YOU WANT A CEASEFIRE? ~~ HERE’S WHAT WE WANT

It’s all about justice for Gaza

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We call for a ceasefire only when negotiated conditions result in the following:

  • Freedom of movement of Palestinians in and out of the Gaza Strip.
  • Unlimited import and export of supplies and goods, including by land, sea and air.
  • Unrestricted use of the Gaza seaport.
  • Monitoring and enforcement of these agreements by a body appointed by the United Nations, with appropriate security measures.

Each of these expectations is taken for granted by most countries, and it is time for the Palestinians of Gaza to be accorded the human rights they deserve.

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No ceasefire without justice for Gaza

EDITORIAL FROM

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We will not “return to a living death” of siege and blockade, say Gaza civil society leaders.

(Ashraf Amra /APA images)

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As academics, public figures and activists witnessing the intended genocide of 1.8 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, we call for a ceasefire with Israel only if conditioned on an end to the blockade and the restoration of basic freedoms that have been denied to the people for more than seven years.

Our foremost concerns are not only the health and safety of the people in our communities, but also the quality of their lives – their ability to live free of fear of imprisonment without due process, to support their families through gainful employment, and to travel to visit their relatives and further their education.

These are fundamental human aspirations that have been severely limited for the Palestinian people for more than 47 years, but that have been particularly deprived from residents of Gaza since 2007. We have been pushed beyond the limits of what a normal person can be expected to endure.

A living death

Charges in the media and by politicians of various stripes that accuse Hamas of ordering Gaza residents to resist evacuation orders, and thus use them as human shields, are untrue. With temporary shelters full and the indiscriminate Israeli shelling, there is literally no place that is safe in Gaza.

Likewise, Hamas represented the sentiment of the vast majority of residents when it rejected the unilateral ceasefire proposed by Egypt and Israel without consulting anyone in Gaza. We share the broadly held public sentiment that it is unacceptable to merely return to the status quo – in which Israel strictly limits travel in and out of the Gaza Strip, controls the supplies that come in (including a ban on most construction materials), and prohibits virtually all exports, thus crippling the economy and triggering one of the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the Arab world.

To do so would mean a return to a living death.

Unfortunately, past experience has shown that the Israeli government repeatedly reneges on promises for further negotiations, as well as on its commitments to reform.

Likewise, the international community has demonstrated no political will to enforce these pledges. Therefore, we call for a ceasefire only when negotiated conditions result in the following:

  • Freedom of movement of Palestinians in and out of the Gaza Strip.
  • Unlimited import and export of supplies and goods, including by land, sea and air.
  • Unrestricted use of the Gaza seaport.
  • Monitoring and enforcement of these agreements by a body appointed by the United Nations, with appropriate security measures.

Each of these expectations is taken for granted by most countries, and it is time for the Palestinians of Gaza to be accorded the human rights they deserve.

Signatures:

  • Akram Habeeb, Assistant Professor of American Literature, Islamic University of Gaza (IUG)
  • Mona El-Farra, Vice President and Health Chair of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society
  • Ramy Abdu PhD, Chairman of the Euro-mid Observer
  • Abdullah Alsaafin, Palestinian Writer/journalist
  • Ali Alnazli, Businessman
  • Adel Awadallah, Head of the Scientific Research Council
  • Hanine Hassan, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Sheren Awad, Journalist
  • Yahia Al-Sarraj, Associate Professor of Transportation, IUG
  • Tawfik Abu Shomar, Writer and political analyst
  • Hasan Owda, Businessman
  • Ibrahim AlYazji, Businessman
  • Walid Al Husari, Chair, Gaza Chamber of Commerce
  • Nael Almasri, Dentist
  • Wael El-Mabhouh, Political researcher
  • Rami Jundi, Political researcher
  • Ashraf Mashharawi, Filmmaker
  • Mohammad Alsawaf, Journalist
  • Hasan Abdo, Writer and political analyst
  • Kamal El Shaer, Political researcher
  • Omar Ferwana, Dean of Medicine Faculty, IUG
  • Iyad I. Al-Qarra, Journalist, Palestine newspaper
  • Musheir El-Farra, Palestinian activist and author
  • Khalil Namrouti, Associate Professor in Economics, IUG
  • Moein Rajab, Professor in Economics, Al-Azhar University – Gaza
  • Basil Nasser, Planning advisor
  • Hani Albasoos, Associate Professor in Political Science, IUG
  • Arafat Hilles, Assistant Professor, Al-Quds Open University
  • Imad Falouji, Head of Adam Center for Dialogue of Civilizations
  • Moin Naim, Writer and political analyst
  • Yousri Alghoul, Author
  • Mohammad Jayyab, Editor of Gaza Journal of Economics
  • Mousa Lubbad, Lecturer in Finance, Al-Aqsa University
  • Iskandar Nashwan, Assistant Professor in Accounting, Al-Aqsa University
  • Shadi AlBarqouni, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Adnan Abu Amer, Head of Political Department, Al-Umma University
  • Wael Al Sarraj, Assistant Professor in Computer Science, IUG
  • Said Namrouti, Lecturer in Human Resource Management, IUG
  • Khaled Al-Hallaq, Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering, IUG
  • Asad Asad, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs, IUG
  • Hazem Alhusari, Lecturer in Finance, Al-Aqsa University
  • Shadi AlBarqouni, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Deya’a Kahlout, Journalist, Al-Araby newspaper
  • Raed Salha, Assistant Professor in Geography, IUG
  • Sameeh Alhadad, Businessman
  • Tarek M. Eslim, CEO, Altariq Systems and Projects
  • Sami Almalfouh PhD, Senior engineer
  • Fayed Abushammalah, Journalist
  • Fadel Naeim, Chairman of Palestine Physicians Syndicate
  • Zeyad Al-Sahhar, Associate Professor in Physics , Al-Aqsa University
  • Iyad Abu Hjayer, Director, Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution
  • Wael Al-Daya, Associate Professor in Finance, IUG
  • Younis Eljarou, Head of the Red Crescent Society for the Gaza Strip
  • Donia ElAmal Ismail, Head of the Creative Women Association
  • Zeinab Alghonemi, Head of Women for Legal Consulting Association
  • Amjad AlShawa, Palestinian Nongovernmental Organizations Network (PNGO)
  • Mohsen Abo Ramadan, Head of Palestinian Nongovernmental Organziations Network (PNGO)
  • Abed Alhameed Mortaja, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, IUG
  • Talal Abo Shawesh , Head of Afaq Jadeeda Association
  • Zohair Barzaq, Red Crescent Society for the Gaza Strip
  • Marwan Alsabh, Red Crescent Society for the Gaza Strip
  • Ghassan Matar, Red Crescent Society for the Gaza Strip
  • Rania Lozon, Writer
  • Ashraf Saqer, IT Specialist
  • Samir AlMishal, Mishal Cultural Centre
  • Jamila Sarhan, Independant Commission for Human Rights
  • Jalal Arafat, Union of Agricultrual Work Committees
  • Khalil Abu Shammala, Aldameer Association for Human Rights
  • Jamila Dalloul, Association Head of Jothor ElZaiton
  • Maha Abo Zour, Psychologist
  • Psychologist Ferdous Alkatari
  • Yousef Awadallah, Health Work Committee
  • Yousef Alswaiti, Al-Awda Hospital Director
  • Taysir Alsoltan, Head of Health Work Committees
  • Taghreed Jomaa, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees
  • Imad Ifranji, Journalist, Alquds TV
  • Jehal Alaklouk, Activist
  • Adel Alborbar, Boycott Committee
  • Hatem AbuShaban, Board of Trustees of Al-Azhar University – Gaza
  • Saleh Zaqout, Secretary of the Red Crescent Society for the Gaza Strip
  • Mohammed Alsaqqa, Lawyer
  • Nihad Alsheikh Khalil, Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, IUG
  • Mohsen Alafranji, Lecturer at Media Department, IUG
  • Nedal Farid, Dean of Business Faculty, Al-Aqsa University
  • Salem Helles, Dean of Commerce Faculty, IUG
  • Ahmad Ali PhD, Economic Analysis
  • Raed M. Zourob PhD, Head of the Department of Preventive Medicine, Ministry of Health
  • Mosheer Amer, Professor of Lingusitics, IUG
  • Moheeb Abu Alqumboz, Lecturer
  • Fatma Mukhalalati, Supreme Court judge
  • Fahmi Alnajjar, Supreme Court judge

IDENTIFYING WITH THE CHILD VICTIMS OF GAZA

boy-playing-soccer

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There is a brand of Judaism that declares, “It happened to us, so it shouldn’t happen to us again.” This is what I see too much of right now. Yet I’m not giving up on the idea that suffering can create fair-mindedness and justice. My version of Judaism — shared by more and more Jews — goes like this: “it happened to us, so it should never happen to anyone, ever. Especially not at our hands.”

