*June 29 photo from Gaza. photo: Fadi Badwan
Unsurprisingly, one hears little to no news of Gaza these days, and utterly distorted news on Palestine in general. The ongoing manufactured crises that the 1.8 million Palestinians of Gaza have been suffering since at least 2006 is old news, their misery only now and then newsworthy.
There are murmurs from the usual suspects in the Zionist state’s administration about those damn rockets from Gaza, with the vitriol of Lieberman flowing, calling to re-occupy Gaza. The thing is, while they did pull their roughly 8,000 colonists out in 2005, the Israelis never stopped occupying Gaza and, contrary to their obligations as an occupier, the various genocidal policies Israel has implemented over the years have served to further the ethnic cleansing of Palestine they have shown such talent for.
The corporate media has ignored, under-reported, or distorted the following important news items on Palestine:
“A Palestinian teenager from occupied east Jerusalem was kidnapped and killed early Wednesday, hours after Israelis rampaged through the city calling for Arabs to die in “revenge” for the deaths of three settlers by unknown assailants.
…the body, discovered in a forest in the area of Deir Yassin, was charred and showed signs of violence.
Ma’an also reported that the body had been burned.”
“In one of the most heinous crimes committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the oPt, a group of Israeli settlers kidnapped Mohammed Hussein Abu Khudair, 16, from the vicinity of his family’s house in Shu’fat neighborhood in the north of occupied Jerusalem, subjected him to brutal torture, and then killed him.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 05:00 on Wednesday, 02 July 2014, 5 Israeli settlers kidnapped the child from the vicinity of his family’s house in Shu’fat neighborhood in the north of occupied Jerusalem. A few hours later, the Israeli police declared that they found the child’s body in forest lands near “Givat Shaul” settlement, adjacent to Deir Yassin village, west of Jerusalem. The police confirmed that signs of torture and burns were seen on the child’s body.”
“Eleven Palestinians were wounded Thursday when Israel pounded targets in the Gaza Strip with air raids.
…Overnight, Israeli troops arrested 13 Palestinians as it pressed on with an arrest campaign which began when three Israeli teenagers were snatched while hitchhiking on June 12. Their bodies were found on Monday with Israel blaming the triple murder on Hamas, a charge the movement has denied.
Since the disappearance of the three settlers, Israel has launched a ruthless campaign of house raids and mass arrests in the West Bank, which has been criticized as being tantamount to collective punishment.”
“Israeli bulldozers destroyed eight houses early Thursday in a northeastern West Bank village, Palestinian media reported.
…Roughly 94 percent of Palestinian applications for building permits are rejected, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
The group estimates that Israeli authorities have demolished about 27,000 Palestinian structures in the West Bank since 1967.
In different parts of the West Bank, Israeli soldiers attacked Palestinians protesting home demolitions, arbitrary arrests and the killing of Mohammed Abu Khudair.”
“In the West Bank, 16-year-old Yousouf Ibrahim was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers as they raided Jenin refugee camp.
The Israeli army said Ibrahim threw a grenade at their forces as they carried out the overnight raid, but Palestinian witnesses denied the claim.
“Me and Yousouf were walking, he was carrying a box filled with eggs. We were sitting here for a while, when we decided to go back home. Someone fired toward him,” …
…Sanabel Mohammed Tus, a 9-year old Palestinian, was reportedly injured Monday night when an Israeli settler hit her with his car near Bethlehem. The settler allegedly threw her into a hole in a nearby field, and she was in serious condition, the Palestine News Network reported.
Ashraf Noah Idris, 28, was also injured Monday night after allegedly being run over by a settler near Hebron. And the same night in Hebron, a 19-year-old Palestinian was assaulted and left with a serious head injury after dozens of Israeli settlers allegedly attacked Palestinians in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood. Both incidents were reported by Maan News.
…A 17-year-old Israeli was accused of attacking an Arab taxi driver in the city with tear gas and a number of Israeli youths also allegedly attacked a young Palestinian, who was hospitalized with injuries.
Late Monday night, Israeli forces reportedly blew up the Hebron homes of two Palestinians it said are suspects in the kidnappings, Maan News reported. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the homes “were not demolished,” but military sources said a fire caused by explosions used to break down the doors “got a little out of control.”
The Israeli military has also carried out hundreds of night raids since the Israeli teens’ abduction, allegedly damaging Palestinian homes. Two elderly Palestinians reportedly died from heart attacks. At least six others have been killed as part of the “Brother’s Keeper” operations carried out after the Israeli teens went missing.”
“Israeli soldiers and other users in a popular Facebook group are celebrating the killing of a Palestinian youth in Jenin refugee camp last night and are urging more “revenge” for the deaths of three Israeli youths whose bodies were found in the occupied West Bank on Monday.
