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Molten Lead in Gaza
By URI AVNERY, CounterPunch
JUST AFTER MIDNIGHT, Aljazeera’s Arabic channel was reporting on events in Gaza. Suddenly the camera was pointing upwards towards the dark sky. The screen was pitch black. Nothing could be seen, but there was a sound to be heard: the noise of airplanes, a frightening, a terrifying droning.
It was impossible not to think about the tens of thousands of Gazan children who were hearing that sound at that moment, cringing with fright, paralyzed by fear, waiting for the bombs to fall.
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“ISRAEL MUST defend itself against the rockets that are terrorizing our Southern towns,” the Israeli spokesmen explained. “Palestinians must respond to the killing of their fighters inside the Gaza Strip,” the Hamas spokesmen declared.
By Press TV
Medics tell Press TV they have found traces of depleted uranium in some Gaza residents wounded in Israel's ground offensive on the strip.
Norwegian medics told Press TV correspondent Akram al-Sattari that some of the victims who have been wounded since Israel began its attacks on the Gaza Strip on December 27 have traces of depleted uranium in their bodies.
The report comes after Israeli tanks and troops swept across the border into Gaza on Saturday night, opening a ground operation after eight days of intensive attacks by Israeli air and naval forces on the impoverished region.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned on Sunday that the wide-ranging ground offensive in the Gaza Strip would be "full of surprises."
A ground offensive in the densely-populated Gaza is expected to drastically increase the death toll of the civilian population.
By Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, Huffington Post
Envoy Insists 'No Point' in Security Council Calling for End to Gaza Violence
For the second time in four days, the United States has quashed an attempted United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate end to the war in the Gaza Strip. After the latest rejection, US envoy Alejandro Wolff declared that there was “no point” in the statement, because Hamas (who has previously suggested openness to a ceasefire) would never abide by it. Wolff added that it was unacceptable for the council to equate the killing of civilians by the Israeli government with the killing of civilians by Hamas, and that “Israel’s self-defense is not negotiable.”
With the Gaza death toll exceeding 400, the Islamic Human Rights
Commission calls on campaigners to send letters to the President of the United Nations General Assembly, to urge the U.N. General Assembly to establish an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI).
After five days of consecutive bombardment of Gaza, and an
ever-increasing death toll, demonstrators all over the world are calling for an end to the massacre. Campaigners are urged to continue attending demonstrations and boycotting Israel, and are now asked to send letters to the President of the U.N. General Assembly, urging for the long-overdue establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI), under U.N. Charter Article 22.
On the topic of Israel's current attack on Gaza, Archibishop Desmond
Tutu said on Sunday:
"In the context of total aerial supremacy, in which one side in a
conflict deploys lethal aircraft against opponents with no means of
by Linda Milazzo
I don't believe in god. I never have. I don't believe in religions. I study them, but I don't practice them. I try to understand them to be sensitive to the beliefs and traditions of others, and to attempt to appreciate the motivations behind religious thought and deed. But they are irrelevant to living my life.
Long ago as a freshman at CUNY's Queens College I was introduced to Taoism. Taoism began in ancient China as a religion, then morphed into a dogma free/deity free philosophy. Since my late teens I've tried hard to apply MY understanding of my Tao to my life. I have the freedom to choose my own path and not judge the paths of others. But since I have freedom of opinion, I fall prey to judge. I try not to. But I do.
Through the Tao, I'm both a peacemaker and a warrior since Taoism couples with the art of self-defense. I understand my right to protect myself when needed, and to protect the defenseless when they need me. Since I'm by nature protective, it suits my sensibilities to aid the weak, where I fancy myself absurdly as inordinately strong.
sent in by willyloman
By Associated Press
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Israeli tanks and infantry rolled into Gaza after nightfall Saturday, launching a ground offensive in a widening war against Hamas that the Israeli defense minister said "will not be easy and will not be short."
The ground operation was preceded by several hours of heavy artillery fire after dark, igniting flames in the night sky. Machine gun fire rattled as bright tracer rounds flashed through the darkness and the crash of hundreds of shells sent up streaks of fire.
Artillery fired illuminating rounds, sending streaks of bright light drifting down over Gaza's densely packed neighborhoods. Gunbattles could be heard, as troops crossed the border into Gaza, marching single file. They were backed by helicopter gunships and tanks.
