Thousands of Israeli troops, backed by tanks and helicopters, have entered the Gaza Strip as Israel escalated its offensive into the territory on the eighth day of operations.
Tanks entered the besieged territory through several points mainly in northern Gaza, crossing shortly after nightfall on Saturday, officials said, while the Israeli cabinet said it had also called up about 9,000 reservists.
Israel is only targeting legitimate military sites and is seeking to protect innocent lives. Israel never targets civilians.
The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated pieces of property in the world. The presence of militants within a civilian population does not, under international law, deprive that population of their protected status, and hence any assault upon that population under the guise of targeting militants is, in fact, a war crime.
Moreover, the people Israel claims are legitimate targets are members of Hamas, which Israel says is a terrorist organization. Hamas has been responsible for firing rockets into Israel. These rockets are extremely inaccurate and thus, even if Hamas intended to hit military targets within Israel, are indiscriminate by nature. When rockets from Gaza kill Israeli civilians, it is a war crime.
Hamas has a military wing. However, it is not entirely a military organization, but a political one. Members of Hamas are the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people. Dozens of these elected leaders have been kidnapped and held in Israeli prisons without charge. Others have been targeted for assassination, such as Nizar Rayan, a top Hamas official. To kill Rayan, Israel targeted a residential apartment building. The strike not only killed Rayan but two of his wives and four of his children, along with six others. There is no justification for such an attack under international law. This was a war crime.
Other of Israel’s bombardment with protected status under international law have included a mosque, a prison, police stations, and a university, in addition to residential buildings.
Moreover, Israel has long held Gaza under siege, allowing only the most minimal amounts of humanitarian supplies to enter. Israel is bombing and killing Palestinian civilians. Countless more have been wounded, and cannot receive medical attention. Hospitals running on generators have little or no fuel. Doctors have no proper equipment or medical supplies to treat the injured. These people, too, are the victims of Israeli policies targeted not at Hamas or legitimate military targets, but directly designed to punish the civilian population.
Hamas violated the cease-fire. The Israeli bombardment is a response to Palestinian rocket fire and is designed to end such rocket attacks.
Israel never observed the cease-fire to begin with. From the beginning, it announced a “special security zone” within the Gaza Strip and announced that Palestinians who enter this zone will be fired upon. In other words, Israel announced its intention that Israeli soldiers would shoot at farmers and other individuals attempting to reach their own land in direct violation of not only the cease-fire but international law.
Despite shooting incidents, including ones resulting in Palestinians getting injured, Hamas still held to the cease-fire from the time it went into effect on June 19 until Israel effectively ended the truce on November 4 by launching an airstrike into Gaza that killed five and injured several others.
Israel’s violation of the cease-fire predictably resulted in retaliation from militants in Gaza who fired rockets into Israel in response. The increased barrage of rocket fire at the end of December is being used as justification for the continued Israeli bombardment, but is a direct response by militants to the Israeli attacks.
Israel’s actions, including its violation of the cease-fire, predictably resulted in an escalation of rocket attacks against its own population.
Hamas is using human shields, a war crime.
There has been no evidence that Hamas has used human shields. The fact is, as previously noted, Gaza is a small piece of property that is densely populated. Israel engages in indiscriminate warfare such as the assassination of Nizar Rayan, in which members of his family were also murdered. It is victims like his dead children that Israel defines as “human shields” in its propaganda. There is no legitimacy for this interpretation under international law. In circumstances such as these, Hamas is not using human shields, Israel is committing war crimes in violation of the Geneva Conventions and other applicable international law.
Arab nations have not condemned Israel’s actions because they understand Israel’s justification for its assault.
The populations of those Arab countries are outraged at Israel’s actions and at their own governments for not condemning Israel’s assault and acting to end the violence. Simply stated, the Arab governments do not represent their respective Arab populations. The populations of the Arab nations have staged mass protests in opposition to not only Israel’s actions but also the inaction of their own governments and what they view as either complacency or complicity in Israel’s crimes.
Moreover, the refusal of Arab nations to take action to come to the aid of the Palestinians is not because they agree with Israel’s actions, but because they are submissive to the will of the US, which fully supports Israel. Egypt, for instance, which refused to open the border to allow Palestinians wounded in the attacks to get medical treatment in Egyptian hospitals, is heavily dependent upon US aid, and is being widely criticized within the population of the Arab countries for what is viewed as an absolute betrayal of the Gaza Palestinians.
Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been regarded as a traitor to his own people for blaming Hamas for the suffering of the people of Gaza. Palestinians are also well aware of Abbas’ past perceived betrayals in conniving with Israel and the US to sideline the democratically elected Hamas government, culminating in a counter-coup by Hamas in which it expelled Fatah (the military wing of Abbas’ Palestine Authority) from the Gaza Strip. While his apparent goal was to weaken Hamas and strengthen his own position, the Palestinians and other Arabs in the Middle East are so outraged at Abbas that it is unlikely he will be able to govern effectively.
