According to the Congressional Budget Office, “Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $121 billion (current, or non-inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although in the past Israel also received significant economic assistance.” Other special benefits also flow to the Israeli military. Each year, the U.S. pays for about 20 percent of Israel’s overall military spending, and the total places Israel as the 16th largest military spender in the world. “In 2007, the Bush Administration and the Israeli government agreed to a 10-year, $30 billion military aid package for the period from FY2009 to FY2018.” Obama has renewed that pledge.
The U.S. routinely supports Israel’s policies and avoids condemning Israel for its rights violations against Palestinians. It may never have done so. This week, for example, the U.S. cast the sole vote against the U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution concerning the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The vote was 29-1. A link to the full text of the resolution is here. (The texts vary slightly in different reports.)
Because the U.S. government has made itself virtually one with Israel, we must ask the question: What exactly is the U.S. supporting when it supports Israel? One cannot arrive at answers to this question without examining Israel’s history. One may make a start by reading Theodor Herzl’s 1896 pamphlet “The Jewish State”, a visionary tract. This provides insight into the goals of Herzl and his assumptions behind colonizing Palestine. How the colonization actually worked out has not been as he planned. Israel continues to be a problematic state, an expansionary state, and what is worse, a dangerous nuclear power state. Wikipedia has a number of articles on the history. This one provides a start. One thing the U.S. supports when it supports Israel is what Israel is doing in Gaza at this moment.
Murray Rothbard has a highly readable and valuable account of the history up to 1967.
Although America has stood in theory as a melting pot and a country that favored the assimilation of many peoples from all over the world, and in practice was against Black Nationalism, the U.S. government has supported Jewish Nationalism in Israel. It has supported a society that could only support such a state by being exclusionary and segregated, or even ethnically cleansed. The philosophy behind that state rested on Herzl’s assumptions, which in my view were deeply flawed. He simply ignored the native population of Palestine. He simply asserted that Jews were a people one people, that assimilation was out of the question and that a Jewish State was a solution to anti-Semitism. All of these assertions are questionable. He declared that “Palestine is our ever-memorable historic home.” Can any people or ethnic group of today return to the place where their ancestors originated with the idea of displacing its current residents and making their own State? No one would approve of such an idea. Anyway, this “historic home” idea was really not true of all Jews after 1,800 years had passed and Jews had had many, many homes in many lands. It was an appeal to a subset of Jews who wanted to emigrate and maintain their culture with others of their kind. Nor could this idea justify a Jewish State governing Palestine and its then current Arab inhabitants. But in addition Herzl’s philosophy in practice assumed a much more militant and exclusionary form as new generations appeared after him. In particular, David Ben-Gurion was an exponent of power and force.
Israel is a brutal state as the latest excesses of destruction and killing of innocent Palestinians in Gaza show. That’s what the U.S. supports.
Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York.
Today in London crowds are gathering to vent their anger in a mass demonstration and march to Parliament to “stop the massacre in Gaza” and call for an arms embargo against Israel. This follows last weekend’s huge protest outside the Israeli embassy and campaigns against the BBC’s pro-Israel bias in reporting the assault on Gaza.
There is growing resentment among British people at being endlessly shamed by their government’s complicity in the mega-injustices and non-stop crimes inflicted on the native people of the Holy Land, exemplified by Whitehall’s attempts to whitewash Israel’s latest genocidal offensive.
And on this the 19th day of Israel’s blitzkrieg comes news of a brief humanitarian “pause”, after which the killing spree will continue while Israel attempts to eradicate Gaza’s tunnels. At this point in the orchestrated tragedy the Palestinian death-toll is approaching 900, three-quarters civilians including around 200 children, and more than 5,000 wounded.
These figures are gruesome enough, but Dr David Morrison reminds me that since September 2005 when Israel pulled out its squatters and withdrew its military from Gaza (but not from Gaza’s airspace and coastal waters) only 24 people have been killed in Israel by rocket and mortar fire coming from Gaza. Of those, 13 died during Israel’s three major military offensives against Gaza (including the present one). In the same period, nearly 4,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli military action.
The unending tragedy is one that Britain created nearly 100 years ago with Balfour’s crackpot Declaration. Balfour, a Zionist convert, wrote: “In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country.” He dismissed “the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now occupy that land” in favour of Zionism’s needs and hopes, which were “of far profounder import”.
