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Thu Jul 24, 2014, 12:57 PM


A Progressive Jewish viewpoint on the Israel-Gaza War.

This looks like a good resource for exposure to non-Likudnik Jewish thought about the Middle East. Lots of good stuff here.


About Mondoweiss

Mondoweiss is a news website devoted to covering American foreign policy in the Middle East, chiefly from a progressive Jewish perspective.

It has four principal aims:

To publish important developments touching on Israel/Palestine, the American Jewish community and the shifting debate over US foreign policy in a timely fashion.

To publish a diversity of voices to promote dialogue on these important issues.

To foster the movement for greater fairness and justice for Palestinians in American foreign policy.

To offer alternatives to pro-Zionist ideology as a basis for American Jewish identity.

This blog is co-edited by Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz. Weiss is 56 and lives in New York state. Horowitz is 39 and lives in Atlanta.

We maintain this blog because of 9/11, Iraq, Gaza, the Nakba, the struggling people of Israel and Palestine, and our Jewish background.

This site aims to build a diverse community, with posts from many authors. The views of these authors do not necessarily represent the views of Horowitz and Weiss.

Some recent posts:

July 24 2014
0How Israel militarized social media
Rebecca L. Stein

2U.S. casts lonely vote against establishing war crimes inquiry in Gaza
Alex Kane

1Jews Say: End the War on Gaza — No Aid to Apartheid Israel!
Adam Horowitz

16Gaza massacre is generating ideological crisis in American Zionists
Philip Weiss

0Avishai says we misrepresented his views
Philip Weiss

35Israeli forces shell UN school where displaced Palestinians gathered, killing at least 9
Alex Kane

0Berkeley rabbi mounts a soapbox in my living room
Roland Nikles

11Why Israel’s legal justifications for ‘Operation Protective Edge’ are wrong
Al- Haq

11The swan song of the Israeli left
Udi Aloni

July 23 2014
64‘No food, no water to revive awaiting certain death…’: Horrifying report from Khuza’a village following Israeli attack
Felice Gelman

33On ‘Death to Arabs’ in Jerusalem & Tel Aviv
Arpan Roy

349 Reasons why Israel is under rocket attack
Waleed Ahmed

41It’s time for liberal Jewish bodies to take a stand
Robert Cohen

3Critical Ethnic Studies Association and the African Literature Association endorse the academic boycott of Israel
US Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel

83Palestinians build tunnel to attack Israeli kindergarten, Netanyahu says
James North

6Speaking to the Deaf: Activists attempt to talk with the Israeli public about Gaza
Eilat Maoz and Inna Michaeli

75‘Heartbreaking’ is U.S. government’s talking point for Gaza massacre
Philip Weiss

10‘We know that Israel has no red line when it attacks us’: Civilians bear the brunt as Israel’s offensive on Gaza continues
Yousef Alhelou

96‘Slate’ blames Birthright for indoctrinating American Jew who was killed fighting for Israel
Philip Weiss

1The green line is gone: Hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel detained following protests

20Israel’s ‘defeat’
Marc H. Ellis

8Oh what a lovely war!
Philip Weiss

9Something you can do, wherever you are
Henry Norr

3Humanitarian agencies warn of imminent water crisis in Gaza
Adam Horowitz

49US plays decisive role in Israel’s attack on Gaza
Jonathan Cook

July 22 2014

238The deafening silence around the Hamas proposal for a 10-year truce
Francesca Albanese

31Watch: 9 Jewish activists arrested after occupying Friends of the Israel Defense Forces office
Alex Kane

21You are not Alone: To Palestinians on July 20, 2014
Jennifer Bing

11Mr. Modi– do not court apartheid Israel in my name
Tithi Bhattacharya

109Arab reporters come under attack from Israelis
Philip Weiss

82‘Telegenically Dead’: Israel’s crumbling media war
Deepa Kumar

31US Jews occupy Israeli army support office in NY in civil disobedience action
Alex Kane with Phil Weiss

34Gaza onslaught is p.r. problem for Israel’s ‘moral authority’ — Albright
Philip Weiss

69Naomi Wolf walked out of synagogue when they had nothing to say about Gaza massacre
Philip Weiss

23Burning children

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Original post)

Thu Jul 24, 2014, 01:11 PM

1. "Jews Say: End the War on Gaza--No Aid to Apartheid Israel!"



Statement of Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, July 22, 2014 (200 initial signers, endorsing allies forthcoming)

On July 12, 2014, Gaza civil society issued an urgent appeal for solidarity, asking: “How many of our lives are dispensable enough until the world takes action? How much of our blood is sufficient?”

As Jews of conscience, we answer by unequivocally condemning Israel’s ongoing massacre in Gaza, whose victims include hundreds of civilians, children, entire families, the elderly, and the disabled. This latest toll adds to the thousands Israel has killed and maimed since its supposed withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

In response to this crisis, we urgently reaffirm our support for a ban on all military and other aid to Israel.

