyprus, the Mediterranean was beautiful. I remember the time when it might have been beautiful to look at, but it was also filthy. The Europeans have taken great strides to clean it up and yesterday, it was beautiful. And the way the sunlight hit the sea, I remember thinking to myself that's why they call it azure. It was the most beautiful blue.

But sometimes it was rough, and we got behind on our schedule. We stayed on course, however, despite the roughness of the water and due to our exquisite captain.

There were no other ships or boats around us and night descended upon us all rather quickly. It was the darkest black and suddenly, out of nowhere, came searchlights disturbing our peace. The searchlights stayed with us for about half an hour or so. We knew they were Israeli ships. Who else would they be?

They were fast, and they would come close and then drop back. And then, they'd come close again. And then, all of a sudden there was complete blackness once again and all seemed right. The cat and mouse game went on for at least one half hour. What were they doing? And why?

Calm again. Black sky, black sea. Peace. And then, at that very moment, when all seemed right, out of nowhere we were rammed and rammed again and rammed again the last one throwing me off the couch, sending all our food up in the air; and all the plastic bags and tubs--evidence of sea sicknesses among the crew and passengers--flew all over the cabin and all over us. We'd been rammed by the Israelis. How did we know? Because they called us on the phone afterwards to tell us that we were engaging in subversive, terroristic activity. And if that if we didn't turn around right then and return to Larnaca, Cyprus, we would be fired upon. We quickly grabbed our lifevests and put them on. Then the captain announced that the boat was taking on water. We might have to evacuate. One of my mates told me to prepare to die. And I reflected that I have lived a good and full life. I have tasted freedom and know what it is. I was right with myself and my decision to join the Free Gaza movement.

I remembered my father's parting words, "You all will be sitting ducks." Just like the U.S.S. Liberty. We were engaged in peaceful activity, a harmless pleasure boat, carrying a load of hospital supplies for the people of Gaza, who, too are sitting ducks, currently being bombarded in aerial assault by the Israeli military.

It's been a long day for us. The captain was outstanding. Throughout it all, he remained stoic and calm, effective in every way. I didn't know how to put my life jacket on. One of the passengers kindly assisted me. Another of the passengers pointed out that the Israeli motors for those huge, fast boats was U.S. made--a gift to them from the U.S. And now they were using those motors to damage a pleasure boat outfitted with three tons of hospital supplies, one pediatrician, and two surgeons.

I have called for President-elect Obama to say something. The Palestinian people in the Gaza strip are seeing the worst violence in 60 years, it is being reported. To date, President-elect Obama has remained silent. The Israelis are using weapons supplied to them by the U.S. government. Strict enforcement of U.S. law would require the cessation of all weapons transfers to Israel. Adherence to international law would require the same. As we are about to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, let us remember that he said:

1. The United States is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, and
2. Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter.

I implore the President-elect to not send Congress a budget that contains more weapons for Israel. We have so much more to offer. And I implore the Congress to vote "no" on any budget and appropriation bills that provide more weapons transfers, period.

Israel is able to carry out these intense military maneuvers because taxpayers in the U.S. give their hard-earned money to our Representatives in Congress and our Congress chooses to spend that money in this way. Let's stop it and stop it now. There's been too much blood shed. And while we still walk among the living, let us not remain silent about the things that matter.

We really can promote peace and have it if we demand it of our leaders.

Rampage in Gaza for a Bump in the Polls -- Mike Whitney

Portion below; whole thing here:
Barack Obama has passed his first test with flying colors. He's made himself disappear so Israel can continue its killing spree in Gaza. The last time a president shrunk this small was when Ariel Sharon took his wrecking-ball through Jenin during the second intifada. Bush slipped down a mouse hole so Israel's "Man of Peace" could finish his dirty work unopposed. Now Obama has taken refuge in that same dark hideaway. What a relief it must be for his critics at AIPAC and the far-right think tanks to know that the next Commander in Chief will be every bit as compliant as the last. That's "continuity they can believe in".

Obama has remained serenely detached while American-made F-16's have dumped more than one hundred tons of lethal ordnance on the captive population of Gaza. In fact, the president-elect has spent more time working on his abs at the Semper Fit gym in Honolulu than trying to stop the bloody onslaught which has already resulted in the deaths of over 300 Palestinians, half of who are civilians.

When asked why he hasn't given his opinion on the conflict, Obama spokesman have blandly stated, "There's only one president at a time".

Uh-huh. So why was Obama so quick to condemn Russia's invasion of South Ossetia? Is the yardstick for measuring aggression different in the Caucasus than it is in the Middle East? Or is it because politicians are just too afraid to cross Israel?

"If somebody shot rockets at my house where my two daughters were sleeping at night, I'd do everything in my power to stop them," Obama proclaimed on a recent visit to Israel.

Right. It's too bad Palestinian parents can't claim that same right without being branded as terrorists.

Perhaps Obama's inaction will finally put to rest the idea that he's a man who is seriously committed to justice or change. He's not. He's nothing more than an ambitious and well-spoken young man who's being used to conceal the genocidal operation of the imperial machine; a fact that is particularly poignant on a day like December 29, the 118th anniversary of Wounded Knee, when more than 200 Lakota Sioux were mowed down by the 7th Cavalry on the Pine Ridge Reservation marking the end of the Indian Wars. Like the Palestinians, the Indians were guilty of nothing more than having been born in the wrong place at the wrong time. Needless to say, if Obama had been around then, he would have looked askance and bit his tongue just as he has today. The truth is Obama is a "cool guy" who doesn't really feel that strongly about anything. That's why Obama's moral authority has been gravely eroded before he's even been sworn in. The bloody streets of Gaza are an indictment of Obama not Hamas.

When people see the photos of the Palestinian children being extracted from the debris of bombed-out buildings in Gaza; they should ask themselves whether Obama could have saved a few lives by just speaking out. The fact is, he had a chance to defend the people who can't defend themselves, but chose silence and complicity instead.

The attack on Gaza was not a spontaneous response to rocket-fire or a defense of Israel's national security. It was all mapped out more than 6 months ago as a way to repair Israel's battered image after its defeat at the hands of Hezbollah in 2006.

Gaza Aid Boat Activists in Karl Penhaul's CNN Report on Ramming

"Trust Is Not A Birthright" -- War In Context

Mainly I like this article because it has a graphic representation of the strides Hamas had taken in stopping the rocket fire before Israel broke the truce in June. And the evidence comes Israel.
Portion below; whole thing here:

Look at this graph provided by the Israeli Foreign Ministry showing rocket attacks from Gaza per month during 2008. From January through June there were an average of 179 rocket attacks per month. From July through October there were an average of 3 rocket attacks per month.

For the residents of Sderot, those months were indeed a period of calm. But the calm ended when Israel unilaterally broke the ceasefire right after the US elections and just before Hamas and Fatah sat down for crucial reconciliation talks in Cairo.

If Israel, as it would currently have the world believe, was so strongly in favor of extending the six-month ceasefire, why did it attach so little value to what had already been accomplished? Why did it not acknowledge the effectiveness with which Hamas was holding up its side of the bargain? Why did it not demonstrate that it valued the calm by lifting or at least easing the economic embargo on Gaza in a significant way?

