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Monday, January 19, 2009

Slaughter House Revisited

A Report From Gaza
Terribly Bloodied, Still Breathing

The morgues of Gaza's hospitals are over-flowing. The bodies in their blood-soaked white shrouds cover the entire floor space of the Shifa hospital morgue. Some are intact, most horribly deformed, limbs twisted into unnatural positions, chest cavities exposed, heads blown off, skulls crushed in. Family members wait outside to identify and claim a brother, husband, father, mother, wife, child. Many of those who wait their turn have lost numerous family members and loved ones.

Blood is everywhere. Hospital orderlies hose down the floors of operating rooms, bloodied bandages lie discarded in corners, and the injured continue to pour in: bodies lacerated by shrapnel, burns, bullet wounds. Medical workers, exhausted and under siege, work day and night and each life saved is seen as a victory over the predominance of death.

The streets of Gaza are eerily silent- the pulsing life and rhythm of markets, children, fishermen walking down to the sea at dawn brutally stilled and replaced by an atmosphere of uncertainty, isolation and fear. The ever-present sounds of surveillance drones, F16s, tanks and Apaches are listened to acutely as residents try to guess where the next deadly strike will be- which house, school, clinic, mosque, governmental building or community centre will be hit next and how to move before it does. That there are no safe places- no refuge for vulnerable human bodies- is felt acutely. It is a devastating awareness for parents- that there is no way to keep their children safe.

As we continue to accompany the ambulances, joining Palestinian paramedics as they risk their lives, daily, to respond to calls from those with no other life-line, our existence becomes temporarily narrowed down and focused on the few precious minutes that make the difference between life and death. With each new call received as we ride in ambulances that careen down broken, silent roads, sirens and lights blaring, there exists a battle of life over death. We have learned the language of the war that the Israelis are waging on the collective captive population of Gaza- to distinguish between the sounds of the weaponry used, the timing between the first missile strikes and the inevitable second- targeting those that rush to tend to and evacuate the wounded, to recognize the signs of the different chemical weapons being used in this onslaught, to overcome the initial vulnerability of recognizing our own mortality.

Though many of the calls received are to pick up bodies, not the wounded, the necessity of affording the dead a dignified burial drives the paramedics to face the deliberate targeting of their colleagues and comrades- thirteen killed while evacuating the wounded, fourteen ambulances destroyed- and to continue to search for the shattered bodies of the dead to bring home to their families.

Last night, while sitting with paramedics in Jabaliya refugee camp, drinking tea and listening to their stories, we received a call to respond to the aftermath of a missile strike. When we arrived at the outskirts of the camp where the attack had taken place the area was filled with clouds of dust, torn electricity lines, slabs of concrete and open water pipes gushing water into the street. Amongst the carnage of severed limbs and blood we pulled out the body of a young man, his chest and face lacerated by shrapnel wounds, but alive- conscious and moaning.

As the ambulance sped him through the cold night we applied pressure to his wounds, the warmth of his blood seeping through the bandages reminder of the life still in him. He opened his eyes in answer to my questions and closed them again as Muhammud, a volunteer paramedic, murmured "ayeesh, nufuss"- live, breathe- over and over to him. He lost consciousness as we arrived at the hospital, received into the arms of friends who carried him into the emergency room. He, Majid, lived and is recovering.

A few minutes later there was another missile strike, this time on a residential house. As we arrived a crowd had rushed to the ruins of the four story home in an attempt to drag survivors out from under the rubble. The family the house belonged to had evacuated the area the day before and the only person in it at the time of the strike was 17 year old Muhammud who had gone back to collect clothes for his family. He was dragged out from under the rubble still breathing- his legs twisted in unnatural directions and with a head wound, but alive. There was no choice but to move him, with the imminence of a possible second strike, and he lay in the ambulance moaning with pain and calling for his mother. We thought he would live, he was conscious though in intense pain and with the rest of the night consumed with call after call to pick up the wounded and the dead, I forgot to check on him. This morning we were called to pick up a body from Shifa hospital to take back to Jabaliya. We carried a body wrapped in a blood-soaked white shroud into the ambulance, and it wasn't until we were on the road that we realized that it was Muhammud's body. His brother rode with us, opening the shroud to tenderly kiss Muhammud's forehead.

This morning we received news that Al-Quds hospital in Gaza City was under siege. We tried unsuccessfully for hours to gain access to the hospital, trying to organize co-ordination to get the ambulances past Israeli tanks and snipers to evacuate the wounded and dead. Hours of unsuccessful attempts later we received a call from the Shujahiya neighborhood, describing a house where there were both dead and wounded patients to pick up. The area was deserted, many families having fled as Israeli tanks and snipers took up position amongst their homes, other silent in the dark, cold confines of their homes, crawling from room to room to avoid sniper fire through their windows.

As we drove slowly around the area, we heard women’s cries for help. We approached their house on foot, followed by the ambulances and as we came to the threshold of their home, they rushed towards us with their children, shaking and crying with shock. At the door of the house the ambulance lights exposed the bodies of four men, lacerated by shrapnel wounds- the skull and brains of one exposed, others whose limbs had been severed off. The four were the husbands and brothers of the women, who had ventured out to search for bread and food for their families. Their bodies were still warm as we struggled to carry them on stretchers over the uneven ground, their blood staining the earth and our clothes. As we prepared to leave the area our torches illuminated the slumped figure of another man, his abdomen and chest shredded by shrapnel. With no space in the other ambulances, and the imminent possibility of sniper fire, we were forced to take his body in the back of the ambulance carrying the women and children. One of the little girls stared at me before coming into my arms and telling me her name- Fidaa', which means to sacrifice. She stared at the body bag, asking when he would wake up.

