A smashed sewing machine is one of the few things that Muhammad al-Madhoun has been able to retrieve from his workshop.He and his staff used to design and make clothes in the Shorouq tower. The clothes were sold – along with fashion accessories and cosmetics – in a store within the same building.Al-Madhoun had been hoping to do a brisk trade on 12 May.Eid al-Fitr – a holiday when many people don new clothes and give each other gifts – would begin that evening. In his own words, al-Madhoun wanted to “sell like crazy” as business had been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.“But on 12 May, we got a phone call that made us jump out of our skin,” he said. “We were told that a bunch of missiles would be fired at the building in 10 minutes.”Israel bombed and destroyed the Shorouq tower soon after that call.
“What the Israelis call ‘defense’ is not defense! We need the world to help us defend our families and homes against the occupation,” Ghabayne said. “We have been enduring this siege and occupation for a long time. We just wish that we Palestinians can finally live with a little peace. We don’t want wars, we don’t want occupation, we just want our families to live in a free Palestine.”
Days of Israeli strikes on Gaza and Hamas rocket attacks inside Israel have killed at least 232 Palestinians and 12 Israelis,wounded hundreds more leaving thousands injured and no health system to speak of.
The disproportion of the savage Israeli response to the tiny rockets Hamas has sent over the border can be easily seen when we consider that only a handful of Israelis have had their homes damaged and none have been made homeless. The ratio of Palestinian to Israeli deaths in the current conflict is on the order of 16 to 1. Disproportionate response and deliberately harming civilians are war crimes.
While Israel launched strikes against Gaza last week after Palestinians protested planned evictions in Jerusalem, a group chat of journalists in Canada was lighting up with notifications. They were frustrated with Canadian media coverage that painted the strikes without context and with a glaring absence of Palestinian voices. Some in the group, which included several Muslim journalists, shared frustrating experiences of advocating for nuanced coverage of international issues in their newsrooms. Some asked for advice on how to approach their editors about concerns with coverage, or lack thereof, of what was really going on in the region. So they drafted an open letter. “‘The Middle East is complicated. We need to hear both sides. Everyone has a lot of emotions about this.’ [sic] These are just some of the excuses news editors have provided to Canadian journalists trying to cover the escalating violence against Palestinians,” the letter read. “The lack of nuanced Canadian media coverage of forced expulsions and indiscriminate airstrikes over the last three days, which have so far killed at least 137 Palestinians, including 36 children, has been disappointing.” At the time of publ
At least 109 people were killed in Gaza, including 29 children, over the previous four days, Palestinian medical officials said. On Thursday alone, 52 Palestinians were killed in the enclave, the highest single-day figure since Monday.
The Palestinian health ministry said Monday that Israeli air strikes in Gaza killed nine people including three children—an attack that came the same day Israeli forces raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque and injured hundreds of Palestinians.
So all but a tiny number of Palestinians in Gaza do not take direct part in hostilities toward Israel. Half of the residents of Gaza are children. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz estimates Hamas to have 30,000 activists in its military wing. The smaller Islamic Jihad, which is not affiliated with Hamas and often defies it, is thought to have 6,000 fighters. So there are like 36,000 combatants in Gaza and nearly 2 million noncombatants, i.e. persons who do not take direct part in hostilities.
Police state America and apartheid Israel can never, never be trusted at any time, for any reasons, with no exceptions ever.
Negotiating with them on any issues is an act of futility and self-betrayal.
They operate by their own rules exclusively — extrajudicially, not lawfully, doing whatever they please, blaming victims for high crimes committed against them.
Last weekend, unprovoked Israeli terror-bombing killed and wounded Palestinians in Gaza, others in Damascus.
Terror-bombing Gaza continued for a second day. After both sides agreed to a ceasefire, Israel preemptively resumed terror-bombing.
At least 34 Palestinians were killed, largely civilians, including women and children, over 100 others injured — the latest example of Israeli Nuremberg-level high crimes, unpunished each time committed.
Rockets fired from Gaza at Israel virtually always are in response to Israeli aggression — self-defense when attacked, permitted under international law.
According to figures released by the United Nations this week, since the protests began last March 30th, Israeli forces have shot and killed 195 participants, including 41 children. More than 29,000 protesters were injured or wounded, more than half of them by Israeli gunfire. Some estimate even higher numbers.
Two Gazan journalists have been shot dead by Israeli forces since the Great Return March protests began in March. But journalists in the strip are also up against internal challenges, including censorship and lack of psychological support.
