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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nice Lie by Frontpage To Try To Undermine Karl Pendhall's Credibiltiy on Being Rammed By Israeli Navy On Board Mercy Boat

As has been reported here on this blog and in the media, this morning the Israeli navy committed it's latest war crime by ramming the Dignity, a yacht sailing to Gaza on it's fifth mercy mission which was clearly in international waters. Fortunately for those on board, though very badly damaged and taking on water, all on board were able to reach Lebanon after this war crime on the high seas was committed. (Read HERE)

How does the Zionist propaganda machine attempt to divert attention away from it's crimes?

By attacking the messenger always.

In this attempt, Frontpage Magazine is tying desperately to make us believe that all onboard the Dignity have some kind of tinge of incredibility about them. In this case, that Karl Pemhaul's vivid account of the Israeli navy ramming the Dignity is somehow not to be believed because they write:

Karl Penhaul, "a video correspondent for CNN, based out of Bogotá, Colombia" who was formerly with Reuters. In July, after Colombian soldiers staged a bloodless rescue of 15 hostages, including a former presidential candidate, held by the Marxist narcoterrorist revolutionary group FARC for more than six years. Pennhaul reported the event - as a Colombian war crime. One of the soliders wore a Red Cross insignia, he wrote; "Such a use of the Red Cross emblem could constitute a "war crime" under the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law and could endanger humanitarian workers in the future."


What was ACTUALLY written in Karl Penhaul's report at that time?

Such a use of the Red Cross emblem could constitute a "war crime" under the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law and could endanger humanitarian workers in the future, according to international legal expert Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar.


Note how Frontpage Magazine left out the part attributing this statement to MARK ELLIS?

Let's see what else CNN reported on this case:

Red Cross concerned over use of emblem in Colombian rescue


(CNN) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross expressed its concern Wednesday over what may have been the improper use of its emblem in the daring rescue last month of 15 hostages in Colombia.

What seems to be part of a red cross is seen on a man involved in the rescue in this official image.

What seems to be part of a red cross is seen on a man involved in the rescue in this official image.

"We are in contact with the Colombian authorities to ask for further clarifications as to exactly what happened," ICRC Deputy Director of Operations Dominik Stillhart said in a written statement.

Video and photographs originally shown to CNN appeared to show one of the hostage rescuers wearing a bib with a red cross on it, and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe admitted July 16 that Colombian military intelligence used a single Red Cross symbol in the rescue mission.

The ICRC statement said video aired on Colombian television earlier this week "reveals that a member of the army team involved was wearing a tabard marked with the Red Cross emblem before the operation had even begun, suggesting intentional misuse."

Further>>>>>>>>>>


What else did Karl Penhaul have to write about this incident in this report being used by Frontpage Magazine trying to discredit him, suggesting he has pulled this notion out of a rabid rabbit's hat, that he is some kind of radical fruitcake for even suggesting there may have been some rules broken in the "bloodless rescue of 15 hostages"? Note WHY this international law is in affect, as Karl Penhaul wrote:

Misuse of the Red Cross emblem is governed by articles 37, 38 and 85 of Additional Protocol One to the Geneva Conventions, the international rules of war. The articles prohibit "feigning of protected status by the use of ... emblems" of neutral parties and say that such misuses are considered breaches of international humanitarian law that qualify as a "war crime."

Colombia signed the Geneva Conventions in 1949.

That prohibition was put in place to protect the neutrality of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations in an armed conflict and to guarantee their access to all sides. Use of those emblems by one side of a conflict, for example, could endanger aid workers because those on another side might no longer trust that symbols they see really represent those humanitarian organizations.



In a LATER report, Karl Penhaul wrote:

BOGOTA, Colombia (CNN) -- Colombian President Alvaro Uribe admitted Wednesday that the symbol of the neutral Red Cross organization was used in a hostage rescue mission that freed 15 people from leftist rebels two weeks ago.

Uribe made the admission after CNN reported on unpublished photographs and videos that clearly showed a man wearing a Red Cross bib. Wrongly using the Red Cross logo is prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.

The man was a member of the Colombian military intelligence team involved in the daring rescue, Uribe said in an address carried on national TV and radio.

The president said that as the constitutional head of the armed forces, he takes full political responsibility for what he described as a slip-up.

"This officer, upon confessing his mistake to his superiors, said when the [rescue] helicopter was about to land ... he saw so many guerrillas that he went into a state of angst," Uribe said.

"He feared for his life and put on the Red Cross bib over his jacket."

However, the confidential military source who showed CNN the photographs that included the man wearing the bib said they were taken moments before the mission took off.

Uribe said he was sorry for the mistake and has apologized to ICRC officials. There will be no official sanction against the man wearing the bib, he indicated.


Furthermore, NUMEROUS media outlets reported on this incident after it was Karl Penhaul who wrote the original story about the misuse of the Red Cross symbol because it IS against the law. The Red Cross has a MAJOR stake in protecting it's symbol from abuse due to the safety of it's aid workers in all circumstances, the RED CROSS filed the complaint. Is this somehow not newsworthy? Better tell that to all the other media outlets who covered this story also.

That is the story that Frontpage Magazine is now trying to suggest Karl Penhaul is somehow a questionable source by attributing a statement to HIM that was made by Mark Ellis an international law expert. (Of course little things like this shouldn't matter I suppose which should also be told to the Red Cross!)

I happened to be awakened this morning by the very first live report on CNN showing the badly damaged Dignity LIVE sailing into the harbor in southern Lebanon. Unfortunately CNN has not seen fit so far to re-air that footage which showed at 4:30 am Pacific Standard Time. Since Karl Penhaul most certainly had a camera on board when the Dignity was rammed, I am hoping there is clear footage of this that CNN WILL AIR.

CNN Reporter Karl Penhaul Reports on his Experience on Board the Dignity When Rammed by Israeli Navy

Israeli Navy Rams Mercy Boat to Gaza: Cynthia McKinney on Video

Source:



Israelis hit aid boat 2:08
Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney says the aid ship she was on was rammed by an Israeli warship, an allegation Israel denies.

Dignity Limping Towards Lebanon, Taking on Water After Being Rammed by Israeli Navy

(Larnaca, Cyprus, 10:00 am) On Tuesday, December 30, at 5 a.m., several Israeli gunboats intercepted the Dignity as she was heading on a mission of mercy to Gaza. One gunboat rammed into the boat on the port bow side, heavily damaging her. The reports from the passengers and journalists on board is that she is taking on water and appears to have engine problems. When attacked, the Dignity was clearly in international waters, 90 miles off the coast of Gaza.

The gunboats also fired their machine guns into the water in an attempt to stop the mercy ship from getting to Gaza.

As the boat limps toward Lebanon, passengers have been in contact with the Lebanese government who have said the captain has permission to dock and are willing lend assistance if needed. Cyprus sea rescue has also been in touch, and has offered assistance as well. The Dignity clearly flies the flag of Gibraltar, is piloted by an English captain and has a passenger manifest that includes Representative Cynthia McKinney from the U.S. The attack was filmed by the journalists, and the crew and passengers will report on Israel's crime at sea once they arrive in Lebanon.

On board the boat are doctors traveling to this impoverished slice of the Mediterranean to provide badly-needed relief at the hospitals there. The crew and passengers were also hoping to take wounded out for treatment, since the hospitals are not coping. In addition, the Dignity was carrying 3 tons of medical supplies at the request of the doctors in Gaza.

The three physicans on board who were sailing to Gaza are: Dr. Halpin (UK), an experienced orthopaedic surgeon, medical professor, and ship's captain. He has organized humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza on several occasions with the Dove and Dolphin. He is traveling to Gaza to volunteer in hospitals and clinics. Dr. Mohamed Issa (Germany), a pediatric surgeon from Germany is traveling to Gaza to volunteer in hospitals and clinics. Dr. Elena Theoharous (Cyprus), MP Dr. Theoharous is a surgeon and a Member of the Cypriot Parliament. She is traveling to Gaza to assess the ongoing conflict, assist with humanitarian relief efforts, and volunteer in hospitals.