Once back at the hospital we received word that the Israeli army had shelled Al Quds hospital, that the ensuing fire risked spreading and that there had been a 20-minute time-frame negotiated to evacuate patients, doctors and residents in the surrounding houses. By the time we got up there in a convoy of ambulances, hundreds of people had gathered. With the shelling of the UNRWA compound and the hospital there was a deep awareness that nowhere in Gaza is safe, or sacred.

We helped evacuate those assembled to near-by hospitals and schools that have been opened to receive the displaced. The scenes were deeply saddening- families, desperate and carrying their children, blankets and bags of their possessions venturing out in the cold night to try to find a corner of a school or hospital to shelter in. The paramedic we were with referred to the displacement of the over 46,000 Gazan Palestinians now on the move as a continuation of the ongoing Nakba of dispossession and exile seen through generation after generation enduring massacre after massacre.

Today's death toll was over 75, one of the bloodiest days since the start of this carnage. Over 1,110 Palestinians have been killed in the past 21 days. 367 of those have been children. The humanitarian infrastructure of Gaza is on its knees- already devastated by years of comprehensive siege. There has been a deliberate, systematic destruction of all places of refuge. There are no safe places here, for anyone.

And yet, in the face of so much desecration, this community has remained intact. The social solidarity and support between people is inspiring, and the steadfastness of Gaza continues to humble and inspire all those who witness it. Their level of sacrifice demands our collective response- and recognition that demonstrations are not enough. Gaza, Palestine and its people continue to live, breathe, resist and remain intact and this refusal to be broken is a call and challenge to us all.

Caoimhe Butterly is an Irish human rights activist working in Jabaliya and Gaza City as a volunteer with ambulance services and as co-coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement, She can be contacted at




Slaughter House Revisited 1 said...

December 2008 - January 2009 Attack on Gaza – Events leading to:-

1) 12/27/08 - 1/16/09: Killed: Israelis = 9 - Palestinian = 1155
2) 12/27/08 - 1/16/09: Cilldren Killed: Israelis = 0 - Palestinian = 370


Gaza Is a Concentration Camp
By Ellen Cantarow, AlterNet. Posted January 16, 2009.

One Israeli official promised a holocaust in Gaza; it is impossible to keep pace with the death toll.

Gaza is an immense concentration camp -- 1.5 million people squeezed into 140 square miles hemmed in on all sides by 25-foot-high walls separated by a vast expanse of bulldozed earth. The 2005 "pull-out" left Gaza still controlled by Israel from air and sea, its entries and exits prison-like mazes electronically controlled and under constant surveillance. Bombing it, assaulting it with tanks and Uzis, is like shooting animals in a pen. The claptrap about "pinpoint" accuracy and "avoiding civilians" is a lie so flagrant, so transparent, that any child -- certainly any Gaza child -- could grasp it.

There have been eight military assaults on Gaza since 2004; blockades started in 2005, and then a siege of medieval proportions in 2006, punishment for Gazans' having elected the wrong party for Israel and its U.S. patron. By December 2008, Richard Falk, special rapporteur on the Occupied Territories for the United Nations, reported an overall Gaza malnutrition rate of 75 percent, a childhood anemia rate of 46 percent and a devastated infrastructure. (For more, see Richard Falk's "Understanding the Gaza Catastrophe.")

This latest war -- called Operation Cast Lead -- is the "holocaust" promised by Israel's Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai last spring when he said Israel would create a shoa if Qassem rockets kept dropping on Israeli towns like Sderot. Shoa, Hebrew for holocaust, is a serious word denoting the extermination of an entire people. Vilnai embarrassed the Israeli government, and no official has used the term since.

But since Dec. 27, Israel has bombed Gaza's government buildings, universities, mosques, schools, medical clinics. It is impossible to keep pace with the death and injury toll, which rises as I write: on Jan. 13, the Israeli human rights organization B'tselem reported 900 Palestinians killed, with more than 4,200 injured. The Israeli toll: three civilians and seven soldiers killed, more than 82 civilians and 61 soldiers injured. As for Israeli civilians killed by rockets, the Israel Project lists 25 dead during the past seven years.

On the broadcast program Democracy Now, a Norwegian doctor, Mads Gilbert, who had just returned from Gaza to Denmark, told host Amy Goodman that "90 percent of those killed are civilians." Gilbert reported 971 dead, of whom 1 in 3 is a child under 18. He has worked in Gaza for years and was there for the first weeks of Israel's assault.

The Times of London, Human Rights Watch and B'tselem all report the illegal use of white phosphorous to strike civilians. When white phosphorous adheres to flesh, its flames continue to burn for five to 10 minutes, often penetrating to the bone.

Gilbert and other experts think Israel is also using a new weapon called dense inert metal explosive. It was developed by the United States to create lethal, powerful blasts within small areas. DIME inflicts wounds never before seen by surgeons in Gaza. According to Gilbert, conventional shrapnel damages limbs and other body parts as if they'd been cut by a huge knife. DIME, on the other hand, leaves "no signs of shrapnel," but rather "small pieces of some kind of substance" (DIME is made of nickel and cobalt). It crushes "the whole limb," not just part, with "multiple severe fractures, muscles split from bones." Some classify DIME weapons as nuclear because they are based on a fusion process. (Democracy Now, Jan. 14.)


