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A Plea From a Teen in Gaza
By NOUR KHARMA, CounterPunch
Today, it is the two weeks of this horrible war. Last Saturday was the worst day of all. When I woke up in the morning one of my friends called. His voice sounded strange when I asked, “How are you?”
He answered “Fine, but have you heard any news about any of your friends?”
I was really scared, and asked him, “What’s wrong?”
He told me Christine died. I went into a state of shock. I still don’t believe it. I threw the phone and started crying. I called some of my other friends to make sure, and all of them were grieving. Christine has been my friend for almost four years. We used to go to school and to the YMCA together. I’m sad, afraid, and worried all at once, because she could have been my sister. I feel very sorry for her and her family.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he had told the US president not to vote in favor of the recent United Nations resolution on Gaza.
"I told him (George W. Bush) the United States could not vote in favor. It cannot vote in favor of such a resolution. He immediately called the secretary of state and told her not to vote in favor," said Olmert on Monday.
Last Thursday, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1860, calling for an immediate ceasefire between Hamas and Israeli forces and an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. The US was the only country to abstain; fourteen of the 15 council members voted in favor of the resolution.
According to Olmert, Bush had ordered Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to abstain. Rice is among officials who had helped arrange the resolution.
The war in Gaza continues, largely because the Bush Administration has continued to oppose, in practice, an immediate ceasefire. With each day that passes without a ceasefire, more innocents are killed.
Representative Dennis Kucinich plans to introduce a resolution in the House soon calling for an immediate ceasefire. There are a number of whereases in the draft, recounting the human toll of the war and the blockade, but the punchline is very simple:
Resolved, That the House of Representatives calls on the Government of Israel and representatives of Hamas to implement an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and to allow unrestricted humanitarian access in Gaza.
Israeli forces yesterday pounded dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip and dropped leaflets warning of an escalation in attacks, as southern Israel came under renewed Palestinian rocket fire. Last night, as flames and smoke rose over Gaza City, speculation grew that Israel was about to launch the so-called third stage of its offensive: the forcible entry into Gaza City by thousands of troops.
In response, Hamas said that the Gaza offensive had "killed the last chance for settlement and negotiation with Israel". Earlier yesterday, Israeli aircraft attacked more than 40 targets throughout Gaza, striking 10 rocket-launching sites, weapons-storage facilities, smuggling tunnels, an anti-aircraft missile launcher and gunmen. And civilians. In the day's bloodiest incident, an Israeli tank shell landed outside a home in the northern Gaza town of Jabaliya, killing nine people as they sat in their garden. They were all from the same clan, and, said health administrator Adham Hakim, their bodies were so mangled they were brought to hospital in the boot of a civilian car. Two were women and two were children.
By Kathy Kelly
Arish, Egypt— Yesterday, en route to the Rafah border crossing that leads into Gaza, our driver pointed to a long line of trucks laden with goods that are desperately needed in every area of Gaza. "You see," he said, "all of this is to help people." Generous people, around the world, want Gazans to have food, shelter, fuel, medicine and water while the Israeli military ruthlessly attacks their homes and neighborhoods. The aid shipments will surely save lives and ease affliction. Nevertheless, this relief will meet only a fraction of the need. What's more, the Egyptian government's recent decision to allow humanitarian goods into Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, a border over which they have sovereign control, is a departure from the normal state of siege that Gazans have endured for most of the past sixteen months.
Remember Gaza: One of History's Terror Bombing Victims
by Stephen Lendman
History's terror bombings. This article reviews some of the most infamous:
The Facts About Hamas and the War on Gaza
By NORMAN FINKELSTEIN, CounterPunch
The record is fairly clear. You can find it on the Israeli website, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Israel broke the ceasefire by going into the Gaza and killing six or seven Palestinian militants. At that point—and now I’m quoting the official Israeli website—Hamas retaliated or, in retaliation for the Israeli attack, then launched the missiles.
By Dave Lindorff
If you want to really know what's going on in Gaza, you cannot rely on the US Media, which, along with the rest of the world's media, have been barred from the battle zone by the Israeli government.
The only international reporters in Gaza now who can show what is actually happening there are the ones from Al Jazeera.
Under pressure from the Bush administration, the major cable providers in the US have not offered Al Jazeera in the US. The number of communities that have it in their available cable offerings can be counted on one or at most two hands.
