Jewish settlers: Move us back to Gaza


Jewish settlers: Move us back to Gaza
Sun, 11 Jan 2009 14:47:10 GMT

Israeli soldiers evacuated all the Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and demolished the houses.

Former residents of the Gush Katif Jewish settlements have asked Israeli officials to relocate them back to the evacuated communities in Gaza.

“Let us return home. We are ready at a day’s notice to set up tents in the area, until permanent construction,” the group said in a news conference in Jerusalem (al-Quds) on Sunday, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

“It is time to correct the national damage that was caused by the expulsion of Gush Katif,” Reuven Rosenblatt, the former head of the settlement’s council said.

“Once we get permission, we could have people back in the area within a day, even if it requires living in tents. We could do it from today to tomorrow,” Rosenblatt added.

Israel evacuated the settlement in summer 2005 after the then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced that Tel Aviv would withdraw back to demographically defendable lines.

The evacuation operation, however, met with fierce opposition and protest from Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip and their supporters in the West Bank.

“Today, anyone who wants to protect southern Israel must settle in Gaza,” said Aharon Tzur, another former Gush Katif’s official.

The remarks were made as the Israeli onslaught on the populated area entered its 16th day. At least 880 people have been killed and 3690 others wounded in the Israeli military operation.

A Third Intifada? Riding on Fire

A Third Intifada?

Riding on Fire


Beit Hanoun, Gaza.

I‘ve been working with the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance services in Jabaliya, Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya for the past 5 days and nights.

For the past five days the Red Cross and the Red Crescent emergency services have been blocked from evacuating the injured and the dead from key areas surrounding Jabaliya and Gaza City. Special Forces have occupied houses in the areas of Zeitoun, Atarturah, Zoumo and Salahedeen.

Paramedic Ali Khalil’s team was shot at on Monday afternoon. He told me, ‘We had been told we had the go-ahead from the Israeli army through co-ordination with the Red Cross but when we arrived at the area we were shot at. We had to turn back’. Yesterday afternoon, a medical volunteer, Hassan, was shot in the leg as he and his colleague had to drop the stretcher they were carrying after coming under Israeli sniper fire. There are reports of scores of dead bodies lying in the streets un-claimed. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society estimates there are 230 injured which they haven’t been able to pick up.

There are reports of 18 corpses in one home alone and the injured dying from treatable wounds because of a lack of access to medical treatment.

Last night, at around 9pm, Marwan, an experienced paramedic, bearing the scars of years of Israeli invasions, sustained another yet another. He was shot in the leg by an Israeli sniper in Eastern Jabaliya. Gnarled by his work, picking up the pieces after Israeli attacks, he had said only the day before yesterday, ‘This is no life, its better to die, it would be better to be dead than this shit’.

The blockade on any rescuing is reminiscent of the battle of Jenin in April 2002. Israel forbade ambulances from entering the camp, blowing up one with a tank shell and killing Dr Khalil Sulleiman, the Head of the Palestinian Red Crescent. The army cut water and electricity and bulldozed an entire neighbourhood, complete with residents still in their homes, over the course of 11 days. The death count in the 11-day Jenin massacre was 58, but estimated to be much higher. Here in Jabaliya, this is the equivalent to around 4 days in the past week or almost the whole of yesterday. Between December 27th and January 5th, in Jabaliya alone, 119 people had been killed and 662 injured. An average of 15 people are dying, violently, every day. On January 6th, with the Fakhoura school massacre, 50 people were killed in just one day. Hospital authorities mark the day as the single worst day they have ever seen in Jabaliya.

Sporadic battles are taking place between Palestinian resistance fighters, armed with basic machine guns, the odd grenade, and warm clothes. They’re up against the fourth most powerful army in the world, armed with state-of-the-art war planes, Merkava tanks, regional governmental co-ordination and intelligence, a green light to kill with impunity in the name of self defence, body armor, night vision, and holidays in Goa when it all gets too much.

The paramedics, drivers and volunteers at the emergency services risk their lives every time they leave their base and even working within their bases. Medics evacuated their original base near Salahadeen street due to heavy shelling from Israeli forces early last week. They then moved to the Al Awda Hospital in Beit Lahiya because again, it was too close to the battle front, and again to a community centre in Moaskar Jabaliya to be ‘safer’. However, against a backdrop of deafening crashes and bangs of bombs falling close by, on Monday at 12.45pm, an Israeli surveillance plane fired two missiles into the Al Awda Hospital compound. The first slammed into a police car, the second, impacted two minutes later into the ground just meters in front of the Hospital’s clinic. Two rescue workers were injured in the head and face, but we were all lucky to escape without any serious damage.

Right now we’re back at the Jabaliya base, still close to the sound of pounding tank shells, apache strikes, and light gunfire met with staggering rapid fire 50 caliber tank-gun fire, the odd grenade and the ever menacing and maddening sneer of surveillance drones.

Yesterday around 1am we were called out to a strike in the Moaskar Jabaliya area. The area was pitch black, our feeble torches lighting up broken pipes streaming water, glass, chunks of concrete and twisted metal. ‘They’re down there, down there, take care’, people said. The smell of fresh severed flesh, a smell that can only come from the shedding of pints of blood and open insides, was in the air. I got called back by a medic who screamed at me to stay by his side. It turned out Id been following the Civil Defence, the front line responders who check to see if buildings are safe and put out fires, rather than the medics.

The deep ink dark makes it almost impossible to see clearly, shadows and faces lit up by swiveling red ambulance lights and arms pointing hurriedly are our guides for finding the injured. ‘Lets get out of here, lets get out’ say the guys, and we’re leaving to go, empty handed, but straining to seeing what’s ahead when a missile hits the ground in front of us. We see a lit up fountain of what could be nail darts explode in front of us. They fall in a spray like a thousand hissing critters, we cover our heads and run back to the ambulance. One of the volunteers inside, Mohammad, is shocked, ‘Did you see? Did you see? How close it was?’

At approximately 4am, we hit the streets in response to an F16 war plane attack on the house of Abdullah Sayeed Mrad in the Block Two area of Jabaliya Camp in the Northern Gaza Strip.

Mrad is said to be a high ranking Hamas official according to local sources. The attack leveled the house. Every house strike is like walking into a smoking grave, broken doll-like bodies of children to be found beneath layers and layers of white rubble and burning shrapnel.

We took Adam Mamoun Al Kurdi, aged 3 to Al Awda. He died of multiple shrapnel injuries to his skull and lower thighs.

We sped back 5 minutes later – four teams in four Red Crescent ambulances, to fetch more casualties. Thankfully there were none.

Whilst waiting in the ambulance we suddenly heard a deafening bang and saw an orange flash before our ambulance was showered with shrapnel, glass and brick. The target of the attack was another house belonging to Sayeed Mrad. Medics say the strike was from an F16. The depth of damage caused was consistent with the force of an F16-fired bomb.

The house, reduced to rubble, was just two meters from our ambulance. Ambulance driver Majdi Shehadda, 48, sustained deep lacerations to his face and right ear and went into shock in the ambulance. He was treated with oxygen. Four rescue workers sustained minor injuries and had to be treated for smoke and dust inhalation. One, Saaber Mohammad Awad, 34, was preparing to exit his ambulance when the bomb hit. ‘The door smashed against me and the windows smashed in because of the pressure. I expected to die. If we had been outside just a second later, we would have been killed. The ambulance saved our lives’.

The four ambulances, one with all of its’ windows blown in and damage to medical stocks inside, the others with cracked windows, were trapped by rubble blocking our exit route.

We had to carry Majdi on a stretcher over the debris of the bombed house in total darkness whilst Israeli drones menaced the skies above us. I tripped up over twisted steel foundation poles at one point and dropped the oxygen tank, the pipe detaching and hissing oxygen out over the rubble. We all evacuated the area after 15 minutes, along with a family, carrying their blankets, mattresses and belongings, as another property belonging to Sayeed Mrad also in the area was at risk of being bombed.