"Take some kittens … in a box. Seal up the box, then jump on it with all your weight and might, until you feel their little bones crunching, and you hear the last muffled little mew," a surgeon named Jamal tells Italian writer Vittorio Arigoni. Bloodstained boxes are fetched; Jamal opens one. It contains "amputated limbs, legs and arms, some from the knee down, others with the entire femur attached . . . from the injured at the Al Fakhura United Nations school in Jabalia, which resulted in more than 50 casualties."
Jamal says, "Israel trapped hundreds of civilians inside a school as if in a box, including many children, and then crushed them with all the might of its bombs. What were the world's reactions? Almost nothing. We would have been better off as animals rather than Palestinians. We would have been more protected."

Arigoni also described the account, by ophthalmologist Dr. Abdel, of strange and terrible wounds he'd never seen before: "Dr. Abdel told me that at Al Shifa hospital, they don't have the medical and military competence to say for sure whether the wounds they examined on certain corpses were indeed provoked by white phosphorous bullets. But on his word, in 20 years on the job, he had never seen casualties like those now being carried into the ward."

These included "traumas to the skull, with fractures to ... the jaw … cheekbones, tear duct, nasal and palatine bones [all showing] signs of the collision of an immense force against the victim's face. What he finds inexplicable is the total lack of eyeballs, which ought to leave a trace somewhere within the skull, even in the case of such violent impact. Instead, we see Palestinian corpses coming into the hospitals without eyes at all, as if someone had removed them surgically before handing them over to the coroner."
Since no international observers are allowed in, judgment about the weapons inflicting such trauma will depend on further reports from Gaza, and corroboration from experts like Gilbert. (Arigoni is an international who reached Gaza by boat during the siege. His report was sent to e-mail lists Jan. 9.)


The Israel of Operation Cast Lead is still the Israel of Plan Dalet, under which 750,000 Arabs were expelled from Palestine in 1948. It is the Israel of massacres under Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir on April, 9, 1948, at Deir Yassin; of the Phalangist massacre of 1,500 Palestinians in the Beirut refugee camps Sabra and Shatila, overseen by Defense Minister Ariel Sharon. Held "personally responsible" and cashiered from his post, he later rose to prime minister to resume his malignant policies in the West Bank and Gaza. The late Israeli writer Tanya Reinhardt predicted in 2002 that Israel was starting to finish what it began in 1948. This 60-year-long legacy rages on in Gaza under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Minister of Defense Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to the applause of a vengeful Israeli public (see Jan. 13 story in the New York Times.)

Operation Cast Lead is one of the great war crimes of our era. It was planned six to 18 months in advance, according to journalist Jonathan Cook. The war design "required directing artillery fire and air strikes at civilian neighborhoods from which rockets were fired, despite being a violation of international law. Legal advisers, Barak noted, were seeking ways to avoid such prohibitions, presumably in the hope the international community would turn a blind eye."

Operation Cast Lead fulfills at least three of the points under Article 2 in the Convention on Genocide: (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.

So to President-elect Barack Obama in his silence; to our senators and representatives who obediently parrot American Israel Public Affairs Committee's lines, forgiving the occupier and blaming the occupied, I'd address European Parliament member Luisa Morgantini's closing words in her open letter to European leaders:
"Israel has a right to exist as a normal state, a state for its citizens, along the 1967 borders, much wider than those of the partition plan passed by the United Nations in 1947. But I would have liked to hear your outrage and your humanity, and to hear you shouting for the pain of so many deaths and so much destruction, for such arrogance, for so much inhumanity, for so many violations of international and humanitarian law. ...
"My God, what a terrible world we live in!"


Slaughter House Revisited 2 said...

December 2008 - January 2009 Attack on Gaza – Events leading to:-

1) 12/27/08 - 1/16/09: Killed: Israelis = 9 - Palestinian = 1155
2) 12/27/08 - 1/16/09: Cilldren Killed: Israelis = 0 - Palestinian = 370


Palestinians Will Never Forget
Susan Abulhawa
January 6, 2009

How can anyone watching Gaza burn escape the bitter realization that history repeats itself? Many have compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to Apartheid South Africa. But not in their cruelest hour did the Apartheid regime wreak such wanton murder and destruction. Let us stop mincing words. What is happening to Palestinians now whispers of Warsaw and Lodz.

Schools, universities, mosques, police stations, homes, water treatment plants, factories, and anything that supports civil society, including the only mental health clinic in Gaza, have been blown to rubble from planes that rain death from clear skies without any resistance, because Palestinians have no opposing air force. Nor do they have an army or navy. No mechanized armor or heavy weaponry. Thanks to Israel, they haven’t even had continuous electricity or fuel for the past two years. Or food and medicine.

Israel’s siege and blockade of Gaza has prevented the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza, including the import of the most basic goods necessary for survival.

A recent study by the Red Cross showed that 46 percent of Gazan children suffer from anemia. Malnutrition affects 75 percent of Gaza’s population, half of whom are under the age of 17. There has been widespread deafness among children due to Israel’s intentional and frequent sonic booms from low overflights. An alarming number have stunted growth and serious mental disorders due lack of food.

