surreal: i sat on this stretch of beach where these Palestinian children were murdered

 

Like many of the other 1.8  million Palestinians locked in Gaza, I used to go to this very stretch of beach, to cool off in the unrelenting summer evenings, to change pace from the electricity-less cities, a daily given, a prime objective of the Zio siege on Gaza and its infrastructure.

Long-ago I’d read of Palestinians being murdered on Gaza’s beaches, though thankfully never saw that myself ( I saw various Zionist-inflicted murders, oh yes, over the three years I lived there, but never saw this particular sort of massacre in my time there).

Knowing very well the sense of desperation for both some sort of beauty and a break from the cruel siege on Gaza, as well as the Palestinian determination to LIVE in spite of all impossible odds, it is with great sadness that I read of the murder of yet more Palestinians, simply trying to EXIST under Zio bombings.

Al Akhbar: The victims of Gaza: A list of Palestinians killed in Israel’s ongoing assault:

“The Gaza health ministry has confirmed the deaths of 213 Palestinians so far in the besieged strip since Israel began its relentless assault on July 8. Among those killed, 45 were aged 16 or younger and 25 were women.

The two youngest victims were both 18 months old. Mohammed Malakiyeh was killed along with his 27-year-old mother, and Ranim Jawde Abdel Ghafour was killed along with a member of her family in Khan Younis. The three oldest victims were all 80 years old. Naifeh Farjallah was killed in an air strike on the town of Moghraqa, southwest of Gaza City, and Saber Sukkar was killed in an airstrike on Gaza City. Hijaziyah Hamid al-Helou succumbed on Sunday to wounds sustained in the bombing of her home in Gaza City on Saturday night.” [CLICK TO VIEW LIST OF NAMES OF THE VICTIMS]

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**series of images which show the Bakr boys running for their lives, then being bombed.

NY Mag: 4 Palestinian Children Killed in Israeli Air Strike Right in Front of Reporters:

“Following yesterday’s failed cease-fire, an Israeli naval gunboat has reportedly struck seven children near the port in Gaza, killing at least four. One remains in critical condition. Moments earlier, the kids had been playing soccer with a reporter from NBC, who witnessed the attack firsthand. Dozens of other journalists were nearby.

***

The Guardian: Witness to a shelling: first-hand account of deadly strike on Gaza port:

“…There is a deafening explosion as it hits a structure on the pier, a place we have seen hit before, where fishermen usually store their nets. Behind the smoke, I see four figures running, silhouettes whose legs are pumping raggedly. They clear the smoke. From their size it is clear they are a man and three young boys.

Where the harbour wall ends and the beach starts, there are a few brightly coloured tents and chairs for beach users in more peaceful times. The four figures jump on to the beach and begin running towards us and the safety of the hotel.

Only afterwards do we discover there are four others who are dead, all children, lying on the wall. I am shown a picture of one of the dead boys, his skin scorched and bruised. Their names are released later: Ahed Bakr, aged 10; Zakaria, 10; and two other boys from the Bakr family, both named Mohammad, aged 11 and nine.

The second shell catches the survivors as they reach the brightly coloured tents. As it explodes, my colleagues, now standing by the terrace wall, shout at unseen Israeli gunners who can’t hear them: “They are only children.”

The man makes it to the terrace first, scrambling up a steep sandy bank. A skinny man in his 30s, he groans and holds up a T-shirt already staining red with blood where he has been hit in the stomach. He faints, and as he grows pale and limp he is carried to a taxi waved down in the street.

The children are brought up next. Pulling up the T-shirt of the first boy, who looks about eight years old, we find a shrapnel hole, small and round as a pencil head, where he has been hit in the chest over the second rib. Another boy, a brother or cousin, who is uninjured, slumps by the wall of the terrace, weeping by his side.

The boy cries in pain as we clean and dress the wound, wrapping a field dressing around his chest, pressing to staunch the bleeding. He winces in pain, and he is clearly embarrassed too as a colleague checks his shorts to look for unseen femoral bleeding.