At the time Lord Sydenham warned: “The harm done by dumping down an alien population upon an Arab country may never be remedied. What we have done, by concessions not to the Jewish people but to a Zionist extreme section, is to start a running sore in the East, and no-one can tell how far that sore will extend.” Well, the harm is massive and still waiting for a remedy. The running sore shows no sign of healing. The trouble will not end until Britain (with help from the international community) takes some very necessary steps. The problem is the British Government’s acute and persistent lack of integrity and foolish pledges of support to the aggressor.
Why is Hamas banished to outer darkness?
In the last few days I have seen two ministerial statements saying that Hamas, democratically elected to power in the 2006, is a proscribed terrorist organisation, proscribed being a posh word for something condemned as so bad as to be banished to outer darkness.
Earlier this month Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow and Tel Aviv but not necessarily in that order, said in the House of Commons: “Hamas is Hamas is Hamas: it is a terrorist organisation whether it is part of the so-called unity Government [of Palestine] or not.” He wanted the British Government to “give Israel every possible assistance to take out the Hamas terrorist network so that that country can be sure that her children will be secure in the future”.
Hugh Robertson, Minister of State at the Foreign Offce, replied: “Nobody should be under any illusions about this at all: Hamas is a terrorist organisation and remains a terrorist organisation, and one that is proscribed by the British Government. The key thing about the technocratic [Palestinian] Government was that they signed up to the Quartet principles and renounced violence and no member of Hamas is a member of that Government.”
Earlier he had this to say: “If anybody in that Government were an active member of Hamas, which remains a terrorist organisation, that would absolutely be the end of this Government’s dealing with them and would be a very serious matter indeed. That is not the case at the moment; they are fully signed up to the Quartet principles.”
A few days later Baroness Jenny Tonge, in the House of Lords, asked the Government what action it planned to take to open diplomatic relations with Hamas in order to assess the viability of a long-term truce such as Hamas offered in 2006.
Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, replied: “Our policy towards Hamas is clear — we have no contact with Hamas, which is a proscribed terrorist organisation. Hamas must renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept previously signed agreements. Hamas must make a credible movement towards these conditions, which remain the benchmark against which their intentions are judged, before we consider a change in our stance.”
Warsi is a Muslim and should know better. How can anyone sensibly recognise Israel when it won’t agree its borders? Has she ever put it to the Israelis that they too must renounce violence, recognise Palestine and accept previously signed agreements — the benchmark against which their intentions will be judged?
And given all this stuff about Hamas being proscribed, what are we to make of a Home Office document dated 20 June 2014 in which, of the 60 international terrorist organisations proscribed by the UK government under the Terrorism Act 2000, only Hamas’s military wing – the Izz al-Din al-Qassem brigades – is listed, not Hamas’s political wing?
Why, then, aren’t we talking to Hamas’s political leaders?
How do organisations qualify for the Terror List anyway? Well, in the UK they have to pass a test and the Home Secretary decides. In the US, under Section 3 of Executive Order 13224 “Blocking Property and prohibiting Transactions with Persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support Terrorism”, the term “terrorism” means an activity that…
(i) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and
(ii) appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking.
This US order and its definition of terrorism, signed in 2001 by George W Bush, is used to outlaw and crush any organisation, individual or country the US doesn’t like. Funny how it fits the Israeli regime — those “amoral thugs”, as one British MP called them — like a glove. And they have been allowed to practise their terrorism on the Palestinians (and occasionally on the Lebanese and Syrians) without interference for the last 66 years.
The long drawn-out siege and blockade of Gaza, and the numerous military assaults on its people and their legitimate government, are only the latest crimes in a catalogue of torment and terror inflicted on all the Palestinian territories Israel occupies. They are clearly attempts to “intimidate and coerce”, while the mass destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure, the withholding of humanitarian aid, the assassinations, the abductions, the bulldozing of Palestinian homes, and the many violent and dangerous acts including indiscriminate bombing and shelling (and the use of cluster bombs in Lebanon), make Israel’s place on the Terror List a sure thing – or should do.
They talk of addressing “underlying causes” but can they agree what they are?
