ISLAM—World's Greatest Religion!

In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Israel threatens a new slaughter

ISRAELI FORCES carried out the assassination of Hamas military chief Ahmed al-Jaabari on November 14 and then launched a flurry of at least 20 air strikes on Gaza, leaving at least eight Palestinians dead and 84 more injured. Israeli officials promised more air strikes in the coming days–and also said that they had not ruled out a ground invasion.

Across the U.S. and around the world, antiwar, social justice and human rights activists called for emergency actions to oppose Israel’s latest offensive and express solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The Israeli offensive shattered hopes that a truce brokered a day earlier by Egypt might end weeks of exchanges, with Israeli military forces stationed near the Gaza border trading fire with Palestinians launching rockets.

With plumes of smoke rising in the air and terrified residents scrambling to find loved ones, Palestinians prepared for the worst in recognition of the heightened rhetoric of Israeli leaders. “The head of the snake must be smashed,” said Yisrael Katz, a government minister from Israel’s governing Likud Party. “Israel will continue to kill and target anyone who is involved in the rocket attacks.” And, of course, Israel will also target those not involved in the rocket attacks: The Israeli strikes have already killed two Palestinian children.

Hamas officials vowed to retaliate, saying that the Israeli offensive “had opened the gates of hell.” Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said the Israelis had “committed a dangerous crime and broken all red lines” and that “the Israeli occupation will regret and pay a high price” for its aggression.

Ismail Haniyeh, the Gaza leader of Hamas, called on Arab states to pressure Israel about its latest attack. “We call on our Arab brothers, and especially Egypt…and the new Egyptian presidency, to suppress this barbaric campaign in defense of Gaza and its people,” said Haniyeh. “I call for an urgent Arab summit to confront the brutal aggression.”

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ISRAEL’S KILLING of Jaabari, the highest-level Hamas official it has targeted since Israel’s 22-day Operation Cast Lead killed 1,400 Palestinians four years ago, now threatens to open up a wider war.

During Operation Cast Lead, Egypt under U.S.-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak could be expected to stand by and watch as Israeli forces slaughtered civilians and attacked the civilian infrastructure, such as schools and water treatment facilities.

But no one knows how Egypt under President Mohamed Morsi, a leader of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, might respond to Operation Pillar of Defense, as Israel has dubbed this latest assault. Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party issued a statement saying, “The wanton aggression against Gaza proves that Israel has yet to realize that Egypt has changed and that the Egyptian people who revolted against oppression will not accept assaulting Gaza.”

Already, Morsi has ordered Egypt’s ambassador to Israel to return and called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council and the Arab League to respond to the attacks. It’s even possible that Morsi could come under pressure to annul Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

Tensions in the region have already been running high. Two days before the assassination of Jaabari, Israeli tanks fired on Syrian artillery positions after stray mortars launched by Syrian forces targeting rebel-held areas crossed the border into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Syria’s brutal repression of the Arab Spring rebellion that began in that country 20 months ago grinds on, and it’s possible that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which is straining to maintain its grip on power, may seek to widen the scope of the conflict as a way to neutralize the resistance.

In Jordan, furious protests broke out against government-imposed increases in fuel prices on November 13, marking the most militant challenge to Jordan’s monarchy since the beginning of the Arab Spring in early 2011. Half of Jordan’s population of 6 million has Palestinian roots, which could drive anger even higher.

According to the New York Times:

The demonstrations were the most aggressive in this politically fragile and strategically critical ally of the United States in the past two years, particularly outside the capital, where many protesters shouted slogans against King Abdullah II that previously would only have been whispered. Teachers went on strike, and other unions announced a two-hour work stoppage for Sunday. The crowds included first-time protesters and tribal members who have been the king’s political base.

“This is the beginning of the Jordanian Spring: November 13,” declared Hassan Barari, a political science professor at the University of Jordan, where students blocked a main road near campus. “Because this is no longer a political thing; this is the lives of the people. If you go around to the tribes–this is the backbone of the king–they can’t afford anything. It can’t be worse.”