In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. opposed the Vietnam War with his famous declaration: “For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”

Today, *we* cannot be silent as the “Jewish state” — armed to the teeth by the U.S. and its allies — wages yet another brutal war on the Palestinian people. Apartheid Israel does not speak for us, and we stand with Gaza as we stand with all of Palestine.

In the face of incessant pro-Israel propaganda, we heed Malcolm X’s warning: “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

For Israel’s relentless war on Gaza is no more an act of “self-defense” than such infamous massacres as Wounded Knee (1890), Guernica (1937), the Warsaw Ghetto (1942), Deir Yassin (1948), My Lai (1968), Soweto (1976), Sabra and Shatila (1982), or Lebanon (2006).


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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Original post)

Thu Jul 24, 2014, 01:28 PM

2. "Gaza War is Generating Ideological Crisis in American Zionists"



One effect of the Gaza massacre is that American Zionists have entered a bunker. As our mainstream media conveys overwhelming images of civilian deaths in Gaza, to the point that even our politicians are unnerved by the burden of service for the Jewish state, the American Zionist message is narrowing and hardening. The crisis is particularly acute for liberal Zionists. While many liberal Zionists have moved rightward, supporting Israel, others are clearly panicked by Israel’s behavior. M.J. Rosenberg has said that Israel’s image is “destroyed” in the U.S., and J.J. Goldberg has described the onslaught as a “massacre.”

Here is a quick, and disorderly, tour of Zionist responses to the Gaza massacre.

The neoconservatives (rightwing Zionists) have doubled down. On Monday, Bill Kristol’s shop, the Emergency Committee for Israel, released the following statement on the Obama administration’s call for a cease-fire in Gaza and John Kerry’s trip to the Middle East. Basically telling Obama to F— off.

Israel does not need a mediator. Israel needs an ally. Pressuring Israel to agree to a cease-fire that rescues Hamas from defeat and leaves it in possession of its missiles, tunnels, and terror infrastructure is foolish and wrong. If President Obama and Secretary Kerry want to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East, they should support Israel and its campaign to end the terror threat from Gaza.

But things aren’t rosy for the hardliners. MJ Rosenberg reported that AIPAC, the leading Israel lobby, called off a rally for Israel.

Also, AIPAC & other Jewish organizations considered a national rally in DC to support Israel. Decided it would flop.

Presumably the counter-demonstration would have been far larger.

More hardliners. Yesterday, Michael Bloomberg, the chairman of a leading media company, flew to Israel on El Al to support Israel’s call for an end to the Federal Aviation Administration’s ban on flights to the country (that ban is now lifted). The hasty, informal appearance included Bloomberg’s statement that

“Every time I come here I’m reminded of history, of where my family comes from.”

Scott Roth tweeted a smart rejoinder challenging the Zionist ideology inherent in Bloomberg’s statement:

@MikeBloomberg your family is from historic Palestine? What part?

And NYCJulie answered that with a jab at the privileged role of being an Israel lobbyist:

I think @MikeBloomberg is from the Upper East Side of Palestine.

Many liberal Zionists are standing with Netanyahu. Menachem Creditor, a “progressive” rabbi who opposes gun violence and engages in “social reform” in American cities, defends the Gaza massacre at Huffington Post– which I thought was a liberal publication– saying that Jews have a right to protect ourselves. His argument is frankly Zionist. It is about the right of self-determination of the Jewish people in historical Palestine, and he calls dead Israeli soldiers his “sons.”

I’m done apologizing for Israel…

My Zionism demands I speak out on behalf of the Israel that remains, in my world-view, the most ambitious project-in-process of the Jewish People. Whereas Israel’s 66 short years have witnessed strength and resilience that have redefined Jewish identity in profound ways, the global Jewish family remains interwoven with Israel….

I ask the enraged critics of Israel’s defensive responses to Hamas: Would you have us not respond to this monstrosity? Do you think it’s not worth losing the PR battle to retain our humanity and save as many lives as possible? What country would stand by when thousands of terrorist missiles assault its citizens? I, a Jew, have lost 20 of my sons in the last three days, because I will not lose my humanity and stage a careless ground war in Gaza that would cause mass casualties. Though I fight monsters, I will not become one…

We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else.

P.S. 20 percent of Israel’s population is non-Jewish.

J Street is caught in the middle, wringing its hands. The liberal Zionist group refused to endorse a rally in support of Israel in Boston; Jeremy Ben-Ami, head of J Street, said he’ll attend the rally, but he can’t sponsor it because it does not address J Street’s concern over Palestinian civilian casualties, or over what Israel is becoming:

What was missing for us in this rally, and what ultimately precluded our co-sponsorship, was that despite our efforts, there was no space made to raise the issues that follow from our commitment to Israel’s Jewish and democratic future. There was no voice for our concerns about the loss of human life on both sides, or the acknowledgement of the conflict’s complexity and that the only way to truly end it is through a political solution. Perhaps what was most critically absent was the means to raise the question of what role we as a community of hovevi tzion [lovers of Zion] can and must play to help make it so we are not back here two years from now, again wringing our hands in grief. Incorporating these thoughts and nuances in our communal reaction would have only strengthened our community and its advocacy on Israel’s behalf.