Day 5 of Israeli War On Gaza -- Sameh Habeeb

Report direct from Gaza 31 December 2008: 400 death toll todate wounded 2000

By Sameh A. Habeeb, A Photojournalist, Humanitarian & Peace Activist in Gaza Strip.

Gaza Strip,31, December, 2oo8- Three hours later, a new happy year would be starting for the rest of the world. Palestinians in Gaza would receive it with blood, sadness and bombings. It seems Israeli air force, naval forces, rockets, shells would share them a high-tech bloody fireworks. War on the Gaza Strip continues raising casualties and effects in both sides. Bombings, rockets, heavy missiles of Apachi and F16s tear down many targets across the besieged strip. The number of victims still dramatically raising.

Many calls raised for a ceasefire. The Islamist Hamas Movement expressed its readiness for a truce in return of lifting siege and ending the recent launched War. The Hamas stance was conveyed to Russia which is trying to play role to end this War. Lately in Tuesday, Israel refused a French suggestion of 48-hour-truce.

Israeli Television said that troops would enter Gaza n Friday to pursue the ongoing War. Meanwhile, Hamas Primer, Ismail Hanya, said that Israli war on Gaza is against Arab, Islamic and free civilized countries.

Casualties of Israeli heavy bombings reached 400 while wounded rise up to 2000 persons. Around 210 a big number of them civilians. Around 210 in critical conditions and they are exposed to slow death due to lack of medicines.

Main Israeli Military Actions in Gaza:

* Al Nasir incubators of newly born babies affected by Israeli heavy bombings hit a shop of money transfer and exchange in the west north of Gaza City. A another Israeli air raid targeted money exchange shop mid of Gaza City.

*Heavy bombings hit the of Egyptian Palestinian borders destroying tunnels used for food smuggling.

*Israeli heavy artillery takes part in the military operation for the first time. Many parts in the eastern areas of Gaza were hit.

*Israeli Apache helicopters fired 5 rockets in Toffah neighborhood east of Gaza. Medical sources reported that several Palestinians injured.

*Three Palestinians injured in Israeli rocket hit a house in Khan Yonis City.

*Israeli air force bombed Ezbat Abd rabu area north of Gaza Strip.

*Israeli air force bombed Civic Administration office in Jabalia town, north of Gaza.

*Israeli navy bombs gaza shores and open its heavy fire on some buidlingd.

*A number of wounded resulted in a rocket hit a house for a Hamas member in Rafah. Few vans of aids, food stuff and medical aids arrived into Gaza.

*International Ngo's deliver aids and medical assistance for Gaza hospitals and the harmed families.

*10 Ambulances arrived in Gaza donated by Libyan government.

*Neither fuel, nor gasoline nor Benzin in Gaza. Power cuts up to 21 hours. All aspects of life are not longer available in Gaza.

*Palestinian factions retaliate against Israeli air raids in Gaza. Around 40 homemade rockets fired into Israel with no casualties.

*Israeli air force bombed sewage lagoon in north of Gaza and Coastal Municipalities Water in Gaza called on people to limit use of waster. Neither spare parts nor Gasoline available to operate pumps of fresh water. A great number of Palestinians don't have an easy access for fresh drinking water.

Sameh A. Habeeb, B.A.
Photojournalist & Peace Activist
Humanitarian, Child Relief Worker
Gaza Strip, Palestine
Mob: 00972599306096
Tel: 0097282802825
Skype: Gazatoday, Facebook: Sameh A. habeeb
Daily Photos:

New birth pangs for the Middle East -- Hasan Abu Nimah

Portion below; whole thing here:
The attack on Gaza will not destroy Hamas, and even if Israel kills every person who ever supported Hamas, the attack will not end resistance. On the contrary, resistance will be strengthened throughout the region, undermining the notion that resistance is outdated or impossible and that the only remaining "strategic choice" for the Arabs is negotiation from a position of weakness.

The Gaza attack will weaken and discredit even further the so-called "moderates" who did their best to extinguish any form of resistance and bet heavily on the failed peace process and its sponsors.

We may also see an awakening of the role of the Arab public, which has been extremely patient with the sterile negotiations and summitry conducted by its leaders. It will be impossible to counteract the now firmly rooted idea that there was official Arab complicity in the Gaza attack. No one will forget that Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni issued her threats against Gaza from Cairo on 25 December, while Egypt's foreign minister stood smiling next to her without saying a word of protest. Neither will it be easy for Egypt to further justify its role in tightening the siege on the Gaza population by keeping the Rafah crossing closed.

The reality is that the starvation siege Israel has imposed on Gaza could not continue so long without Arab complicity. These facts leave indelible marks of shame on Arab history.

Finally, Israel may recognize what it should have learned after its invasion of Lebanon in 1982: its enemies do not have the might that it has, and it can invade and kill with impunity, but military force does not bring security. In fact, all it has done is to make Israel less secure and more hated for its crimes.

Israel continues to isolate itself, to enlarge the constituency of its enemies and, at the same time, works hard to eliminate the number of any left "friends."
We are undoubtedly at the end of the era which started with the Madrid peace conference 17 years ago. The "peace process" that conference inaugurated, based on sidelining international law and institutionalizing Israeli dominance, has failed and cannot be revived. The alternative must not be a continuation of violence. There are other paths. One, long neglected, stands out: a return to international law, legality and accountability.

That would require real courage from an international community that has for too long abdicated its duties. Governments and international bodies may continue to evade those duties, but they should know that they will not be immune from the spreading shockwaves emanating from Gaza.

Bloodied in Gaza -- Laila El-Haddad

Portion below; whole thing (via Palestinian Pundit) here:
Cartoon by Simon Farr.
The rains of death continue to fall in Gaza. And silently, the world watches. And silently, governments plotted: how shall we make the thunder and clouds rain death on to Gaza?

It will all seem, at the end of the day, that this is somehow a response to something: rockets; broken truces; irreconcilability ...

It is as though the situation were not only acceptable, but normal in the period prior to it all. As though a calm that provides no relief – political, economic, or otherwise – for Gaza's stateless, occupied, besieged Palestinians were tenable. As though settlements did not continue to expand; walls did not continue to extend and choke lands and lives; families and friends were not dislocated; life was not paralysed; people were not exterminated; borders were not sealed and food and light and fuel were in fair supply.

But it is the prisoners' burden to bear: they broke the conditions of their incarceration. Nevertheless, there are concerns for the "humanitarian situation": as long as they do not starve …

The warden improves the living conditions now and then, in varying degrees of relativity, but the prison doors remain sealed. And so when there are 20 hours of power outages in a row, the prisoners wish that they were only eight; or 10; and dream of the days of four.

Vote Zippy

from Palestinian Pundit

Nowhere to Run for Those Trapped in Gaza - 30 Dec 08

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Israel's onslaught on Gaza is A Crime That Cannot Succeed (Guardian)

Link to original (via Voices of Palestine):
Israel's decision to launch its devastating attack on Gaza on a Saturday was a "stroke of brilliance", the country's biggest selling paper Yediot Aharonot crowed: "the element of surprise increased the number of people who were killed". The daily Ma'ariv agreed: "We left them in shock and awe".