In Lebanon, there was speculation that Hezbollah resistance fighters–who successfully drove Israel out of southern Lebanon in 2006–might launch an assault on northern Israel in defense of Hamas and the Palestinians of Gaza.

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FOR MONTHS now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been issuing one threat after another–at Iran, at Hamas, at the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank for seeking observer status at the United Nations.

One reason for Netanyahu’s greater-than-usual bellicosity is certainly Israel’s upcoming elections, scheduled for January 22. According to the Christian Science Monitor:

Netanyahu’s reelection campaign could be boosted by the attack on Ahmed al-Jaabri–particularly in southern Israel, where residents have been protesting the recent uptick in rocket attacks from Gaza. But if Hamas and its allies make good on promises of revenge, Israel could face serious repercussions–and find itself pulled into a wider conflagration, given the heightened instability of the region.

Consider the words of Israeli minister Avi Dichter, as reported by Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah: “There is no other choice, Israel must carry out a formatting action in Gaza, actually format the system and clean it out, the way we did in Judea and Samaria during Operation Defensive Shield.”

As Abunimah explains:

Israel credits these [Operation Defensive Shield massacres in 2002] with turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) into an even more obedient partner of the Israeli army in suppressing Palestinian resistance. In the 2000s, under the supervision of U.S. general Keith Dayton, PA forces were re-made into a more effective Israeli proxy force to suppress any resistance, particularly from Hamas.

Ever since Hamas won Palestinian Legislative Council elections in 2006, Israel has largely been able to count on the PA as collaborators in its war on Gaza. So even as Israel trumpets the “surgical precision” of its military–a claim which a compliant mainstream media promotes–the PA has remained silent in the face of Israel’s war crimes.

For years, Israel has alternatively deployed open warfare on the one hand and siege and strangulation on the other in its war to devastate the Palestinian population. In the words of Noam Chomsky, recently returned to the U.S. after making his first trip to Gaza:

It’s amazing and inspiring to see people managing somehow to survive as essentially caged animals and subject to constant, random, sadistic punishment only to humiliate them. Israel and the United States keep them alive, basically. They don’t want them to starve to death. But it’s set up so that you can’t have a dignified, decent life. In fact, one of the words you hear most often is “dignity.” They would like to have dignified lives. And the standard Israeli position is they shouldn’t raise their heads.

And it’s a pressure cooker that could blow up. People can’t live like that forever…It’s an open-air prison…It’s constant subjugation to an external force, which has no purpose except to humiliate you. Of course, they have pretexts–everybody has pretexts–but they don’t make any sense.

But with the Middle East already on a knife’s edge, the stakes are even higher this time around. Around the world, everyone who is concerned about the cause of justice must mobilize to prevent Israel from attempting to repeat the destruction of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure and the targeting of Palestinian children that it unleashed during Operation Cast Lead.

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Breaking the silence on Israel

COOPER UNION’S Great Hall was the stage for a milestone in the global Palestine solidarity movement October 6-7, 2012.

Black civil rights icon Angela Davis joined Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, French resistance fighter and co-author of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights Stéphane Hessel, African National Congress leader Ronnie Kasrils, American Indian Movement co-founder Dennis Banks, human rights legal powerhouses John Dugard and Michael Mansfield and several other luminaries on the jury of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

Gathered before a packed audience of nearly 1,000 people, including actors Harry Belafonte and Wallace Shawn, this people’s tribunal dealt a blow to one of the most serious crimes against the people of Palestine: silence.

For two days, they listened to and questioned experts and historians such as Noam Chomsky, Diana Buttu and Ilan Pappé. Jurors would have heard more Palestinian voices had the U.S. State Department not denied visas to the Gaza Strip’s foremost human rights attorney Raji Sourani and the envoy of the Palestinian Authority to the European Commission in Brussels, Leila Shahid.

