siege on Gaza

Israel, with Egyptian and western complicity, has waged a strangling siege on Gaza, keeping borders mostly closed and aid and the necessities of life banned from Gaza since Hamas was democratically elected in 2006. In the past year, the siege has grown more voracious, and coupled with Israel’s war on Gaza and its ongoing random attacks from air, land and sea, has devastated every sector of life in Gaza: healthcare, the economy, education…

Israel a criminal offender at large, UN listing or not

Farah Abu Halima, 3, severely burned by Israeli-fired White Phosphorus, January 4, 2009 (Photo by Eva Bartlett)

*Farah Abu Halima, 3, severely burned by Israeli-fired White Phosphorus, January 4, 2009 (Photo by Eva Bartlett)

Jun 5, 2015,

-by Eva Bartlett

Reports have come out that the UN was considering adding Israel to the list of “grave violations against children in armed conflict.” As detailed below, Israeli army and Israel’s state policies are systematically violent against Palestinian children.

A recent Independent article noted that [Special Envoy for Children and Armed Conflict Leila] “Zerrougui’s draft report cited IDF attacks on schools and hospitals during the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip…”

Even though the UN has historically not taken strong action against any of Israel’s war crimes over the decades, let alone those specifically against Palestinian children, Israel has reportedly exerted pressure to be de-listed from the draft list, with seeming success.

The Independent wrote, “UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, however, is said to be leaning towards not including Israel in the list, amid what several diplomatic sources anonymously said was intense lobbying from Israel.”

Apparently, Israel thinks such call for its joining the list is “a heinous and hypocritical attempt to besmirch the image of Israel and it is doomed to fail,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon reportedly said.

In fact, the UN should have listed Israel from at least 2009 when, as the UN website notes, “the Security Council decided to also list armed forces and groups who kill and maim children, commit sexual violence against children, and attack schools and hospitals.”

Does Israel violate the six areas detailed? Five out of six, most definitely:

– Killing or maiming of children; [See below]

Eric Draitser: “Baltimore and Beyond: The Politics of ‘Looting’ and ‘Violence’”

May 1, 2015, Counter Punch

Television screens throughout the US, and around the world, have broadcast in recent days images of Baltimore in crisis: young people of color on the streets clashing with police, protesters marching peacefully shoulder to shoulder, and a relatively small number of city residents taking food, toiletries, and consumer goods from stores. Naturally, the forces of political reaction both in the media and society at large have attempted to isolate these incidents – ‘looting’ they call it – in order to demonstrate the purported savagery and lawlessness of people and communities of color.

“You see?” the racist narrative goes, “They have no respect for property or the law,” or some such variation on this theme. However, as should be expected, the political and media establishment demonstrate an incredible degree of hypocrisy in portraying the events in such a manner. For while in 2015 media outlets such as the allegedly center-left MSNBC and CNN, and the unabashedly right wing FOX News, propagate a shamelessly racist narrative of “thugs” and “criminals” on the streets of Baltimore or Ferguson, these same media outlets almost without exception worked hand in hand with the Bush administration to justify similar actions in Iraq. So too have the media been complicit in presenting biased narratives of US wars in places like Libya and Syria where the media parroted Washington’s talking points to justify and/or condemn whichever actions were politically expedient at the time.

Examining the issue further, the questions of power and “otherness” are also unavoidable. When the powerless and marginalized – those who are not deemed worthy by the establishment – engage in such actions, they are described as violent thugs. When the powerful engage in far worse actions, they are deemed righteous. Whether it is the looting of cultural artifacts by British and French imperialists in Africa, the wholesale slaughter of indigenous peoples by American settlers, or the wholesale plunder and exploitation of entire continents, such actions are somehow justified by their historical context and role in modern social and cultural formation.

UN predictions fall short: Gaza uninhabitable today

The coastal road bridge linking central Gaza to Gaza City, targeted again in Nov 2012. Photo by Eva Bartlett

Dec 21, 2014, RT Op-Edge

-By Eva Bartlett

*edited slightly from original

Five months ago the world watched in horror as the bully of the Middle East, the racist, colonial settler state of so-called israel, launched the most brutal massacre on the Palestinians of Gaza since the Nakba (perhaps more brutal, Palestinian friends in Gaza have said).