Yet Israel thumbs its nose in the face of maritime law by attacking a human rights boat in international waters and has put all of these human rights observers at risk. At no time was the Dignity ever close to Israeli waters. They clearly identified themselves and the Israeli attack was willful and criminal.

The Dignity is still in international waters, 40 miles off Haifa. Everybody on board is safe at the moment as the boat slowly makes its way to safety in Lebanon.

Israeli vessel hits Gaza-bound boat

Israeli vessel hits Gaza-bound boat

Dignity was carrying aid for Gaza's beleaguered
health care system [AFP]

An Israeli naval vessel has hit a small boat carrying activists trying to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The Dignity was reportedly taking on water as it limped towards Lebanon on Tuesday.

The Free Gaza Movement, which organised the attempt to reach the territory with more than three tonnes of medical aid, said their boat was "rammed" and shots were fired.

The group said the Dignity was in international waters about 115km off the coast of Gaza when the incident occurred late on Monday.

Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry, denied there had been any shooting but said that the ships had made "physical contact".

He said that the crew of the Dignity had failed to respond to Israeli naval radio contact.

'Rammed'

Ekizi Ernshire, one of the activists onboard the boat, told Al Jazeera by telephone that the boat was rammed twice from the front and then once from the side.

"It has destroyed the front of the boat and the roof ... and has left the cabin, the wheelhouse quite destroyed," she said.

"... we were threatened directly by the Israeli navy that if we continued on our course towards Gaza they would attack us again"

Ekizi Ernshire,
activist onboard Dignity

"We are heading towards Lebanon as the boat is not in a fit state to return to Larnaca [Cyprus] and we were threatened directly by the Israeli navy that if we continued on our course towards Gaza they would attack us again."

Several small boats have arrived in the Gaza Strip carrying international activists and medical aid since August in defiance of the Israeli siege.

Ernshire said that the incident would not stop the movement trying again to take aid to the impoverished territory.

"The majority of passenger here are determined, once we reach Lebanon, to keep continuing to organise such boats as these, to reach the people of Gaza," she said.

Gaza health system is struggling to cope with the casualties from four consecutive days of aerial bombardment by Israeli warplanes and helicopter gunships.

Hospitals were already facing shortages of medicines and other medical products due to the Israeli siege imposed after the Hamas government seized full control of the territory in 2007.

As well as more than three tonnes of aid, the Dignity was

Monday, December 29, 2008

URGENT! Israeli Navy Attacking Civilian Mercy Ship! TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY!

URGENT! Israeli Navy Attacking Civilian Mercy Ship! TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY!

The Dignity, a Free Gaza boat on a mission of mercy to besieged Gaza, is
being attacked by the Israeli Navy in international waters. The Dignity
has been surrounded by at least half-a-dozen Israeli warships. They are
firing live ammunition around the Dignity, and one of the warships has
rammed the civilian craft causing an unknown amount of damage. Contrary to
international maritime law, the Israelis are actively preventing the
Dignity from approaching Gaza or finding safe haven in either Egypt or
Lebanon. Instead, the Israeli navy is demanding that the Dignity return to
Cyprus - despite the fact that the ship does not carry enough fuel to do
so. Fortunately, no one aboard the ship has yet been seriously injured.

There are 15 civilian passengers representing 11 different countries (see
below for a complete list). At approximately 5am (UST), well out in
international waters, Israeli warships began surrounding the Dignity,
threatening the ship. At 6:45am (UST) we were able to establish brief
contact with the crew and were told that the ship had been rammed by the
Israeli Navy in international waters, and that the Israelis were
preventing the ship from finding safe harbor. We heard heavy gunfire in
the background before all contact was lost with the Dignity.

It is urgent that you TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION!

CALL the Israeli Government and demand that it immediately STOP attacking
the Dignity and endangering the lives of its passengers!

CALL Mark Regev in the Prime Minister's office at:
+972 2670 5354 or +972 5062 3264
mark.regev@it.pmo.gov.il

CALL Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence at:
+972 33697 5339 or +972 50629 8148
mediasar@mod.gov.il


BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The Dignity departed from Larnaca Port in Cyprus at 7pm (UST) on Monday 29
December, bound for war-devastated Gaza with a cargo of over 3 tons of
desperately needed medical supplies donated by the people of Cyprus. At
our request, the ship was searched by Cypriot Port authorities prior to
departure, to certify that there was nothing "threatening" aboard - only
emergency medical supplies.

TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY TO STOP THE ISRAELI NAVY FROM ENDANGERING THE
DIGNITY AND ITS PASSENGERS!

Civilians aboard the Dignity being threatened by the Israeli military:

(UK) Denis Healey, Captain
Captain of the Dignity, Denis has been involved with boats for 45 years,
beginning with small fishing boats in Portsmouth. He learned to sail while
atschool and has been part of the sea ever since. He's a certified
yachtmaster and has also worked on heavy marine equipment from yachts to
large dredgers. This is his fourth trip to Gaza.

(Greece) Nikolas Bolos, First Mate
Nikolas is a chemical engineer and human rights activist. He has served as
a crewmember on several Free Gaza voyages, including the first one in
August.

(Jordan) Othman Abu Falah
Othman is a senior producer with Al-Jazeera Television. He will remain in
Gaza to report on the ongoing military onslaught.

(Australia) Renee Bowyer
Renee is a schoolteacher and human rights activist. She will remain in
Gaza to do human rights monitoring and reporting.

(Ireland) Caoimhe Butterly
Caoimhe is a reknowned human rights activist and Gaza Coordinator for the
Free Gaza Movement. She will be remaining in Gaza to do human rights
monitoring, assist with relief efforts, and work on project development
with Free Gaza.

(Cyprus) Ekaterini Christodulou
Ekaterini is a well-known and respected freelance journalist in Cyprus.
She is traveling to Gaza to report on the conflict.

(Sudan) Sami El-Haj
Sami is a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, and head of the human rights
section
at Al-Jazeera Television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the
ongoing military onslaught.

(UK) Dr. David Halpin
Dr. Halpin is an experienced orthopaedic surgeon, medical professor, and
ship's captain. He has organized humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza on
several occasions with the Dove and Dolphin. He is traveling to Gaza to
volunteer in hospitals and clinics.

(Germany) Dr. Mohamed Issa
Dr. Issa is a pediatric surgeon from Germany. He is traveling to Gaza to
volunteer in hospitals and clinics.

(UK/Tunisia) Fathi Jaouadi
Fathi is a television producer and human rights activist. He will remain
in Gaza to do human rights monitoring and reporting.

(USA) Cynthia McKinney
Cynthia is a former U.S. Congresswoman from Georgia, and the 2008 Green
Party
presidential candidate. She is traveling to Gaza to assess the
ongoing conflict.

(Cyprus) Martha Paisi
Martha is a senior research fellow and experienced human rights activist.
She is traveling to Gaza to do human rights work and to assist with
humanitarian relief efforts.

(UK) Karl Penhaul
Karl Penhaul is a video correspondent for CNN, based out of Bogotá,
Colombia. Appointed to this position in February 2004, he covers breaking
news around the world utilizing CNN's new laptop-based 'Digital
Newsgathering' system. He is traveling to Gaza to report on the ongoing
conflict.

(Iraq) Thaer Shaker
Thaer is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera television. He will remain in Gaza to
report on the ongoing military onslaught.

(Cyprus) Dr. Elena Theoharous, MP
Dr. Theoharous is a surgeon and a Member of the Cypriot Parliament. She is
traveling to Gaza to assess the ongoing conflict, assist with humanitarian
relief efforts, and volunteer in hospitals.
###

Where is King Faisal When You Need Him? /US Supplied Smart Bombs to Israel

Don't bother answering, I know already, he was assassinated March 25, 1975.

Less than three months prior he had been on the front of TIME Magazine as Man of the Year.

One has to remember why. It is because King Faisal had the humanity to act upon the behalf of the Palestinian people by lowering exports and raising the price of oil dramatically to the United States because they had resupplied arms to Israel during the Yom Kippur/Ramadan war.

Though make no mistake, TIME Magazine wasn't handing out a humanitarian award to King Faisal that year. They were naming him man of the year because they deemed him to be the one person who made more impact on the world (really on us, America) than anyone else.