In the midst of a media frenzy around a presidential election that has drowned out other news, the tribunal succeeded in garnering coverage from Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera English and Arabic, Le Monde, Le Monde Diplomatique, Foreign Policy, Democracy Now!, and radio and press throughout the U.S. and from Johannesburg to Geneva.

Naturally, online and print publications of the broad left covered the hearings, including the Nation, Jadaliyya, the Progressive, Mondoweiss, Electronic Intifada, and many others.

It is unfortunate but hardly surprising that the mouthpiece of the U.S. 1 percent, the Wall Street Journal, chose to ignore the content of the tribunal and instead attacked it by using a 10-year-old quote from a witness, snagged out of context.

As one of the organizers of the New York City hearings and its press officer, I personally would like to thank their tin-eared journalist for having educated his readers of the tribunal’s storied legacy of trying U.S. crimes in Vietnam in the 1960s with the 20th century’s leading philosophers and historians: Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Isaac Deutscher and Bertrand Russell.

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DEBATES SHOULD and will rage in the blogosphere regarding both legitimate and irrelevant critiques of what is essentially the highest profile event to have ever taken place in the U.S. regarding U.S. and UN complicity in Israel’s violations of international law.

But the central, indisputable point that the Russell Tribunal has driven home with this fourth and final session in New York City is that Palestine is no longer the third rail of American politics. Black civil rights icons now stand alongside cultural and legal figures of note to speak out in solidarity with Palestinians and in defiance of Israel’s human rights abuses and third parties’ complicity in those crimes.

Those who challenge the lack of “balance” at these hearings ignore the fact that Israeli and US officials refused to have any participation in the tribunal or issue any response at all to invitations. What’s more, Americans must ask themselves why the “debate” about Israel we most hear largely consists of how strongly each presidential candidate stands with the perpetrators of Israel’s long-recognized crimes against humanity.

The crimes themselves, condemned in the Hague by the International Court of Justice, are rarely if ever even acknowledged in the U.S. media. Demanding that the oppressed never discuss the crimes of their oppressors unless and until their oppressors come to the table amounts to a rather tortured notion of justice.

The venue itself was a marker of the stature of the rising civil rights movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel that aims to gain most immediately from this event. It was held in the very hall where Frederick Douglass–a slave who became the leading abolitionist and orator of the 19th century–read out the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

Sandwiched between the United Nations and Wall Street, the centers of international diplomacy and finance, the Great Hall physically placed Palestine in the middle of imperial concerns. Now it is up to activists to take the momentum from these hearings and mobilize civil society around BDS in order to win an end to occupation and apartheid.

The hearings were concluded with a gesture of historical poetic justice. The general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Zwelinzima Vavi, mesmerized the crowd with his brief account of his own impoverished life under apartheid. In the end, he called for a revival of the solidarity actions and civil rights spirit that transformed South Africa less than 20 years ago.

One notable absence was the usual op-ed page attacks and letters of denunciation by prominent Zionists. They generally slander all discussion of Israel’s crimes as “anti-Semitism” or illegitimate by virtue of the repetition of the charge of illegitimacy.

One can only conjecture as to why, but it appears that recent attacks on conferences on Palestine at Columbia, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania have blown back on uncritical Zionists, as greater numbers hear about these gatherings and are won over to standing up for the rights of Palestinians.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine posed a formidable challenge to the blinkered ideologues who shill for the status quo in Israel. How do you attack a room full of civil rights icons listening to expert testimony without outing your movement as a cover for racist segregation and colonial occupation?

Juror Angela Davis explained a simple truth:

It’s clear that if this information were widely circulated, there would be universal condemnation of the policies of the state of Israel that have led to the continued oppression of the Palestinian people.