The United States gave Israel free reign Friday on whether to send troops into the Gaza Strip, insisting that the key to a ceasefire is an Israeli demand for Hamas to permanently halt rocket fire.
But the White House said it has asked Israel to try hard to avoid civilian casualties as reserves were called up for an expected ground incursion on top of a week of air strikes that has killed more than 400 Palestinians.
"We've been in regular contact with the Israelis," White House deputy press secretary Gordon Johndroe told reporters when asked if US officials were trying to prevent a possible ground offensive.
US officials have urged the Israelis "to be mindful that any of the actions that they're taking in Gaza avoid unnecessary civilian casualties and also to help continue with the flow of humanitarian goods," he said.
Please, everyone, stop what you're doing. This is not just any report
from Palestine, but the worst in my lifetime, the worst in 40 years.
At this moment, Israel is raining bombs down on Gaza, an enclosed tiny area that is home to 1.5 million men, women, and children, most of them innocent civilians. This space is tightly sealed by Israel, which constantly denies Gazans electricity, food, medicine, and the ability to leave. Gaza is one big prison being bombed from above. The death toll is up to 428 in the past 7 days. That's more than the number of Israelis killed in the last 7 years. This is what I would call a massacre.
Yes, more Palestinians killed in 7 days than Israelis in 7 years, and
yet no comments from President Bush or President-elect Obama.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice places blame solely on Hamas for
It may well be that in denouncing "Israel's" attack on Gaza one, in an important way, unwittingly does a disservice to the cause of holding the Bush Administration accountable for its crimes.
Is there any doubt that the Bush Administration approved this assault? Is there any doubt that it could not have taken place without the Bush Administration's approval?
Is there any doubt that it could not continue without the support of the Bush Administration and the protective umbrella of its veto at the UN Security Council? Is there any doubt that it will stop the very day that the Bush Administration says that it must?
If so, is it in the interest of humanity that we Americans engage in the charade that the Israeli government is an autonomous actor in this matter?
All these observations are true in general, but we have plenty of specific evidence in this case.
By Cynthia McKinney
Yesterday, we met with the President of Lebanon, the Chief of the Military, and the Interior Minister who all thanked us for responding and risking our lives on a mission of mercy; we profusely thanked them for rescuing us.
What would we have done, stranded out at sea, prohibited from reaching our destination, low on fuel, with a badly damaged boat if Lebanon had not accepted us? Lebanon sent their ships to find us. Lebanon rescued us. Lebanon welcomed us. And we are truly thankful.
By Dave Lindorff
The deafening silence from American government officials and from the US media regarding the criminal Israeli assault against civilians in Israel’s ghetto of Gaza, where nearly 1.5 million Palestinians are trapped every bit as brutally as were the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto, is beyond unconscionable.
` As Israeli shells and bombs and rockets rain down on university buildings, clearly marked ambulances, and homes, it has to be pointed out that much of the ammunition being used, as well as the planes that are delivering this death and mayhem, are provided by the United States and by American taxpayers—with no strings attached.
By Cynthia McKinney
Oh What a Day!
I'm so glad that my father told me to buy a special notebook and to write everything down because that's exactly what I did.
When we left from Cyprus, one reporter asked me "are you afraid?" And I had to respond that Malcolm X wasn't afraid; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn't afraid. But little did I know that just a few hours later, I would be recollecting my life and mentally preparing myself for death.
When we left Cyprus, the Mediterranean was beautiful. I remember the time when it might have been beautiful to look at, but it was also filthy. The Europeans have taken great strides to clean it up and yesterday, it was beautiful. And the way the sunlight hit the sea, I remember thinking to myself that's why they call it azure. It was the most beautiful blue.
But sometimes it was rough, and we got behind on our schedule. We stayed on course, however, despite the roughness of the water and due to our exquisite captain.
In response to mounting international pressure for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and Israel, Secretary of State Rice is reportedly engaged in "furious telephone diplomacy with officials in the region, pressing them on the need for a 'durable and sustainable' cease-fire."
The Bush Administration is saying that they don't want an "immediate ceasefire," they want a ceasefire that has certain features, such as a permanent end to Hamas rocket attacks into Israel. This is also, of course, the Israeli position.
Meanwhile, Hamas also has issues with an "immediate ceasefire." They also want a ceasefire that has certain features, such as an end to the blockade of Gaza.