Of the ferocity of the assault on one of the most overcrowded and destitute corners of the earth, there is at least no question. In the bloodiest onslaught on blockaded Gaza since it was captured and occupied by Israel 41 years ago, at least 310 people were killed and more than a thousand reported injured in the first 48 hours alone.

As well as scores of ordinary police officers incinerated in a passing-out parade, at least 56 civilians were said by the UN to have died as Israel used American-supplied F-16s and Apache helicopters to attack a string of civilian targets it linked to Hamas, including a mosque, private homes and the Islamic university. Hamas military and political facilities were mostly deserted, while police stations in residential areas were teeming as they were pulverised.

As Israeli journalist Amos Harel wrote in Ha'aretz at the weekend, "little or no weight was apparently devoted to the question of harming innocent civilians", as in US operations in Iraq. Among those killed in the first wave of strikes were eight teenage students waiting for a bus and four girls from the same family in Jabaliya, aged one to 12 years old.

Anyone who doubts the impact of these atrocities among Arabs and Muslims worldwide should switch on the satellite television stations that are watched avidly across the Middle East and which - unlike their western counterparts - do not habitually sanitise the barbarity meted out in the name of multiple wars on terror.

Then, having seen a child dying in her parent's arms live on TV, consider what sort of western response there would have been to an attack on Israel, or the US or Britain for that matter, which left more than 300 dead in a couple of days.

You can be certain it would be met with the most sweeping condemnation, that the US president-elect would do a great deal more than "monitor" the situation and the British prime minister go much further than simply call for "restraint" on both sides.

But that is in fact all they did do, though the British government has since joined the call for a ceasefire. There has, of course, been no western denunciation of the Israeli slaughter - such aerial destruction is, after all, routinely called in by the US and Britain in occupied Iraq and Afghanistan.

Instead, Hamas and the Palestinians of Gaza are held responsible for what has been visited upon them. How could any government not respond with overwhelming force to the constant firing of rockets into its territory, the Israelis demand, echoed by western governments and media.

But that is to turn reality on its head. Like the West Bank, the Gaza Strip has been - and continues to be - illegally occupied by Israel since 1967. Despite the withdrawal of troops and settlements three years ago, Israel maintains complete control of the territory by sea, air and land. And since Hamas won the Palestinian elections in 2006, Israel has punished its 1.5 million people with an inhuman blockade of essential supplies, backed by the US and the European Union.

Like any occupied people, the Palestinians have the right to resist, whether they choose to exercise it or not. But there is no right of defence for an illegal occupation - there is an obligation to withdraw comprehensively. During the last seven years, 14 Israelis have been killed by mostly homemade rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, while more than 5,000 Palestinians were killed by Israel with some of the most advanced US-supplied armaments in the world. And while no rockets are fired from the West Bank, 45 Palestinians have died there at Israel's hands this year alone. The issue is of course not just the vast disparity in weapons and power, but that one side is the occupier, the other the occupied.

Hamas is likewise blamed for last month's breakdown of the six-month tahdi'a, or lull. But, in a weary reprise of past ceasefires, it was in fact sunk by Israel's assassination of six Hamas fighters in Gaza on 5 November and its refusal to lift its siege of the embattled territory as expected under an Egyptian-brokered deal. The truth is that Israel and its western sponsors have set their face against an accommodation with the Palestinians' democratic choice and have instead thrown their political weight, cash and arms behind a sustained attempt to overthrow it.

The complete failure of that approach has brought us to this week's horrific pass. Israeli leaders believe they can bomb Hamas into submission with a "decisive blow" that will establish a "new security environment" - and boost their electoral fortunes in the process before Barack Obama comes to office.

But as with Israel's disastrous assault on Lebanon two years ago - or its earlier siege of Yasser Arafat's PLO in Beirut in 1982 - it is a strategy that cannot succeed. Even more than Hezbollah, Hamas's appeal among Palestinians and beyond doesn't derive from its puny infrastructure, or even its Islamist ideology, but its spirit of resistance to decades of injustice. So long as it remains standing in the face of this onslaught, its influence will only be strengthened. And if it is not with rockets, its retaliation is bound to take other forms, as Hamas's leader Khalid Mish'al made clear at the weekend.

Meanwhile, the US and Israeli-backed Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has been further diminished by being seen as having colluded in the Israeli assault on his own people - as has the already rock-bottom credibility of the Egyptian regime. What is now taking place in the Palestinian territories is a futile crime in which the US and its allies are deeply complicit - and unless Obama is prepared to change course, it is likely to have bitter consequences that will touch us all.
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Rally Against Israeli Bombing of Palestine Seattle 12-30-08

UPDATE: I'm told the crowd was 300 and since I'm a horrible judge of crowds, I'll go with that. The pics were taken at about 4:30 before many people coming from work showed up.

At least 200 people joined together at the Federal Building and with many other cities around the U.S. to protest the U.S. support for Israel's murderous bombing in Gaza.

Join us Saturday, January 3, at Westlake Park, 4th & Pine, Seattle, to continue bringing the truth of the hell Israel is creating in Palestine with our tax money, our bombers and our bombs to the public.

Falling into the Moral Abyss -- Titus North on Electronic Intifada

Link to original here:
The gradual process of ethnic cleansing in the occupied Palestinian territories is accelerating, and with it so is the moral culpability of Israel and the supporters of its policies in the United States. More and more people from the mainstream of Israeli politics are voicing alarm. In the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg compared the situation in Israel today to Germany on the eve of Nazis coming to power. Writing for The Huffington Post, former Israeli peace negotiator Daniel Levy likened Israel to a drunk and the US to a friend who gives them bottle of vodka and keys to his car. Even current Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who has ordered incessant attacks on Gaza since coming to power, has called recent attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinians in the West Bank "pogroms."

A state founded by Holocaust survivors should be a beacon of morality, not a black hole for it. Supporters of Israeli policy (and I distinguish between support for the Israeli people and support for its government's policies) often justify their support by saying that Israel is the only democracy in the region. Leaving aside certain problematic aspects of that claim, I wonder if these people have ever thought of the implications of Israel, as a democracy, being engaged in continual violations of international law and human rights. Israelis, benefiting from a press that is far more open to the truth about government's policies than the American media, know a great deal about what the leaders they elect are doing, yet they continue to elect them. Thus, the Israeli public has culpability for their government's crimes that citizens under a dictatorship would not have.

Of course, the Israeli government could never have pursued these policies without the money, weapons, and diplomatic cover provided by the US, in particular the US Congress. After all, it is Congress's powers over the "purse strings" rather than the President acting as commander-in-chief that has had a more direct bearing on the colonization of Palestinian territories by Jewish settlers. So many members of Congress have taken money from organizations effectively in exchange for supporting Israeli government interests. So many members of Congress have accepted all-expense paid junkets to Israel, ostensibly for educational purposes. With too few exceptions, they are fully complicit in Israeli government crimes, including war crimes.

What about the American public? I would say that the American public is largely in the dark about what is going on, thanks to a media which makes criticism of Israeli policy practically taboo. Of course, this gives the media a special culpability. Still, there are many Americans who do know the score and fail to speak out. This is particularly true with Gentiles. Let's face it, although Jews make up only a few percent of the US population, the bulk of the outspoken critics of Israeli policy in this country seem to be Jewish-Americans. It may be that Gentiles are afraid to speak out for fear of being labeled "anti-Semitic," but I say that as long as you are not anti-Semitic then you should not be afraid. In fact, if you are a true friend of the Israeli people then you should stand with those in their beleaguered peace movement.