The youths were abducted on 12 June and since then Israel has waged a campaign of mass arrests and collective punishment against Palestinians.
…The administrator of the popular group, which has more than 70,000 “Likes,” shared a photo of the bloodied body of Yousef Abu Zagha with the caption, “This is the terrorist killed last night in Jenin.”
…Palestinian Red Crescent medics told Ma’an News Agency that 16-year-old Yousef Abu Zagha was shot by Israeli fire in the chest during clashes with troops who invaded the camp. Some media have reported his age as older.
With more than 1,000, “Likes,” virtually every one of more than 200 comments was approving. “Hahahaha, I’m happy,” wrote Noam Korobkov.
“Why only one? Why not another four million? Come on, someone needs to do the job,” wrote Robi Yaakov.”
“Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called for major air and ground military operations in the besieged Gaza Strip.
The remarks come as Israeli military forces are gearing up for a possible all-out war on the besieged enclave.
Israeli warplanes have already conducted a dozen airstrikes in central and southern Gaza over the past few days.”
“Israeli Defense Forces raided the homes of Amar Abu Aisha and Marwan Qawasmeh in the city of Hebron on Monday evening, June 30th into the morning of July 1st. At approximately 12:00 am, soldiers set up explosives in both homes, detonating them after the families were evacuated. Israeli intelligence has accused both men of allegedly kidnapping the settler teens. The whereabouts of both men are unknown….”
“Two Palestinians were killed and two others wounded on Friday afternoon after Israel’s air force bombed a car traveling near al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City. A Ma’an reporter said that an Israeli plane targeted a black Kia vehicle with two missiles, killing Muhammad al-Fasih and Usama al-Hassumi.
Ashraf al-Qidra, the Gaza spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, said the bodies of the two men, who were residents of the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City, were taken to Shifa medical center.
The killing is the first targeted assassination by Israel since the formation of the Palestinian national unity government at the beginning of June.”
“Israeli soldiers published dozens of pictures on social media networks calling for murdering the Arabs, and murderous acts of what they described as “revenge” against any person who is an Arab.
Most of the pictures that spread widely in recent days are actually for soldiers on active military duty, carrying Israeli-issued weapons, and calling on their government and political leadership “to declare an open season” for killing the Arabs.
One of the soldiers even called for “exterminating all Arabs” in a picture he posted, the Arabs48 news website has reported.
Most of the pictures published by the fanatic soldiers are “selfies”, taken by the soldiers themselves, in addition to pictures of military uniforms, weapons, and chains, and many wrote on the pictures threatening words such as revenge, or “what we want is revenge”, and some even wrote “give us the chance to wipe them out”.
Even before fanatic Israeli settlers abducted, burnt and murdered a Palestinian teen In occupied Jerusalem, on Tuesday at evening, Israeli security officials warned that Jewish extremists could be planning acts of abduction and execution of Palestinians.
The settlers also attacked, beat and injured several Palestinians, including children, and even tried to kidnap a number of children before they kidnapped and killed Mohammad Khdeir, 16, in occupied Jerusalem.
Hundreds of Israeli fanatics were tweeting slurs and threats such as “death to Arabs”, and acts of what they called revenge, and calling for more violence “to prevent the Palestinians from attacking Israelis”.
In addition, fanatic extremist settler, Baruch Merzel, who lives in an illegal settlement in occupied Hebron, called for using excessive force against the Palestinians, and for more of what he called “acts of revenge”.
Extremist Israeli Politician and former member of Knesset, Michael Ben Ari, also called for acts of revenge against the Palestinian people.
Many Twitter hashtags were created calling for revenge and acts of murders, some just stating “I want to murder”, and “I want weeping Palestinian mothers”, “I want Widows”, and “I Want Orphaned Palestinian Children”. …”
“The missing, ugly reality is that over the last 13 years, on average, one Palestinian child has been killed by Israel every 3 days. Since the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000, 1,523 Palestinian children have been killed by Israel’s occupation forces. Over the same time period, 129 Israeli children have been killed. Thus, the ratio of Palestinian children to Israeli children killed is more than ten to one. You would be forgiven for not having the slightest inkling of this from Western media coverage. Even in the past few days, in reporting the massive Israeli operation to find the teenagers, only the briefest of nods has been given to the ‘five Palestinians, including a number of minors, [who were] killed’ in the process.”