Ben-Ami stressed his solidarity for Israel in remarks to 20 Democratic senators yesterday. Though he also referred to Palestinian civilians.

As others have noted, this is a difficult time for friends of Israel. I was in Israel when the rockets began falling, and J Street’s thoughts are with our staff, family and friends who are there and the IDF forces suffering terrible casualties and making tremendous sacrifices.

We also note with great sadness the tremendous toll being taken on Gaza’s civilian population by this present violence – over 600 dead, many of them non-combatants and children, and over 100,000 of Gaza’s 1.8 million people living in shelters.

The liberal Zionist New Israel Fund sent out a fretful email from Rabbi Brian Lurie and Daniel Sokatch that was most concerned with the threat to Israel’s Jewish democratic character from rising intolerance. The two employed circumlocution regarding Palestinian deaths:

We are all paying close attention to the situation unfolding in Gaza. Far too many are living in fear. Far too many have died. Soon, I pray, the fighting will end.

On the day after the fighting ends — when Israelis again look inward –- I’m terrified that they will see a society filled with anger and pain, where extremism is the norm and dissent is not tolerated.

Ali Abunimah called out these attitudes as self-centered and callous on Democracy Now yesterday:

What we have is this liberal Zionist navel gazing about how to preserve Israel as a so-called Jewish and democratic state. Enough Palestinian babies have been blown to pieces for this insanity. Enough of lecturing Palestinians that their resistance is illegitimate or futile.

Abunimah was debating JJ Goldberg, a liberal Zionist, who described the onslaught as a massacre and observed the shift in Israel’s image.

I think I wrote the wind shifted, and I’ve written in a couple of tweets and so on that Israel jumped the shark. It went—it went overboard. It went a step beyond what it had been doing. The ground campaign essentially was a declaration of war on the Palestinian people.

Abunimah brought the conversation to the contradictions in Zionism, an ideology that groups American Jews with Israeli Jews as somehow sharing interests:

The destruction of Palestine continues, so that people like J.J. can sit in New York and pontificate about how American Jews in North America need a spare country so that they can feel safe.

MJ Rosenberg has gone further than JJ Goldberg.

Any Jew who is not sickened by Israel’s behavior has forgotten what it means to be a Jew. Perhaps a visit to the Holocaust museum or Yad Vashem will provide a refresher course…

He says that Israel’s image has been destroyed by the onslaught. He’s seeing what I’m seeing, the American media is disgusted by this massacre and American compliance:

The lobby (which, in this case, includes its friends and clients in the media) have lost control of the story which has become, as it should have, the story of a strong military power killing innocents like some beast in a child’s nightmare.

And no matter what happens from this point on, Israel lost the war. Not even Netanyahu’s primary goal in starting this war, toppling the Palestinian unity government, has been achieved. Hamas, that awful organization that was teetering on the brink of collapsing in Gaza, is now stronger than ever.

Even worse for Israel is that its image has been destroyed.

Ori Nir at Americans for Peace Now also sought to remind American Jews of the optics here:

Though, covering his bases, Nir also tweeted claims by the Israeli government:

According to Isr’ pro-gov think-tank, of 204 confirmed Gazan militants killed, 118 Hamas; 59 PIJ; 27 “other groups”

Americans for Peace Now has tried to balance a recognition of the slaughter with a message of solidarity with Israel. I don’t think these two messages can be put forward equally; but APN tries:

Americans for Peace Now (APN) is horrified by the spiraling death-toll of the war between Israel and Hamas…

APN strongly supports Israel’s right for self-defense and its government’s obligation to provide security for its citizens. As a Zionist, Jewish organization and as the sister-organization of the Israeli grassroots movement Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), we fully share the security concerns of the people of Israel and the yearning of Israelis for peace.

We mourn the death of Israeli civilians and of Israeli soldiers in the current hostilities. We also mourn the alarmingly spiraling deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip – over 500 so far.

The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely-populated areas in the world. Its residents have no place to escape to from the fire. Continued fighting in such an environment is a recipe for more bloodbaths such as the one we witnessed Sunday in Shuja’iyyah, a neighborhood East of Gaza City. Thirteen Israeli soldiers and many dozens of Palestinian civilians were killed there.

Finally, a more pleasurable moment. Yesterday Jeffrey Goldberg showed us once again that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. He called out Robert Mackey of the New York Times for writing too much about Israel– apparently, Mackey’s coverage of a disturbing story (which we got to first): Israeli snipers killing a Palestinian youth who was searching for his missing family in Shuja’iyeh. In Mackey’s story, Ali Abunimah called the case a war crime, and who can doubt that.


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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Original post)

Thu Jul 24, 2014, 02:33 PM

3. "Hamas Mimics Hezbollah Tactics, And No One Will Have Peace Until the Blockade is Lifted"



In unity, Palestinians say they are in it for the long haul and will not agree to ceasefire conditions that don’t include a lifting of Israel’s inhumane blockade of Gaza. President Abbas has now backed Hamas’ ceasefire demands. Al-Akhbar News:

The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday endorsed demands by Hamas for halting Gaza hostilities with Israel, a closing of ranks … as the Palestinian death toll in the Israeli assault rose to 693.