Time will tell how significant a contribution the Russell Tribunal on Palestine-NYC has made to the movement for Palestinian human rights. To me, standing at the back of the packed hall with its dramatic 19th century columns and faces of men and women known and respected by literally hundreds of millions around the world, it seems that Palestine’s Rosa Parks moment has finally arrived.

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most graciousNew ‘HRW’ report affirms Goldstone’s claim: Israel wantonly destroyed Gaza’s civilian infrastructure

In its official responses to the Goldstone Report, Israel has vehemently denied that it purposely and systematically destroyed Gaza’s civilian infrastructure during “Operation Cast Lead,” as the U.N. report alleges.

One of the many damning allegations in the report states that as the Israeli military began withdrawing from Gaza on January 15, 2009, “there appeared to be a practice of systematically demolishing a large number of structures, including houses, water installations, such as tanks on the roofs of houses, and of agricultural land.”

Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a comprehensive, 134-page report today titled, “’I Lost Everything’: Israel’s Unlawful Destruction of Property during Operation Cast Lead.” HRW’s report comes to a similar conclusion the Goldstone Report does: Israel committed war crimes in Gaza when “Israeli forces caused extensive destruction of homes, factories, farms and greenhouses in areas under IDF control without any evident military purpose. These cases occurred when there was no fighting in these areas; in many cases, the destruction was carried out during the final days of the campaign when an Israeli withdrawal was imminent.”

As this latest report notes, the targeting of civilian infrastructure seems to have been official Israeli policy, according to statements made by Israeli officials. For instance, Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai said, “we have to determine a price tag for every rocket fired into Israel,” and recommended that “even if they fire at an open area or into the sea, we must damage their infrastructures and destroy 100 houses.”

The HRW report examines 12 cases of “unlawful destruction” of civilian property, including the el-Bader flour mill, juice and biscuit plants, and seven concrete factories.

HRW recommends that Israel conduct impartial investigations into the cases the report documents, and to prosecute those responsible for war crimes. That will not happen, though, as a separate April 2010 HRW report concludes that “Israel’s investigations into serious laws-of-war violations by its forces during last year’s Gaza war lack thoroughness and credibility.”

In addition to that recommendation, the HRW report urges the United States to halt all sales of Caterpillar D-9 bulldozers until “an official investigation into the IDF’s use of these bulldozers to destroy civilian property in Gaza” concludes.

The report also repeats the Goldstone Report’s recommendations that if independent and impartial investigations by the parties involved in the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict do not materialize, the International Criminal Court should get involved.

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Bombing Gaza “back to the Middle Ages”

ISRAEL IS raining death and destruction from the skies on the people of Gaza.

After assassinating Hamas military chief Ahmed al-Jabari on November 14, Israel followed with a massive assault–under the benign sounding name “Operation Pillar of Cloud”–on Gaza.

According to the website Palestine From My Eyes, which has been keeping track of those killed and wounded: “At 8 p.m., November 18, the ministry of health in Gaza has reported that Israel has risen the death toll in Gaza to 69, including 20 children, 8 women, and 9 elderly people. Moreover, over 660 persons got injured since Wednesday, including 224 children, 113 women, and 50 elderly people.”

Al-Jazeera put the Palestinian death toll even higher, at 72, as this article was being written on November 18. “Sunday was also the deadliest day of the five-day conflict with 30 deaths in the 24-hour period,” according to Al-Jazeera.

Israel targeted the offices of Palestinian and other international media outlets. Israeli officials knew journalists were on site when they fired at the media building. “[M]y advice to journalists visiting Gaza is to stay away from any Hamas position, site or post for their own safety,” army spokesperson Avital Leibovich told reporters.

Also on Sunday, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights reported that the Israeli assault has escalated:

Israeli airstrikes over the past 24 hours have been intense and severe, and have targeted civilian houses in disregard of the lives of their residents. They have targeted media offices, wounding 10 journalists, in an attempt to prevent them from reporting on crimes committed against Palestinian civilians. They have also targeted governmental facilities located in densely populated areas, causing civilian causalities and extensive damage to civilian property.

