Aletho News


NYT headline on Gaza killings hits new low

By Jonathon Cook | The Blog from Nazareth | July 17, 2014

Remember the appalling New York Times headline of July 10 over a story about a family of nine Palestinians killed by an Israeli strike as they watched the World Cup on the beach: “Missile at beachside Gaza cafe finds patrons poised for World Cup.” Could you imagine a more obfuscatory and misleading headline? Like the missile made the decision about where to strike on its own. I thought that was about as low as the NYT would sink.

But I was wrong. They have come up with an even more dissembling headline, one clearly crafted to avoid highlighting the embarrassing fact that Israel slaughtered four boys yesterday who were playing football in clear view on the beach.

The first subeditor does a reasonable job: “Four young boys killed playing on a Gaza beach”. It’s not exactly clear who did the killing, but at least it gives an idea of the story.

But then, it seems, the senior editors stepped in and demanded the headline be rewritten. Not to make the headline better or clearer, mind you. Simply to strip it of any relevance to the story; in fact, to strip it of any obvious meaning at all. Here it is: “Boys Drawn to Gaza Beach, and Into Center of Mideast Strife.”

No missile strike, no blast, no deaths and injuries, no Israeli responsibility to be found in the headline. All of it whitewashed by that weasel word “strife”.

And look at the enormous burden being placed on the verb “drawn”. It leaves the reader wondering not why Israel targeted four children but why they were “drawn” to the beach in the first place. And further, why they were drawn – rather than thrust by Israel – into the “center of strife”. The clear implication is that they were pawns, lured to the beach and exploited for some nefarious end. Who could have done such luring and to what purpose?

The NYT editors are world-class wordsmiths. They understand the power of words and they are experts at using them to achieve the desired effect. There is nothing accidental about this headline. It is as precisely targeted as the Israeli missile that ended those four young boys’ lives.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Zarif and Kerry Signal Momentum on Nuclear Pact

By Gareth Porter | IPS | July 17, 2014

WASHINGTON — As the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear programme approach the July 20 deadline, both U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have signaled through their carefully worded statements that they are now moving toward agreement on the two most crucial issues in the talks: the level of Iranian enrichment capability to be allowed and the duration of the agreement.

Their statements after two days of meetings Sunday and Monday suggest that both Kerry and Zarif now see a basis for an agreement that would freeze Iran’s enrichment capacity at somewhere around its present level of 10,000 operational centrifuges for a period of years.

They also indicated that the two sides have not yet agreed on how many years the agreement would last, but that the bargaining on that question has already begun.

The tone and content of Kerry’s statements in particular contrasts sharply with remarks by a senior U.S. official shortly before Kerry’s arrival in Vienna on July 12, which accused Iran of failing to move from “unworkable and inadequate positions that would not in fact assure us that their programme is exclusively peaceful.”

Zarif’s comments to New York Times correspondent David E. Sanger suggested movement toward an accord on the two key issues of the level of enrichment capacity and the duration of the agreement.

“I can try to work out an agreement where we would maintain our current levels,” Zarif was quoted as saying.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that a diplomat involved in the talks had said Iran had proposed freezing the number of centrifuges at 9, 400 – roughly the same number that have actually been operating.

Iran has another 9,000 centrifuges that were installed but never hooked up or operated, suggesting that Iran intended to trade them off for concessions from the P5+1 in eventual negotiations even before Hassan Rouhani became president last year.

The Times story reported that Zarif also “signaled that he had some room to negotiate on how long the freeze would last because Iran has an agreement with Russia to provide fuel for its Bushehr nuclear plant for the next seven years.”

“We want to produce only what we need,” Zarif said. “Since our reactor doesn’t need fuel for another seven years we don’t have to kill ourselves for it. We have time.”

Zarif’s latitude for negotiating on the expiration date may be wider than has been assumed because Iran is pursuing a possible deal with Russia on cooperation in fuel fabrication, according to a document on Iran’s nuclear energy needs recently released by the government.

Such an agreement could eliminate the need to begin replacing Russian fuel immediately after the expiration of the present contract.

In his press conference Tuesday, Kerry refused to address the question of specific numbers of centrifuges discussed with Zariff. Nevertheless, he said, “We have made it crystal clear that the 19,000 that are currently part of their programme is too many.”

By referring to the 19,000 figure rather than to the 10,000 operative centrifuges, Kerry was leaving the door open to a deal that would cut half of Iran’s total centrifuge capacity.

As recently as June, Obama administration officials were leaking to the press a demand that Iran would have to accept a cut in the number of centrifuges to between 2,000 and 4,000.

The rationale for that demand was that Iran’s existing level of centrifuges would allow it the capability to achieve a “breakout” to sufficient weapons-grade uranium to build a single nuclear weapon in only two to three months, and that Washington was insisting on lengthening that “breakout timeline” to six to 12 months.

But the administration is well aware that another way to achieve that objective is to reduce Iran’s low enriched uranium stockpile to close to zero.

Zarif explained to the Times correspondent the Iranian proposal, which was part of the negotiating draft, to guarantee that no breakout capability would exist even with the current level of Iranian enrichment.