The only way they have been able to survive thus far has been due to the tunnels that smuggle food and goods from Egypt.

Half of Gazan children under 12 have lost their “will to live.” Can anyone fathom the kind of oppression that leads small children en mass to lose their will to live?

This is what Israel has done to Gaza over the past two years. They ghettoized Gaza and turned it into an open air prison – a concentration camp of civilians with no way to earn a living, no way to defend themselves and no place to run from the slaughter bombarding them from air, land, and sea. From the white phosphorous disemboweling young and old alike. Hear eyewitness accounts

But Gazans dared to try to resist with pathetic homemade rockets that, until Israel’s barbaric attack, generally landed in open desert. The rockets were mostly symbolic of resistance, very much like the fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. But who would have called on a ceasefire there, in 1943, for “both parties” to “cease the violence”? Who would have blamed the Ghetto fighters for their ultimate fate? Who would say they had no right to resist? No right to fight back?

Just as Nazis gave Jews only the right to die silently, Israel starves and besieges Palestinians, giving them only that same right. Just as the Warsaw Ghetto was blown to rubble, Gaza is left to burn in an inferno, its hospitals bursting with the puss of death and unspeakable wounds. The entire population of Gaza is terrorized and traumatized. No one is spared the insecurity and fear. Imagine, please, that you are a Gazan.

What have Palestinians done to deserve such a fate? To be endlessly hunted like animals? To have their homes demolished, their ancient history and heritage cast into forgotten space? To languish in refugee camps and slums, while Jews from all corners of the earth flock to fill their confiscated homes and farms? To be tortured, imprisoned, and denied in every conceivable way?

What have we done that leaders will not speak against this massive and cold aggression against our people? With what logic do you call Palestinians terrorists when their streets flow with the blood of their own children? When they have been stripped naked of possessions, dignity and hope?

Why? Because they elected Hamas? Hamas has held power for less than two years. Yet, Palestinians have suffered this kind of slaughter for 61 years. Whether now in Gaza, in 2002 in Jenin, in 1947 and 1948 in Deir Yasin, Balad el-Sha, Yehida, Tantura, and the list goes on. Or 1982 in Sabra and Shatila.

Palestinians are killed as if insects not because of Hamas or Yasser Arafat before them. Not because of Qassasm rockets or hand thrown rocks. Palestinians burn and bleed because they are the non-Jewish natives of that land. There is no other reason. Just like Jews were killed for being Jewish. Palestinians are killed for being the Muslims and Christians who hold historic, legal and even genetic title to that land.

But unlike Jews of Europe, Palestinians are killed slowly over decades. Unlike Israel, Nazi Germany did not establish such an

effective global propaganda machine that would demonize its victims and blame them for their own ghastly fate. But most importantly, like the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto, Palestinians do not march like mice to their death. In six decades of enduring unspeakable oppression, their will has not been broken. Now is no exception.

Israel, and the United States with its unconditional support, will only succeed in radicalizing a whole new generation of its victims. Of revving world hatred and resentment against this unholy duo.

Palestinians will not forget this, as they have not forgotten the past 60 years. But what will you remember a week or a year or a decade from now, when a Gazan, who stood before the long rows of

corpses and vowed vengeance, creates your 9-11? When one of those few million children without a will to live straps on a belt that rips through your daily routine? Will you remember what we did to them?


Slaughter House Revisited 3 said...

December 2008 - January 2009 Attack

on Gaza – Events leading to:-

1) 12/27/08 - 1/16/09:
Israelis = 9
Palestinian = 1155

2) 12/27/08 - 1/16/09:
Cilldren Killed:
Israelis = 0
Palestinian = 370


US Justifyies The Slaughter House.

Punishing the Palestinians
By Ralph Nader

January 18, 2009 "Commondreams" -- In the long sixty-year tortured history of the Palestinian expulsion from their lands, Congress has maintained that it is always the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority, and now Hamas who are to blame for all hostilities and their consequences with the Israeli government.

The latest illustration of this Washington puppet show, backed by the most modern weapons and billions of taxpayer dollars annually sent to Israel, was the grotesquely one-sided Resolutions whisked through the Senate and the House of Representatives.

While a massive bombing and invasion of Gaza was underway, the resolution blaming Hamas for all the civilian casualties and devastation - 99% of it inflicted on Palestinians-zoomed through the Senate by voice vote and through the House by a vote of 390 to 5 with 22 legislators voting present.

There is more dissent against this
destruction of Gaza among the Israeli people, the Knesset, the
Israeli media, and Jewish - Americans than among the dittoheads on Capitol Hill.

The reasons for such near-unanimous support for Israeli actions-no matter how often they are condemned by peace advocates such as Bishop Desmond Tutu, United Nations resolutions, the World Court and leading human rights groups inside and outside of Israel, are numerous. The pro-Israeli government lobby, and the right-wing Christian evangelicals, lubricated by campaign money of many Political Action Committees (PACs) certainly are key.

There is also more than a little
bigotry in Congress against Arabs
and Muslims, reinforced by the mass media yahoos who set new records for biased reporting each time this conflict erupts.

The bias is clear. It is always the Palestinians' fault. Right-wingers who would never view the U.S. government as perfect see the Israeli government as never doing anything wrong. Liberals who do not hesitate to criticize the U.S. military view all Israeli military attacks, invasions and civilian devastation as heroic manifestations of Israeli defense.

