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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

Israeli media campaign targets Palestinian journalist as well as Jeremy Corbyn

Palestinian journalist Walid Mahoumd (Photo from Twitter)
By Robert Inlakesh | Press TV | December 18, 2019

On Sunday, in the wake of the UK election, the Israeli media released a fabricated story, accusing a well-known Palestinian journalist in Gaza of being part of Hamas and an administrator on the ‘We Support Jeremy Corbyn’ Facebook page.

The story was first published on Tazpit (TPS) News, an Israeli media agency, and was later picked up by Right Wing press in the United States. The information was then repeated throughout Israeli media in both English and Hebrew. By Monday, the Jeremy Corbyn supporting group, that has over 70,000 members, was labeled as an “influential” group linked to Hamas by The Times of Israel.

But the story in of itself was built on erroneous claims. The Gazan journalist Walid Mahoumd – referred to by another alias, Walid Abu Rouk, by the Israeli media – is to the best of his own knowledge, not a Hamas member. There is also no information that has been provided to corroborate this claim and when I questioned him on the issue he had the following to say.

“I am not a member of Hamas. I cannot recall when I was made an administrator on the page. I have never posted anything on the page about Jeremy Corbyn. This is not the first time they have attacked me like this. They just want anything to attack Corbyn.” Needless to say, this was not what the original article on the matter from TPS quoted him saying.

TPS News claim that they spoke to Walid over the phone and that he confirmed to them that he had maintained a role as a manager of the page until recently and still has connections to pro-Corbyn activists. But when I reached out to Walid Mahmoud, he told me that he was called by an Israeli journalist about a month ago, who “bragged about being in the army and now being a journalist.” He told me that he declined to comment for the Israeli news outlet as he boycotts Israel. Walid said that the Israeli spoke to him in Arabic and bragged about his role in COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories), which participates directly in enforcing Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and besiegement of Gaza.

In a Facebook post, Walid Mahmoud has written that he now fears for his life, due to being labeled a Hamas member and that Israel could now justify targeting him in an attack, such as an airstrike against his home. He also stresses that the man, who called him to ask for information had threatened him if he did not cooperate.

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, has over the course of his election campaign endured a relentless campaign from pro-Israeli groups and beyond, accusing his Party of anti-Semitism. One of the smears used against Corbyn is that he referred to Hamas as his friends. It would be perceived that those who created this story, did so believing that tying a Facebook page, which disseminates information about Corbyn, to Hamas, would hurt Corbyn in the elections.

The problem with the numerous articles written by the likes of The Jerusalem Post about Walid’s alleged links to Hamas, is that they have no verifiable information which could possibly prove the well-known journalist’s connection to the governing force in Gaza, nor his position on the Facebook page itself. This leaves many to the assumption that the claim being made is based upon the racist notion that all Gazans are somehow linked to Hamas, a theme which Israel used repeatedly when justifying its recent murder of over 300 protesters in Gaza’s Great Return March.

Walid Mahmoud is a journalist, photojournalist, and peace activist who resides in Khan Yunis (southern Gaza Strip). He is someone that I have personally known for around four years now. He has written in English for the likes of Al Jazeera and Middle East Eye and his work on the ground in Gaza has been shared by progressive Jewish groups in the United States such as Jewish Voice For Peace.

Walid has quite literally put his life on the line to bring the world information from the Gaza Strip, witnessing his colleagues die in front of his eyes from Israeli fire in the Great Return March. On the 30th of March this year, he was even shot at by an Israeli sniper and barely escaped death, with his camera blocking the bullet from hitting his head.

During Israel’s 2014 bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which it dubbed ‘Operation Protective Edge,’ Walid’s home was bombed by Israeli missile fire. Walid Mahoumd has endured living through Israeli occupation when he was younger, followed by eight large-scale military operation by Israel against Gaza after the enforcement of the illegal siege.

Now, he is being punished for merely talking about what he sees around himself. If for instance, he is to travel now, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine this process being made more difficult for him and his family. Hamas is considered by most Western countries to be “a terrorist organization” and despite not being a member, he could be perceived as such due to the numerous articles online claiming this.

Walid told me that he would like to take legal action against TPS for their smears and urges all those who published this disinformation to take it down. However, because he lives in Gaza this suing an Israeli news outlet will be an extremely difficult process. All of this trouble coming Walid’s way because of an article, which reads like a conspiracy theorist blog post claiming proof of deceased rapper Tupac Shakur being alive and well in Cuba.

The TPS article claims to have sources inside of Gaza, which they say told them about a supposed Hamas connection to Abu Rouk, yet they fail to provide the names of any such sources. It claims to have intelligence about London-based activists making Walid Mahmoud an administrator of the ‘We Support Jeremy Corbyn’ page, yet they provide no names of those who supposedly made him an administrator. TPS News then claim that Walid, under the supervision of Hamas, still communicates with London Labour activists.

