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Gaza War Ended in Utter Failure for Israel

Gaza War Ended in Utter Failure for Israel
By Gideon Levy | Haaretz

On the morrow of the return of the last Israeli soldier from Gaza, we can determine with certainty that they had all gone out there in vain. This war ended in utter failure for Israel.

This goes beyond the profound moral failure, which is a grave matter in itself, but pertains to its inability to reach its stated goals. In other words, the grief is not complemented by failure. We have gained nothing in this war save hundreds of graves, some of them very small, thousands of maimed people, much destruction and the besmirching of Israel's image.

What seemed like a predestined loss to only a handful of people at the onset of the war will gradually emerge as such to many others, once the victorious trumpeting subsides.

Iran moves to hold war crimes tribunal

By PressTV

The Iranian cabinet introduces a bill to take action on individuals accused of war crimes amid a seeming ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

The cabinet of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad laid out details of the bill on Sunday, discussing methods to track down and prosecute individuals accused of committing or issuing the order for war crimes.

Under the newly-introduced bill, launching a military offensive, killing civilians, employment of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), laying a siege to civilians and military personnel and imposing food shortages on them are regarded as war crimes.

Individuals charged with committing or ordering such crimes, depending on the extent of their involvement, would be sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison by an Iranian court or would face execution.

Worse than an Earthquake: Peace Activist Kathy Kelly on the Destruction in Gaza


AMY GOODMAN: President Obama has dispatched George Mitchell on his first trip as Middle East envoy. Mitchell is set to begin in Egypt today, followed by Israel, the occupied West Bank, Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Speaking at the White House, Obama said Mitchell will be charged with bringing about “genuine progress.”

Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction

Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction
By Naomi Klein | The Nation

Note: This article was originally published January 7, 2009 while the Israeli assault on Gaza was still raging. Although the incursion is now over, the tactic to prevent Israeli aggression is noteworthy, so it's republished here despite the dated references in the article.

It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.

In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era." The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions--BDS for short--was born.

Tomgram: Sandy Tolan, Five Questions for George Mitchell

Tomgram: Sandy Tolan, Five Questions for George Mitchell |

In the latest issue of the Nation magazine, Jonathan Schell has written a piece, "Obama and the Return of the Real", that should stand as a manifesto for sanity in our times. In it, he considers just how self-inflicted our present catastrophic situation, from economic meltdown to foreign policy disaster, actually is. Of Iraq, for instance, he comments, "The invasion... was the American empire's self-inflicted wound -- a disaster of choice, so to speak. All we had to do to escape it was not to do it. Here and elsewhere, the work of our own hands rises up to strike us." He also considers the unnerving way in which we have "been cannibalizing the future to provision the present. Though we are not killing our children directly, we are spending their money, eating their food, cutting down their cherry orchards."

A Window for Israel/Palestine Peace?

A Window for Israel/Palestine Peace?
By Robert Naiman | Huffington Post

"Jewish Voice for Peace and Just Foreign Policy have launched a campaign asking Americans to urge President Obama to change the direction of U.S. policy towards Israel and the Palestinians. You can add your voice here."

If you want to be discouraged about the prospects for Israel/Palestine peace during the Obama Administration, you don't have any shortage of evidence you can cite; you never do. But if you want to look for openings, the situation already looks much better than it did just over a week ago. Is there a "window" for peace? If so, are Americans ready to push the Obama Administration for the changes needed in U.S. policy to bring peace about?

A Window for Israel/Palestine Peace?

If you want to be discouraged about the prospects for Israel/Palestine peace during the Obama Administration, you don't have any shortage of evidence you can cite; you never do. But if you want to look for openings, the situation already looks much better than it did just over a week ago. Is there a "window" for peace? If so, are Americans ready to push the Obama Administration for the changes needed in U.S. policy to bring peace about?

Israel had to end its bombardment of Gaza by the January 20 "hope and change deadline," as Jon Stewart had predicted.

President Obama appointed former Senator Mitchell as his envoy for Israel/Palestine diplomacy. It is widely perceived that Mitchell will be fair - you might think that this would be an obvious requirement, but in the recent history of U.S. policy, it would be an innovation.

Israel Killed Everything but the Will to Resist

Israel Killed Everything but the Will to Resist
by Stephen Lendman

" 'Freedom or death', is the popular Palestinian mantra," wrote Palestine Chronicle Editor-in-Chief Ramzy Baroud in his January 22 article titled "Breaking Gaza's Will: Israel's Enduring Fantasy."

Three weeks of Israeli terror caused about 1400 deaths, over 5500 injured (many seriously), vast destruction throughout Gaza, and Physicians for Human Rights warning that large numbers of wounded may die because hospitals are overloaded and lack basic supplies. Yet Palestinians endure. Their spirit is unbowed and unbroken. Hamas is more popular than ever, and world outrage sustains them.

Gaza Villages Wiped Off The Map

Gaza Villages Wiped Off The Map

8:21 mins.