The inversion of history and the
scope of amnesia know no limits.
What about the fact that the
Israeli government drove
Palestinians from their lands in
1947-48 with tens of thousands
pushed into the Gaza strip. No
problem to Congress.

Then the fact that the Israeli
government cruelly occupied, in
violation of UN resolutions, the
West Bank and Gaza in 1967 and only removed its soldiers and colonists from Gaza (1.5 million people in a tiny area twice the size of the District of Columbia) in 2005. To Congress, the Palestinians deserved it.

Then when Hamas was freely elected
to run Gaza, the Israeli
authorities cut off the tax
revenues on imports that belonged
to the Gaza government. This threw
the Gazans into a fiscal crisis -
they were unable to pay their civil servants and police.

In 2006, the Israelis added to
their unrelieved control of air,
water and land around the open-air
prison by establishing a blockade.
The natives became restless. Under
international law, a blockade is an act of war. Primitive rockets,
called by reporters "wildly
inaccurate" were fired into Israel. During this same period, Israeli soldiers and artillery and missiles would go into Gaza at will and take far more lives and cause far more injuries than those incurred by those rockets. Civilians-especially children, the infirm and elderly-died or suffered week after week for lack of medicines, medical equipment, food, electricity, fuel and water which were embargoed by the Israelis.

Then the Israeli bombing followed
by the invasion during the past
three weeks with what prominent
Israeli writer Gideon Levy called
"a brutal and violent operation ... far beyond what was needed for
protecting the people in its
south." Mr. Levy observed what the
president of the United Nations
General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto
Brockmann called a war against "a
helpless and defenseless imprisoned population."

The horror of being trapped from
fleeing the torrent of the most
modern weapons of war from the
land, air and seas is reflected in
this passage from Amira Hass,
writing in the leading Israeli
newspaper Haaretz:

"The earth shaking under your feet, clouds of choking smoke, explosions like a fireworks display, bombs bursting into all-consuming flames that cannot be extinguished with water, mushroom clouds of pinkish-red smoke, suffocating gas, harsh burns on the skin, extraordinary maimed live and dead bodies."

Ms. Hass is pointing to the use of
new anti-civilian weapons used on
the Gazan people. So far there have been over 1100 fatalities, many thousands of injuries and the
destruction of homes, schools,
mosques, hospitals, pharmacies,
granaries, farmer's fields and many critical public facilities. The clearly marked UN headquarters and UN school were smashed, along with stored medicines and food supplies.

Why? The Congressional response:
"Hamas terrorists" everywhere.
Sure, defending their Palestinian
families is called terrorism. The
truth is there is no Hamas army,
airforce and navy up against the
fourth most powerful military in
the world. As one Israeli gunner on an armored personnel carrier
frankly said to The New York Times: "They are villagers with guns. They don't even aim when they shoot."

Injured Gazans are dying in damaged hospital corridors, bleeding to death because rescuers are not permitted to reach them or are endangered themselves. Thousands of units of blood donated by Jordanians are stopped by the Israeli blockade. Israel has kept the international press out of the Gazan killing fields.
What is going on in Gaza is what
Bill Moyers called it earlier this
month - "state terrorism." Already
about 400 children are known to
have died. More will be added who
are under the rubble.

Since 2002, more than 50 Arab and
Muslim nations have had a standing
offer, repeated often, that if
Israel obeys several UNresolutions
and withdraws to the 1967 borders
leaving 22 percent of the original
Palestine for an independent
Palestinian state, they will open
full diplomatic relations and there will be peace. Israel has declined to accept this offer.

None of these and many other
aspects of this conflict matter to
the Congress. Its members do not
want to hear even from the Israeli
peace movement, composed of retired generals, security chiefs, mayors, former government ministers, and members of the Knesset. In 60 years these savvy peace advocates have not been able to give one hour of testimony before a Congressional Committee.

Maybe members of Congress may wish
to weigh the words of the founder
of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, years
ago when he said:

"There has been anti-Semitism the
Nazis Hitler Auschwitz but was that their [the Palestinian's] fault? They only see one thing: We have come here and stolen their

Doesn't that observation invite
some compassion for the Palestinian people and their right to be free of Israeli occupation, land and water grabs and blockades in the 22 percent left of Palestine?



Slaughter House Revisited 4 said...

Israel’s Message
Ilan Pappe

In 2004, the Israeli army began building a dummy Arab city in the Negev desert. It’s the size of a real city, with streets (all of them given names), mosques, public buildings and cars. Built at a cost of $45 million, this phantom city became a dummy Gaza in the winter of 2006, after Hizbullah fought Israel to a draw in the north, so that the IDF could prepare to fight a ‘better war’ against Hamas in the south.

When the Israeli Chief of General Staff Dan Halutz visited the site after the Lebanon war, he told the press that soldiers ‘were preparing for the scenario that will unfold in the dense neighbourhood of Gaza City’. A week into the bombardment of Gaza, Ehud Barak attended a rehearsal for the ground war. Foreign television crews filmed him as he watched ground troops conquer the dummy city, storming the empty houses and no doubt killing the ‘terrorists’ hiding in them.