Remember the lines? Remember the odd days you were allowed to purchase gasoline based upon the numbers on your license plate? I do.

From the same issue of TIME Magazine that year:

The New Reality of Arab Power

One of the causes of the West's woes is that for too long it underestimated the will and power of Faisal and other rulers of oil-producing nations to act together. The cries for higher prices had been rising for 15 years, first from the Venezuelans and Iranians, then from the radical Arab leaders of Libya, Algeria and Iraq. Faisal, a conservative and a longtime friend of the U.S., at first resisted—and then changed his mind because of U.S. political and military support of Israel.

For many frustrating months in 1973, the King, and his spokesmen, warned the U.S. that unless it forced Israel to withdraw from occupied Arab territories and settle the Palestinians' grievances, he would slow down oil production. The State Department thought that the threat was hollow; President Nixon warned on television that the Arabs risked losing their oil markets if they tried to act too tough.

The Arab-Israeli war of October 1973 moved the Arabs to impose a reduction in oil output—and do much more. Within ten days after the Egyptians and Syrians had attacked Israeli- occupied territory, the Arabs and Iranians in OPEC—long derided in the West for their disunity—coalesced and raised prices from $1.99 to $3.44 per bbl. (The members of OPEC, in order of last year's earnings are: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, Nigeria, Libya, Kuwait, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Indonesia, Qatar, Ecuador and Gabon, which is an associate member. The United Arab Emirates is a federation of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al Quwain, Ras al Khaimah and Fujairah.) A few days after that, King Faisal led an even stronger move. Angered by the U.S. military resupplying of Israel, the Saudis and the other Arabs embargoed all oil shipments to the U.S. and started cutting production. Very quickly their output dropped 28%. When the West made no response, OPEC realized its own strength and kept right on raising prices through 1974.

This huge success gave new pride and political power to all the Arabs and brought King Faisal widespread respect in the Arab world, many of whose leaders had earlier scorned him as an unregenerate conservative. Suddenly the Arabs found themselves avidly courted by people who for long had condescended to them. The hotels of Riyadh, Dubai and Baghdad overflowed with Western businessmen hawking Idaho potatoes, cement plants, color television systems and gas-fired steel mills. The Middle East also became a magnet for Western bankers, each with his own creative plan for dispensing the Arabs' cash. Elite American universities, from Stanford to Chicago to Columbia, searched for Arab professors and added courses in Arabic history, culture, language, religion. Western governments vied with the Soviets over which side could sell the Arabs more—and more destructive—fighter jets, tanks and missiles.


Now we have the Bush administration and Congress standing by as Israel is slaughtering Palestinians in Gaza with impunity. Yes, Saudi Arabia is America's ally, but they were at that time also.

Where is King Faisal when you need him? Instead we have King Abdullah under who's current tutelage protesters in the Eastern Province had rubber bullets fired at them today at a protest against the carnage in Gaza while at the same time according to Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki, ""None of this is true. No rubber bullets have been fired, no clashes occurred and no demonstration happened. That's what security sources in Qatif told me. As you know, protests in the kingdom are banned."

Note, Qatif is heavily Shia. In 1979 and early 1980 there were riots in Qatif which were put down forcefully by the National Guard, with many deaths occurring. Perhaps Mansour al-Turki might wish to remember their complaints at that time: "Among the criticisms expressed by Shia were the close ties of the Al Saud with and their dependency on the West, corruption, and deviance from the sharia."

I am not a Muslim so I do not follow sharia law. What I do know is that there are laws of humanity which have been broken, thrown to hell, by Israel and the United States when it comes to the Palestinians.

The US understands MONEY. I for one would be willing to wait in those long lines again if OPEC led by my former country of residence, Saudi Arabia had the COURAGE to stand up to America.

Calling on the ghost of King Faisal, you were assassinated the day I left to go live in your country.

Saudi Arabia ACT! Stand UP for the Palestinian people!

UPDATE:

Israeli Jets Drop 'Small Smart Bomb' in Gaza Strikes

The Israeli Air Force has debuted a highly accurate -- and U.S.-supplied -- smart bomb in its air campaign over Gaza. Back in September, Israel received congressional authorization to buy up to 1,000 GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (click here to read the original notification).

Read further>>>>>>>>>>>

Free Gaza Sails Into Gaza Chaos: Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney on Board

Passengers List (Dignity has left Cyprus)
Date : 12-29-2008
(UK) Denis Healey, Captain
Captain of the Dignity, Denis has been involved with boats for 45 years, beginning with small fishing boats in Portsmouth. He learned to sail while atschool and has been part of the sea ever since. He's a certified yachtmaster and has also worked on heavy marine equipment from yachts to large dredgers. This is his fourth trip to Gaza.

(Greece) Giorgios Klontzas, Relief Captain
Cpt. Klontzas is an experienced sailor and human rights activist. This will be his fourth trip to Gaza.

(Greece) Nikolas Bolos, First Mate
Nikolas is a chemical engineer and human rights activist. He has served as a crewmember on several Free Gaza voyages, including the first one in August.

(Jordan) Othman Abu Falah
Othman is a senior producer with Al-Jazeera Television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the ongoing military onslaught.

(Australia) Renee Bowyer
Renee is a schoolteacher and human rights activist. She will remain in Gaza to do human rights monitoring and reporting.

(Ireland) Caoimhe Butterly
Caoimhe is a reknowned human rights activist and Gaza Coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement. She will be remaining in Gaza to do human rights monitoring, assist with relief efforts, and work on project development with Free Gaza.

(Cyprus) Ekaterini Christodulou
Ekaterini is a well-known and respected freelance journalist in Cyprus. She is traveling to Gaza to report on the conflict.

(Sudan) Sami El-Haj
Sami is a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, and head of the human rights section at Al-Jazeera Television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the ongoing military onslaught.

(UK) Dr. David Halpin
Dr. Halpin is an experienced orthopaedic surgeon, medical professor, and ship's captain. He has organized humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza on several occasions with the Dove and Dolphin. He is traveling to Gaza to volunteer in hospitals and clinics.

(Germany) Dr. Mohamed Issa
Dr. Issa is a pediatric surgeon from Germany. He is traveling to Gaza to volunteer in hospitals and clinics.

(UK/Tunisia) Fathi Jaouadi
Fathi is a television producer and human rights activist. He will remain in Gaza to do human rights monitoring and reporting.

(USA) Cynthia McKinney
Cynthia is a former U.S. Congresswoman from Georgia, and the 2008 Green Party presidential candidate. She is traveling to Gaza to assess the ongoing conflict.

(Cyprus) Martha Paisi
Martha is a senior research fellow and experienced human rights activist. She is traveling to Gaza to do human rights work and to assist with humanitarian relief efforts.

(UK) Karl Penhaul
Karl Penhaul is a video correspondent for CNN, based out of Bogotá, Colombia. Appointed to this position in February 2004, he covers breaking news around the world utilizing CNN's new laptop-based 'Digital Newsgathering' system. He is traveling to Gaza to report on the ongoing conflict.

(Iraq) Thaer Shaker
Thaer is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the ongoing military onslaught.

(Cyprus) Dr. Elena Theoharous, MP
Dr. Theoharous is a surgeon and a Member of the Cypriot Parliament. She is traveling to Gaza to assess the ongoing conflict, assist with humanitarian relief efforts, and volunteer in hospitals.

Source: Free Gaza

From THIS heartwrenching report, "The Longest Night Of My Life" written by Safa Joudeh

Israeli warships rocketed Gaza's only sea port only moments ago; 15 missiles exploded, destroying boats and parts of the ports. These are just initial reports over the radio. We don't know what the extent of the damage is. We do know that the fishing industry that thousands of families depend on either directly or indirectly didn't pose a threat on Israeli security. The radio reporter started counting the explosions; I think he lost count after six. At this moment we heard three more blasts. "I'm mostly scared of the whoosh," I told my sister, referring to the sound a missile makes before it hits. Those moments of wondering where it's going to fall are agonizing. Once the whooshes and hits were over the radio reporter announced that the fish market (vacant, of course) had been bombed.
_______________________

Is there such a thing as God listening to your prayers? For humanity's sake, PRAY for the people of Gaza and for those on board the Dignity.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Anaheim Protest Against the Carnage in Gaza

Several hundred people gathered today on Brookhurst St. to protest the worst carnage Gaza has experienced at the hands of Israel in 40 years. Over 300 dead thus far with no end in sight, IOF troops massing at the borders, naval shelling, air raids.