The ambulances would have been clearly visible to Israeli drones and special forces with their rooftop indentification markings, bright flashing lights and solo movement in the deserted, pitch black strees of Jabaliya.

An aerial curfew

Everyone is terrified by surveillance plane strikes here. ‘Zenane’ they call them, because of the zzzzz sound they make. They have been firing explosive missiles into people – people walking, in cars, sitting in doorways drinking tea, standing on rooftops, praying together, sitting at home and watching television together.

In Naim Street Beit Hanoun, at 9.30pm on Sunday, Samieh Kaferna , 40, was hit by flying shrapnel to his head. Neighbours called him to come to their home. Fearing his home would be struck, he and a group of relatives began to move from one home to another, to be safer.
The second missile struck them down directly. When we arrived one man, eyes gigantic, was being dragged into the pavement, half of his lower body shredded, his intestines slopping out. He was alive, his relatives were screaming, we managed to take four, whilst six others, charred and dismembered, were brought in on the back of an open cattle truck. Beit Hanoun Hospital was chaos, with screaming relatives and burning bodies. Three men died in the attack, 10 were injured, six from the same Abu Harbid family. Three had to have leg amputations, and one a double amputation.

Burning shrapnel in eyes is a common injury, shrapnel slices deep into to any soft fleshy parts of the body. We brought a boy from Beit Hanoun with a distorted heavily bandaged head wrapped in bandages, to Al Nasser hospital with its specialist eye unit and mental health clinic. When we get there, its pitch black, doctors are sitting around candles, the place is freezing and full of shadows. Both the doctors and their have been patients blinded with Israeli-controlled power cuts that intensify the confusion, fear, and psychological darkness caving in on people here.

Burning shrapnel in eyes – like those of three year old Shedar Athman Khader Abid from Beit Hanoun, ‘injured in the left eye, explosive injury, full thickness corneal wound, iris prologue and vitreous loss’ according to her medical report. Her father approaches my friend, quietly, to ask if its possible for me to help her, to get her out to have eye surgery, ‘This girl, she was like a moon, haram, three years old and her beauty is robbed from her’.

Extremely hot, shrapnel lodges in chests, legs, faces, hands, stomachs, and skullls. I’ve been taught, don’t focus on stopping bleeding with shrapnel injuries, there is very little blood, the foreign bodies burn inside. Many casualties we’ve brought in that seem ok, literally, on ‘the surface’, only to die a few days later. People talk about the missiles being poison tipped, and there have been reports of white phosphorous being used.

Dead for buying bread

Last night four members of a family were traveling back from the bakers in Beit Lahiya. Squeezed into a white skoda, their bag of bread still warm, they were struck by a surveillance plane missile at 6pm. Khaled Ismaeel Kahlood, 44, and his three sons Mohammad 15, Habib, 12, and Towfiq, 10, were cut into pieces by the attack which blew their car in two. Taxi driver Hassan Khalil, 20, was also martyred in the attack. The bodies brought into Kamal Odwan hospital were virtually unrecognizable.

A Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees ambulance was fired upon at approximately 8.30am on Sunday morning killing Paramedic and father of five, Arafa El Deyem, 35. He and another rescue worker had been evacuating casualties which had come under fire from an Israeli tank East of Jabaliya in the North of the Gaza Strip. Witnesses report that as the door of the ambulance was being closed a tank shell hit El Deyem. El Deyem died from a massive loss of blood following a major trauma to his chest. Paramedics I ride with cherish his memory, carrying his photo – a kind and strong looking, bearded man – on their mobile phones.

The following day, at the family’s grieving tent, five of El Deyem’s relatives were killed when a missile smashed into the tent in the Beit Hanoun Area. Arafat Mohammed Abdel Deinm, 10, Mohammad Jamal Abdel Dein, 25, Maher Younis Abdel Dein, 30, and Said Jamal Said, 27, all died from head and internal explosive injuries. Witnesses claim the missile was fired by an Israeli surveillance drone.

The Ministry of Health confirmed that Doctor Anis Naeem, a nephew of the Hamas Minister of Health, Bassem Naeem, and a colleague were killed in the Zeitoun area on Sunday afternoon when a missile strike from an Israeli surveillance plane impacted on the home they had entered in order to retrieve casualties. Rescue workers Ihab el-Madhoun 35, and Mohammad Abu Hasira, 24, were struck by Israeli missiles when trying to collect casualties in the Jabal Al Rais area of Jabbaliya last Tuesday. Witnesses said Ihab went to assist his colleague following a strike on the rescue workers. He too was then struck. Abu Hasira was brought to the Kamal Ahdwan governmental hospital in Jabaliya and died at 7.30am according to hospital records. The cause of death was multiple trauma injuries. Ihab died from massive internal injuries following an operation on his chest and abdominal area five hours later.

Khalil Abu Shammalah, Director of Al Dhumeer Association based in Gaza City said: ‘It is a breach of the fourth Geneva Convention to target emergency medical services under conditions of war and occupation. Battlefield casualties are also protected under the Geneva Conventions and cannot be targeted once injured. Israel is in breach of international law’.  The Israeli news agency Y-Net recently reported that Yuval Duskin, Director of the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet, told the Israeli cabinet that large numbers Hamas operatives are hiding in hospitals and dressing as medical workers. Palestinian medical officials have dismissed the claims as ‘nonsense’. Rescue workers are terrified that hospitals will join the list of civilian targets including homes, schools, universities, mosques, and shops hit in Israel’s offensive so far.

Homes crushed

People and their homes are being pulverized by Israeli tank shells, F16s and bulldozers. I traveled to the buffer zone area of Sikka Street close to the Erez checkpoint, to see the damage. 27 houses had been crushed by either bulldozers or tank shells, one had been destroyed by an F16 bomb. 10 water wells and 200 dunums of land – orange groves and strawberry fields, have been bulldozed, and approximately 250 people have been made homeless.

Six members of the Kiferna family were crushed to death when their home was fired upon by Tanks on Sunday night.

People were coming back to their homes for the first time. The Hamdan Family had three homes in a row destroyed. I asked one woman sitting amongst the ruins of her home where she would go now? She replied, ‘Beit Hanoun UNRWA school’.

‘But do you think that will be safe?’ I asked her. ‘No, but I have nowhere else to go’ she replied.

The Al Naim Mosque was also completely destroyed, holy books still smouldering from the attacks. Approximately one in 10 of the some 100 mosques in the Jabaliya area have been destroyed in Israel’s assault. ‘We see them as personal centers for us, theyre not Hamas, and we paid for them out of our own money, they belong to us, not anyone else’, explained one Imam based in Jabaliya.

The demolition of Mosques means many people are praying in the streets, at the Kamal Odwan hospital, people pray in the garden area opposite, and at the funeral for the 42 people, mostly children, massacred at the Fakhoura School , hundreds prayed on the ground that was turned into an early graveyard.

Forced out

On Sunday night, all Sikka Street residents were given five minutes to leave their homes, ordered out through loudhailers, unable to take any belongings with them, rounded up by Israeli occupation forces and taken to the Al Naim Mosque. Women, children and the elderly were put inside and men aged between 16-40 were kept in a field outside in the cold and interrogated. Six were taken to Erez, three were released a day later and were told by soldiers, according to a witness, that it was safe for them to make their own way home along Salahadeen Street. It was there that special forces allegedly shot 33 year-old Shaadi Hissam Yousef Hamad 33, in the head.

Torn schoolbooks lie amidst rubble, and Iman Mayer Hammad picks through the debris of her life, a hejab, shoes, pictures, she cries out, ‘Its all gone, everything, they’ve taken everything, my children can’t finish their exams, how will they finish their exams?’

Hundreds of children won’t be finishing their exams in Gaza because they’re dead.