‘Gaza is the problem,’ Levy Eshkol, then prime minister of Israel, said in June 1967. ‘I was there in 1956 and saw venomous snakes walking in the street. We should settle some of them in the Sinai, and hopefully the others will immigrate.’ Eshkol was discussing the fate of the newly occupied territories: he and his cabinet wanted the Gaza Strip, but not the people living in it.

Israelis often refer to Gaza as ‘Me’arat Nachashim’, a snake pit. Before the first intifada, when the Strip provided Tel Aviv with people to wash their dishes and clean their streets, Gazans were depicted more humanely. The ‘honeymoon’ ended during their first intifada, after a series of incidents in which a few of these employees stabbed their employers. The religious fervour that was said to have inspired these isolated attacks generated a wave of Islamophobic feeling in Israel, which led to the first enclosure of Gaza and the construction of an electric fence around it. Even after the 1993 Oslo Accords, Gaza remained sealed off from Israel, and was used merely as a pool of cheap labour; throughout the 1990s, ‘peace’ for Gaza meant its gradual transformation into a ghetto.

In 2000, Doron Almog, then the chief of the southern command, began policing the boundaries of Gaza: ‘We established observation points equipped with the best technology and our troops were allowed to fire at anyone reaching the fence at a distance of six kilometres,’ he boasted, suggesting that a similar policy be adopted for the West Bank. In the last two years alone, a hundred Palestinians have been killed by soldiers merely for getting too close to the fences. From 2000 until the current war broke out, Israeli forces killed three thousand Palestinians (634 children among them) in Gaza.
Between 1967 and 2005, Gaza’s land and water were plundered by Jewish settlers in Gush Katif at the expense of the local population. The price of peace and security for the Palestinians there was to give themselves up to imprisonment and colonisation. Since 2000, Gazans have chosen instead to resist in greater numbers and with greater force. It was not the kind of resistance the West approves of: it was Islamic and military. Its hallmark was the use of primitive Qassam rockets, which at first were fired mainly at the settlers in Katif. The presence of the settlers, however, made it hard for the Israeli army to retaliate with the brutality it uses against purely Palestinian targets. So the settlers were removed, not as part of a unilateral peace process as many argued at the time (to the point of suggesting that Ariel Sharon be awarded the Nobel peace prize), but rather to facilitate any subsequent military action against the Gaza Strip and to consolidate control of the West Bank.

After the disengagement from Gaza, Hamas took over, first in democratic elections, then in a pre-emptive coup staged to avert an American-backed takeover by Fatah. Meanwhile, Israeli border guards continued to kill anyone who came too close, and an economic blockade was imposed on the Strip. Hamas retaliated by firing missiles at Sderot, giving Israel a pretext to use its air force, artillery and gunships. Israel claimed to be shooting at ‘the launching areas of the missiles’, but in practice this meant anywhere and everywhere in Gaza. The casualties were high: in 2007 alone three hundred people were killed in Gaza, dozens of them children.

Israel justifies its conduct in Gaza as a part of the fight against terrorism, although it has itself violated every international law of war. Palestinians, it seems, can have no place inside historical Palestine unless they are willing to live without basic civil and human rights. They can be either second-class citizens inside the state of Israel, or inmates in the mega-prisons of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. If they resist they are likely to be imprisoned without trial, or killed. This is Israel’s message.

Resistance in Palestine has always been based in villages and towns; where else could it come from? That is why Palestinian cities, towns and villages, dummy or real, have been depicted ever since the 1936 Arab revolt as ‘enemy bases’ in military plans and orders. Any retaliation or punitive action is bound to target civilians, among whom there may be a handful of people who are involved in active resistance against Israel. Haifa was treated as an enemy base in 1948, as was Jenin in 2002; now Beit Hanoun, Rafah and Gaza are regarded that way. When you have the firepower, and no moral inhibitions against massacring civilians, you get the situation we are now witnessing in Gaza.

But it is not only in military discourse that Palestinians are dehumanised. A similar process is at work in Jewish civil society in Israel, and it explains the massive support there for the carnage in Gaza. Palestinians have been so dehumanised by Israeli Jews – whether politicians, soldiers or ordinary citizens – that killing them comes naturally, as did expelling them in 1948, or imprisoning them in the Occupied Territories. The current Western response indicates that its political leaders fail to see the direct connection between the Zionist dehumanisation of the Palestinians and Israel’s barbarous policies in Gaza. There is a grave danger that, at the conclusion of ‘Operation Cast Lead’, Gaza itself will resemble the ghost town in the Negev.

Ilan Pappe is chair of the history department at the University of Exeter and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine came out in 2007.


Ridzzy said...

Bro Tam,

Thanks for this info. I read it with a heavy heart.


Thanks for the update. Very valuable 1st hand onformation being passed on to us.

Personally, I dont know how much more I can read though. Just makes me feel more powerless & helpless ...

Slaughter house revisited 5 said...

Today in Solidarity We're All Palestinians - by Stephen Lendman

Mr. Stephen Lendman writes a "A Brief History of Israeli Terror Killings Since 1946" under the above title. I quote here beginning day twenty-two (17th Jan. 2009). For the complete article please refer to his blog at

Day Twenty-Two

Confirmed deaths reached 1205. Injuries top 5300 with hundreds in critical condition. Six people were killed, including a woman and two of her children, when aircraft fired missiles at an UNWRA Beit Lahyia school used as a shelter. White phosphorous incendiaries and DIME weapons (that shred flesh to pieces) were used in the fourth attack on a UN school. In each case, Israel had the coordinates, knew the facilities were shelters, and shelled them anyway. Haaretz reported that a UN official wants "an investigation into possible war crimes...and that anyone who is guilty should be brought to justice."