It does Israelis no more good to control Palestinian land, exploit its resources, and inflict misery on its people than it did the US any good to do the same to Iraqis. Most of us know that the crimes our country committed in Iraq were detrimental to our future, so why would we support the Israeli government when it engages in the same self-destructive behavior. My question to Israel's "friends" in Congress would be, "is that what friends are for?" Of course not. Most of our members of Congress (and here is the big surprise!) are too self-serving to care about the impact of their votes so long as it helps them raise money for their next election. They are the kind of "friends" Israel's mother should have warned it against -- if only we were Israel's mother.

The only real threat to Israel's existence comes not from Iran or Hizballah, but from a further loss of morality. It comes from attacking and threatening its neighbors. It comes from dehumanizing the indigenous people of the West Bank and replacing them with religious fanatics. As described by Leonard Fein in the Forward, some settlers view the Israeli government as their "enemy" and have called to establish a "Kingdom of Judea" in the West Bank. It comes from turning Gaza into a massive ghetto and slowly starving it, and now more than anything from bombing it into rubble.

We must condemn Israel's attack on Gaza. I know that it is customary for many to equally condemn both sides whenever violence flares up in the conflict, but there is nothing equal between the two sides. The Palestinians have for decades been subjected to occupation, disappropriation, assassination and siege, always with massive suffering to civilians, and are expected to accept it without lifting a finger. Should the Palestinians put up any resistance, Israel feels free to launch any scale of attack, secure in the knowledge that at most it will be subject to calls for "restraint" and condemnation of violence on "both sides." While I do not like the rockets that get fired from Gaza, as long as we as Americans provide the military, financial and diplomatic support that makes the Israeli occupation and siege possible I feel that we as Americans are in no position to condemn the Palestinian resistance. Remember, we as a society idolize our own forefathers who fought a violent resistance against British colonial rulers who paled in comparison in terms of brutality and repression to those the Palestinians face. Our government must withdrawal all support from Israel and instead should deliver desperately needed humanitarian aid directly into Gaza.

With the US heading into the biggest economic crisis of our lifetimes, the Israeli government must realize that it cannot take American financial and military aid for granted. The Palestinians have offered so many concessions. Israel needs to accept their generous offer before it falls headlong into the abyss.

Titus North is a novelist and an adjunct professor in the University of Pittsburgh's Political Science department. He has worked for the Thomson Corporation since 1989 as a political and financial analyst and currently produces a daily English language digest of the Japanese financial press for Thomson. He was the Green Party Candidate for US Congress in 2006 and 2008.

yesterday I died 360 times

[by Raya Ziadeh, daughter of Lutfiyeh in Ramallah whom many of you met. Fallujah is not only the city in Iraq, but also the name of the town in Palestine, now in Israel in Gaza, from which Raya's family was expelled in 1948.

Yesterday I died!

As an old man buried in his tomb,
A fetus dead in her mother's womb

Last night I had my last drop of coffee
My last dream, my last piece of bread

Tomorrow morning I will witness my last dawn
Listen to my daughter's last heart beat
Say I love you for the first, the very last time

Last year I loved; I hated, laughed, and cried
I whispered, I screamed
I was a genius I was an insane
I was an inhabitant, I was a refugee

60 years ago I saw Haifa for the last time
Lived under occupation for the first time

I was young, I was spoiled
I loved my grand mother's stories
I cherished the summers, I hated the rain

Few hours ago I was cold
I was hungry, I was mad, I was angry
I was dead

65 years ago,
I was a fisherman I had beautiful wife
Three young girls an amazing life

One got married in Jerusalem
The other moved with her husband to Al-Fallujah
The third couldn’t resist the beauty of Tal Al-rabie'a

Last month my grand daughter
Didn’t get a permission to pass
A green ID is what she has
She wanted to visit my grave
They told me we look alike
I would have witnessed that, if I weren’t killed in that air strike

At 4pm I couldn’t believe what happened to me
I became famous on all international TVs

Few minutes ago I was invisible no one knew about me
No one heard my screams, felt my fears
No one held my freezing shaking small hand
No one told me it will be ok
Soon it will be ok
No one saw me, no one felt me
I was invisible, no one knew about me!

Few minutes later I'm on TV
Everyone talks about me
Even the CNN mentioned me!!

I was dead there under the rubble
I bet you still remember
Me with my three other sisters
Maybe now you're hanging our pictures

I even saw my father on TV
It’s the first time I see him crying
Daddy please don’t cry…Daddy please don't cry
I promise next time I will not die!

Yesterday I died!

As an old man buried in his tomb,
As fetus dead in her mother's womb

Yesterday I died 360 times!

Raya Ziada

Gaza: the Logic of Colonial Power -- Nir Rosen

Portion below; whole thing (PLEASE READ) here:

Just as the traditional American cowboy film presented white Americans under siege, with Indians as the aggressors, which was the opposite of reality, so, too, have Palestinians become the aggressors and not the victims. Beginning in 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were deliberately cleansed and expelled from their homes, and hundreds of their villages were destroyed, and their land was settled by colonists, who went on to deny their very existence and wage a 60-year war against the remaining natives and the national liberation movements the Palestinians established around the world. Every day, more of Palestine is stolen, more Palestinians are killed. To call oneself an Israeli Zionist is to engage in the dispossession of entire people. It is not that, qua Palestinians, they have the right to use any means necessary, it is because they are weak. The weak have much less power than the strong, and can do much less damage. The Palestinians would not have ever bombed cafes or used home-made missiles if they had tanks and airplanes. It is only in the current context that their actions are justified, and there are obvious limits.

It is impossible to make a universal ethical claim or establish a Kantian principle justifying any act to resist colonialism or domination by overwhelming power. And there are other questions I have trouble answering. Can an Iraqi be justified in attacking the United States? After all, his country was attacked without provocation, and destroyed, with millions of refugees created, hundreds of thousands of dead. And this, after 12 years of bombings and sanctions, which killed many and destroyed the lives of many others.

I could argue that all Americans are benefiting from their country's exploits without having to pay the price, and that, in today's world, the imperial machine is not merely the military but a military-civilian network. And I could also say that Americans elected the Bush administration twice and elected representatives who did nothing to stop the war, and the American people themselves did nothing. From the perspective of an American, or an Israeli, or other powerful aggressors, if you are strong, everything you do is justifiable, and nothing the weak do is legitimate. It's merely a question of what side you choose: the side of the strong or the side of the weak.

Israel and its allies in the west and in Arab regimes such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have managed to corrupt the PLO leadership, to suborn them with the promise of power at the expense of liberty for their people, creating a first – a liberation movement that collaborated with the occupier. Israeli elections are coming up and, as usual, these elections are accompanied by war to bolster the candidates. You cannot be prime minister of Israel without enough Arab blood on your hands. An Israeli general has threatened to set Gaza back decades, just as they threatened to set Lebanon back decades in 2006. As if strangling Gaza and denying its people fuel, power or food had not set it back decades already.