In the single deadliest strike since Israel’s military operation began, the Israeli navy fired at a home where they claimed a member of the Islamic Jihad was hiding (if he was ever there, he was apparently away at the time). The four-story apartment building in Gaza City was reduced to a pile of rubble.

Columns of smoke rise following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. Palestinian witnesses say Israeli airstrikes have hit a series of targets across Gaza City, shortly after the assassination of the top Hamas commander. Hamas security officials say two Hamas training facilities were among the targets in the Wednesday afternoon bombings. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

As Israeli drones flew overhead, a crowd of men dug at the wreckage with their bare hands, hoping to find survivors. The Associated Press described the scene:

Frantic rescuers, bolstered by bulldozers, pulled the limp bodies of children from the ruins of the house, including a toddler and a 5-year-old, as survivors and bystanders screamed in grief. Later, the bodies of the children were laid out in the morgue of Gaza City’s Al Shifa Hospital. Among the 11 dead were four small children and five women, including an 81-year-old, Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said.

Mahmoud Masharawi, the uncle of 11-month-old Omar Masharawi, who was burned to death in one attack, told Electronic Intifada, “I was very attached to this little sweet baby. I used to come back from school every day to hug him and play with him a bit. Now, the Israelis have taken him and taken our souls as well. What did this child do to be killed?”

As one young Palestinian girl asked at a press conference outside of Al Shifa Hospital following the attack, “To the world and people: Why should we be killed and why shouldn’t we have a normal childhood? What did we do to face all this?”

“As a doctor, as a human, I am crying. I can’t do anything for him,” Ayman Al-Sahabani, director of the hospital’s emergency department, told CNN, describing his attempts to save a small child killed in one of the attacks. “You can’t imagine if it’s your baby. How [would] you feel? Why? He is a terrorist? Why?”

Gaza’s hospitals have already been stretched to the breaking point by an economic blockade imposed by Israel since 2006 as punishment for the victory of Hamas in elections. All medical facilities face critical shortages of medicine and supplies, according to reports. And since markets, bakeries and other shops have been forced to close because of the attacks, there are reports of shortages of food and other essentials.

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BUT FROM Israel’s top leaders, there was no concern about civilians dying. On the contrary, many called for a grotesque collective punishment for Gaza’s population.

Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai of the Shas party, for example, proudly proclaimed, “We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages, destroying all the infrastructure, including roads and water.”

This is an explicit call for Israel to commit war crimes under the Geneva Conventions, which forbid deliberate targeting of civilian populations, including “drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works.”

Gilad Sharon, the son of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, used even more chilling language in the Jerusalem Post:

The residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas. The Gazans aren’t hostages; they chose this freely, and must live with the consequences…

We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima–the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.

There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a cease-fire. Were this to happen, the images from Gaza might be unpleasant–but victory would be swift, and the lives of our soldiers and civilians spared…

There is no middle path here–either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip.

Likewise, Michael Ben-Ari, a member of the Knesset representing the National Union party called for a slaughter in a message to Israeli soldiers: “Brothers! Beloved soldiers and commanders–preserve your lives!...There are no innocents in Gaza, don’t let any diplomats who want to look good in the world endanger your lives; at any tiniest concern for your lives–Mow them!

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IN ATTEMPTING to justify its slaughter, the Israeli state is taking its continuing propaganda war against Gazans to Orwellian proportions. The goal is to cast Israel as the victim in the ongoing conflict.

Leaflets being dropped on the population of Gaza in between bombings warn:

For your own safety, take responsibility for yourselves and avoid being present in the vicinity of Hamas operatives and facilities and those of other terror organizations that pose a risk to your safety. Hamas is once again dragging the region to violence and bloodshed. The IDF is determined to defend the residents of the State of Israel. This announcement is valid until quiet is restored to the region. –Israel Defense Forces Command.