Human Rights Dialogue in the Gaza Debate

Human Rights Dialogue in the Gaza Debate
By Clare Garvie | Columbia Spectator

The human rights framework has been given a prominent role in what is perhaps today’s most intractable and contentious debate—that which surrounds the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Human rights can be found, explicit or implied, within the foundation and supporting evidence of many arguments on both sides of the debate. Appeals to human rights are passionately and persuasively used to condemn the actions of the opponent and justify the position of the favored side. The appeals are often underscored by heartbreaking narratives and photographs that grace the daily news.

"We Will Not Go Down"

"We Will Not Go Down" by Michael Heart

3:10 mins.

Breaking Gaza’s Will: Israel’s Enduring Fantasy

Breaking Gaza’s Will: Israel’s Enduring Fantasy
By Ramzy Baroud | Middle East Online

Isn't 60 years of suffering and survival enough to convince Olmert that the will of the Palestinians cannot be broken? How many heaps of wreckage and mutilated bodies will be enough to convince the prime minister that those who fight for their freedom will either be free or will die trying? Asks Ramzy Baroud.

My three-year-old son Sammy walked into my room uninvited as I sorted through another batch of fresh photos from Gaza.

I was looking for a specific image, one that would humanise Palestinians as living, breathing human beings, neither masked nor mutilated. But to no avail.

UN Fears 'Systematic War Crimes' by Israel

UN fears 'systematic war crimes' by Israel | Middle East Online
UN Special Rapporteur on human rights says 'unlawful targets have been selected' by Israel.

GENEVA - A UN human rights expert on Thursday said Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip during its recent offensive there raised "the spectre of systematic war crimes" and needed to be investigated.

The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Occupied Territories, Richard Falk, said he had little doubt about the "unavoidably inhuman character of a large scale military operation of the sort that Israel has initiated... against an essentially defenceless population."

Falk told journalists that Israeli military operations in the densely populated territory among a population weakened by an 18 month blockade "raises the spectre of systematic war crimes."

"Unlawful targets have been selected" during the fighting, he said.

Unexploded Munitions Threaten Gaza

Unexploded munitions threaten Gaza | UPI

The International Committee of the Red Cross is warning that despite a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, unexploded munitions in Gaza remain a threat.

Unexploded ordnance left in the wake of Israel's military campaign targeting Hamas militants are scattered around Gaza. ICRC officials say with the cease-fire in place, a number of people, especially children, are leaving their homes for the first time, running the risk of being killed or maimed by unexploded munitions scattered in civilian areas, the ICRC reported.

Gaza Recovery in Doubt as Israel Pressures Hamas

Gaza recovery in doubt as Israel pressures Hamas
By Adam Entous and Nidal al-Mughrabi | Reuters

Israel all but ruled out on Friday a full reopening of border crossings with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip any time soon, leaving a shaky ceasefire and post-war reconstruction in doubt.

While a U.N. official praised Israel's "goodwill" for letting some 120 truckloads per day of food and medicine into Gaza, diplomats decried restrictions on steel, cement and cash imports needed to make repairs from Israel's 22-day offensive.

Barring a swift change in Israeli policy, a senior Western diplomat said the emergency response and long-term reconstruction were "bound to fail."

Assessing the Aftermath in Gaza

Assessing the Aftermath in Gaza

Mosques Not Spared In Gaza War

Mosques Not Spared in Gaza War

Israel to Defend Itself Against Gaza War Crimes Charges

Israel to Defend Itself Against Gaza War Crimes Charges | Voice of America

Israel's prime minister has assembled a team to defend the country against charges of war crimes in its recent offensive against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

Ehud Olmert asked Israeli Justice Minister Daniel Friedman Thursday to lead an inter-ministerial team to prepare legal defenses for Israeli officials and military personnel.

Israeli Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz warned earlier this week that Israel may face a wave of international lawsuits over its 22-day offensive, which ended Sunday.

U.N. human rights expert Richard Falk said Thursday there is evidence that Israel violated humanitarian law by conducting the offensive, "against an essentially defenseless population." He called for an independent investigation to see if Israel committed war crimes.

Israel, Palestinian Authority Welcome Obama Plans for Peace

Israel, Palestinian Authority Welcome Obama Plans for Peace
By Robert Berger | Voice of America

Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank have welcomed President Obama's announcement that he will "aggressively" pursue peace in the Middle East.

"It must instill in us a sense of urgency, as history shows us that strong and sustained American engagement can bridge divides and build the capacity that supports progress," he said.

Mr. Obama appointed former senator George Mitchell as Mideast envoy and said he would visit the region soon.

Geopolitical Poker

Geopolitical Poker
By Arnaud De Borchgrave |

A new start with the Muslim world, as pledged by President Obama in his inaugural speech, has a sine qua non: a Palestinian settlement, a quest that has eluded the last five U.S. presidents. Following Israel's invasion of Gaza and its 22-day campaign of airstrikes, tank and artillery bombardment that left 1,300 Palestinians killed for the loss of only 13 Israeli soldiers, a Palestinian state remains a diplomatic chimera.