Sanger reported that Zarif had “combined his proposal of a freeze with an offer to take the nuclear fuel produced by its 9,000 or so working centrifuges and convert it to an oxide form, a way station to being made into nuclear fuel rods.”

Zarif reportedly said Iran would “guarantee, during the agreement, not to build the facility needed to convert the oxide back into a gas, the step that would have to precede any effort to enrich it to 90 percent purity, which is what is generally considered bomb-grade.”

The foreign minister claimed that his proposal would lengthen the “breakout timeline” to more than a year, according to Sanger. As described by Zarif to IPS in early June, the plan is designed to assure that no low enriched uranium would be available for weapons-grade enrichment for the duration of the agreement.

Sanger reported that American officials are “doubtful” that it would accomplish that objective but offered no explanation and did not quote any official. That suggests that Sanger was relying on what U.S. officials had said about the “breakout” issue before the Kerry-Zarif negotiations.

Kerry did not address the issue of duration of the agreement in his press conference remarks. But a U.S. official was quoted in a July 12 Reuters story as declining to give a specific number but as saying that the United States wanted it to be “in the double digits”.

In earlier briefings for the news media, U.S. officials had indicated that the United States wanted the agreement to last 20 years.

Before the Kerry-Zarif meetings, the senior U.S official briefing journalists July 12 had criticised Ali Khamenei’s July 7 speech referring to Iran’s need for the equivalent of 190,000 first generation centrifuges. The official had said that the number would be “far beyond their current programme” and that the U.S. had said the existing capacity needed to be cut instead.

That suggested that Iran was insisting on getting approval for that increased capacity in the agreement.

In his news conference, however, Kerry clearly suggested that Khamenei’s citation of the 190,000 figure is not a deal-breaker. “[I]t reflects a long-term perception of what they currently have in their minds with respect to nuclear plants to provide power,” Kerry said. “[I]t was framed what way, I believe, in the speech,” he added.

Kerry was implying that Khamenei’s vision of industrial scale enrichment would not fall within the time frame of the agreement, presumably on the basis of his talks with Zarif.

That answer suggests that Kerry is now considering an Iranian proposal on the duration of the agreement that would put off the beginning of Iran’s buildup to industrial level enrichment to a point close to or within the “double digit” period of years demanded by the United States.

Once the difference between the proposed duration of the two sides has been reduced to a very few years, both sides may well conclude that the difference is not important enough to sacrifice the advantages of reaching agreement.

The Obama administration is still assessing whether to request an extension of the talks beyond Sunday’s deadline, but it may not take long to wrap up an agreement once the decision to reach compromise on the two key issues is made.

When Sanger of the Times asked Zarif whether agreement could be reached by the July 20 deadline, the foreign minister replied, “We can do that by this evening.”

July 17, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Israeli military shells Gazan el-Wafa hopsital

International Solidarity Movement | July 18, 2014

Gaza, Occupied Palestine – Yesterday at 20:40 the Israeli military contacted el-Wafa hospital in Gaza and stated, “Why don’t you care about your family? Why don’t you care about your patients?”

Some of the staff at el-Wafa hospital (Photo by Charlie Andreasson).

The receptionist replied, “Sir, you can’t bomb the hospital. We cannot move the patients.”

Several minutes later, two rockets were fired at the hospital, and two more shortly after. The fourth rocket penetrated through the concrete walls.

The shelling then began heavily, hitting the hospital from all sides. Nurses ran through the halls screaming.

Dr. Basman Alashi, executive director of el-Wafa hospital, stated, “They are going to destroy the hospital.” Soon after the hospital lost electricity.

Alashi stated, “If these patients die, I hold Netanyahu personally responsible for their souls.”

All but four of the 17 patients were evacuated. Two of the four remaining patients were dependent on oxygen and were unable to be immediately moved. There were also four staff members and two Spanish international activists inside el-Wafa.

Patients at el-Wafa, forced to be evacuated (Photo by Charlie Andreasson).

At 21:45, the Israeli military called the Red Cross and asked them to contact el-Wafa to ask how much time was needed to evacuate the rest of the hospital. Alashi told them that he needed two hours to fully evacuate the hospital.

The last shelling occurred at 22:00 and the last patient was evacuated at 22:45 to Al sahaba medical complex.

According to Dr. Basman Alashi, “There were no physical injuries but emotionally, it is indescribable for the staff.”

photos by Charlie Andreasson

July 17, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Kiev deployed powerful surface-to-air missile systems to E. Ukraine ahead of the Malaysian plane crash – reports

RT | July 17, 2014

The Ukrainian military reportedly deployed a battery of Buk surface-to-air missile systems, capable of bringing down high-flying jets, to the Donetsk region the day before the Malaysian passenger plane crashed in the area.

Itar-Tass and Interfax news agencies are citing a source familiar with the issue, who said that another battery of Buk systems is currently being prepared for shipment to Donetsk region from the Ukrainian city of Kharkov.

The Donetsk region remains the scene of heavy fighting between government troops and the forces of the opposition, which refused to recognize the regime change in Kiev and demand federalization.