The message to Palestinians is clear: Any resistance will be met with the harshest of collective punishment. For the act of democratically electing Hamas to a majority of Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006, all Gazans are now considered “terrorists.”

As British socialist Richard Seymour wrote at his blog Lenin’s Tomb:

The authors of this leaflet know there is no escape. They know that no resident of Gaza is safe. There is no building that cannot become a Hamas “facility,” no person that cannot be deemed a Hamas “operative,” or at least be deemed to have been negligently or culpably close to one. There is nothing anyone in Gaza can practically do to be sure that the IDF will not vaporize them.

And as tanks and reservists gather on the border, pending an invasion, there is nothing that the average Gazan can do to avoid being in a neighborhood that is sealed off and shelled for hours and hours, humanitarian agencies prevented from reaching the wounded, starving survivors for days afterward. The authors of this leaflet know what they are capable of doing to people in Gaza, because they have done it before; and they know Gazans know.

Far from acknowledging this reality, Israeli officials have repeatedly claimed that Hamas is using civilians as human shields. Any civilian casualties in Gaza are, therefore, to be blamed on Hamas, and not Israel firing missiles and dropping bombs on one of the most densely populated areas on the planet, where half of the population of 1.6 million are children.

In truth, under Israeli logic, all of Gaza is a potential “terrorist hideout” and all of Gaza’s infrastructure belongs to Hamas. Therefore, all Gazans deserve collective punishment for Hamas’ actions.

As Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah reported, Israel officials have begun distributing a fabricated graphic of a sign at a Gaza hospital, with the caption, “When Hamas members need a place to hide, they run to hospitals.”

As Abunimah writes, this is likely a prelude to Israel targeting Palestinian hospitals–also a war crime, and something the Israeli state did during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09. Then, as now, Israel claimed Hamas “militants” used hospitals as cover for terrorist operations–a claim the 2009 Goldstone Report, commissioned by the United Nations, rejected.

During Cast Lead, the World Health Organization’s assessment of 122 health facilities in Gaza found that that 48 percent were damaged or destroyed during the onslaught–another form of collective punishment and immiseration for ordinary Gazans.

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AND IF some Israeli leaders have their way, Operation Pillar of Cloud may soon escalate even further. As a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, “The Israeli military is prepared to significantly expand the operation.”

The Israel Defense Force announced that it was calling up 75,000 reservists and massing troops across the border of Gaza for a possible ground invasion–and many Israeli political figures, from the far right into the political mainstream, are pushing hard for the government to pull the trigger.

Such an invasion will provoke fallout for Israel in the international community, but so far at least, Israeli has received nothing but support from the Obama administration, among other international leaders.

Speaking on Sunday, Obama echoed the Israeli government line that Israel was responding to the aggression of Palestinians, who launched relatively primitive rockets from inside Gaza. As Obama told reporters, “There’s no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. We are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself.”

As Elizabeth Murray, a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, pointed out in response to a similarly worded statement from the State Department:

[W]hile the State Department urged both sides to avoid civilian casualties, nowhere was there mention of the Palestinians’ right to defend themselves from various attacks by Israel. Apparently only one side is granted that privilege, according to the U.S. statement.

Writing in the Guardian, Glenn Greenwald noted the role that the U.S. has played in allowing Israel to once again attack Gazans with impunity:

Obama continues to defend Israel’s free hand in Gaza, causing commentators like Jeffrey Goldberg to gloat, not inaccurately: “Barack Obama hasn’t turned against Israel. This is a big surprise to everyone who has not paid attention for the last four years” (indeed, there are few more compelling signs of how dumb and misleading U.S. elections are than the fact that the only criticism of Obama on Israel heard over the last year in the two-party debate was the grievance that Obama evinces insufficient fealty–rather than excessive fealty–to the Israeli government).