Tomgram: Tony Karon, Obama's Gaza Opportunity

Tomgram: Tony Karon, Obama's Gaza Opportunity |

Yes, we now know the ever grimmer statistics: more than 1,400 dead Gazans (and rising as bodies are dug out of the rubble); 5,500 wounded; hundreds of children killed; 4,000 to 5,000 homes destroyed and 20,000 damaged -- 14% of all buildings in Gaza; 50,000 or more homeless; 400,000 without water; 50 U.N. facilities, 21 medical facilities, 1,500 factories and workshops, and 20 mosques reportedly damaged or destroyed; the smashed schools and university structures; the obliterated government buildings; the estimated almost two billion dollars in damage; all taking place on a blockaded strip of land 25 miles long and 4 to 7.5 miles wide that is home to a staggering 1.4 million people.

Worse Than an Earthquake

Worse Than an Earthquake
by Kathy Kelly | Voices for Creative NonViolence

Rafah--Traffic on Sea Street, a major thoroughfare alongside Gaza's coastline, includes horses, donkeys pulling carts, cyclists, pedestrians, trucks and cars, mostly older models. Overhead, in stark contrast to the street below, Israel's ultra modern unmanned surveillance planes criss-cross the skies. F16s and helicopters can also be heard. Remnants of their deliveries, the casings of missiles, bombs and shells used during the past three weeks of Israeli attacks, are scattered on the ground.

Workers have cleared most of the roads. Now, they are removing massive piles of wreckage and debris, much as people do following an earthquake.

Gaza War Munitions Investigated

Gaza war munitions investigated: Human rights groups and UN agencies have criticized suspected white phosphorus use in Gaza | al Jazeera

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says it will open an investigation into Israel's alleged use of depleted uranium during the 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Wednesday's announcement came after Arab nations sent a letter to Mohammed ElBaradei, the IAEA director-general, asking the UN agency to investigate whether the controversial munitions were used in the war, which left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead.

The Strongest Weapon of All

The Strongest Weapon of All
by Kathy Kelly | Common Dreams

Dr. Atallah, a physician in Gaza, invited us to meet him in his home in Gaza City, just a few blocks away from the Shifaa Hospital.

Early this morning, he and his family returned to their home after having fled five days earlier when the bombing attacks on Gaza City had become so fierce that they feared for their lives. "Believe me, when I would drive from the hospital to the place where my family was staying, I prayed all the way," said Dr. Atallah, "because the Israelis would shoot anyone on the roads at night."

Al Nakba Redux

Al Nakba Redux
by Stephen Lendman

For Palestinians, the Nakba "Catastrophe" is their "Holocaust" six-month slaughter and displacement before and after the May 1948 establishment of Israel. In December 1947, Jews in Palestine numbered 600,000 compared to 1.3 million Palestinians. David Ben-Gurion ordered them removed and for "Every end with occupation, destruction and expulsion."

He meant depopulation, destruction, mass slaughter, displacement, and erasing a proud people's history. Palestine was to become Israel. Most of the job was completed, more in 1967, and thereafter incrementally until total dispossession is achieved. Gaza is the latest battleground. More ahead is planned. The struggle for liberation continues.

In all respects, Gaza's situation is dysfunctional and calamitous. Consider the dire medical state alone.

Renowned Jewish Playwright Tony Kushner Speaks Out Against Israel’s Assault on Gaza

“Catastrophically Misguided and Incomprehensible Policy” – Renowned Jewish Playwright Tony Kushner Speaks Out Against Israel’s Assault on Gaza | Democracy Now! - Click for video report

On Monday, a group called Jews Against the Occupation staged a protest against Israel’s invasion of Gaza blocks away outside the Israeli consulate in New York. Among those protesting was renowned playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner. Kushner won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for his play Angels in America, which was later made into an award-winning television mini-series. “The policy, on the part of the Israeli government, of reoccupation of Gaza seems to me catastrophically misguided,” Kushner says. “I can’t imagine this is not going to continue to be bloody and a violation of human rights.”

The World Has Lost Its Conscience

The World Has Lost Its Conscience


Peace Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Peace Is in the Eye of the Beholder
by Chris Hedges | Truthdig

I do not like Hamas. I detest religious fundamentalism and the use of suicide bombers. I find the group's anti-Semitism and ruthless silencing of internal Palestinian opponents repugnant. The rocket attacks on Israeli civilians are a war crime. But this does not negate the legitimacy of Palestinian resistance to the long Israeli siege and occupation of Gaza.

The moral scum of any society rises to the surface in war. Those who have a penchant for violence and an access to weapons dominate the landscape. It was the criminal class and gangsters who first organized the defense of Sarajevo. It was the thugs of Gaza who took control to confront the Israeli army. This is nothing new in wartime. Violence is a disease, a disease that corrupts all who use it regardless of the cause. But there are moments when a people face the terrible tragedy of resistance or obliteration. This was true in Sarajevo. It is true for the Palestinians. It does not make it pretty or good. It is what happens.

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