Gaza, Occupied Palestine – At 19:00 Beit Hanoun Hospital was hit by an Israeli tank shell. Inside the hospital are 61 medical staff, three patients, civilians, and ISM volunteers who are all trapped inside. Israeli soldiers are in the area, approximately 150 meters behind the hospital. Gunfire can be heard in the area.
This afternoon Israeli forces targeted an ambulance with two paramedics inside in Beit Hanoun, North Gaza. One paramedic was killed and another was critically injured.
This is the third Israeli attack on Gazan medical facilities and personnel in the last 24 hours. The first resulted in the destruction of Al Durrah Children’s Hospital in Gaza City last night. A two year-old child in the Intensive Care Unit was killed, and 30 others injured.
Since Israel began its attack on Gaza, 13 ambulances have been completely destroyed and two paramedics have been killed. Throughout the massacre, medical staff and facilities have been repeatedly targeted.
“Israel’s attacks on Gaza hospitals are ongoing, with those in areas by the separation barrier forced to evacuate their patients, paramedics and other rescue workers are doing what they can under conditions of great risk.” Stated Joe Catron, U.S. International Solidarity Movement activist.
According to the Gazan Ministry of Health, six out of Gaza’s 13 hospitals have already been severely damaged. One, el-Wafa rehabilitation hospital, has been completely destroyed. Two medical clinics have been completely destroyed, seven other clinics have been damaged, 13 medical staff members have been injured, and five have been killed.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza has demanded, “the immediate cessation of Israeli occupation military attacks against medical facilities and personnel in Gaza, and demands that the international community soundly condemn this latest Israeli atrocity, and hold Israel accountable for these war crimes.”
Here are some of the numbers you can call:
Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs
+46 8 405 10 00 
(Plus a load more phone numbers on this page: http://www.government.se/sb/d/2085)
The German Foreign Office:
Federal Foreign Office
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Minister
Tel. (24 hours service): +49 30 1817 0
Telefax: +49 30 1817 3402
German Embassy Tel Aviv emergency number / for German citizens only: +972-54-9944724 (mobile)
Auswärtiges Amt @AuswaertigesAmt
UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
MP Philip Hammond
+44 20 7008 1500
020 7219 4055
US Department of State
Israel Foreign Service Desk: 202-647-3672
José García-Margallo y Marfil
91 379 97 00
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
+64 4 439 8000
French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
+61 2 6261 1111 (office)
1300 555 135 (24-hour Consular Emergency Centre)
Venezuelan Ministry Foreign Affairs
+58 212 806.4400
+58 212 8061111
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Friday praised the Palestinian resistance defending Gaza from Israel’s ongoing assault on the besieged strip, saying that Israel was failing in its war and headed on a path of suicide.
“Gaza today is holding funeral processions for its martyrs, and has achieved victory in resistance,” Nasrallah said in a rare live appearance from a complex in Beirut’s southern suburbs to mark the annual Jerusalem Day.
“When we reach day 18 [of the Israeli assault] and the Zionists together with the world are incapable of achieving any goal in Gaza, it means the resistance has achieved victory in Gaza.”
“[Former defense minister] Ehud Barak … had said in any future war waged by Israel in Gaza will lead to a very quick and decisive victory.”
“Gaza today is responding and saying ‘You the cowardly people who hide behind warplanes and kill children, if you confront our heroes you will be defeated and your army will be defeated’,” Nasrallah said.
“I say to the Zionists, You in Gaza are working within the circle of failure. Don’t go beyond Gaza to the circle of suicide,” Nasrallah added.
Over 800 Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of them civilians, have been killed since Israel launched its terror campaign against Gaza on July 8.
“The Israeli army didn’t go to war as an army which is fighting. It went as an army which kills children. This is the army we knew in Lebanon,” Nasrallah said.
“We must salute the souls of the martyrs of Gaza and the wounded of Gaza and the mujaheddin and heroes of Gaza and the people of Gaza who are standing with steadfastness on this day,” he added.
Palestinian fighters in Gaza have vowed to press on with the war until Israel ends its eight-year-long land, air and sea blockade of the strip, which prevents the movement of people and goods, including the importation of basic necessities and medicine.
Nasrallah said those demands were just.
“The siege means death on a daily basis for the people of Gaza, not for 18 days but for years. I must repeat, there must be political, media, financial, material support and support with arms,” he said.
“We must remind everyone here, Iran and Syria together with the resistance in Lebanon, and especially Hezbollah in accordance with its capabilities, for many long years never spared any efforts in supporting the Palestinian resistance — politically, on media, morally, financially, from material angles, weapons, logistical support and expertise.”
Nasrallah also said despite all the attempts by Israel to divide Palestinians and force them to abandon their cause, they remained strong willed to return to their land.
“Despite all their pain and suffering and wounds and massacres and all the factors of despair and frustration, they did not surrender and they did not forget,” Nasrallah said.
“Palestinian people in and out of Palestine and in refugee camps, despite harsh living conditions and incentives for emigrating to Canada and Australia and Europe in order to fragment and divide this Palestinian human body, despite all this the Palestinians held on to their land and cause and farms and fields, and they rejected to surrender and to bow down.”
Does Israel Really Want Peace?