The New York Times gets around to mentioning those demands a little bit late in its coverage, “In Israel, Kerry Sees ‘Work to Do’ to Get Deal on Cease-Fire:”

The aims of his visit seemed to be to get a better sense of the Israelis’ bottom line, to support the United Nations effort and to enhance the stature of Mr. Abbas, whose influence among Palestinians is being eclipsed by that of Hamas.

Mr. Abbas…early Wednesday appeared to have aligned himself more with Hamas, whose leaders have said they will not halt the hostilities until several demands are met. Those include opening crossings into Egypt and Israel, easing restrictions by Israel on farming, fishing, imports and exports, and releasing prisoners who were recently rearrested by Israel after having been freed in a 2011 exchange for a soldier Hamas held captive for five years.

“The demands of Gaza to end the aggression and lift the blockade are the demands of the entire Palestinian people,” said a statement read on Palestinian television by Yasser Abed Rabbo of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee.”

Kerry also said that the Egyptians have provided “a framework and a forum for [Hamas] to be able to come to the table to have a serious discussion together with other factions of the Palestinians.”

You’d think that Kerry had seen the folly of “frameworks” before this? Especially when Palestinians have set forth their terms, which are the opposite of Israeli conditions, rolled out by the compliant media as an “Egyptian framework.” But it was not an Egyptian proposal.

Even Richard Engel reported it on NBC last night: Palestinians are willing to undergo even more attacks if they will end their “prison” conditions in Gaza. The latest framework is yet another empty promise of what’s to come after Hamas complies to Israeli demands. And nothing comes of these empty promises except more of the same; it amounts to slow strangulation verses choosing to be annihilated now, in the view of many Palestinians.

So what does it mean when The New York Times reports that Kerry’s visit is “to get a better sense of the Israelis’ bottom line”? It means our State Department has likely gotten the message the Palestinians are not budging. It means it’s Israel’s turn to comply, something they are completely unfamiliar with. As I argued in my piece last week, Israel is in a pickle, All Israel knows how to do when it doesn’t get its way from Palestinian society is to inflict violence. And this time, all the killing is actually hurting it in the court of world opinion.

I’ve just been in Lebanon, and the Arab press says that Israeli intelligence is woefully lacking. That Israel doesn’t know where the weapons caches are, how many there are, what quality they are, or how to get to at them. They want missiles and rockets to stop flying over Israel but are unwilling to address the reasons they keep coming. They cannot face the fact that it was their own actions that started this war– abhorrence over Palestinian reconciliation and unity, followed by weeks of retribution and pogroms in the West Bank under a false pretense — and that they have violated earlier agreements with Hamas (re-arresting Palestinian prisoners released in exchange for Shalit).

From the beginning of this savage operation weeks ago, analysts on Arab television said this time it was different. This time Israel was rudderless and lost. As the world witnesses carnage, Israel can’t stop until its needs are met and their extremists are calling to “exterminate the enemy”, to completely destroy Gaza if necessary.

For the most part the western press isn’t even mentioning the roadmap that everyone in the Arab world sees in Gaza: this time around, Hamas is using Hezbollah tactics. Those tunnels Israel keeps deploring? “Copying Hezbollah:”

Hamas’s tunnel network follows the successful use of tunnels by Hezbollah against an Israeli incursion into Lebanon in 2006.

The Lebanese Shiite militant group built its first prototype of an underground bunker in the mid-1980s, which can be seen today at its tourist museum in Mlita, Lebanon.

But it wasn’t until Israel’s withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000 that Hezbollah began building up an extensive system of underground bunkers and rocket launchers, with an estimated 1,000 facilities by the time of the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. During the fighting, some massive underground networks were found, including one with air conditioning, a cafeteria, dorms, medical facilities, and 3-foot-thick cement ceilings – all built secretly in view of a United Nations outpost along Israel’s border…

Many Israeli analysts say that Hamas gleaned its tunnel-building expertise from Hezbollah, though it is unclear whether they traveled to Lebanon, hosted Hezbollah operatives in Gaza, or shared knowledge remotely.

The tunnels have allowed both militant organizations to build up their rocket capabilities and preserve an element of surprise in their attacks against Israel, though Hezbollah’s capabilities far outweigh those of Hamas.

Those tunnels mean that Israel becomes enmeshed:

Last fall, Israel discovered and destroyed a mile-long tunnel built more than 60 feet under the border over the course of about a year. An officer who formerly served in the IDF’s geology unit told the Times of Israel that it was professionally done and heavily reinforced with concrete. The fossilized sea shells and deeper water table in that part of Gaza make it more conducive to tunneling, the officer said.