Lasting over twice as long as the 2008-09 war on Gaza (formerly the most-brutal massacre since the Nakba), and killing over 800 more Palestinians than in the attack six years ago, the July-August 51-day offensive killed 2,131 Palestinians and injured over 11,000, and destroyed tens of thousands of homes, buildings, businesses, hospitals, Gaza’s only power plant and other key components of Gaza’s infrastructure.

Palestinian and foreign activists and journalists within the 40 kilometer-long strip of open-air prison tweeted and live-streamed images more horrific than the best Hollywood productions. Weathered journalists broke down sobbing at the sight of Palestinian civilians, especially children being targeted like prey by one of the world’s most wickedly powerful armies and navies. Doctors who have seen the mutilated corpses and scarcely-living bodies of Palestinian elderly, men, women and children many times before were yet still appalled by the brutality of these latest attacks.

Worldwide, protesters, journalists of integrity called the bombardment of Gaza genocidal (as israeli officials and politicians called for genocide). One of the most shocking of many images was that of 4-year-old Saher Abu Namous‘s half blown-off head, his father cradling him and wailing. Entire families were murdered in this latest israeli offensive. Not for the first time, the israeli army bombed schools hosting internally displaced, hospitals (including a rehabilitation hospital for disabled and invalid), and entire neighborhoods.

As with prior military operations, the israelis in 2014 targeted water and sewage lines, electricity networks, hospitals, primary health centers, ambulances and medics, bridges and major roads, key governmental buildings, schools and universities.They went further and attacked water, electricity and sanitation personnel, killing at least 14, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted. The resulting electricity, water and sanitation crises are such that until November, power was out 18 hours a day, and just 10 percent of the 1.8 million Palestinians get water once a day (for a matter of hours). As of mid-November, Oxfam reported, power cuts were 12 hours per day in some areas.

While the bombs rained down, some iIsraelis pulled up seats to watch the bloodshed, as 21st Century Wire noted: “Old sofas, garden chairs, battered car seats and upturned crates provide seating for the spectators. …Some bring bottles of beer or soft drinks and snacks. …Nearly all hold up smartphones to record the explosions or to pose grinning, perhaps with thumbs up, for selfies against a backdrop of black smoke.”

The israeli army used the same banned weapons on Palestinians this summer that they’ve used in the past two massacres, as well as “armour piercing bombs” which have “high explosive capabilities” and were used on Palestinian homes. Weapons-seekers flocked to israel after seeing the effects of its weaponry and technology. israel’s weapons industry thrives with each massacre of the Gaza testing ground.

Strangling and starving Gaza

In September 2005, the 8,500 israeli colonists finally, unwillingly left their homes on stolen land. With no Jewish colonists in Gaza, israel has since been free to lock-down all of Gaza and bomb whenever the whim occurs, with no fear of any israeli loss of life. The israelis have waged wars against Gaza every year or two since pulling their colonists out.

Since the June 28, 2006 israeli repeated bombing of Gaza’s sole power plant—destroying all six transformers – Palestinians in Gaza have neither been allowed to import the transformers and materials needed to rehabilitate the plant, nor offered an alternative solution. Through the now-destroyed tunnels, Palestinians did import smaller transformers and got the power plant hobbling again, but never to full capacity.

Convening for Palestine

Delegate Feroze Mithibowala at the conference.

Delegate Feroze Mithiborwala at the conference.

December 8, 2014, Crescent-online

Beirut, Eva Bartlett:
As the Zionist state increasingly and openly reveals its criminal, genocidal nature, more and more citizens from around the world are waking up and standing in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice. Activists, academics, journalists, unions and ordinary people are confronting the lies of Zionist propaganda, rendering the Zionist narrative weak and its genocidal, colonial agenda opaque.

Rather than leaving the issues of justice, the return of Palestinian refugees, the release of Palestinian Political Prisoners from Zionist jails, the Palestinian just struggle for sovereignty, and ending the siege on the Palestinians of Gaza to institutions and governments, Palestinians and supporters take matters into their own hands, among other actions organizing conferences to share strategies and successes and build networks.