With Agent Hague gone from the Foreign Secretary post, we are beginning to see what his successor, Philip Hammond, is made of. He started by praising Egypt’s fake ceasefire initiative when Hamas hadn’t even been consulted on the terms and instead of coming through proper diplomatic channels it was released to the media as soon as Israel agreed it. Given the Egyptian regime’s hostility towards Hamas it is hardly an honest broker. Unsurprisingly it contained none of the guarantees that would sustain a ceasefire, such as a permanent end to the 8-year siege (promised but not implemented in the 2012 ceasefire) or the release of prisoners who had been freed then re-arrested by Israel. So what was in it for the illegally occupied Palestinians? Nevertheless Hammond thought it was jolly good and welcomed Israel’s acceptance of this piece of nonsense which hadn’t been shown to the other side.
His other statements have to be seen to be believed. They are on the FCO website. Following the UN Human Rights Council’s decision to launch an inquiry into potential violations of human rights by Israel in its operations in the Gaza Strip, a move Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called a “travesty”, Hammond said the UNHRC resolution would not help achieve a lasting ceasefire. “It is fundamentally unbalanced and will complicate the process by introducing unnecessary new mechanisms… The UK could not support this resolution… We will continue to urge Israel to exercise restraint… blah, blah… while recognising its right to defend itself against these attacks.”
And after meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders (though not Hamas), Hammond said: “With President Abbas… I reiterated the UK’s strong support for his leadership and thanked him for his own efforts to achieve a ceasefire. I stressed that, once a ceasefire is secured, there is an urgent need for a long term plan for Gaza.
“With Prime Minister Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Lieberman, I expressed my deep concern at Hamas’s rocket attacks and reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself. I urged that Israeli forces do everything they can to avoid civilian casualties, and stressed the need for a rapid conclusion to their ground operation in Gaza.”
Hammond doesn’t explain how Israelis can claim a right of self-defence against their victims – the people they are brutally occupying and blockading — or how Her Majesty’s Government can possibly “reaffirm” such a crass invention.
He said that for a ceasefire to be durable there must be rapid movement to address “the underlying causes” and find “a wider political solution”. So, Mr Hammond, what “wider political solution” do you have in mind? And, by the way, do you have any idea what those “underlying causes” are? Do you think you could ever get Israel to acknowledge what they are?
Here are some clues from two very knowledgeable sources. In 2010 Archbishop Theodosius Hanna (Orthodox Church of Jerusalem), on a visit to Ireland, told politicians: “The problem in Palestine has nothing to do with religion – it is not a religious issue. It is not a conflict of Christians, Muslims and Jewish people. It is a conflict between those who are the holders of a rightful cause and those who took away that right by military might.”
Fr Manuel Mussallam (formerly of the Catholic church in Gaza), who accompanied the archbishop, told the Irish what things were really like under military occupation. “We have spoken to Israel for more than 18 years and the result has been zero. We have signed agreements here and there at various times and then when there is a change in the government of Israel we have to start again from the beginning. We ask for our life and to be given back our Jerusalem, to be given our state and for enough water to drink. We want to be given more opportunity to reach Jerusalem. I have not seen Jerusalem since 1990.
“We want to see an end to this occupation, and please do not ask us to protect those who are occupying our territory.”
Nearly 4 years on, and what has changed? Can we rely on Hammond to make a difference? Here’s another clue. In a Jerusalem Post report the director of Conservative Friends of Israel remarked that, in his previous job as Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond “presided over a period when the UK-Israel defense relationship has never been better.”
Following are a few short questions for the New York Times in regard to a recent news report:
1. When are you going to cover the killing of Palestinians the same way you cover the killing of Israelis?
Israel’s killing of at least 8 civilians in one day was relegated to the second half of the story and not mentioned in the headline.
The murder of a father of three children, a staff member for Defense for Children International, got two sentences in the 17th paragraph. Israeli forces’ killing of a 17-year-old got one sentence in the 25th paragraph. The killing of a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old got a half sentence – between them – in the 27th paragraph.
2. When are you going to stop calling Palestinians who are fighting to protect their homeland “militants” and start calling them resistance fighters?
3. When are you going to stop framing this as “Israel against Hamas” rather than Israel against Gazans? Or Israel against Palestinians?
The vast majority of the over 800 people Israeli forces have killed in the last 19 days are civilians, many of them children. The vast majority of the over 5,000 injured are civilians, many of them children. Israel is, once again, destroying large amounts of civilian infrastructure: hospitals, schools, roads, family homes, etc.