A Malaysian Airlines aircraft en route from Amsterdam to Malaysia crashed in Eastern Ukraine – not far from the Russian border – on Thursday.

There were reportedly 280 people and 15 crew members on board the Boeing-777 plane, who reportedly all died in the crash.

There were unconfirmed reports the Malaysian plane was travelling at an altitude of over 10,000 meters when it was allegedly hit by a missile.

There’s no way that the self-defense forces in Donetsk Region are in possession of such complex weaponry, he stressed.

Only S-300 and Buk surface-to-air missile systems are capable of hitting targets at such altitude, the source said.

Buk (Blume) is a family of self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air missile systems developed by the former USSR and Russia to engage targets at an altitude of up to 30 kilometers.

Chances are high that the Malaysian plane was really downed by the Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense, Yury Karash, pilot and aviation expert, told RT.

“A Boeing-777 is an extremely reliable piece of machinery. Modern planes don’t just crash with no reason,” he said. “Let us recall how a Ukrainian missile downed Russian TU-154 aircraft ten years ago. I can’t completely exclude the possibility the Boeing-777 was also hit by a missile.”

“I don’t know who could’ve shot it down. But I can allege that it was most likely the Ukrainian armed forces: simply because its military – anti-aircraft defense, in particular – are, unfortunately, unqualified. As judging by the overall state of the Ukrainian armed forces, insufficient attention has been paid to their training,” Karash added.

Reports in the Western media hurried to blame the self-defense forces of the People’s Republic of Donetsk for bringing the plane down.

The claims were denied by the representatives of the Donetsk People’s Republic, saying that it’s the Ukrainian military, which destroyed the aircraft.

“We simply don’t have such air defense systems. Our man-portable air defense systems have a firing range 3,000 – 4,000 meters. The Boeing was flying at a much higher altitude,” Sergey Kavtaradze, special representative for the prime minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, explained.

Kavtaradze also expressed condolences to the relatives of all of those who lost their lives in the tragedy.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | War Crimes | | Leave a comment

Iran sanctions cost US economy $175bn: NIAC

Press TV – July 17, 2014

The US sanctions against Iran have cost Washington as much as USD 175 billion dollars in losses for not doing business with the Islamic Republic, a Washington-based think-tank has found.

“The United States is by far the biggest loser of all sanctions enforcing nations. From 1995 [when the US imposed trade embargo on Iran] to 2012, the US sacrificed between USD 134.7 and USD 175.3 billion in potential export revenue to Iran,” the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) concluded in a report.

During the same period, the report said, the United States lost 51,000 to 280,000 jobs a year due to the sanctions slapped on Iran.

“Texas and California are likely the biggest losers in terms of lost employment, due to their size as well as the attractiveness of their industries to Iran’s economy,” it said.

The US sanctions also cost the European economies billions of dollars in losses through the 2010-2012 period.

“In Europe, Germany was hit the hardest, losing between USD 23.1 and USD 73.0 billion between 2010 and 2012, with Italy and France following at USD 13.6-USD 42.8 billion and USD 10.9-USD 34.2 billion respectively,” it said.

The think-tank recommended that the US government consider lifting sanctions against Iran as nuclear negotiations are under way between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the Unites States, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany.

“Decision-makers must… ask themselves if the cost of sanctions to the US economy is worth shouldering if other options do exist,” it said.

At the beginning of 2012, the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors with the goal of preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

Ex-NYT editor Jill Abramson on how flak and ‘anti-terrorism’ help discipline corporate media

Interventions Watch | July 16, 2014

She didn’t quite put it in those words, but it’s essentially what she’s saying: that the U.S. government would contact the New York Times and tell them that publishing this, that or the other story would ‘help the terrorists’. And that the New York Times would take those threats seriously and bring the story to a halt (even if they did eventually work out that the U.S. government’s intentions may not always have been entirely honourable).

Here’s a quote from an interview Abramson recently gave to Cosmopolitan :

‘Sometimes the CIA or the director of national intelligence or the NSA or the White House will call about a story . . . You hit the brakes, you hear the arguments, and it’s always a balancing act: the importance of the information to the public versus the claim of harming national security . . . Over time, the government too reflexively said to the Times, ‘you’re going to have blood on your hands if you publish X’ and because of the frequency of that, the government lost a little credibility . . . But you do listen and seriously worry . . . Editors are Americans too . . . We don’t want to help terrorists’.

Interesting, as well, that Abramson seems to be suggesting that being ‘against terrorists’ – or at least, people who the U.S. government claim are terrorists –  is somehow an inherent part of being an American, like it’s a national religion or something.

Which for the political and media classes, I suppose it is – except when it comes to the terrorism of the U.S. government and its allies, in which case being ‘against terrorism’ is blasphemous.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , | Leave a comment

Full Disclosure and Accountability Said to be Missing from $7 Billion Citigroup Misconduct Settlement

By Steve Straehley | AllGov | July 17, 2014

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday trumpeted reaching a $7 billion deal with Citigroup to settle charges of “egregious misconduct” in its sale of mortgage-backed securities. But despite evidence that Citigroup covered up massive problems with securities they sold, no company executives are being held personally liable and there has been no accounting of the money Citigroup made through its actions.