But you can watch Al Jazeera's English channel's live feed free by downloading Livestation, a program that also offers the BBC, Deutschewelle (Germany) and French TV.
Israeli military operation is still increasingly killing more Palestinians mostly civilians. The victims are in contrary of the announced aim of targeting militants. Death toll 920 while wounded 4200. Around 350 of the victims are children while 160 are women. Israeli Artillery intensified the shelling scale leaving more victims and destruction. Part of An Israeli rocket hit my cousin's house then mine! READ REST.
News from the Just Foreign Policy Action Center:
The Senate has passed the (Draft) AIPAC resolution (see Reuters, "US Senate supports Israel's Gaza incursion,") and the House passed a similar resolution Friday (see CQ, "House Adopts Measure Backing Israel on 'Durable' Gaza Truce"; the roll call is here. Members of Congress still need to hear from us advocating for an immediate ceasefire and lifting the blockade on Gaza. You can use this alert to call the House and Senate and report your result. You can also write to them here. Thank you for taking action.
The threat that the United States would launch a military attack on Iran has never been "taken off the table," but you'd be hard pressed to find many people who think that a U.S. attack on Iran in the near term is a realistic possibility.
Even the Bush Administration nixed an Israel attack on Iran, as the New York Times reported Sunday. (Haaretz reported this months ago.) President-elect Obama pledged as a candidate to abandon the "strategy" of isolation and engage Iran diplomatically. And the U.S. already has two wars going (three, if you count the war on Gaza, which is being waged with U.S. weapons and approval, and which is doing as much political damage to the U.S. in the Muslim world as any war waged by the U.S. directly.)
A striking similarity between Israel’s strategy in Palestine and Nazi long-term policy of extermination and annexation in Poland during the Second World War is clearly demonstrated by the Nuremberg Tribunal Charges and the Nuremberg Tribunal Judgement against Hans Frank, the Nazi Governor-General of the non-annexed occupied Poland in 1939 - 1945. It is absolutely shocking to read the documents and to see how many objectives and tactics in these two occupation theatres can be seen as parallel.
By Kathy Kelly
By Stephen Sniegoski
According to the critics, John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, in their “The Israel Lobby,” much exaggerated the power of the lobby. The critics claimed that congressional support for Israel simply reflected the views of the American people. Congress’ recent resolution on Gaza, however, would seem to belie this criticism and underscore the immense power of the Israel Lobby. Congress almost unanimously endorsed the Israeli mass killing of civilians in the Gaza Strip, which, of course, involves the use of American weapons. By voice vote, the Senate gave unanimous support for the resolution. The House of Representatives voted 390 for the resolution with only 5 against [Kucinich, Moore (WI), Paul, Rahall, Waters]
The view of the American public, however, was significantly different. As the following article points out, the American people “do not support this senseless slaughter in anything near overwhelming numbers.” [Quoting from a Rasmussen Poll]
Israel: Stop Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza
Chemical ‘Obscurant’ Poses Serious Risk to Civilians
“White phosphorous can burn down houses and cause horrific burns when it touches the skin,” said Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch. “Israel should not use it in Gaza’s densely populated areas.”...Israel’s use of WP as an obscurant in densely populated areas of Gaza violates the obligation to take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to the civilian population during military operations.
By Dave Lindorff
As we hear the horrifying and sickening reports of the atrocities in Gaza by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), and as ardent Israel backers predictably justify each one or contest the facts it’s worth reading a new book ("The War Behind Me: Vietnam Veterans Confront the Truth about US War Crimes"), by a former Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington bureau investigative reporter of the LA Times named Deborah Nelson.
Nelson with the help of war historian Nick Turse, got hold of a 9000-page secret report by the Pentagon's own people, stored in the National Archive and dating to the Nixon era. Compiled in the wake of a flood of charges from returning GIs and Marines about US atrocities which began appearing following the expose of the My Lai massacre, it sought to investigate and repudiate those claims.
At noon today about 75 people turned out in the plaza of our little town of Ashland, Oregon for a hastily called rally protesting Israel’s savage assault against helpless Gazans. Several speakers, including Gerry Cavanaugh, emphasized American complicity in this new round of terrorism Israel has visited upon the hapless Palestinians.