Tuesday at 4:30 another protest is planned in Beverly Hills in front of the Israeli consulate.

When I returned home, googling news, I read that the Gaza Islamic University had been destroyed. What is going to happen between now and Tuesday, two days from now, because even as I am writing the bombardment is still going on.

Sorry, but I can't find the words for this, because horror has no name, only screams, blood and death.













There would have been many more pictures but my daughter's camera's memory flashed full.

Gideon Levy, "The Neighborhood Bully Strikes Again"

The neighborhood bully strikes again
By Gideon Levy

Israel embarked yesterday on yet another unnecessary, ill-fated war. On July 16, 2006, four days after the start of the Second Lebanon War, I wrote: "Every neighborhood has one, a loud-mouthed bully who shouldn't be provoked into anger... Not that the bully's not right - someone did harm him. But the reaction, what a reaction!"

Two and a half years later, these words repeat themselves, to our horror, with chilling precision. Within the span of a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, the IDF sowed death and destruction on a scale that the Qassam rockets never approached in all their years, and Operation "Cast Lead" is only in its infancy.

Once again, Israel's violent responses, even if there is justification for them, exceed all proportion and cross every red line of humaneness, morality, international law and wisdom.

What began yesterday in Gaza is a war crime and the foolishness of a country. History's bitter irony: A government that went to a futile war two months after its establishment - today nearly everyone acknowledges as much - embarks on another doomed war two months before the end of its term.

In the interim, the loftiness of peace was on the tip of the tongue of Ehud Olmert, a man who uttered some of the most courageous words ever said by a prime minister. The loftiness of peace on the tip of his tongue, and two fruitless wars in his sheath. Joining him is his defense minister, Ehud Barak, the leader of the so-called left-wing party, who plays the role of senior accomplice to the crime.

Israel did not exhaust the diplomatic processes before embarking yesterday on another dreadful campaign of killing and ruin. The Qassams that rained down on the communities near Gaza turned intolerable, even though they did not sow death. But the response to them needs to be fundamentally different: diplomatic efforts to restore the cease-fire - the same one that was initially breached, one should remember, by Israel when it unnecessarily bombed a tunnel - and then, if those efforts fail, a measured, gradual military response.

But no. It's all or nothing. The IDF launched a war yesterday whose end, as usual, is hoping someone watches over us.

Blood will now flow like water. Besieged and impoverished Gaza, the city of refugees, will pay the main price. But blood will also be unnecessarily spilled on our side. In its foolishness, Hamas brought this on itself and on its people, but this does not excuse Israel's overreaction.

The history of the Middle East is repeating itself with despairing precision. Just the frequency is increasing. If we enjoyed nine years of quiet between the Yom Kippur War and the First Lebanon War, now we launch wars every two years. As such, Israel proves that there is no connection between its public relations talking points that speak of peace, and its belligerent conduct.

Israel also proves that it has not internalized the lessons of the previous war. Once again, this war was preceded by a frighteningly uniform public dialogue in which only one voice was heard - that which called for striking, destroying, starving and killing, that which incited and prodded for the commission of war crimes.

Once again the commentators sat in television studios yesterday and hailed the combat jets that bombed police stations, where officers responsible for maintaining order on the streets work. Once again, they urged against letting up and in favor of continuing the assault. Once again, the journalists described the pictures of the damaged house in Netivot as "a difficult scene." Once again, we had the nerve to complain about how the world was transmitting images from Gaza. And once again we need to wait a few more days until an alternative voice finally rises from the darkness, the voice of wisdom and morality.

In another week or two, those same pundits who called for blows and more blows will compete among themselves in leveling criticism at this war. And once again this will be gravely late.

The pictures that flooded television screens around the world yesterday showed a parade of corpses and wounded being loaded into and unloaded from the trunks of private cars that transported them to the only hospital in Gaza worthy of being called a hospital. Perhaps we once again need to remember that we are dealing with a wretched, battered strip of land, most of whose population consists of the children of refugees who have endured inhumane tribulations.

For two and a half years, they have been caged and ostracized by the whole world. The line of thinking that states that through war we will gain new allies in the Strip; that abusing the population and killing its sons will sear this into their consciousness; and that a military operation would suffice in toppling an entrenched regime and thus replace it with another one friendlier to us is no more than lunacy.

Hezbollah was not weakened as a result of the Second Lebanon War; to the contrary. Hamas will not be weakened due to the Gaza war; to the contrary. In a short time, after the parade of corpses and wounded ends, we will arrive at a fresh cease-fire, as occurred after Lebanon, exactly like the one that could have been forged without this superfluous war.

In the meantime, let us now let the IDF win, as they say. A hero against the weak, it bombed dozens of targets from the air yesterday, and the pictures of blood and fire are designed to show Israelis, Arabs and the entire world that the neighborhood bully's strength has yet to wane. When the bully is on a rampage, nobody can stop him.

SOURCE

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Disinformation, secrecy and lies: How the Gaza offensive came about

By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public - all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.

The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.

Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas. According to the sources, Barak maintained that although the lull would allow Hamas to prepare for a showdown with Israel, the Israeli army needed time to prepare, as well.

Barak gave orders to carry out a comprehensive intelligence-gathering drive which sought to map out Hamas' security infrastructure, along with that of other militant organizations operating in the Strip.

This intelligence-gathering effort brought back information about permanent bases, weapon silos, training camps, the homes of senior officials and coordinates for other facilities.

The plan of action that was implemented in Operation Cast Lead remained only a blueprint until a month ago, when tensions soared after the IDF carried out an incursion into Gaza during the ceasefire to take out a tunnel which the army said was intended to facilitate an attack by Palestinian militants on IDF troops.

On November 19, following dozens of Qassam rockets and mortar rounds which exploded on Israeli soil, the plan was brought for Barak's final approval. Last Thursday, on December 18, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the defense minister met at IDF headquarters in central Tel Aviv to approve the operation.

However, they decided to put the mission on hold to see whether Hamas would hold its fire after the expiration of the ceasefire. They therefore put off bringing the plan for the cabinet's approval, but they did inform Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the developments.

That night, in speaking to the media, sources in the Prime Minister's Bureau said that "if the shooting from Gaza continues, the showdown with Hamas would be inevitable." On the weekend, several ministers in Olmert's cabinet inveighed against him and against Barak for not retaliating for Hamas' Qassam launches.

"This chatter would have made Entebe or the Six Day War impossible," Barak said in responding to the accusations. The cabinet was eventually convened on Wednesday, but the Prime Minister's Bureau misinformed the media in stating the discussion would revolve around global jihad. The ministers learned only that morning that the discussion would actually pertain to the operation in Gaza.

In its summary announcement for the discussion, the Prime Minister's Bureau devoted one line to the situation in Gaza, compared to one whole page that concerned the outlawing of 35 Islamic organizations.

What actually went on at the cabinet meeting was a five-hour discussion about the operation in which ministers were briefed about the various blueprints and plans of action. "It was a very detailed review," one minister said.

The minister added: "Everyone fully understood what sort of period we were heading into and what sort of scenarios this could lead to. No one could say that he or she did not know what they were voting on." The minister also said that the discussion showed that the lessons of the Winograd Committee about the performance of decision-makers during the 2006 Second Lebanon War were "fully internalized."

At the end of the discussion, the ministers unanimously voted in favor of the strike, leaving it for the prime minister, the defense minister and the foreign minister to work out the exact time.

While Barak was working out the final details with the officers responsible for the operation, Livni went to Cairo to inform Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, that Israel had decided to strike at Hamas.

In parallel, Israel continued to send out disinformation in announcing it would open the crossings to the Gaza Strip and that Olmert would decide whether to launch the strike following three more deliberations on Sunday - one day after the actual order to launch the operation was issued.

