American Resistance To Empire

Israeli Deception and Barbarity

Israeli Deception and Barbarity

By: Peter Chamberlin

Israel has held a unique position among “civilized” nations, in that it has been allowed to control the international debate about itself and its treatment of the controlled Palestinian territories, by forcing diplomats and the Western press to use a special vocabulary of redefined words.  Here is where Israeli “Hasbara,” the official government crafted version of events, comes into play.  Hasbara defines its own “reality,” meant for consumption by the Goy world, intending to give the impression that Israel wants conveyed.

Consider the propaganda effort by the IDF to pass-off an attack video of an Israeli missile striking a truck full of oxygen tanks as militants unloading Qassam rockets.


A video grab released by the Israeli Defence Force and broadcast on Sky News shows an Israeli warplane targeting a truck on December 30, 2008 at an unknown location in the Gaza strip.
Photo: AFP

The Israelis obviously knew that they were watching bottles being rolled out of a flatbed, not winged rockets, yet they thought that Western yokels would be convinced otherwise by their Wall Street PR campaign.  The entire publicity campaign to sell the war which was being planned for six months, as a Zionist war “reaction” to Palestinian “missiles” (missile implies guidance) stinks to high Hasbara!

There is no place on the earth quite like Israel/Palestine among all of  the so-called “democratic nations.”  One half of the state of forced union pretends to be the Western bastion of civilization itself, the very hands of the empire.  The other half of the bi-state is democratic as well, but, for that very reason, it is seen as an outcast, a pariah among nations.  The Palestinian people mistakenly thought that the West would tolerate a true democratic expression there, a forbidden sign of hope in a land defined by the repressed parameters of the “Iron Wall” which contains it.  The election of Hamas was justification for a war of attrition and a campaign of military harassment that was indistinguishable from actual war.

The leaders of the international community accepts Israel’s current invasion of Gaza, even though the citizens of the world overwhelmingly reject it.  World leaders justify the brutal Israeli invasion as a reaction to “barrages” of Palestinian rockets.  They embrace the inflated Israeli claims of danger and terror associated with these homemade over-sized toys as justification for the hi-tech slaughter we see today in Gaza.


The very existence of the Hamas government in Gaza is translated into justification for the blockade of Gaza, the seizing of Palestinian offshore gas deposits, the denial of basic rights, the policies of harassment, the daily beatings, torture and organized attacks.

The international community accepts that Israel has some sort of “free pass” to dehumanize this captive population in this manner, while the “civilized” nations have no right to criticize the “Jewish state,” or to even speak-up on behalf of the abused.  The world dares not question, except in hushed voices, the cruel inhumanity of a people who would use the world’s most advanced offensive weapons upon a civilian population for the sake of stealing their land, while laying claim to the mantle of God Himself.  The world is afraid to face the answer to that question, afraid to find-out that the people we thought of as “the chosen” were no different than other state murderers we had faced in the past.

Israeli war crimes are not really “war crimes” because of this accepted international double standard accorded the state of Israel, oppression is not “oppression,” terrorism is something else entirely.  This double standard permits the practice of behavior that would clearly be labeled as “fascist” or “Nazi-like,” if committed by any other state.  If world leaders ever called Israel to task for its actions, it would be charged with “crimes against humanity” and expelled from the United Nations and all organizations which are based on humanitarianism and the rule of law.

Israeli barbarity and deception should be acknowledged and used as a standard for judging national relations with the Jewish state.  If it is believed that the brutal immorality of the people doing the slaughtering in Gaza is reason enough to question all relations with them then, one-by-one, all alliances with Israel can be challenged by the popular resistance.

As the assault of Gaza becomes a ground offensive, the true nature of the “most moral army in the world” will become more and more apparent.  This offensive is different from previous ones, in that this is to be the final solution to the “Palestinian problem,” meaning that it will not end until the ideas of resistance within the Palestinians are pushed out.  It will continue to grow in area and intensity until Obama takes office, or Hezbollah and Iran take the bait and enter the war to defend the defenseless population.  This rape of Palestine will soon be forgotten in the series of escalations that will surely follow this one.  We are in the beginning days of the impending “testing” that Joe Biden so presciently blurted-out:

“Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy…

we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.”