The General Federation of Palestinian Labor Unions reported, on Thursday, that the unemployment rate in the besieged Gaza Strip has doubled since Israel imposed a land, sea and air blockade 12 years ago.
The federation said, in a statement, that while the unemployment rate had reached 27.2% before the blockade, it has now reached 50%, including 283,000 workers considered unemployed in 2018.
The statement added that the poverty rate has reached 80%, indicating critical deterioration in the standard of living and economic performance in the Gaza Strip.
Israel has ordered that fuel deliveries into Gaza be halted, citing violence against Israeli soldiers and citizens by Palestinian protesters. It comes as six Palestinians were reportedly killed in clashes on Friday.
“As Israeli airstrikes persist and the living situation gravely worsens, Palestinians in Gaza are on the brink of a full-blown humanitarian crisis due to Israel’s 10-year siege. Everyday life in besieged Gaza is shaped by Israeli policy.”
According to Haaretz, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) intentionally targeted civilians “with the goal of causing the residents to understand the price of escalation and placing Hamas in a problematic situation.”
While Israeli officials insisted that their large-scale attack on Gaza was in response to Hamas rocket fire, Haaretzreports that it was in fact the Israeli army that sparked the escalation by killing two Palestinians with tank fire, after they allegedly mistook a training exercise for an actual attack.
As Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, put it, the “current Israeli bombardment sequence in Gaza started when the Israeli military killed two Palestinians, lied about why, and later admitted to doing so just as a high level Palestinian delegation was on its way to Cairo to discuss longer term cease-fire.”
For over a year, my friends in Other Voice, comprised of residents of the towns and communities surrounding the Gaza Strip, have been protesting the government’s inability to find a viable solution for our situation. For more than a decade, members of Other Voice have been in touch with people in Gaza, and we believe it is possible to live in peace with our neighbors. Life there is unbearable, and without resolving the crisis in Gaza, our lives will continue to be a living hell.
These are the well-known yet forgotten facts: two million people in Gaza live on the verge of starvation, without running water, with limited hours of electricity a day, with a severe shortage of medicine and medical equipment, with rising unemployment, and massive destruction that has yet to be rehabilitated yet since the last war in 2014.
This is fertile ground for radical organizations that want to recruit hopeless youth in exchange for meager payments to their families. This is fertile ground for further entrenching hate toward Israel, which controls Gaza’s sea, land, and air. It is a fertile ground for the desperation that erupts in protests near the Israel-Gaza fence, where people fly incendiary kites and balloons, and attempt to cross the fence. All of those actions are backed by Hamas as well as various radical organizations.
Activist boat carrying 22 people from 16 different countries in protest against Israel’s decade-long blockade
Israeli warships on Sunday intercepted a Norwegian-flagged activist boat trying to break its more than decade-long blockade of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military and activists said.
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition ship is named Al Awda (The Return) to underline the importance of this long-standing demand of Palestinians for the right to return to the lands they have been expelled from.
Palestinian pupils protest Israel’s blockade in Gaza city in February 2018. Ashraf Amra APA images
A nation ranked the eighth most powerful in the world has tightened the medieval siege it has imposed on a population of mainly refugees, half of them children, for more than a decade.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday that his government would close Gaza’s sole commercial crossing, preventing all exports from and imports to the territory, with the exception, at Israel’s discretion, of food and medicine.
Gaza fishermen, who already contend with Israeli navy fire while earning their bread, are now confined to sailing six nautical miles out to sea, rather than the nine that were permitted by Israel for the season.
The stated reason for the Israeli move is the ongoing rebellion among the two million Palestinians it has effectively imprisoned, in partnership with Egypt, in a densely populated strip of land roughly the size of Chicago.
Anthony Bourdain was the only major American celebrity who succeeded in depicting publicly the Palestinians as rational, caring human beings rather than as irrationally angry “inciters” to violence. He was the anti-Bernard Lewis. Lewis smeared the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims with the charge of “Islamic Rage” (as though large swathes of humankind are angry for no reason).
Bourdain said, “The world has visited many terrible things on the Palestinians, none more shameful than robbing them of their basic humanity.”