"Hamas evacuated all its headquarter personnel after the cabinet meeting on Wednesday," one defense official said, "but the organization sent its people back in when they heard that everything was put on hold until Sunday."

The final decision was made on Friday morning, when Barak met with Chief of Staff General Gabi Ashkenazi, the head of the Shin Bet Security Service Yuval Diskin and the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, Amos Yadlin. Barak sat down with Olmert and Livni several hours later for a final meeting, in which the trio gave the air force its orders.

On Friday night and on Saturday morning, opposition leaders and prominent political figures were informed about the impending strike, including Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, Yisrael Beuiteinu's Avigdor Liebermen, Haim Oron from Meretz and President Shimon Peres, along with Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik.


SOURCE

"This is only the beginning" Slaughter in Gaza

Gaza today: 'This is only the beginning'
By Ewa Jasiewicz

As I write this, Israeli jets are bombing the areas of Zeitoun and Rimal
in central Gaza City. The family I am staying with has moved into the
internal corridor of their home to shelter from the bombing. The windows
nearly blew out just five minutes ago as a massive explosion rocked the
house. Apache’s are hovering above us, whilst F16s sear overhead.

UN radio reports say one blast was a target close to the main gate of Al
Shifa hospital – Gaza and Palestine’s largest medical facility. Another
was a plastics factory. More bombs continue to pound the Strip.

Sirens are wailing on the streets outside. Regular power cuts that plunge
the city into blackness every night and tonight is no exception. Only
perhaps tonight it is the darkest night people have seen here in their
lifetimes.

Over 220 people have been killed and over 400 injured through attacks that
shocked the strip in the space 15 minutes. Hospitals are overloaded and
unable to cope. These attacks come on top of existing conditions of
humanitarian crisis: a lack of medicines, bread, flour, gas, electricity,
fuel and freedom of movement.

Doctors at Shifaa had to scramble together 10 make shift operating
theatres to deal with the wounded. The hospital’s maternity ward had to
transform their operating room into an emergency theatre. Shifaa only had
12 beds in their intensive care unit, they had to make space for 27 today.

There is a shortage of medicine – over 105 key items are not in stock, and
blood and spare generator parts are desperately needed.

Shifaa’s main generator is the life support machine of the entire
hospital. It’s the apparatus keeping the ventilators and monitors and
lights turned on that keep people inside alive. And it doesn’t have the
spare parts it needs, despite the International Committee for the Red
Cross urging Israel to allow it to transport them through Erez checkpoint.

Shifaa’s Head of Casualty, Dr Maowiye Abu Hassanyeh explained, ‘We had
over 300 injured in over 30 minutes. There were people on the floor of the
operating theatre, in the reception area, in the corridors; we were
sending patients to other hospitals. Not even the most advanced hospital
in the world could cope with this number of casualties in such a short
space of time.’

And as IOF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenaz said this
morning, ‘This is only the beginning.’

But this isn’t the beginning, this is an ongoing policy of collective
punishment and killing with impunity practised by Israel for decades. It
has seen its most intensified level today. But the weight of dread,
revenge and isolation hangs thick over Gaza today. People are all asking:
If this is only the beginning, what will the end look like?

11.30am
Myself and Alberto Acre, a Spanish journalist, had been on the border
village of Sirej near Khan Younis in the south of the strip. We had driven
there at 8am with the mobile clinic of the Union of Palestinian Relief
Committees. The clinic regularly visits exposed, frequently raided
villages far from medical facilities. We had been interviewing residents
about conditions on the border. Stories of olive groves and orange groves,
family farmland, bulldozed to make way for a clear line of sight for
Israeli occupation force watch towers and border guards. Israeli attacks
were frequent. Indiscriminate fire and shelling spraying homes and land on
the front line of the south eastern border. One elderly farmer showed us
the grave-size ditch he had dug to climb into when Israeli soldiers would
shoot into his fields.

Alberto was interviewing a family that had survived an Israeli missile
attack on their home last month. It had been a response to rocket fire
from resistance fighters nearby. Four fighters were killed in a field by
the border. Israel had rained rockets and M16 fire back. The family,
caught in the crossfire, have never returned to their home.

I was waiting for Alberto to return when ground shaking thuds tilted us
off our feet. This was the sound of surface to air fired missiles and F16
bombs slamming into the police stations, and army bases of the Hamas
authority here. In Gaza City , in Diere Balah, Rafah, Khan Younis, Beit
Hanoon.

We zoomed out of the village in our ambulance, and onto the main road to
Gaza City , before jumping out to film the smouldering remains of a police
station in Diere Balah, near Khan Younis. Its’ name - meaning 'place of
dates' - sounds like the easy semi-slang way of saying ‘take care’, Diere
Bala, Diere Balak – take care.

Eyewitnesses said two Israeli missiles had destroyed the station. One had
soared through a children’s playground and a busy fruit and vegetable
market before impacting on its target.

Civilians Dead
There was blood on a broken plastic yellow slide, and a crippled, dead
donkey with an upturned vegetable cart beside it. Aubergines and
splattered blood covered the ground. A man began to explain in broken
English what had happened. ‘It was full here, full, three people dead,
many many injured’. An elderly man with a white kuffiyeh around his head
threw his hands down to his blood drenched trousers. ‘Look! Look at this!
Shame on all governments, shame on Israel, look how they kills us, they
are killing us and what does the world do? Where is the world, where are
they, we are being killed here, hell upon them!’ He was a market trader,
present during the attack.

He began to pick up splattered tomatoes he had lost from his cart, picking
them up jerkily, and putting them into plastic bags, quickly. Behind a
small tile and brick building, a man was sitting against the wall, his
legs were bloodied. He couldn’t get up and was sitting, visibly in pain
and shock, trying to adjust himself, to orientate himself.

The police station itself was a wreck, a mess of criss-crossed piles of
concrete – broken floors upon floors. Smashed cars and a split palm tree
split the road.

We walked on, hurriedly, with everyone else, eyes skyward at four apache
helicopters – their trigger mechanisms supplied by the UK ’s
Brighton-Based EDM Technologies. They were dropping smoky bright flares –
a defence against any attempt at Palestinian missile retaliation.

Turning down the road leading to the Diere Balah Civil Defence Force
headquarters we suddenly saw a rush of people streaming across the road.
‘They’ve been bombing twice, they’ve been bombing twice’ shouted people.

We ran too, but towards the crowds and away from what could possibly be
target number two, ‘a ministry building’ our friend shouted to us. The
apaches rumbled above.

Arriving at the police station we saw the remains of a life at work
smashed short. A prayer matt clotted with dust, a policeman’s hat, the
ubiquitous bright flower patterned mattresses, burst open. A crater around
20 feet in diameter was filled with pulverised walls and floors and a
motorbike, tossed on its’ side, toy-like in its’ depths.

Policemen were frantically trying to get a fellow worker out from under
the rubble. Everyone was trying to call him on his Jawwal. ‘Stop it
everyone, just one, one of you ring’ shouted a man who looked like a
captain. A fire licked the underside of an ex-room now crushed to just 3
feet high. Hands alongside hands rapidly grasped and threw back rocks,
blocks and debris to reach the man.

We made our way to the Al Aqsa Hospital. Trucks and cars loaded with the
men of entire families – uncles, nephews, brothers – piled high and
speeding to the hospital to check on loved ones, horns blaring without
interruption.

Hospitals on the brink
Entering Al Aqsa was overwhelming, pure pandemonium, charged with grief,
horror, distress, and shock. Limp blood covered and burnt bodies streamed
by us on rickety stretchers. Before the morgue was a scrum, tens of
shouting relatives crammed up to its open double doors. ‘They could not
even identify who was who, whether it is their brother or cousin or who,
because they are so burned’ explained our friend. Many were transferred,
in ambulances and the back of trucks and cars to Al Shifa Hospital.

The injured couldn’t speak. Causality after casualty sat propped against
the outside walls outside, being comforted by relatives, wounds
temporarily dressed. Inside was perpetual motion and the more drastically
injured. Relatives jostled with doctors to bring in their injured in
scuffed blankets. Drips, blood streaming faces, scorched hair and shrapnel
cuts to hands, chests, legs, arms and heads dominated the reception area,
wards and operating theatres.