To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza, who only yearned to run around outside and be free. It will hurt tremendously, but it might free you, too.

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Those Boys on Gaza Beach Remind Me of My Brother

By Sarah Seltzer FOR

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Sarah Seltzer with her twin brother as children.

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I have a twin brother who, as a kid, frequently ran around outside with a ball and his friends — usually in New York’s parks. Woe to the teachers at our Jewish day school who denied them gym or recess: they acted up extra-rambunctiously when they were cooped up. One of the cardinal lessons of my childhood was this: If you don’t let kids run around, everyone suffers. So that, in part, explains why the boys on the beach in Gaza proved my breaking point — boys who had been shut in for over a week and just wanted to kick a ball around, for a blessed few hours, and feel the air.

I was no fan of Israel’s actions in Operation Protective Edge up until that moment — in fact I was appalled by what I read in the Forward and elsewhere — but when I saw the footage of those lanky boys running on the beach, and their parents’ stricken faces when they learned their boys had fallen at the hands of Israeli shelling, I totally lost it.

They could be my family. They are my family. I see myself, my loved ones in them. So that’s what I keep saying to people when they bring up Operation Protective Edge — those boys reminded me of my brother and his pals, and sometimes me, running around with them, trying to get a good kick or two in. Some might say it is naive, and small, of me to reduce this conflict to miniscule, selfish dimensions rather than use the broad social strokes that many on both sides encourage in online discourse: this is about colonialism, imperialism, say some. This is about terrorism, say others.

Personal hatred, prejudice, antipathy and the thirst for vengeance — these common human feelings are the fuel that feeds the massive machines of terror, occupation and imperialism. And at the moment, it seems to me that a lot of the organized Jewish community — with clear exceptions — is as warped by antipathy and alienation, in the same way our leaders have long accused the Palestinians of being warped. “They don’t see us as human,” I’ve been told. But based on the Facebook posts I’m seeing, many of us don’t see them as human, either. Many of my timeline buddies are not even allowing a window, a second to mourn, so quick are they to pin the blame anywhere but at Israel’s feet. “I’m sorry for the loss of life, but…” they say. Why, why do we have to insert that “but”?

Perhaps the issue is this: to accept that Israel is utterly in the wrong here, that her government faced a moral test and flunked it with flying colors, is to accept something profoundly sad about our warped species: oppression doesn’t necessarily breed compassion. And by extension, Jews are not chosen. We are not chosen for anything except being another flawed people in a world of flawed peoples, unable to wield massive power without using that power toward brutal ends (just like everyone else, no worse but no better).

Maybe it’s easier for me, a girl who went to Israel at 16 and felt a sense of homecoming, to swallow this bitter pill after watching progressives tear each other down for a decade. Feminists can be racist. Queer people can be transphobic. Those who have been barred from spaces often feel justified excluding others. No formula exists that compels those who have suffered to be noble.

There is a brand of Judaism that declares, “It happened to us, so it shouldn’t happen to us again.” This is what I see too much of right now. Yet I’m not giving up on the idea that suffering can create fair-mindedness and justice. My version of Judaism — shared by more and more Jews — goes like this: “it happened to us, so it should never happen to anyone, ever. Especially not at our hands.”

To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza, who only yearned to run around outside and be free. It will hurt tremendously, but it might free you, too.

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website

 

JON STEWART DISCOVERS IT’S NOT KOSHER TO CRITICISE ISRAEL IF YOU ARE JEWISH

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Meanwhile, Israel is learning that war is not good for business …

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US, European airlines cancel flights to Israel after rocket hits near airport 

Transportation Ministry urges airlines to reverse decision, saying flights in and out of Ben-Gurion Airport are safe and guarded.

 

Full AP Report HERE

DAY 14 ~~ WE ARE GOING THROUGH HELL IN GAZA

WHO AND WHY I AM WHO I AM

words415

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I went rambling through the archives on this Blog today and wanted to give you all a pretty good picture of who I am …. So be sure to click on all of the links and then you might have a better understanding of WHO AND WHY I AM WHO I AM.

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A post from yesterday began with ….

