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May 14 marks 2nd anniversary of Israel’s massacre of 60 unarmed civilians

By Robert Inlakesh | Press TV | May 14, 2020

Contrary to the claims of the Israeli regime, Israel’s “independence day” has little do with independence and little to do with a simple sense of “national pride”. Instead, what Israel’s independence day truly signifies, is a day of whitewashing the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and now added to that list is the whitewashing of the massacre of civilians in Gaza perpetrated on that very same date.

On May 14, 2018, Israeli occupation forces stationed on the perimeter of the illegally besieged Gaza Strip massacred at least 61 unarmed Palestinian civilians, also injuring thousands. Not a single Israeli was killed on this day, with only one soldier reportedly enduring a minor scratch.

Nevertheless the mainstream Western press reported the event as “hostile border clashes” and attempted to whitewash the massacre which was later condemned by the UNHRC, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch as well as Doctors Without Borders and many other leading NGO’s and international representative bodies.

The shameful lack of truthful reporting on the massacre, led to further massacres of smaller volume as Israeli snipers continued to engage, largely peaceful, demonstrators with lethal force from across a field of barbed wire and electrified fences. The protests against Israel originally started on March 30, 2018, and saw the murder of 330+ unarmed Palestinians in Gaza, as well as the injury of at least 40,000. On the Israeli side, not a single death and not a single serious injury, in fact not even an injury worth the Israeli media reporting upon.

The reason why this massacre of civilians, committed two years to-date in Gaza, is so significant is because the narrative Israel uses to justify its 2018 massacre can be paralleled perfectly with the narrative that Israel uses to justify the celebration of its so-called independence.

Between 1947-1949 Zionist militias, namely the Irgun, Haganah and Stern Gang, violated the UN partition plan set out to create a Jewish state inside of 55% of historic Palestine, despite the fact that Jewish settlers were only 33% of the population at the time. This violation of the UN partition plan parameters that the Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion had in public agreed to entailed the annexation of roughly 78% of historic Palestine as well as the ethnic cleansing of 800,000 native Palestinians from their lands.

This ethnic cleansing is remembered on May 15 as Nakba (Catastrophe) Day, just one day after Israel’s celebration of its original sin. Like with the 2018 Gaza massacre, the Western mainstream press, government officials and Israel itself claim that Israel was the victim in 1948. This of course is not the line of the entire international community, several UN resolutions, accounts of Palestinians who suffered, Israeli documents pointing to the truth of what went on and essentially every serious scholar and human rights organization.

Despite the truth being well documented, black and white and extremely easy to digest, the mainstream Western press continues to lie to its viewerships. The BBC will not cover the Palestinian Nakba, nor the 2018 massacre they shamefully attempted to lie about and cover up for Israel.

So now it is on the rest of the world to urge people to look at what Israel is doing on the ground right now, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has just visited Israel in order to discuss the annexation of even more Palestinian land, and surely in the process of this land grab, the inevitable massacre of even more Palestinian civilians.

It is time we call out our media in Western countries for the racist filth that it generates surrounding the issue of Palestine-Israel, and hold the BBC to account for its blatant double-standards and constant sourcing of Israeli institutions rather than independent human rights groups, the UN and other authoritative bodies when it comes to its facts on the ground.

Robert Inlakesh is a journalist, writer and political analyst, who has lived in and reported from the occupied Palestinian West Bank. He has written for publications such as Mint Press, Mondoweiss, MEMO, and various other outlets. He specializes in analysis of the Middle East, in particular Palestine-Israel. He also works for Press TV as a European correspondent.

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

If Coronavirus Overwhelms Gaza, Israel Alone will be to Blame

What is already a crisis in the territory barely needs a nudge from Covid-19 in order to be tipped into a health disaster

By Jonathan Cook | The National | April 14, 2020

The Palestinians of Gaza know all about lockdowns. For the past 13 years, some two million of them have endured a closure by Israel more extreme than anything experienced by almost any other society – including even now, as the world hunkers down to try to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

Israel has been carrying out an unprecedented experiment in Gaza, using the latest military hardware and surveillance technology to blockade this tiny coastal enclave by land, air and sea.

Nothing moves in or out without Israel’s say-so – until three weeks ago, when the virus smuggled itself into Gaza inside two Palestinians returning from Pakistan. It is known to have spread to more than a dozen people so far, though doctors have no idea of the true extent. Testing equipment ran out days ago.

Unless Gaza enjoys a miraculous escape, an epidemic is only a matter of time. The consequences hardly bear contemplating.