Whether people stay in their homes or leave, they are being bombed. Majid Hamdan Wadeeya, 40, was hit in the leg and spine with shrapnel while he and his family were preparing to leave their home in Jaffa Street, Jabaliya. We arrived at his home on Tuesday afternoon to find the family’s decrepit red car still running and the family minivan stuffed with mattresses, towels, blankets, and belongings, blasted open. They had been hit by a missile from either a drone of apache. ‘We were going from the bombing, from the bombing’, screamed his children, all terrified. We managed to take half of the family, the rest got in their red car and followed.

We were interviewing residents at the UNRWA elementary school in Jabaliya, close to the Fakhoora school, at exactly the same time of the massacre.The Sahaar family, which had walked from their home in Salahdeen Street to seek refuge in the school on the first day of invasion, were asking us, ‘But do you think we are safe here? We feel that any time a missile could come down us? Are we safe here?’ The 500 people, some 50 families living in classrooms, share just 14 toilets and rely on rations to survive. The nights are cold as the windows have been smashed out by Israeli bomb attacks. Noone can sleep at night because of the sounds of homes, mosques and people being bombed to the ground.

The fabric of life

Everyone here knows someone who has been killed in Israel ‘s massacres. I can’t keep up with the stories of missile struck cousins, nephews, brothers, the jailed, the humiliated, the shot, the unreachable, the homeless, the now even more vulnerable than ever, people, not pieces, piling up in morgues all over Gaza, not pieces, people. These people are struggling to live and breathe another day, to avoid the lethal use of F16s, F15s, Apache Helicopters, Cobra Gun Ships, Israeli naval gun ships that are targeting them.

These networks and vision have held strong for 60 years, but another fabric of life is being planned by Israel. Whilst people say they are resisting the worst attack on them since the Nakba, Israel proceeds to cantonise the West Bank, under a project of roads and tunnels ‘for Palestinains’ which reinforce the existing illegal settlement system, apartheid wall, land and water theft and Palestinian bantustanisation. Under the banner of ‘development’, this network of new facts on the ground, ‘for the Palestinians’ is called, ‘The Fabric of Life’. Israel is blasting holes in one corner of the Palestinian fabric of life through extreme violence, and tearing up another part with the help of international companies and governments and internal authority complicity.

Back at Kamall Odwan hospital, Dr Moayan, explains, ‘It’s not about just riding the streets of civilians, because, they are bombing us even when we have left, when we are inside supposedly safe compounds. I have left my house, and now have nowhere else to go, nowhere else to go.’ He continues to say what hundreds of people are saying, ‘This is the worst we have ever seen, we have never had this level of violence. It has shocked even us. In Lebanon they killed over 1700 people, will it come to this here?’

The global intifada

This killing continues, day and night, and its not just people that are being physically dismembered, their families are being dismembered, their communities are being dismembered, the landscape of Gaza is full of holes. The fabric of these communities, that neighbours no longer neighbours, that families no longer living or alive together is being stretched to breaking point. People are being made refugees again, tents as homes awaiting them again, as no buildings or building materials are available for people to even rebuild their shattered lives, their smashed homes, shops, mosques, governmental buildings, community centres, charities, offices, clinics, youth centers.

How do you break a people that won’t be broken? ‘They will have to kill each and everyone of us’ people tell me. From the first days here people were expecting ‘the shoah’ threatened upon them by Matan Villai , Israel ‘s deputy defence minister this February. It is happening. It is happening now. This is the Shoah.

The third Intifada being urged now has to be our intifada too. As Israel steps up its destruction of the Palestinian people, we need to step up our reconstruction of our resistance, our movements, of our communities in our own counties, where so many of us live in alienation and isolation. We need to be the third intifada – people here need more and say repeatedly that they need more than the demonstrations, because they are not stopping the killing here. Demonstrations alone, are not stopping the killing here.

The arms companies making the weapons that are targeting people here, the companies that are selling stolen goods from occupied land pillaging settlements, the companies building the apartheid wall, the prisons, the East Jerusalem Light Railway system. These companies, Carmel Agrexco, Caterpillar, Veolia, Raytheon, EDO, BAE Systems, they are complicit in the crimes against humanity being committed here. If the international community will not uphold international law, then a popular movement should and can – we can use the legal system of international law as one of many means to hold on to our collective humanity.

The European Union decision, undertaken by the Council of Ministers this December, to upgrade relations with Israel, from economic ties to cultural, security, and political relations must be reversed. The EU represents a core strategic market of legitimacy and political economic reinforcement of Israel and as such its capacity to commit crimes against humanity, with impunity.

We can cut this tie, we can halt this decision which if approved this April, will empower Israel further, bring it closer to the ‘community of nations’ of the EU, and give a green light for further terror and crimes against humanity be inflicted upon the Palestinian people. This is a decision which has not yet been ratified. We can influence that which hasn’t happened yet.

There are concrete steps that people can take, learning from the lessons of the first Intifada and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign to dismantle the South African Apartheid regime. Strategies of popular resistance, strikes, occupations, direct actions. From the streets into the offices, factories and headquarters is where we need to take this fight, to the heart of decision-makers that are supposedly making decisions on our behalf and the companies making a killing out of the occupation. The third intifada needs to be a global intifada.

Ewa Jasiewicz is an experienced journalist, community and union organizer, and solidarity worker. She is currently Gaza Project Co-coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement.

Why Are These Zionist Embassies Still Open?

Consulate General of Israel in New York

(212) 499-5000 (press 1 for Consular Services).

800 Second Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Street. The closest subway station is Grand Central Subway Station on 42nd Street.

Israeli Embassy in Miami, United States
Consulate General of Israel in Miami, United States of America
100 North Biscayne (Yitzhak Rabin) Boulevard
Suite 1800
Miami, Florida 33132
Phone: 305-925-9400
Fax: 305-925-9455

Israeli Embassy in San Francisco, United States
Consulate General of Israel in San Francisco, United States of America
456 montgomery street,
suite 2100,
San Francisco, 94104
Phone: 415 – 844-7500
Fax: 415-844-7555

Israeli Embassy in Chicago, United States
Consulate General of Israel in Chicago, United States of America
111 E. Wacker Dr., Suite 1308
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: 312-297-4800
Fax: 312-297-4855


Israeli Embassy in Houston, United States
Consulate General of Israel in Houston, United States of America
24 Greenway Plaza,
Suite 1500 Houston,
Texas 77046
Phone: (713) 627-3780
Fax: (713) 627-0149

Israeli Embassy in Los Angeles, United States
Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles, United States of America
6380 Wilshire blvd.
Los Angeles CA, 90048
Phone: (323)852-5500
Fax: (323)852-5555

Israeli Embassy in Washington DC, United States
Embassy of Israel
3514 International Drive, NW,
Washington DC 20008
Phone: (202) 364-5500
Tel: (Visas and customs) (202) 364-5527 E-Mail:

Israeli Embassy in Atlanta, United States
Consulate General of Israel in Atlanta, United States of America
1100 Spring St., N.W. Suite 440
Atlanta, GA 30309-2823
Phone: (404) 487-6500
Fax: (404) 487-6555

Israeli Embassy in Boston, United States
Consulate General of Israel in Boston, United States of America
20 Park Plaza, Suite 1020
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: (617) 535-0200
Fax: (617) 535-0255

Pakistan frees terrorists due to lack of evidence: Report


Pakistan frees terrorists due to lack of evidence: Report

The failure of the Pakistani police and security agencies to gather sufficient evidence has led to the release of a large number of dreaded terrorists of outfits such as Al Qaeda [Images] and Taliban [Images], who are known to have participated in major attacks in Pakistan, a report said.

What is more worrying is that most of them have vanished into thin air soon after their release and were probably planning or participating in more attacks, the report said.

At least a dozen of those released due to lack of evidence are those involved in failed assassination bids on former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [Images], including one in collaboration with some Pakistan Air Force officers in 2003, it added.

Quoting statistics of Pakistan’s Crime Investigation Department, the report published in the Pakistani magazine The Herald said that in the Sindh province alone, as many as “121 high-profile terrorists were released between 2002 and 2007. In each case, the prosecution’s case was not strong enough”.