Just as Americans can be counted on to overlook the Israeli start of this war escalation which began on Nov. 4, election day (before “Hamas broke the ceasefire” with the rockets), with the Israeli invasion of Gaza and the killing of six Palestinians, we can be counted on to forget that Israel started world war III, just as it started the war of terror.  The firing of dozens of homemade rockets into the mostly uninhabited desert, just like the destruction of a couple of American skyscrapers, is not how the war really started.  In truth, both wars began long before the triggering events, in the planning of the war and the planting of militants in key locations, where they could open the floodgates and release the raging apocalypse.

Qassams-Rockets or Missiles?

20020512_clusterrocketfinalpreparation21 NOT a Qassam!

qassam Palestinians or agents provocateurs?

The highly inaccurate unguided projectiles have a maximum range of ten miles, and a maximum payload (at closer range) of 10 kg., approximately 22 pounds.  Sderot is the only sizeable Israeli colonist/”settler” outpost within range.  If Israel had not planted this Jewish colony within eyesight of the Palestinians the rockets would be meaningless.  As it is, the rockets are more a psychotic form of “dialogue” than they are an actual threat to thousands of people.  Ashkelon has been hit by a few of the more efficient rockets, but in reality, it is only within range of Grad and Katyusha  rockets (actual military rockets smuggled in).

_39458525_qassamap2031 _44108479_qassam203getty Most Qassams end-up sticking out of the desert sand.

If they actually strike a man-made object, they usually crumple-up and bounce-off.


The gerry-rigged warheads are very ineffective, carrying insignificant force, when compared to an actual military explosive.

qassam-rocketNotice massive blast craters?

The warhead is composed of a simple metal shell. The explosive is a mixture of Urea Nitrate and TNT in various ratios, depending mostly on the current availability of TNT that is smuggled in or taken from old military warheads. While again the Urea Nitrate is not an ideal explosive, it can be obtained (like the Potassium Nitrate mentioned above) from suppliers of commercial fertilizers. The fuse is a simple device based on an empty small arms cartridge filled with an explosive booster material operating against a spring-loaded nail.


The Seven Nozzle Configuration on A Kassam Rocket

The propellant in these rockets is based on a 60/40 mixture of Potassium Nitrate and sugar. The final solid fuel grain is of a square cross section (see fig. 2), burning both from the outside and the inside. This grain is sized so that its diagonal fits into the inside diameter of the motor casing. The aft bulkhead, containing the nozzles, is then screwed on and a few spot welds are applied to prevent unscrewing. At best this is a dangerous procedure but apparently they do get away with it.


A Solid Fuel Grain for A Kassam Rocket

Video of a Qassam workshop:

Here is a Palestinian-produced video, meant to demonstrate the prowess of rocketeers and intimidate the viewer:

Pretty impressive, until you compare it to the reality of the real firepower of real Israeli/American missiles.  The following video is of the MRLS (multiple rocket launch system), which the IDF has hundreds of:

Qassams are toys!

Gaza: the Belligerence of Oppression

Gaza: the Belligerence of Oppression

written by
Abukar Arman

By now, most of the world is aware of the horrific news of death and destruction that visited upon the people of Gaza . Millions have watched in utter shock the footage depicting Israel’s indiscriminate and disproportionate bombing of Gaza .

This brutal military campaign that already took the lives of 298 people, including children of all ages and women, and injured over 1000 people is likely to continue as the so-called international law can neither stop Israel nor could hold it accountable. Certainly not in its current arrangement!

For decades there was a widely accepted international norm that kept the word “oppression” out of anything written or spoken about the state of Israel. The exception being: when the combination was used to describe the historical suffering of the Jewish people. All others were immediately dismissed as Anti-Semitic assertion or expression.

This unique and profoundly privileged status was made possible by a number of factors. Chief among them, of course, is the U.S. foreign policy toward Israel; a policy that provided, over the years, not only absolute and unquestioning support, but also billions of the U.S. taxpayers’ dollars to beef-up the Israeli military.

By all objective accounts, what has taken place and continues to make life unbearable for the people of Gaza constitutes war crimes.