The democratically elected Hamas government was targeted for destruction from the day it won the elections in 2006. The world told the Palestinians that they cannot have democracy, as if the goal was to radicalise them further and as if that would not have a consequence. Israel claims it is targeting Hamas's military forces. This is not true. It is targeting Palestinian police forces and killing them, including some such as the chief of police, Tawfiq Jaber, who was actually a former Fatah official who stayed on in his post after Hamas took control of Gaza. What will happen to a society with no security forces? What do the Israelis expect to happen when forces more radical than Hamas gain power?

Damaged [by Israel] Gaza Aid Boat Docks in Southern Lebanon - 30 Dec 08

Monday, December 29, 2008

Kucinich Criticizes Israel; Wants U.N. Probe

Gut check time on Capitol Hill -- mainly they're missing, except for Kucinich and Cynthia McKinney who left the stench on the Hill and now sails to Gaza with the Free Gaza Movement and will be (literally) under fire from Israel. Note how our brave McDermott voted present when he should have voted against an anti-Hamas resolution, as Ron Paul did, last March.

Link to original here:

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is calling for a United Nations investigation into Israel’s attacks on Gaza, criticizing Israel for a disproportionate response to Hamas rocket attacks.

The criticism stands in stark contrast to the statements of other Democrats, who have offered near-unanimous support for Israel amid the latest violence in the Middle East.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other Democrats have blamed Hamas for the violence, which has left more than 300 people in Gaza dead. One person in Israel has been killed by a Hamas rocket.

Kucinich likened the Israeli attacks on Gaza to its war with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in 2006. In both cases, he said, civilian populations were attacked and “countless innocents” were killed or injured.

“All this was, and is, disproportionate, indiscriminate mass violence in violation of international law,” Kucinich said in a statement. “Israel is not exempt from international law and must be held accountable.”

Pelosi and other Democrats have refrained from criticizing Israel’s government, which has responded to the Hamas attacks with a rocket assault on Gaza.

“Peace between Israelis and Palestinians cannot result from daily barrages of rocket and mortar fire from Hamas-controlled Gaza,” Pelosi said in a statement posted on the Speaker’s website on Monday.

“Hamas and its supporters must understand that Gaza cannot and will not be allowed to be a sanctuary for attacks on Israel.

Reid said he “strongly” supported Israel’s right to defend its citizens from the Hamas rocket attacks and to restore its security. He also blamed Hamas for any humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

“Hamas’s failure to stop these attacks only exacerbates the humanitarian situation for the residents of Gaza and undermines efforts to attain peace and security in the region.”

In March, the House voted 404-1 for a resolution condemning Hamas and other Palestinian groups for rocket attacks on Israel. It also condemned the use of Palestinians as human shields. Hamas has been criticized repeatedly for shooting rockets into Israel from civilian areas in Gaza, which leads to the deaths of civilians when Israel counterattacks.

The only member of Congress to vote against the resolution was Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), a Republican candidate for president in 2008. Four Democrats, Reps. Jim Moran (Va.), Neil Abercrombie (Hawaii), Michael Capuano (Mass.) and Jim McDermott (Wash.), voted present. Kucinich was not present for the vote.

Kucinich said the perpetrators of attacks against Israel should be brought to justice, but that Israel “cannot create a war against an entire people in order to attempt to bring to justice the few who are responsible.”

Pelosi said the U.S. must continue to do everything it can to promote peace in the region and a negotiated settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. She said humanitarian needs of all innocent civilians must be addressed, but added that when Israel is attacked, “the United States must continue to stand strongly with its friend and democratic ally.”

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Israel had a “duty” to defend itself in response to the attacks. “The loss of innocent life is a terrible tragedy, and the blame for that tragedy lies with Hamas.”

Similarly, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) laid blame with Hamas.

“Hamas is abusing the people of Gaza by using their homes as a base for terror operations,” he said. “The world should no longer tolerate a terrorist government in the Gaza Strip.”

President-elect Obama has yet to weigh in on the violence, although top adviser David Axelrod on Sunday noted statements Obama made over the summer that respected Israel’s right to defend itself.

Kucinich said in his statement that he had sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requesting an independent inquiry. He said the attacks on civilians represented collective punishment, which he said was a violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Sam Habeeb's Update on Day 3 of Carnage in Gaza

Mob: 00972599306096
Tel: 0097282802825
Skype: Gazatoday, Facebook: Sameh A. habeeb
Daily Photos:
- Victims toll of Israeli military operation reached 350 while wounded
up to 1500 persona.
-Medical sources: Victims of the third day are 40 between civilians
and militants.
-Five Female children from Ba'losha family killed in Bait Lahia City
north of Gaza.
-Three Children from Al Absi family killed in Rafah refugee Camp as
their house collapsed due to the heavy rockets launched by Israeli
-Scale of bombings up to 60 raids for the 3rd day.
-Israel allows few vans of food supplies into Gaza and Egypt as well.
-Israel announce the borders with Egypt as "Closed Military Operation"
-Israeli army moves from targeting governmental offices into civic
ones. It has targeted some of Hamas leaders' houses. A senior leader
affiliated to Islamic Jehad Movement killed in east of Khanyonis City.
-Israli navy bombed Gaza seaport, destroyed many fishing boats.
-Israeli navy shelled houses in Rafah City while F16s raided on Rafah
City Council.
-More threats by phones to Palestinian civilians in Gaza specifically
Khan Yonis.
-Israel destroyed Al Sideeq Mosque in Jabalia Camp.
-Israei Helicopters opened heavy gunfire on Al zaytoun area.
-Yoval Diskin, Israeli army leader says, "the worse is coming"
-Severe shortages and medical supplies in Gaza hospitals and Al
Shifa' hospital transformed Burnt and birth units into urgent
surgeries. It has also announced inability of receiving more cases.
-Palestinian factions launched many rockets into Israel killing Arab
citizen working in Ashkilon City.

Sameh A. Habeeb, B.A.
Photojournalist & Peace Activist
Humanitarian, Child Relief Worker
Gaza Strip, Palestine
Mob: 00972599306096
Tel: 0097282802825
Skype: Gazatoday, Facebook: Sameh A. habeeb
Daily Photos:

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution

Link to original here:
December 28, 2008 "Press TV" -- -The UN Security Council has been unable to force an end to Israeli attacks against Gaza due to the intervention of the United States.Washington once again used its veto powers on Sunday to block a resolution calling for an end to the massive ongoing Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip.

The council has only been able to issue a 'non-binding' statement that calls on Israel to voluntarily bring all its military activities in the besieged region to an immediate end.

The statement comes as Israel has begun a fresh wave of air strikes on Gaza on Sunday, killing at least six people. At least 230 people were killed and 800 wounded in similar attacks on Saturday. The number of Palestinians deaths has so far risen to 271.

The council called on the parties to address the humanitarian crisis in the territory but has not criticized the Israeli air attacks.

Croatian UN Ambassador Neven Jurica read out the non-binding statement on behalf of the 15-member body that "called for an immediate halt to all violence" and on the parties "to stop immediately all military activities."

"The members of the Security Council expressed serious concern at the escalation of the situation in Gaza," he said, as the president of the council.