Countries around the world are wondering what to do with their prison populations, aware that, once it takes hold, Covid-19 is certain to spread rapidly in crowded, enclosed spaces, leaving havoc in its wake.

Gaza is often compared to an open-air prison. But even this analogy is not quite right. This is a prison that the United Nations has warned is on the brink of being “uninhabitable”.

In the prison of Gaza, many inmates are undernourished, and physically and emotionally scarred by a decade of military assaults. They lack essentials such as clean water and electricity after repeated Israeli attacks on basic infrastructure. And the 13-year blockade means there is only rudimentary medical care if they get sick.

Social distancing is impossible in one of the most crowded places on earth. In Jabaliya, one of eight refugee camps in the enclave, there are 115,000 people packed together in little more than a square kilometre. Comparable population density nearby in Israel is typically measured in the hundreds.

There are few clinics and hospitals to cope. According to human rights groups, Gaza has approximately 60 ventilators – most of them already in use. Israel has 15 times as many ventilators per head of population.

There is little in the way of protective gear. And medicines are already in short supply or unavailable, even before the virus hits. Gaza’s infant mortality – an important measure of medical and social conditions – is more than seven times higher than Israel’s. Life expectancy is 10 years lower.

Unlike a normal prison, Gaza’s warden – Israel – denies responsibility for the inmates’ welfare. Since it carried out a so-called “disengagement” 15 years ago, dismantling illegal settlements there, Israel has argued – against all evidence – that it is no longer the occupying power.

That should have been proved an obvious lie when Palestinians, choking on their isolation and deprivation, began rallying in protest two years ago at the perimeter fence that acts as a cage locking them in. Demonstrators were greeted with live fire from Israeli snipers.

Around 200 people were killed, and many thousands left with horrific injuries, mostly to their legs. Medical services are still overwhelmed by the need for long-term surgery, amputations and rehabilitation for the disabled protesters.

What is already a crisis barely needs a nudge from the coronavirus to be tipped into a health disaster.

And with most of the population already below the poverty line, after Israel’s blockade destroyed Gaza’s textile, construction and agricultural industries, the economy is no shape to withstand an epidemic either.

Most governments, including Israel’s, maintain a degree of control even in the face of this most unexpected emergency. They could prepare for it, even if many were slow to do so. They can marshall factories to produce ventilators and protective equipment. And they have the resources to rebuild their health services and economies afterwards.

If they fail in these tasks, it will be their failure.

But Gaza is entirely dependent on Israel and an international community preoccupied with its own troubles. Even if health authorities can secure ventilators and protective equipment in the current, highly competitive global market, Israel will decide whether to let them in. Equally, it could choose to seize them for its own use, in order to placate growing domestic criticism that it is short of vital equipment.

The blame for Gaza’s plight – now and in the future – lands squarely at Israel’s door.

Israel should be helping Gaza, but it is doing the precise opposite. Last week, Israeli planes sprayed herbicide to destroy the crops of Gaza’s farmers – part of a policy to keep clear sight-lines for Israeli military forces.

Moreover, in this time of crisis, Gaza’s food insecurity is only set to deepen. For the past year, Israel has been starving both Gaza and the rival Palestinian Authority in the West Bank of the taxes and duties it collects on their behalf and that rightfully belong to the Palestinian people. Many families have no money for food.

The US has aggravated this financial crisis by cutting funds to the United Nations refugee agency, UNRWA, which cares for many of Gaza’s families expelled by Israel from their homes decades ago and forcibly crowded into the enclave.

The little influence retained by Hamas relates to the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners held illegally in Israel. Hamas wants them out, especially the most vulnerable, aware of the danger the virus poses to them in Israel, where the contagion is more advanced.

It is reported to be trying to negotiate a release of prisoners, offering to return the corpses of two soldiers it seized during Israel’s infamous attack on Gaza in 2014 that killed more than 500 Palestinian children.

If Israel refuses to trade, as seems likely, or denies entry to much-needed medical supplies, Gaza’s only other practical leverage will be to fire missiles into Israel, as Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar has threatened. That is the one time western states can be expected to notice Gaza and voice their condemnation – though not of Israel.

But if plague does overwhelm Gaza, the truth about who is really responsible will be hard to conceal.

Modelling the horrifying conditions in Gaza, Israeli experts warned last year of an epidemic like cholera sweeping the enclave. They predicted hundreds of thousands of Palestinians storming the fence to escape contagion and death.

It is the Israeli army’s nightmare scenario. It admits it has no response other than – as with the fence protests – to gun down those pleading for help.

For decades Israel has pursued a policy of treating Palestinians as less than human. It has minutely controlled their lives while denying any meaningful responsibility for their welfare. That deeply unethical and inhumane stance could soon face the ultimate test.