That the Netanyahu government knows any attempt to condemn Israel at the UN would be instantly blocked by the U.S. is a major factor enabling them to continue however they wish. And, of course, the bombs, planes and tanks they are using are subsidized, in substantial part, by the U.S. taxpayer.

The U.S. media generally are parroting the Israeli government claim that the current conflict was sparked by Hamas’ breaking of a cease-fire. This is not only an outright lie, but it is designed to paint Israel–with its vastly superior weaponry and army–as a victim of the conflict.

The facts are that as early as November 8, several Israeli soldiers invaded Gaza–exchanging gunfire with Palestinian fighters and killing a 12-year-old boy who was playing soccer at the time.

After several skirmishes over the following days, Palestinian factions agreed to a truce on November 12 if Israel ended its attacks. In the Israeli daily Haaretz, journalist Nir Rosen pointed out that, just prior to his assassination on November 14, Hamas’ Ahmed al-Jabari had:

received the draft of a permanent truce agreement with Israel, which included mechanisms for maintaining the cease-fire in the case of a flare-up between Israel and the factions in the Gaza Strip. This [is] according to Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, who helped mediate between Israel and Hamas in the deal to release Gilad Shalit and has since then maintained a relationship with Hamas leaders.

Baskin told Haaretz on Thursday that senior officials in Israel knew about his contacts with Hamas and Egyptian intelligence aimed at formulating the permanent truce, but nevertheless approved the assassination.

Such attacks are not the actions of a nation “seeking peace” with Palestinians, as Israel repeatedly claims. They are designed to provoke a Palestinian response, which is then used to unleash an overwhelmingly brutal assault under the pretext of “fighting terrorism.”

The Israeli state has been targeting Gazans ever since they dared to democratically elect Hamas in Palestinian Legislative Council elections in 2006. For the act of daring to stand up to continuous, repeated brutality, all Gazans are now paying a heavy collective price.

As Electronic Intifada’s Rami Almeghari wrote, when asked by her 13-year-old son what Israel wants from Gazans: “‘What do they want?’ I exclaimed to Munir. ‘What they want is obviously to deprive us of our humanity, taking away our dream to live normal lives like other nations, and to throw us into the ocean.'”

It will take a mass outcry–here in the U.S. and around the globe–to make stop Israel’s latest assault on Gaza.

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Gaza Under Attack 16-Nov-2012 in Photos

16 Nov 2012 Victims of Israel Attack in Gaza

Israel Rockets Killing lots of life in Gaza,few are listed below…you may not see this via media,they may hide it,but we r collecting info from bloggers living in palestine.. Please Share this post link with others… israel is using Social Media to look Innocent after killing these people…will you not help to spread truth with others ?

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16 Nov 2012 Victims of Israel Attack in Gaza Gallery


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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Palestinians Protest in Jerusalem against Israel’s air strikes in Gaza

Gaza Under Attack

For Palestinians in Jerusalem Fridays are not only a day for prayer and the beginning of the weekend, they also for protests against settlers, land grabs and the occupation. But with a looming ground invasion by Israeli forces, and military aircraft flying overhead during in the middle of Thursday night en route to Gaza, demonstrations this week were focused on Gaza.

Half past noon after prayers ended, a few Hamas flags were carried through the narrow corridors of the Old City from al-Aqsa mosque to the Damascus Gate, as hundreds of Palestinians chanted against Operation Cloud Pillar, and in support of rockets nearly reaching Tel Aviv. The settlers still roamed through the Muslim Quarter, yet instead of instigating clashes, they walked almost unnoticed. In places where the Old City’s paths widened into a bay of a café porches, uniformed Israeli police lined the streets with “Mistravim,” the Hebrew word for undercover security units that dress in an “Arab,” style. These officers are conspicuous. Although dressed in plain clothes they look like they are in costumes, with their build and body movements as a clear giveaway. On Friday, they were armed with cameras, taking pictures of demonstrators, which in the past has resulted in arrests later the same night. But the demonstrators were not concerned with the undercover units because their protest was for the people of Gaza, showing a rare unity amongst Palestinians during an era dominated by political divisions.