4. When are you going to include crucial context on the American connection – that hard-pressed American taxpayers give Israel $8.5 million per day?
When are you going to mention that we have given tiny Israel far more of our tax money than to any other country – In total, over $233.7 billion (corrected for inflation). Currently, on average, 7,000 times more per capita than to others around the world.
5. When are you going to tell your readers that senior “objective” reporter Isabel Kershner was a British citizen who went to Israel to become an Israeli citizen? When are you going to divulge her family ties to the Israeli military?
6. When are you going to include the true context of the violence:
- Gaza is basically an open-air prison that Israel has been starving for over seven years (an Israeli official called it putting Palestinians “on a diet“),
- Rockets from Gaza began in April 2001 AFTER Israeli invasions and shelling of Gaza, that the vast majority of these rockets are small, home-made projects that cause no damage (and that this was the case long before the Iron Dome system was deployed),
- During the entire time the rockets have been used they have killed a total of approximately 30 Israelis, while during this same period Israeli forces have killed over 4,700 Gazans?
- The Jewish state was created through a war of ethnic cleansing, and that the allegedly “only democracy in the Middle East” has no constitution and has never declared its borders,
- Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are living on approximately 15 percent of their original land.
7. When are you going to give readers the facts without Israeli spin?
Alison Weir is president of the Council for the National Interest, executive director of If Americans Knew, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: How the US was used to create Israel.
Huwwara, Occupied Palestine – On Friday, July 25, an Israeli settler murdered a Palestinian teenager in the village of Huwwara, which lies approximately 10 km south of Nablus in the northern half of the West Bank. Two hours later, an Israeli sniper killed another Palestinian teenager in the same village.
After Friday prayers at the mosque in Huwwara, villagers began marching in solidarity with the victims of the Gaza massacre. The protest included many children, some of whom were carrying signs in support of their Gazan brothers and sisters. Two Israeli military jeeps were along the route, and some of the soldiers were taking pictures of the peaceful protest. As the procession wound its way back to the mosque, a settler suddenly raced alongside and slammed on the brakes.
“He was about a meter away from the kids and just started firing out the window of his car,” stated a witness. “It was clear he was trying to kill people.” The settler managed to shoot four people before fleeing the scene. 19-year-old Khalid Owda died from a gunshot wound to his abdomen, while Tarik Dmadi was shot in the chest and remains in critical condition. Hassan Dmadi was shot in the hip, while Jihad Owda was shot in the hand and has been released from the hospital.
“Had he had more ammunition, he would have kept on shooting and killed more people,” said a witness. “Killing Palestinians is no big deal for the settlers, because there is no punishment. And what about the soldiers? They were just standing there, doing nothing.”
Tragedy struck the town of Huwwara a second time two hours later, when an Israeli sniper gunned down 18-year-old Tayeb Shohaada, who, like Khalid Owda, was a student at an-Najah University in Nablus. Israeli forces were shooting tear gas at Tayeb and roughly ten other young men, who were throwing stones in their direction from a distance of approximately 100 meters. According to Red Crescent medic, Ahmed Owda, a female Israeli sniper shot Tayeb in the face. Her sergeant then congratulated her and clapped her on the shoulder. Ahmed subsequently attempted to reach Tayeb but was unable to do so because of Israeli fire. Tayeb was eventually taken to Rafidia hospital in Nablus, where he was declared clinically dead.
The attending surgeon revealed that the damage to Tayeb’s brain was consistent with that caused by expanding bullets. Expanding bullets are banned according to the 1899 Hague Convention, but Israel has frequently been accused of employing them against Palestinians.
Memorial ceremony for both Khalid and Tayeb (photo by ISM)
BETHLEHEM – A draft of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s ceasefire proposal that was shown to Israeli officials on Friday called for the opening of Gaza-Israel border crossings and ensuring “the economic livelihood” of Palestinians in the Strip, an Israeli newspaper reported Sunday.
The document, titled “Framework for Humanitarian Ceasefire in Gaza,” also said a lasting truce would make possible the “transfer of funds to Gaza for the payment of salaries for public employees,” Haaretz reported.
According to the report, the proposed ceasefire would also “address all security concerns.”
Israel would not be allowed to continue its operation to destroy tunnels during the initial ceasefire, the draft reportedly stipulated.