Ever since Israel started bombing Gaza on July 7, Israeli propaganda mills, with support from the Western media, are working overtime to justify the attack. The justifications are not new, though. They repeat the ‘Hamas-as-terrorist’ narrative and that the attack is nothing but “self-defence”. The Americans and most European nations endorse this “right to self-defence” of Israel, and deflect any meaningful international pressure to stop the violence it’s unleashing on the people of Gaza. Critics of this violence are often painted as “biased” or even anti-Semites. Let’s take a look at their key arguments one by one.
Did Hamas trigger the Israeli attack?
No, it didn’t. Well before the abduction of the three Israeli boys on June 12 and their subsequent murder, relations between the two sides were tense. Almost a month prior to the kidnapping, on May 15 to be precisely, two Palestinian boys were shot dead in Ramallah, which the international mainstream media still refuse to discuss. Soon after the Jewish kids went missing, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it’s a Hamas act, though till date no evidence is provided to substantiate the claim. Subsequently, Netanyahu ordered a “rescue operation” in West Bank that saw the Israeli troops killing at least six Palestinians, carrying out mass arrests, including those released from prison in 2011, demolishing houses, etc. And then a Palestinian boy was burnt alive by Jewish extremists. It’s after all these that Hamas started firing rockets into Israel, which the latter used as a pretext to start its latest attack on Palestinians.
Hamas wants Israel’s destruction
Think twice. Hamas wants an independent Palestinian state. Hamas emerged out of the failure of the PLO in securing nationhood for the Palestinian people after decades of struggle. True, it’s a politico-military movement, but don’t miss the fact that Hamas is resisting the continuing occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel. Despite this, Hamas has a number of times expressed willingness to reach long-term ceasefire and peace agreements with Israel. The best example is the incumbent unity government in West Bank. The government, formed after a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and the Fatah party in April, has Hamas’ recognition. President Mahmoud Abbas had said the unity government would recognise Israel and respect the past agreements between the two sides. The government had even continued its military cooperation with IDF. Israel, however, rejected all these overtures and started attacking Hamas after the kids went missing.
Israel has the right to defend itself
Well, according to international law, as lawyer Noura Erakat argued in Jadaliyya, Israel doesn’t have the right to self-defence against occupied Palestinian territory. One can argue that it ended its occupation of Gaza in 2005, so it has the right to self-defence against rockets from Gaza. But effectively, what Israel has won after disengaging from Gaza is a licence to massacre Gazans. What Israel is now doing to Gaza will not come under any definition of self-defence. It has attacked Gaza thrice since Ariel Sharon pulled out troops and settlements from the strip in early 2005. In the first attack, in 2008-09, Israel killed around 1,500 Palestinians and systematically destroyed the public infrastructure in the strip. The New Yorker says 14% of the buildings in Gaza were partially or completely destroyed, including 21,000 homes, 700 factories, 16 hospitals, 38 primary health centres and 288 schools. In the second attack, in 2012, Israel killed around 150 Palestinians in a week. The current attack is already into the third week, and has killed more than 700 Palestinians, with a huge majority being civilians including a big chunk of kids. Is this self-defence or genocide?
Israel is going to wars because of Hamas
Who said so? Not even the idea of Hamas was born when Israel attacked Lebanon in 1978, and then again in 1982. At that time, the Israeli leadership said they were attacking the PLO and wanted to destroy the PLO’s military infrastructure. And then they went on attacking the Lebanese people. They do the same thing now. Israel always wanted one or the other excuse to continue its aggression. Even if Hamas demilitarises itself now, there’s no guarantee that Israel will stop attacking the Palestinian people. Look at the West Bank. There are no weapons in there. Hamas is not in power. Did Israel stop its military bullying in the West Bank? It didn’t. Instead it expanded its military presence, encouraged more Jewish settlements, grabbed more Palestinian land turned the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah into a paper government. This is what Israel does when resistance recedes.
Does Israel want peace?
Its own recent actions suggest otherwise. The frequent invasions of Gaza, the continuing settlements and the subjugation of the Palestinian people in the West Bank, disregard for international law and organisations and the absolute rejection of discussions on the border of a future Palestinian state all point to Israel’s not-so-secret strategy to deal with the Palestinians militarily than agreeing to peace with them. Israel knows that it will have to make some compromises to reach even a pro-Israeli peace agreement. It doesn’t want to do that. It doesn’t want to end the occupation of West Bank, it doesn’t want to pull out the Jewish settlements from Palestinian territories, it doesn’t want to give the land it grabbed back to the Palestinians, it doesn’t want to discuss the status of Jerusalem and it doesn’t want to talk about the Palestinian refugees’ right to return. This is what wise people call Zionist colonialism, and it explains why Israel is attacking Gaza again and again.
Is Hamas a terrorist outfit?
Hamas is fighting for one of the most disadvantaged peoples of the post-War world. They represent the victims, not the aggressor. To be sure, it has attacked the Israeli civilians and is firing rockets into Israel. But if violence against civilians is the yardstick to call Hamas ‘terrorists’ what would you call the state of Israel, given the number of civilians dead in its wars and invasions since its inception? Look at the ongoing Gaza attack. The UN says more than 75 per cent of the Palestinian casualties are civilians, including at least 140 children. Is someone around the corner calling Israel a terrorist nation?
Is Stanly Johny biased?
