Palestine

Israeli Gunboats Came out of the Darkness and Rammed us Three Times

In addition to doctors, journalists, and other humanitarians from around the world, among those aboard this ship was Cynthia McKinney, former US Representative from Georgia, 2008 Green Party presidential candidate, and member of the World Can't Wait Advisory Board. The aid ship, sent by the Free Gaza Movement and attacked this morning in international waters by Israeli warships, was carrying to Gaza desperately needed medical supplies donated by residents of Cyprus.
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12-30-2008

 

For more information, please contact:
(Gaza) Ewa Jasiewicz, +972 598 700 497 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(Cyprus) Lubna Masarwa +357 99 081 767 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(Lebanon) Caoimhe Butterley +961 70 875 727 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www.FreeGaza.org

(Lebanon, Tuesday 30 December) - Today the Free Gaza ship "Dignity" carefully made its way to safe harbor in Tyre, Lebanon's southern-most port city, after receiving serious structural damage when Israeli warships rammed its bow and the port side. Waiting to greet the passengers and crew were thousands of Lebanese who came out to show their solidarity with this attempt to deliver volunteer doctors and desperately needed medical supplies to war-ravaged Gaza. The Lebanese government has pledged to provide a forensic analysis of what happened in the dark morning, when Israel rammed the civilian ship in international waters, and put the people on board in danger of losing their lives.

The Dignity, on a mission of mercy to besieged Gaza, was attacked by the Israeli Navy at approximately 6am (UST) in international waters, roughly 90 miles off the coast of Gaza. Several Israeli warships surrounded the small, human rights boat, firing live ammunition around it, then intentionally ramming it three times. According to ship's captain Denis Healy, the Israeli attack came, ""without any warning, or any provocation."

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Party to Murder

By Chris Hedges

Can anyone who is following the Israeli air attacks on Gaza—the buildings blown to rubble, the children killed on their way to school, the long rows of mutilated corpses, the wailing mothers and wives, the crowds of terrified Palestinians not knowing where to flee, the hospitals so overburdened and out of supplies they cannot treat the wounded, and our studied, callous indifference to this widespread human suffering—wonder why we are hated?
 
Our self-righteous celebration of ourselves and our supposed virtue is as false as that of Israel. We have become monsters, militarized bullies, heartless and savage. We are a party to human slaughter, a flagrant war crime, and do nothing. We forget that the innocents who suffer and die in Gaza are a reflection of ourselves, of how we might have been should fate and time and geography have made the circumstances of our birth different. We forget that we are all absurd and vulnerable creatures. We all have the capacity to fear and hate and love. “Expose thyself to what wretches feel,” King Lear said, entering the mud and straw hovel of Poor Tom, “and show the heavens more just.”
 
Privilege and power, especially military power, is a dangerous narcotic. Violence destroys those who bear the brunt of its force, but also those who try to use it to become gods. Over 350 Palestinians have been killed, many of them civilians, and over 1,000 have been wounded since the air attacks began on Saturday. Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, said Israel is engaged in a “war to the bitter end” against Hamas in Gaza. A war? Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely crowded refugee camps and slums, to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command and control, no army, and calls it a war. It is not a war. It is murder.
 

 

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Israeli War Crimes in Gaza: Enabled and Supported by the US Government

 

By Kenneth J. Theisen
 
As I write this article, the people of Gaza have undergone three days of bombardment by the Israeli military that is nothing short of a war crime and a crime against humanity. The death toll is more than 300 and at least another 1,400 have been wounded. Israel launched its brutal assault against the Palestinians of Gaza on Saturday, December 27, 2008. Israeli troops, backed by tanks, are presently positioned on the border of Gaza for a possible invasion. If such an invasion occurs the death toll will rapidly multiply.
 