The council also requested the opening of border crossings into Gaza to address the serious humanitarian and economic needs in Gaza and to ensure medical treatment and a continuous supply of food and fuel.

US representative to the UNSC, Zalmay Khalilzad, defended the Israeli move, saying Tel Aviv has the right to self-defense.

"I regret the loss of any of all innocent life," he said, adding that Hamas rockets precipitated this situation.

Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip say they fire rockets into Israel in retaliation for the daily Israeli attacks against them. Unlike the state-of-the-art Israeli weapons and ammunition, the home-made Qassam rockets rarely cause casualties.

The US, a staunch ally to Israel, has so far vetoed over 40 anti-Israeli resolutions sought by the council since 1972.

Since 2004, Washington has prevented the adoption of four other resolutions that called for Tel Aviv to halt its operations in the Gaza Strip.

Talking Points: Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza -- Phyllis Bennis

Below are some talking points for your call to your senators. Cantwell 220-6400 and Murray 553-5545.

Phyllis Bennis does a good job poking holes in Israel's and the U.S.'s legal positions vis-a-vis international law, mentioning the breach of the U.S. Arms Control Export Act. She still has some illusions in Obama, but does have a good listing of things we must do at the end of her article.
Portion below; whole thing (found on US Labor Against War memo) is here:

Violations of International Law
The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip violate important tenants of international humanitarian law, including violations of the Geneva Conventions. The violations include both obligations of an Occupying Power to protect an Occupied Population, and the broader requirements of the laws of war that prohibit specific acts. The violations start with collective punishment - the entire 1.5 million people who live in the Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants.

Israel's claim that it is "responding to" or "retaliating for" Palestinian rocket attacks is spurious. The rocket fire as currently used is indeed illegal -Palestinians, like any people living under a hostile military occupation, have the right to resist, including the use of military force against the occupation. But that right does not include targeting civilians. The rockets used so far are unable to be aimed with any specificity, so they are in fact aimed at the civilians who live in the Israeli cities and towns, and so are illegal. The rocket fire against civilians should be ended - as many Palestinians believe, because it does not help end the occupation, but also because it is illegal under international law. However, that rocket fire, illegal or not, does not give Israel the right to punish the entire population for those actions. Such vengeance is the very essence of
"collective punishment" and is therefore unequivocally prohibited by the Geneva conventions.

Another Israeli violation involves targeting civilians. This violation involves three aspects. First, Israel claims the airstrikes were targeted directly at "Hamas-controlled" security-related institutions. Since the majority Hamas party controls the government in Gaza, virtually all the police departments and other security-related sites were hit. Those police and security agencies are civilian targets - not military. They are run by the Hamas-led government in Gaza, an institution completely separate from Gaza's military wing that has carried out some (though by no means the majority) of the rocket attacks. Second, some of the attacks directly struck incontestably civilian targets: a plastics factory, a local television broadcasting center. And third, the incredibly crowded conditions in Gaza, one of the most densely populated sites in the
world, mean that civilian casualties on a huge scale were an inevitable and predictable result. Such targeting of civilian areas is illegal.

The U.S. is also directly complicit in the violations of the Geneva Convention inherent in Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel's actions - keeping Gazans locked in the Strip; closing the border crossings to almost all fuel, food, equipment and other basic humanitarian goods; preventing UN and other international human rights monitors and journalists from entering, and more - have all been backed and supported by the U.S. and others in the international
community. The resulting humanitarian crisis - reaching catastrophic
proportions even before the current air attacks - is partly the responsibility of the United States.

Still another violation involves the disproportionate nature of the military attack. The airstrikes have killed at least 270 people so far, injured more than 1,000, many of them seriously, and many remain buried under the rubble so the death toll will likely rise. This catastrophic impact was known and inevitable, and far outweighs any claim of self-defense or protection of Israeli civilians. (It should be noted that this escalation has not made Israelis safer; to the
contrary, the one Israeli killed by a Palestinian rocket attack on Saturday after the Israeli assault began, was the first such casualty in more than a year.)

Key human rights officials, particular the UN's Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Professor Richard Falk, as well as Father Miguel d'Escoto, President of the General Assembly, have issued powerful statements identifying Israeli violations of international law as well as the UN's obligations to protect the Palestinian population. Falk statement:

But so far there has been no operative response from the UN Security Council. The Council statement, issued 28 December, was completely insufficient, essentially equating the culpability of the Occupying Power and of the occupied population for the violence that has so devastated Gaza. And the statement makes no reference to violations of international law inherent in the Israeli assaults, or in the siege of Gaza that has so drastically punished the entire
population. There is a clear need for the General Assembly to step in to reclaim the UN's role of protecting the world's people, certainly including the Palestinians, and not just responding to the demands of the world's powerful.

U.S. Complicity
The United States remains directly complicit in Israeli violations of
both U.S. domestic and international law through its continual provision of military aid. The current round of airstrikes have been carried out largely with F-16 bombers and Apache attack helicopters, both provided to Israel through U.S. military aid grants of about $3 billion in U.S. taxpayer money sent to Israel every year. Between 2001 and 2006, Washington transferred to Israel more than $200 million worth of spare parts for its fleet of F-16's. Just last year, the U.S. signed a $1.3 billion contract with the Raytheon corporation to provide Israel with thousands of TOW, Hellfire, and "bunker buster" missiles. In short, Israel's lethal attack today on the Gaza Strip could not have happened without the active military support of the United States.

Israel's attack violated U.S. law - specifically the Arms Export Control Act, which prohibits U.S. arms from being used for any purpose beyond a very narrowly-defined set of circumstances: use inside a country's borders for self-defense purposes. The Gaza assault did not meet those criteria. Certainly targeting police stations (even Israel did not claim Gazan police forces were responsible for the rockets) and television broadcast centers do not qualify as self-defense. And because the U.S. government has confirmed it was fully aware of Israeli plans for the attack before it occurred, the U.S. remains complicit in the violations. Further, the well-known history of Israeli violations of international law (detailed above) means U.S. government officials were aware of those violations, provided the arms to Israel anyway, and therefore remain complicit in the Israeli crimes.

The U.S. is also indirectly complicit through its protection of Israel in the United Nations. Its actions, including the use and threat of use of the U.S. veto in the Security Council and the reliance on raw power to pressure diplomats and governments to soften their criticism of Israel, all serve to protect Israel and keep it from being held accountable by the international community.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Guernica in Gaza -- Vittorio Arrigoni of the Free Gaza Movement

Link to original:

My apartment in Gaza faces the sea, a panoramic view that’s always done wonders for my mood, often challenged by all the misery that a life under siege can bring. That is, before this morning, when all hell broke loose at my window. This morning in Gaza we woke up to the sound of dropping bombs, and many of them have fallen a few hundred metres from my home. Some of my friends fell under them. So far the death toll is at 210, but it’s bound to rise dramatically. It’s an unprecedented bloodshed. They’ve razed the port facing my home to the ground, and pulverized the police stations. I’m told that the Western media have assimilated and are repeating the press releases issued by the Israeli military off by heart, according to which the attacks targeted Hamas’s terrorist dens only, with surgical precision.