April 14, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

World Vision Gaza Director Detained in Israel is in Serious Health Condition Due to Torture

Palestine Chronicle | April 11, 2020

Palestinian humanitarian worker Mohammad al-Halabi, who worked with the American World Vision organization, is in serious health condition due to torture by his Israeli interrogators, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Commission.

Al-Halabi, 42, from Jabalya refugee camp, was in charge of the Gaza Strip office of World Vision and is now suffering from serious headaches. After losing hearing, he may also lose sight in his eyes due to the torture he underwent after his arrest in Israel.

On June 15, 2016, Al-Halabi was arrested by Israeli occupation forces at the Beit Hanoun (Eretz) Crossing which separates besieged Gaza from Israel, in a joint operation carried out by the Shin Bet security service, the Israeli army and Israeli police.

Since then, he appeared in Israeli courts 135 times in what the Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs refers to as “one of the longest trials in the history of the Palestinian captive movement”.

“Now, Mohammed has been transferred, once again, this time to Rimon Prison, where he is being held under extremely harsh conditions, still experiencing all sorts of torture and degradation,” wrote his father, Khalil, in a recent article.

“Israel has no evidence to indict my son. Thus, it resorts to physically and psychologically tormenting him to get exactly what it wants to hear,” Khalil added.

“By charging Mohammed, the Israeli government intends to indict all international charities so that they suffocate Gaza and its heroic people entirely.”

April 11, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Ministry: Seven new coronavirus cases detected in Gaza

Palestine Information Center – March 26, 2020

GAZA – The ministry of health has announced that seven new coronavirus cases were detected in Gaza Strip.

The ministry said in a terse statement late Wednesday that the new persons affected with the virus had mingled with the first two cases in Gaza detected last Sunday.

It pointed out that the seven new cases were all security personnel who were at the quarantine and still are there and did not leave or mix with anyone else.

The statement noted that no corona victims were reported in the besieged enclave.

The number of corona-infected cases in Gaza has thus reached nine.

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 2 Comments

Maiming Palestinians for Sport is a War Crime

By Marion Kawas | Palestine Chronicle | March 10, 2020

The new Haaretz report entitled “42 Knees in One Day” is a difficult and painful read, and many people of conscience have responded with disgust and rage.

For those few who have not seen the report, it details in chilling fashion the accounts of 6 Israeli snipers who were stationed at the border with Gaza during the Great Return March protests. The report is long and gruesome; I had to put it down and then return to it several times. The “42 knees” reference is the “high count” for how many Palestinians were maimed by a single sniper team in one day.

The overall message is one of devastating impunity and disregard for the sanctity of Palestinian life. Palestinians and their long-time supporters have always known this was the mentality at play, but to see it all compiled in one place, in black and white, in the soldiers’ own words, was damning. Especially here in Canada, where barely a week earlier, it was revealed that the Trudeau government had called on the International Criminal Court not to investigate war crimes accusations against Israel.

“Canada’s longstanding position is that it does not recognize a Palestinian state… In the absence of a Palestinian state, it is Canada’s view that the Court does not have jurisdiction in this matter under international law,” Canada’s Foreign Ministry reportedly told various media outlets.

This is the same Canadian government that is busy traveling the world trying to get (or buy) votes for a UN Security Council seat. That has sent Joe Clark, a former Prime Minister, to visit multiple Arab countries looking for support; the Joe Clark that pioneered the idea of moving Canada’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem back in 1979, an election promise that he was later forced to abandon.

The same government whose Deputy PM and former foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, informed an Israeli audience in late 2018 that Canada would be an “asset for Israel” at the UN Security Council if it got one of the non-permanent member seats.

Canada, and other governments, must understand that there is a direct trajectory from their unconditional support for Israel to the continuation of Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people.

Hampering the ICC investigation, refusing to accept your own court’s decision on labeling of Israeli settlement wines, smearing pro-Palestinian advocates as “anti-semitic” as happened at York University last year, all of this enables the Israeli government and military to feel they are immune to any sort of accountability.

This new report on Israeli sniper violence against Palestinians is most profound in what lies in the shadows: the Israeli military’s crude but effective approach. Promoting the concept that maiming these Palestinian youth is somehow “more humane” than killing them outright. But permanently disabling them in a poor society with few resources for the healthy let alone the injured, is an equally cruel fate. And a poignant and daily reminder to the rest of that society of the price to be paid for rebellion.