We saw a bearded man, on a stretcher on the floor of an intensive care
unit, shaking and shaking, involuntarily, legs rigid and thrusting
downwards. A spasm coherent with a spinal chord injury. Would he ever walk
again or talk again? In another unit, a baby girl, no older than six
months, had shrapnel wounds to her face. A relative lifted a blanket to
show us her fragile bandaged leg. Her eyes were saucer-wide and she was
making stilted, repetitive, squeaking sounds.

A first estimate at Al Aqsa hospital was 40 dead and 120 injured. The
hospital was dealing with casualties from the bombed market, playground,
Civil Defence Force station, civil police station and also the traffic
police station. All leveled. A working day blasted flat with terrifying
force.

At least two shaheed (martyrs) were carried out on stretchers out of the
hospital. Lifted up by crowds of grief-stricken men to the graveyard to
cries of ‘La Illaha Illa Allah,’ there is not god but Allah.

Who cares?
And according to many people here, there is nothing and nobody looking out
for them apart from God. Back in Shifa Hospital tonight, we meet the
brother of a security guard who had had the doorway he had been sitting in
and the building – Abu Mazen’s old HQ - fall down upon his head. He said
to us, ‘We don’t have anyone but God. We feel alone. Where is the world?
Where is the action to stop these attacks?’

Majid Salim, stood beside his comatosed mother, Fatima. Earlier today she
had been sitting at her desk at work – at the Hadije Arafat Charity, near
Meshtal, the Headquarters of the Security forces in Gaza City. Israel’s
attack had left her with multiple internal and head injuries, tube down
her throat and a ventilator keeping her alive. Majid gestured to her, ‘We
didn’t attack Israel, my mother didn’t fire rockets at Israel. This is the
biggest terrorism, to have our mother bombarded at work’.

The groups of men lining the corridors of the over-stretched Shifaa
hospital are by turns stunned, agitated, patient and lost. We speak to one
group. Their brother had both arms broken and has serious facial and head
injuries. ‘We couldn’t recognise his face, it was so black from the
weapons used’ one explains. Another man turns to me and says. ‘I am a
teacher. I teach human rights – this is a course we have, ‘human rights’.
He pauses. ‘How can I teach, my son, my children, about the meaning of
human rights under these conditions, under this siege?’

It’s true, UNRWA and local government schools have developed a Human
Rights syllabus, teaching children about international law, the Geneva
Conventions, the International Declaration on Human Rights, The Hague
Regulations. To try to develop a culture of human rights here, to help
generate more self confidence and security and more of a sense of dignity
for the children. But the contradiction between what should be adhered to
as a common code of conducted signed up to by most states, and the
realities on the ground is stark. International law is not being applied
or enforced with respect to Israeli policies towards the Gaza Strip, or on
’48 Palestine, the West Bank, or the millions of refugees living in camps
in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

How can a new consciousness and practice of human rights ever graduate
from rhetoric to reality when everything points to the contrary – both
here and in Israel ? The United Nations have been spurned and shut out by
Israel , with Richard Falk the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
held prisoner at Ben Gurion Airport before being unceremoniously deported
this month – deliberately blinded to the abuses being carried out against
Gaza by Israel . An international community which speaks empty phrases on
Israeli attacks ‘we urge restraint…minimise civilian casualties’.

The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated regions on the planet.
In Jabbaliya camp alone, Gaza ’s largest, 125,000 people are crowded into
a space 2km square. Bombardment by F16s and Apaches at 11.30 in the
morning, as children leave their schools for home reveals a contempt for
civilian safety as does the 18 months of a siege that bans all imports and
exports, and has resulted in the deaths of over 270 people as a result of
a lack of access to essential medicines.

A light
There is a saying here in Gaza – we spoke about it, jokily last night. ‘At
the end of the tunnel…there is another tunnel’. Not so funny when you
consider that Gaza is being kept alive through the smuggling of food, fuel
and medicine through an exploitative industry of over 1000 tunnels running
from Egypt to Rafah in the South. On average 1-2 people die every week in
the tunnels. Some embark on a humiliating crawl to get their education,
see their families, to find work, on their hands and knees. Others are
reportedly big enough to drive through.

Last night I added a new ending to the saying. ‘At the end of the tunnel,
there is another tunnel and then a power cut’. Today, there’s nothing to
make a joke about. As bombs continue to blast buildings around us, jarring
the children in this house from their fitful sleep, the saying could take
on another twist. After today’s killing of over 200, is it that at the end
of the tunnel, there is another tunnel, and then a grave?’, or a wall of
international governmental complicity and silence?

There is a light through, beyond the sparks of resistance and solidarity
in the West Bank, ’48 and the broader Middle East. This is a light of
conscience turned into activism by people all over the world. We can turn
a spotlight onto Israel’s crimes against humanity and the enduring
injustice here in Palestine, through coming out onto the streets and
pressurizing our governments; demanding an end to Israeli apartheid and
occupation, broadening our call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and
for a genuine Just Peace.

Through institutional, governmental and popular means, this can be a light
at the end of the Gazan tunnel.
-----

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.

http://www.FreeGaza.org

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Comments are off, your email is marked as spam

When someone is harrassing you that has even been banned from Little Green Footballs, you know you have a freaking jerk on your hands.

Woops, that's a Freudian keyboard slip, wrong link, here it is.

BYE BYE stalker!

Everyone else knows where to find me!

Comments are off, your email is marked as spam

When someone is harrassing you for months that has even been banned from Little Green Footballs, you know you have a freaking jerk on your hands.

BYE BYE stalker!

Everyone else, you know where to find me.

Merry Christmas!






Monday, December 22, 2008

Melissa Ethridge and Salman Ahmad "Ring the Bells of Peace"

This past Saturday night at the MPAC convention in Long Beach, Melissa Ethridge and Salman Ahmad opened the evening program with the following song. Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend, but a dear friend who did told me about this song which received a standing ovation.

Melissa and Salman met at last years Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony in Oslo. Melissa then invited Salman to her home in Los Angeles where they collaborated on "Ring the Bells" In the following interview Salman states:

Melissa and I became friends and musical admirers and in January, this year, she invited me to her home to spend a couple of days in Los Angeles where we talked about many things. Among them, Love and Unity and how they are universal themes running from Rumi to the Beatles. In both East and West its poetry and music which unites humanity rather than politics which aims to divide and demonize 'the other'. Melissa and I also talked about the children of Abraham: Jesus, Moses and Muhammad and their common spirit of brotherhood and sacrifice. We sat with acoustic guitars and out of that intense talking and jamming came "Ring the Bells."


I want to share it with my readers because it is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. It's a song about co-existence, it's a message that we are all one............

May all my Jewish friends have a blessed Hanukah, my Christian friends, a blessed Christmas, and my Muslim friends and family, a belated Happiest Eid, joy and peace in the New Year.

Ring the bells for PEACE.




Whose God is God? Whose light is light?
Whose law is wrong? Whose might is right?
Here we are on the edge, the edge of change.
I believe in peace, my only wish. I believe that we can co-exist;
Let's go further now than we've ever gone before and

Ring the bells, ring the bells of change
Ring the bells, every boy and every girl
Ring the bells, ring the bells of peace all over the world

We've all been called to wake from sleep,
To feel our power to create the dreams,
To step out from the dark past our fathers? fear.

Ring the bells?

Here we stand in unity making one choice to be free.
Every truth blends into one as we believe it shall be done.
Here we stand as soldiers now, turning our swords into plows;
There is not a nobler climb, achieving peace in our own time.

I know peace begins with me, with all I feel and with all I see,
And I know it's no easy task removing our own fearful masks;
But I have seen us rise and fall, stand on the moon, tear down the wall
And I know we can do it all, can do it well.
Show me the bells!

Ring the bells? Ring the bells? Ring the bells?

