by Ben White 11 July 2014 Middle East Monitor
Israel is at war with the Palestinian people. More accurately, Israel is writing a new, brutal chapter in its ongoing war against the Palestinian people, a horror story stretching back decades, and, appallingly, with more pages to be written.
As of now, the Israeli military has killed 100 Palestinians, and wounded an estimated 680, figures that continue to rise. OCHA, a UN body, reported at 15:00 local time Thursday that 58 civilians were among the dead, including 11 women and 21 children. The headline in today's Daily Telegraph: 'Half of Gaza's dead 'are women and children''. OCHA also recorded 70 destroyed homes, with 342 housing units destroyed or severely damaged overall.
On Thursday, an unnamed IDF official told Israeli media that strikes on the Gaza Strip were being conducted at a rate of one attack every four and a half minutes. The source also claimed that when "Gaza residents see the great damage to the Strip", it "will speak for itself". Collective punishment then, wrapped and packaged as 'self-defence'.
Israel has been at war with the Palestinians ever since towns and villages were 'cleansed' in the Nakba (many of whose refugees now reside in the bombarded camps of Gaza). This latest attack is no different. Fuller, more comprehensive accounts of the devastation will emerge in due course. For now, there are already things that we know.
In roughly the first 48 hours, Israel dropped an estimated 800 tons of explosives on an area the size of Detroit. Young people watching a World Cup match in a beachside café, killed by an airstrike. Families destroyed: Kawareh, Hamad, al-Nawasra, al-Haj, al-Ghannam. Toddlers killed when missiles hit their home: like Mohammad Khalaf Odeh al-Nawasra and Ranim Jawdat Abdul-Karim Abdul-Ghafoor, both aged 1-years-old.
Friday morning, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that there were "deeply disturbing reports" of "civilian casualties, including of children", due to Israeli "strikes on homes". Such reports, Pillay added, "raise serious doubt" Israel is abiding by "international humanitarian law". Israeli NGO B'Tselem has already highlighted that the Israel military "itself acknowledged" attacks that "were illegally aimed at homes that were not military targets".
No wonder the Israeli government is so worried about the possibility of Palestinians seeking justice at the International Criminal Court.
Israel is churning out the same tired propaganda, albeit in shiny infographic form. "Human shields", they repeat. For the IDF, it seems there are no Palestinians in the Gaza Strip: just "terrorists" and "human shields". This is the army, remember, that has actually used human shields, in the literal sense of hiding behind a civilian while you storm a house. "Human shields" says Israel, a country that has moved half a million of its citizens to colonies in territory held under military occupation.
But the IDF telephones residents before bombing their house, Israel's propagandists say, with a straight (or angst-ridden) face. Indeed. Perhaps they got their inspiration for this tactic from the likes of the Real IRA, who telephoned 'warnings' before blowing up Omagh.
Operation Protective Edge. Operation Pillar of Defense. Operation Cast Lead. A child of seven years old in the Gaza Strip today has already lived through three massacres. Israel's emergency services list those treated for shock. If the Palestinians did the same, there would be a roll of paper with the name of every single resident of the Gaza Strip.
Israel's policies towards the occupied, stateless Palestinians are routinely characterised by collective punishment. Exports from the Gaza Strip are almost entirely banned. Israeli forces target Palestinian farmers, scrap metal-collectors, protesters, and fishermen in Gaza's IDF-imposed 'Access Restricted Areas' (ARA). Between the November 2012 ceasefire and February 2014, Israel killed at least 8 Palestinian civilians in the ARA and injured 120 more - opening fire on fishermen almost 150 times in the first 12 months after 'Operation Pillar of Defense'.
And note that just in the build up to this week, from June 11 to July 6, Israeli airstrikes killed 13 Palestinians, including a child, injured 30, and damaged 11 schools and a health centre. On June 27, Israel injured eight civilians in Khan Yunis; on June 26 and 28, Israeli forces at the perimeter fence shot and injured three civilians. All before the 'escalation', remember.