Maintaining that the CID had prepared a list of such terrorists, the report titled ‘Catch and Release’, said among these 121 terrorists, 40 belonged to Sipah-e-Sahaba, 21 to Harkatul Mujahedeen, 19 to the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, 15 each from Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harkatul Mujahedeen al-Almi, eight from Sipah-e-Mohammed, two from Hizbul Tahrir and one from the Taliban.

It quoted an unnamed senior CID official as saying, “If you collect the list of militants from the remaining three provinces (of Pakistan), I am sure the number of those who are released would exceed several hundreds.”

Defence forces alarmed by deployment of additional Pak troops

Defence forces alarmed by deployment of additional

Pak troops

Pakistan has deployed several army brigades along the Indo-Pak border in Jehlum-Chenab and Chenab-Ravi corridors in the recent days, sparking concern in the Indian armed forces, defence sources said on Sunday.

The forces have been withdrawn from Pakistan’s troubled north-western tribal belt where they were battling the Taliban [Images] to put pressure on the United States, which has been pressing Islamabad [Images] to act against terrorists operating from its soil, and diverted to the border with India, they said.

Pakistan has deployed several brigades (each comprising 4,000 to 6,000 personnel), including 33 brigade, 27 brigade, 7 brigade, 28 brigade, 331 brigade, two battalions (with 1,000 personnel each) of 37 Punjab and 39 Punjab Rawalkote in Hajira, Mandol, Hajipeer, Uri, Bhimber, Nikial, Kotli, Sailkote, Zafarwal, Neelam valley and other areas, sources said.

“The deployment has been a surprising move. It is an area of concern for us,” they said, adding that the Pakistani side has already cleaned the bunkers along the borderline.

The sources said, “Several brigades involved in the war against Taliban in north-western tribal belt have been withdrawn and deployed along the Jehlum-Chenab corridor in the past one week.”

Some troops have also been deployed in the Chinab-Ravi corridor.

“Pakistan wants to put pressure on the US by shifting troops from anti-Taliban operations. They are deploying them on the border in the name of safeguarding its frontiers with India by taking advantage of the tensions following the Mumbai terror attacks [Images],” they said.

One of the two divisions (with approximately 13,000 to 15,000 men) deployed in Waziristan was withdrawn, they said, quoting intelligence inputs and added that over 400 to 500 vehicles carrying troops have pulled out from Bajaur, Mohmmad and Waziristan during the past one week.

Army troops are keeping a close watch over the situation on the Line of Control [Images] on the border side, they said adding that troops of 19 division have also been moved closer to the Indo-Pak border.

Pakistani Rangers have cleared their bunkers and given them a face lift during the last fortnight, the sources said adding that there is also increase in the number of Pak rangers on the international border from Akhnoor to Pathankote.

Pak troops have also ‘activated their special operational intelligence units and put SOIU detachment in various forward areas along the border line,’ they said.

“The troops are maintaining a tight vigil along the border. They are patrolling the area round the clock. They are alert,” the defence sources said.

Reckless Israel endangering roots of our civilization

Reckless Israel endangering roots of our civilization

A Palestinian woman carries belongings near her destroyed house after an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday.

Israel is spreading seeds of hatred both on a regional and global scale, experts observe. The seeds of hatred have already been plowed as the number of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic attacks in Europe multiplied by a factor no less than four only two weeks after Israeli operation Cast Lead began.

But experts think that the long-term consequences of the operation will influence not only Israelis and Palestinians but also the whole of human civilization.

The immediate consequence of the carnage in Gaza was nonviolent but aggressive demonstrations throughout Europe organized by Muslims, left-wing activists and concerned others, reflecting the soaring anger and disapproval of Israel’s policies in Gaza. As international public pressure failed to be reflected in the policies of political leaders and international political bodies, such as the United Nations and the European Union, the despair felt among disturbed people turned into a more violent reaction toward Israel, even in the remotest countries of the world.

Last Monday a small but symbolically loaded incident occurred in Toulouse, France, where a gang rammed a car into a gate outside a synagogue and set it on fire. France, which already has a record of anti-Israeli and even anti-Semitic attacks, received the alarm signal early, and President Nicolas Sarkozy issued a statement condemning the attack and asking the French people to unite behind his drive for peace instead of letting international tension mutate into inter-community violence. The Belgian police also reported last week a significant increase in the size and the anger of street protests against Israel’s operation in Gaza. A street gang reportedly attempted to set fire to the door of a synagogue in Brussels last week. The Community Security Trust, a British anti-Semitism monitoring group, reported last week that violence against Jews and their property quadrupled after Israel launched its Gaza operation. Incidents of violence against Jews or Jewish sites have also been reported in Sweden and Denmark. Commenting on a French radio program, the Palestinian envoy to the EU, Leila Shahid, said although these awful incidents are unacceptable, they are a result of images from Gaza.

Psychologist and a former military officer Professor Nevzat Tarhan thinks the worst is yet to come. He warns of post-traumatic psychological disorders that can cause violence both within Israel and toward Israelis or Jews in general. His model is post-Vietnam Syndrome. According to the findings of psychologists, post-Vietnam syndrome hit the victims of the war, the winners of the war and the families of both. “This syndrome was seen in 42 percent of the families of both the victims and the winners of the war. It resulted in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other stress-related diseases,” he told Sunday’s Zaman. If Tarhan is right, the seeds of hatred Israel is spreading will emerge as psychological diseases among Israelis as well. Tarhan is even more worried about media coverage of the Gaza carnage. He thinks that due to modern telecommunications technology, people who are not a part of the conflict are also developing a victim mentality in remote parts of the world. “We are speaking about Mean World Syndrome today,” he told Sunday’s Zaman.

Political psychologist and former deputy Mehmet Bekaroğlu can be labeled a concerned left-wing intellectual when it comes to the Palestinian tragedy. Bekaroğlu thinks the imagery being aired on world televisions will have a deep and permanent effect on the psychologies of future generations, particularly with respect to how they perceive the Israeli and Jewish identity. “You don’t need to be a psychologist to see this; I assume that the Israelis have well-educated psychologists to analyze the impact of their activities on world public opinion,” he told Sunday’s Zaman. Bekaroğlu thinks Israel is intentionally trying to create an impact on the psychologies of future generations. “They are trying to create a psychology of despair, a psychology of slavery. They want people to think that they can do nothing against Israel, that they are helpless vis-à-vis Israel. They realized that they cannot have the world accept their existence and ambitions with love, so they are having the world accept them through hatred and fear,” he claimed.

Speaking about the Israeli mentality, Tarhan told Sunday’s Zaman that since the Israeli war strategy is based on ethno-religious sources, soldiers are developing a psychology of “trivialization of the other.” “In time they stop seeing the others as human beings. They are killing children but not as children — they regard them as mere threats. Since they dehumanize the other, they do not regard their feelings as noteworthy,” Tarhan explained. “This creates what we call ethnic narcissism.”

Can “trivialization of the other” explain Israel’s negligence toward the soaring anger and hatred in the world’s streets? If it can, a second idea that Tarhan proposes can explain it even further. Tarhan speaks of “blood feud perceptions.” This concept refers to redefinition of the enemy other through terms of fear only. “They kill children because they see the children as something that can grow and harm themselves,” he explains.

Bekaroğlu believes Israel’s atrocities in Gaza and their presentation in world media will have an even wider impact on civilization’s perception of human beings in general. “Our current civilization has adopted concepts like democracy, human rights and freedom as its foundations. These were already eroded, but even the final bits of trust in these concepts were annihilated in Gaza. What we are seeing is a complete civilizational shift,” he said. Bekaroğlu thinks that while the current civilization has used the terminology of democracy and human rights, it is actually a civilization of power and might where the powerful are the righteous. What Bekaroğlu refers to as a “shift” is a search for a civilization of humanness, rights, lawfulness and justice. He is not optimistic, however, about a concrete change in a short time.