A waiter grabs a table cloth to use as a stretcher, but a photographer takes the boy in his arms to carry him to the ambulance that has arrived.

Employees of Gaza City's al-Deira hotel take care of a wounded boy -  gaza port shelling

Employees of Gaza City’s al-Deira hotel take care of a wounded boy. Photograph: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

Other colleagues work on the final surviving casualty, an older boy. His arms are scuffed, and a bandage around his head barely staunches a head wound. He too is quickly carried to the ambulance.”

 

***

Video footage immediately after the killings:

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The Jerusalem Fund: Gaza Cease-Fire Dynamics Explained: What Cease-Fire will Work?

“This first chart below depicts the number of launches from Gaza of projectiles from September of 2004 through this May. That is nearly a decade. It starts at September because that’s how far back our data set goes on this issue, but this significant span of time gives you a very clear picture of the ebbs and flows. Launches can involve one projectile (which is often the case) or more.

46974Two things become very clear when looking at this chart. The single most effective way to bring projectile fire from Gaza to a halt is through a cease-fire agreement. Military campaigns have only had the effect of increasing the number of projectiles fired. The June 2008 agreement brought projectile fire from Gaza to near zero until the Israelis broke the truce on Nov. 4th, 2008 sparking the escalation that culminated in the massive attack that was “Operation Cast Lead”. What’s clear from this is that the military operation generated far more rockets than the absence of it. Keep in mind the context which this is taking place, prior to “Operation Cast Lead”, according to B’Tselem’s statistics, over 392 Palestinians were killed on average in each year from 2004-2008 in Gaza alone. That’s more than one a day for 4 years.

A similar story plays out in 2012. We covered the lead up to this escalation and dynamics of fire earlier in 2012 showing how the vast majority of projectiles from Gaza were provoked by Israeli strikes causing Palestinian casualties. The most significant event that lead to Hamas’ participation in the eight-day bombardment in 2012 was the assassination of Ahmad Jaabari who was killed by Israel as he was negotiating a longer term truce. Again, a military campaign by Israel generated more projectile fire than the absence of it, proving once more that there was no military solution to this problem for Israel.

After the eight-day bombing campaign in 2012, a cease-fire agreement was reached through Egypt and US mediation. We began watching adherence to the terms of that agreement closely. The terms of the agreement included both sides halting attacks and Israel easing restrictions as well. This meant:

Israel shall stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land, sea and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals.

All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.

Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas. Procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.

So what did adherence to these terms look like? Well, we graphed it out below. Numbers here for attacks from Gaza come from Israel’s Shabak, so it is unlikely they are understated. Numbers for Palestinian injuries, deaths, Israeli incursions and attacks on fishermen come from UN OCHA.

46976In the immediate aftermath of the cease-fire agreement no projectiles were launched from Gaza into Israel. Rather Israel continued to fire into Gaza, killing one Palestinian, injuring 42 others, committing four incursions and firing at or detaining 48 Palestinian fishermen off the coast. It was not until after most of these violations that the first projectile from Gaza post-ceasefire was launched on Dec. 24, 2012.

What the chart above clearly depicts is that even when rocket fire comes to a halt as called for by the cease-fire agreement, Israel continues its violations with total impunity. When the rockets stop, the siege, occupation and colonization of Palestine does not.

1. An agreement must be clear in terms of what constitutes a violation so that the actors will have to consider the ramifications of public condemnation before committing a violation.

2. An agreement must take into consideration the dramatic imbalance of power between the sides. If there is a Palestinian violation, Israel retains the capacity to hold them accountable independently and at will, often inflicting disproportionate causalities leading to escalation. But when Israel violates the cease-fire, Palestinians cannot hold them accountable. The absence of any mechanism for monitoring Israeli violations and holding them to account creates incentives for Palestinians to do so in other ways, like firing projectiles.