Israel, Hamas, and the Bush Administration all agree. They all want a ceasefire with certain conditions. They disagree on the conditions.
Demonstrators protesting Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip tried to get President-elect Barack Obama’s attention this morning in Kailua.
About six demonstrators assembled near the security checkpoint fronting the entrance to the $9 million rental home where Obama and his family are staying. Some carried signs urging Obama to address U.S. foreign policy when he takes office.
Ann Wright, a retired Army colonel, wore a T-shirt that read: “We will not be silent” and carried a sign that read: “Change U.S. foreign policy. Yes we can.”
Wright, 62, of Honolulu, said the demonstrators represented various groups, including her organization Veterans for Peace.
Other signs read “War is Terror” and “Free Palestine.”
Expressing views that are surely representative of American Jews as a whole, here's what some American Jews are saying about the violence in Gaza.
J Street has a petition demanding that the U.S. intervene to bring about an immediate resumption of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas; the petition also calls for lifting the blockade of Gaza.
The petition says:
I support immediate and strong U.S.-led diplomatic efforts to urgently reinstate a meaningful ceasefire that ends all military operations, stops the rockets aimed at Israel and lifts the blockade of Gaza. This is in the best interests of Israel, the Palestinian people and the United States.
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.
The National Lawyers Guild Condemns Illegal Israeli Massacre of over 300 Gazans, Calls for Ceasefire and Urges Participation in
New York. The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) condemns Israel's massive bombardment of the Gaza Strip which has left over 300 dead and 1,400 wounded, with the tolls mounting. The Israeli Air Force dropped more than 100 bombs in dozens of locations throughout the Gaza Strip as children left school on Saturday. The dead include men, women and children in school uniforms.
"International law forbids the targeting of civilians," said Radhika Sainath, a civil rights attorney and member of the Free Gaza Committee of the NLG. "Israel must comply with laws of war and the Fourth Geneva Convention." Today's massacre marks an escalation of Israel's two-year blockade of the Strip which has deprived 1.5 million Palestinians of necessary food, medicine, fuel and other necessities. In November 2008, the United Nations stated that it had run out of food to feed over 750,000 needy Gazans.
1. Tu, 12/30, 12-2pm, Lockheed Martin's Dyna Theatre (1801 Mountain Road in Old Town) (Lockheed "benevolently" shows movies to our kids and simultaneously profits from the bombing of kids in Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, and on and on and on), Albuq
2. Tu, 12/30, 5pm, candlelight vigil and press conf at Federal Court Bldg. on Lomas between 3rd and 4th Streets, Albuq
3. Sat, 1/3, 12-1:30pm, vigil at Central and Tulane in Nob Hill, Albuq
The Hanukkah Massacres
By Gary Corseri
On the seventh day of Hanukkah, 2008, as Jews around the world were lighting the seventh candle on the menorah, commemorating the victorious rebellion of Judah Macabbee and the re-dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem 2200 years ago, a terrorist, Zionist entity, with the approval of the world's last "Superpower" rained down death and destruction on men, women and children herded together on a sliver of the land they had once cultivated and shared with their fellow Semites.
Characteristically, a spokesman for the last Superpower blamed the herded people, the bombed and slaughtered, for their own miseries. It seems these herded Palestinians had had the effrontery to rebel against their Zionist masters in Tel Aviv, London, Jerusalem, New York and Washington.
We have seen this movie before. In the summer of 2006, Israel invaded Lebanon. Replace "Hizbullah" with "Hamas" and "Lebanon" with "Gaza," and much we have seen in the last few days is depressingly familiar. Once again, the Israeli military assault is justified on the basis of the need to stop rocket attacks on Israel, even though it is widely conceded that this will not be the result. Once again, establishment voices in Washington give carte blanche to the military action, even though few believe it will accomplish its stated objectives, and everyone understands that it will impose a huge political cost for the United States around the world, especially in the Arab and Muslim world.
Israel's Wanton Aggression On Gaza
by Stephen Lendman
Former Palestinian information minister, Mustafa Barghauthi, said: Israel didn't attack Hamas, it attacked "the whole population and the free will of the people of Gaza. (Israel is guilty of) war crimes."
It's not the first time and won't be the last. On December 27, AP reported that:
"Israeli aircraft struck Hamas security compounds across Gaza on Saturday in unprecedented waves of simultaneous attacks, and Hamas and medics reported dozens of people were killed."