Instead of providing any material evidence of such libelous claims, the article then goes on to claim that because Walid Mahmoud writes for MEMO, Al Jazeera, and the Middle East Eye, that he is therefore connected directly to the Muslim Brotherhood.

What made matters worse was that prominent Islamaphobe Robert Spencer then decided to post this information on his blog site ‘Jihad Watch,’ making Walid a potential target for online Islamaphobic hate mail.

Walid in a Facebook post on the whole matter writes the following points to clear up the situation from his own perspective:

“1- At no point in time was I ever associated with Hamas. I have even been arrested and interrogated by Hamas before in regard to my humanitarian work in Gaza. I’m entirely politically unaffiliated and only represent myself.

2- I was invited to be a co-admin on a pro-Corbyn fan page because I was asked to post occasional updates about daily life in Gaza under blockade. I used my own name for every post I made, without ever hiding.

3- There’s no way I would ever interfere with the UK election — I never posted a single post on the Corbyn Fan page supporting Mr. Jeremy Corbyn or even discussing the Labour Party.

4- I’ve only learned about (and became very fond of) Mr. Corbyn through his crucial support and recognition of our basic humanity, something that usually is ignored by other British politicians. I was never asked to run any activities supportive of him by any party whatsoever.

5- The Israeli journalist, Baruch Yedid, who fabricated this report about me relies only on one anonymous source falsely claiming that my ‘excellent command of English’ is why I was chosen by Hamas. This is total nonsense.”

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, 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.

December 18, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Western Media Bias Allows Israel to Get away with Murder in Gaza

By Ramzy Baroud | Dissident Voice | November 16, 2019

An Israeli attack on Gaza was imminent, and not because of any provocations by Palestinian groups in the besieged, impoverished Gaza Strip. The Israeli military escalation was foreseeable because it factors neatly in Israel’s contentious political scene. The war was not a question of “if”, but “when”.

The answer came on November 12, when the Israeli military launched a major strike against Gaza, killing an Islamic Jihad Commander, Bahaa Abu al-Ata, along with his wife Asma.

More strikes followed, targeting what the Israeli military described as Islamic Jihad installations. However, the identities of the victims, along with damning social media footage, pictures, and eyewitness accounts indicate that civilians and civilian infrastructure were bombed and destroyed as well.

As of November 14, when a truce was announced, 32 Palestinians have been killed and over 80 wounded in the Israeli aggression.

What truly frustrates any meaningful discussion on the horrific situation in Gaza is the feeble response, whether by international organizations that exist with the sole purpose of ensuring world peace or by Western monopoly media, that ceaselessly celebrates its own accuracy and impartiality.

A most disappointing response to the Israeli violence was offered by Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.

Mladenov, whose job should have long been deemed pointless considering that no “peace process” actually exists, expressed his “concern” about the “ongoing and serious escalation between Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Israel”.

Not only Mladenov’s statement creates a moral equivalence between an occupying power, which instigated the war in the first place, and a small group of a few hundred armed men, it is also dishonest.

“The indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars against population centres is absolutely unacceptable and must stop immediately,” Mladenov elaborated, putting great emphasis on the fact that, “there can be no justification for any attacks against civilians”.

Shockingly, Mladenov was referring to Israeli, not Palestinian civilians. At the time that his statement was released to the media, there were already dozens of Palestinian civilians that had been killed and wounded, while Israeli media reports spoke of few Israelis who had been treated for “anxiety”.

The European Union did not fare any better. The EU parroted the same American knee-jerk response by condemning “the barrage of rocket attacks reaching deep into Israel”.

“The firing of rockets on civilian populations is totally unacceptable and must immediately stop,” a statement by the European bloc read.

Is it not possible that Mladenov and top EU foreign policymakers do not truly comprehend the political context of the latest Israeli onslaught — that embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is using military escalation as a way of fortifying his weakening grip on power.

Considering this, what is one to make of the poor media coverage, the inept analyses and the absence of balanced reports in major Western news media?

In a report published by the BBC on November 13, the British broadcaster referred to “cross-border violence between Israel and militants in Gaza”.

But Gaza is not an independent country and, per international law, it is still under Israeli occupation. Israel declared Gaza a “hostile territory” in September 2007, arbitrarily establishing a “border” between it and the besieged Palestinian territory. For some reason, the BBC finds this designation acceptable.

CNN, on the other hand, reported on November 13 that “Israel’s military campaign against Islamic Jihad” is entering its second day, while emphasizing the UN condemnation of the rocket attacks.

CNN, like most of its American corporate counterparts, reports on Israeli military campaigns as a part and parcel of some imagined “war on terror”. Therefore, analyzing the language of US mainstream media with the purpose of underlining and emphasizing its failures and biases, is a useless exercise.

Sadly, US bias regarding Palestine has extended to mainstream media in European countries that were, to some degree, fairer, if not somewhat sympathetic, with the Palestinian peoples’ situation.

El Mundo of Spain, for example, spoke of a number of Palestinians — making sure to emphasize that they were “mostly militants”, — who “died” as opposed to “were killed” by the Israeli military.

“The escalation followed the death of Gaza’s armed branch leader,” El Mundo reported, failing once more to pinpoint the culprits in these seemingly mysterious deaths.

La Repubblica, which is perceived in Italy as a “leftist” outlet, sounded more like a right-wing Israeli newspaper, in its description of the events that led to the death and wounding of many Palestinians. The Italian newspaper used a fabricated timeline that only exists in the mind of Israeli military and decision-makers.

“Violence continued. Several rockets were thrown towards Israel by Gaza’s Islamic Jihad (militants), breaking the brief truce, according to (right-wing Israeli newspaper) The Jerusalem Post and to the Israeli army”.

It remains unclear what “truce” La Repubblica was referring to.

France’s Le Monde followed suit, reporting the same deceptive and cliched Israeli lines and emphasizing statements by the Israeli military and government. Interestingly, the death and wounding of many Palestinians in Gaza did not deserve a place on the French newspaper’s homepage. Instead, it chose to highlight a comparatively irrelevant news item where Israel denounced the labeling of illegal settlement products as “discriminatory”.

Maybe, one could have excused these across-the-board journalistic and moral failings if it were not for the fact that the Gaza story has been one of the most covered news topics anywhere in the world for over a decade.

It is obvious that the West’s “newspapers of record” have maintained their blindspot on fairly reporting on Gaza and intentionally kept the truth from their readers for many years so as not to offend the sensibilities of the Israeli government and its powerful allies and lobbies.

While one cannot help but bemoan the death of good journalism in the West, it is also important to acknowledge with much appreciation the courage and sacrifices of Gaza’s young journalists and bloggers who, at times, are targeted and killed by the Israeli army for conveying the truth on the plight of the besieged but tenacious Strip.


Dr. Ramzy Baroud is an author and a journalist. He is athor of The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle and his latest My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story. He can be reached at ramzybaroud@hotmail.com.

November 16, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Gaza Israel Escalation Explained: Who Started It, Where Is It Going And Why?

Palestinian medical workers tend to wounded children of a family six of whose members were killed in an Israeli airstrike, in the central Gaza Strip’s Deir al-Balah, November 14, 2019. (Photo by AFP)
By Robert Inlakesh | American Herald Tribune | November 14, 2019

Earlier this Tuesday morning, Israel initiated airstrikes against Northern Gaza Strip killing the senior commander of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Baha Abu al-Ata (43 years old),  Asma Mohammed (39 years old) and twenty-year-old Mohammed Atiyah.

This ‘targeted assassination’ of a PIJ leader in Gaza was not the end of the Israeli mission, however. Another round of Israeli airstrikes was then launched targeting Western Mezzeh in Damascus, Syria, targeting Akram Ajjouri, a deputy leader in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement. The strike took place at roughly 4:20 A.M in the morning and hit the residence of the PIJ commander, killing his son, injuring his daughter and murdering a bodyguard named Abdallah Hassan. The strike also injured 10 others, missing the Akram Ajjouri who escaped the blast.

In response to these ‘targeted assassinations’, as Israel calls them, both Islamic Jihad and Hamas launched a barrage of rockets at Israeli towns and cities.

Over 450 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel, striking Tel Aviv, Sderot, and Ashekolon and even triggering alarms as far away as Jerusalem. Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the al-Quds brigades, have vowed to continue their responses.

Israel has also fired hundreds of Missiles into Gaza, destroying 190 homes, injuring over 111 (mostly civilians) and killing over 34. Included in the dead have been at least 8 children and 3 women in Gaza. Israel has also damaged 15 schools with their airstrikes and attacked a power facility, shutting off the electricity supply in Eastern Gaza.

The rocket fire into Israel has proven to have successfully overwhelmed Israel’s air defense systems, specifically its Iron Dome air defense systems. Considering the fact that most of the rockets fired are nothing more than enhanced fireworks, this is extremely embarrassing to Israel and proves that its systems are a failure. Reports have also surfaced indicating that one of Gaza’s armed factions scored a direct hit, using an RPG, on an Israeli Merkava Tank. Despite the rocket fire destroying homes, vehicles, and roads, no Israeli civilians have been killed.

Israel clearly started the recent round of hostilities in Gaza, it has killed and injured overwhelming non-combatants and has somehow received, yet again, favorable coverage in the Western Press.

The BBC, FOX NEWS, SKY, MSNBC, CNN and the rest of the alphabet soup of corporate media outlets, have joined in on the anti-Palestinian hasbara narrative once again. Despite the fact that Israel committed a flagrant violation of the Syrian Arab Republics’ sovereignty, it killed a Palestinian leader without any due legal process and has been the all-out aggressor and only side to inflict civilian casualties.

The mainstream Western media, in fact, deals such a detriment to the journalistic field of work – when it comes to Palestine/Israel – that it is probably better to receive your news straight from the IDF twitter page than it is from them. At least with the Israeli military propaganda, you are getting the clear propagandistic perspective of Israel. Instead of listening to a loosely put together, poorly packaged, piece of romantic action drama, just listen to the Israeli foreign ministry. You will then have one side of the story and not just hasbara constructed to present specifically to an assumed ignorant Western audience, in order to garner support for Israel.

The Return Of Targeted Assassinations?

A widely repeated claim that is being spread throughout Western media, is that Israel has just resumed its policy of ‘targeted assassinations’ and that it hasn’t been involved in such activities in years. This is incorrect.

Israel has consistently carried out targeted assassinations inside of Syria, this year, targeting Iranian military personnel, Hezbollah and others. In fact, just back in September there was nearly a war sparked between Lebanon and Israel due to a campaign of ‘targeted assassinations’ of Hezbollah members.

The only thing that has changed this week, is that Israel has resumed its assassination campaign against Palestinian leaders. A particularly dangerous development as the last war on Gaza in 2014 was started, in part, as a result of ‘targeted assassinations’.

Another problem with the reporting on this issue has been the way the term “targeted assassinations” itself is being used, implying that the target is, in fact, a single person when this is clearly not the case. Entire families of those targeted from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad leadership, have also been injured and killed in the attacks.

This policy is a cowardly one, one not rooted in international law, and seeks to kill members of groups with their entire families whilst they are defenseless and without any legal process.

Why Is Israel Attacking Gaza Now?

In order to understand Israel’s decision to target the Islamic Jihad leadership, we have to keep in mind two key factors, both Israeli and Palestinian politics.

The first reason for Israel’s recent acts of aggression is that the Israelis are likely concerned about the recent developments on the Palestinian political scene. All of the Palestinian factions have come together and decided that it is time to hold new elections in the occupied territories.

There have been numerous failed proposals for new elections and unity before, yet it has failed time and time again, but this time it seems to really be a possibility. This, of course, scares the Israelis, because they know that if any other factions, other than Fatah, win in the West Bank, Israel will have to deal with a new type of resistance from West Bankers.

More important though, is that there will also likely be an end to the ‘security coordination’ between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli occupation army, which allows Israel to operate its cost-free occupation of the territory.

If these strikes escalate into war, then the Palestinian Authority headed by Abbas’s Fatah Party, will likely abandon the idea of elections and condemn Gaza’s aggression. We can assume this as in 2014, unity government talks were ongoing and the prospects for it to go further were completely destroyed upon the war’s initiation. In 2014, the war was also started after targeted assassinations of Hamas officials.

The second reason for Israel wanting to initiate a war or even just launch these, so-called ‘targeted assassination’ strikes is the current election deadlock Israel finds itself in. After Israel’s snap elections on the 17th of September, the Israeli regime has been in shambles, with a possible third election on the horizon within the space of one year.

Israel’s current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was given the first chance at forming a coalition in the Israeli Knesset, despite winning one less seat than his rival Benny Gantz. Netanyahu, the leader of Israel’s Right-Wing Likud Party was then unable to form a coalition and passed the torch onto his rival Benny Gantz, heading the Blue and White Party. Gantz is still unable to form a coalition.

If a third snap election happens, Netanyahu who is still the reigning PM will have to deal with the “Gaza problem” which has led to him losing many votes in the past, especially in the South of Israel. So executions of the leadership in Gaza, are a great PR move for Netanyahu and a war, or even more, targeted assassinations could help him win the next election.

Netanyahu’s Revenge On Gaza

In order to understand the origins of the current Israeli rage influenced actions, we have to look back to November of 2018, when Israel failed a special forces operation in Gaza, ultimately resulting in the death of an Israeli commander, the death of a Hamas commander and a fight that would ensue in the following hours and days. Israel sought to kidnap a Hamas Al-Qassam brigades commander, Nur Barakah, perhaps wanting to achieve a ‘prisoner swap’ type deal, exchanging him for the bodies of Israelis killed in combat, currently held by Hamas. Israel failed badly and the Israeli press shed light on their failure.

Hamas also successfully used an anti-tank missile, in an attack that destroyed an Israeli bus. Hamas waited for Israel to claim that the bus was full of civilians, before releasing a video that revealed the bus was filled with military personnel. Hamas waited and fired the anti-tank missile, following the departure of all but one soldier, from the bus. This was used, to threaten Israel. The Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, claimed that Hezbollah had smuggled the anti-tank missiles into Gaza.

The Salahaldeen Brigades then leaked a video to ‘Al-Mayadeen TV’, revealing an operation from back in February of 2018. The video showed several soldiers being killed, by an explosive laced flag pole. The operation was at the time covered up by an embarrassed Israeli military.

Avigdor Lieberman then resigned as Israel’s ‘Defence Minister’ after Netanyahu refused to go to war. He has been the kingmaker in Israeli politics ever since and his opposition to Netanyahu stems from this escalation in Gaza last November.

This year there has been a number of ‘flare-ups’ all of which Israel has not come out of looking militarily good, they have consistently killed civilians and have been fought off by Gazan armed factions. This is despite the fact that Hamas and the other armed factions in Gaza have much less in terms of weapons technology.

If Netanyahu is to impress the Israeli population with his military campaign against Gaza and can bring Avigdor Lieberman around, he will be able to successfully form a coalition government in the third round of snap elections.

Why Is Violence The Only Option For Gaza?

The response of Palestinian Islamic Jihad is quite literally all that they could have done. The peaceful resistance has been shunned by the world’s media, NGO’s, governments and the United Nations.

Since the 30th of March, 2018, over 330 unarmed Palestinian demonstrators have been killed by Israeli sniper and tear gas fire, 44,000+ have also been injured since that time. The ‘Great Return March’ demonstrations continue until this day, yet the protesters have been ignored and smeared in the West. This was the last desperate cry from Gaza for a peaceful solution and the West has killed it.

Nothing was done to stop Israel’s massacre and the media described the protests as “clashes”. Hilarious that is that these so-called clashes, have gone on for over a year and a half and yet no Israeli has even sustained so much as a significant wound.

Gaza only has two options at this point, to resist the Israeli aggression with whatever weapons they have, or to lay down and die. The West and Israel will only accept the latter.

What happens next?

The ceasefire which was announced to have taken place at 5:30 A.M this Wednesday has already failed due to Israel not respecting the demands of Islamic Jihad and then later PIJ rocket fire into Israel. The two sides are now firing back and forth again.

Currently, Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has stayed out of the fight. If Hamas joins the fight it will likely be an all-out war between Israel and Gaza. Hamas has only stayed out of the fight this long because they seek to allow for Palestinian elections to take place and a war would prevent this from happening.

There will likely be more massacres in the Gaza Strip in the coming days.

November 15, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 4 Comments

Whilst 18 Israelis are treated for anxiety, 22 Palestinians are taken to the mortuary

Smoke rises following an Israeli attack in Gaza city on November 12, 2019. Photo by Ashraf Amra

Smoke rises following an Israeli attack in Gaza city on 12 November 2019 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
Dr Brendan Ciarán Browne | MEMO | November 13, 2019

The extrajudicial killing of Bahaa Abu Al-Ata of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, the second largest faction in the Gaza Strip, has triggered a predictable spike in “conflict related incidents”. As always, it is the Palestinian civilian population residing in the much maligned Gaza Strip who are affected disproportionately.

On Wednesday morning, Israel’s supposedly “left wing” newspaper Haaretz reported that 18 Israeli civilians had been taken overnight to Ashkelon Hospital to be treated for “anxiety” following a spate of rocket fire emanating from Gaza. At the same time, a spokesperson for Gaza’s Health Ministry, Ashraf Al-Qudra, reported that the remains of 22 Palestinians were being transferred to the mortuary. A stark reminder, if ever one was needed, of the gross asymmetry of the “conflict” in Palestine/Israel.

For some, the “legitimacy” of Abu Al-Ata’s killing is a point of contention under international law. There is the usual binary rhetoric of “execution” versus “legitimate act of war” considered alongside debate over the appropriate designation of “combatant/non-combatant” status and the supposed protections therein. Regardless, and often set aside when debating the extrajudicial killing of “enemy (non)combatants”, it is worth remembering that Abu Al-Ata and his wife were killed in their bed in an Israeli rocket attack that destroyed his house in the Gaza City neighbourhood of Shuja’iyah, leaving his two children orphaned and undergoing emergency treatment at the local Al Shifa Hospital.

Similarly, there will be polarising views on the (il)legitimacy of the simultaneous attack on an Islamic Jihad political bureau member in Damascus, Akram Al-Ajouri, which resulted in the death of his son and a neighbour, and which also involved a flagrant breach of Syrian territorial sovereignty. Thus, what has been clear for some time, when it comes to the rules governing armed conflict and the application of principles of international law, it appears that “might is right” when Israel is involved.

Those with a strong commitment to realising the goals of a fair and, more importantly, a just resolution to the enduring conflict in Palestine/Israel will hardly be surprised by the bias and hypocrisy of Western politicians and the media taking to the airwaves to absolve Israel of any blame. Take, for example, the response of the spokesperson for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Maja Kocijančič, who tweeted in the aftermath of Abu Al-Ata’s killing that, “The firing of rockets on civilian populations is totally unacceptable and must immediately stop.” Or Joe Biden, in the running to be the next President of the United States, who tweeted, “It is intolerable that Israeli civilians live their lives under the constant fear of rocket attacks.” Not enough twitter characters, it seems, for either to make mention of the fact that it was the Israelis who kicked off this latest round of violence.

Arguably the greatest example of linguistic gymnastics is reserved for the headline writer in the Times of Israel, who led with, “Israel kills powerful Islamic Jihad commander”. Quite a stretch considering the modest arsenal at the disposal of Palestinian factions compared to a nuclear armed Middle East superpower with friends in high places. As leading Palestinian writer and activist Mariam Barghouti has noted, Palestinians, “aren’t leading a war. They have no official army, no official borders; they have no control over their resources and lands; and even their politicians are sometimes assassinated or incarcerated.”

The much-maligned Gaza Strip, considered to be unliveable by 2020 according to a UN report, continues to be the front line of resistance when it comes to Israel’s ongoing colonisation of Palestine. Weekly protests that call for an end to the illegal Israeli (and Egyptian) blockade imposed on the civilian population are often subject to extreme levels of Israeli violence, tantamount to “alleged war crimes” according to the UN and leading regional human rights organisations. Approximately 200 Palestinian civilians, including some 50 children, have been killed since the beginning of the protests in 2018, with many thousands left with life-changing injuries. Yet despite the tough talk from the UN Human Rights Council, when it comes to breaches of international law in Palestine, accountability and justice remain elusive.

It is hard to avoid the sense of déjà vu that surrounds this latest incident. As has been noted in other media outlets, the killing of Abu Al-Ata comes almost 7 years to the day that Israel assassinated Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari, the pretext to the 2012 ground invasion and eventual deadly military offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza. Back then, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was struggling to hold together his hotchpotch coalition government. In 2019, having gone through two General Election cycles this year without a clear winner, and with pressure mounting on political rivals to form a coalition, Israeli politics is in a similar state of flux. There is nothing better, apparently, than to carry out a choreographed, high profile assassination of a Palestinian to galvanise the nation.

With former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz — chief architect of Israel’s 2014 destruction of Gaza — waiting in the wings, the prospect of an Israeli coalition government comprising Netanyahu, Gantz and Israeli hawk Naftali Bennett as “Defence” Minister seems more likely than ever. It remains to be seen how the latest, cyclical round of violence will evolve, but no amount of false equivalency can mask the fact that this is a dangerously one-sided affair centred on Israeli political posturing.

November 13, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Israel sniper who killed Palestinian child given month’s community service

14-year-old Othman Hilles was shot dead by an Israeli soldier during the Great March of Return on 13 July 2018

14-year-old Othman Hilles was shot dead by an Israeli soldier during the Great March of Return on 13 July 2018
MEMO | October 30, 2019

An Israeli soldier was sentenced on Monday to a month’s labour for killing a Palestinian child during a Great Return March protest in the occupied Gaza Strip.

According to a report in the Times of Israel, the soldier – whose name has been banned from publication – was convicted by a military court in relation to the death of 14-year-old Othman Hilles, who was shot during a demonstration on 13 July 2018.

It is the first conviction in connection to the huge number of casualties among Great Return March demonstrators, with Israeli forces shooting more than 7,000 with live fire since March 2018.

Despite Hilles being shot while unarmed and posing no threat to Israeli soldiers, the soldier was only convicted of “disobeying an order leading to a threat to life or health”, as opposed to manslaughter. The military court sentenced the soldier to one month’s labour, as well as a demotion.

The shooting of Hilles was captured on film, likely a factor in the soldier being brought to trial at all.

According to the Times of Israel, the soldier – a sniper from the Givati Brigade – was not convicted of a more serious offense like manslaughter “as military prosecutors were unable to collect sufficient evidence connecting his gunshot to [the boy’s death]”.

The Israeli military spokesperson confirmed the conviction in a statement, saying that the soldier “fired at a Palestinian rioter who climbed the border fence… without obtaining permission from his commanders while not following the rules of engagement or the instructions given to him earlier”.

October 30, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 3 Comments

‘Longest trial in history’: Palestinian aid worker charged with funding Hamas attends 129th hearing

Former World Vision employee Muhammed al-Halabi (L) at a district court in Beersheva, Israel. © AFP / Dudu Grunshpan
RT | October 23, 2019

A former charity manager in the Gaza Strip accused of funding Hamas has attended court for the 129th time in what has become the longest trial of its kind in Israel’s history, dragging on as witnesses are blocked from testifying.

The 41-year-old aid worker, Muhammed al-Halabi, was arrested in June 2016 while working for World Vision, a Christian humanitarian group, charged with funnelling kickbacks to Hamas and its armed wing. For nearly four years, however, Halabi has been denied his proper day in court, instead forced to endure an endless series of stop-go proceedings in which key witnesses are barred from testifying.

His most recent hearing on Wednesday was no different, quickly hitting a dead end soon after it began.

“Today’s hearing was cancelled shortly after it started because the witnesses were not present,” Halabi’s brother, Hamed, told Middle East Eye. “The prosecution then threatened that any witnesses who come from Gaza to give their testimony will be detained.”

“They do not want anyone to prove them wrong. All the eyewitnesses and even the officials at World Vision gave proof that he was innocent. But this is not what the prosecution is looking for.”

The Israeli government has denied travel permits to crucial witnesses in the former charity worker’s case, preventing them from leaving Gaza to give testimony in Israeli courts. Halabi’s lawyer, Maher Hanna, says that guarantees he cannot receive a fair trial.

One of those witnesses – the owner of a company implicated in the alleged money transfer scheme – “could totally undermine the accusations they made against Muhammed,” Hanna told the Times of Israel. “He has begged Israel to allow him to go to the court and testify, but they have not permitted him to do so.”

A father of five from Gaza’s Jabalya refugee camp, Halabi has maintained his innocence since his 2016 arrest and refused to confess to the charges, according to his family, despite facing pressure and even threats from judges. His father said that at one his hearings, a judge promised “long term imprisonment” if Halabi did not admit to collaborating with terrorist groups.

“[The judge] threatened him and tried to force him to confirm the accusations in front of everyone,” Halabi’s father told Middle East Eye.

Halabi’s family also says he has suffered “horrific torture” at the hands of Israeli authorities during several interrogations, including beatings, humiliation and forced sleep deprivation.

A former employee at World Vision said Halabi’s case was part of an ongoing attack on the charity’s aid work in the Gaza Strip and other Palestinian territories.

“There was a political attack on the organisation given that one of its main offices is in the United States,” the employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told Middle East Eye. “The Israeli lobby in the US must have played a major role in impeding the work of the organisation.”

Halabi’s father seconded that take, adding “They know very well that he is innocent, but they cannot release him after four years of interrogation and torture and prove themselves wrong.”

Also on rt.com:

1,700 Gazans shot by IDF face amputation due to funding crisis, UN warns

Palestinians love living under occupation, ex-IDF chief declares, recycling apartheid talking point

October 23, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 3 Comments

On Racism and ‘Wild Beasts’: Why Israel besieges Palestinians

A segment of the Israeli Seperation Wall sean near Abu Dis, in the occupied West Bank on 15th April 2016 [file photo]

A segment of the Israeli Seperation Wall near Abu Dis, in the occupied West Bank on 15th April 2016.
By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | October 7, 2019

The Israeli Apartheid Wall, which is being built largely on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, once more underscores the ugliness of military occupation. As such, it truly epitomises the nature of Israeli apartheid and also delineates the siege-driven, isolationist mentality that dominates the ruling-class thinking in Israel.

Even years before the establishment of the state of Israel over the ruins of the Palestinian homeland in May 1948, Zionist communities in Palestine perfected the stratagem of besiegement, isolating themselves behind massive walls while blockading Palestinians, the native inhabitants of the land, in every way possible.

Throughout the Nakba – the catastrophic ethnic cleansing and destruction of Palestine in 1947-48 – Israel used this military theory in abundance. Neighbourhoods, villages and entire towns would be besieged for days, weeks or months, while being bombarded from all directions before their residents were finally pushed out. None of these ethnically-cleansed Palestinian communities, which numbered in the hundreds of thousands, were ever allowed to return to their homes.

In fact, besiegement and isolation remain at the core of the Israeli military strategy to date.

No other place, however endured the brutality of the seemingly never-ending siege like the Gaza Strip. Gaza, that small region of 365 square kilometres, has been under various stages of besiegement and blockade since 1948.

The most hermetic stages of this perpetual siege began some time in 2006 and intensified in the summer of the following year. Three factors make the latest siege on Gaza particularly horrific: its long duration, the lack of any serious respite for besieged Gazans and, most importantly, the fact that it has been interrupted by massive Israeli wars that killed and wounded thousands of Palestinians. With much of Gaza’s infrastructure destroyed or dilapidated, the Israeli blockade on the Strip has proved to be the most savage and deadliest of all sieges.

On 30 September, Israel’s Channel 12 reported that nearly 70 per cent of an underground barrier east of Gaza is now complete. An estimated 1,400 Israeli and foreign workers are reportedly taking part in building the barrier, which when finished, will extend to reach 60 kilometres in length.

Considering the layers of walls, fences, trenches and no-go military zones, the additional underground wall around Gaza seems frivolous. Is it possible that Israeli leaders truly believe that Gaza is not isolated enough?

In actuality, the latest wall will likely satisfy a psychological, not a practical objective, as it gives the Israeli army and southern settlements a temporary sense of safety, while once more hailing Israeli leaders as the protectors of a defenceless and exposed nation.

Oddly, while scores of young Gazans continue to be killed at the fence separating Gaza from Israel while protesting the Israeli siege on the Strip, it is the Israelis who claim to be targeted, unsafe and victimised.

The newest wall, once it is officially launched with massive fanfare, will still make no difference. It will not upgrade the status of the Gaza siege in any way, nor will it alter the collective fear that has been thoroughly instilled in ordinary Israelis.

For Gazans, wall or no wall, the siege will remain intact.

Israeli wall architects may argue that the latest wall will deter Palestinians from digging tunnels as well as preventing resistance fighters from circumventing the siege via the sea – since part of this underground barrier will also extend into the Mediterranean Sea.

However, there is no proof that walls or fences, over ground or underground barriers have prevented Palestinians from retaliating against Israeli attacks. If the Israeli logic holds any truth, Palestinian resistance would have dissipated or folded decades ago as the Israeli siege mentality was put into practice from the very start of the Israeli war on the Palestinian people.

Israel receives $3.8 billion in US funding every year, in addition to hundreds of millions in loans and other financial giveaways which are mostly used to fortify Israel’s so-called security. To no avail. Palestinians, impoverished and incarcerated in Bantustan-like structures and open-air prisons, continue with their resistance unhindered.

It is clear that the Israeli security model has failed. In fact, that model never had a chance of success in the first place. The additional Israeli wall around Gaza and the hundreds of other walls and fences that are yet to be built are only meant to feed the collective illusion among Israelis and their leaders that the answer to their problem does not lie in ending the apartheid regime, military occupation and siege, but in adding more layers of “security”.

“At the end of the day as I see it, there will be a fence like this one surrounding Israel in its entirety. We will surround the entire state of Israel with a fence, a barrier,” Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said on 9 February 2016 during a visit of the construction site of the barrier around Gaza.

Netanyahu added: “In our neighborhood, we need to protect ourselves from wild beasts.”

While such language and behaviour reflect the deeply-rooted racist mentality at work in Israel, they also underscore the dehumanized way in which Israel sees Palestinians. Since “wild beasts” are not human, they can be killed en masse, besieged and ethnically cleansed in their millions without an iota of regret or remorse.

The problem then is not that of “security” or so-called “terrorism”. Not that of Hamas, or any other group, secular or Islamist. It is not that of Gaza’s March of Return or of children approaching the fences around Gaza. The problem is the entrenched Israeli racist mentality that perceives Palestinian natives as sub-humans and as “wild beasts” to be exterminated or forever besieged.

October 7, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Dutch court starts hearing in war crime case against Israel’s Gantz

Press TV – September 17, 2019

A Dutch court has held a hearing on a war crime case against a former Israeli general challenging incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in ongoing general elections.

The Hague District Court weighed on Tuesday whether it should hear a lawsuit brought by a Palestinian man seeking compensation from Benny Gantz for his role in the killing of six of his relatives during the Israeli war on the besieged Gaza Strip in 2014.

On July 20, 2014, Ismail Ziada lost his mother, three brothers, a sister-in-law, and a 12-year-old nephew when their family home was bombed by the Israeli air force.

A visitor was also killed in the Israeli bombardment.

“I was shot at a very close range with a rubber coated metal bullet in the head. I witnessed another boy being shot in the head next to me, dying on the spot,” said Ziada about his encounters with the Israeli army.

Ziada, who now lives in the Netherlands, filed a civil lawsuit in 2018 seeking damages from Gantz, who was the chief of staff of Israel’s military at the time of the bombing, and the then-air force commander Amir Eshel.

Ziada says the attack violated international humanitarian law because it deliberately targeted civilians.

The Tuesday session addressed a motion filed by Gantz and Eshel’s lawyers asking the court to dismiss the case. They argued the ex-commanders were immune because the Dutch court had no jurisdiction over the case.

Ahead of the hearing, Ziada’s lawyer, Liesbeth Zegveld, said Palestinians from Gaza could not receive fair treatment in Israeli courts.

Dutch courts can exercise universal jurisdiction over war crimes, provided the accuser cannot get a fair trial elsewhere.

Israel launched several wars on the Palestinian coastal sliver, the last of which began in early July 2014. The military aggression, which ended on August 26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians. Over 11,100 others were also wounded in the war.

The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

September 17, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 5 Comments