Most of the sniper accounts demonstrated a total lack of appreciation of the consequences or severity of their actions. One said, when talking about the other soldiers and their initial reaction to maiming their victims:

“He has fulfilled himself just now, it’s a rare moment. Actually, the more he does it, the more indifferent he’ll become. He will no longer be especially happy, or sad. He’ll just be.”

The snipers work in a team with a locator and the “42 in one day” soldier, related how he suggested to his locator to take over the shooting when they were getting close to the end of their shift because “he didn’t have knees”.

And “you want to leave with the feeling that you did something”. (Note its just “knees”, not Palestinian lives or limbs.) The parallel here with how sports teams allow rookie players to be involved at the end of a game that they know they are winning, is unmistakable. And it also highlights that these snipers didn’t seem to feel threatened and had few concerns about their own safety.

I realize that the Israeli snipers are themselves indoctrinated kids. But I hate the system and ideology that brought them to this, that placed them on those dirt embankments overlooking the people of Gaza, that made them think this was all “sport” or a video game where the player with the most points wins.

And if I feel such rage thousands of miles away, I can only imagine (and will never judge) how the youth of Gaza and their families must feel.

– Marion Kawas is a member of the Canada Palestine Association and co-host of Voice of Palestine.

March 10, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Hamas condemns continued detention of Palestinian officials in Saudi Arabia

Press TV – March 9, 2020

A Hamas spokesman has condemned the continued detention and prosecution of Palestinian figures in Saudi Arabia over their support for the Palestinian resistance movement, urging Riyadh to immediately release them.

“The national and pan-Arabism duty requires honoring those people and not trying them in this way,” Hazim Qassim told Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television on Sunday.

He added that Arab countries should reinforce the Palestinian cause and “not weaken its resistance with such trials”.

The spokesman said Hamas has contacted various parties to secure the release of Palestinian detainees in the kingdom, expressing hope that Saudi authorities would respond to those efforts and release the detainees.

His remarks came as a Saudi court on Sunday held the first hearing in the case of 68 Palestinian and Jordanian detainees.

According to al-Mayadeen, the detainees are charged with “supporting terrorism and financing it” and belonging to “a criminal terrorist entity”.

Senior Hamas official Muhammad al-Khudari and his son Hani, who were arrested last April, were among those who stood trial on Sunday.

Al-Khudari represented Hamas in Saudi Arabia between the mid-1990s and 2003. He has held other important positions in the Palestinian resistance movement as well.

Saudi Arabia’s repressive measures against the Palestinian resistance movement as well as those seeking to collect donations for people living in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip come as the kingdom and Israel are believed to be planning to publicize their secret ties.

Gaza has been blockaded by the Israeli regime since 2007.

Last month, Saudi authorities launched a new campaign of “arbitrary” arrests against Palestinian expatriates on charges of supporting Hamas.

The Prisoners of Conscience, a non-governmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced on February 12 that the kingdom had detained a number of Palestinians, including the relatives or children of those imprisoned last April for the same reason.

Over the past two years, Saudi authorities have deported more than 100 Palestinians from the kingdom, mostly on charges of supporting Hamas financially, politically, or through social networking sites.

March 9, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 6 Comments

US-Palestinian intelligence talks focus on Abbas’ successor

By Dr Adnan Abu Amer | MEMO | February 24, 2020

Just two days after the announcement of the “deal of the century” in late January, Gina Haspel, director of the CIA, secretly arrived in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, and met with Majed Faraj, head of the Palestinian Intelligence Service, and a number of senior Palestinian officials. They assured her that Palestinian-American security coordination would not be affected after the announcement of the deal.

This visit took place after Israel revealed it had thwarted an assassination attempt on Majed Faraj, at the order of Tawfik Tirawi, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and former head of the General Intelligence Service.

The CIA director’s visit came as a surprise, she could have sent one of her aides or summoned Majed Fatah to Washington. There are some who believe that the visit aimed to persuade the Palestinians to accept the deal of the century.

Perhaps the American security visit is related to the preparation for the succession of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, especially since the visit coincided with the revelation of the assassination attempt on Faraj.

Haspel’s visit came despite Abbas’ announcement that security relations with the Israelis and Americans were being cut, which raised big questions about his credibility.

The information received regarding Haspel’s meeting in Ramallah with Palestinian intelligence leaders indicates that the meetings lasted three days, with 16 officers from both sides participating to discuss in depth scenarios and plans to eliminate the Palestinian resistance system, in the Gaza Strip in particular. They also drew plans to ensure that no chaos occurs in the West Bank that causes the situation to explode in the face of Israel.