In similar instances, Israel accuses Hamas of firing from schools, mosques, and civilian neighborhoods - the blame game, always against the victims to absolve the aggressor.

Meanwhile, Israel's cabinet will consider a "unilateral" ceasefire, according to Haaretz (and then declared it), in the wake of Washington and Tel Aviv signing a Friday agreement to:

-- "work cooperatively with prevent the supply of arms and related material to terrorist organizations....with a particular focus on" Gaza and Hamas;

-- NATO partners will be involved;

-- enhanced "US security and intelligence cooperation with regional governments" will as well;

-- enhanced "existing international sanctions and enforcement mechanisms" also;

-- "the United States and Israel will assist each other in these efforts" through intelligence sharing;

-- "the United States will accelerate its efforts to provide logistical and technical assistance and to train and equip regional security forces....;" and more.

In other words, Washington will reward Israeli aggression and war crimes with more aid and support. After a Tizpi Livni - Condoleezza Rice Washington meeting, the deal was done, but according to Livni, "If Hamas shoots, we'll have to continue. And if it shoots later on, we'll have to embark on another campaign."

For now, however, it appears that Israel and the Bush administration will quiet things down for the January 20 transition of power. Call it a "no-ceasefire" ceasefire, a pause, a conditional one, not a meaningful cessation of hostilities. Gaza is still occupied, under siege, isolated and alone. The Palestinian liberation struggle continues.

Day Twenty-Three

Overnight, Israel, as expected, announced a "no-ceasefire" ceasefire (beginning 2AM January 18), but vowed to assess the situation "minute-by-minute (and) respond with force" freely at any time. No Hamas demands were met. The occupation and siege continue. Borders will stay closed. Gaza remains isolated. The IDF keeps killing civilians. New deaths and injuries are reported. Corpses are being unearthed under rubble. The official known death toll exceeds 1300 but will rise considerably as new bodies are discovered.

Among the dead - 417 children, 108 women, 120 elderly, 14 medical personnel, and at least four journalists. Injuries exceed 5450. Dr. Muawiya Hassanen of the Palestinian Ministry of Health said dozens are still missing and believed dead.

Israel's Channel 10 reported that the IDF used half its air force over the past three weeks. It flew over 2500 sorties, dropped over 1000 tons of explosives plus tanks, artillery and navel vessels fired hundreds of shells from land and sea. Nonetheless, Hamas held firm and vows to resist until Gaza is free. Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said:

"A unilateral ceasefire does not mean ending the aggression and ending the siege. These constitute acts of war so this won't mean an end to resistance." Nonetheless, on January 18, Hamas official in Cairo, Ayman Taha, announced a temporary ceasefire to "give Israel a week to withdraw," open all border crossings, and allow in "all materials, food, goods, and basic needs." Other Gaza resistance groups, except the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), agreed to honor the truce. It rejects a ceasefire, insists that "Israeli attack(s are) continuing," and said "armed resistance (will) continue as long as there is one Israeli soldier in Gaza."

For now, explosions are still heard in parts of the Strip. Reports also say shells hit a group of Rafah residents, and white phosphorous bombs struck the At-Tuffah neighborhood in eastern Gaza City. Also an attack helicopter shot at civilians in Jabaliya. So much for the "ceasefire" that can start and stop as Israel chooses in spite of Israeli Channel 10 reporting Israeli tanks and soldiers redeploying from deep inside Gaza positions. Israeli aircraft are still active overhead and naval vessels control coastal areas

Medical crews report "horrifying scenes" of dead bodies "found in pieces." Many are women and children. Images reveal mass destruction, death and despair.

New York Times Apologetics for Israeli War Crimes

On January 16, Jerusalem-based Steven Erlanger headlined: "Weighing Crimes and Ethics in the Fog of Urban Warfare" in typical New York Times fashion. Poor Israel. Despite three weeks of round the clock war crimes against isolated, beleaguered, and defenseless civilians, he quotes Israeli spokesman, Mark Regev saying that the IDF makes every effort "Not to target civilians, not to target UN people, not to target medical staff. All this is very clear in Israeli military doctrine" in spite of clear contradictory evidence.

Tel Aviv University's Asa Kashar helped write Israel's military ethical code. Erlanger cites him calling the IDF's ethical and legal standards high and conscientiously taught to its military. Another unnamed Israeli chief army legal officer as well saying war crimes charges are "deeply unfair and unjust."

He dismisses attacks on civilian neighborhoods, hospitals, ambulances, mosques, schools, UN shelters, Gaza's entire infrastructure, and civilians with no weapons waving white cloths. He cites Israeli claims of being attacked and responding, with no evidence to prove it. He quotes Israeli officials denying collective punishment and claiming no humanitarian crisis exists. He mentions Major Dallal saying: the fundamental question is "How does an army fight a terrorist group?"

Most fundamental is how The New York Times fronts for Israel, conceals its state terrorism, war crimes, and Washington's complicity in their commission.