“Despite the fact that Citigroup learned of serious and widespread defects among the increasingly risky loans they were scrutinizing, the bank and its employees concealed these defects,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

The settlement includes a $4 billion penalty, $2.5 billion for relief to struggling homeowners and $500 million in payments to state prosecutors and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

“DOJ brags about and wants everyone to focus on the $7 billion settlement dollar amount, but that amount is meaningless without disclosure of the key information about how many hundreds of billions of dollars Citigroup made, how many tens of billions investors lost, how many billions in bonuses were pocketed, which executives were involved and what positions they now have with the bank,” Dennis Kelleher, president of Better Markets, a group that promotes reform of the financial industry, said in a statement.

“Citigroup, the Wall Street bank that received the largest amount of Federal bailouts to prevent its bankruptcy in 2008 (almost $500 billion), was a conveyor belt for toxic securities throughout the world and is now being handed another big bailout by the government:  a sweetheart immunity deal and ongoing concealment of how its executives, officers and staff defrauded the American people and almost caused a second Great Depression,” Kelleher continued.

The settlement is far more than what Citigroup originally proposed: $363 million. But some say it’s not nearly enough. “Seven billion sounds like a lot. But compared to the number of families that lost their homes, it is not very much at all,” Isaac Simon Hodes, a community organizer with Lynn United for Change, a group that advocates on behalf of Boston-area residents facing foreclosure, told The New York Times.

As part of the settlement, the government is not going after Citigroup for its business in collateralized debt obligation derivatives, where pools of loans are packaged and sold to investors, which have been described as “designed to fail.”

JP Morgan Chase reached a $13 billion settlement with the DOJ last November in a similar case. On deck is Bank of America, with whom Justice will begin settlement negotiations now that the Citigroup case is over.

To Learn More:

Still No Real Accountability: Citigroup to Pay $7 Billion for Its “Egregious Misconduct” (by Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams)

Worse Than Settlements with JP Morgan Chase and Goldman (Better Markets)

Citigroup Settles Mortgage Inquiry for $7 Billion (by Michael Corkery, New York Times)

Citibank Accused of Tricking New Customers about “Free” Frequent Flyer Miles (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

July 17, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | | Leave a comment

Israeli strike kills three children playing on Gaza roof


Al-Akhbar | July 17, 2014

Brothers Jihad and Wissam were playing on the roof of their Gaza apartment with their cousin Fulla, when an Israeli strike came from the blue skies above and killed them.

Fulla, a nickname given to 10-year-old Afnan, was the eldest. All three were from the Shaheber family, in Gaza City’s Sabra district.

After being cooped up at home for days on end, neighbors said the children were taking advantage of the relative calm that followed a brief truce between Israel and Hamas.

“They were playing on the roof,” said neighbor Raed al-Kurdi, 33, his white vest stained with blood.

“We were sitting on our roof next to our neighbor’s one and we found all of a sudden a rocket coming from above and it hit their roof,” he added.

“The people who were injured were from the Shaheber family, there were children, two girls, two boys and two grown men.

“They were in serious condition, we carried them out in our arms.”

Three of the children died en route to the Shifa hospital, where they were laid out on steel tables in the morgue as doctors in blue coats moved around them, cleaning them.

Each had coin-sized pieces of flesh gouged out from their limbs by shrapnel.

Next to them, their uncle Mohammed wept openly.

An employee at the hospital, he heard the call go out for ambulances after the strike that hit the Shaheber home.

“They were children, just playing on the roof. And now they’re dead, lying in front of us,” he said, his voice anguished but also angry.

“How can this be, how can this be?”

The morgue chief asked the distraught family members if they want to allow media waiting outside into the room.

“It is up to you, but if you want to show the world what happened here, we will let them in,” he told Mohammed and other relatives inside, who assented tearfully.

The three children were lined up beside each other, along with a fourth child brought in from an earlier strike in Gaza City.

Fulla was laid in the middle and her cousins one on either side.

Her curly hair framed her face, specked with blood.

Her T-shirt might once have been white, but now it was completely red, soaked through with her blood.

To her right was 8-year-old Jihad, his turquoise T-shirt and trousers torn through by shrapnel.

To her left was Wissam, seven years old, his eyes still open as though he was staring into the middle distance.

His trousers had been removed, revealing his blue and yellow superhero underwear.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Pathology of Zionist siege of Gaza: Victim blamed


By Yuram Abdullah Weiler | Press TV | July 17, 2014

“At the heart of the blame approach is a system of warfare, which centers on the outcome of moral or legal battles rather than on the resolution of conflict and the prevention of future violence. As such, it neither reduces pathology nor protects the victim.” – Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

Once again, the Zionist entity has unleashed a massive bombing campaign on Gaza, killing over 200 people and injuring 1500, supposedly in retaliation for being targeted by “an ever-escalating number of missiles.”

The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, by responding with over 1,000 rockets aimed at targets within the Zionist entity, is being portrayed as the aggressor and “Israel” as an innocent victim that even agreed to a cease fire while its “terrorist” adversary did not. U.S. President Obama has justified Zionist assaults on Gaza since “there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.”