Over 80 delegates from around the world attended the Second “Global Convention of Solidarity With Palestine” in Beirut for two days of discussions (December 1-3), including delegates from Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Senegal, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, North America, Britain, Europe, Russia, Iran, among other nations. Notably, delegates from Gaza under siege and other areas of occupied Palestine were unable to make it to the conference due to the Zionist, and sadly the Egyptian, control of border crossings.

Special focus was put on the Zionists’ summer massacre of Gaza and on the ongoing assaults on Palestinians in al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the openly-admitted intent to Judaize Jerusalem and all of occupied Palestine.

“Two hundred thousand people came out to demonstrations to support Gaza. That’s even more than when Mandela was released,” said South African delegate Firoz Osman, of Media Review Network.

Mads Gilbert: “I saw beheaded children in Gaza, I have pictures… what we see in Gaza, is by definition pure state terrorism.”

When he shares stories of Gaza, ‘the Palestinians change from being terrorists to being humans’, Gilbert says [AP]
Dec 7, 2014, Al Jazeera

[not endorsing Al Jazeera, but Mads Gilbert’s words deserve to be heard]

When called to return to Gaza to help out in al-Shifa hospital, doctor Mads Gilbert was denied access with valid papers. 

Gilbert told Al Jazeera that he was turned away at the Erez border crossing after Israeli authorities deemed him a “security risk”. After asking for an explanation, Gilbert was threatened with arrest.

Al Jazeera: Did you just get a note from the Israelis saying you are no longer allowed to come back?

Mads Gilbert: No, actually, I had been in Gaza in June for three weeks on an assignment for the UN and they had applied for a multiple entry visa for me, which I got from the Israeli army. It was a multiple entry visa valid until the 11th of November. So I went in on that to do the job for the UN, stayed for three weeks, wrote up the report and went home to Tromso in Norway to pick up my call in the helicopter.

It is a week-long call. While I was on call in my helicopter, the bombing started. I went back to Amman over the Allenby Bridge to Erez. I showed my papers in the guard house, and he called up and he said ‘you are not allowed in’. I told him that my papers are valid and he said ‘no, we have a security problem with you and I can’t tell you what’.

So I called the commander at Erez and he was very cross and he said ‘we have orders from the higher authority of security and we have a security problem with you’, so I asked if they can tell me what the problem is and he said, ‘it’s none of your business and if you don’t leave the premises we will call the police, I will arrest you’.

So I called my ambassador and I called Tel Aviv. My diplomatic missions there and my minister of foreign affairs called them and they said ‘there is no way he is getting in’.

So I returned to Norway and the Norwegian authorities, my minister for foreign affairs, formally inquired and asked why and they only get the response that there is a security issue from Shin Bet Mossad.

Interestingly, the minister for foreign affairs has been protesting this denial of entry formally; they do not accept it. They have asked Israelis to reverse this denial, citing that it is inconceivable and unacceptable that humanitarian staff should not be allowed in to support Palestinians in a difficult situation on the medical side.

AJ: What do you think the reason is for them not letting you in?

MG: I think the truth is the security risk because when I, as a white medical doctor with blue eyes and white hair, tell the real story of the realities in the sharp end of the Israeli attacks, the Palestinians change from being terrorists to being humans, the numbers change from being numbers to being people, and the children appear as yours and my children.

So when I write my articles and when I do my research, and when I publish in The Lancet and when I write my books, this is actually a danger to the Israeli narrative and, in a way, the global reputation of Israel, which is partially falling apart now.

The Broken Sparrows of Palestine

IMG_20141104_083919Abdul Rahman Abu Oida, pastels, by Ahmad Barqawi



By Eva Bartlett, Nov 4, 2014, Crescent International

A teen who loved strawberries, adored children far more…A paraplegic young man with soulful eyes, deaf ears and unfulfilled dreams of being a father…A martyr.

This is the story of Broken Sparrow, one of tens of thousands of Palestinians killed by Zionist colonizers; one of 9,100 Palestinians killed since 2000; one of at least 2,053 Palestinian children killed since 2000 (including at least 527 Palestinian children killed in the July/August Zionist genocide of Gaza); one of many Palestinians I’ve known and mourned.

