Tag Archives: Palestine

Documentation of Israeli war crimes in Gaza

Israeli rocket in Gaza July 12 2014ic cleansing in

Are these traumatized Israelis examining a Qassam rocket lobbed by Hamas from Gaza? No. It’s documentation of Israeli war crimes against Gaza–& it isn’t the only evidence, which mounts in photo after photo of Israeli aircraft exploding massive bombs over Gazan cities with homes, schools, clinics. These are in fact Palestinians in the town of Deir El-Balah (on the coast of central Gaza) examing a missile dropped from Israeli aircraft.

One would hardly take present international law as a guide to the oxymoronic (with emphasis on moronic) “humanitarian conduct of war”. But Israeli bombing of Gaza violates umpteen international treaties about bombing civilians & civilian property. And it must be remembered, every single person in Gaza is a civilian because there is no form of military & homemade rockets are no form of self-defense against one of the most sophisticated military arsenals in the world.

Deir al-Balah, which has a nearby refugee camp, is a frequent site of Israeli military incursions by land & by air because of its location & because it is a center of political opposition to Israeli apartheid. Israeli bombers & bulldozers have razed acres of orchard land in the area; tanks have occupied the area under the pretext of routing out Hamas arsenals shooting off rockets to Israel. Since in several decades of military incursions in the region Israel hasn’t been able to rout them out, maybe it’s a failed military strategy–or more likely, those arsenals don’t exist & never existed at all.

Deir al-Balah was once a center of Zionist settlements but under the despicable prime minister Ariel Sharon, Israel implemented a disengagement plan in 2005 & forcibly removed the Zionist settlers from Gaza. It now seems evident Israel’s strategy was not to generate peace between Israel & the bantustate of Gaza but to isolate Gaza to more effectively bombard it, ethnically cleanse it of Palestinians, & return it to Zionist freebooters.

Many Palestinian supporters around the world are traumatized watching the carnage & feel helpless to stay the hand of Israeli genocide. Maybe that partially explains why the antiwar movement is so weak: because military power is so daunting & seemingly impregnable. But we must never underestimate the power of resistance, of political education, of persistence. Our strength lies in numbers & in commitment & in steadfast solidarity with Palestinians, Afghanis, Iraqis, Pakistanis, & all others.

(Photo by Ashraf Amrah/Reuters)

Media lies to cover Israeli ethnic cleansing in Gaza

Gaza bombing (2) July 10 2014

Photojournalists are documenting Israeli human rights & war crimes in Gaza, including hundreds of tons of explosives raining down on cities. While the photographic testimony is massive & irrefutable, world media tries to turn the story on its head with headlines like “Israel under renewed Hamas attack” (BBC, July 8th); “Israel Continues Offensive in Gaza: Gaza Raids a Response to Palestinian Rocket Attacks on Israeli Towns” (Wall Street Journal, July 9th); “Israel and Hamas trade attacks” (NY Times, July 9th).

Shame-faced lying is the nature of media reporting on Israel & the Palestinians. If they could put a soundtrack to their pile of lies, it would be Andy Williams singing “The Exodus Song (This Land is Mine)” from the film justifying the expropriation of Palestine with paramilitary death squads & colonial hatred. The ABC news reader Diane Sawyer, who has made a career for herself croaking lies for the Pentagon, actually borrowed film footage of bombing carnage in Gaza & described it as Israel. There is no actual footage because there is no carnage in Israel comparable to the ethnic cleansing siege of Gaza. They’ve only been able to produce a few photos of Israelis cowering from sirens & a couple photos of property damage in Israel, allegedly from Hamas rockets.

Media publish the photos & try to counter their impact with captions. The Wall Street Journal album of carnage in Gaza used captions like: “At least 66 Palestinians have been killed so far, more than 50 of them civilians.” Since Gaza does not have any form of military they are all unarmed civilians–but the caption suggests Hamas militarism. Photo after photo of rubble in Gaza, of people running from air strikes in residential areas, of Israeli aircraft bombing cities are described in captions as “what police claimed was from Israeli bombing”–like it was just allegations from Palestinian authorities. What about what the Israeli military brazenly calls Operation Protective Edge? They bomb the hell out of Gaza & leave it to world media to cover for them.

The caption to this photo read: “A Palestinian woman runs carrying a girl following what police said was an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza City.” You can stick any caption of lies on this photo & dramatize it with Andy Williams singing, but the overwhelming weight of evidence is that Operation Protective Edge is a massive Operation Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians by Israel. Those who want to stand on the side of ethnic cleansing using cynicism & mysticism, claiming the disputes are ancient or even genetic to semites, shaking their naughty fingers at both sides, ought to hang their heads in shame.

Stand against ethnic cleansing by supporting the economic boycott of Israel (barcode beginning 729); supporting the cultural boycott of Israel; & demanding “No military aid to Israel.”