You are asking the wrong question. The right question is which side you are on, with the bombers or with the bombed? Yes, I am with the bombed.
Stanly Johny is an Indian journalist. He can be contacted at email@example.com
Diana Buttu, Human rights attorney, Ramallah-based analyst, former advisor to Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian negotiators, and Policy Advisor to Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network.
George Bisharat, Professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies, and former legal consultant to the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Q – What caused this latest outburst of violence?
DB - “As soon as the Palestinian Authority national unity government was announced in April, Israel set its sights on destroying it. It did so by first pressing for the government’s isolation and, when that failed, it used the deaths of three Israelis (kidnapped in an area of the West Bank that is entirely under Israel’s control) to demonize Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Within 18 days of the Israelis going missing, Israel arrested hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank including 11 Parliamentarians and 59 former prisoners who were released in a prisoner exchange three years ago. These people were arrested without any proof that these individuals were in any way involved in the deaths of the three Israelis. In addition, Israel killed 10 Palestinians, including three children in the West Bank and demolished three houses. Israel launched air raids on the Gaza Strip, as documented by the UN, killing two, including a 10-year-old child. This happened before a single Hamas rocket was fired from Gaza. When Israel failed to break up the unity government diplomatically, it turned to a brutal military attack. What is clear is that the status quo is not the answer. Returning to the 2012 ceasefire will not work as it was easily abused by Israel.”
GB - “Israel instrumentalized the tragic deaths of three Israeli youths, abducted and killed on June 12, to attack Hamas in the West Bank and disrupt Palestinian national reconciliation – a goal it had failed to achieve diplomatically. Israel arrested more than 400, searched 2,200 homes and other sites, and killed at least nine Palestinians in the process. We now know that Israel concealed evidence the youths were killed virtually immediately after abduction, and incited Israeli public opinion to a frenzy, directly leading to the brutal immolation of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. These cynical acts led to the escalation of violence along the Gaza border.”
NH – “Israel used the June 12 kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenage settlers to launch a brutal Israeli crackdown on the West Bank and East Jerusalem that human rights organizations have condemned as collective punishment. Israel particularly targeted Hamas members despite the lack of evidence and the organization’s denial of responsibility. The real target was the national unity agreement achieved by Hamas.
“The truth is, though, that this all-out Israeli assault on Gaza would have happened sooner or later. Israelis call their approach to Gaza “mowing the grass”. That is, they must attack and weaken Hamas every two or three years, even though Hamas has proven willing and able to respect a ceasefire, including by reining in other factions. This is one of the ways Israel “manages” its occupation and colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its occupation and siege of Gaza.”
Q – Is Israel acting in self-defense?
DB – “No. Israel cannot claim self-defense owing to the fact that it initiated the assault on the Gaza Strip and continues to maintain a brutal military occupation over the Gaza Strip (and the West Bank). Rather, Israel has an obligation under international law to protect Palestinians living under its military rule.”
GB - “Self-defense may not be claimed by a state that initiates violence, as Israel did in its violent assault on Hamas in the West Bank.”
NH - “No. A member state of the United Nations that has signed international conventions pledging to respect the laws of war has no right to indiscriminately attack civilians and civilian infrastructure. The very high number of Palestinian civilian casualties – men, women, children – give the lie to Israel’s claims to self-defense, as does Hamas’ proven willingness to uphold a ceasefire.
“Moreover, Israel cannot claim self-defense against a people whose land it has been militarily occupying and colonizing for decades, part of whose population it has placed under siege. Only a ceasefire can protect Palestinians and Israelis alike, and only an end to the occupation and siege can pave the way to a permanent peace.
“Hamas should also refrain from targeting civilian infrastructure but it is not a UN-member state and has not signed conventions binding it to uphold international law.”
Q – Is Israel attacking “Hamas targets”?
DB – “No. Israel appears to be attacking civilian homes and civilian infrastructure. To date, according to UN estimates, 80 percent of those killed are civilians, including over 150 children. Israel has bombed hospitals, schools and mosques – all illegitimate targets under international law. More than 2,000 homes and entire neighborhoods have been destroyed by Israel’s attacks. This is inconsistent with international law. Civilian structures, such as homes, are only lawful targets when they are being used for military purposes. The Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Convention on the Law of War provides that, ‘in case of doubt whether an object which is normally dedicated to civilian purposes, such as a place of worship, a house or other dwelling or a school, is being used to make an effective contribution to military action, it shall be presumed not to be so used.’ While Israel has argued that Palestinian homes are command centers, Human Rights Watch has dismissed those claims.
“Attacks that do not discriminate between civilians and combatants are illegal. Using Israel’s logic, this also means that any home of any past or present Israeli soldier or police officer is a legitimate target or any civilian area where military is present (such as the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv). Clearly, this is not acceptable.
“This is not a video game in which the Israeli army is allowed to hunt down anyone associated with Hamas, irrespective of whether they are a combatant and without regard for civilian infrastructure.”