A further side effect of the Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people living in the besieged and isolated Gaza Strip turned out to be the legitimization of Hamas. Thousands in Western capitals demonstrated in support not only of the Palestinian people, but also of their democratically elected Hamas government. It is most probable that this increased amount of sympathy toward Hamas will also lead soon-to-be-sworn-in US President-elect Barack Obama to be more ready and less hesitant to speak to Hamas directly.

11 January 2009, Sunday


How the mosaic of Ergenekon terror gang was created

[The following article documents the inner workings of the Deep State/Gladio CIA mindset.  Diverse groups are brought together in common purpose, to save the homeland, where they come under direct manipulation by the secret government agencies.  Key leaders, the most active and “well-heeled” leaders, advance the secret plans, which have little to do with “saving the homeland.”  Usually, the different groups, who have nothing else in common, submerge their interests within the group whole.  This pattern of manipulation holds true for every country, within every resistance movement are the seeds of its own destruction.  If aware leaders do not keep these subversive elements in check they mislead the movements in support of US goals.]

How the mosaic of Ergenekon terror gang was



Suspects motivated to save country

Attorney Yusuf Alataş, who has taken on many cases involving political figures, has said the founders of Ergenekon probably had a common motivation — “to save the country.”

“For them, the country is about to be occupied or has already been occupied, and it has to be saved,” he explained, adding that right-wing people in the organization were convinced that communists would seize the country, left-wingers were convinced that imperialists would seize the country and secular-minded people were convinced that Shariah would replace the current regime.

“So even people who would never be able to get along came together in the same organization, probably without even knowing each other. Only the upper-rank coordinators who used them knew who was who.”

Indicating that the Ergenekon organization is not new, Alataş said it is based on Gladio, a code name denoting the clandestine NATO stay-behind operation in Italy after World War II. In Italy in the 1970s, it was discovered that explosives used in an attack that killed three gendarmes in Pateano came from an arms depot belonging to a secret organization. As the investigation developed, the existence of an organization named Gladio was discovered. In the course of the ensuing investigation, more than 600 Gladio members, including two people who had served as prime minister and president, were exposed.

According to journalist and writer Nazlı Ilıcak, Ergenekon was involved in creating a suitable atmosphere to curb the rise of the religiously minded Welfare Party (RP), which has since been shut down by the Constitutional Court.

“A campaign led by the military used the media, civil society groups and academics as tools to spread propaganda,”

“It’s hard to understand the links that brought unrelated people together in the Ergenekon case. These will be understood with the release of the prosecutor’s indictment. If a prosecutor feels the need to search the home of Kanadoğlu, that means he has serious reasons for it. There seem to be mutual ideals to unite these people,” he said.

Journalist Celal Kazdağlı, who investigated the “deep state,” reiterated the idea that the detentions show that those people came together because they shared the same purpose.

“They do not necessarily have to know each other. There are ideologues who plan the big picture, and there are pawns to be used. Everyone does his or her own thing in the operation.”

Obama to inherit ‘major covert’ op in Iran

Obama to inherit ‘major covert’ op in Iran
Sun, 11 Jan 2009 11:35:23 GMT

Over 100 Israeli F-16s and F-15s staged a maneuver over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in the first week of June. The operation was said to be in preparation for a war on Iran.

The US has prevented Israel from opening a war with Iran by assuring that there are “secret ways” to sabotage Tehran’s nuclear efforts.

A Sunday article published by the New York Times has revealed that US President George W. Bush refused last year to equip the Israeli military with advanced bunker busters able to be used against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

The report cites unnamed upper US echelons and foreign officials as saying that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates had convinced Bush that an Israeli air attack on the Natanz nuclear complex would prove to be “ineffective” and would ignite and all-out war in the Middle East.

Bush then, according to the officials, rejected a request by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to give the green light for military action against Iran and instead opted for a covert operation against the country.

According to the officials, the covert operations included renewed US espionage activities against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and efforts to undermine the country’s electrical systems and computer networks.

While the UN nuclear watchdog, in its September 15 report on Iran, declared that it could not find any “components of a nuclear weapon” or “related nuclear physics studies” in the country, Israel accuses Tehran of seeking nuclear weaponry.

A recent article published by the Guardian, meanwhile, had revealed that Olmert “seriously considered” striking nuclear facilities in Iran before being stopped by Bush in a May 14 meeting.

On Oct. 12, The Times touched upon the issue, reporting that there is the likelihood of Israel bypassing US warnings and unilaterally striking Iranian nuclear facilities in the same manner Georgia attacked South Ossetia.

“The experience of Georgia has given an amber, if not a green light to Israel (to attack Iran) and only Bush can switch that to red,” The Times asserted.

The revelation that Bush and Olmert have launched covert operations against Iran comes amid speculation that Israel waged war on Gaza as a prelude to a broader plan for the Middle East.

According to the New York Times report, President-elect Barack Obama will inherit a ‘major covert program’ in Iran when he takes office on January 20.

Is Israel winning the ‘media war’ over Gaza?

Is Israel winning the ‘media war’ over Gaza?

Ramzy Baroud | Arab News

“We are all Hamas,” screamed a scrawny Mauritanian, repeatedly, as he determinedly drew his face closer to a TV camera. Behind him, thousands more tunefully chanted similar words, chants that were heard in different Arabic dialects, in fact in many different languages all across the globe. Yet, Israel, somehow is claiming victory in the media war, which it calculatedly unleashed weeks before its most violent attack on Gaza yet. Thousands have been reportedly killed and wounded in little more than a week, starting Dec. 27, in the tiny stretch of land (roughly 140 square miles), yet densely populated Gaza Strip of 1.5 million people.

“Whenever Israel is bombing, it is hard to explain our position to the world,” said Avi Pazner, former Israeli ambassador to Italy and France and “one of the officials drafted in to present Israel’s case to the world media,” according to The Jewish Chronicle. “But at least this time everything was ready and in place.”

“Fewer military officers; more women; tightly controlled messages; and ministers kept on a short leash. This was Israel’s new media game plan in Operation Cast Lead,” the newspaper reported.

It is always difficult to fathom Israel’s giddiness and sense of triumph as defenseless civilians are pulverized by mostly US-supplied warplanes and bombs. Even if one chooses to empathize with Israel’s dodgy claim, parroted endlessly by the Bush administration, that the Israeli Army is in a state of self-defense, one can never fully grasp the wisdom of its military tactics.

“Fatalities in Gaza are already over 600 and injuries close to 2,000 so far as is known. Total Palestinian civilian casualties are 400 times greater than the casualties incurred by Israelis,” wrote three-time US presidential candidate Ralph Nader in an open letter to President George W. Bush, five days into the Israeli onslaught. Nearly one week after the devastating airstrikes, Israel unleashed a ground offensive which is pushing the causality figures to unprecedented heights, made mostly of civilian victims.

Much of Israel’s war machine is financed, manufactured and supplied by the United States. US financial and military generosity has served as the backbone of all of Israel’s wars against its neighbors, including the Palestinians. In Israel’s war against Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the US rushed “emergency” military supplies, including cluster bombs to the Israeli Army, allowing the latter to ensure the demise of its archenemy.

In the ongoing war against Gaza, neither the United States’ “dedication to the security of Israel,” nor Israel’s dedication to inflicting maximum harm on civilians have been in any way altered. While Bush brazenly chastised Hamas and the Palestinians for the death wrought on them by Israel, President-elect Barack Obama had absolutely nothing to say.

“The scale of bloodshed in Gaza over five days is the same as if almost 2,000 Israelis had been killed and 9,000 wounded in the same period. Imagine the consequences for Israel in such an event,” wrote author and former BBC correspondent Deepak Tripathi. Would Obama find the staggering number worthy of cutting short his Hawaii vacation, even for a brief comment, if the tables were turned? But Israel is winning the media war, reports Israel; a peculiar claim by any standards. If the reference is made to a “victory” that helped win over mainstream US media, one has to wonder if the corporate media has ever expressed any sympathy for Hamas, or any resisting Palestinian faction, be it secular, socialist or Islamist?