“The decision to go in 1 to 2 kilometers (0.6 to 1.2 miles) is our decision. But once you’re in 1 to 2 kilometers and you stay there, you’re sitting there and you’ve become targets that you were not before,” says Col. Eisin, noting that the rocket fire that prompted Israel’s escalation is likely to continue. “Unless you physically conquer all of the Gaza Strip, which takes longer than a week … until the last day there will be firing of rockets.”

So what we’re seeing now is Israel’s attempts at “physically conquer[ing] all of the Gaza Strip.” Which amounts to the obliteration of one neighborhood after another. And that famed intel? It was reported in the Arab press that after the massacre in Shuja’iyeh, Israeli soldiers captured civilians for the purpose of extracting information from them where they might find the tunnels. No doubt this tactic is being used in Khan Younis. It suggests that Israel has been unable to extract helpful information from the thousands of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails.

None of this bodes well for the future. Again, as the world stands by witnessing the ongoing genocidal slaughter, the best advice for Israel is to end the blockade.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed complete Palestinian solidarity on this point. “No One will Enjoy Stability as long as Gaza Children Do not:”

It is time that we all raise our rightful voices in the face of Israel’s killing and destruction machine. Israeli forces have crossed all lines and broken all international laws and humanitarian values with the utmost brutality. We know we do not have planes or artillery tanks but what we have is stronger than this fire power and arrogance. We have the strength of righteousness and justice; we are the owners of this right that no force on earth can erase; it is a historical right baptized with heavy sacrifices. We have our unity and our resolve and so I call on all to rise above our differences at this difficult time and have national responsibility, stay away from narrow factionalism and realize that the main goal of this Israeli onslaught is to destroy our national cause and abort reconciliation.

We reiterate to our people that we are committed to national unity and ending the split and the national consensus government. We will go to the far side of the world to stop this onslaught and retake our legitimate rights. We will pursue those who commit war crimes against our people no matter how long it takes. These crimes will not go unpunished.

I repeat the importance of getting the Palestinian cause out of any tug-of-wars and to halt this policy of double standards because one drop of blood from a Palestinian child is more precious to us than anything in the world.

To our people in Gaza: your pain is our pain and the pain of the entire people and your suffering has dug a deep wound in our hearts. We have no words to explain what we are feeling. Your wounds are our wounds and our anger is huge. We will never forget nor forgive and our people will not kneel to anyone but God. No one in the world will enjoy stability and safety if this is not granted to the children of Gaza, Jerusalem, the West Bank and all of Palestine’s children.

Glory and eternity to our faithful martyrs. Right, justice and the Palestinian people’s will will emerge victorious. We will not be terrorized by killing nor destruction. We will rebuild what the aggression has destroyed and we will mend our wounds until our inevitable victory arrives and our flag waves over our capital Jerusalem at the Aqsa Mosque and the Holy Sepulcher.

“Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory.”

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Original post)

Thu Jul 24, 2014, 02:46 PM

4. Any ideas that will promote "peace" are ok with me.

I recall the start of the Viet Nam War.. Patriotic Fury. It took 2 or three years to hear the other side of the story. Now, it may take two or three more decades for "peace." No one ever thought there could ever be a peace treaty with Israel and Egypt. SO?

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Original post)

Thu Jul 24, 2014, 04:14 PM

5. "The Deafening Silence Around the Hamas Proposal for a 10-Year Truce"



During its first 14 days, the Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip has left a toll of over 500 dead, the vast majority of whom civilians, and many more injured. Thousands of houses were targeted and destroyed together with other essential civilian infrastructures. Over one hundred thousand civilians have been displaced. By the time you will read this article the numbers will have grown higher and, despicably, no real truce seems in sight. When I say real, I mean practicable, agreeable to both sides and sustainable for some time.

The Israeli government, followed suit by Western media and governments, was quick to put the blame on Hamas for that. Hamas – they claim – had an opportunity to accept a truce brokered by Egypt – and refused it. Others have already explained at length why this proposal crafted without any consultations with Hamas, was hard to accept by Hamas.

Much less noticed by the Western media was that Hamas and Islamic Jihad had meanwhile proposed a 10 year truce on the basis of 10 – very reasonable – conditions. While Israel was too busy preparing for the ground invasion, why didn’t anyone in the diplomatic community spend a word about this proposal? The question is all the more poignant as this proposal was in essence in line with what many international experts as well as the United Nations have asked for years now, and included some aspects that Israel had already considered as feasible requests in the past.

The main demands of this proposal revolve around lifting the Israeli siege in Gaza through the opening of its borders with Israel to commerce and people, the establishment of an international seaport and airport under U.N. supervision, the expansion of the permitted fishing zone in the Gaza sea to 10 kilometers, and the revitalization of Gaza industrial zone. None of these demands is new. The United Nations among others have repeatedly demanded the lifting of the siege, which is illegal under international law, as a necessary condition to end the dire humanitarian situation in the Strip. The facilitation of movement of goods and people between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip had already been stipulated in the Agreement on Movement and Access (AMA) signed between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 2005. Even the construction of a port and the possibility of an airport in Gaza had already been stipulated in the AMA, though the actual implementation never followed. The requested increase of the permitted fishing zone is less than what envisaged in the 1994 Oslo Agreements and it was already part of the 2012 ceasefire understanding. Unhindered fishermen’s access to the sea, without fear of being shot or arrested and having boats and nets confiscated by Israeli patrols is essential to the 3000 Gaza fishermen struggling to survive today by fishing in a limited area which is overfished and heavily polluted. The revitalization of the Gaza industrial zone, which has progressively been dismantled since the 2005 disengagement and by continuous military operations, was already considered a crucial Palestinian interest at the time of the 2005 Disengagement.