On the first day, the meetings discussed all the scenarios to deal with the Palestinian resistance, and the general objectives of each scenario. The second day was dedicated to discussing Palestinian intelligence preparations to implement these scenarios, and on the third day a general American-Palestinian debate was opened to discuss what was described as “creative ideas” to emerge from the crises.

In the end, the meetings concluded with several points, the most important of which is the necessity of progressing from containing Hamas to attacking it, by using the conflicts between the leaders inside Palestine and abroad, and inciting against its leader, Ismail Haniyeh’s visit to Tehran and his participation in Qassem Soleimani’s funeral. This constituted clear proof of the political failure to contain the movement, either by Israel or Egypt. Moreover, Hamas’ attempts to strengthen its relationship with Hezbollah and its failure to comply with the Egyptian conditions of not visiting Iran both serve the interest of the same conviction.

At the end of their meetings in Ramallah, the Palestinian and American security sides concluded that it is not possible to eradicate Hamas, because it has a wide popular base, and therefore a strategy must be worked on to weaken it. In this regard, a proposal was made by the Palestinian general intelligence calling for containing the movement and pushing it to be part of the political system in the context of the PLO, along with draining their sources of funding, in agreement with the US Treasury.

This conclusion, reached by Faraj’s men in the Palestinian intelligence services with their American counterparts, or rather their handlers, is related to what Hamas revealed in April 2019 about the details of a long-term plan prepared by the PA’s intelligence services to ignite an internal conflict in the Gaza Strip, in preparation for changing the political reality in Gaza. It is a plan directly supervised by Majed Faraj, which aims to create chaos and disrupt the masses in the Gaza Strip, as well as affect the harmony and coordination between Hamas, which manages the affairs in Gaza, and the rest of the Palestinian factions.

The American visit may also relate to asking Faraj and his security apparatus, which controls the West Bank, to maintain a state of security in it, and not to allow popular demonstrations and mass activities to take place that may spiral out of control to become confrontations with the Israeli army.

Faraj, 58, has been at the head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service since 2009, and holds the rank of major general. He was born in the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, in the south of the West Bank. He is considered the highest figure among the heads of the Palestinian security services, the only one who practices political activity, and the closest to Abbas. He is directly responsible for contact with the Israelis, participating actively in the negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians in 2014. He is well known to all international players, and is the main partner in the reconciliation talks with Hamas.

In coincidence with Haspel’s visit to Ramallah, the Israeli media revealed it had thwarted an attempt to assassinate Majed Faraj. This was met with official Palestinian silence, which may suggest the authenticity of the Israeli narrative, because it reveals the secret struggle over the succession of Abbas, who is turning 85.

The Palestinian Preventive Security Service arrested a cell of Fatah members who intended to target Faraj and his family. Some of its members were former Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons with links to Major General Tawfik Tirawi, a member of the Central Fatah Committee, and the former head of the Palestinian Intelligence Agency.

Tirawi is said to have good relations with Muhammad Dahlan, the dismissed Fatah official and the personal archenemy of Abbas and Faraj.

The Preventive Security Services located the weapons and explosives in possession of the members of the cell who planned to bomb Faraj’s private vehicles after following his family members.

Faraj is considered one of the people with a very high chance of his succeeding Abbas as president. The man in command of the intelligence definitely has American-Israeli acceptance, as well as acceptance from countries that are influential inside the Palestinian territories, particularly Egypt, Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, because everyone in Palestine is aware that any future president must be the result of regional and international understandings.

He has a strong network of relationships with senior CIA officers making him the main and likely favourite of Israel and the US due to his ability to provide adequate security in the West Bank, after his ability to eradicate Hamas, confiscate its weapons and limit its military influence. The group has already taken a hit in the West Bank due to Faraj’s efforts.

February 24, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Land in eastern Gaza declared a disaster zone due to Israel use of herbicides

MEMO | February 4, 2020

The Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture declared arable lands in eastern Gaza to be a disaster zone on Monday, after the Israeli army repeatedly sprayed the area with chemical herbicides.

Despite a year-long break from such practices, the Israeli authorities confirmed on 22 January that they have resumed unannounced the spraying of herbicides along the fence along the nominal border of the Gaza Strip, Haaretz has reported. It was said by the Ministry of Defence to be necessary “based on security needs… but solely [takes place] within Israel territory.”

However, an investigative report by Forensic Architecture, a research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London, found that “aerial spraying by commercial crop-dusters flying on the Israeli side of the border mobilised the wind to carry chemicals into the Gaza Strip, at damaging concentrations.”