Israel is using high-tech U.S. weaponry, the gift of which to Israel has been authorized by representatives you and I have elected. And Israel is using these weapons illegally of course--against an utterly helpless population of civilians. So it not just the hands of Israelis that are red with the blood of innocents, but their enabler’s hands as well—your and my hands.
The U.S. is seeking to hire a merchant ship to deliver hundreds of tons of arms to Israel from Greece later this month, tender documents seen by Reuters show.
The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC) said the ship was to carry 325 standard 20-foot containers of what is listed as "ammunition" on two separate journeys from the Greek port of Astakos to the Israeli port of Ashdod in mid-to-late January.
A "hazardous material" designation on the manifest mentions explosive substances and detonators, but no other details were given.
"Shipping 3,000-odd tons of ammunition in one go is a lot," one broker said, on condition of anonymity.
By Freeman URE, OpEdNews
With the recent rapid development of air strike and now full land based incursion of the Israeli military forces into the Gaza Strip, the need for the international community to intervene and impose a just peace for all parties concerned is more urgent than ever. A long haul stretching into months and perhaps years, the civilian casualty of thousands of innocent civilians including dozens from the Israeli side, along with a few billion dollars of financial burdens on both sides, is inevitable. Here it is yet another opportunity for the U.S. administration albeit the Obama administration to set a new bold "objective" leadership to effectuate the amicable resolution of this conflict, thereby regaining the respectful stature of the Americans they once enjoyed.
towards the Israeli embassy in Kensington, in protest at Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip
By London Paper
AN anti-war demonstration ended in violence tonight as protesters clashed with riot police in l London.
The protest against Israel's attacks on Gaza saw one police officer knocked unconscious and two others receive facial injuries, a police spokesman said.
An initially peaceful demonstration ended with a group of protesters facing mounted riot police throwing missiles and smashing windows on Kensington High Street near the Israeli Embassy.
Riot officers from the Metropolitan Police force charged at the group of mainly young men.
Sticks and barriers were hurled at the officers by the group, many of whom were masked.
About 300 police in full riot gear had surrounded a similar-sized group of protesters pushing them up the street.
As fighting continues in violation of the UN Security Council's near unanimous adoption last night (8 January) of resolution 1860 calling for an immediate and durable ceasefire in Gaza, Amnesty International calls on the Security Council to take firm action to ensure full accountability for war crimes and other serious abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law.
In an open letter sent today to the Security Council, Amnesty International also urged the Council to ensure that international human rights monitors are immediately despatched to Gaza and southern Israel to investigate and report on continuing abuses by all parties to the conflict.
By Gareth Porter, IPS
WASHINGTON, Jan 9 (IPS) - Contrary to Israel's argument that it was forced to launch its air and ground offensive against Gaza in order to stop the firing of rockets into its territory, Hamas proposed in mid-December to return to the original Hamas-Israel ceasefire arrangement, according to a U.S.-based source who has been briefed on the proposal.
The proposal to renew the ceasefire was presented by a high-level Hamas delegation to Egyptian Minister of Intelligence Omar Suleiman at a meeting in Cairo Dec. 14. The delegation, said to have included Moussa Abu Marzouk, the second-ranking official in the Hamas political bureau in Damascus, told Suleiman that Hamas was prepared to stop all rocket attacks against Israel if the Israelis would open up the Gaza border crossings and pledge not to launch attacks in Gaza.
Earlier today, Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a one-sided resolution supporting Israel for 'defending itself' from Hamas. Outrageous as this is, the House of Representatives will most likely do the same tomorrow, Friday.
Call your Representative NOW! to tell them to vote 'NO' on any resolution that fails to call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire -- as well as for unimpeded access for humanitarian aid into Gaza and a lifting of Israel's illegal siege.
Earlier, food shipments were suspended because of fighting
By msnbc.com news services
JERUSALEM - The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution Thursday calling for an immediate and durable cease-fire between Hamas militants and Israeli forces now fighting in the Gaza Strip.
The vote was 14-0, with the United States abstaining.
The vote followed three days of intense negotiations between ministers from key Arab nations and the council's veto-wielding Western powers — the United States, Britain and France. It came on the 13th day of an Israeli air and ground offensive against the Islamic group Hamas, which rules Gaza and has been launching rockets and mortars into southern Israel for years.
The United States, Israel's closest ally, and Arab nations that have close ties to Hamas negotiated the text of the resolution. But it will be up to Israel and Hamas to decide to stop their military activities.