The proposed truce also demands the withdrawal of Israeli tanks from the Gaza border and the Internationalization of the Rafah Crossing and its placement under international supervision. The presence of international forces on the borders and the withdrawal of the Israeli army requested by Hamas is unsurprising, considered the heavy toll of casualties by Israeli fire in the Access Restricted Areas near the Israeli border (i.e. an area of 1.5km along the border comprising 35% of Gaza land and 85% of its whole arable land). The international presence should guarantee that Egyptian and Israeli security concerns are equally met.

The proposal also requests Israel to release the Palestinian prisoners whom had been freed as part of the deal to liberate Gilat Shalit and were arrested after the killing of the three Israeli youths in June 2014 in the West Bank; that Israel refrains from interfering in the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah; and that the permits for worshippers to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque be eased.

Not only are these conditions sensible in light of previous agreements but, especially those who pertain to the lift of the siege, are the minimum standards that Hamas and the people of Gaza could accept in the current circumstances. As Raji Sourani reports, the most common sentence from people in Gaza after the announcement of the Egyptian ‘brokered’ ceasefire was “Either this situation really improves or it is better to just die”. The dire circumstances under which Gazans have lived in the last 7 years have indeed evoked in many the image of the enclave as “the world’s largest open air prison”. A prison which is overcrowded and where in 6 years there will no longer be enough drinkable water or capacity to provide other essential services, as a recent UN report denounces. Facing this gloomy context, for many the continuous launch of rockets from Gaza is a response to the siege and the harsh conditions imposed by the occupation.

One could imagine that an agreement on the basis of the Hamas proposal could not only stop the current round of hostilities but also pave the way towards a lasting solution of the conflict. However Israel has shown no interest in considering this proposal and continues to prefer the military option. As a result one wonders whether Israel really wants a long lasting resolution of the conflict. This resolution would necessarily require compromises on the Israeli side, including relinquishing control over the West Bank and Gaza. Netanyahu recently made it perfectly clear that this option is off the table. An eventual agreement between Israel and Hamas would further strengthen the legitimacy of Hamas in the newly achieved Palestinian unity, which is a prerequisite for any lasting peace. Legitimizing the Palestinian unity is something the Israeli government is avoiding like the plague as it would push forward their quest for justice in the international arena.

Perhaps more surprisingly, the international community – with the exception of Turkey and Qatar – has spent no words on the Hamas truce proposal although many of the points of the proposal already enjoy international support. This refusal to deal with the proposal is particularly problematic in the current context. Without any pressure by the international community, Israel, the party who has the upper hand in this conflict, will feel legitimized to keep refusing negotiations for a real truce with Hamas. Truces and negotiations are made with enemies not friends. International organizations and Western leaders, echoing Israel and the United States, maintain that Hamas is a terrorist organization and thus any direct negotiations with it are embargoed.

Hamas resorts to violence, which is often indiscriminate and targets civilians – also due to the lack of precision weapons. But so does Israel – no matter how sophisticated its weaponry is. If the point is to help parties negotiate, both parties have to be treated equally, encouraged to consider measures other than military ones and accept compromises based on international law. Especially when sensible proposals are on the table as in this case. The firm refusal to engage with Hamas at this point epitomizes the failure of the international community to deal with the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Unless the international community reverts this pattern by taking a honest stand grounded in international law and diplomacy, the plight of Gaza and of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will continue.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Original post)

Thu Jul 24, 2014, 04:28 PM

6. Thank you for this post.

Will look for those articles. I'm so sick of reading the justifications for the commission of war crimes here. It would be nice to have another perspective.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Original post)

Thu Jul 24, 2014, 04:39 PM

7. Far Right Wing Governments know no way other than violence. I wonder why Israelis

keep electing them. They are losing the world and gaining, what? We've seen this before, and nothing changes. So clearly their tactics are a total failure, leaving aside the moral issues. So why keep on repeating what is such a total failure on every level?

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Original post)

Thu Jul 24, 2014, 11:06 PM

8. "Horrifying Details Continue to Emerge of Massacre in Khuza'a"



Horrifying details continue to emerge of massacre in Khuza’a
Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz on July 24, 2014 35

Yesterday we published a brief account of an apparent massacre in the Palestinian village Khuza’a, a village east of Khan Younis and close to the Israeli border in Gaza. That had been sent to Felice Gelman over Facebook and today, Yamen Radwan sent Gelman another brief message: “#Massacre_Khuza’a: stilling going on until now executions of civilians and wounded by Israeli forces in the streets of Khuza’a.”