To clarify who is the victim and who is the perpetrator here, we must briefly examine history to see the pathology of the Zionist entity, which has repeatedly launched similar assaults on Gaza under the pretext of its right to defend itself. Most news coverage of the current carnage points to the deaths of three kidnapped teenagers as the immediate cause, falling in line with the allegations of Zionist Prime Minister Netanyahu, who insisted on blaming Hamas for the tragedy. However, taking such a short-sighted perspective can only yield a distorted view of this ongoing colonial confrontation whose roots date back to before the Balfour Declaration in 1917.

To understand what led to the current onslaught, we can begin with the unilateral withdrawal of Zionist occupation forces and settlers from Gaza in August 2005. Engineered by Ariel Sharon, the butcher behind the 1982 massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon, the “disengagement” from Gaza was an excuse to circumvent Zionist responsibility under the Fourth Geneva Convention as the occupying power, as was clarified in a letter sent to then U.S. President George Bush. The letter stated that, upon completion of the withdrawal, “there will be no basis for the claim that the Gaza Strip is occupied territory.”

By cooperating with Sharon’s disengagement plan, Palestinians expected the Zionists to live up to their word and allow Gazans “to breathe the air of freedom and begin rebuilding their shattered lives.” However, this did not happen: Gaza’s borders remained closed, its airport remained shut down, the sea was still off limits to fishermen, and entry into and exit from the coastal enclave remained a virtual impossibility, subject to the whims of the Israeli entity. Based on the Hague “effective control test,” Gaza remained occupied territory under international law, as research professor of law at the University of London Iain Scobbie wrote, “When we also take into account the views that have been expressed on control of the territory from the air, it is clear that Israeli withdrawal of land forces did not terminate occupation.”

Before the disengagement, Hamas had announced their intention to participate in the May 5, 2005 legislative elections, which resulted in Fatah winning 50 seats and Hamas winning 28, mainly in the major urban areas. Fatah contested the election in court, which ruled in their favor, necessitating a second election that was delayed until January 25, 2006. However, as the date approached, it became increasingly clear, much to the chagrin of U.S. and Zionist officials, that Hamas stood a good chance of winning over the disputing Fatah factions. Their worst fears were born out when Hamas won big, taking 74 seats to Fatah’s 45, something which reportedly surprised even the Hamas leadership.

As a result of the sweeping Hamas victory, rival Fatah, of course, became bitter, but the Bush administration flatly refused to accept the outcome, and announced that they would neither engage the victors in dialogue nor grant economic aid until Hamas met three conditions: First, recognition of the Israeli entity; second, disarming and renunciation of violence; and third, acceptance of all previous Palestinian agreements with Tel Aviv. By placing these conditions on Hamas, the American officials, who, incidentally, were among the staunchest proponents of holding the elections, effectively signaled that, rather than supporting democracy, they were unwilling to accept the will of the majority of the Palestinian people.

In one of the first acts of the newly-elected government, political bureau head Khaled Mish’al unilaterally extended the Hamas truce with the Zionist regime, but instead of welcoming this gesture, the U.S. exerted pressure on countries worldwide not to recognize the incoming Palestinian administration. While Turkey and Russia extended invitations to the newly-elected government, Mahmoud Abbas played no small role in sabotaging meetings between the Hamas leadership and South Africa and Malaysia. Moreover, the outgoing Palestinian Legislative Council gave Abbas sweeping executive powers which gave him the authority as president to have the final word in any disputes arising with the new Hamas government.

The security situation in Gaza became increasingly chaotic due to poor response by Fatah police under the command of Abbas, who himself had a personal security force of 10,000, financed and trained by the U.S. in Jordan with Zionist collaboration. Then, Washington and Tel Aviv imposed economic sanctions and virtually cut off all financial channels by which aid could flow to the Hamas government. Next, armed provocateurs were dispatched to stir the growing unrest into a full-blown confrontation between Hamas and Fatah. Lastly, the U.S. and the Zionist entity resorted to armed conflict in an attempt to bring down the Hamas government.

As the political struggle between Fatah and Hamas intensified, the Zionist regime fired shells into Gaza, allegedly in response to rockets fired from there, and continued to assassinate Palestinian activists from both factions in an obvious attempt to escalate the conflict. Then on June 9, 2006, a Zionist artillery bombardment killed seven Palestinians, one of whom was the father of a ten-year-old girl named Huda Ghalia. The photos of Huda running in tears toward her father after her entire family had been annihilated by an Israeli shell galvanized Gazans, who demanded a response to this Israeli provocation. At that point the Izzadin al-Qassam brigades appealed to Hamas leadership, which finally relented and ended the truce. Nevertheless, Abbas continued to meet with then Zionist prime minister Ehud Olmert, whom the Hamas leaders justifiably referred to as a “terrorist.”