When Israeli jets were bombing Palestinians in the 2008-'09 massacre, officials were clear about the objective in hand. An IDF spokesman claimed that "anything affiliated with Hamas is a legitimate target", while Shimon Peres said Israel's aim was "to provide a strong blow to the people of Gaza so that they would lose their appetite for shooting at Israel".
And now the same is happening again. The IDF press releases and spokesperson updates about 'terror targets' conceal a simple, brutal truth. Israel is hitting Palestinian civilians, and it is hitting them hard. To even speak of a 'war' risks confusion. This is not a clash or a conflict, a tit-for-tat cycle or tribal tussle. This is an anti-colonial revolt.
How far can you run in 58secs?
The Israel Defense Forces claim that they give civilians a "tap on the roof" (i.e. launching a dud missile at them) before the actual explosive one, and that is enough notice for people to evacuate their homes.
Are you up for an experiment? From at least a 3rd floor room, see if you can make it out of the building, AND clear a distance of 100metres to escape the explosive debris....you have 58 seconds...
Jewish activists light children’s dolls on fire at Yad Vashem to protest Gaza attack
by Neta Golan 13 July 2014 Mondoweiss
Saturday, 12th July, a group called Jews Against Genocide (JAG) held a memorial service for Palestinian children killed by Israel in its current attack on Gaza. JAG set aflame to a pile of dolls covered in red paint at Yad Vashem, Israel’s holocaust memorial museum. Jews Against Genocide (JAG) is a movement of Jews from all over the world, including Israelis, who are protesting against Israel’s intent to commit genocide against the non-Jewish indigenous people of Palestine.
The Yad Vashem security guard attempted to disrupt the memorial, confiscated JAG’s fire extinguisher, and called the Israeli police to arrest the participants.
We, Jews Against Genocide, came to Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial of the genocide committed against Jews, to honor the Palestinian children who are dying in a genocide committed by Jews.
We brought dolls to symbolise the children of Gaza, and tried to bring a glimpse of the horror that Gazan’s face, to Israel’s doorstep. We hope to show Israel, and the world, the absurd reality of using the memory of one genocide to justify another.
We invite compassionate people from across the globe to join the outcry by staging similar protests in front of Israeli embassies and consulates around the world on Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th July, 2014.
Just as we honor the people who were murdered seven decades ago in Europe because they were Jews, we are here to honor the people who are being murdered at this very moment because they are the indigenous people of this land who are not Jews.
The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines Genocide as, “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; [...]“
The children of Gaza, who are being systematically murdered as we write this article, constitute 52% percent of the population under siege in the strip. The vast majority of these children are descendants of refugees from historical Palestine.
In the current round of atrocities committed by the Israel occupation army, so far dozens of children have been murdered in their homes, with Israel’s war-making leadership vowing “much higher costs” on the Palestinian side as the bombing and shelling continues.
The war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Gaza today are the latest stage of an ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the indigenous people of this land.
The Jewish State was founded on the Zionist principle of “maximum Jews on maximum land, and minimum Arabs on minimum land”, which was made reality through sixty-six years of continued assault against Palestinians, denying them the right to live freely and peacefully in their historical homeland.
The Israeli regime has turned the beautiful Gaza strip into a densely populated ghetto, with unsafe water, untreated sewage, and insufficient resources and electricity. This ghetto has become a concentration camp, through repeated Israeli massacres in what the Goldstone Report described as an effort to, “humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish[ing] its local economic capacity.”
We express our support and solidarity for the Palestinian civil society’s call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, until it complies with the three basic demands of:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
Jews Against Genocide (JAG)
United Nations, preventing Genocide:http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/adviser/genocide_prevention.shtml
Palestinian civil society call for BDS: http://www.bdsmovement.net/call
United Nations, human rights in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/12session/A-HRC-12-48.pdf