The opposite has always been true. Any violent Palestinian response to the Israeli occupation has been dubbed “terrorist” for decades, even if Palestinians were targeting Israeli soldiers or paramilitary settlers. Aside from allowing a “moderate” Palestinian commentator an occasional limited space to write a watered down Op-Ed, now and then — which serves as a feel-good moment that demonstrates the “objectivity” of US media — the pro-Israel mantra has defined every major American newspaper in every city in every state. That requires a separate discussion, but the persistent question remains: What is Israel winning exactly?

More Israeli women are stating Israel’s case to the media, according to reports. The strategy is both sexist and underhanded. Following the Lebanon war, Israeli bikini models flooded US men magazines exhibiting their barely covered bodies. Former Miss Israel Gal Gadot defended her nude photos, promoted partly by the Israeli Consulate in New York as her attempt to help “improve Israel’s war-torn image,” reported The New York Post in June 2007. Now as Israeli bombs are lightening the sky of Gaza, similar tactics are under way, in Maxim and other magazines.

Kadima leader and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni took her message to YouTube, conveying the same redundant but “tightly controlled” misinformation, that attempts to explain why imprisoning, starving and then senselessly bombing 1.5 million Palestinian Muslims and Christians is good for world peace, for democracy, for security, for the future of the region and the world. But the fact is, Israel never won the media war in the US for, frankly, there was never one to begin with. Yet somehow, millions of people around the world managed to read through the filters, the propaganda, the perplexing logic, the Maxim cover pages, and took to the streets in a collective act of passion and dismay, without billion-dollar media crafters “tightly controlling” their every move, scripting their chants or directing their hoarse voices: “We are all Palestinians and with our souls and with our blood we will die for Gaza.”

What has Israel won exactly, aside from the haunting images of young Palestinians, mutilated, some silent and others screaming? This is no victory, but an illusion of one. As for the long-term repercussions, that is a whole new story. Israeli bombs over Lebanon in 1982 gave rise to Hezbollah, and its war of 2006 turned a small, resistance movement into a major player that will certainly help shape the future of Lebanon. Israel is now doing the same in Gaza. A victory, indeed.

— Ramzy Baroud is an author and editor of

Gaza: The Massacre in Zeitoun

Gaza: The Massacre in Zeitoun


IN the annals of war crimes, the name “Zeitoun” will assume its place alongside names like “My Lai,” “Fallujah,” “Sabra-Shatila,” “Guernica,” “Nanking,” “Lidice,” and “Wounded Knee.”

In the last two days, the massacre that took place in Zeitoun, a neighborhood on the southern flats approaching Gaza City, has only now begun to come into focus. Aid groups, including the Red Cross, have used the three-hour pauses in Israel bombardment that began on Wednesday in a desperate attempt to remove the wounded, some of whom apparently still remain. Most of the dead have been left behind.

What is particularly horrifying about the Zeitoun massacre—details of which continue to unfold—is the sadistic behavior of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). This is a mass killing that has unfolded over days.

It appears that the IDF tricked residents, promising that they would be safe gathered in large groups in particular buildings, only to bomb them later. Over the course of four days, the Israelis then left the sick and dying—all civilians, the majority small children—with no medical assistance, food or water, even though Israelis enjoyed total control over the area. At the same time, they refused repeated requests for access to the neighborhood by aid workers.

It is not clear how many have died in Zeitoun. At this point, it appears the number is somewhere between 70 and 85. But this figure may grow significantly as the unassisted wounded continue to die, and as aid workers uncover bodies of victims in bombed-out buildings.

Israel raided Zeitoun on Sunday, quickly establishing its control. The town occupies a strategic location south of Gaza City, and will be used should the IDF launch an attack on the city proper.

According to survivors, after invading the IDF compelled extended families to gather in centrally located buildings, marching families at gunpoint from one building to the next. The IDF told the residents of Zeitoun that they were being led to houses that would not be bombed.

But in at least once case, it has emerged that the IDF forced some 110 Palestinians into a house that was then bombed within 24 hours, killing perhaps 70 people, all civilians. Aid workers only discovered the corpses after being prevented for four days by the IDF from visiting the neighborhood in Zeitoun.

Those in the building, which has been described as a “warehouse” by one survivor, were left inside without food or water. After one day, three men attempted to venture out to find food. They were immediately hit by a barrage of IDF fire. At that point, a missile hit the rooftop of the warehouse.

Meysa Samouni, a 19-year-old who survived the attack with her two-year-old daughter, who was maimed, described the scene: “When the missile stuck, I lay down with my daughter under me. Everything filled up with smoke and dust, and I heard screams and crying. After the smoke and dust cleared a bit, I looked around and saw 20 to 30 people who were dead, and about 20 who were wounded.

“The persons killed around me were my husband, who was hit in the back, my father-in-law, who was hit in the head and whose brain was on the floor, my mother-in-law Rabab, my father-in-law’s brother Talal, and his wife Rhama Muhammad a-Samouni, 45, Talal’s son’s wife, Maha Muhammad a-Samouni, 19, and her son, Muhammad Hamli a-Samouni, five months, whose whole brain was outside his body, Razqa Muhammad a-Samouni, 50, Hanan Khamis a-Samouni, 30, and Hamdi Majid a-Samouni, 22.”

A Red Cross medic who visited Zeitoun described a horrific scene. “Inside the Samouni house I saw about 10 bodies and outside another 60,” the medic told the Telegraph. “I was not able to count them accurately because there was not much time and we were looking for wounded people…. I could see an Israeli army bulldozer knocking down houses nearby but we ran out of time and the Israeli soldiers started shooting at us.”

“We had to leave about eight injured people behind because we could not get to them and it was no longer safe for us to stay.'”

In another building in Zeitoun, the Israelis gathered 80 people together. Survivors report Israeli soldiers gunning people down in cold blood as they later attempted to flee. One man, Atiyeh Samouni, was shot by Israelis after he opened his door to receive them. Then his two-year old son was shot, a survivor said.

Most of the men of Zeitoun were rounded up, blindfolded, and marched away. Some were used as human shields, survivors say.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ statement on the bombing was based on the account of survivors, but it corroborated an AP story and testimony gathered by an Israeli human rights group.

This was the same neighborhood where a day earlier the Red Cross found four half-dead children near the corpses of their mothers. The Red Cross discovered the bodies of 15 other people in a bombed structure, who likely suffered slow and agonizing deaths for lack of medical care. Israeli soldiers were stationed within 100 yards of the dying family.

Aid agencies became aware of the massacre at Zeitoun when surviving members of the Samouni clan arrived in Gaza City early in the week. According to the Telegraph, “A handful of survivors, some wounded, others carrying dead or dying infants, made it on foot to Gaza’s main north-south road before they were given lifts to hospital. Three small children were buried in Gaza City that afternoon.”

But Israel refused to allow the Red Cross to visit the neighborhood until Wednesday.

One hundred other people in need of medical treatment have been evacuated from Zeitoun—not for injuries, but for dehydration and famine. The town has been without water and food since Israel overran it Sunday evening.

Speaking in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned the Israeli atrocities in Gaza. Israel claims that all of its actions are justified by Palestinians’ ineffective rocket fire from Gaza. But Pillay said that this did not obviate Israel from observing international law. In an interview with BBC, Pillay said Israel’s actions appear to have “all the elements of war crimes.”

Because the IDF has persistently attacked relief organizations, the UN and the World Food Program have stopped delivery of relief supplies to Gaza. Since Wednesday, Israel has claimed to observe a three-hour cease-fire in order to allow humanitarian workers to reach areas the IDF controls. However, in several instances, the IDF has fired on aid workers during the supposed three-hour lapse.

According to the Geneva Conventions, an invading army is responsible for caring for the sick, wounded, and hungry in the territory it controls. Israel clearly does not observe these conventions, effectively blocking the delivery of food and medicine, firing upon ambulances and preventing them from reaching the wounded, and leaving the sick and wounded under its own control to die.

There are indications that Zeitoun was specifically targeted for exemplary punishment by the IDF. The Telegraph reports that it was a place of known Hamas activity.