In his latest article in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz entitled The Neighborhood Bully Strikes Again, Gideon Levy, one of Israel’s journalistic voices of conscience writes this: “Once again, Israel’s violent responses, even if there is justification for them, exceed all proportion and cross every red line of humaneness, morality, international law and wisdom.”

Levy reinforces his charges with blatant honesty by writing “What began (Saturday) in Gaza is a war crime and the foolishness of a country. History’s bitter irony: A government that went to a futile war two months after its establishment (Lebanon)…embarks on another doomed war two months before the end of its term.”

The question that begs moral and ethical evaluation is: do oppressed people who are denied their basic human rights, who are kept under inhumane economic strangulation, whose homes are routinely demolished and their lands confiscated…have the right to defend themselves?

Meanwhile, what if the impetus of the current deadly military campaign against the Palestinian people had little or nothing to do with these over-sensationalized rockets? What if it was staged to attain a political end?

“Indeed, this is another voluntary war by Israel, and seems to be motivated more by dishonored Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Defense Minister Barak’s desire to not leave office without somehow erasing the memory of their failed Lebanon invasion two years ago…,” comments Rabbi Michael Lerner in reaction to the Gaza massacre. In addition to this motive, the current brutal overreaction is intended to provoke Iran into a reactionary mishap.

Whether or not President-elect Barack Obama would bring fresh ideas that can pave the way for lasting peace between Israel and Palestine is yet to be seen. However, if his position expressed during his visit to Israel last summer is any indication, he is likely to continue business as usual with perhaps a slight difference in style.

Obama said what resembled the sound-bite mantra of the Israeli leadership to justify any heavy-handed actions against the Palestinians. He said he did not think “…any country would find it acceptable to have missiles raining down on the heads of their citizens.”

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is the most stubborn and indeed the most volatile political dilemma facing the world. Today, as in its inception over sixty years ago, the victims are denied their day in court. The cruelly caged, oppressed people of Palestine have a story to tell in the court of history…if only history would lend them the opportunity to be heard.

The saga of the oppression suffered by the people of Palestine does not begin with “…we became under rocket attack and we reacted accordingly,” unless, of course, the narrative is controlled by the oppressor.

Now that Israel is one of the mightiest military powers on the face of the earth; now that it has routinely been exercising that power without sense of proportionality and restraint and thus putting world security at a greater risk, it is high time to hold it accountable.

It is about time that the state of Israel is pressured to comply with the Geneva Convention or be dealt with as a rogue state.

Abukar Arman is a writer who lives in Ohio. His work on Islam, Somalia, Middle East and U.S. foreign policy have appeared on the pages of many media outlets.

White Phosphorus: Israel fires artillery shells into Gaza

White Phosphorus: Israel fires artillery shells into Gaza

Gaza White Phosphorous

© Bernat Armangue/AP
A shell fired by the Israeli military explodes in the northern Gaza Strip.

Israel unleashed an artillery bombardment on Gaza today for the first time in its week-long offensive, prompting increased speculation that a ground invasion is about to begin.

Palestinian medical officials also said that an Israeli airstrike on a Gaza mosque had killed 10 people and wounded dozens more. Al Jazeera quoted witnesses as saying there were at least 200 people at prayer inside the Ibrahim al-Maqadna mosque in northern Gaza when the missile struck.

The Israeli TV station Channel 10 said the entire length of the Gaza Strip was under attack. Palestinian witnesses told Reuters the shelling had caused a large explosion in Gaza City and there were a series of blasts close to the frontier with Israel. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Comment: The AP photo above shows what appears to be a white phosphorus shell fired into Gaza, as was used by Israel in Lebanon. White phosphorus is an indiscriminate killer that ignites once it is exposed to oxygen, producing such heat that it bursts into a yellow flame and produces a dense white smoke.

It causes painful burn injuries to exposed human flesh, as discovered by Lebanon’s Children at the hands of Israeli Phosphorus Bombs in 2006.

White Phosphorus is considered a chemical weapon by most governments around the world. Its use in civilian areas is banned by the Geneva Treaty of 1980. The United Nations considers such weapons illegal.

Israeli TV commentators said shelling could be used to clear Hamas-laid minefields ahead of a possible ground invasion. Israeli troops are massed on the border waiting for orders to go in.