Analysis of first-hand videos from fields close to the border fence revealed Israeli armed forces using smoke from a burning tyre to confirm the westerly direction of the wind, ensuring that the chemicals landed in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army said it has acted under the country’s “Plant Protection Law”, which enforces regulations on plant protection and the monitoring and prevention of diseases. Officials thus claim that spraying practices at the Gazan border are identical to those used across the country.

However, such use of chemicals between 2014 and 2018 damaged 14,000 acres of land in Gaza, destroying all the crops grown there. The latest spraying has damaged an estimated 2,000 acres of land so far, the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture reported.

According to the Guardian, no Palestinians have ever received compensation for the damage caused by the spraying of chemicals by the Israelis, despite a petition from human rights groups in Haifa and Gaza. In contrast, farmers in the Israeli agricultural town Nahal Oz allegedly received compensation in 2015 after suing the authorities for the loss of crops.

Forensic Architecture reported that herbicide spraying predominantly takes place during key harvest periods, targeting spring and summer crops, with Glyphosate the most commonly used chemical. However, Glyphosate was declared “carcinogenic in humans” by the World Health Organisation’s Cancer Research Agency in March 2015. The chemical has since been ruled safe for use by various US and European safety agencies, although several environmental groups have opposed this ruling.

The UN Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) noted concerns over the ability to predict where, and in what concentration, toxic chemicals will land. In a report to the General Assembly in September 2019, it was said that as “damage cannot be reasonably predicted by the army… such herbicides should not be used in such close proximity to the fence.”

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Israel continues to flood Gaza farmland

February 4, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel is systematically poisoning one million Palestinian children

By Robert Inlakesh | Press TV | January 2, 2019

We have now entered 2020, the year in which experts at the United Nations (UN) once predicted Gaza would become unlivable. But the sad reality is not only that those same experts said that Gaza was already unlivable in 2017, but that now the population of 2 million residing in Gaza are under the real threat of genocide.

Sara Roy of Harvard University’s Centre for Middle Eastern studies, who is considered the leading scholar on Gaza’s economy, has written that “innocent human beings, most of them young, are slowly being poisoned in Gaza by the water that they drink and likely by the soil in which they plant.” So let us break down that statement, based upon the data available to us.

The population of the Gaza Strip is over 2 million strong, more than 50% of which are children (18 and under). Ninety-seven percent of Gaza’s water is undrinkable with only the upper 10% of Gaza’s population having access to clean water according to the UN. If we take these statistics and we look at them critically that would mean that according to conservative estimates only 40% of Gaza’s children are consuming water that is fit for human consumption. This means that parents in the Gaza Strip are forced to make the decision to allow their children to drink contaminated water in order for them to survive.

Israel which has enforced its illegal blockade of Gaza since 2006 – although Zionist propagandists claim it started in June of 2007, which is incorrect – is under international law required to provide Gaza with the ability to sustain itself. Gaza is not a State; it is not a sovereign territory in of itself. According to the UN Gaza constitutes part of what is called the Palestinian occupied territories, with the focus here being on the word “occupied.”

According to the 4th Geneva Convention, Israel is required under International Law to provide the ability for Gaza and the West Bank to sustain an environment of livability. Israel will argue, however, that Gaza specifically is not occupied; that it withdrew in 2005. However it still controls the population registry, the entries and exits, all imports and exports, the electromagnetic sphere, the armistice lines (what Israel calls the border), the territorial waters, airspace as well as having a monopoly on the electricity in Gaza. Israel controls Gaza through and through; meaning that if Israel does not declare an occupation, it is a de facto annexation of the territory.

In excess of 108,000 cubic meters of untreated sewage water flows into the Mediterranean Sea from Gaza. This is due to a lack of power for Gaza’s desalination plant and the lack of building material required to expand, both of which are due to Israel’s policies towards the besieged coastal enclave. The situation is so bad that not only is Gaza’s sea water heavily contaminated, leading to deaths as recently as last year, but also Israel’s Askalan (Ashkelon) based desalination plant periodically halts operations due to the pollution, showing that Israel is willing to put the purification of 20% of its own water at jeopardy in order to punish the Gaza Strip.

Rising from the problem of water contamination is also disease. Gidon Grumberg, the founder and director of Israel’s ‘Ecopeace’, told the Jerusalem post in 2016 that Gaza is a ticking time bomb for cholera and typhoid epidemics. Since then there have been repeated calls for a change to be made to Gaza’s lack of clean water by various experts. If a change is not made in 2020 then Gaza could become a hotbed for disease the way that Yemen has, again due to an illegally imposed blockade.