Source

Friday, December 19, 2008

CAMERA and other Zionist Bloggers Get Caught Red-Handed Manipulating the Media (in this case attributing statements to Khalid Abdel Shaffi)

Today while googling news on Palestine I came across a post on the ever "honest" CAMERA claiming the following:

She (Lauren Booth, Tony Blair's sister in law)is active in the
"Free Gaza" movement that penetrated the Israeli naval cordon to allegedly bring
humanitarian supplies to Gaza despite the fact that, according to Khaled
Abdel Shaafi, director the United Nations Development Program, there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza
.

On the gut feeling that there was something definitely "off" about this claim, I googled further.
I found THIS post (and many more) attributing the following statement to Abdel Shafi complete with rather obese children eating at a McDonalds (which does NOT exist in Gaza) complete with a banner hanging in the background in HEBREW (WOOPS, better check out your photos you try to find to support your LIE)

Khaled Abdel Shaafi, director the United Nations Development Program (December
15th, 2008):"There is a large surplus of fruit and vegetables [in Gaza]. The
vast majority of people here aren't wanting for food. Reports of children are
suffering from malnutrition are exaggerations. This is not a humanitarian
crisis, it's a political crisis, but it's not a humanitarian crisis. People
aren't starving."


In this case it is a CLEAR case of an out and out lie. Khalid Abdel Shafi NEVER made this statement, otherwise it would be in quotes like the opening paragraph of the article. The statements ATTRIBUTED to him are written by the JOURNALIST writing them himself. Other blogs have gone even further in manufacturing other things Khalid Abdel Shaffi supposedly stated, that the reports of malnourished children in Gaza are highly exaggerated.



So here you go, in bold are the quoted statements of Abdel Shaffi. Also in bold are the other written statements of the JOURNALIST which the ever ready CAMERA and other Zionist propagandists were Johnny on the Spot readdy to LIE and attribute them to Abdel Shafi

The article in FULL appeared HERE in the The Star, a Canadian publication. The author of the article is Oakland Ross, apparently a member of The Star's Middle East Bureau:

View on Day 2 of shaky truce


Militants remain firmly entrenched in Gaza Strip; residents still hurting from blockade, lost jobs
Jun 21, 2008 04:30 AM
Be the first to comment on this article... Oakland Ross Middle East Bureau

GAZA CITY–Khalid Abdul Shafi lit a Marlboro cigarette, sipped from a cup of Turkish coffee and reflected on this beleaguered territory's latest journey around the sun – a horrendous 12 months for Gaza.

"This has been the most severe crisis Gaza has ever witnessed," said the Palestinian economist who heads the United Nations Development Program here. "In my opinion, it will take years to recover." (THIS is in quotes meaning he DID say this)

That's if a nascent ceasefire holds, restraining Israelis and Palestinians from pummelling one another as they have been doing, one way or another, for a long time.

The Egyptian-brokered truce, which began on Thursday and was holding at least through last night, might also loosen the chokehold Israel currently exerts on Gaza's economy – an attempt by the Jewish state to punish and isolate the militants of Hamas who took power here by force last June.

But it would not take much for the shaky ceasefire to falter – and who then could say when, or if, Gaza would recover.

What Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants see when they gaze around is a huge amount of wreckage, both human and material.

They also see a fundamentalist Islamist government that was supposed to have been forced from power by now or at least badly weakened – the victim of marginalizing tactics adopted by Israel and other Western governments that regard Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Instead, Hamas is more firmly entrenched than ever.

"They made the siege and the aggressions to push us to give up," said Taher Al-Nounou, chief spokesperson for Hamas. "But our government is still working and we are still the leader of our people."

At the same time, however, Al-Nounou insisted Hamas is open to reconciliation with the more moderate Fatah faction, which it bested a year ago in an outbreak of vicious internecine fighting.
"If we start talks, we will surprise Fatah and others," he said, predicting a reunion between the two sides could take place by the end of the year. "We hope so."

In an apparent effort to promote that goal, Hamas officials have lately started putting up large posters around Gaza, depicting Sheik Ahmed Yassin, founder of Hamas, alongside Yasser Arafat, who created Fatah.

The two men, or their likenesses, peer down upon a territory that has been mauled by politics and war.

During the past year, 80 per cent of Gaza's factories have closed, mainly for lack of raw materials.

Forty per cent of Gaza's workers are unemployed. Four-fifths of the people now depend on international food aid to survive.

Power blackouts are a daily occurrence, fuel shortages an abiding aggravation and almost nothing gets built here anymore.

Different observers will point to different causes as the source of Gaza's torment, but the year-old economic embargo maintained by Israel has had a withering and undeniable effect, severely restricting the entry of fuel, food, medicine and other supplies.

Almost everyone in Gaza has suffered as a result.

Take Abdul Ramli, owner of a textile factory that no longer operates: "I used to export to Israel and North America," he said. "Now, nothing."

Or Mamoun Masri, a gas jockey at the Khozendar service station on Ezzedeen Al-Qassam St., where there is rarely any fuel to sell: "We do nothing," he said. "We sleep."

Or Bishara Shohada, owner of the Al-Aliat Bakery in the Rimal district of central Gaza City: "We don't have enough cooking gas," he said. "If we don't get cooking gas today, I won't open tomorrow."

Across the modest length and breadth of this slender wedge of Mediterranean seafront, the story is much the same, and it is not a happy tale. But the people are not starving. (The JOURNALIST is stating this, NOT Khalid Abdel Shafi!)

The Israelis have allowed food to enter Gaza and it has arrived in sufficient quantities for people here to get by, if not a great deal more. ( He did NOT say this! the JOURNALIST wrote this!)

Lately, Israeli supplies have increasingly been supplemented by black-market goods smuggled into Gaza from Egypt, through a profusion of tunnels linking the territory to the northern Sinai Peninsula.

One way or another, supermarket shelves in Gaza City – spottily stocked only short months ago – seem adequately furnished now.

The problem is not a matter of availability but of expense. (He did NOT say this either! The JOURNALIST wrote this, otherwise it would be IN QUOTES and attibuted to Abdel Shaffi who we havent' heard from since the first paragraph!)

Niman Qishawi, 38, owner of the Qishawi Supermarket on Palestine St., said business is down by about 50 per cent from the pre-embargo days. He blames the decrease on a combination of high prices and severe unemployment.

"On a normal day, the store would not be empty, as now," he said. "There would be people here."

Taxi driver Munir Mohammed fuels his ancient, battered Mercedes with diesel smuggled from Egypt that costs the equavalent of $6.20 a litre – more than three times the cost of fuel from Israel.

The difference is, the Egyptian stuff is available.

Such are the economics of war, but worse are the corpses.

Hundreds of Palestinians – many of them civilians – have died in that conflict during the past 12 months, mostly in Israeli air or ground strikes. But Hamas is credited with having curbed other forms of violence. Kidnappings, once a common peril here, appear to have been stopped, as has factional fighting among Palestinians within Gaza.
____________________________________________

So let me ask, did Khalid Abdel Shaffi state ANYWHERE that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza? Did HE state anywhere that it the reports of malnourished Gazan children are exaggerated? NO! Heck that statement isn't ANYWHERE in this ORIGINAL article! The ONLY statement that this journalist HIMSELF attributed to Abdel Safi, this journalist who I ASSUME is a journalist who knows how to QUOTE and attribute statements to the source is:

"This has been the most severe crisis Gaza has ever witnessed," said the
Palestinian economist who heads the United Nations Development Program here. "In my opinion, it will take years to recover."


Caught RED HANDED, Zionist propaganda out is FULL FORCE!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

About Humanity

http://www.jordantimes.com/?news=12685

About humanity




Apparently, UN human rights investigator Richard Falk has discredited himself by daring to suggest that by keeping 1.5 million people on the brink of starvation and isolating them from the rest of the world Israel is guilty of a war crime.

This, at least, is the view of an Israeli government spokesman who, quite without irony, asserted that the fault in fact lies with the Palestinians, who are apparently denying themselves medicine, fuel and food.

That Israel should be so divorced from reality and so dismissive of common standards of decency and humanity should come as little surprise. What Israel is doing to Gazans, Palestinians in general, is not new, after all. A century-old landgrab became a 60-year-long process of ethnic cleansing and a 41-year-old illegal occupation.