Comment: Mine fields? The lies and excuses are wearing thin. With 1.5 million people concentrated in the tiny Gaza Ghetto, what possible use would they have for mine fields?

Speaking from Syria, the exiled Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, warned that any ground assault would lead Israel to “a black destiny of dead and wounded”.

Sustained artillery fire is likely to significantly increase the number of civilian casualties, according to a report on the website of the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.

Israel’s first artillery use came shortly after Gordon Brown telephoned his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Olmert, urging him to stop the attacks.

Comment: Toothless. If Brown had any conscience he would act.

“The prime minister has spoken again today to Prime Minister Olmert, and is pressing hard for an immediate ceasefire,” a Downing Street spokesman said. “We are working urgently with international partners to address the underlying causes of the conflict, including trafficking of arms into Gaza … Moderation must prevail.”

Comment: Forget history, forget the slow genocide, its all about arms into Gaza, its the Palestinians own fault for resisting the brutal occupation of their lands and the cold, calculated slaughter of their families.

Earlier today, Israeli aircraft and gunboats continued attacking targets in Gaza. The Israelis struck the homes of two Hamas operatives, saying the buildings were used to store weapons and plan attacks. Hamas said one of its military leaders, Abu Zakari al-Jamal, was killed in an air raid last night.

More than 400 Palestinians and at least four Israelis have been killed since Israel launched its offensive last Saturday. The UN estimated yesterday that a quarter of the Palestinians killed were civilians.

George Bush today blamed the continuing violence on Hamas terrorism and offered no criticism of Israel in his first comments since the offensive began a week ago.

The US president condemned Hamas’s campaign of rocket attacks on Israel as an “act of terror” and said no peace deal would be acceptable unless the flow of smuggled weapons to terrorist groups was monitored and stopped.

“This recent outburst of violence was instigated by Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria that calls for Israel’s destruction,” he said.

Comment: Lies piled upon lies, the psychopath Bush is complicit in the slaughter and – recognizing the acts of his own kind – no doubt feeding on every ounce of suffering that Israel can render from its captives.

The White House will not comment on whether it views the Israeli response as proportionate.

In his weekly radio address, Bush said Washington was “leading diplomatic efforts to achieve a meaningful ceasefire that is fully respected”.

He said he would keep the president-elect, Barack Obama, updated on the negotiations. Obama has refused to comment on the crisis while Bush remains in office.

The UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon last night urged world leaders to intensify efforts to achieve an immediate ceasefire.

Israel has said it will accept a ceasefire only if it is enforced by international monitors.

Palestinian militants continued to fire rockets into southern Israel today. There were no injuries, though one rocket hit a house in the southern city of Ashkelon, police said.

“Neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat.

“Neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat. We are very far from having any moral qualms as far as our national war goes. We have before us the command of the Torah, whose morality surpasses that of any other body of laws in the world: “Ye shall blot them out to the last man.” But first and foremost, terrorism is for us a part of the political battle being conducted under the present circumstances, and it has a great part to play: speaking in a clear voice to the whole world, as well as to our wretched brethren outside this land, it proclaims our war against the occupier. We are particularly far from this sort of hesitation in regard to an enemy whose moral perversion is admitted by all.” ~ Stern Gang, August 1943

Beware of Western media–on site source, no ground assault yet

Beware of Western media

As far as we can see from here, no tanks have entered the Gaza strip at all.  Only a few ground troops have dared enter the northern outskirts of Gaza.  Beware of what Western media is telling you because it is complicit in this war… just as it was in the Lebanon war.  Israeli tanks are firing but from yesterdays positions.  In addition, Israel has just called on extra reserves telling them that the war would be long.  Hamas also claimed that it has killed several of the ground troops that tried to advance by ied’s.

Cherifa Sirry

Living on Borrowed Time in a Stolen Land

Gilad Atzmon – Living on Borrowed Time in a Stolen Land

By Gilad Atzmon

Communicating with Israelis may leave one bewildered. Even now when the Israeli Air Force is practicing murder in broad daylight of hundreds of civilians, elderly persons, women and children, the Israeli people manage to convince themselves that they are the real victims in this violent saga.