Beyond the water problem are also numerous other issues plaguing Gaza, all of which are again due to Israel’s illegally imposed – for nearly 15 years now – siege. Upwards of 80% of Gaza’s population are reliant upon international food aid in order to survive, with Israel enforcing a policy of “putting the people of Gaza on a diet,” entailing that Israel counts the minimum caloric intake for the Gazan population to stay alive. Israel of course controls the food aid coming into the Gaza Strip and even makes a profit off of it. The restrictions Israel applies to food coming into Gaza is also used as a political tool in order to punish the Palestinians for their acts of resistance against Israel.

The conservative estimates, according to the United Nations, also indicate that Gaza’s youth unemployment rate is close to hitting 70% with an overall unemployment rate recorded to be at around 50%. Israel also has repeatedly blocked Palestinian cancer patients from entering Israel in order to receive life-saving treatment. Not only this, but due to the lack of power in Gaza, cardiac monitors and X-ray machines become unreliable. In the first half of 2019, the Gaza Health Ministry, which has a regular budget of $40 million a year, had only 10 million dollars worth of supplies available to them and in July (2019) declared a warning of an unprecedented shortage of medicine and medical supplies. According to the World Health Organization 39% of Gaza applications for cancer patients to exit the blockaded Strip were “unsuccessful” in 2018.

Gaza’s population is subjected to sewage regularly flooding, after rainfall, into the streets and causing sickness, especially amongst the poorer population. Even the more well-off, financially, of Gaza’s population, whom of which reside in areas such as Gaza City (North East Gaza), are losing their wealth. Specifically the residents of the al-Rimal area, who are viewed by many as living in an area of prestige are having to flee to places like Istanbul, or become refugees abroad and are losing their families’ assets due to an absence of income.

Gaza currently survives on a few hours of electricity per day, this is due to the fact that Israel put a cap on the amount of electricity it allows into Gaza, as well as the fact that Israel has bombarded and destroyed Gaza’s electrical grid and power plants, on various occasions. The sole, partially destroyed by bombardment, power plant in Gaza is also in a semi-operational state due to the cutting of diesel fuel from the Strip in early 2018, after the Palestinian Authority stopped paying for the fuel.

As of February 2018, the Gaza Strip has been in a “state of emergency.” Enduring, since the beginning of the siege, eight large-scale military offensive massacres by Israel, with hundreds of smaller bombardments coming in between.

A 17 year old in Gaza would have experienced Israeli internal occupation, a 15 year long ever tightening siege, 8 large scale massacres, hundreds of other attacks, three wars, the constant buzzing of drones, the deaths of friends and family, temporary or permanent displacement and the list goes on and on.

To top this all off, when the people of Gaza rose up in their hundreds of thousands non-violently, beginning on the 30th March (2018), they were ignored by the world which has done nothing to stop Israel for its murder of 330+ unarmed demonstrators and the injuring of approximately 40,000. Until now, the demonstrations are still ongoing on a weekly basis and no Israeli soldiers have been killed or sustained any serious injuries.

According to International Law, the people of Gaza have every right to use armed force in order to struggle for self determination and to end the siege. Israel has no claim to a “right of self defence”, just as a rapist would have no claim to a right of self defence against their rape victim, and the next time we hear of Israel’s “right” in anyway to use force, we must know that whoever repeats this is contradicting the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Aviv Kochavi said recently in a speech pertaining to a future war against Gaza, that Israel will target electrical, agricultural and other structural components, which according to Israel contribute to keeping Hamas – Gaza’s governing Party – afloat. This means that if Israel does begin a new massacre (war) against Gaza – or Hamas as they will claim – then it will mean that all the statistics listed off above will accelerate to unprecedented numbers and that Gaza will become even more uninhabitable.

The only questions now left to be answered are, what will stop Israel from completely genociding the people of Gaza? and how will the worlds future generations look at us today for allowing this holocaust to occur against the people of Palestine. One million Palestinian children are being systematically poisoned by Israel and there is nothing but deafening silence.

Robert Inlakesh is a journalist, writer and political analyst, who has lived in and reported from the occupied Palestinian West Bank. He has written for publications such as Mint Press, Mondoweiss, MEMO, and various other outlets. He specializes in analysis of the Middle East, in particular Palestine-Israel. He also works for Press TV as a European correspondent.

January 2, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 19 Comments

Gaza’s Local Industries in Ruins as 500 Factories are about to Close

Palestine Chronicle – December 29, 2019

2019 was one of the worst years for local Gaza economy that is struggling to stay afloat despite the hermetic Israeli blockade.

Palestinian sources told Quds News Network that over 500 factories, which have provided much of Gazans’ domestic needs, will shut down by the end of this year, due to the increasingly dire economic situation in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Successive Israeli wars and a prolonged, suffocating siege imposed on the heavily-populated enclave for over twelve years, are the main reasons for Gaza’s economic misfortunes, where, as of September 2019, unemployment has soared to 46.7%.