That Israel should seek to tarnish the most creditable and vocal critics of its crimes is not a surprise either. Think of the horrendous character assassination of former US president Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to name but two of the most egregious examples, that pro-Israel fanatics and Israeli officials have engaged in.

But that the world should stand by, time after time, UN resolution after UN resolution, war crime after war crime, and do nothing, or worse, like the EU, actually upgrade relations with what should rightly be condemned and treated as a pariah state, a stain upon man’s conscience, is unforgivable.

History will judge harshly all those who, in their apathy, bear witness to the slow death by strangulation of an entire people. But that is scant consolation to Gazans. History will not help them now.

Enough has to be enough. Enough of Israel’s lies and crimes and enough of the world’s silent complicity. Like the handful of activists who have now braved and defeated Israel’s blockade of Gaza four times, the countries of this region must start making their presence felt and throw their weight around.

It is time for serious and insistent Arab efforts to break this inhumane siege. A thousand supply ships must head for Gaza and let Israel stop them if they dare.

This is not about Hamas or Fateh, Palestinians or Israelis. This is about humanity.


11 December 2008

"My Dear Olive Tree"

My Dear Olive Tree
Dir: Osama Qashoo (Free Gaza member)

Palestinian farmer Sharif Khalid with Rageh Ommar

The Olive branch is a universal symbol of peace - but that hasn't stopped it becoming a victim of the Israeli - Palestinian conflict. In the West Bank and Gaza, the Israeli Army has uprooted nearly half a million trees - some of them dating back to Roman times.

What's not in doubt is the personal tragedy this leaves in its wake. Palestinian land owner Sharif Khalid travels over three days to get to the Witness studio to explain to Rageh Omaar why he chooses to sleep in his shed.









DIGNITY SHIP LEAVES GAZA WITH PALESTINIAN STUDENTS

(GAZA PORT, GAZA - 11 December 2008) - The Free Gaza Ship “Dignity,”
departed from Gaza International Port at 22:10 hours, Thursday 11
December. Aboard the ship were eleven Palestinian students who had been
denied exit by Israel to attend their universities abroad. Over 700
students are currently trapped in Gaza, unable to obtain permission from
Israel to continue their education.

Accompanying the students are two British academics, Jonathan Rosenhead
and Mike Cushman, of the London School of Economics and the British
Committee for Universities for Palestine (BRICUP), an organization of
UK-based academics responding to Palestine's Call for an Academic Boycott
of Israel.

According to Rosenhead and Cushman, “As academics we are particularly
pleased to be traveling on the Dignity on this mission to enable at least
some of the hundreds of students trapped in Gaza by the Israeli siege to
get out and take up their places at universities round the world. This
siege is an affront to any idea of academic freedom or human rights. How
can anyone justify preventing young people from fulfilling their potential
and learning how to serve their community more fully?”

In an act of nonviolent defiance to the ongoing Israeli Occupation of
Palestine, the Free Gaza Movement has been running civil resistance ships
to Gaza for several months. This voyage is the fourth such trip, helping
to reunite families, and delivering medical supplies, mail, and
international humanitarian and human rights workers to besieged Gaza.

Free Gaza spokesperson Ewa Jasiewicz stated that, “Though we carried in a
ton of medical supplies and high-protein baby formula on our ship, our
mission in Gaza was not to provide charity, but to give our solidarity to
the people of Palestine, break the silence of the world over this
continuing calamity, and physically break through the blockade of Gaza in
an act of direct resistance against the siege. In the end, the oppression
and humiliation of Occupation assaults the humanity of both occupier and
occupied and cannot and must not be tolerated any longer.”

For over two years, Israel has imposed an increasingly severe blockade on
Gaza, dramatically increasing poverty and malnutrition rates among the 1.5
million human people who live in this tiny, coastal region.

Osama Qashoo, another Free Gaza spokesperson, explained their success by
saying that, “the sea passage to Gaza is open. Our fourth mission was a
quick response to Israel denying earlier attempts by Libya, Qatar and by
Palestinians from 1948 to also break through the siege. We hope that other
nations, civil society organizations, and activists around the world will
learn from our experience, be strategic in their planning, and not let
Israeli threats and aggression stop them from coming to Gaza. Freedom of
movement and of education, and to live in peace is everyone’s right.”

"Chronicles of a Refugee" Available Now!

The long-awaited documentary, Chronicles of a Refugee, is now ready for purchase from the Palestine Online store or the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. This six-part series on the global Palestinian experience of displacement since Israel's foundation is one of the most important documentaries about Palestinians to come out in some time. Why? It presents the actual, unfiltered voices of the refugees themselves. Too often, they are cast aside in political discourse, treated as an object of analysis or a rightsless piece of some peace puzzle. This series by Aseel Mansour, Adam Shapiro, and Perla Issa is a must-see. (hat tip to Kabob Fest)





Preview of the forthcoming documentary film series, "Chronicles of a Refugee" - a 6-part series about Palestinian refugees all over the world. Starting with the Nakba of 1948 and continuing through the various experiences over 60 years, the film series seeks to probe and generate debate concerning strategies for achieving Palestinian rights.

Crimal Complaint Filed Against Israel at the Hague Concerning the Siege of Gaza

Thursday, December 11

Criminal Complaint At The Hague

PRESS RELEASE:
For Immediate Distribution:
Wednesday December 10, 2008 10:00 a.m. (Beirut time).
(Kindly Forward to your Media Contacts and colleagues. Thank you. fpl)
ICAI HOKOK, the Beirut based International Coalition against Impunity, is filing today with the Office of the Prosecution of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Holland a Complaint and Communication charging Israel and five of its leaders with egregious violations of International law and the Rome Statute stemming from Israel's actions its continuing blockade of Gaza.
Lebanese lawyer, May el Khansa arrived in The Hague on Tuesday December 9, leading an International delegation of Lawyers to complete the filing formalities and to meet with ICC Court officials.
American International Lawyer and Human Rights advocate, Dr. Franklin Lamb, who drafted the ICC Submission, explained today that HOKOK and its international affiliates have requested that the ICC conduct the investigatory phase of its work inside Gaza, citing the Rome Statute which allows the Court to 'Circuit' and travel to an area where Rome Statute crimes are alleged to be occurring.
"It is entirely appropriate", Lamb added, "that this Case on behalf of our dear brothers and sisters in Gaza and all people of good will in this Holy Season of Peace, is filed today, as December 10 marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We ask the International Community to join this Case and submit the results of their investigations of Gaza to the Court".
Lamb welcomed Monday's support from Geneva by American International Law Professor Richard Falk, the Special UN Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, and commended Falk for calling for Israel's crimes in Gaza to be Investigated and Adjudicated by the International Criminal Court.
In recent days the desperate plight of the civilian population of Gaza has been acknowledged by such respected international figures as the Secretary General of the United Nations, the President of the General Assembly, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Last week, Karen AbyZayd, who heads the UN relief effort in Gaza, offered first-hand confirmation of the desperate urgency and unacceptable conditions facing the civilian population of Gaza.
"Although many leaders have commented on the cruelty and unlawfulness of the Gaza blockade imposed by Israel, such a flurry of denunciations by normally cautious UN officials has not occurred on a global level since the heyday of South African apartheid", Lamb noted.
HOKOK President Khansa, currently at the ICC in The Hague, praised the UN Human Rights Council for its recently issued 99 Recommendations to Israel regarding its continuing siege of Gaza and Isreal's treatment of the 1.5 million Residents of Gaza facing increasingly severe shortages of food, medicine, electricity, and basic necessities of life.
Khansa noted a delegation from HOKOK hopes to brief former American President Jimmy Carter about the case during his current visit to Lebanon, pointing out that the HOKOK Submission charges Israeli with War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and elements of Genocide.
Khansa added that among the Israeli officials named in the HOKOK Submission to the International Criminal Court are:
1. Prime Minister, Ehud OLMERT.
2. Defense Minister Ehud BARAK.
3. Deputy Defense Minister Matan VILNAI.
4. Minister of Internal Security Avraham DICHTER.
5. Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gabi ASHKENZI.
END