Daily sadism and unbelievable cruelty, hatred, towards Palestinians. Yet, nothing is done. Another UN resolution condemning Israel’s this or that is passed, to no effect; Ban Ki-Moon murmurs weakly now and then, and the US continues to send over $3 billion (plus untold “gifts”) in aid to Israel every year. (note: “Unlike any other U.S. aid recipient, Israel receives all of its aid in the first thirty days of the fiscal year, instead of quarterly installments. And unlike any other recipient of U.S. aid, Israel is not required to account for its expenditures.” –IMEU)
Regarding Israel’s Gaza policies, one striking document is that which was forced into the spotlight by Israeli rights group, Gisha, a document which explicitly notes that the siege on Gaza is not about “security” but is “economic warfare”… a rather important distinction.
McClatchy ran the story, noting “Sari Bashi, the director of Gisha, said the documents prove that Israel isn’t imposing its blockade for its stated reasons, but rather as collective punishment for the Palestinian population of Gaza.”
This has been painfully obvious for anyone observing (or living in) Gaza over the years, but the released document highlighted the malicious intent of Israel’s policies.
Given that the unemployment, poverty, power outages, sewage and medical crises have been manufactured by these policies, and that the sadism of their plans for Gaza reached the level of calculating the minimum number of calories in food aid the Palestinians of Gaza needed to not quite starve… and then allow in half that amount, it’s worth re-visiting statements of some of the top administration in recent years.
After the Israeli army relentlessly bombed all over Gaza for 23 days (the bombing continue after the Jan 18, 2009 cease-fire), killing over 1,450 Palestinians, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared in Feb 2009: “…let it be clear, we will not allow the opening of the crossings to Gaza and outside of Gaza to the extent that it will help them bring back life into a completely normal pace.” This was, in addition, after the Israelis had closed Gaza’s crossings in early November, 2008, exacerbating what was already a critical dearth of flour, medicines, cooking gas and fuel…and then bombed Gaza, targeting infrastructure on top of murdering civilians. All of that wasn’t enough; Palestinians in Gaza were to be further tormented.
When the Israeli army was waging another bombing campaign on the still-imprisoned population of Gaza in November 2012, deputy Israeli Prime Minister Eli Yishai thought it would be a great ideas for the army to “blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages, destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water”. Outdoing Yishai, Gilad Sharon demanded Israel “flatten entire neighbourhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing”, finishing, “there is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip.”
Sharon wasn’t the first nor last to suggest Israel will be reoccupying Gaza (by the UN’s admissions, Israel does still occupy Gaza).
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in June 2013: “Hamas has no intention of reconciling with a Jewish presence in Israel. So we need to return to the Gaza Strip and conduct a thorough cleaning.”
A year later, in March 2014, Lieberman said: “There is no way to avert a full occupation of the Gaza Strip; only then can we ensure that these images do not recur,” referring to a recent volley of rockets into southern Israel, which the Times of Israel itself admitted had caused no casualties.
He was in good company. “The IDF will ultimately have no choice but to reoccupy the Gaza Strip for a limited period of time in order to deter Palestinian terrorist groups from firing rockets into Israeli territory,” Minister of Intelligence, Yuval Steinlitz, remarked.
But re-invading and “cleaning” Gaza are not the most foul threats uttered by Israeli leadership. The Guardian reports a conversation with Turkey’s Erdogan, who “chided the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who he said had threatened to use nuclear weapons against Gaza.”
On a daily basis, within as little as a mile or two off the coast, Palestinian fishers are attacked by Israeli navy machine-guns, missiles, water-cannons or a combination of the three. In contravention of Oslo, the Israelis have illegally-imposed a 6 mile limit—sometimes 3 miles—depriving Palestinians of deeper waters where fish can be found. Fishers are also routinely abducted, their boats stolen and if returned, they are devoid of equipment, and often badly damaged. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) documents weekly the aggressions on Palestinians, including those against farmers and stone-gatherers in Gaza’s border region.
The Israeli authorities, again unilaterally, imposed an unclear “no-go zone”, theoretically a 300 metres from the border—on the Gaza side only—but in reality extending over 1.5 km, even up to 2 km in some areas. The off-limits areas are maintained by machine-gunning, shelling, and remote-control shooting. Standing with farmers being shot upon, I can attest this is not about security: the countless times farmers I was with came under fire, they were over 500 m from the border, were usually hunched over low crops of parsley, and women, elderly and children were present. [see Defence for Children International report on children in Gaza's border regions]
At least 214 Palestinians have been killed in attacks like these, and over 825 injured, according to a Mar 2014 EU Heads of Missions report.
These policies of attacking Palestinians and their ability to catch or produce food are just two of the insidious policies Israel has been implementing with impunity over the years, and two of many reasons poverty has sky-rocketed, along with and increase in diet-related health problems.