According to the General Union of Palestinian Industries, “2019 was even worse than the year before as 520 factories have been (or about to) shut down this year while other factories moved outside the Strip to Jordan or Egypt, leading to layoffs and increased unemployment among other social and humanitarian problems,” Quds News reported.

A World Bank report issued in September 2018 had already warned that Gaza’s economy was experiencing “free fall”.

“A combination of war, isolation, and internal rivalries has left Gaza in a crippling economic state and exacerbated the human distress,” said Marina Wes, the World Bank’s director for the region, at the time.

“The occupation state has targeted all kinds of economic installations during its wars on the besieged enclave,” Quds News reported.

“It also prevents Gaza’s importation of much essential material and equipment”.

December 29, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 3 Comments

Israeli forces attack final round of weekly protests in Gaza

Press TV – December 27, 2019

Israeli forces have attacked Palestinians taking part in the final round of protests held on a weekly basis near the fence separating the Gaza Strip from the occupied territories, leaving a number of protesters injured.

Palestinian media outlets reported that the Israeli forces shot and injured protesters in the east of Jabalia and the east of Khan Yunis on Friday.

Tens of Palestinians also suffered from suffocation due to inhaling tear gas used by the Israeli troops in the eastern part of Gaza.

The “Great March of Return” rallies have been held every week since March 30 last year. The Palestinians want the return of those driven out of their homeland by Israeli aggression.

Israeli troops have killed at least 307 Palestinians since the beginning of the rallies and wounded more than 18,000 others, according to the Gazan Health Ministry.

In March, a United Nations fact-finding mission found that Israeli forces committed rights violations during their crackdown against the Palestinian protesters in Gaza that may amount to war crimes.

The protest organizers announced on Thursday that the rallies would be suspended until March 2020, after which it would be held on a monthly basis.

Yousri Darwish, a member of the Supreme National Committee of the Marches of Return, said the decision to suspend the rallies was made in the best interest of the Palestinian people.

He said preparations for the commemoration of the Land Day would be done in the upcoming few months in which the protests would stop. The annual event is held on March 30 to mark the killing of six Palestinians by Israeli forces during mass protests against Israel’s seizure of their land in 1976.

Gaza has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, which has caused a decline in living standards.

Israel has also launched three major wars against the enclave since 2008, killing thousands of Gazans each time and shattering the impoverished territory’s already poor infrastructure.

December 27, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 3 Comments

Israel allows only 55 Palestinian Christians from Gaza to enter West Bank for Christmas

MEMO | December 24, 2019

Israeli authorities have only allowed 55 Christians in the Gaza Strip to enter the West Bank and Jerusalem to celebrate Christmas, according to local news agency Ma’an.

The Orthodox Church in Gaza said among the 600 official requests that were submitted to Israel, occupation authorities agreed to grant travel permits to just three children and 52 Palestinian elders mostly over the age of 60.

This came after the Israeli Defence Ministry said in a statement on Sunday it would allow Palestinian Christians in Gaza to visit Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank “in accordance with security assessments and without regard to age”, reversing an earlier decision not to issue them permits, a move that was met with immediate backlash by Christian Palestinian leaders as well as Gisha, an Israeli rights group.

A spokesperson from the liaison office, known as Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), had told Reuters that Christians in the Gaza Strip were barred from visiting holy cities through the Erez crossing this Christmas season.

Gaza, which suffers from high unemployment and faces electricity blackouts and drinking water shortages, has only around 1,000 Christians, most of them Greek Orthodox, in a population of two million in the narrow coastal strip.

Israel claims that a number who have been granted travel permits in recent years have remained in the West Bank and have not returned to Gaza.

Israel tightly restricts movements out of the Gaza Strip.

Gaza’s Christians who plan to travel to the West Bank for Christmas or Easter have to apply to Israel in advance to obtain a temporary single-use travel permit from Israel’s COGAT.

The main attractions in Bethlehem are the 4th-century Church of the Nativity, built over a grotto where Christian tradition says Jesus was born, and the 16-metre (52-foot) Christmas tree in Manger Square.

Last year, Israel granted permits for close to 700 Gaza Christians to travel to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and other holy cities that draw thousands of pilgrims each holiday season.

At Easter this year, similar restrictions were imposed by Israel, 300 Christian Palestinians from Gaza were allowed to visit the West Bank and Jerusalem for Easter “only after public pressure on Israel to change its initial decision to bar them from entering”.

 

December 24, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 4 Comments