News reports of what happened, or is happening, in Khuza’a remain vague. Above, from Al Jazeera, is the only video news report we’ve been able to find. National Public Radio’s Emily Harris just now reported a telephone conversation with a woman who escaped the village after two days in a basement and who said that snipers were shooting people in the streets.

The Gaza NGO Palestinian Centre for Human Rights included these details from Khuza’a in an daily report it issued today covering events from yesterday:

At approximately 12:30, Israel forces that had moved into Khuza’a village, east of Khan Yunis, fired bullets and artillery shells at hundreds of Palestinian civilians who attempted to leave the village as there were reports about a one-hour coordination to evacuate casualties. Israeli forces fired also at ambulances and prevented them from entering the village.

At approximately 17:00, 12 ambulances attempted to enter Khuza’a village, but Israeli forces prevented and fired at them.

At approximately 18:30, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at a house belonging to Dr. Kamal Abu Rujaila, which he uses as clinic, in Khuza’a village, as a number of wounded Palestinians went to the house seeking medical aid. A number of casualties were reported as a result of the attack. Apparently, one Palestinian was killed. Medical crews were not able to reach the house. A volunteer paramedic, who was wounded throughout the body while he was attempting to evacuate wounded Palestinians, has been trapped in the area since Wednesday morning, 23 July 2014, as medical crews have not been able to reach him. According to reports from Khuza’a village, Israeli forces raided a number of houses and turned them into military sites. They also arrested scores of Palestinians. At approximately 23:00, an ICRC crew and 10 ambulances of Palestine Red Crescent Society went to Kuza’a village, but they were not able to evacuate victims because the situation was extremely dangerous.

At approximately 21:00, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at a number of Palestinian civilians in Khuza’a village, east of Khan Yunis, killing 2 of them: Mohammed Barham Abu Draz, 24; and ‘Essam Ibrahim Abu Ismail, 23.

At approximately 06:50, Israeli forces fired at dozens of Palestinian civilians who raised white flags and attempted to leave Khuza’a village, and forced them to go back homes.

At approximately 07:15, Israeli forces fired at a number of Palestinian civilians who attempted to leave Khuza’a through a dirt road leading to ‘Abassan village. One of these civilians, Mohammed Ahmed Suleiman al-Najjar, 56, was killed by a bullet to the neck. Two civilians were also wounded.

Also at approximately 08:30, medical crews were able to recover the body of Fadi Yousef Ahmed al-Najjar, 27, who is physically disabled, from Khuza’a village. He was killed by Israeli shelling.

At approximately 09:50, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a motor cart on which a number of Palestinian civilians were traveling attempting to leave Khuza’a village. As a result, 4 civilians were killed and another 2 ones were wounded. The victims have not been identified as their bodies were burnt.

This account is consistent with social media. The most complete comes from Khuza’a resident Mahmoud Ismail who tweeted out updates from the village. They were translated by Mohammad Alsaafin who retweeted them. The updates read:

Account: My family & I made it out, light injuries. Hundreds of casualties, bodies in the streets. Many of the dead in Khuza’a bled to death bc ambulances unable to reach. From my window I watched a 20 yr old die for hours. One doctor, Kamal Abu Rjeila, treated injuries that came into his clinic even after it was bombed & his father killed. The Israeli army used ten families as human shields. They took over their homes and wouldn’t let them escape.Home I was sheltering in with 50 others was bombed. I don’t know what happened to them but my shoes soaked in their blood. We escaped to our home under the cover of the dust from the bombing. Minutes later, it was hit by 3 artillery shells. We tried to escape on foot to Khuzaa’s exit, but helicopters fired on us. I saw a woman carrying her dead child in one arm and a white flag in the other. She used the white flag to wrap his body. As we walked I saw my uncle and his son, dead on the road next to their house. Snipers were hitting people in the legs. My other cousin died trying to save his bleeding brother in the street. They died on top of each other. There are corpses still lying in the streets, injured people waiting to become corpses, families who still haven’t escaped

The village was also attacked during Cast Lead, the Israeli invasion of Gaza in 2009. The definitive report on the conflict by the UN Human Rights Council, the Goldstone Report of 2009, documented Israeli sniper killings of civilians in the village, and the prevention of ambulances from arriving to take the wounded away:

11. The shooting of Rouhiyah al-Najjar

780. The Mission visited the site of the shooting of Rouhiyah al-Najjar in Khuza’a. It interviewed two eyewitnesses of the shooting and six other witnesses to the events, including Yasmine al-Najjar, Nasser al-Najjar, Rouhiyah al-Najjar’s husband, and their daughter Hiba.