Those who are familiar intimately with Israeli people realise that they are completely uninformed about the roots of the conflict that dominates their lives. Rather often Israelis manage to come up with some bizarre arguments that may make a lot of sense within the Israeli discourse, yet make no sense whatsoever outside of the Jewish street. Such an argument goes as follows: ‘those Palestinians, why do they insist upon living on our land (Israel), why can’t they just settle in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon or any other Arab country?’ Another Hebraic pearl of wisdom sounds like this: ‘what is wrong with these Palestinians? We gave them water, electricity, education and all they do is try to throw us to the sea’.

Astonishingly enough, the Israelis even within the so-called ‘left’ and even the educated ‘left’ fail to understand who the Palestinians are, where they come from and what they stand for. They fail to grasp that for the Palestinians, Palestine is home.  Miraculously, the Israelis manage to fail to grasp that Israel had been erected at the expense of the Palestinian people, on Palestinian land, on Palestinian villages, towns, fields and orchards. The Israelis do not realise that Palestinians in Gaza and in refugee camps in the region are actually dispossessed people from Ber Shive, Yafo, Tel Kabir, Shekh Munis, Lod, Haifa, Jerusalem and many more towns and villages.  If you wonder how come the Israelis don’t know their history, the answer is pretty simple, they have never been told.  The circumstances that led to the Israeli Palestinian conflict are well hidden within their culture. Traces of pre-1948 Palestinian civilisation on the land had been wiped out.  Not only the Nakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians, is not part of the Israeli curriculum, it is not even mentioned or discussed in any Israeli official or academic forum.

In the very centre of almost every Israeli town one can a find a 1948 memorial statue displaying a very bizarre, almost abstract, pipe work. The plumbing feature is called Davidka and it is actually a 1948 Israeli mortar cannon. Interestingly enough, the Davidka was an extremely ineffective weapon. Its shells wouldn’t reach more than 300 meters and would cause very limited damage.  Though the Davidika would cause just minimal harm, it produced a lot of noise.  According to the Israeli official historical narrative, the Arabs i.e., Palestinians, simply ran away for their lives once they heard the Davidka from afar. According to the Israeli narrative, the Jews i.e., ‘new Israelis’ did a bit of fireworks and the ‘Arab cowards’ just ran off like idiots.  In the Israeli official narrative there is no mention of the many orchestrated massacres conducted by the young IDF and the paramilitary units that preceded it. There is no mention also of the racist laws that stop Palestinians[1][1] from returning to their homes and lands.

The meaning of the above is pretty simple. Israelis are totally unfamiliar with the Palestinian cause. Hence, they can only interpret the Palestinian struggle as a murderous irrational lunacy. Within the Israeli Judeo- centric solipsistic universe, the Israeli is an innocent victim and the Palestinian is no less than a savage murderer.

This grave situation that leaves the Israeli in the dark regarding his past demolishes any possibility of future reconciliation. Since the Israeli lacks the minimal comprehension of the conflict, he cannot contemplate any possible resolution except extermination or cleansing of the ‘enemy’. All the Israeli is entitled to know are various phantasmic narratives of Jewish suffering. Palestinian pain is completely foreign to his ears.  ‘Palestinian right of return’ sounds to him like an amusing idea. Even the most advanced ‘Israeli humanists’ are not ready to share the land with its indigenous inhabitants. This doesn’t leave the Palestinians with many options but to liberate themselves against all odds. Clearly, there is no partner for peace on the Israel side.

This week we all learned more about the ballistic capability of Hamas. Evidently, Hamas was rather restrained with Israel for more than a long while.  It refrained from escalating the conflict to the whole of southern Israel. It occurred to me that the barrages of Qassams that have been landing sporadically on Sderot and Ashkelon were actually nothing but a message from the imprisoned Palestinians. First it was a message to the stolen land, homes fields and orchards: ‘Our beloved soil, we didn’t forget, we are still here fighting for you, sooner rather than later, we will come back, we will start again where we had stopped’.  But it was also a clear message to the Israelis. ‘You out there, in Sderot, Beer Sheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Tel Aviv and Haifa, whether you realise it or not, you are actually living on our stolen land. You better start to pack because your time is running out, you have exhausted our patience. We, the Palestinian people, have nothing to lose anymore’.