In actual fact, visiting the city’s main hospital, Al Shifa, staring at a chaotic gathering of bodies laid out in its courtyard, we mostly saw civilians among those awaiting medication, lying alongside others awaiting rightful burial. Can you picture Gaza? Every house rests onto another, every building rises over the next one. Gaza is the place with the highest population density in the world, which means that when you bomb from a height of ten thousand metres, you’ll inevitably butcher many civilians. You’re aware of it, you’re guilty as charged, it’s no error, no case of collateral damage.

By bombing the central police station in Al Abbas in the city centre, the neighbouring elementary school was also seriously damaged by the explosion. It was the end of the school day and the children were already in the street. Most of their flapping sky-blue aprons were splashed with blood. When bombing the Dair Al Balah police academy, some dead and wounded were also recorded from the market nearby, Gaza’s central market. We’ve seen the bodies of animals and humans mixing their blood in rivulets trickling down the asphalt roads. A Guernica transfigured into reality. I saw many corpses in uniforms in the various hospitals I visited – I knew many of those boys. I greeted them every day when I met them in the street on my way to the port, or walked to the central café of an evening. I knew several of them by name. A name, a history, a mutilated family. The majority were young, around eighteen or twenty, mostly without political leanings, not with Fatah nor Hamas, simply enrolled into the police force once they had finished university in order to have a secure job in Gaza, which under Israel’s criminal siege has more than 60% unemployment among its population. I have no interest in propaganda and let my eyes speak, my ears stay in tune with the screaming sirens and the rumbling of TNT.

I haven’t seen any terrorists among the victims today, only civilians and policemen. Exactly like our own local police agents, the Palestinian policemen massacred by the Israeli bombings could be found every day of the year pacing the same city square, supervising the same street corner or road. Just last night I poked fun at a couple of them for the way they were cloaked up against the cold, in front of my house. I want the truth to redeem some of these dead. They’d never fired a single shot against Israel, nor would they have ever done so – it wasn’t in their job description to do so. They acted as traffic wardens, took care of internal security.

The port is quite a distance from the Israeli border anyway. I own a video camera, but today I discovered what a terrible cameraman I am. I can’t bring myself to film mangled bodies or faces drenched in tears. I just can’t. I start crying myself. The other international ISM volunteers and I went to the Al Shifa hospital to give blood. That’s where we received a call informing us that Sara, a dear friend of ours, had been killed by a piece of shrapnel near her home in the refugee camp of Jabalia. A sweet person, a sunny soul, she had gone out to buy some bread for her family. She leaves 13 children behind.

A moment ago I got a call from Tofiq, from Cyprus.Tofiq is one of the Palestinian students lucky enough to have left the endless prison camp of Gaza, on one of our Free Gaza Movement boats to start anew somewhere else. He asked me if I’d visited his uncle and whether I had gone to say hello on his behalf, as I had promised. Hesitatingly, I apologised because I hadn’t found the time. Too late – he was buried by the rubble of the port area along with many others. From Israel we received the terrible threat that this is just the first day of a bombing campaign which could last for up to two weeks. They want to make a desert and call it peace. The “civilised world’s” silence is more deafening than the explosions covering the city like a shroud of death and terror.

Gaza massacres protest in Seattle-- Tues., Dec. 30 @ 4:00PM

Come join us to protest the ISRAELI war crimes committed against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

WHEN: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 @ 4:00PM

WHERE: Federal Building ( 915 2nd Ave, 98104)

"Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone"

27th December Attack on Gaza Strip - Bombing in Rafah

Obama Had "No Comment" on Gaza -- Here's Why

He couldn't get ahold of Rahm Emanuel's father!

Previous story from on Obama's NON-statement below

“There was no immediate comment on the Israeli air strikes on Gaza from Obama, who is vacationing with his family in Hawaii, or his staff.”

This is how our incoming President has reacted to the worst attack on the Palestinian people in 20 years – by not reacting at all.

The Bush White House, of course, has responded as we all know they would: Israel-has-the-right-to-defend itself, let the killing begin, etc., ad nauseum.

And don’t expect much better from the Obama camp. Remember how he scolded the UN for daring to even discuss the Gaza situation?:

We have to understand why Israel is forced to do this… Israel has the right to respond while seeking to minimize any impact on civilians. The Security Council should clearly and unequivocally condemn the rocket attacks… If it cannot bring itself to make these common sense points, I urge you to ensure that it does not speak at all.”

With his silence – or, at least, his very delayed reaction – it seems clear that Obama is taking his own advice. Even as Israel takes the possibility of a new page in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict off the agenda, and sabotages all his brave talk about a renewed US diplomatic effort, the great “liberal” hope is apparently tongue-tied. And when he finally speaks, “progressives” should prepare for the worst: after all, this is someone who endorsed the Israeli re-invasion of Lebanon.

The Israeli-Palestinian “peace process”? The Israelis, for their part, are having none of it – and neither is our future President.

Palestinian Authority Ready If "Israel manages to get rid of the Hamas regime."

Link to original (via Angry Arab Newservice) here:

Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah said Saturday that they were prepared to assume control over the Gaza Strip if Israel succeeds in overthrowing the Hamas government.

"Yes, we are fully prepared to return to the Gaza Strip," a top PA official told The Jerusalem Post. "We believe the people there are fed up with Hamas and want to see a new government."

Another PA official said Fatah had instructed all its members in the Gaza Strip to be prepared for the possibility of returning to power.

"We have enough men in the Gaza Strip who are ready to fill the vacuum," he said. "But of course all this depends on whether Israel manages to get rid of the Hamas regime."

The two officials voiced hope that the current IDF operation would end Hamas rule in Gaza. They said that the PA was also prepared to dispatch security forces from the West Bank to replace the Hamas militiamen.

However, they denied Hamas allegations that the PA had urged Israel to launch a massive attack to overthrow the Hamas government.

Also Saturday, Fatah called on its supporters in the Strip to storm Hamas-controlled prisons to release Fatah detainees. The call came as most of Hamas's security installations were demolished by IAF planes.

Fatah representatives in the West Bank said that Hamas was holding more than 250 Fatah men in its various prisons throughout the Gaza Strip. They expressed fear that Hamas would use the detainees as human shields against the Israeli air strikes.

California Anti-Recruitment Initiatives Challenged by Dept. of Defense

The Initiatives (more about them here: basically said recruiters couldn't have any contact with kids under 18 years of age.

Portion below; whole thing here:

“During the election I was very much opposed to this measure, I campaigned against it, but 57% of the voters supported it, so as their elected representative, I will have to support it,” Jäger said.

Also in support of the measures was the Redwood Chapter, American Civil Liberties Union, which voted last month to ask their affiliate, the ACLU of Northern California, to provide an amicus curiae brief in support of the measures if litigation were filed against them. The ACLU-NC issued a report last year concerning invasive recruitment techniques in California, which has the greatest number of youth between 15 and 24 of any state, and ranks second in the level of recruits to the U.S. Army.

“When the amount the government spends on advertising for military recruitment surpasses Nike’s total advertising budget, we can understand why youth face an uphill battle when trying to make well-informed decisions,” Eveline Chang, director of the ACLU-NC Friedman Youth Project said.