3. An agreement must ensure that Israel does not use its position of power to unilaterally change the terms. The previous cease-fire included an easing of restrictions as part of the detailed understanding between the parties negotiated through Egypt. This meant fisherman could fish up to six nautical miles from the coast instead of the previously imposed three nautical mile mark. It also meant Palestinians could access farm land up to 300 meters from the fence, previously Israel had fired at Palestinians as far as 1500 meters away. But during the course of the cease-fire, Israel unilaterally changed those terms, reinforcing the three nautical mile mark and going back to shooting Palestinians near the fence even as far away as 1500 meters.

4. An agreement must take into account the devastating human rights crisis and humanitarian situation in Gaza that lies at the foundation of discontent there. As mentioned above, when it came to “easing restrictions” the previous agreement was mostly about determining what would be the dimensions of the prison cell that is the Gaza Strip. For real progress, an agreement must challenge the very notion that Palestinians should be stuck in this prison at all and move toward ending the collective punishment that is Israel’s siege on the Strip.

Of course there are bigger problems here as well, including the ongoing denial of Palestinian self-determination and repatriation which all people who care about justice should continue to struggle for, but an agreement that followed the points above would be a marked improvement over previous ones and undoubtedly be more durable that its predecessors given the reasons they have failed. Chances are however, given the power dynamics in Israel, Egypt and the US, it’s more likely that the type of agreement that will be imposed on Palestinians will likely only fall apart. The only question is how many months it will last and how many Palestinians will be killed during this “cease-fire.”

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Finian Cunningham: ‘Ceasefire’ to refuel Israel criminality:

“…The official narrative out of Tel Aviv, and amplified as usual in the Western mainstream media, is that Israel implemented a unilateral ceasefire Tuesday morning. Six hours later, the Israeli forces resumed bombardment of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip…

In short, the cover story goes that the Israeli regime tried its best to give peace a chance, but Palestinian militants would not comply. Hence, Israel is now justified to “defend itself”.

The reality is that the Israeli regime has just given itself carte blanche to step up its genocide against the Palestinians – just as it was threatening to do so. The so-called ceasefire was nothing but a cynical charade to deceive this flagrant reality. Let’s make no mistake. What is happening in Gaza is unmitigated crimes against humanity, an operation of state-sponsored terrorism against an illegally occupied people.

Netanyahu announced the six-hour “ceasefire” has terminated. That was no ceasefire; it was merely a period for refueling and rearming of Israeli warplanes.

…the US government – the main sponsor of the Israeli regime – continues to indulge the obscene propaganda that “Israel has every right to defend itself”. Speaking this week in Vienna, US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed only his concern for “Israel’s security” while not sparing one word of condemnation for the mass murder of Palestinian civilians.

The speed with which this latest so-called ceasefire was organized is the giveaway to the ruse. The Egyptian military government – no friend of Hamas – proposed the truce on Monday night, and within hours the Israeli regime had apparently implemented it. Hamas spokespeople said they had not even been informed directly of the proposal. Moreover, there was not a scintilla of substantive conditions for a ceasefire, such as the end to the eight-year blockade on Gaza by Israeli forces, nor the long-overdue release of Palestinian prisoners rotting away in Israeli jails.

In other words, the so-called cessation of firing called this week was but a continuation of Israel’s criminal war by other means.

What the international solidarity movement for Palestine must do is to firstly repudiate any notion that a genuine ceasefire was ever proposed and that somehow the Israeli regime attempted to give it a chance, while the Palestinians scuppered it. It was a cynical propaganda stunt, guided by the motto “war by deception”.

Secondly, the Israeli regime and its sponsors among Western governments, primarily the US, must be condemned for present and past crimes against humanity in Palestine. The ongoing violence must be stopped immediately and unconditionally, along with an international campaign to prosecute all criminals in political office.