Let’s face it, realistically the situation in Israel is rather grave. Two years ago it was Hezbollah rockets that pounded northern Israel. This week the Hamas proved beyond doubt that it is capable of serving the South of Israel with some cocktail of ballistic vengeance. Both in the case of the Hezbollah and the case of the Hamas, Israel was left with no military answer. It can no doubt kill civilians but it fails to stop the rocket barrage. The IDF lacks the means of protecting Israel unless covering Israel with a solid concrete roof is a viable solution. At the end of the day, they might be planning just that (link).

But this is far from the end of the story. In fact it is just the beginning. Every Middle East expert knows that Hamas can seize control of the West Bank within hours. In fact, PA and Fatah control in the West Bank is maintained by the IDF. Once Hamas takes the West Bank, the biggest Israeli population centre will be left to the mercy of Hamas. For those who fail to see, this would be the end of Jewish Israel. It may happen later today, it may happen in three months or in five years, it isn’t matter of ‘if’ but rather matter of ‘when’. By that time, the whole of Israel will be within firing range of Hamas and Hezbollah, Israeli society will collapse, its economy will be ruined. The price of a detached villa in Northern Tel Aviv would equal a shed in Kiryat Shmone or Sderot. By the time a single rocket hits Tel Aviv, the Zionist dream will be over.

The IDF generals know it, the Israeli leaders know it. This is why they stepped up the war against the Palestinian into extermination. The Israelis do not plan upon invading Gaza. They have lost nothing there. All they want is to finish the Nakba. They drop bombs on Palestinians in order to wipe them out. They want the Palestinians out of the region.  It is obviously not going to work, Palestinians will stay. Not only they will they stay, their day of return to their land is coming closer as Israel has been exploiting its deadliest tactics.

This is exactly where Israeli escapism comes into play. Israel has passed the ‘point of no return’. Its doomed fate is deeply engraved in each bomb it drops on Palestinian civilians. There is nothing Israel can do to save itself. There is no exit strategy. It can’t negotiate its way out because neither the Israelis nor their leadership understand the elementary parameters involved in the conflict.  Israel lacks the military power to conclude the battle. It may manage to kill Palestinian grassroots leaders, it has been doing it for years, yet Palestinian resistance and persistence is growing fierce rather than weakening. As an IDF intelligence general predicted already at the first Intifada. ‘In order to win, all Palestinians have to do is to survive’. They survive and they are indeed winning.

Israeli leaders understand it all. Israel has already tried everything, unilateral withdrawal, starvation and now extermination. It thought to evade the demographic danger by shrinking into an intimate cosy Jewish ghetto. Nothing worked. It is Palestinian persistence in the shape of Hamas politics that defines the future of the region.

All that is left to Israelis is to cling to their blindness and escapism to evade their devastating grave fate that has become immanent already. All along their way down, the Israelis will sing their familiar various victim anthems. Being imbued in a self-centred supremacist reality, they will be utterly involved in their own pain yet completely blind to the pain they inflict on others.  Uniquely enough, the Israelis are operating as a unified collective when dropping bombs on others, yet, once being slightly hurt, they all manage to become monads of vulnerable innocence. It is this discrepancy between the self-image and the way they are seen by the rest of us which turns the Israeli into a monstrous exterminator. It is this discrepancy that stops Israelis from grasping their own history, it is that discrepancy that stops them from comprehending the repeated numerous attempts to destroy their State. It is that discrepancy that stops Israelis from understanding the meaning of the Shoah so can they prevent the next one. It is this discrepancy that stops Israelis from being part of humanity.

Once again Jews will have to wander into an unknown fate. To a certain extent, I myself have started my journey a while ago.

[1][1] Jews only law of return- of Return 5710-1950

New Generation Thinker –THE FOOD CRISIS

[Signs of Hope]

Alex Atwater is an eighth grade student in New York, USA. He is from a progressive family oriented towards humanitarian principles and is deeply concerned about the growing food crisis.

The Food Crisis

By Alex Atwater

Unlike other crises that are well known, the food crisis is unfamiliar to many people. The economic crisis, the war in Iraq, the cost of health care and education are all crises covered in the media. Although the food crisis is something that deserves to be one of the top priorities globally, it is not as exposed as it should be.