"Israel launched (Operation Case Lead) Saturday morning (at around 11:30AM with no warning) the start of a massive offensive against Qassam rocket and mortar fire on its southern communities, targeting dozens of buildings belonging to the ruling Hamas militant group."
Hoyer Statement on Situation in Gaza
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on the developing situation in Gaza: “Israel is acting in clear self-defense in response to heinous rocket attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza. As a sovereign nation, Israel has an unequivocal right to take action to ensure the security and safety of her citizens. Indiscriminate attacks by Hamas are a serious detriment to the peace process in the region.”
KUCINICH CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT UNITED NATIONS INQUIRY ON GAZA
Israeli government attacks civilians in violation of international law
WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 29, 2008) — U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich today released the following statement as Israeli attacks on Gaza have gone into a third day with a pending ground invasion of Gaza by Israel:
“Today I sent a letter to Secretary General Ban ki-Moon urging the United Nations to establish an independent inquiry of Israel's war against Gaza. The attacks on civilians represent collective punishment, which is a violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/92.htm). The perpetrators of attacks against Israel must also be brought to justice, but Israel cannot create a war against an entire people in order to attempt to bring to justice the few who are responsible. The Israeli leaders know better. The world community, which has been very supportive of Israel's right to security and its right to survive, also has a right to expect Israel to conduct itself in adherence to the very laws which support the survival of Israel and every other nation,” Kucinich said.
By Norman Solomon
Israelis and Arabs “feel that only force can assure justice,” I. F. Stone noted soon after the Six Day War in 1967. And he wrote: “A certain moral imbecility marks all ethnocentric movements. The Others are always either less than human, and thus their interests may be ignored, or more than human and therefore so dangerous that it is right to destroy them.”
The closing days of 2008 have heightened the Israeli government’s stature as a mighty practitioner of the moral imbecility that Stone described.
Obama-Biden Transition Project - 451 6th St. NW at 4:30 pm Monday, December 29th
What's the death count now? 300? How many injured? 1,000?
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Zalmay Khalilzad, defended Israel's attack. "Israel has the right to self defense," he said. The Washington Post's lead editorial today said the same thing. Meanwhile, Israel's ambassador to the U.N., Gabriela Shalev, said her country is only defending itself from Hamas. They're all reading the same script.
Israel's attacks are continuing.
Is there any way you could join us on the streets in DC tomorrow at 4:30 pm for an emergency action? The world would be happy to see you on the street. The demonstration will take place from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm at the Obama Transition Headquarters located at 451 6th St., NW, (on 6th, between D & E) a two-block walk from either the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro on the Green Line or Judiciary Square on the Red Line: Obama-Biden Transition Project
By Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies
The death toll in Gaza continues to rise. The carnage is everywhere - city streets, a mosque, hospitals, police stations, a jail, a university bus stop, a plastics factory, a television station. It seems impossible, unacceptable, to step back to analyze the situation while bodies remain buried under the rubble, while parents continue to search for their missing children, while doctors continue to labor to stitch burned and broken bodies back together without sufficient medicine or equipment. The hospitals are running short even of electricity-the Israeli blockade has denied them fuel to run the generators. It is an ironic twist on the legacy of Israel's involvement in an earlier massacre - in the Sabra and Shatila camps, in Lebanon back in 1982, it was the Israeli soldiers who lit the flairs, lighting the night sky so their Lebanese allies could continue to kill.
Israeli Planes Strike Civilian Targets in Gaza; PDA Demands Enforcement of the U.S. Arms Control Export and Foreign Assist. Act
Tell Congress to enforce the law.
Gaza --The Israeli Air Force attacked the occupied Gaza Strip killing an estimated 200 or more people and injuring hundreds more, yesterday. (See video)These Israeli attacks come on top of a brutal siege of the Gaza Strip, which has created a humanitarian catastrophe of dire proportions for Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinian residents by restricting the provision of food, fuel, medicine, electricity, and other necessities of life. A virtually unarmed and starving people, the Palestinians of Gaza have been living under an illegal blockade and lock down for the past six months.
As Bill Fletcher warned on this site less than two weeks ago, silence toward human rights abuses against the Palestinian people means the removal or elimination of a people, a stated objective of a segment of the Israeli ruling class.