According to the most recent Congressional Budget Office estimate, well over half of the federal government’s total advertising budget, more than $700 million, went towards military recruitment advertising -- a figure that surpassed Nike, Wal-Mart, Mastercard, and Coca-Cola in a 2007 Advertising Age study. When advertising is combined with recruitment support, the campaign to find recruits for the armed services is well over a billion dollars.

“It seemed the recruiters had the run of the campus; they have access to classrooms and students in the lunch room,” seventeen-year-old Jacquieta Beverly, a recent graduate from Tennyson High School, said in an ACLU release. “It got to the point where it felt like they were harassing you. They would follow you into the lunchroom offering to buy you snacks and stuff. It felt like it was an invasion of your privacy.”

Cynthia McKinney Sailing on Free Gaza Boat

Sunday 28th December 2008

For more information, contact.

(Gaza) Ewa Jasiewicz, +970 598 700 497 /
(Cyprus) Eliza Ernshire, +357 99 081 767/
(U.S.) Ramzi Kysia, +1 703 994 5422/

(Larnaca, Cyprus) The Free Gaza movement will hold a press conference at 16:30, Monday, December 29 at the port in Larnaca. The organization is sending in the DIGNITY on an emergency mission of mercy to Gaza loaded with three to four tons of urgently needed medical supplies.

On board are four physicians, including Dr. Elena Theoharous, a surgeon and Member of Parliament in Cyprus. Also going are The Hon. Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate, and Sami al-Hajj, an Al Jazeera reporter and former detainee at Guantanamo.

Dr Khaled from the Shifa hospital ICU in Gaza City told us on Saturday that the majority of cases are critical shrapnel wounds from Israeli gunboats and helicopters, with an approximate 80% who will not survive.

The medical supply list includes bandages, splints and rubber gloves, items that any medical community should have access to, but, because of Israel's policies of collective punishment, these supplies are not available.

Eliza Ernshire, one of the Free Gaza organizers says, "We have calls for surgeons willing to go into Gaza and work there throughout this crisis. The doctors inside are exhausted and unable to cope with the number of wounded. We will do our best to send in the DIGNITY as often as we can over the next few weeks, bringing in physicians and medical supplies.

The media is welcome to come to the port at 16:30 to interview the passengers.

The Free Gaza Movement, a human rights group, sent two boats to Gaza in August 2008. These were the first international boats to land in the port in 41 years. Since August, four more voyages were successful, taking Parliamentarians, human rights workers, physicians, and other dignitaries to witness the effects of Israel's draconian policies on the civilians of Gaza.

Greta Berlin
Media Team
Free Gaza Movement
310 422 7242

U.S. Has Permanent Radar Base [and troops] in Israel

Gee, do you think this had anything to do with Israel's confidence and ability to target Gaza? U.S. troops are on the ground there. U.S. is in this up to its neck. Linda

Portion below; whole thing here:

Published: Sunday, September 28 [2008]

JERUSALEM - The Yanks have landed in Israel.

For the first time in the Jewish state's 60-year history, the U.S. has established a permanent military presence here, according to Defense News.

About 120 American troops have arrived in the Negev Desert to set up an early warning radar that will track missiles launched in Iran, the authoritative U.S.-based weekly says in its current issue.

The X-band radar, which can track objects as small as a baseball at a distance of 4,700 kilometres, was transported over the past week in an air convoy of a dozen or more jumbo military aircraft from U.S. bases in Europe. The move, which was confirmed by Israeli sources on Sunday, was designed to significantly upgrade Israel's long-range radar capabilities to help answer the country's grave concerns about Iran's nuclear ambition.

The basing for the first time of U.S. forces and a high-powered U.S. radar system in Israel was interpreted in contradictory ways Sunday by the Haaretz newspaper.

While the new radar would improve Israeli anti-missile defences, its would limit Israel's ability to take "independent action against Iran, which the U.S. has made clear in recent months it opposes," the daily warned. The newspaper reasoned that it was likely to "restrain Israel, which would be wary about launching an attack that would endanger U.S. personnel."

Placing an X-band radar in Israel was first debated here several months ago and agreed to in Washington only two months ago. The high-tech gear is to be plugged into data from U.S. satellites and an Israeli-operated weapon system designed to shoot down ballistic missiles.

It is believed the advanced radar will increase Israel's warning time of a ballistic missile attack by several crucial minutes. The flight time to Israel of Iran's fastest missiles is thought to be as little as 11 minutes.

U.S. forces have been frequent visitors to Israel in recent years for joint training exercises or to operate Patriot anti-missile defence systems. But these troops have seldom stayed more than a few weeks at a time.

Israeli politicians and military leaders have been grappling for months whether to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. Much of the highly public debate has centred on exactly how far along Iran is in developing weapons.

Iran was "developing a command of uranium enrichment technology and galloping toward a nuclear bomb," according to remarks attributed to the Israeli cabinet last week by Brig-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, who heads the research section of military intelligence for the Israel Defence Forces.

There has also been intense discussions about whether the Israeli air force and navy could successfully carry out an attack by itself against multiple targets more than 1,200 kilometres away that are believed to be scattered and often buried deep underground.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sameh Habeeb - A Bloody Day in Gaza

Portion of Sami Habeeb's article below; whole thing here:

More than 230 killed, hundreds injured due to Israeli bombings against Gaza

Israel is phoning civilians requesting they evacuate houses or they will be bombed

More bombings taking place Now

Casualties up to 230

Israeli army targets Al Shifa' hospital and a mosque

Gaza Strip, 27 Dec, 2008- Saturday morning started as usual but dramatically changed by 11AM. Sixty Israeli F16s bombarded around 100 police stations, civil and governmental offices across Gaza Strip. The bombardment which simultaneously took place left (at the time of writing)160 people killed and around 3 hundred wounded. A number of wounded is expected to die while many corpses still lie under the rubble of buildings.

Palestinian victims were an amalgamation of policemen and civilians who were visiting some police stations for civic affairs. Al Jawazat police station witnessed the bloodiest Israeli attack in which around 70 were killed, mostlypolicemen. The victims of police of Al Jawzat were holding a graduation ceremony for new young police groups.

A family of 9 members, 15 young children, and some women were killed but not recognized. The Ministry of Health is not able to recognize the ID's of casualties. Tawfiq Jaber, Director of Gaza police was killed in the air raids along with Ismail El Jabari head of the security section in the police. Governor of central Gaza governorates and camps was killed as Israel hit his car.

Ma'waya Hasanian, head of Emergency and Ambulances said that around 230 people were killed and 200 injured. He added that a big number of victims were civilians from women, children and old people. Civilian cars referred wounded civilians to the hospitals due to lack of medical cars and vehicles.

Gaza hospitals announced inability of receiving the wounded due to lack of medical equipment and tools. Corpses of Palestinians were thrown on the corridors, rooms and units of hospitals. Meanwhile 2-3 wounded victims shared one bed due to lack of medical equipment, a result of the Israeli siege imposed 2 years ago. Basim Nai'm, Health Minster in Gaza said that Gaza medical sector needs tens of kinds of medical equipment and tools. A number of 70 wounded were referred to an Egyptian hospital.

According to Naser Al laham, Chief-Editor of Maan News Agency said that around 60 Israeli warplanes carried out the Massacre which surprisingly took place in Gaza.