Israel is not responsible for civilian deaths because it warned the Palestinians of Gaza to flee areas that might be targeted.
Israel claims it sent radio and telephone text messages to residents of Gaza warning them to flee from the coming bombardment. But the people of Gaza have nowhere to flee to. They are trapped within the Gaza Strip. It is by Israeli design that they cannot escape across the border. It is by Israeli design that they have no food, water, or fuel by which to survive. It is by Israeli design that hospitals in Gaza have no electricity and few medical supplies with which to treat the injured and save lives. And Israel has bombed vast areas of Gaza, targeting civilian infrastructure and other sites with protected status under international law. No place is safe within the Gaza Strip.
Prior to the British signing the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which called for a Jewish state, Palestinians made up over 90% of the population of Palestine. In fact, in 1914, Jews only made up 7.5% of the population. After the signing of the Balfour Declaration, Jews began migrating in mass numbers from surrounding areas into Palestine. This migration was haulted for three years from 1936-1939, but then resumed in even greater numbers until 1948, when Israel claimed itself a sovereign state and thus sparking an even larger mass migration of Jews into Palestine. By 1950, only 30 years after the signing of the Balfour Declaration, Jews made up the majority of the population. Basically, if you were to ask all but about 5% of the original Jewish inhabitants where they originated from, they would answer with a country other than Palestine, most likely a country from Eastern Europe and some from neighboring Arab countries. Jews are still migrating into Palestine today in mass numbers and settling in Palestinian territory. Much of these migrating Jews understand the Palestinian situation, but many times choose to ignore it due to overwhelming benefits.
In 1947, the United Nations agrees to split Palestine into two states, a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as an international city. One issue bothered the Palestinians…the agreement included a Jewish state that made up 54% of the land and 46% to the Palestinians, even though prior to that point the Jews owned only 6% of the land. Then there is the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians out of their rightfully owned lands by Israeli militias, which sparked the bloodshed still seen today. One such horrific act was witnessed in April of 1948, when Zionist militia went into the town of Deir Yassin and murdered 254 innocent civilians, mostly elders, women, children. Many of these incidents along with the inexcusable demolition of thousands of Palestinian homes in the years to come instilled fear into the minds of many Palestinians, forcing them to flee to neighboring countries, most likely Jordan. Those who remained in Palestine to defend their land and refused to submit to the will of Israel were in for a great struggle. Till this day, this struggle includes many war crimes committed by Israel not only in Palestine, but in Lebanon as well, which include: ethnic cleansing, genocide, illegal imprisonment, and illegal occupation. Some of these war crimes were executed by former Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, who was not tried for any of his war crimes. Tyrants similar to Sharon include Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein. Milosevic went onto trial for his crimes and was sentenced to prison, dying 5 years later in his prison cell. Saddam Hussein also went on trial for his tyrannical crimes and was hung to death. The world demands justice, not only from Sharon (who suffered a stroke late 2005 and is currently in a coma), but for any injustices. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere.”
What you don’t know is that the United States has been aiding Israel every year since 1945 with hundreds of millions of dollars. This money comes out of your pockets as tax payers. The U.S. also provides Israel with Caterpillar bulldozers, which are used to demolish homes and Palestinian infrastructure. As a democratic nation, we proudly say that we are combating terrorism, yet we turn the other cheek and fuel a war machine like Israel, but of course…they’re not terrorists. Palestinians have to endure such inhumane actions everyday. Hundreds of thousands have lost their homes, tens of thousands have lost their lives, and all have been deprived of their integrity and hope for freedom.
THE SUICIDE BOMBER
Much of the news coverage you hear especially in America is biased news about the terrorist actions of suicide bombers in Palestine. What they don’t mention is what equates to such actions. Israel has gone as far as to literally torture Palestinians by poisoning their water, poisoning livestock, destroying electrical power plants, and destroying roads. People cannot go to prayer, let alone work, to provide their families with an income that can keep them alive. Many in Gaza, one of the most densely populated regions in the world, are living in total darkness due to the recent destruction of their only electrical power plant. In essence, Israel gives birth to these Suicide Bombers. No civilian deserves to die, whether Israeli or Palestinian. There is no legitimate excuse for the execution of innocent lives. Both sides though, have extremists trying to support their cause. Suicide bombers never existed before the Zionist regime took over in Israel, but that still doesn’t justify the loss of civilian life.
Since Palestinian suicide bombers are terrorists; what word would you use to describe Israeli actions?