GB - “Israel appears to be categorizing any upper-level Hamas member as a ‘combatant,’ regardless of function. For example, it deliberately targeted Gaza police chief Taysir al-Batsh, injuring him and killing 18 members of his family, while he visited his cousin’s home. Police are civilians in international law, and this, on the face of it, appears to have been a clear war crime. So, likely, are the many other attacks that have been launched against private homes, although definitive conclusions must be left to further investigation. Israel has also attacked hospitals, water treatment facilities and sewer lines, and other civilian infrastructure that has nothing to do with Hamas. In fact, despite Israel’s claims to respect the international legal requirement of distinction between military targets and civilians, its actions speak of a policy to deliberately kill civilians as a means of weakening Hamas politically.”
NH - “No. The figures of civilian dead and injured undermine this claim. Compare the 433 Palestinian civilians killed by July 22 according to UN figures, out of an overall total of over 640 Palestinians killed, to two Israeli civilians killed.”
Q - Why has Hamas declined to accept a ceasefire?
DB - “Hamas and other factions were not consulted on the ceasefire proposal; Egypt was. Egypt does not represent or speak on behalf of Palestine or Palestinians; only Palestinians do. It is silly to think that any progress can be made without a major party to the agreement present at the table. Moreover, Israel has currently rejected a humanitarian cease-fire to allow much-needed supplies into the Gaza Strip and to allow Palestinians to bury their dead.”
GB - “Hamas declined to accept a ceasefire offer about which it had not been consulted and which failed to meet basic requirements of fairness. Within 24 hours, however, Hamas and other Palestinian groups offered Israel a ten-year truce that would have ended Israel’s siege against the Gaza Strip, thus guaranteeing long-term stability in the region. Israel had not responded to that offer, but appears to prefer to periodically ‘mow the lawn.’”
NH – “Hamas is willing to accept a ceasefire, but one that would be respected by Israel and that would lift the siege on Gaza. The Palestinians in Gaza, the vast majority of whom are civilians, as well as the members of Hamas or other factions, have since 2007 faced the choice between a slow death or a quick one. Either they die through ill health and disease due to lack of potable water, poor nutrition, and lack of medical care as a result of the draconian siege imposed by Israel on Gaza that has also been upheld by Egypt. Or they die quickly when Israel decides to ‘mow the lawn.’
“Until the border crossings are open for the movement of people and goods, the Gaza Palestinians will be forced to live without the most basic rights.”
Q – Does Hamas use Palestinians as human shields?
DB - “The Gaza Strip is an area that is 26 miles (40 km) long and seven miles (12 km) wide at its widest point. With nearly 1.8 million Palestinians, the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Moreover, prior to this attack, 35 percent of the Gaza Strip was off limits – by threat of death – to Palestinians with Israel maintaining a ‘no-go’ zone in these areas. That said, while Hamas fights from within this small area, it does not use Palestinian civilians as cover. To date, international investigations have concluded that there is no evidence to substantiate these long-made Israeli claims and yet the claims continue to be accepted by many, unchallenged. Ironically, the converse has been well-established: Israel has used Palestinian civilians as human shields when carrying out its military operations.”
GB – “Hamas fights from within inhabited areas, as it must in the densely populated Gaza Strip. But few allegations that Hamas deliberately endangers civilians in order to escape attack have ever been substantiated. The claim seems designed to ‘blame the victim.’ Certainly, Palestinians themselves are perfectly clear that it is Israel that is spilling Palestinian blood.”
NH – “Israel has declared 44% of the Gaza Strip – an area less than half the size of New York City – a military “buffer zone.” Who is using whom as a human shield?”
Q – Does the Israeli military take all possible precautions to prevent civilian casualties?
DB - “No. The ‘knock on the roof’ procedure – dropping a missile on a house in advance of its bombing – has resulted in deaths. According to Philip Luther of Amnesty International, ‘There is no way that firing a missile at a civilian home can constitute an effective “warning.” Amnesty International has documented cases of civilians killed or injured by such missiles in previous Israeli military operations on the Gaza Strip,’ he said.
“In addition, while Israel claims that it distributes leaflets, these leaflets do not tell people where they are to go to be safe. As noted by Israeli human rights organizations, ‘Dispersal of leaflets does not grant the military permission to consider the area as if it were so-called “sterile,” assume that no civilians were left in the area and then proceed to attack civilian sites. The military must not assume that all residents have indeed left their homes.’
“Moreover, Israel claims that the Iron Dome defense system has been effective at preventing Israeli civilian deaths. Given this claim and given that the number of Israeli civilian casualties is 2 (as compared to 650 Palestinian deaths), it is clear that there are alternative means to address any rockets launched toward Israel without harming civilians in the process.”
GB - “Of course not, as several responses above indicate. Warnings to civilians to leave areas when they have no effective refuge are meaningless, and a number of Palestinians, including three boys of the Shuhaibar family, have been killed by Israel’s practice of ‘knocking on the roof’ – that is, firing what is supposed to be a warning missile before heavier ordnance is used.”
NH - “Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth. It is impossible to hit it from air, land, and sea without killing hundreds of civilians. The only way to prevent the killing and injuring of Gaza civilians is a ceasefire – and Hamas has honored past ceasefires. And the only way to achieve peace is through an agreement that ends Israel’s occupation and colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the siege of Gaza and respects other Palestinian rights long denied.”
And what The Goldstone Report found the last time Israel fired on hospitals in Gaza, and then accused Hamas of using them as military bases:
‘The Mission did not find any evidence to support the allegations that hospital facilities were used by the Gaza authorities or by Palestinian armed groups to shield military activities and that ambulances were used to transport combatants or for other military purposes. On the basis of its own investigations and the statements by UN officials, the Mission excludes that Palestinian armed groups engaged in combat activities from UN facilities that were used as shelters during the military operations’.