Israel and its main ally, the U.S. government, portray Israeli war crimes as self-defense because Hamas has launched attacks against Israel.  According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, since the beginning of 2008 eight Israeli soldiers and nine civilians have been killed in such attacks. But the U.S. and Israel make no mention of over half-a-century of Israeli attacks on Palestinians, resulting in countless deaths. They also fail to mention that Israel was created on Palestinian land in 1948 and that Israel expanded its rule with a war in 1967 that conquered the West Bank and Gaza. Israel has fought numerous wars with its neighbors since its creation and been backed in these wars by its imperialist patron, the U.S. government.
 

 

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Gaza and Israel: Is a Nation State’s First Job to Protect Its Citizens?

 

By Dennis Loo
 
The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. And so I can assure you that if -- I don't even care if I was a politician -- if somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing. – Barack Obama
 
Let’s examine this statement - and the first sentence especially, since it concentrates the premise upon which everything else follows.
 
Is it the first job of any nation state (and its political leaders) to protect its citizens? On the surface, the statement seems uncontestable. Of course protecting one’s citizens is their first task. But then, if this is a general principle, then it applies to any and all nation states. You cannot take a general principle and say that it only applies to one or some nation states and not to others. As Glenn Greenwald points out today, Israel is responsible for “the ongoing four-decades brutal occupation [and] the recent, grotesquely inhumane blockade of Gaza.” So does not Hamas have the right to self-defense against Israel?
 
If you accept the premise - any nation state’s first job is to protect its citizens - then internecine and endless warfare can always be justified.
 

 

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'For the children, it is like living in hell'

By Jerome Tyler

As explosions echoed in the distance and Israeli aircraft roared overhead, many residents in Gaza City were hunkered down in their houses yesterday, praying the bombs would spare them and worrying about how to feed their families and keep them warm should they survive.
 
"We still don't dare go outside. Nowhere feels safe," Faysal Shawa, a construction engineer, said by telephone from the house where he lives with his wife and three children. "Gaza is so small that when the Israelis bomb us it feels like they are bombing our own houses. There is a government building about 100 metres from where I live and it has been hit a number of times. My children are completely terrified.
 
"People in Gaza are used to dealing with hardship, but this time the bombings are absolutely terrifying, and what makes this attack worse is that for the past 18 months we have been living with little electricity, water and food. For the children it is like living in hell.
 

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What Israeli Brutality in Gaza?

By Kevin Gosztola

What is the likelihood that any American sees the unfolding massacres on television and walks away with some commentary that will truthfully illuminate what is happening between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza right now?
 
Attacks that have been coming from Israel since Christmas Day reached critical mass yesterday as over 200 in Gaza were killed and 300 were injured. Israel claimed it was beginning an operation in response to Hamas attacks that had been occurring during a brokered ceasefire. The White House and President-elect Obama recognized Israel’s supposed right to defend Israel against Hamas and many reports added the idea that Hamas was supported by Iran.
 
Inevitably, one could see why many Americans would not question the official story. There are many Americans who, according to Chris Hedges, are “dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information. They have, “severed [themselves] from the literate, print-based culture [and] cannot differentiate between lies and truth. [They are] informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés [and are] thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection.”
 

 

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Protests Begin Against Israeli Assault Upon Gaza: More Needed!

The death toll in Gaza continues to mount, and, with full U.S. backing, Israeli is declaring much of Gaza – one of the most densely populated and impoverished areas of this planet – a “closed military zone”. Much needed protests against the Israeli assault upon Gaza have begun to take place throughout the world, including in this country. More are scheduled over the next several days. In these dangerous days, it is vital to retain moral clarity, and to act upon it. The following brief report is an initial account of a demonstration in Houston yesterday – more are to follow.

500 - 600 people gathered in the Galleria shopping area of Houston to protest the genocidal attacks on Gaza. This was the largest rally in defense of the Palestinian people in Houston in recent memory, and part of a world-wide mobilization to stop the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

 

The protest was spirited and defiant. Chants like “Free, Free, Palestine, Occupation is a Crime” rang throughout the district. Many people waved the Palestinian flag, many wore Kefiyehs. Women were particularly outspoken, and leading many of the chants. People spoke bitterness about how Israel can carry out its murderous strangulation of Gaza, it's constant attacks, and the Palestinians are always blamed -- and how the media never tells the truth. One woman had a home made drawing she had done, depicting Ann Frank, a young victim of Nazi atrocities against European Jews, wearing a kafiyeh.