A critical point in the escalating conflict came soon afterward when on June 24 Zionist troops entered Gaza and kidnapped two Hamas members, the brothers Mostafa and Osama Muammar, after severely beating their father who required hospitalization. In retaliation, members of various resistance factions tunneled under the border to the Zionist outpost of Keren Shalom, neutralizing four soldiers and kidnapping corporal Gilad Shalit. The Zionist regime used the abduction, for which Hamas was not directly responsible, as an excuse to bomb bridges, main roads, water plants, power stations and other services in a vicious attempt to dislodge Hamas by destroying Gaza’s infrastructure.

For a time in the summer of 2006, the world was distracted from Gaza while Hezbollah successfully repulsed a full-scale Zionist assault on Lebanon, which killed 1,109 Lebanese civilians and wounded 4,399. Explaining his perspective on cause of the so-called War of Tammuz, one Hezbollah fighter explained, “The Israelis did what they could to destroy our humanity. As a result, the people rose up and resisted. Isn’t that normal?” This statement exposes the Zionist pathology: the desire to destroy the humanity of Palestinians, which is precisely what we see in Gaza, as the victim is blamed for resisting the oppressor.

By 2007, an agreement for a unity government brokered by the Saudis was derailed by the United States, which tasked Lieutenant General Keith Dayton with toppling the Hamas government with the help of Fatah. This act of American adventurism led Hamas to expel Fatah forces from Gaza. In response to Hamas with the backing of the U.S., western allies and Egypt, the Israeli entity launched Operation Cast Lead on December 27, 2008, killing 1,400 during the bloody three-week operation. As if this were not enough, the Zionist regime struck Gaza again in March 2012 for five days, killing another 25 Palestinians in a series of air assaults.

This brings us to the present attack on Gaza, which began on July 8 and so far has claimed the lives of over 200 men, women and children, destroyed 500 homes and cut off water to hundreds of thousands. The Zionist pathology remains the same as it was in Lebanon: the desire to destroy the Palestinians’ humanity. Even more macabre were the actions of some citizens in Sderot who gathered on a hill to watch the bombardment, cheering raucously as each Israeli bomb exploded in Gaza. This is all part of the morbid Zionist pathology.

“Of course, let us not think for a moment, God forbid, that we can be indifferent to the death of innocents. The death of any child, Israeli or Arab, Muslim or Jew, is an unspeakable tragedy that rends the heart,” Rabbi Eric Yoffie, former president of the Union for Reform Judaism, confided sanctimoniously. This is while three teenage Zionists have confessed to murdering a teenage Palestinian boy by burning him alive. This oxymoron is also part of the Zionist pathology.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

WaPo’s Gaza dispatch: ugly and dishonest

By Jonathon Cook | July 17, 2014

There’s something deeply ugly, verging on mendacious, about this eye-witness account of the strike against children on Gaza’s beach, which killed four of them, by William Booth in the Washington Post. It begins with what appears to be context but is, in fact, simply an effort to deflect criticism from Israel and blame the victims.

He starts with this: “It is not unusual for militants to launch rockets from sites near my hotel.”

So had rockets been launched from the spot where the children were killed? Here’s the account of veteran Guardian / Observer correspondent Peter Beaumont:

The building that was hit was just a shipping container next to where one of the kids’ father keeps his boat and stores fishing nets. The kids were just playing hide and seek there. They shoot missiles (against Israel) from this neighborhood but none from that location.

So how is Booth’s introduction relevant in any way to the story? Yes, militants have fired rockets from the neighbourhood (after all, from where else but “neighbourhoods” are they likely to fire rockets in one of the most densely populated places on earth). But, as Beaumont points out, they were not being fired from the area that was attacked by Israel.

Israel is supposedly using precision missiles. So this was deliberate targeting of that area, an open area from which no rockets had been fired and where children regularly play. If Booth believes that rockets fired from the general area somehow justify Israel’s missile strikes on the children (and if not, why mention it?), then why the hell is he staying in the al-Deira hotel, which is presumably as likely to be hit as the harbour where the children play?

There is also something unpleasant in his style of writing here. Note this line as the injured children are brought to his hotel.

Two young terrified kids were bleeding and injured, and they were quickly bandaged on the floor of the terrace, where guests usually eat skewers of grilled chicken, suck on water pipes and watch the sun go down.

That incidental reference to the chicken and water pipes is added for colour. It’s a journalistic technique we use when there’s not much happening and you want to set a scene to draw the reader into the story. But here it’s entirely unnecessary. The action – the bleeding children and the dead bodies nearby – are what will draw the reader in, as any rookie journalist would know. So when I see Booth pausing from his description to talk about how the guests entertain themselves in the evenings, I sense – both as a journalist and a reader – that his attention is not fully on the events at hand.

I’d like to believe this is his way of responding to the shock of the events he’s just witnessed. But I suspect something else is at work here, something revealing about the business of journalism.

Most of the time, we write not for ourselves or our readers but for our editors – in short to keep our jobs. Here Booth was called on to stop being the careerist and connect with his humanity. That, rare though it is in journalism, was what the moment required: to see, really see the desperate, terrified little boys in front of him. Instead, all he could think about was technique and what his editors might want.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Health crisis looms in Gaza after Israel bombs water infrastructure

By Ahmed Hadi | Al-Akhbar | July 17, 2014

To either prepare for a ground invasion or to simply to make life for Gazans harsher than it already is, Israel decided to bomb the wells that provide tens of thousands of people in Gaza with water. It has also targeted sewage plants, which means clean water is not coming in and sewage water is not going out.