The Israeli government are proven liars in this regard, and no-one should be surprised if they are lying this time around as well.
That they are proven liars in this regard apparently isn’t enough to stop The Times taking the Israeli government at their word, and then publishing cartoons which can only have the effect of helping to justify war crimes.
JERUSALEM – A mob assaulted two Palestinians as they were walking on the trendy Jaffa street in the center of West Jerusalem on Thursday, their lawyer said, potentially the latest in a string of hate attacks targeting Arabs across Israel in recent weeks.
The two Palestinians — who were identified as Amir Mazin Abu Eisha, 20, and Laith Ubeidat — were injured and subsequently arrested by police, who reportedly said they had threatened people in the crowd “with knives.”
The lawyer for the two Palestinians, Khaldun Nijim, told Ma’an that the two were surrounded by around 20-30 Jewish passerby as they were distributing bread at grocery shops on Jaffa street, the central thoroughfare of West Jerusalem.
After Jewish passerby began verbally and physically assaulting them, he added, “The Israeli police stopped them in their van and pointed guns at them” while the mob “beat them with empty bottles.”
“After they drove away a few meters, the police shot at them. They then stopped and were assaulted again.”
The two sustained injuries in the assault and were detained by Israeli police, who transferred them to the nearby Russian compound police station for “having a knife and obstructing the work of the police.”
An ambulance was called for Abu Eisha to treat his head and ear injuries, but he was prevented from being taken to a hospital for treatment.
Nijim added that a number of members of the mob filed a complaint against the two for “attempting to attack them with a knife,” but he insisted that he planned to file a complaint against the mob and the police officer.
The pair were bailed out and sentenced for 10 days of house arrest.
An Israeli police spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Cities across Israel have witnessed a string of attacks against Palestinians in recent months, as a “price tag” crime wave that targeted Palestinians inside Israel for perceived slights against Jewish settlements in the West Bank has evolved into recurring mob attacks and anti-Arab rallies.
In recent weeks, Palestinian passerby have been repeatedly assaulted on Jerusalem’s Jaffa street, and one video that showed a young boy being surrounded and assaulted by dozens was shared repeatedly on social media.
Jaffa street has been covered with flyers warning Arabs not to “touch” Jewish women in recent weeks, as part of a right-wing Jewish campaign to prevent mixing among Jews and Arabs.
Although the majority of Palestinians were expelled from their homes inside Israel during the 1948 conflict that led to the creation of the State of Israel, some Palestinians managed to remain in their villages and their descendants today make up around 20 percent of Israel’s population.
In Jerusalem, however, the majority of Palestinians are not Israeli citizens but residents of Jerusalem who fell under Israeli military occupation in 1967 but unlike West Bank Palestinians were given permanent residency cards entitling them to certain benefits.
During the past two weeks, a horrified world has witnessed accelerating Israeli war crimes in Gaza. Those crimes are enabled by the United States, Israel’s biggest backer on the world stage.
Why does the US support Israel? Because Americans have been robbed of the freedom to think and speak freely about Zionism.
The United States of America is supposed to be a bastion of free expression. The courts have ruled that even the most lurid and depraved words and pictures are entitled to Constitutional protection.
Yet in the self-styled Land of the Free, an “apartheid wall of censorship” blocks the free expression of anti-Zionist arguments.
This censorship is not directly imposed by the government. The real enemy of free speech is the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC).
In his book The Power of Israel in the United States, professor James Petras identified the ZPC as the source of that power. The ZPC is led by AIPAC, the most powerful lobby in America. It includes the 51 Major American Jewish Organizations, which are backed by only about one half million of America’s six million Jews. That is less than 10% of the total. But as Petras says, “what a half million!” He adds that “the 51′s hundreds of thousands of activists are strategically placed in institutions, as well as geographically, with a centralized command capable of mobilizing money, media attention and political leverage in any priority, political, cultural or social arena.”
This extremely well-financed mob of 500,000 pro-Israel fanatics can be counted on to make life miserable for anyone guilty of expressing an anti-Zionist opinion, or allowing one to be expressed. I know this from repeated personal experience.
For example, I recently gave an interview on WWUH, a radio station based at the University of Hartford, Connecticut. (You can listen by conducting an internet search for “WWUH 9/11 Wake-Up Call.”)
During the interview, I expressed the same views, and cited the same facts, that are featured in my opinion columns at Press TV. I presented empirical evidence that Israel and its American supporters orchestrated 9/11 in order to trick the USA into destroying or destabilizing “seven countries in five years” – as General Wesley Clark revealed. Those seven countries were the ones blocking Israel’s quest for regional domination.
I also explained why Zionism is morally indefensible and ultimately doomed, but persists by controlling the USA’s Middle East policy.
Predictably, a backlash from the ZPC ensued. A complaint was lodged against WWUH and copied to the University. According to the complaint, I had delivered “an anti-Zionist sermon” and my words were “biased.”
The implication: Americans must never hear anything but the pro-Zionist sermons the mainstream media continually inflicts on them. Alternative views are forbidden.
The University of Connecticut knows that the ZPC is tightly organized and financed by hundreds of millionaires and a considerable number of billionaires. Zionist complaints like the one targeting my interview come with an implied threat to withhold funding from the University if it continues to allow the free expression of anti-Zionist views.
Such Zionist censorship is a pervasive feature of American university life. While teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison I was twice attacked by the legions of the ZPC. The second time, in 2006, after I appeared on Fox News arguing that 9/11 was an inside job, the University lost more than $500,000 in canceled contributions in less than 24 hours. I am currently unemployable in the American academy because any university that hired me would face this kind of financial attack from the Zionists.
It isn’t just the universities that are terrorized by Zionist censorship. The American media, too, is punished on the rare occasions that it diverges even slightly from the pro-Israel party line. A newspaper, magazine, or broadcast outlet that allows an anti-Zionist voice to be heard will be slammed with a barrage of complaints, and perhaps be hit in the pocketbook with an advertising boycott, from the ZPC.
Politicians are censored even more tightly. Whenever an American statesman stands up for the US rather than Israel – as in the cases of William Fulbright, Paul Findley, James Abourezk, Cynthia McKinney, James Trafficant, and many others – they are hounded out of office by the ZPC.
Even presidents are vulnerable. Many analysts believe that Jimmy Carter was made a one-term president by the ZPC due to his attempts to force peace on Israel. Some even argue that John F. Kennedy was removed from office in part because he had staked his life on an attempt to prevent Israel from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Even gatherings of American Muslims are subject to Zionist censorship. Last week when Obama hosted a White House Ramadan iftar (fast-breaking dinner) for Muslims he also invited Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, a notorious racist who recently said the child-killing Israeli military should get the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama stubbornly intoned the Orwellian mantra “Israel has the right to defend itself” and clearly was not prepared to listen to the views of his Muslim guests.
Shortly after the Ron Dermer fiasco at the White House, I myself was viciously attacked by a Zionist Jew at a Ramadan iftar in Madison, Wisconsin. The Zionist started a conversation about “Israel’s right to defend itself” and proclaimed that Hamas was a terrorist group. When I responded by gently explaining some of the facts about the conflict, the Zionist iftar-infiltrator had a fit and repeatedly called me a Nazi. Then he lodged a complaint with the organizer of the iftar.
Apparently the Muslim-majority perspective cannot be voiced anywhere in America – not even at a Muslim celebration! It seems that every group in America – every civic group, church group, NGO, nonprofit, and even the Muslim groups – are infiltrated by the Zionist thought police, who are dedicated to preventing the American people from hearing any version of events except their own.
Why are the Zionists so desperate to suppress free thought and free debate about the Middle East? The answer is obvious: The Zionist position is indefensible. If Americans knew the horrors that the Zionists have inflicted not only on Palestine, but also on the United States – including the cold-blooded murder of almost 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001 – the bloody Zionist experiment would face its final reckoning.
Israeli security forces clash with Palestinians after Israeli authorities banned Palestinians under the age of 50 from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque for Laylat Al-Qadr in the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Jerusalem, West Bank
At least two Palestinians were killed on Thursday evening during clashes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli occupation forces near the Qalandiya checkpoint, just north of occupied Jerusalem, Palestinian security sources said.
Media are reporting that Israeli occupation forces shot and killed Mohammed Al-Araj, 25 years old, and Majd Sufyan, 27 years old. Both were participating in a mass protest staged by at least 10,000 Palestinians when violent clashes broke out between them and Israeli occupation forces at the checkpoint that separates Jerusalem from the West Bank.
Hundreds were reportedly injured during the clashes, some of whom were shot with live ammunition.
In response to the killings, Palestinians have called for a “day of rage” with popular protests.
The Israeli army spokesperson told Agence France Presse that: “There are thousands of rioters there. They are rolling burning tyres and throwing Molotov cocktails and fireworks at soldiers and border police.”
She said that the occupation forces were only using “riot disposal means” to control the protests, but witnesses confirmed to Al-Ghad newspaper that the soldiers fired live ammunition, tear gas bombs and rubber bullets at the protestors.
Al-Akhbar | July 24, 2014
At least 15 people were killed, including a baby, when an Israeli tank shell slammed into a UN-run school in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, Gaza health ministry sources said.
The ministry also estimated that at least 200 people were wounded in the bombing.
A UN official confirmed “multiple dead and injured” at the school in Beit Hanoun, which was being used as a shelter by hundreds of Palestinians fleeing a major Israeli operation in the area. … continue
As we recently discussed, it’s becoming readily apparent that the FBI’s most vaunted counter-terrorism wins are almost all stings for “crimes” they made up all by themselves and then coerced others to join. Even for those that don’t have a problem with this kind of practice in theory, it has to be jarring to learn just how many of these “terrorists” are either suffering serious mental or social illnesses or have had their confessions beaten out of them. By all appearances, it looks pretty clear that the FBI is bumping up their “win” statistics on the backs of these highly questionable stings.
So of course local law enforcement is getting in on the action as well. Take the police in Washington D.C., for instance, who are featured in a Washington Post story detailing how they invent armed robbery plans whole-cloth and then recruit civilians to join up shortly before arresting these future-criminals. Some of the plots the police devised are quite detailed and terrifying, involving robbing liquor stores and targets that are supposedly drug dealers. After discussing the plans with an undercover cop, everyone is then arrested and charged with a variety of “conspiracy to commit” charges. According to some experts, the government is on firm legal ground with regards to entrapment.
The government is on solid legal ground, experts say, when it comes to fending off allegations that suspects were set up — or entrapped — by the police. Even if the government entices the defendant, the target has to show that he was not predisposed to commit the crime.
Sure, and if you’re a defendant in one of these cases, good luck convincing anyone that you didn’t have a predisposition for the crime you were tricked into thinking you were going to commit. Again, it’s easy to opine that these are bad people, but that doesn’t take into account mental illness and pressure applied by undercover officers eager to bolster their arrest statistics. According to reports, that kind of pressure included giving minors alcohol and/or taking them to strip clubs, because nobody has ever made themselves out to be something they’re not when drunk or in the presence of naked members of the opposite sex. The question becomes whether anything like the made up crime would have ever happened had it not been first invented by the police.
“When you have the government offering guns or the getaway car and making it really attractive, you have to ask: Is this an opportunity that would have really come around in real life? Would this person have been able to put together this type of crime without government assistance?” said Katharine Tinto, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York who has studied undercover policing tactics.
It’s even worse when the police engineer aspects of the made up crimes in the sting in order to manufacture longer sentences for the would-be criminals they ensnare.
Tinto and others also take issue with the government’s ability to essentially engineer tough penalties by controlling the details of the made-up crime. Part of the reason the District cases have been so successful, according to defense lawyers, is that the potential jail time for the federal conspiracy charge is steep enough that many defendants are more inclined to make a deal with prosecutors than risk losing at trial.
The global problem in all of this is the aim: this is all about bolstering crime-fighting statistics rather than responding to any actual crimes or criminals. Will the police likely get some violent criminals off the streets with this tactic? Sure, but so could actual police work and, as I indicated, that isn’t what this is all about. On top of that, the questions raised by the tactic are serious and some of the people caught up in all this probably aren’t benefited most by engineered jail time. Add to all that questions about who the police are generally going to look towards as targets of this kind of sting operation (gasp, minorities), and we should be left wondering why they aren’t fighting the crime that exists rather than making up crime that otherwise wouldn’t.
Senators Sanders & Leahy Join in Deeply Flawed Resolution Supporting Israel
All 100 Senators, including Vermont’s Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, joined in passing a Senate resolution on July 17, 2014 supporting “the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization.”
However, the facts differ.
A report issued by the authoritative “Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center” (ITIC), a private Israeli think tank that “has close ties with the country’s military leadership,” unintentionally debunked the Senate resolution more than a week before its unanimous consent vote in the Senate. The weekly ITIC reports regarding rocket fire are frequently quoted on the Israeli government’s own web site.
The ITIC July 8, 2014 report,“News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (July 2 – 8, 2014),” states: “For the first time since Operation Pillar of Defense [November 2012], Hamas participated in and claimed responsibility for rocket fire [on July 7, 2014].”
Thus, Hamas rocket fire only re-started on July 7 after a 19 month cease-fire. As we will see, this was nearly a month after Israeli forces launched massive military operations in the West Bank and Gaza starting on June 12. But those Israeli military operations were not the only provocation.
First, about the cease fire that was in place: Operation Pillar of Defense was an 8 day aerial assault on Gaza in November 2012 that ended with a ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt. Graphs presented on the ITIC website show that the cease-fire was effective. In the weeks and months following that agreement, the ITIC consistently reported the absence of Hamas rocket fire. In addition, a May 2013 article in the Jerusalem Post, “IDF source: Hamas working to stop Gaza rockets,” reported that Hamas was policing other groups to prevent rocket fire.
The July 8 ITIC report also divulged why Hamas launched its first rocket fire at Israel in more than 19 months on July 7: On that night Israeli forces had bombed and killed 6 Hamas members in Gaza. The ITIC report includes a picture of the six Hamas members. Thus, a report from an authoritative Israeli source described the provocation for the resumption of rocket fire: Hamas rocket fire began only after Israeli forces had engaged in nearly a month of military operations in violation of the ceasefire agreement and had killed 6 Hamas members in Gaza.
The Palestine Center for Human Rights (PCHR) also issues weekly reports, these reports focus on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied territories, including the West Bank and Gaza. In its July 10 weekly report, PCHR gave further details of the events that immediately preceded the July 7 Hamas rocket launchings: PCHR reports:
Between 01:00 and 16:00, the bodies of 5 members of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) were recovered from a tunnel dug near Gaza International Airport in the southeast of the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. They were identified as: Ibrahim Dawod al-Bal’awi, 24; ‘Abdul Rahman Kamal al-Zamli, 22; Jum’a ‘Atiya Shallouf, 26; and Khaled ‘Abdul Hadi Abu Mur, 21, and his twin brother, Mustafa. Another three members were recovered alive, but one was in a serious condition. It should be noted that the tunnel was repeatedly bombarded by Israeli warplanes and tanks. According to medical sources, the deceased inhaled toxic gases. The ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades declared in an online statement that 5 of its members were killed as a result of airstrikes that targeted places of resistance activities.
The facts show that Israeli forces had to work quite hard to get Hamas to end its cease-fire. The killing of the six Hamas members was not an isolated event. Israeli forces and settlers had gone wild on the West Bank starting on June 12 after the kidnapping of three Israeli teens. Israeli forces had also attacked 60 targets in Gaza during those three weeks of June. Then, on the night of July 7, 2014, the Israeli Air Force had attacked approximately 50 more “terrorist targets” in the Gaza Strip, as described in the ITIC report.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on July 3:
Israel’s military operations in the West Bank following the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers have amounted to collective punishment. The military operations included unlawful use of force, arbitrary arrests, and illegal home demolitions.
The HRW report also states that:
Israeli forces have arrested about 700 Palestinians since June 12, 2014, and are currently detaining at least 450, some during the large-scale military incursions and others who are known supporters or leaders of the Hamas Reform and Change Party, which won Palestinian elections in 2006, according to Addameer, a Palestinian prisoner’s rights group.
Giving more details, several of the weekly reports from the Palestine Center for Human Rights (PCHR) indicate that Israeli forces and settlers killed 11 Palestinians and wounded 51 during 369 incursions into the West Bank between June 12 and July 2 and that Israeli forces raided hundreds of houses on the West Bank each week. Israeli forces also launched the 60 bombing attacks on Gaza and one ground incursion, wounding 27 people in Gaza during those three weeks.
While all these attacks in the West Bank and Gaza did produce rocket fire from other groups in Gaza during June–which the ITIC reports had been almost zero during the previous month–the attacks did not provoke Hamas itself to fire rockets. To predictably accomplish that feat, Israeli forces had to go further and kill the 6 Hamas members on July 7.
The Senate resolution names Hamas in nearly every one of its deeply flawed paragraphs. Yet it fails to mention any of the facts about Israel’s military operations in the West Bank and Gaza.
Let’s turn this around for a moment: Had the Israeli public been subjected to a massive military crackdown including 369 military incursions into Israel and 110 bombing attacks on Israel during which 11 Israelis had been killed, 78 wounded, and 700 arrested, and then had six Israeli soldiers been killed in a single air and ground military operation, would the Senate have omitted mention of all such facts and voted by unanimous consent that responding Israeli forces were “unprovoked?” Would the Senate have voted that the one attacking Israel was defending itself and that Israeli forces were the ones engaging in “belligerent actions?”
Why did the Senate get this so wrong? Why did Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy allow their names to be used for pro-war propaganda so at variance with the facts?
James Marc Leas is a Vermont attorney and is a past co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild Free Palestine Subcommittee. He collected evidence in the Gaza Strip from November 27 to December 3, 2012 as part of a 20 member delegation from the US and Europe and co-authored several articles describing findings. He also participated in the National Lawyers Guild delegation to Gaza after Operation Cast Lead in February 2009 and contributed to its report, Onslaught: Israel’s Attack on Gaza and the Rule of Law.
A day after journalist, writer, and frequent MSNBC contributor Rula Jebreal harshly criticized that very cable news network during a broadcast of “Ronan Farrow Daily” for its biased and deferential pro-Israel coverage of the current military assault on Gaza, she appeared on “All In with Chris Hayes” to further discuss the matter.
The evidence of anti-Palestinian bias in the mainstream media – including cable news networks – is beyond question, as numerous studies and analyses have shown. A common refrain – heard again last night in Hayes’ attempt to defend his employer’s coverage of the ongoing Israeli massacre of Palestinians – is that Israeli government officials are more accessible than officials from Palestinian groups. But this claim rests on the assumption that allowing politicians and their spokespeople to repeat honed talking points is the same thing as journalism.
In January 2014, for example, an internal study of the past 11 years of NPR’s Israel-Palestine coverage found that its reports and dispatches suffered from significant “imbalance” between Israeli and Palestinian voices. Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos summarized the report, noting that such skewed representation “is to be expected.” Why? Here’s what he writes:
Israel generates more news in part because its officials are more open and the country is more democratic than in the Palestinian territories. Israel stages more newsworthy “official” events, such as elections, and its economy is far more dynamic. Israel also is an ally of the U.S., and its officials frequently visit. The Gaza Strip in particular is miniscule. NPR’s sole correspondent is based in Jerusalem.
Naturally, no mention is ever made in this litany to Israel’s crushing occupation and siege of Gaza, the deliberate destruction of its economy and infrastructure, or the fact that Israel is “more democratic” than an isolated and imprisoned enclave much in the same way Apartheid South Africa was ostensibly “more democratic” than the Bantustans created for its inconvenient and unwanted inhabitants.
“I had [Israeli government spokesman] Mark Regev on this program for 16 minutes, alright? That’s a very long interview but there was a lot to talk to him about,” Hayes told Jebreal last night, after noting that Hamas officials are hard to book for on-air interviews.
In all of her appearances on the network over the past two years as MSNBC contributor, Jebreal has routinely been introduced, described, and referred to on-air as either a “journalist” or an “MSNBC contributor,” and usually both.
During her appearance on “All In with Chris Hayes,” however, which followed her widely-reported condemnation of Israel/Palestine coverage, the chyron describing Jebreal read: “Palestinian Journalist.” That kind of description serves to paint her comments automatically as themselves biased and emotional, rather than factual and impartial. It would be as inappropriate as frequent contributor Jonathan Alter being referred to as a “Jewish Journalist.”