The health and poverty stats for Gaza are grim:
-20 % of children suffer from waterborne diseases; 68% aged 9-12 months anaemic as are 37 % of pregnant women [Unicef, MoH, WHO]
Gaza’s water is 95% undrinkable; 80% of population depends on (paltry) food aid for their existence—57% are food insecure; there is insufficient entry of cooking gas and fuel; the entry of construction materials is extremely limited (Israel has flat-out banned construction goods for Gaza’s private sector); unemployment is at 41.5% as it has more or less been for the past 7 years, aggravated by Egypt’s demolition of the vast majority of the infamous “life-line” tunnels between Egypt and Gaza.
Because of the dearth of fuel to run the sole power plant, Gaza has for years suffered rolling power outages. In the past year they have worsened. The Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted in Mar 2014: “Gaza’s sole power plant has, since July 2013, been operating at approximately half of its capacity; rolling power outages of up to 12 hours per day….up to 16 hours a day.”
This affects the ability to pump water, and also the ability to pump sewage into the sea (the only solution in a Strip where Israel does not allow rehabilitation of the sewage infrastructure). In December, 2013, sewage holding pools throughout Gaza overflowed, mixing with torrential rain, leaving many cities’ streets flooded for weeks.
OCHA also notes the outages impact on hospital machinery (over 300 machines out of commission as of Jan 2014).
Gaza needs over 250 more schools—children go in 2 or 3 shifts. In the 2008/9 Israeli war on Gaza alone, 280 schools were damaged, 18 destroyed, as were 3 colleges, and 6 university buildings.
The Rafah crossing was closed for 41 continuous days as of Mar 22, depriving Palestinians in Gaza of their only viable entry and exit point.
Assaults on agriculture, fishing, sanitation, health, industry, education, exports…clearly the siege and these attacks are about more than the proclaimed “security” needs.
Phan Nguyen, in his “Dissecting IDF propaganda: The numbers behind the rocket attacks”, crunched the numbers and also the Zionist propaganda. Penned in November 2012, Nguyen studied reports of rocket attacks since 2004, finding that “a total of 26 people have been killed altogether,” five of whom were non-Jews, two of whom were moving an unexploded Qassam rocket to salvage the metal.
Looking at the years 2006-2011 and the purported number of Israeli deaths from rockets, Nguyen notes: “For every year listed, the IDF’s rocket fatalities number is higher than what has been established,” further noting that the Israeli army’s claims even contradict those of Israel’s Shin Bet and Israel’s Terrorism Information Center (ITIC).
Further on in his extensively researched article, Nguyen notes that numbers of injured are also exaggerated or fabricated: “Gaza rockets have produced so few casualties that in the absence of deaths and serious injuries, Israeli authorities have resorted to detailing how many people were “treated for shock.”
If the tables were turned, in Gaza where over 90% of children suffer from mild to severe traumatic stress disorder (without the “post”), on top of the thousands of Palestinians injured in this same time span, those needing treatment for “shock” would be over a million, if not nearly the entire population. But Palestinian casualties, if mentioned period, include gunshot victims, shrapnel injuries, blast-amputated limbs, and yes, white phosphorous burns, to list but some.
Finally, Nguyen’s article is notable in exposing the lies of just how many rockets are fired at Israel, again noting that Israeli army figures contradict other Israeli agencies’ figures: “Note the wide discrepency for almost every year, with the IDF numbers being significantly higher than the ITIC numbers.”
All of these points, and more, are significant because it is precisely this pretext of “security concerns” that the Zionist administration cites when asserting the “need” to enforce this brutal siege on Gaza, to shoot at farmers, to shoot at fishers, and to wage random, murderous, bombing campaigns on the 1.8 million people locked within the borders of a tiny strip of land.
Professor Michel Chussodovsky spells out in his Nov 2012 article, “The US-Israeli Attack on Gaza” that the US not only financially and politically supports Israel, but also worked closely with the Israeli military planners in the Nov 2012 attacks on Gaza: “There is evidence that Operation ‘Pillar of Cloud’ was implemented in close liaison with Washington in the context of the broader process of allied military planning. Senior US military officials were on location in Israel working with their IDF counterparts in the days leading up to the attack. …Pillar of Cloud was planned well in advance. It had been ‘embedded’ into the structure of the joint US-Israeli war games.”
It’s time we dispel with Israel’s false pretext of “security” and Gaza rocket fire as being the reason for their genocidal policies and wars on an imprisoned population. And it’s time that we stop accepting any of these policies, nor that even after the “economic warfare” document was revealed no one challenged Israel on this. Their policies are slowly but most definitely killing Palestinians in Gaza, and are most definitely criminal.
The phoney narrative of “security concerns” should be flushed into Gaza’s sewage-polluted sea and the sadistic lock-down on Gaza be ended. For what of the security concerns of the Palestinians of Gaza, and their right to a just quality of life?