Thirdly, the international community must always insist on Palestinian national rights as enshrined under international law. The only and proper grounds for any eventual ceasefire is for the Israeli regime and its Western sponsors to be held accountable for the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and the ongoing genocidal policies, as defined by the Geneva Conventions and others universally acclaimed legal norms.”

***

Jonathan Cook: How US and Blair plotted ‘ceasefire’ scam:

“We now have confirmation from the Israeli daily Haaretz of what we should have suspected: that the idea for the so-called Egyptian “ceasefire proposal” was actually hatched in Washington, the messenger boy was arch-war criminal Tony Blair, and the terms were drafted by Israel.

The intention was either to corner Hamas into surrendering – and thereby keep the savage blockade of Gaza in place – or force Hamas to reject the proposal and confirm the Israeli narrative that it is a terrorist organisation with which Israel cannot make peace.

According to Haaretz, Blair secretly initiated his “ceasefire” activity after “coordinating” with US Secretary of State John Kerry. On Saturday he headed off to Cairo to meet with the US-backed Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to persuade him to put his name to the proposal.

Immediately afterwards, he travelled to Israel to meet Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday afternoon. Sisi and Netanyahu were then supposed to thrash out the details. When they failed to do so, Blair intervened again on behalf of the Americans and the pair spoke by phone on Saturday evening.

Here’s the key paragraph from Haaretz:

Senior Israeli officials and Western diplomats said the reason the Egyptian cease-fire initiative was so short-lived is that it was prepared hastily and was not coordinated with all the relevant parties, particularly Hamas.

Wonderful that throw-away last line. In all this activity, it never occurred to the US, Blair, Sisi or Netanyahu – and no doubt Mahmoud Abbas, who is strangely absent from this account – that it might be necessary to sound out Hamas on the terms of a ceasefire it would need to abide by.

Now it seems Kerry is using US muscle to get Egypt, Qatar and Turkey to strong-arm Hamas into surrendering.

It’s depressingly predictable that the corporate media have swallowed the line of Israel accepting the “ceasefire proposal” and Hamas rejecting it. What Hamas did was reject a US-Israeli diktat to sign away the rights of the people of Gaza to end a siege that cuts them off from the rest of the world.

But there is a long pedigree to such deceptions. It is reminiscent of a hasbara favourite: that the Jews accepted the UN partition plan of 1947 while the Palestinians rejected it. The reality – then, as now – is that the the colonial powers sought to strip the Palestinians of their rights and their homeland without even consulting them.”

 

We now have confirmation from the Israeli daily Haaretz of what we should have suspected: that the idea for the so-called Egyptian “ceasefire proposal” was actually hatched in Washington, the messenger boy was arch-war criminal Tony Blair, and the terms were drafted by Israel.

The intention was either to corner Hamas into surrendering – and thereby keep the savage blockade of Gaza in place – or force Hamas to reject the proposal and confirm the Israeli narrative that it is a terrorist organisation with which Israel cannot make peace.

According to Haaretz, Blair secretly initiated his “ceasefire” activity after “coordinating” with US Secretary of State John Kerry. On Saturday he headed off to Cairo to meet with the US-backed Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to persuade him to put his name to the proposal.

Immediately afterwards, he travelled to Israel to meet Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday afternoon. Sisi and Netanyahu were then supposed to thrash out the details. When they failed to do so, Blair intervened again on behalf of the Americans and the pair spoke by phone on Saturday evening.

Here’s the key paragraph from Haaretz:

Senior Israeli officials and Western diplomats said the reason the Egyptian cease-fire initiative was so short-lived is that it was prepared hastily and was not coordinated with all the relevant parties, particularly Hamas.

Wonderful that throw-away last line. In all this activity, it never occurred to the US, Blair, Sisi or Netanyahu – and no doubt Mahmoud Abbas, who is strangely absent from this account – that it might be necessary to sound out Hamas on the terms of a ceasefire it would need to abide by.

Now it seems Kerry is using US muscle to get Egypt, Qatar and Turkey to strong-arm Hamas into surrendering.