781. The Israeli armed forces launched the attack against Khuza’a, a small town about half a kilometre from the border (Green Line) with Israel east of Khan Yunis, around 10 p.m. on 12 January 2009. During the night, they used white phosphorous munitions, causing fires to break out in the al-Najjar neighbourhood on the eastern fringe of Khuza’a. Families in the neighbourhood, including the family of Nasser al-Najjar, his first wife Rouhiyah and their daughter Hiba, spent much of the night trying to extinguish fires in their houses. Israeli armed forces, possibly heliborne troops, had taken position on the roofs of some houses in the neighbourhood and observed the residents as they attempted to fight the fires. Around 3 a.m. residents also began to hear the noise of approaching tanks and bulldozers, with which they were well familiar, as in 2008 there had been several Israeli incursions into the farmland to the north and east of Khuza’a, in the course of which bulldozers flattened fields, groves, chicken coops and greenhouses.

782. In the early morning hours, some of the residents, including Rouhiyah al-Najjar, climbed on the roofs of their houses and hoisted improvised white flags. Using megaphones, the Israeli armed forces asked the men of the neighbourhood to come out of the houses and walk towards the tanks. There the men were separated into two groups which were then held in different houses under the control of the soldiers.

783. At some point between 7 and 7.45 a.m., Rouhiyah al-Najjar and the women in her immediate neighbourhood decided to leave their homes and walk with their children to the town centre. The group of women was headed by Rouhiyah al-Najjar and her 23-year-old neighbour and relative Yasmine al-Najjar, both carrying white flags. Rouhiyah’s daughter Hiba was right behind her. Other women were holding up babies in their arms, shouting “God is great!” and “We have children!” The group of women and children started moving down a straight alley, about six or seven metres wide, flanked on both sides by houses. At the other end of the alley, a little more than 200 metres away,431 was the house of Faris al-Najjar, which had been occupied by numerous Israeli soldiers (around 60 according to one witness). The soldiers had made a hole in the wall of the first floor of the house, giving them a good view down the alley into which the group of women and children were advancing. When Rouhiyah al-Najjar was about 200 metres from Faris al-Najjar’s house, a shot fired from that house hit her in the temple (she had just turned her head towards her neighbour next to her to encourage her). Rouhiyah al-Najjar fell to the ground; Yasmine was struck in her leg. This single shot was followed by concentrated gunfire, which forced the group of women and children to scramble back into the houses of Osama al-Najjar and Shawki al-Najjar, though it did not cause further injury. Because of the fire from the Israeli soldiers, they did not dare to leave the house and look after Rouhiyah al-Najjar. They stayed inside until around noon the same day, when they made a second, successful attempt to leave the neighbourhood and walk to a safer part of Khuza’a.

784. An ambulance driver from Khan Yunis hospital, Marwan Abu Reda, received a phone call from Khuza’a asking for emergency help for Rouhiyah al-Najjar at around 7.45 a.m. He immediately drove to Khuza’a and arrived in the neighbourhood shortly after 8 a.m., i.e. within no more than an hour from the shooting. He was already in the alley where Rouhiyah al-Najjar was lying on the ground when soldiers opened fire from houses or rooftops, forcing him to make a U-turn and take the ambulance to a nearby alley. He called PRCS and asked it to see access to the injured woman, through ICRC and in coordination with the Israeli armed forces, without success. Marwan Abu Reda was not able to pick up Rouhiyah al-Najjar’s (by then lifeless) body until the evening of that day. He confirmed to the Mission that she had received a bullet in the temple.

431 The Mission did not measure the distance; this is an estimate.

432 The Mission does not have information which would allow it to state whether Rouhiyah al-Najjar was still alive when the ambulance arrived.

12. Factual findings

785. The Mission has no reason to doubt the veracity of the main elements of the testimony of the witnesses it heard with regard to the shooting of Rouhiyah al-Najjar.

786. The Mission’s site inspection and the testimony of several witnesses appear to establish that the group of women and children led by Rouhiyah al-Najjar had slowly walked for at least 20 metres before the shot that killed Rouhiyahher was fired. During that time, Israeli soldiers standing on the roofs of the houses in the neighbourhood had ample time to observe the group.

The fact that, after shooting Rouhiyah and Yasmine al-Najjar, the soldiers directed warning fire at the group without injuring anyone, but forcing them to retreat to a house, is further indication that the soldiers had not observed any threat to them from the group. Indeed, a few hours later the same group was allowed to walk past the soldiers to a safer area of Khuza’a. The Mission accordingly finds that Rouhiyah al-Najjar was deliberately shot by an Israeli soldier who had no reason to assume that she was a combatant or otherwise taking part in hostilities.

787. The Mission also observes that, while it is unclear whether the ambulance from Khan Yunis hospital could have saved Rouhiyah al-Najjar’s life, the Israeli forces prevented the evacuation of the wounded woman without any justification.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Original post)

Thu Jul 24, 2014, 11:47 PM

9. The Generals Son, an Israeli perspective on the "whole shooting match"


"The articles, the stories and the pictures in this blog are meant to make a single point: For the good of both nations, the Separation Wall must come down, the Israeli control over the lives of Palestinians must be defied so that a secular democracy where all Israelis and Palestinian live as equals be established in our shared homeland."

I did not realize that his sister is married to Rami Elhanan who is a member of The Parents Circle...


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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Original post)

Fri Jul 25, 2014, 02:38 AM

10. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread, Comrade Grumpy.

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