Broken Sparrow wasn’t always broken, wasn’t born that way. To the contrary, he was once a thriving teen who, like a great majority of his Palestinian brothers and sisters, played football, also lifted weights, and lived as normal a life as one could under the brutal, continually-expanding rule of foreign occupiers. His family were just slightly better off than the 80 percent of nearly 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza who depend on paltry food aid for their malnourished existence. They are not wealthy, but had a proper, rain-proof home and simple but nourishing meals.

Before he was broken, he was Abdul Rahman. Abed.

In the February/March 2008 Zionist massacre of Gaza, in which 16 year old Abed Abu Oida was targeted with a Zionist sniper’s bullet to the spine, at least 114 Palestinians were killed (including 27 children, among whom were 2 infants), and another 154 Palestinian civilians were injured (including 56 children). The majority of those injured, murdered, were in Abed’s northeastern Gaza region, eastern Jabaliya, in a 24 hour period.

Some of the murdered children included four boys (ages 9 to 12) playing football, killed instantly by a targeted Zionist missile strike. Six years later, another four boys (ages 9 to 11) from the Bakr family would be murdered in the exact same fashion, the missiles which hunted them down on Gaza City’s small beach fired by a Zionist gunboat.

In the February/March 2008 bombardment of Gaza, another youth was sniped—to death—while in her family home. PCHR reported:

Twelve year old Safaa Ra’ed Ali Abu-Saif …bled to death after being hit by a single bullet on 1 March, 2008. ‘There was a hole in her chest’ said Ali Abu-Saif. ‘The bullet had entered her left side and exited through her back.’ Safaa had gone upstairs to ask her uncle and aunt to come downstairs with their children for their own safety. Ra’ed and Ali Abu-Saif carried Safaa downstairs, and their neighbours called an ambulance. The neighbours then rang the Abu-Saif family, and told them the ambulance could not come to their house because Palestinian ambulances were being attacked by Israeli tanks.”

Abed’s injury also occurred at his home, the day after Safaa was targeted and murdered.

On the family’s roof, checking the water tank to see why the family suddenly had no water, Abed was shot in the spine by a sniper in the “world’s most moral army” hiding on another rooftop. The bullet destroyed three vertebrae; the shot left Abed paralyzed in a puddle of his own blood until his 13 year old brother 15 minutes later found him and dragged him downstairs. As with Safaa’s case, as with most cases, ambulances were prevented from accessing the area. Abed lay untreated for three hours before he reached a hospital in Gaza City.

At first it seemed that Abed had been lucky: he survived the Zionist sniper’s bullet to his spine; he was sent for care in Egypt while the attacks continued on Gaza.

But when months later I met Abed in a Cairo hospital, he was near-deathly emaciated, with appallingly large bedsores on his backside and feet. These festering bedsores—a result of the poor care he was given in the various Cairo hospitals he was shifted to—would be the cause of other ailments which plagued him and eventually caused his death. Isolated from his family who could not get Egypt’s permission to exit Gaza to be with their paralyzed son, Abed began to succumb to his injury.

some news from Palestine

Gaza’s Dream[VIDEO]:


Press TV, Israel ignoring health conditions of Palestinian inmates:

“The Tel Aviv regime is turning a blind eye to the deteriorating health conditions of about 1,500 sick Palestinians behind bars in Israeli prisons.

Figures show around 100 of the Palestinian inmates with health problems have been diagnosed with cancer and chronic diseases and are in need of immediate care.

Human rights organizations have called on Israel to immediately release the Palestinian inmates diagnosed with serious illnesses.

“Any one visiting the Israeli hospitals, where sick Palestinian prisoners are kept, discovers that the jails might be better. We have always believed that the appropriate solution to treat the prisoners is through releasing them,” said Tayseer al-Ali, with the Palestinian Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights.

Reports say over 7,000 Palestinians are being held in Israeli jails. Approximately 2,000 of the Palestinian prisoners have been arrested over the past few months.

On September 26, the Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies said Israel was holding 540 Palestinians without trial, showing an increase in the number of these cases over the past six years.”


Sam Bahour, Why must Gaza wait in the dark?:

“When I asked my colleague in Gaza about her biggest dream, her answer made an impression on me: “I dream of what life would be like with 24-hour electricity.” CONTINUE READING