Bassem Siam carried two plastic gallons as he left his home in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in northern Gaza, ignoring the intense bombardment and the continued Israeli military flights. He went to his neighbors who happen to have a small supply of drinking water to get a sip of water for himself and his family and to help his wife wash the dishes that have accumulated in the kitchen because water has been cut off for two days. The 30-something-year-old man held the two gallons tightly to his chest and returned home quickly as Israeli planes bombed farm land near his home. When he entered the building where he lives, he exhaled deeply, having survived the devastating missile shrapnel.

Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza live under the threat of water scarcity due to the fact that Israeli fighter jets bombed wells that provide water to several residential areas in the Gaza Strip. Municipalities in charge of these wells believe that the Israeli targeting of wells is motivated by a decision to destroy the infrastructure in Gaza and to undermine the people’s ability to remain steadfast.

Israeli planes targeted a well located in al-Nasr neighborhood, west of the city of Gaza, which provides water to about 20,000 people and the Ali well in al-Zaitoun area, south of the city, which provides water to about 7,000 people. In addition, three main water lines that feed al-Shujaiya and al-Sabra neighborhoods and provide about 21,000 people with water were also hit.

This targeting appears to be systematic and its obvious objective is to deprive people of water, the single most important element of daily life, especially during the month of Ramadan.

According to the head of the water facilities at the Gaza municipality, Saad al-Din Atbash, it is very difficult to repair the destroyed wells amidst the ongoing violence. Not to mention that the cost for each well to start working again at the same capacity it was working before is $120,000. “In addition, the cost of repairing the three water lines that were damaged is about $6,000 for each line,” he added.

In light of the ongoing war and siege of Gaza, it is hard for the municipality to repair these wells and water lines, Atbash confirmed. He also noted that the electric cables which operate the well pumps that feed the industrial area to the east of Gaza city (known as Karni) have been burned. These pumps provide water to about 5,000 people. He confirmed that the crews working in the field have repaired what can be repaired in order to distribute water again, even if on an intermittent basis. He warned, however, that these crews are working in unsafe conditions because the Israeli military targets emergency work crews.

Gazans are starting to complain about the water shortages that last for days at a time, forcing some of them to fill up their home water tanks with desalinated water to use for drinking, cooking, washing and cleaning. The problem, however, is that the distributors of desalinated water were directly targeted more than once during the 2008 Israeli war on Gaza. Not to mention the additional cost of buying desalinated water which doubles people’s water bills. In addition, several purification water plants announced their inability to provide services to residents, especially to those living in border areas.

Fadi Omran, one of the desalinated water distributors, tells Al-Akhbar : “We can’t risk our lives and go out in the evening. We are trying to work during the day but we don’t have enough time to meet the needs of all the people.” Omran, who drives a huge truck, explained that the Israelis do not differentiate between civilians and Resistance fighters, “they target any moving object at night.” He said that fear for their lives forces them to delay delivering their customers’ orders. In addition to the fact that his plant works only when there is electricity.

This situation prompted the director of the water department in the Gaza municipality to call on people to ration their water consumption “until the damaged water pipes and water wells are repaired.” He also called on international organizations to intervene in order to prevent Israel from bombing the infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

On the evening of July 12, Israeli warplanes targeted a vehicle that belongs to the non-governmental Coastal Municipalities Water Utility near its well located to the west of Rafah in southern Gaza. The bombing killed a 42-year-old employee called Ziad al-Shawi, destroyed his car completely and seriously injured two of his colleagues.

Because of this incident, the general director of the utility, Monzer Shiblak, announced the complete suspension of work at the field water utility after the targeting of its staff, “despite the existing coordination with the Israeli side. The suspension will continue until proper field protection is provided for the employees.” At the same time, he expressed commitment to see his utility persist in its vital duties towards the public and in carrying out its water and sanitation services to the best of its ability.

During a press conference, Shiblak called on international humanitarian organizations, especially the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), to assume their responsibilities and take action to protect the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility and pressure the Israeli side to stop targeting their crews and the municipalities’ crews.

According to observers, warnings have been issued regarding the consequences of subjecting Palestinians in Gaza to health and environmental catastrophes as a result of the Israeli bombing of sewage pump no. 1. This pump services the area to the west of the city of Gaza and treats about 15,000 cubic meters of waste-water per day, thus protecting about 200,000 of the city’s residents from the potential harm of untreated sewage water.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli Airstrikes Kill 24 Palestinians on Wednesday, Including 6 Children


Children crying for their friends killed on a Gaza beach (image from Joe Catron – Twitter)
IMEMC | July 17, 2014

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, Israeli airstrikes and naval and artillery strikes have killed 24 Palestinians on Wednesday, most of whom are civilians.

One Israeli airstrike targeted a civilian car, killing two adults and a child, all from the same family.