I urge you to maintain open mindedness and not believe all that you may hear in the news. I also urge you to do your own research and not take my word for it either. You will be surprised at what you find. I have not even hit the surface when it comes to facts, so dig further. I have witnessed many of these injustices with my own eyes, so its time for you to open yours.
*Please remember, there are plenty of Jews, even Rabbi’s, that are entirely against the Zionist movement. Also, do not confuse a person who practices Judaism with a Zionist. Zionists are not all necessarily Jews, and not all Jews are necessarily Zionists*
Some information that may interest you:
George Galloway on Sky News
“Palestine is still the issue”
“Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land”
“Scott Ritter on CSPAN”
“Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” by Jimmy Carter
Somber, tragic description of the Imperialist Patriarchies attacks on the peoples of Gaza and Iraq; some of the USA’s latest, but not so well hidden, Indian Reservations. Russell also reveals that ALL THREE of the health facilities on the Pine Ridge Sioux Indian Reservation were closed for the Christmas holiday. These facilities, the Kyle and Wanbli Health Clinics and the Pine Ridge Hospital represent the sum total of our health care facilities for this 4,500 square mile Reservation. These facilities are operated under the “auspices” of the Indian Health Service which is part the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Violence at Gaza protest in Yemen
Protests have been held across the Middle East against the four-day-Israeli air attack on Gaza [AFP]
Demonstrators in the Yemeni port city of Aden have broken into the Egyptian consulate in a protest against Cairo’s response to Israel’s offensive against Gaza, a security official has said.
The protesters, who were mostly students from the University of Aden, “vandalized furniture before they were removed peacefully from the building”, the official said on Tuesday, asking not to be identified.
Another security official said three staff members were inside the building at the time but they were unhurt.
The official said one protester was wounded when a consular guard opened fire and that the protesters retaliated by setting fire to two consular vehicles.
More than 20 demonstrators were arrested.
Protests have been held across the Middle East against the four-day-Israeli air attack on Gaza, which has killed at least 360 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,600.
Many Arabs have accused Cairo of giving the green light to Israel’s assault after Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s president, hosted Tzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister, for talks just two days before the launch of the onslaught.
In the absence of Israeli embassies in most Arab capitals, Egyptian diplomatic missions have been a particular focus of the demonstrations.
Demonstrators in Beirut, Lebanon – angry over Egypt’s response to Israel’s raids on Gaza – attacked the Egyptian embassy, throwing stones before police used tear gas to disperse them.
Protests have also been held outside the Egyptian embassy in Amman, the capital of Jordan.
Egypt has come under heavy criticism from Arab and Muslim countries over its refusal to re-open its border crossing with the Gaza Strip at Rafah over the past year, thereby aiding Israel’s blockade of the territory.
Mubarak announced on Egyptian television on Tuesday that the Rafah crossing will not be fully re-opened until Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, regains authority in the territory.
“We will not deepen the division and that breach [among the Palestinians] by opening Rafah border crossing in the absence of the Palestinian Authority and the European Union monitors,” he said, making reference to a 2005 agreement over the border.
About 2,000 Gazans gathered today at the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt to protest its continued closure.
Many of the protesters were family members who have been awaiting the return of their relatives from Egypt since the crossing was closed on June 9, when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip.
Egyptian officials were also reportedly restricting access to Rafah and planning to impose an indefinite curfew, amid rumors of a plan by armed Palestinians to blow up a border wall in order to allow the passage of the thousands people waiting at the crossing.
The Palestinian Ministry of Information estimates that about 6,000 Palestinians are stranded on the Egyptian side of the crossing, with approximately another 30,000 waiting elsewhere in Egypt for the border to reopen.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports that 25 Palestinians who had traveled to Egypt for medical treatment have died waiting at the crossing. Their bodies were recently returned to Gaza through special coordination with Israel.
Israel has proposed allowing the stranded Palestinians to re-enter the Gaza Strip through the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing, which it controls. Egypt supports the plan, but Hamas has rejected it, stating that travelers must be allowed to cross at Rafah.
Thousands have also rallied in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, to voice their opposition to the Israeli assault on Gaza.
Demonstrators waved Palestinian and Indonesian flags while some carried banners with slogans such as “Move Israel outside Palestine land”.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation and many Indonesians have been staunch supporters of the Palestinian cause.
The protest coincided with a condemnation of the raids by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia’s president.
“I have sent a letter to the secretary-general of United Nations as well as to the UN security council condemning the Israeli military attacks and urging swift action to resolve the conflict,” Yudhoyono said.
“The security council must formally meet and issue a resolution to force Israel to end all attacks, so that Israeli and Palestinian can continue the peace process.”
Jakarta has no diplomatic relations with Israel.