The Israel propaganda machine has even attempted to smear Razan al-Najjar, the 21-year-old nurse in Gaza who was shot dead by an Israeli-American sniper as she tended, unarmed and clearly wearing medic’s clothing, to injured Palestinians being shot with live ammunition by Israeli troops on the Gaza side of the border. Shooting Razan was a war crime. Razan was engaged in an act of unselfish bravery. We should all be so “complex.” That attempt to dehumanize one Palestinian is typical of the American and Israeli media in general. I can’t tell you how many “panels” on Palestine I’ve seen on CNN that included no Palestinian; often it was three middle aged males, and sometimes they lacked even religious diversity among them.
Young British Jews are facing a torrent of hatred from their own community for expressing solidarity with Gaza. And yet, more British Jews are struggling to see the values they hold reflected in the Israeli government.
“The occupation directly targets journalists because it finds that the truth is bitter,” photojournalist Ibrahim Zanoun told The Electronic Intifada. Israeli snipers shot Zanoun in the arm while he was covering the march.
“Those who carry cameras with long-focus lenses are especially targeted,” said photojournalist Abdulrahman al-Kahlout, who was shot in the foot with live ammunition. “So that what’s happening on the ground remains hidden.”
Palestine has submitted a formal referral to the International Criminal Court in the Hague over Israeli sniping with live fire at peaceful Gaza protesters this spring, which killed some 60 persons and literally wounded thousands.
Palestine, which is a cautious and timid government, had earlier declined to go to the ICC, in hopes instead of reaching a negotiated settlement. The Trump decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, however, forestalled a negotiated settlement on that issue. Israel’s illegal flooding of its citizens onto Palestinian property in the West Bank and refusal to negotiate any freeze in squatter settlements has also convinced Palestine that the US-Israeli “peace process” is a cover for slow genocide. Ironically, it was Trump’s lack of diplomatic grace that in large part impelled this step.
The UN human rights chief has slammed Israel’s deadly reaction to protests along the Gaza border as “wholly disproportionate”, backing calls for an international investigation.
Opening a special session of the UN Human Rights Council that could set up a commission of inquiry into recent Israeli violence that has resulted in deaths of more than 100 Palestinians in six weeks, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein warned that “killing resulting from the unlawful use of force by an occupying power may also constitute wilful killings, a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
He went on to say that Israel has systematically deprived Palestinians of their human rights, with 1.9 million in Gaza “caged in a toxic slum from birth to death”.
Over 7,000 Palestinians took part in Friday’s demonstrations in five different locations along the Gaza-Israel border. According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, over 43 protesters were wounded, including three critically, in the clashes with Israeli forces. A total of 45 Palestinians have been killed on the border since the march began.
The US State Department doesn’t know whether there are civilians in Gaza or not.
This is terrifying – a new low for a department that may soon be led by CIA director Mike Pompeo – a supporter of torture.
The State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert was questioned by Said Arikat of the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds on 10 April: “Today, the Israeli minister of defense, [Avigdor] Lieberman, said – told The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli newspaper, that there are no civilians in Gaza. Do you have any comment on that?”
In one of the most disturbing responses given in recent memory by a State Department spokesperson, Nauert responded by saying, “I do not. I do not.”
Asked to look into whether there are civilians in Gaza, Nauert responded, “If I have an answer, I will give it to you, certainly.”
For the record, children comprise roughly half of Gaza’s population.
Israel issues the Death Penalty for Civil Disobedience
It is impossible to know what will happen along the border with Gaza in the coming weeks. But one thing is certain: Israel will continue to respond with brutality and arrogance in the face of Palestinian nonviolent civil disobedience.
Salem Muhammad Sabah, 17, and Abdallah Ayman Armelat, 15, were fired on by Israeli soldiers as they approached Gaza’s southeastern boundary with Israel on Saturday night.
Israeli soldiers operate under an apparent shoot-to-kill policy in Gaza’s boundary areas. The exact range of the zone is undeclared but is generally understood to be within 300 meters of the Gaza-Israel boundary.
Israeli forces prevented medical teams from recovering the teens’ bodies until the following morning, according to Al Mezan, a human rights group based in Gaza.
Al Mezan stated that the children “posed no imminent threat of death or serious injury” to soldiers.
Two additional children sustained minor injuries during the same incident.
Politicians from any parliament or government which supports or chooses to ignore the cruelties dished out by the government of Israel should be held accountable.In their defence, such politicians might say they did not know about the extent of the slaughter and destruction in Gaza, the continued stealing of Palestinian homes by settlers in East Jerusalem, more demolitions of houses throughout the West Bank or the destruction of Bedouin camps.