It’s depressingly predictable that the corporate media have swallowed the line of Israel accepting the “ceasefire proposal” and Hamas rejecting it. What Hamas did was reject a US-Israeli diktat to sign away the rights of the people of Gaza to end a siege that cuts them off from the rest of the world.

But there is a long pedigree to such deceptions. It is reminiscent of a hasbara favourite: that the Jews accepted the UN partition plan of 1947 while the Palestinians rejected it. The reality – then, as now – is that the the colonial powers sought to strip the Palestinians of their rights and their homeland without even consulting them.

- See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2014-07-16/how-us-and-blair-plotted-ceasefire-scam/#sthash.zeCzfYf7.dpuf

***

Ajamu Baraka: Witness to an International Crime: Israeli State Terrorism in Gaza:

““Protective Edge,” the cartoonish name given to the latest Israeli military offensive against the occupied people of Palestine, is representative of the inverted reality whereby the 1.7 million captive and largely defenseless Palestinians in Gaza are the vicious aggressors against the peace-loving settlers of Israel. Similar to the inverted reality in the U.S., where the myth of the innocent settler was created to justify the systematic slaughter of Indigenous peoples, the genocidal policies of Israel are camouflaged by the transformation of its position from an armed colonial invader to one of victim.

This repositioning is aided and abetted in the U.S. by a corporate media whose worldview and angle of reporting is framed by the innocent settler narrative. This narrative simultaneously liquidates and normalizes the colonial relationship between the colonizer and the colonized so that the occupied territories are not occupied but transformed into “disputed” territories and all forms of resistance on the part of Palestinians becomes terroristic.

Informed by this imperial vision, the corporate media not only parrot Israel’s victim narrative but go even further with the creation of the two-equal-sides fiction. Mainstream coverage laments how both sides are locked in battle or a spiral of violence, giving the absurd impression that the violence in the occupied territories is a conflict between two forces with similar power and equal moral standing.

It should be clear that attempting to conceptually equate the force of the state of Israel, one of the most powerful militaries in the world, with a resistance movement of a captive people trapped by land and sea in an open-air concentration camp on one of the most densely populated strips of land on the planet is a position that is fundamentally immoral. Yet for most editors and reporters in the U.S., pro-Zionist liberals and their counterparts in the Christian Zionist movement as well as some elements of the European press and public, the conceptual blinders of white supremacist colonial consciousness makes it impossible to see the immorality inherent in this construction of the so-called conflict.

Only the most naive believe the current military assault has anything to do with “defense” issues related to the symbolic resistance offered from Hamas via the firing of rockets into Israel. Honest commentators on this issue know that Israel provoked the response from the Palestinian resistance with the mass repression it launched in Gaza after the killings of the three Israeli teenagers in order to use the response to justify its attack on Hamas. An attack meant to destroy the newly established unity government of the Palestinians.

The colonialist mentality sees any resistance, no matter the form, as illegitimate, punishable by death and unrelenting terror. That message is clear for Palestinians as their homes are reduced to dust and the people dig out the bodies of their children, spouses, fathers and grandmothers. The other message communicated to Palestinians, once again, and which they understand all too well, is that compared to the lives of the settlers their lives are worthless and there is no “responsibility to protect” for them.

The assault on the people and the institutions of Gaza has as its objective the eradication of the people of Gaza – not necessarily in the physical sense, only because at this stage in global consciousness any such attempt would galvanize universal opposition, but to erase Gaza as a functioning society, to destroy it politically, culturally, spiritually and psychologically. A process that IIan Pappe refers to as “incremental genocide,iii that whatever the label is terroristic in its’ most naked, brutal and devastating effect.

When genocide or systematic ethnic cleansing is not a viable option, reducing the indigenous population to a weak, terrorized and dependent condition is the next best thing for settler policy. The targeting of the civilian infrastructure and governing institutions by the Israeli military makes it clear that this is the objective of the current attack on Gaza.