In Khan Younis, At approximately 01:00 on Wednesday, 16 July 2014, an Israeli drone fired a missile at the vicinity of ‘Asqalan School in al-Fakhari area in the southeast of Khan Yunis, killing:

1. Farid Mahmoud Abu-Doqqa, 33, Khan Younis.

Three other members of the same family were killed in a separate airstrike, also in Khan Younis. They were riding in a clearly-marked civilian taxi when the taxi was targeted by an aerial missile and blown to pieces. The family members killed in the attack are:

2. Omar Ramadan Abu Doqqa, 24, Khan Younis.

Omar’s little brother:
3. Ibrahim Ramadan Abu Doqqa, 10, Khan Younis.

And their grandmother:
4. Khadra Al-Abed Salama Abu Doqqa, 65, Khan Younis.

The family had been visiting an injured relative at Shifa Hospital, and were on their way home when their taxi was targeted by an Israeli missile. Five others were injured in that attack.

Also in Khan Younis, at approximately 03:00, an Israeli drone fired a missile at

5. Mohammed Tayseer Yousef Shurrab, 23

He was targeted when he was on his way back home in Gizan Abu Rashwan area in the southeast of Khan Yunis. He was instantly killed.

At approximately 06:40, Israeli drones fired 2 missiles at a house belonging to Muneer Abu Hatab in Khan Yunis refugee camp. The house was damaged.

In Rafah, in the early hours of Wednesday, July 16, 2014, an Israeli airstrike killed a Palestinian civilian in Shabura camp:

6. Ashraf Khalil Abu Shanab, 33, Rafah.

An Israeli airstrike around the same time targeted the Abu Audah family home in Rafah, killing two:

7. Mohammad Ismael Abu Odah, 27, Rafah.
8. Mohammad Abdullah Zahouq, 23, Rafah.

Four others were injured in that attack.

In a separate airstrike in Rafah, a Palestinian man associated with the Islamic Jihad was killed (he was not engaged in any hostilities at the time of his assassination):

9. Mohammad Sabri ad-Debari, Rafah.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, between 22:00 on Tuesday until 08:15 on Wednesday, 16 July 2014, Israeli warplanes bombarded and destroyed 7 houses in Gaza City:

1 house belonging to Sami Hashem in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood; 1 house belonging to the heirs of Nabeel Shabet in al-Tuffah neighborhood; 1 house belonging to Mahmoud ‘Atallah in al-Ghefari area; 1 house belonging to Mahmoud al-Zahhr, a leader of Hamas, 1 house in al-Sabra neighborhood belonging to Na’im al-Harazinin al-Zaytoun neighborhood; 1 house belonging to Tayseer al-‘Ashi in al-Remal neighborhood; and 1 house belonging to ‘Adnan Killab in al-Shati refugee camp.

Israeli warplanes bombarded 2 flats in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood, as well: a minaret of a mosque in al-Shati refugee camp, a building of the Ministry of Interior and al-Wafaa’ Hospital, which Israeli forces ordered its evacuation.

On Wednesday morning, a Palestinian man died from injuries sustained when a missile struck his car in Rafah before midnight.

10. Ahmad al-Nawajha

Midday on Wednesday, an Israeli airstrike on a Gaza beach killed four children between the ages of 9 and 11 – IMEMC has a full report on this killing in a separate article

The children killed are:

11. Ahed Atef Bakr, 10, Gaza beach.
12. Zakariya Ahed Bakr, 10, Gaza beach.
13. Mohammad Ramiz Bakr, 11, Gaza beach.
14. Ismail Mahmoud Bakr, 9, Gaza beach.

Later on Wednesday afternoon, a Missile fired by a reconnaissance aircraft in west of Gaza, in the Sheikh ‘Ejleen region of Gaza City killed:
15. Mohammad Kamel Abdul-Rahman, 30, Sheikh ‘Ejleen, Gaza City.

A Palestinian died Wednesday afternoon of wounds sustained in earlier airstrikes:
16.Husam Shamlakh, 23, Sheikh ‘Ejleen, Gaza City.
died of wounds sustained in a previous attack on a house in west Gaza/ Sheikh ‘Ejleen:

Four people were killed, including two small children and an elderly woman, and three others injured, when Israeli fire targeted them near the al-Katiba mosque west of Khan Younis. They were all members of the same family:

17.Usama Mahmoud Al-Astal, 6, Khan Younis .
18. Yasmin al-Astal, 4, Khan Younis.
19. Hussein Abdul-Nasser al-Astal, 23, Khan Younis.
20. Kawthar al-Astal, 70, Khan Younis.

Airstrikes continued throughout Wednesday afternoon and evening, killing:

21. Kamal Mohammad Abu ‘Amer, 38, Khan Younis.
22.Akram Mohammad Abu ‘Amer, 38, Khan Younis. (brother of Kamal, injured in same incident, then later same day died of his injuries)

23. Abdul-Rahman Ibrahim Khalil as-Sarhi, 37, Gaza City.

Also on Wednesday,

24. Hamza Raed Thary, 6

died of wounds he sustained in an airstrike several days ago in Jabalia.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment