“Imagine losing your mom, And your dad, And your siblings. Oh, And your relatives. Oh wait, there is more, And your neighbors. If you were lucky to survive this, your whole life that you once knew has ended. Maybe those who survive are unlucky. I don’t know. Imagine waking up to find your whole family dead, your house was destroyed, even your neighbors and relatives are no longer there. Would you say: Thank god I am alive?
172+ Palestinians killed, 1150+ injured, 2500+ Israeli attacks on Gaza (360 square meter of a highly populated strip), nearly 750 houses\mosques bombed, destroyed or severely damaged. Houses. Mosques. Medics. Hospitals. Ambulance centers. Cemeteries. Farmlands. Coastline. Shore. Boats. Cars. Motorbikes. Buses. Residential areas. Banks. Schools. Colleges. Universities. And pretty much everything. Depressing huh? Well, that’s what we are going through. According to UNRWA, an estimation of about 70% of the fatalities are civilians, from which 30% of them are children. I think the percentages are even higher. Don’t believe me? Google UNRWA and Chris Gunness.”
“Incursions in the past were not as bad. This time, most of the injuries fall into one of two categories: first, there are injuries which are the direct result of missiles; these are often very severe, body parts ripped apart. The other category consists of injuries which result from rubble falling down on people: broken ribs and so forth. They [the Israeli army] bombard houses, so there are those who have their walls collapse over their bodies [long silence] and so on.”
I asked him whether there are many women and children in the hospital.
“Yes, a lot,” he said. “I mean, many women, but many more children. They [the Israelis] are probably blind.”
What about amputations?
“A lot. I am sure you’ve seen the pictures. There are so many children whose limbs we had to amputate. There’s a child who came with his belly ripped and legs already gone.”
“In past wars, the border crossing [with Egypt] was opened and they [the Egyptians] allowed many causalities to be transferred to Egypt. This time, only ten were allowed.”
“What we are really running out of is sutures, antiseptics, gauze, antibiotics, basically supplies we exhaust in surgeries, supplies that cannot be reused…”
“In the past [Cast Lead and Pillar of Defense],” Dad complained, “delegations used to visit Gaza all the time. They brought all we needed and there was no shortage. Today, no one is allowed to come. I do not know what on Earth Egypt is thinking.”
When Ehud Barak acknowledged that he was out to kill Hamas gunmen, for once an Israeli government official told it like it is. He acknowledged that rocket fire was an expected result. The purpose of the 2008-2009 onslaught he directed was certainly not to stop rocket fire. Rocket fire was stopped before the assault on Gaza began. When the killing was done Israeli government officials agreed to a new cease fire, and that stopped the rocket fire the killing had produced.
The next major onslaught on Gaza was in November 2012. On average, 105 rockets struck Israel each day during the Israeli government’s 8 day attack (845 rockets hit Israel total). The cease fire that followed was superbly effective. The number of rockets went to zero for months after the cease fire that ended that onslaught went into effect–despite occasional shootings of Palestinian farmers and fishermen by Israeli forces.
Now in July 2014, on average 108 rockets have hit Israel each day during the first 7 days of the Israeli Government’s current attack on Gaza (754 rockets have hit Israel from July 7 to July 14). This daily rate is 1600 times higher than the rate at which rockets were hitting Israel in May, just two months ago. That nearly rocket-free month was just before Israeli forces launched their three-week long raids on the West Bank in retaliation for the June 12 kidnapping of three settler teens. Then came the Israeli government’s escalation on July 7 when its forces killed 6 Hamas members in a tunnel in Gaza.
So much for the idea that the Israeli government’s assaults on Gaza stop rocket fire.
Certainly, the Israeli government does have a strong hand on the dial that controls the rocket fire. But it does not work as Israeli spokesman advertise. The facts show that the Israeli government dials up rocket fire by attacking Hamas members in the West Bank and Gaza and by bombing Gaza. The Israeli Government has shown that it can also dial down rocket fire: by observing a cease fire. If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu means what he said Sunday about using ‘any means necessary’ to stop Hamas rocket fire, he knows what works: stop the assault on Gaza.
The facts do not just pose a public relations problem and a credibility problem for Israeli officials. They also pose a legal problem. The facts about rocket fire published on its own web site mean that the Israeli government cannot rely on self-defense to legally justify any part of its onslaughts.
If not to stop rockets, what could the motive for these onslaughts be? One realistic possibility is that the purpose of the onslaughts is to do exactly what the massive attacks on Gaza did do and are doing to Gaza, its families, and their property.
surprisingly, snippets of honesty from the UN: Commissioner-General Press Briefing on the Situation in Gaza Strip
“I am deeply alarmed and affected by the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip and the devastating human and physical toll it is taking on civilians, including Palestine refugees. The casualty numbers are now said to lie at 174 killed and over 1,100 wounded. All indications are -and I find this particulary dramatic – that women and children make up a sizable number of victims of the current strikes. I am equally disturbed that people with disabilities are among the victims, reportedly as a result of Israeli strikes.
…never will even the most impressive television footage properly capture the depth of fear and despair felt in the homes and hearts of Gazans who are yet again facing death, devastation and displacement. Thousands of parents today have no more answers to give to their young children when they are asked why their houses are shaking or breaking under the weight and relentless force of the bombardments.
The dead and injured in Gaza are not anonymous. Behind the figures lie multiple individual destinies now torn apart. Too often in their lives have Gazan civilians been denied their dignity. Anonymity in death or injury is the ultimate denial. It is also too comfortable for the world and the parties engaged in the hostilities. Palestinians are not statistics and we must never allow them to be treated as such. They are human beings like others in the world, with their identity and the same hopes and expectations for an improved future for their children.
In this context, I urgently call on the Israeli Security Forces to put an end to attacks against, or endangering, civilians and civilian infrastructure which are contrary to international humanitarian law. In Gaza, risks are compounded by the very high population density. Maximum restraint must be exercised and measures of distinction, proportionality and precaution must be respected to avoid further casualties and overall destabilization. Clearly at this stage not enough is being done in that regard. Too many lives are being lost and this must end. If calm is not quickly restored, the casualty levels will become even more intolerable and unacceptable.
In the past hours, as a direct result of military operations, approximately 17,000 refugees have sought refuge in our 20 schools, some being displaced to the very same classrooms for the third time in five years. Let me recall that, during the Gaza fighting in 2008/9 over 50,000 people took sanctuary in UNRWA installations. People who came to UNRWA installations because they thought they could find safety and security were killed. In one incident, the UNRWA compound in Gaza where hundreds had taken refuge took a direct hit and the main UNRWA warehouse was burnt to the ground.
Worryingly, already 47 of our premises, whether schools, clinics or warehouses have been damaged by the air raids and other fire. The inviolability of our installations and premises must be respected, in accordance with international law.
Israel’s illegal blockade has deepened poverty levels and youth or female unemployment levels (at 65% and over 80% respectively). Gaza’s aquifer will have been entirely contaminated in the next three to four years making the strip essentially unlivable. But today, these indicators pale in comparison to the intensity of the bombardments and the fears for security and survival.
… the conditions for Gaza’s population will only deteriorate further as a result.”
Israeli war jets continued firing missiles at the Gaza Strip Monday on the seventh day of its relentless assault that has killed 176 Palestinians and injured nearly 1,300.
In the latest strikes on Gaza, a 37-year-old was killed when a missile struck a group of men near the southern city of Khan Younis, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.
A 60-year-old man was killed in a raid on a house in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, and two other people died in separate strikes elsewhere in the coastal enclave, Qudra said, without giving details.
Earlier, a man and a woman injured in air strikes on Sunday died of their injuries, he said, raising to six the number of lives lost on Monday as a result of the ongoing air campaign.
So far, more than 1,280 have been wounded.
The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said on Sunday that more than three-quarters of the victims were civilians.
“Justified Vengeance”, The Pretext for Bombing Gaza: Was the Netanyahu Government behind the Killings of the Three Israeli Teenagers?:
‘Operation Protective Edge (OPE) directed against Gaza is reminiscent of the infamous 2001 Dagan Plan entitled “Operation Justified Vengeance” in which the deaths of innocent Israeli civilians had been envisaged and foreseen by IDF military planners.
The deaths are then used to muster the support of the Israeli public as well as provide a justification for a “legitimate” counter-terrorism operation in the eyes of the international community directed against the Palestinian occupied territories.
Contrived behind closed doors in July 2001, the Dagan Plan (named after Mossad chief Meir Dagan) was slated by its IDF and Mossad architects to be “launched immediately following the next high-casualty suicide bombing, would last about a month and is expected to result in the death of hundreds of Israelis and thousands of Palestinians.” (See Ellis Shuman, “Operation Justified Vengeance”: a Secret Plan to Destroy the Palestinian Authority, Intelligence Ploy behind the “Suicide bombings”, Global Research, February 01, 2006)
‘Operation Protective Edge (OPE) directed against Gaza was planned well in advance of the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teenagers. Prime Minister Netanyahu has called up 40,000 reservists. In the wake of the shelling and bombing raids, a major ground operation scenario is envisaged.
Moreover, similar to the logic of the Dagan Plan, the head of Israeli intelligence (Mossad) had “predicted” the kidnapping of the three teenagers. Under the title Mossad chief’s chillingly prescient kidnap prophecy, Haaretz confirms that
“Mossad chief Tamir Pardo had “outlined a scenario that was spookily [sic] similar to the kidnapping of three teens missing in the West Bank” (Haaretz, July 13, 2014, emphasis added)
Israeli civilian deaths are blamed on Hamas without evidence to justify military action against Gaza. The ultimate objective of “Operation Protective Edge” is to break the institutional base of the Hamas leadership and destroy Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, with a view to eventually carrying out the annexation of the Gaza Strip to Israel. As of July 13, Israel is reported to have struck 1,320 sites within Gaza, resulting in 167 deaths and more than 1,000 injured (Mannam News, July 13, 2014)
Israeli press reports intimate that the three teenagers could have been executed by the Al Qaeda affiliated jihadist entity the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) which just so happens to be supported “covertly” as well “overtly” by the State of Israel.
Under the title Jihadist group takes credit for teens’ killings, the Times of Israel confirms that:
A new Palestinian jihadist group pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIL) has claimed responsibility for the killing of three Israeli teenagers last month in the West Bank, … as well as other recent deadly attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians…..
The actions were carried out in honor of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed “caliph” of the Islamic State, the reincarnation of the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIL)declared last month, the statement said.”(Times of Israel, July 3, 2014)
The ISIL (renamed the Islamic State) (see image) constitutes the main Al Qaeda rebel fighting force in Syria directed against the government of Bashar Al Assad. More recently, ISIL brigades have entered Iraq, confronting government forces.
While ISIL is an Al Qaeda affiliated entity funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, retribution by Israel for the deaths of the teenagers was directed against Gaza rather than Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.
The supportive role of the US and Israel to the Al Qaeda affiliated entity is not limited to the realm of covert operations. The Israeli military (IDF) is supporting the jihadist entity out of the occupied Golan Heights. Moreover, amply documented, there are Western and well Israeli Special Forces within ISIL rebel ranks.
In March, an Austrian military officer of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the occupied Golan Heights “confirmed that Israel has provided large-scale logistical and military support to the [ISIL and Al Nusrah] terrorists and rebels in different parts of Syria”
The UNDOF official confirmed the existence of “a joint operation room” between Israel and the Al Qaeda rebels pertaining to “the delivery of [Israeli] assistance to the terrorists.”
This assistance is not limited to logistics:
“According to the Israeli Channel 1 television, ‘security sources’ informed of a new missile system named ‘Mitar’, established in Golan for giving backup coverage to anti-Syria militant groups.
The system includes middle-range and long-range missiles, according to the report.” (Al Alam May 3, 2014 emphasis added)
An IDF military hospital in the occupied Golan Heights was established to treat wounded Al Qaeda rebels.
Netanyau does not deny his government’s support of the jihadists. The IDF top brass tacitly acknowledged that “global jihad elements inside Syria” are supported by Israel:
Netanyahu toured the Golan Heights with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz.
At a lookout point overlooking the Syrian border, OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan briefed Netanyahu on the presence of global jihad elements inside Syria, as well as on the work being done to fortify the Israeli-Syrian border fence. (Ibid)
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Shakes Hand with an Al Qaeda Terrorist
Is the wounded terrorist an Israeli intelligence asset? In the image below:
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon next to a wounded mercenary, Israeli military field hospital at the occupied Golan Heights’ border with Syria, 18 February 2014″ (ibid, emphasis added)
Who killed the three Israeli teenagers?
Ironically, the same jihadist group which is reported to have kidnapped and killed the three teenagers is supported by Israel’s IDF out of the occupied Golan Heights.
A mere coincidence.”
“The numbers don’t do justice to the appalling carnage. By Monday, over northern Gaza, after Israel warned residents to leave the area to avoid airstrikes, at least 167 people were killed – the majority of them women, children and elderly civilians, 30 by Israeli rockets – and over 1,000 injured. Two hundred houses, not military installations, were totally destroyed and over 1,500 houses partially damaged.Compare it to zero deaths in Israel. An IDF spokesperson gruesomely boasted that Gaza – a de facto slum/concentration camp – was being bombed every 4 1/2 minutes.
Each homemade rocket fired by the Palestinians cost less than $1,000. Meanwhile, a single Israeli Iron Dome missile supposed to intercept them costs up to $100,000 (without including the launching and control systems). On top of this, since Thursday a ground invasion has been dubbed “imminent.”
That Bibi is able to get away with this is all the Arab street – and most of the Global South – needs to know about America’s battleship/aircraft carrier in the Middle East. What most people don’t know about is those 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, worth at least $4 billion, discovered 14 years ago off the Gaza coast.
It’s easy to forget that at the time of Israel’s previous invasion of Gaza – Operation Cast Lead – gas fields in Palestine were outright confiscated by Israel. This “operation” was already an energy war, as Nafeez Ahmed analyzed here.
Then there is the Bigger Picture – the 122 trillion cubic feet of gas plus the potential 1.6 billion barrels of oil in the Levant Basin spread over the territorial waters of Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus and – of course – Gaza. These waters are as incandescently disputed as rocks and shoals in the South China Sea. Needless to say, Tel Aviv wants it all.
The way Gaza is kept as a concentration camp, subjected to non-stop collective punishment, may be revolting enough. But then it must be added the key economic component: by all available means Gazans must be prevented from accessing the Marine-1 and Marine-2 gas fields. These will be gobbled up by Israel. From every angle, and for all practical purposes, Israel lords over all Palestinian natural resources – land, water and energy.
So here’s the “secret” of Operation Protect the Zionists, sorry, Protective Edge: without smashing Hamas, which controls Gaza, Israel cannot drill off the Gaza coast. For Bibi as well as the Knesset, the possibility that the Palestinians could have access to their own gas-generated wealth is an absolute red line….”
As the death toll from Israel’s savage bombardment of Gaza continues to climb, Israel has once again turned to students to sell the slaughter online.
“Although they haven’t been called up to the army yet, they’ve decided to enlist in a civilian mission that is no less important – Israeli propaganda [hasbara],” Ynet’s Hebrew edition reported about a massive initiative organized by the Israeli student union branch at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC Herzliya), a prestigious private university.
A video accompanying the Ynet report shows rows of students beavering away at computers in a hall with a sign on its door saying “Advocacy Room” in English. In Hebrew, it says “Hasbara war room.”
…the National Union of Israeli Students, of which the IDC Herzliya student union is an affiliate, has a history of working on government-funded propaganda schemes, where students are recruited as the country’s “pretty face.”
Last year a “covert” Israeli government initiative came to light which planned to pay students for spreading propaganda online.
“The whole point of such efforts is to look like they are unofficial, just every day people chatting online,” Israel expert Dena Shunra told The Electronic Intifada.
“But in fact, these are campaigns of organized lying, orchestrated with government-approved talking points and crowdsourced volunteers and stipend recipients,” Shunra added.
According to Ynet, “The war room was opened in the afternoon of the first day of Operation Protective Edge,” one week ago, by the IDC Herzliya student union, and currently has more than 400 volunteers active in it, all students at the institution.
From the very useful website Voices of Gaza:
The Palestinian people killed in attacks on Gaza are not ‘numbers’, their homes are not ‘targeted infrastructures’, and their experiences are not comparable to the experiences of Israelis. However, Palestinians casualties are often reduced to statistics, and their destroyed homes are called ‘targets’. They live in one of the most densely-populated areas in the world, and are subject to the frequent threat of heavy shelling, without any air raid signals, basements or safe haven. Yet, their situation is often compared to that of Israelis, who are protected by an ‘Iron Dome’, air raid alarms and bomb shelters. Although living through the same conflict, the daily realities of people in the Gaza Strip and Israel are far from the same.
Some highlights from Voices Of Gaza website:
“this is just an intensification of the occupation by the oppressor, against a free people who simply want to live in peace and harmony, and to live happily in beautiful Gaza.” —Anas Hamra
“I don’t know what to say about what is happening in Gaza. Collective massacres, where children and women make up most of the injured and dead, and during the holy month of Ramadan. I have stopped trying to find logical answers for the repeated questions of my children. The same stories over and over again, the same scenarios over and over again, and Gaza is the only party blamed in all of this. The pain I have experienced with the sound of every missile coming in is unbearable. The fear in the eyes of my children is heartbreaking to see. But with every rising of the sun, there is always hope that this war will end soon, and that the children of Gaza will be given the chance to live normally and peacefully…”–Taher and Najwa El-Assar, Nuseirat refugee camp
“Yousef Al Kilani is nine years old. This is the third war he experiences. He lives in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, together with his sister, brother, and parents. On the second day of ‘Operation Protective Edge’ his family had to flee their home due to the intense bombing in the area. His uncle’s home was completely destroyed in one of the attacks. Yousef and his family are now staying with his aunt and her family in Gaza city. His niece, Gege, says: “It is better to all be together, and to look after each other. We sleep in the hallway of the house, away from the outside walls, to minimize the chance of getting hurt by bombings. There is no safe place in Gaza.””
“This was not the first time that someone had spoken as if he or she was going to die because of the war and started telling everyone that they love him and asking everyone to forgive them. BUT NOT RUBA!!! NOT RUBA!!! Ruba is nothing but a symbol of energy, love and life. The first thing that you will notice about her when you meet her for the first time is how full of life she is. Whenever there is an activity , she will be the first to participate. If there is a project to help others, Ruba is one of the people who MUST be there. It is unusual to see her just sitting, she always moves, jumps and create chaos (a lovely one) wherever she goes.
Ruba: “I had a dream, a horrible one, that I will die because of the bombing. The good news is that a friend of mine told me that when someone is about to die, they do not feel it.” On the very same night, Ruba’s neighbourhood was bombed! Three missiles fell on her neighbours’ house. Four people died. Luckily, Ruba and her family are still alive. As the first two missiles fell, she and her brother hid under the stairs. Then, while they were running out of the house, they saw the third missile falling. They spent the night in the street, not knowing where to go.
I spoke with her this morning, and the vibrancy in her voice was gone. All that was left was a weak , almost dead voice.
“Where are you now?” I asked. “ We went back to our home. There is no other place to go. The problem is that we are the ONLY people in the whole street who went back.” Ruba, at 15 years of age, considers herself an adult, not knowing that she is still child who has the right to have a peaceful life and enjoy her right to discover who she is and to chase her dreams.
—Ziad Bakri, Language Teacher, Tel el Howa
“Three year old Amal describes the bombings that take place around her family home. Several hours of the recording of the video, the family had to flee their home.
“The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) will not be attending this year’s government iftars and calls upon members of the Arab and Muslim communities to join us in the boycott, including tonight’s White House Iftar hosted by President Barack Obama, given the government’s condoning of the current slaughter of Palestinians in Palestine and the spying of American Arabs and Muslims domestically.
In the government’s silence, Israel is committing a massacre in Palestine with the possibility of an all-out ground assault.
Our American tax dollars have contributed to over 100 civilian casualties as of Monday morning, of which 70% are estimated by the United Nations to be women and children. This deplorable situation, brought on by Israel’s U.S.-sanctioned illegal occupation of Palestine, has received no direct action from President Obama. Yet, as this humanitarian crisis continues abroad, we do not believe it is appropriate to attend iftar dinners sponsored by government agencies while lives are being lost.
Political engagement is important and having a seat at the table is crucial — but only when that seat is intended to amplify our voice as a community, not tokenize or subdue it.
In lieu of this year’s government iftars, ADC asks that senior officials take immediate steps to end Israel’s current military operation in Palestine and abolish the problematic practices of the NSA regarding the illegal surveillance of our community.”