(Photo by Majdi Fathi/Reuters)

Pope says three Hail Marys and makes a good act of contrition for Israeli apartheid

Pope Francis May 25 2014

Call me ungrateful, but I think the Pope Francis trip to Palestine & Israel is a mixed bag of symbolic gestures–like visiting Mahmoud Abbas & the West Bank, praying at the apartheid wall, & visiting Al-Aqsa mosque. Like all symbolic gestures, these are not meaningless but what they signify are evasions of Palestinian justice. They’re a political dog & pony show. What matters is that he is promoting a bantustate solution, is not calling for the right of return for Palestinian refugees, & not denouncing the West Bank occupation or siege of Gaza.

So what if he says a prayer at the apartheid wall!? It may rile Israel but it won’t advance Palestinian justice one iota. Pope Francis isn’t a rookie to politics & neither are his Vatican advisers. Millions of people around the world are outraged by Israeli apartheid & ethnic cleansing & the pope can get away with a wimpy-assed prayer & be lauded for it?

Some may call that incremental progress toward justice for Palestinians. Let’s call it what it is: a shameful deference to Zionism & maybe collusion.

Tear down that apartheid wall! No military aid to Israel! Support Palestinian justice by boycotting all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729), & supporting the cultural boycott of Israel.

(Photo by Ariel Schalit)

Nakba 2014 commemoration: 66 years of Israeli ethnic cleansing

May 15 marks Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) day. In 1948, over 780,000 Palestinians were forcibly driven from their homeland by Zionist paramilitary terrorist squads under the protection of the British. Over 500 Palestinian villages were depopulated & destroyed. Nakba day follows the day Zionists celebrate as Israeli “independence” day. That is a linguistic deceit to mask the political barbarism of Nakba.

More than 7 million Palestinian refugees, one of the largest refugee communities in the world, continue to live in exile & in refugee camps, while 5 million Palestinians are living in Gaza, called “the world’s largest open air prison.”

On the 66th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, join the campaign for Palestinian justice & say no to Israeli apartheid, colonialism, & occupation. Support the Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel by boycotting Israeli products (barcode beginning 729); support the right of return for all Palestinian refugees, the end of the military occupation of the West Bank, & the end of the siege of Gaza; support the cultural boycott of Israel; demand “No military aid to Israel!”

(Photo of Nakba in 1948 from http://rehmat1.com/)

Defense case for Israeli conscientious objector

Uriel Ferera May 5 2014

This is the defense case of Uriel Ferera, a young Israeli man jailed & placed in solitary confinement for refusing to serve in the Israeli military because he opposed discrimination against Palestinians within Israel & the occupation of Palestinian lands.

Ferera is a harbinger, part of the advance guard among Israeli youth turning against the fortress of Zionist apartheid. Active solidarity with him is imperative. It serves first to protect him from worse punishment by the Israeli regime & secondly, to strengthen resolve among other Israelis who object to apartheid but are afraid to stand up because of punishment & ostracism. We should never underestimate how terrifying such commitment to justice can be; it proved hard enough for antiwar soldiers in the US Army whilst there was a massive antiwar movement & much more so in a militarized society like Israel with very weak antiwar opposition. Simple acts of solidarity show them they do not stand alone.

This link suggests several easy ways to extend support to Ferera. Please take a moment to send an email voicing your objections to his incarceration, putting the Israeli regime on alert that their conduct toward him is being watched, & expressing your support for this courageous, principled, & admirable young man.

(Photo is of Uriel Ferera from his FB wall)


Chinese betrayal of the Palestinians

It may still be uncertain where China is headed politically since linking its fortunes to the barbarities of neoliberalism but this picture shows its headed fast in the wrong direction. Chinese president Xi Jinping invited Israeli president Shimon Peres for a three day state visit which began today. There are no reports on why Peres was invited or what they will be negotiating but it doesn’t fare well for Palestinians that in welcoming oratory, Xi encouraged Israel in the phony Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The talks have long been dead as a doornail & all attempts to slap them into life only make them look more politically obscene. You cannot bomb people & wrest their farms & cities from them while talking peace. You are either completely stupid or corrupt as hell to claim otherwise. Though in Xi’s case, he’s likely sucking up to Israel to get a better deal on military technology like the $1 billion surveillance equipment they once bought.

In cringe-worthy rhetoric, Xi said the Chinese & Jewish people have always gotten along, especially during WWII when they commonly opposed fascism & militarism. Of course the falling out came after WWII with the establishment of Israel on Palestinian lands in 1948. Until Mao’s death in 1976, China’s foreign policy was based, at least rhetorically, on opposing colonialism & championing the oppressed. Diplomatic relations with Israel were not established until 1992 but Israel had a long, secretive military relationship with China since at least 1979, but probably earlier. It now has what is called a “pragmatic, flexible diplomatic strategy” in the Middle East–a term that covers a multitude of betrayals of the oppressed, & not just the Palestinians.