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Israel Unleashes A Massacre in Gaza

By Larry Everest (with research and assistance from other Revolution correspondents)

Beginning mid-day on Saturday, December 27, waves of U.S.-supplied Israeli warplanes suddenly appeared over the skies of the Palestinian territory of Gaza in broad daylight and unleashed a deadly barrage of bomb and missile attacks that continue as we go to press. This could not be taking place without the approval of the U.S., for whom Israel serves as an enforcer in the Middle East. The U.S.-supplied Israeli F-16 warplanes and Apache helicopters attacked all of Gaza’s main towns, including Gaza City, Khan Younis and Rafah, striking more than 210 targets in the first 24 hours of what Israel threatens will be “war to the bitter end.” Police stations—located in the middle of civilian areas—government offices, the Islamic University, and many other sites were hit. By Sunday, over 300 had been killed—including many civilians and an estimated 700 wounded. It was the most Palestinians killed in a single day in decades.

 
Eyewitnesses described scenes of terror from the skies, and the horror of seeing loved ones massacred. According to the Associated Press, Palestinian human rights groups said that 20 of the dead were children under 16 and 9 women: “The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said it was difficult to keep an exact count because of chaos at the hospitals, and difficulty in identifying dismembered bodies.” The UN reported that seven teenage students at a UN vocational college for Palestinian refugees were killed waiting for a bus to take them home.
 

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Gaza Attacked: Why is Hamas Firing Rockets at Israel?

A savage Israeli air assault on impoverished Gaza has begun. At least 250 people are dead, many of them children. While Gaza city was reduced to a “chaotic horror,” the New York Times reported that Israeli defense minster Ehud Barak said that “military operations in Gaza would expand and deepen as necessary.” An Israeli blockade of Gaza, backed by the United States and all the European powers, has resulted in the “near death” of the Gazan economy before this barbaric onslaught. As for the United States and the Bush Regime, Bush spokesman Gordon Johndroe admitted “we were all aware of the authorization (for bombing Gaza) by the Israeli cabinet.” The attacks on the Palestinian people of Gaza are a horrible crime against humanity, with the full cooperation, knowledge, and support of the Bush Regime, and must be condemnYoung Palestinian woman, victim of Israeli bombinged and vigorously opposed.

by Kevin Gosztola

More than 200 people are reported dead in Gaza after Israeli attacks, which were in response to ongoing rocket fire from Hamas. Israel’s hammering of so-called Hamas targets have left over 300 injured and Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has said Israeli attacks will go on for "as long as necessary."
 
The U.S., being the biggest of ally of Israel, bears some responsibility for the worsening situation, against which supporters of Arab and Palestinian rights are speaking out.
 

 

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Bush, Obama, and Israel's Occupation of Palestine

By Robert Weitzel
 
"With [traditional Israeli defense strategists] it's all about tanks and land and controlling territories . . . and this hilltop and thatalt hilltop. All these things are worthless." -Incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert-
 
Soon after the sand settled following the Six Day War in 1967, Jewish settlements began dotting the hills in the occupied territories. These settlements are typically located on the high ground to better control the surrounding landscape. Today there are 127 Jewish settlements with a population exceeding 468,000 in the West Bank, the Golan Heights and in the suburbs of East Jerusalem-the last of nearly 8,000 settlers were removed from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

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America Must Plumb Olmert's "Depths of Reality"

By Robert Weitzel

I was the first who wanted to impose Israeli sovereignty . . . I admit it . . . I was not ready to look into all the depths of reality.

- Incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

In a September 30 article in the Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronot, Israel's incumbent Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a former member of the right-wing Likud party, said that Israel must withdraw "from almost all of the territories, if not from all the territories. We shall keep in our hands a percentage of these territories, but we shall be compelled to give the Palestinians a similar percentage, because without that there will be no peace."

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World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.