The Zeitoun massacre is a horrific war crime for which the IDF and the Israeli government bear responsibility. But the IDF’s rampage would not be possible without the full backing of the US and the complicity of the UN, the European powers, and the Arab regimes of the Middle East.

Should Israel enter Gaza City, home to more than 400,000 people, the methods used at Zeitoun will be repeated on a much more deadly scale. (WSWS)

US wants total rout of Pak terror groups

[Assistant Sec. State demands Pakistan rout US-sponsored terror from its soil.]

US wants total rout of Pak terror groups

Shahid Burney | Arab News

MUMBAI: In a tone laced with anger, US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Richard Boucher told reporters here on Friday night that Pakistan must take stern measures to wipe out terror groups based in the country.

“This is a must, and Pakistan has to do all to ensure that the terror groups operating out from Pakistan are eliminated completely,” he said.

Boucher who made a brief halt in Mumbai on his way to New Delhi from Islamabad, said that it was necessary for India and the United States to join hands together to eliminate terrorism. “It would be in the interest of both the countries and beneficial if steps are taken further to boost and forge an alliance and work together in arresting underworld don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar as well as destroying terrorist training camps situated in Pakistan,” he said.

Boucher told journalists that “it was in the better interests of Pakistan to wipe out the terrorist training camps. It is in the interest of Pakistan, India, US and the world to ensure peace in the subcontinent. It would be better for Pakistan to think more of how to keep away from drastic actions,” Boucher stressed.

Boucher agreed that the Mumbai terror attacks were guided from Pakistan and said that it was also true that the terrorists came from there.

Statement From: Khalid Mish’al head of the Hamas political bureau

This Brutality Will Never Break our Will to be



For six months we in Hamas observed the ceasefire. Israel broke it repeatedly from the start
FOR 18 months my people in Gaza have been under siege, incarcerated inside the world’s biggest prison, sealed off from land, air and sea, caged and starved, denied even medication for our sick. After the slow death policy came the bombardment. In this most densely populated of places, nothing has been spared Israel’s warplanes, from government buildings to homes, mosques, hospitals, schools and markets. More than 540 have been killed and thousands permanently maimed. A third are women and children. Whole families have been massacred, some while they slept.
This river of blood is being shed under lies and false pretexts. For six months we in Hamas observed the ceasefire. Israel broke it repeatedly from the start. Israel was required to open crossings to Gaza, and extend the truce to the West Bank. It proceeded to tighten its deadly siege of Gaza, repeatedly cutting electricity and water supplies. The collective punishment did not halt, but accelerated – as did the assassinations and killings. Thirty Gazans were killed by Israeli fire and hundreds of patients died as a direct effect of the siege during the so-called ceasefire. Israel enjoyed a period of calm. Our people did not.
When this broken truce neared its end, we expressed our readiness for a new comprehensive truce in return for lifting the blockade and opening all Gaza border crossings, including Rafah. Our calls fell on deaf ears. Yet still we would be willing to begin a new truce on these terms following the complete withdrawal of the invading forces from Gaza.
No rockets have ever been fired from the West Bank. But 50 died and hundreds more were injured there last year at Israel’s hands, while its expansionism proceeded relentlessly. We are meant to be content with shrinking scraps of territory, a handful of cantons at Israel’s mercy, enclosed by it from all sides. The truth is that Israel seeks a one-sided ceasefire, observed by my people alone, in return for siege, starvation, bombardment, assassinations, incursions and colonial settlement. What Israel wants is a gratuitous ceasefire.
The logic of those who demand that we stop our resistance is absurd. They absolve the aggressor and occupier – armed with the deadliest weapons of death and destruction – of responsibility, while blaming the victim, prisoner and occupied. Our modest, home-made rockets are our cry of protest to the world. Israel and its American and European sponsors want us to be killed in silence. But die in silence we will not.
What is being visited on Gaza today was visited on Yasser Arafat before. When he refused to bow to Israel’s dictates, he was imprisoned in his Ramallah headquarters, surrounded by tanks for two years. When this failed to break his resolve, he was murdered by poisoning.
Gaza enters 2009 just as it did 2008: under Israeli fire. Between January and February of last year 140 Gazans died in air strikes. And just before it embarked on its failed military assault on Lebanon in July 2006, Israel rained thousands of shells on Gaza, killing 240. From Deir Yassin in 1948 to Gaza today, the list of Israel’s crimes is long. The justifications change, but the reality is the same: colonial occupation, oppression, and never-ending injustice. If this is the “free world” whose “values” Israel is defending, as its foreign minister Tzipi Livni alleges, then we want nothing to do with it.
Israel’s leaders remain in the grip of confusion, unable to set clear goals for the attacks – from ousting the legitimately elected Hamas government and destroying its infrastructure, to stopping the rockets. As they fail to break Gaza’s resistance the benchmark has been lowered. Now they speak of weakening Hamas and limiting the resistance. But they will achieve neither. Gaza’s people are more united than ever, determined not to be terrorised into submission. Our fighters, armed with the justice of their cause, have already caused many casualties among the occupation army and will fight on to defend their land and people. Nothing can defeat our will to be free.
Once again, Washington and Europe have opted to aid and abet the jailer, occupier and aggressor, and to condemn its victims. We hoped Barack Obama would break with George Bush’s disastrous legacy but his start is not encouraging. While he swiftly moved to denounce the Mumbai attacks, he remains tongue-tied after 10 days of slaughter in Gaza. But my people are not alone. Millions of freedom-loving men and women stand by its struggle for justice and liberation – witness the daily protests against Israeli aggression, not only in the Arab and Islamic region, but worldwide.
Israel will no doubt wreak untold destruction, death and suffering in Gaza. But it will meet the same fate in Gaza as it did in Lebanon. We will not be broken by siege and bombardment, and will never surrender to occupation. (Guardian)
Khalid Mish’al is the head of the Hamas political bureau

Masters In Distortion Of The Truth

Masters In Distortion Of The Truth

By Yvonne Ridley

January 08, 2009 “Information Clearinghouse” — The media coverage of the war in Gaza by Western television companies is largely unfair and biased because of a refusal to show viewers the real images of the victims.

One of the reasons for this is Israel’s decision not to allow the Western media in to Gaza.

In addition to this outrageous censorship by a so-called democracy, we get the usual arguments that most of the images shown by the Arab media are too shocking to show the viewing public in the West.

Admittedly, the horrific clip sent to me of a child’s head lying detached, among debris in Gaza did make me gasp.

But this is war and this is real and if the Western media did show these sort of images may be the general public would wake up to the full horrors of what happens when bombs are dropped on civilian populat ions.

The re is no such reticence in the Arab media which is why more people with satellites are switching on to television from the Middle East to watch the unfolding genocide in Gaza.

And one rising media star is the fledgling Press TV, broadcast from Iran, and recently introduced to the Sky platform 515. It is fast becoming the first station of choice for the viewing public – especially the english-speaking across Europe – who simply want the truth, no matter who shocking or unpalatable it may be.

There are around half a dozen Palestinian journalists on the ground with Press TV crews revealing the full horrors of the war as it unfolds. I am amazed by their dedication and courage and I salute each and every one of them … some are my personal friends.

Yes, I do present a show for the station, but I have also worked as a journalist for more than three decades covering conflicts and their aftermaths from The Falklands, first and second Gulf wars, the Irish Troubles, as well as Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq for a variety of print and electronic media.

And one thing common in each conflict is the constant battle by journalists and war correspondents to get to the truth of the matter, but the battle to tell the truth is becoming more and more difficult despite the amazing technology now available.

People in powerful places who do terrible things do not want the truth to get out, which is why journalists are finding themselves banned20or censored more and more.

You see the truth is a very strong and influential weapon which can be used against those people.

Sadly when it is twisted and manipulated it can wreak even more havoc.

The Israeli war machine is masterful in its complete distortion of the truth which is why the state continues to go unpunished for its failure to adhere to the Geneva convention concerning the collective punishment of the citizens of Gaza.

Israeli tacti cs are cruel, malicious and demonstrate that its leaders are not interested in the peace process or a Palestinian State.

They are creating the ideal breeding ground for extremism, sabotaging peace efforts and squandering the good will they have been given.

Five years ago, the Bush administration lied about weapons of mass destruction … it was a lie eagerly repeated by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to fool the media into supporting an illegal, immoral invasion of Iraq.

And it worked.

To their eternal shame, most of the western media fell in line and swallowed the lie – with the exception of a few journalists most have kept quiet about this collective cock up. The New York Times did issue a front page apology later, but the damage had been done and public perception was difficult to change.

Sadly, many of the same news organisations and the same journalists have learned nothing from that shameful period. At the beginning of this war, Israel trotted out only the flimsy excuse of the Hamas rockets as justification for unleashing its brand of Shock and Awe in Gaza.

Hamas rockets have killed just over 20 Israelis since 2001 whereas Israel’s war on Gaza has killed more than 700 including more than 200 children in the last 13 days. The seriously maimed and injured is running in to thousands as I write.

But the ‘Hamas rocket’ excuse went unchallenged in the West, although to its full credit the Israeli media revealed days later that Operation Cast Lead wa s a long-planned campaign six months in the making aimed at crushing democratically elected Hamas.

Yes, I admit the rockets do exist but they are nothing more than metal barrels of junk fuelled by fertiliser. As one colleague remarked they’re mere slingshots compared to the shells, million dollar missiles and bunker-busting bombs used by Israel.

Some argue the Qassam rockets are used out of desperation, I personally think they’re more of a two-fingered gesture from a people who have suffered a brutal, medieval siege at the hands of Israel for years.

Despite its amazing war machine, and its state-of-the-art-technology these little rockets rarely show up on any military radars. The Israelis don’t know about them until they9 9ve landed and that’s what hacks them off.

Yet Israeli leaders and their supporters continue to present absurd propaganda about Hamas rockets which are far less sophisticated than anything the IRA ever used in mainland Britain during the height of The Troubles. Mind you, the IRA was funded and backed by US dollars whereas the Hamas military wing has no such generous donors.

I don’t recall the British Government ordering cruise missiles to be launched on Belfast in retaliation for the misery and suffering of IRA bombing campaigns in London, Manchester, Birmingham and other places. I can’t ever recall Apache Attack Helicopters hover ing outside the Sinn Fein offices in the Falls Road or targetted assassinations of IRA leaders.

Most journalists with an ounce of investigation skills would realise that the Hamas Rocket excuse is a sham.

But it continues to be used as an excuse for unleashing what has been described by various people, including Jewish peace activists, as a holocaust and genocide.
Millions across the world have demonstrated – anger and anarchy on the streets has been witness across all continents but the only ones who look away are the Western leaders and the servile media.

The gaggle of belly-dancing Middle Eastern leaders are largely a disgrace and are about as much use as the increasingly toothless United Nations, but there is a backlash coming and it’s coming from ordinary citizens across the world.

People power, the sort of power which inspired the Iranian and Cuban revolutions, the toppling of brutal dictators like Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, is emerging.

The Western media can either catch up with the agenda instead of trying to follow the Zionist agenda by continuing to peddle big lies. The viewing piblic have largely lost trust in the mainstream media, especially in the wake of Iraq.

Quite simply, the public has become cynical and jaded and can not be lied to any more. if the mainstream media is to regain any credibility journalists need to challenge israeli and Western leaders.

The truth is a powerful weapon and it is true that…

ISRAEL targets civilians – more than two thirds of the dead are women and children. So why allow Tzipi Livni to say: “Gaza Strip being controlled by Hamas, and the price is being paid by Israeli children and Palestinian children, but the blame is and the address is Hamas.” This is a clear lie. What Israeli children have been killed? The only dead children are in Gaza.

HAMAS is a political organisation which has a military wing and not the other way around. It was democratically elected by the people who were sick of the previous corrupt politicians who let them down.

ISRAEL broke the ceasefire on November 4 2008 – a fact finally acknowledged on CNN nearly two months later in a discussion show although the BBC, Fox and other western media have yet to mention this.

HAMAS does not use civilians as human shields – again, where is the evidence? Israel needs to put up or shut up, but the media never demands to see the evidence.
ISRAEL says it cares about civilians and warns them in advance of the bombing raids in their area – well so did the IRA but I don’t remember anyone congratulating them on their humanitarian actions.

And beware of the latest lie about to hit the media about Hamas commander Mahmoud Zahar who, according to the Zionist propaganda said Jewish children across the world are targets. A guest columnist in The Guardian quoted Zahar as saying: “The Zionists have legitimised the killing of their children by killing our children. They have legitimised the killing of their people all over the world by killing our people.”

This is not what he said. Unfortunately the Arabic translation was incorrect and those who should know better have failed to check the original speech against the transcript.

The damage has now been done and it remains to see if an apology or correction will follow.

As Sir Winston Churchill said: “A lie is halfway round the world before the truth has a chance to get its boots on.”

*Yvonne Ridley presents The Agenda show on Press TV every Thursday. She and film-maker Haq Nawaz recently returned from Gaza for a documentary which will be shown on Press TV later this spring. To watch Press TV live without satellite download

Gaza: international plan hatched to bring back Fatah

Gaza: international plan hatched to bring back Fatah

James Bone and Martin Fletcher

A plan to create a new foothold in Gaza for the Palestinian Authority and to bring in international monitors was being drawn up by diplomats yesterday as a UN ceasefire call was dismissed by both sides.

The plan would allow a return of the authority, led by the secular Fatah faction, to the territory 18 months after it was expelled by the Islamist Hamas. Diplomats are considering taking a triangle at the southern end of Gaza, including the Rafah crossing to Egypt and the Kerem Shalom crossing to Israel, to be policed by Turkish and French military monitors to stop arms smuggling into Gaza.

The zone would nominally be controlled by the authority, the internationally recognised Government. Such a plan would allow the crossings to reopen for the first time since Hamas seized power in Gaza in June 2007.

The plan is being negotiated as part of the Egyptian peace initiative, announced by President Mubarak after talks with President Sarkozy of France, which calls for an immediate ceasefire to be followed by talks on securing the Gaza-Egypt border and reopening the crossings.

It faces formidable obstacles. Diplomats said yesterday that the Egyptian efforts were getting bogged down because of disagreements over how to secure the border. Hamas has said it would consider allowing observers at the border crossings with Egypt but opposes an international force. It also claimed yesterday that a delegation of three Hamas leaders had crossed the border into Egypt to join talks.

Israel, however, is insisting on a robust international force to destroy smuggling tunnels under the border.

Egypt, for its part, does not want international troops on its territory. Instead, Cairo wants to revive the 2005 agreement on movement and access, under which EU monitors oversaw the passage of people through the Rafah crossing and vehicles through Kerem Shalom, a deal that fell through when Hamas came to power. The new plan came as the UN ceasefire proposal was flatly rejected almost as soon as the Security Council backed it 14-0, with the US abstaining.

The US had been expected to back the UN resolution but abstained at the last minute. Diplomats said Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, changed her position after a call from President Bush.

Yesterday F16s continued to fire missiles at houses and apartment blocks in Gaza City, and the air reverberated with artillery fire. The fire was not all one way, though. Rockets repeatedly streaked out of Gaza towards the settlements of Sderot, Beersheba and Ashkelon just across the border.

Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, said: “Israel has never agreed for any outside influence to decide on its right to defend its citizens. The firing of rockets this morning only goes to show that the UN decision is unworkable and will not be adhered to by the murderous Palestinian organisations.”

Israel’s rejection of the resolution was no surprise. The offensive against Hamas is hugely popular: a poll in the Maariv newspaper showed 91 per cent of Israelis supporting it. “This is the time to back the commanders, soldiers and pilots working day and night to conduct a difficult, complex and entirely just war,” Ari Shavit, of the left-of-centre Haaretz newspaper, said.