There are currently over 6 billion humans living on this planet, with a population projection of 8 billion by the year 2050. When it comes to feeding these 6 billion mouths we’re not in the least bit efficient, especially in our own country. An example of this inefficient food system is “after cars, the food system uses more fossil fuel than any other sector of the economy – 19 percent.” according to a New York Times Magazine article. Another problem is that it takes more calories to produce a pound of beef than the calories contained in that pound of beef itself. Also, 5,000 gallons of water must be used to produce one pound of beef. We do not have enough water on the planet to fulfill the feedlots water need. A by-product of our food production is the excessive pollution that it creates. America’s farm animals have been moved to feedlots so that production can be increased to feed 190 lbs of beef a year to the average American. However, this makes no ecological sense because the waste product is not being utilized as fertilizer, therefore contributing to our pollution problem. The use of fossil fuel as fertilizer further contributes to the problem.

The food problem is becoming more apparent every year. In the past several months alone more than 30 nations have experienced food riots, and so far one government has fallen, “But while there are alternatives to oil, there are no alternatives to food” (NY Times Magazine, 10/12/2008).

While there are many solutions that can be put into place, the most urgent ones are as follows: first, the American farming system needs to become less reliable on fossil fuel and gear itself toward solar, wind and geothermic energy. Just as important, a mandatory composting system should be created to allow farmers to freely utilize the fertilizer. This would offer multiple benefits, such as a decrease in waste, cut back on the need for irrigation and fossil fuel fertilizer, and improve the nutritional value of the food. People should be made aware of the importance of re-regionalizing their food and to support their local farms. This would cut back on usage of fuel to transport the food and result in a fresher product.

The food crisis is a very important issue for me. I believe that a better food system is within reach if we work on it, and must be obtained quickly if we are to save humanity and our planet. I am committed to working on solutions by further studying and researching the food crisis, by making people aware and by personally becoming involved in being part of the solution, through my education and the education of others.

Israeli strike levels American-style Gaza school

Israeli strike levels American-style Gaza school

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip: An Israeli air strike flattened one of Gaza’s best private educational institutions, the American International School which had been targeted by Islamic militants in the past.

The Israeli army said the campus on a northern Gaza hilltop overlooking the Mediterranean had been used as a launching base for rockets and was a legitimate target.

Israel has been bombing Hamas targets in Gaza for the last eight days to stop the Islamic militants from sending rockets into southern Israel. More than 460 Palestinians have died so far, along with four Israelis.

Most of the school’s buildings, which offered American-style curriculum in English for kindergarten through 12th grade, were destroyed by the strikes, which also killed the night watchman.

“This is the most distinguished and advanced school in Gaza, if not in Gaza and the West Bank,” said Iyad Saraj, chairman of the school’s board of trustees. “I cannot swear there was no rocket fired, but if there was, you don’t destroy a whole school … this is the destruction of civilization.”

The school was founded in 2000 to provide “progressive education,” according to the school’s Web site.

The school has no connection to the U.S. government.

Saraj said the school had 250 students and many of its graduates went on to U.S. universities such as Harvard, MIT and Princeton. “They are very good, highly educated open-minded students who can really be future leaders of Palestine,”

The school was damaged a year ago when gunmen broke in, burned six school buses, smashed windows and computers on the eve U.S. President George W. Bush’s visit to the West Bank.

A previously unknown group, The Holy Jihad Brigades, said it was behind that attack. Vandals have repeatedly targeted the school in the past for its perceived U.S. link.

Radical Islamists had criticized the school for its Western-style curriculum and coed classes. Most schools in the strip are single sex.

The school was built at a cost of $5 million dollars by the Palestinian Investment Fund, a government fund created in 2000 to improve the Palestinian economy in partnership with the private sector.

BREAKING NEWS: Israeli ground forces enter Gaza in escalation

2 minutes ago

Israeli ground forces enter Gaza in escalation

The Associated Press

Saturday, January 03, 2009

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel’s military says ground forces are crossing the Gaza border in an escalation of Israel’s week-old offensive against the territory’s militant Hamas rulers.

Israeli TV channels are broadcasting images of troops marching into Gaza after nightfall. The military confirmed a ground operation was under way.

Defense officials say around 10,000 soldiers have massed along the border in recent days.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.