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Palestinian protesters exiting the Old City through the Damascus Gate.
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Israeli checkpoint blocking Palestinian pedestrians at the Damascus Gate, East Jerusalem.

Earlier that same day the Israeli police set-up checkpoints blocking off various access paths around the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and barred anyone under the age of 40 from entering the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. From the military’s standpoint the youngsters, the shebab, would likely hurl stones at them. However when the youth finally met up with the older generation at the mouth of the Damascus Gate, a plaza which connects the ancient city to its modern municipal borders, no stones were thrown. Yet still, like choreography, the police in groups of five, darted into the crowed in order to arrest the demonstrating youths. At the top of the stairs overlooking the Palestinians the police spoke freely about how they were going to arrest people they thought were capable of becoming “instigators.” At that time the Palestinians were surrounded on three sides by the Israeli authorities, checkpoints, and journalists. Pointing to a man dressed in a t-shirt, a high-ranking police man said to four others, “him,” continuing “he looks like an instigator.” With that, the police burst into the crowd, pulling back twenty minutes later after six were taken into Israeli custody.

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Protesters marching in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, East Jerusalem.
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Israeli police line the corridors of the Muslim Quarter.
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“Mistravim,” undercover Israeli police officer (right) in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, East Jerusalem.
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Protesters marching inside of the Muslim Quarter in the Old City, East Jerusalem.
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Palestinian women chanting in front of the Damascus Gate.
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Israeli police push Palestinan woman while trying to arrest a Palestinian man.
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Israeli police snatch squad making an arrest in front of the Damascus Gate.

While making arrests, Israeli police shoved and beat other protesters in order to push them out of the way and extract an arrestable, usually a Palestinian man under the age of 40. There was a kind of flow to this ejection process that left women trampled and men bruised. And journalists are no exception. Some photographers even wear skateboard helmets with their button down shirts in order to protect their heads while working. Michael Corech-Salisbury, a Mizrahi community organizer who works for the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD) and contributed research to this report, got swept up in the commotion and was punched in the forehead by Israeli police who then pulled him by the backpack out of their arrest path. The Palestinian man the authorities where detaining at that time was then dragged up the stone steps of the Damascus Gate plaza by four officers.

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Israeli police arresting Palestinian man (right).
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Israeli police officer moves to strike left wing Mizrahi Israeli activists, Michael Corech-Salisbury who contributed research to this report.

Later the same day in Ras al-Amud, a Palestinian neighborhood of Jerusalem perched on a hill behind the Old City police entered the residential area and fired smoke grenades at youths who threw stones and launched dynamite from a hand-made cardboard device.

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After Israeli police fire a smoke grenade, a Palestinian youth prepares to throw stones.
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Israeli police in the residential section of Ras al-Amud.
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Car window hit by Israeli fire in Ras al-Amud.

But despite the protests, Operation Cloud Pillar is intensifying, aside from a so-called “lull” in air strikes when the Egyptian Hesham Kandil visited on Friday. As well, Hamas and other militia groups in the Gaza Strip are keeping pace with “Operation Shale Stones,” the social media hashtag for their military operation. Each day rockets are launched further into Israel, the latest known range demonstrated by two missile’s fired into the Jerusalem area by al-Qassam Brigades. Now that a much broader swath of Israel’s public is possibly vulnerable to the rockets, and beyond the area protected by Israel’s anti-missile Iron Dome system, many people are now speculating that this new possibility of Israeli civilian casualties will force Israel’s hand to let up on military actions in Gaza.

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Casings of dispersants fired by Israeli police at youths in Ras al-Amud.

Michael Corech-Salisbury contributed research to this report. All photographs are by the author.

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