The Jerusalem Post, a conservative Israeli newspaper, reported a few years ago that the Chinese were “allured by Israeli military prowess & by “Jewish genius” exhibited in men such as Karl Marx & Albert Einstein.” We don’t know about Einstein but we’re certain Marx would roll over in his grave at such a statement. He may have been an imperfect man, but he had no truck with such elitist ethnic chauvinism & would never have betrayed the oppressed. If there is such a thing as “Jewish genius” you sure wouldn’t know it from the Zionist propaganda machine which has been stuck on one note shrieking “antisemite” since its inception.

Any extant Maoists should try to explain this disgraceful scene where innocent Chinese children are hauled out to wave flags for a country shamed before the world for its violence toward Palestinians.

(Photo of Peres at the welcoming ceremony by Alexander F. Yuan/AP)

The dangers of journalism in war zones

We should take a moment to honor Anja Niedringhaus, a photojournalist based in Afghanistan who was shot & killed this past week. It is estimated that at least 70 journalists were killed last year & 20 so far this year. Twenty-eight of those killed in 2013 were reporting from Syria. Journalists face many dangers in war zones & areas of conflict since they are often targeted for assassination. It’s not a glamorous job.

One press freedom group estimates over 850 journalists were killed in the line of duty between 1992 & 2012. Mexico is considered by press freedom groups to be among the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. Almost 100 reporters have been killed or disappeared since 2000 with most of those crimes unsolved, un-investigated, & with few arrests. Many Mexican journalists have sought refuge in neighboring countries from possible assassination. Unsolved murders of journalists exist in many countries, including Russia & the US. Presently, a group of al-Jazeera reporters are in a kangaroo court in Egypt for alleged collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood. There are many such cases around the world & press freedom groups have formed ostensibly to monitor & defend media workers when they are targeted, arrested, prosecuted, or murdered by tyrannous regimes.

Most notable groups include the Committee to Protect Journalists (formed in 1981), which has a conservative board of directors including Christiane Amanpour, Tom Brokaw, & Dan Rather. The association of such establishment figures should put up a huge red banner saying “donors beware”.

Reporters Without Borders (formed in 1985), has questionable corporate & foundation financial sponsorship (like the Open Society Institute of George Soros & anti-Cuban immigrant groups in the US); & extremely reactionary political associations (like Otto Reich, a former Reagan & Bush official with a political rap sheet a mile long). The group shows particular venom toward Cuba (explaining their association with Reich) & is accused of disinformation campaigns against the Haitian government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide & the Venezuelan government under Hugo Chávez–giving the group its distinct malodorous whiff of deceit & nefarious connections with tyranny.

Another group is the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which has existed off & on since 1926 & now claims 600,000 members in 100 countries. It claims it has no political point of view as an organization & is based on the trade unions. That association does not make it free of political fault but it does appear to be run by journalists, not by corporate & tyrannous agendas, & seems the least compromised of the press freedom groups. It advocates for women journalists who face threats, assaults, rape, & murder due to gender, particularly in Israel, Mexico, the Philippines, Somalia, Russia, & Nepal.

Calling out Israel for targeting women journalists & for endangering journalists in Israeli bombing sieges in Lebanon (2006) & Gaza (Dec. 2008-Jan 2009) put the group at loggerheads with the Israeli journalist association. The resolution of that conflict nearly a year after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead (a three-week ground invasion & aerial bombardment of Gaza) is not the IFJ’s finest moment. In fact, it was despicable. One of the issues was Palestinian press freedom after Operation Cast Lead & Israeli journalist complaints that they were not consulted in the IFJ’s investigative mission. In the rapprochement brokered by Franco Siddi from the Italian IFJ with the Israeli journalist association, Siddi said, “Eliminating the contribution of Israeli journalists to our international federation was inconceivable. Israeli media are amongst the most independent & freest in the world, & their voices are an essential element in the IFJ, which is based on democratic, ethical principals.” That would constitute shameless groveling & outright lies.

In fact, at the IFJ world congress in Dublin, Ireland, in June 2013, the delegates launched a campaign protesting Israeli restrictions on Palestinian journalists with official press passes from free movement between Israel, Gaza, East Jerusalem, & the West Bank & within the West Bank itself. No mention how Signore Siddi voted on the resolution. Hopefully he was covering his head in shame or hiding in the bathroom in disgrace.

According to independent sources, not just restrictions on movement, but attacks on Palestinian journalists is common, including targeting them in the same way they target all Palestinians–with rubber-coated bullets, tear gas, stun grenades, stink bombs.

This petition launched last year by Palestinian journalists demanding press freedom is still active & requires signatures; please take a moment to sign it: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Freedom_of_Movement_for_Palestinian_Journalists

This 2012 photo by Anja Niedringhaus (done for AP), is an Afghan nomad with his daughter in Helmand province. The caption read that Helmand province was one of the country’s deadliest battlefields, leaving the residents terrorized. They say the promised development by US-NATO forces has not materialized & Taliban rule is often preferred.

May Ms Niedringhaus RIP.