A Final Comment

So far, it hardly matters whether or not a ceasefire holds. What does matter is growing world outrage, millions globally condemning Israeli terrorism, and potentially gathering enough momentum to matter. It's crucial to maintain pressure, demand Israeli war criminals be punished, and build a world movement for sanctions, divestment, boycott, isolation and UN General Assembly expulsion until Israel complies with international law, ends the Gaza siege, the occupation of Palestine, makes just restitution, grants Palestinians self-determination, and is held accountable before the International Criminal Court or a special tribunal for Israel.

On July 9, 2005, the Global BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) called for action until Israel "complies with international law and universal principles of human rights." It's long past time to stop inaction, timidity, and weak-kneed indecisiveness.

Since its illegitimate May 14, 1948 birth, Israel defiled the rule of law, abused its neighbors, committed genocide against the Palestinians, stole their land and future, and affronted all humanity with its arrogance. It's high time these practices end and Israel be held to account. If not now, when? If not by us, who? If that's not incentive enough, what is?

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Monday through Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions on world and national topics with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening.


Slaughter House Revisited 6 said...

By: Dr. Akram Habeeb

Assistant Professor in American Lit based in Gaza

As an Americanist and a Palestinian intellectual who is not affiliated to any political party in Palestine, I feel that I have to stand up and speak out. I have to speak about the faulty policy which feeds the spirit of hatred and resentment. Almost every man, woman and child in the world knows that the American policy in the Middle East during the two terms of Bush’s Administration is distinguished by being biased and double standard. Very few, however, are easily deceived by the glittering rhetoric made by some American politicians, particularly, the most articulate outgoing Secretary of States Dr. Condaliza Rice! Dr. Condi was very smart when she declared at the outset of the most brutal Israeli war on Gaza that it was the Palestinian side which is held responsible for violating the six-month truce. She was even smarter when she concluded her career by signing an MOU, which is completely in favor of the Israelis. It is anMOU which further tightens the siege on Gaza and allows Israel to posses more American WMD’s to kill more Palestinians.

The most disturbing statement about the situation in Gaza was made by Dr. Rice was when she declared that it was the Palestinian side who violated the truce and subsequently is responsible for what is happening in Gaza. Such a statement is easy to be made by Ms. Condi whose accomplishments in America’s foreign policy were spectacular! She promised that by 2008 the presidents vision of two states would be concretized. It seems though that she succeeded in having two Palestinian cantons, one in Gaza, and the other in the West Bank ! So we can easily say that Ms. Rice succeeded in fulfilling her President’s vicious vision of having two viable Palestinian states.

Perhaps Dr. Rice was the most frequent visitor to the Middle East when compared with her predecessors. The normal expectation has been that Ms. Rice would have a deeper understanding of the Middle East crisis in general, and the Palestinian side in particular. As Palestinians living in Gaza, we expected Ms. Rice to have done some research about the demography of Gaza. We also expected here to have done some investigations about the psyche of the true victims living in Gaza. We are not sure if Dr. Rice knows that more than seventy percent of the Palestinians living in Gaza are Palestinian refugees who had been kicked out of their towns and villages in Palestine . We are not certain if Dr. Rice knows that most of the Israelis who replaced the displaced Palestinians had come from far off land, from diverse countries to establish a state on the land of other people. It seems that Ms. Rice is very happy to see the Palestinians suffer under siege; she wants them to sing for peace in a big cage called Gaza, and if they protest by sending home made or ineffective Chinese rockets, she will hold them responsible for the mess!

The most recent MOU signed by Dr. Condi and Ms. Livne, one of the most notorious Israeli war criminals, stipulates that the American government helps in preventing weapons smuggling into Gaza. According to Ms. Condi, the signing of this MOU is only a step in the process towards a permanent seize fire. Of course she speaks about a process which gives the Israeli more time for human cleansing in Gaza; she wants to give the Israeli army more time to kill more Palestinian children and women. However, unfortunately this MOU does not stipulate that the American government stops sending weapons of mass destruction to Israel. The MOU does not speak about the most sophisticated weapons, the American government is giving for free to Israel to kill Palestinian children and women in Gaza. The MOU does not talk about any practical procedure to ban Israel from using DIM and White Phosphorus bombs that kill Palestinian children by burning their little and tender bodies. The MOU has ignored the fact that the Palestinian living in Gaza are occupied ; they are not terrorist as promulgated by the colonial rhetoric; they are freedom fighters who want their legitimate rights, they are people who want to live in dignity like all the peoples of the world. The MOU has never included anything related to lifting the siege imposed in Gaza by opening crossings for humanitarian purposes. The Palestinians in Gaza do not bank much on the American government but rather on the good American people, the good people who do not want to see the tax they pay used in building the Israeli arsenal of mass destruction which is used to threaten the Arab people, in general, and the Palestinian people in particular.

Indeed Bush’s administration has left the soon coming Obama’s administration with a heavy legacy; a legacy of anger and resentment against the biased American government which does not represent the American voice which calls for freedom, independence and dignity. It is a heavy burden Obama’s administration should waive. We hope, though that Obama’s administration follows a different policy , a policy which is based on objectivity and transparency . We hope that Ms. Clinton, Condi’s successor would be the one who would improve the image of America in the Middle East and the Islamic world. We are sure that Ms. Clinton would be more objective and realistic when she dealswith the Palestinian Issue. We hope that the Administration would follow policy which balances between the nationalistic aspirations of the Palestinians and the divine dream of the Jews, those who totally disagree with the massacres committed by the Israeli army against the innocent Palestinian in Gaza.