It made no explicit mention of the demilitarization of Palestinian factions in Gaza.
Israeli officials were “in shock” upon reading the draft, saying it ignored Israel’s security concerns.
“We succeeded in foiling that document and now we are discussing other options,” Haaretz quoted officials as saying.
An associate of Kerry reportedly responded: “There is no paper and no proposal. The draft was based on the Egyptian proposal that Israel wholeheartedly supported. So if they are opposed, they are opposed their own plan.”
Israel voted down a ceasefire proposal Friday, instead agreeing to a 12-hour humanitarian truce starting Saturday at 8 a.m.
On July 15, Israel imposed a ceasefire agreed upon by Egypt and the US. Hamas and other Palestinian factions continued firing rockets, saying they had not been involved in negotiating the ceasefire and heard about it “through the media.”
Israel began its ground operation operation in Gaza two days later, and the death toll among Palestinians, mostly civilians, soared.
Palestinian groups in Gaza say they will not accept any ceasefire that does not involve the lifting of the eight-year blockade on the Strip, which has severely limited imports and exports and has led to frequent humanitarian crises.
Here’s a hugely significant story that I suspect will get almost no play outside Palestinian solidarity sites. Mickey Rosenfeld, the Israeli police spokesman, has told BBC reporter Jon Donnison that there are no grounds for believing Hamas ordered the abduction of three Israeli teens on June 12. Rather, the police say, it was carried out by a rogue cell from Hebron with a loose political affiliation to Hamas.
It was those abductions, and Israel’s response in blaming Hamas and rounding up and jailing hundreds of its activists in the West Bank, that triggered Hamas rocket fire that in turn was used by Israel to justify its attack on Gaza, which is currently killing hundreds of civilians.
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated at the time that he had cast-iron evidence that Hamas was behind the abductions and the movement would pay a “heavy price”. He never produced that evidence. But now Israel’s police force itself concedes that Hamas was not involved.
Many of us, of course, suspected that Netanyahu was using the abductions as a pretext to destroy the unity government Hamas and Fatah had recently set up after years of conflict. Now we have official confirmation.
I wonder why, given the great scoop he has, Donnison appears only to have tweeted about this. It’s now more than 24 hours since he went public with the information. Is he waiting for another news outlets to beat him to the story? Or is he tweeting it because he knows the BBC isn’t interested in running a story so embarrassing to Israel?
Anyway, kudos to him for getting the scoop, even if no one seems interested in it. Another one down the memory hole.
German pilots’ trade union Cockpit has slammed a decision by Lufthansa to resume flights to Tel Aviv.
The union’s spokesman Joerg Handwerg criticized the move made by Lufthansa on Saturday, saying commercial flights should not be flying in warzones or regions in crisis.
He said that many of the crew members were questioning the decision, as the security situation in the region remained a major concern.
Handwerg said Tel Aviv advisory warnings had been lifted as the Israeli war on the besieged Gaza Strip continued for political reasons.
The remarks from Cockpit come after Lufthansa and Air Berlin said they would resume flights to and from Tel Aviv’s international Ben Gurion Airport on Saturday, following a three-day suspension.
A number of the world’s leading airlines also suspended flights to Israel’s main airport.
Despite the instability and insecurity surrounding the area, US airlines resumed their flights to Tel Aviv on July 25. Washington had suspended all flights to Ben Gurion Airport when a rocket fired by Palestinians landed near the airport on July 22.
Israeli warplanes have been carrying out deadly airstrikes against the blockaded Gaza Strip since July 8. On July 17, thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion into the densely-populated strip.
The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian resistance movement, has been launching retaliatory attacks against Israel.
Nearly 900 Palestinians, over 80 percent civilians, have been killed since the Israeli offensive started, while nearly 6,000 others have become injured.
A fire ball and smoke is seen during an Israeli strike on Gaza City early on July 26, 2014
Updated 2:00 pm: An Israeli air strike in southern Gaza hours before a humanitarian truce was declared killed 20 people, including 11 children, most of them from a single family, medics said.
Separately, the bodies of at least another 85 Palestinians were recovered from rubble across Gaza on Saturday, raising the overall Palestinian death toll in the 19-day Israeli terror campaign to 985, the overwhelming majority of them civilians.