The international community has failed to hold the Israeli state accountable for war crimes and other serious violations of international law over the last four decades. Human rights organizations and United Nations special procedures have produced detailed reports on the crimes committed by Israel over the last four decades without the perpetrators being brought to justice.iv And when it comes to Israel, humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to protect is exposed as the imperialist ideological construct that it is.

Images of Palestinian children being dug out of bombed-out residential buildings have not resulted in calls for humanitarian intervention to save a population that may be the most brutalized on the planet today. Instead, weak and pathetic calls are made for “both sides” to show restraint and protect “civilians” as though a distinction can be made or is ever made between combatants and non-combatants when it is the whole people who are seen as the enemy by Israeli authorities.

As the Israelis continue to steal Palestinian land, murder, degrade and humiliate Palestinian people, and create “facts on the ground” that make it impossible to establish a viable, independent Palestinian state, it is becoming clear that the only solution to the original sin of the Zionist project is authentic decolonization where the presence, humanity and sovereignty of the colonized is restored.

So while some Palestinians and their supporters still hope for a two-state solution, Israeli rulers also understand Fanon’s position that “only one mode of living will survive” and are moving to destroy Palestinian resistance. This is the real story of Gaza and all of the occupied territories – an ongoing crime that degrades all of us who are forced to witness it.”

***

On the note of the genocide “Israel” longs for, Press TV reported: Mothers of all Palestinians must be killed: Israeli MP

“A well-known Israeli politician and parliament member has branded  Palestinians as terrorists, saying mothers of all Palestinians should also be killed during the ongoing Israeli assault on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Ayelet Shaked of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party called for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers who give birth to “little snakes.”

“They have to die and their houses should be demolished so that they cannot bear any more terrorists,” Shaked said, adding, “They are all our enemies and their blood should be on our hands. This also applies to the mothers of the dead terrorists.”

***

FAIR: Everything You Don’t Need to Know About Israel/Gaza:

“…what is the relationship between Israel and Gaza? All ABC says is that Gaza has been “governed since 2007 by the militant group Hamas…which rejects the existence of Israel.” So apparently you don’t need to know that Gaza is largely populated by the descendants of refugees who used to live in what is now Israel.

Nor do you need to know that Israel invaded Gaza in 1967, establishing a military occupation and an attempt at colonization that lasted decades. Or that despite pulling troops out the territory in 2005, Israel continues to illegally occupy Gaza–according to the United Nations–because it maintains effective control over the area, maintaining an economic blockade and controlling Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters.

You also don’t need to know that Israel has previously launched full-scale military assaults on Gaza, or that the most devastating attack, in 2008-09, killed 1,391 people, including 344 children. It’s not necessary for you to be aware that over the past five years, Palestinians killed by Israelis have outnumbered Israelis killed by Palestinians by 14 to 1.

You don’t need to know any of that–so ABC didn’t tell you.”

**The mother of one of the four Palestinian children from the Baker family, who medics said were killed by a shell fired by an Israeli naval gunboat, grieves outside the morgue in Gaza City July 16, 2014.  REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly

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5 comments

  1. I am from Vancouver,canada and I have been to several rallies recently here in Vancouver in support of the people in Gaza.There is another rally here this coming Friday.I am ashamed that the Canadian gov. supports the aggressor and mass murderer,israel.
    The world Court in the Hague is not doing its job.The Israeli gov.should be condemned and charged with war crimes against the People of Gaza.The western govs.are complicit in these war crimes by Israel because of its support for this barbaric state
    There are some good govs. that support the People of Gaza like the govs. of Cuba,Venezuela and Bolivia.On august 7th here in Vancouver the Venezuelan Consulate is having an event to remember Hugo Chavez. They are inviting a well known Palestinian here,Hanna Kawas to speak at the event.The United Nations should be doing more to condemn Israel.Israel is the cause of this atrocity and no one else.

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