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Larkspur

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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 12,274

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Israeli Vets on Israeli Treatment of Gaza & Palestinians: “It’s Mostly Punishment”


Israeli Vets on Israeli Treatment of Gaza & Palestinians“It’s Mostly Punishment” (Breaking the Silence)
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“There is no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” President Barack Obama said at a press conference last week. He drew on this general observation in order to justify Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel’s most recent military campaign in the Gaza Strip. In describing the situation this way, he assumes, like many others, that Gaza is a political entity external and independent of Israel. This is not so. It is true that Israel officially disengaged from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, withdrawing its ground troops and evacuating the Israeli settlements there. But despite the absence of a permanent ground presence, Israel has maintained a crushing control over Gaza from that moment until today.

The testimonies of Israeli army veterans expose the truth of that “disengagement.” Before Operation Pillar of Defense, after all, Israel launched Operations Summer Rains and Autumn Clouds in 2006, and Hot Winter and Cast Lead in 2008 — all involving ground invasions. In one testimony, a veteran speaks of “a battalion operation” in Gaza that lasted for five months, where the soldiers were ordered to shoot “to draw out terrorists” so they “could kill a few.”

Israeli naval blockades stop Gazans from fishing, a main source of food in the Strip. Air blockades prevent freedom of movement. Israel does not allow building materials into the area, forbids exports to the West Bank and Israel, and (other than emergency humanitarian cases) prohibits movement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It controls the Palestinian economy by periodically withholding import taxes. Its restrictions have impeded the expansion and upgrading of the Strip’s woeful sewage infrastructure, which could render life in Gaza untenable within a decade. The blocking of seawater desalination has turned the water supply into a health hazard. Israel has repeatedly demolished small power plants in Gaza, ensuring that the Strip would have to continue to rely on the Israeli electricity supply. Daily power shortages have been the norm for several years now. Israel’s presence is felt everywhere, militarily and otherwise.

By relying on factual misconceptions, political leaders, deliberately or not, conceal information that is critical to our understanding of events. Among the people best qualified to correct those misconceptions are the individuals who have been charged with executing a state’s policies — in this case, Israeli soldiers themselves, an authoritative source of information about their government’s actions. I am a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), and I know that our first-hand experiences refute the assumption, accepted by many, including President Obama, that Gaza is an independent political entity that exists wholly outside Israel. If Gaza is outside Israel, how come we were stationed there? If Gaza is outside Israel, how come we control it? Oded Na’aman

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The subsequent stories by these IDF vets paints an unheroic view of the Israeli treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and confirms my view that Israel views the Palestinians the way the 19th century US Government viewed Native American -- as vermin instead of as humans. If that makes me anti-Semitic, I call all the Israel-is-always-right mob racists and Israel and apartheid nation.

These stories also prove that Gandhi was right, that Israel could not maintain itself as a democracy and a Jewish state. That combination would lead to Israel becoming an oppressor.

Manti Te'o's decision to return to play his senior year at Notre Dame proves divine


Te'o's decision proves divine
Notre Dame star returns, leads Irish to 12-0 season, BCS title game, has chance to win Heisman
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/ct-spt-1126-notre-dame-football--20121126,0,4719690.story
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...Notre Dame was in the national title game, and this splendid night was all he came back for and more. Te'o left the field in buoyant, giant gallops, at a loss for any words that didn't emerge as screams.

"If there's anything I can say, the heavenly Father answers prayers in ways you don't know," Te'o said.

"And you may not see it at the time. At the time, it may seem like the odds of something happening are crazy. I've been an example that if you pray and actually listen and have faith, he will provide a way for you to do it. I'm grateful I was smart enough to listen."

Te'o came back for this, to lead Notre Dame one more time, and his team followed to 12 wins and no losses and a No. 1 ranking and a BCS title game berth on Jan. 7. What he could not have considered as even a possibility was the Heisman Trophy decision that arrives on Dec. 8 and, possibly, renders him a legend.

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Weeks ago, as the Notre Dame community rallied around him after the death of his grandmother and girlfriend, he said he knew he made the right decision to return. He didn't know how right he was.

"Notre Dame should be at the top," Te'o said. "I'm just grateful to be part of that whole process."

Juan Cole: Gaza’s Health Crisis and Israel’s Crimes Against Humanity


Gaza’s Health Crisis and Israel’s Crimes Against Humanity

Israeli air strikes for the past 6 days have killed over 100 Palestinians in Gaza, many of them women and children; one strike deliberately targeted a media building that Israeli government knew to house journalists. Medics announced Monday that they are running out of key medicines (Gaza is under Israeli blockade). Military strikes are also interfering in the delivery of medical and other aid by international organizations in the Strip.

This Arabic-language report says that Israeli warplanes targeted the Jordanian field hospital late on Monday. I have not been able to find confirmation for this report, but if it is true, and deliberate, it would be a war crime.

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Since small homemade rockets coming out of Gaza in 2012 had killed no Israelis before the Israeli Air Force started bombing the Gaza Strip last week, there is no doubt that Israel is engaged in a disproportionate use of force and a reckless disregard for the well-being of civilian non-combatants in its own occupied territory. Israeli army spokesmen claim they are precisely targeting only Hamas paramilitary personnel and blame Hamas for hiding among non-combatants. However, it is the Occupying power’s responsibility to do due diligence in ensuring the safety of the occupied population, and if Israeli pilots don’t have a clear shot at an enemy combatant, they simply should not take it.

These hostilities are deepening a longstanding crisis in Gaza health care that has resulted from deliberate Israeli policies.
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A recent World Health Organization Report worries that in just 8 years, in 2020, if current Israeli policies continue, Gaza will be virtually uninhabitable. Israel as the occupying power since 1967 is directly responsible in international law for the well-being of its occupied populations, and is in severe violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention on the treatment of the occupied. Moreover, since Israeli policies of Apartheid, discrimination, exile, restriction of movement and infliction of harm on Palestinians in Gaza are long-standing, deliberate and systematic, Israeli leaders are guilty in this regard of crimes against humanity.
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Gandhi told the Zionists who asked for his blessing for the creation of the state of Israel that Israel could not survive being both a democracy and a Jewish state. Looks like the Likud Party is proving Gandhi's point.
It's historically ironic that Israel is doing to the Palestinians what European Christians did to their ancestors-- regulate them to ghettos, like Gaza, and institute violent pogroms against the inhabitants of those ghettos from time to time.

In this same blog post, Juan Cole says,

Some 500 Egyptian activists, from the same youth groups that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in February, 2011, brought food and medical aid to Gaza on Saturday. Egypt is keeping its Rafah checkpoint with Gaza open for the transport of wounded to El Arish Hospital.

It would be interesting to see how the United States, Israel, and the world will react if these activists unite with Palestinians in a Palestinian-Arab Spring movement.
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