“Ambulance crews have recovered the bodies of 85 martyrs under destroyed houses, including children and women, across the Gaza Strip, bringing the total number of martyrs to 985 as a result of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip,” Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army said two more occupation soldiers had been killed, taking its toll to 37.
The strike in southern Khan Younis hit the home of the Najjar family, killing at least 14 relatives, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.
Another two members of the Abu Shahla family were killed, along with four other people, two of whom have yet to be identified.
The dead included 11 children, among them a one-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy, Qudra said.
Of the 85 bodies uncovered, 25 were from the northern areas of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya, and were taken to the Kamal Adwan hospital, and another 25 to Gaza City’s Shifa hospital from the eastern areas of al-Shujayeh and Zeitoun, Qudra said.
Thirteen bodies received from the central areas of Bureij, Deir al-Balah and Nusseirat were taken to the Al-Aqsa hospital, and another 13 to the European hospital in southern Gaza from the Khan Yunis and Rafah areas, he added.
The toll is expected to rise as bodies are pulled from the rubble of homes in some of the worst-hit parts of Gaza, in northern Beit Hanoun, eastern al-Shujayeh and Zeitoun, and southern Khan Younis.
Soon after the ceasefire took effect, Palestinians ventured out into the streets of Gaza, with many returning to areas that had been too dangerous to enter for days.
In Beit Hanoun, Khan Younis and al-Shujayeh and Zeitoun, they found scenes of utter destruction, with homes flattened and bodies lying in the streets and under rubble.
In Beit Hanoun even the hospital was badly damaged by shelling, and AFP correspondents came across the charred body of a paramedic as emergency workers combed the debris for more dead.
Trails of blood on the ground were crossed by Israeli tank tracks, and there were holes where it appeared Israeli forces had been searching for Hamas tunnels.
Palestinian television showed footage of similar scenes in al-Shujayeh, which has been subjected to days of relentless Israeli tank fire.
Stiff bodies lay on the floor of a room in one building, one caked in dried blood, all of them covered in dust.
The Sunday, July 20 FREE PALESTINE rally gathered at the Justin Herman Plaza, near the Ferry Building in San Francisco. I got there as it was beginning, shortly after 3 p.m. The crowd already appeared to number a thousand, and more were arriving. People kept streaming in. By 4:15 p.m. when the march began, the plaza was brim full. So how many people does it take to fill that plaza? I wondered. Thousands, obviously — but how many thousands?
After the march I looked online for estimates from various other events at the plaza and found an article about the fundamentalist anti-abortion march of 2011. “Tens of thousands of pro-life activists filled Justin Herman Plaza,” the organizers of the right-wing event reported; the corporate media echoed the fundamentalists’ claim. In contrast, reporting on the Sunday FREE PALESTINE rally, KTVU News said: “Hundreds gather in San Francisco to protest Israeli military action in Gaza.” The SF Examiner gave the same figure.
Such reports simply confirm what many people have been saying observing for decades about media bias. A right-wing event fills the J.H. Plaza with tens of thousands, but when a progressive event draws a crowd large enough to fill that same plaza, it’s only “hundreds” of people there.
Nevertheless, that plaza is also used for miscellaneous non-political gatherings and events that nobody would be likely to misreport. I continued my online search and found a website belonging to the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department, which states: “This location can accommodate up to 7,000 people.”
Seven thousand? That sounds about right. During the march I had conservatively estimated 5,000 while others around me were saying it was more. Some who studied videos of the march afterwards, taking sample counts and doing some math estimated six to seven thousand at the Sunday event. The organizers of this event, the Arab Resource & Organizing Center, estimated 6,000.
I’ve never before seen a FREE PALESTINE event anywhere nearly this large. I remember attending protests at the Israeli consulate on Montgomery street where there were about 500 people, and at the time that seemed large. This Sunday rally and march was at least ten times larger. Clearly, Zionist attacks on Gaza have outraged a growing number of people. Unfortunately, none of this gets reflected by the U.S. Congress. Just the other day all 100 U.S. Senators unanimously passed a resolution in support of Israel’s assault on Gaza. Not even Senator Bernie Sanders stood up to the Zionists.
There will be another rally this Saturday, July 26 at the same plaza, starting at 1 p.m. Perhaps our demand should be: “End Zionist occupation of Washington!”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org