Growing up in my Jewish family, it was a given that Jews supported civil rights, opposed the Vietnam War and believed in education, science and progress. This didn’t make it easy to be a teenager in a small working-class town in central Pennsylvania, an area not known for either diversity or liberal views at the time. Israel was a distant place where survivors of the brutal European Holocaust struggled to live in peace, occasionally beset by terrorists and attacking armies from the surrounding countries.

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Except for the part about growing up in Pennsylvania, I could have written those opening lines. In an open letter that I wrote to Neil Sedaka four years ago, asking him to cancel an upcoming concert in Israel, you can read a bit about my own personal background. (The letter was ignored)

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I am thankful that there are many of us, Jews that oppose the ethnic cleansing and genocidal policies sanction by  the State of Israel. Most are no longer silent, they are quite vocal and active in their beliefs as can be seen in THIS post.

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THIS link will take you to a post from the archives that is long, but it is a must read for anyone who is Jewish. It explains the Arab position on many problems still facing us today. It could be an eyeopener for many who refuse to look at the ‘other side’.

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For the non Jew to speak out against Israel, there could be ugly consequences. The truth hurts, especially if it is muttered by an ‘outsider’ as in the case of Helen Thomas. The truth has always been the greatest enemy of zionism.

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Yes, Jews suffered …. but that does not give them licence to inflict suffering on others. NEVER AGAIN means just that! NEVER AGAIN …. to ANYONE. There are others today with identifying tattoos on their arms as well …

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As can be seen in THIS post, not all Palestinians agree with my own personal beliefs. There are various opinions, but hopefully we will all be able to live together as family. I can’t think of one Jewish family I know where all of the members are in agreement (on anything).

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So, why do I Blog? Why open myself up to attacks? THIS POST  might explain that. 

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There are many people who might wonder why all Jews don’t come to live in Israel … THIS post might explain why. As for those that do live in Israel, there are the GOOD as well as the bad …. never forget that. This is also recognised by many a Palestinian …. one example can be found HERE. Some might wonder why I myself live here … THIS should explain that.

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Bottom line is that PEACE IS POSSIBLE. It is not a distant dream that will never be. Living in Israel for 30 years has only strengthened my convictions about that. HERE’S a glimpse of my own neighbourhood in Jerusalem. 

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I will end this by posting a thread that I wrote eight years ago …. it is as valid now as it was then.

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A MESSAGE TO MY FELLOW JEWS

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IF YOU LOVE ISRAEL SPEAK UP FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE!

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I have often said that it is very difficult to remain objective towards something when the subjective circumstances seem to be stronger.

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The case of Israel and Jews is one of the cases that comes to mind. Many Jews outside of Israel support Israel blindly. The attitude is very similar to the American attitude during the Vietnam War… “My country right or wrong”..

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That concept alone is wrong. If you really love something than you let it know when it is wrong… this is not happening in the case of Israel. If you really love Israel then you must treat it as you would treat your own child. Not to do so will only make a very bad situation that much worse. As a result, Israel will think it has a ‘green light’ to pursue its policies of occupation, apartheid and most recently, brutal aggression towards its neighbours. Since the war started in Lebanon, the aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza has not subsided. Do not let our brothers in Palestine think we have forgotten them..

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If you support these policies and actions, then you do not love Israel as you claim you do. You are, in effect, helping Israel self destruct.
In order to survive and flourish, Israel needs peace. There is no other way. The Torah is the Law that governs the lives of observant Jews. Rabbi Hillel said the following regarding the Torah…

“That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. 
That is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary.”

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Answer the following questions….

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DO YOU BELIEVE THAT…
*Peace in the Middle East will only come about with mutual recognition and respect and must be seen as just by both sides.

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*Peace requires the end of illegal occupation and settlement.

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*Violence against civilians is unacceptable.

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*Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza are breeding hatred and resentment.

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*It is crucial that Jews speak out for Palestinians’ human rights.

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*The values of Israeli society have been corrupted by the Israeli State’s human-rights abuses.

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*A lasting peace must be seen as just by both sides.

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*Britain, the EU, the USA, Russia and the UN must be persuaded to implement UN resolutions on Palestine.

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If you answered yes to all or most of the above questions then you must act on the situation. To remain silent is to be as guilty as the government of Israel is. To remain silent is to witness the very destruction of the State of Israel… from within. 

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Show your support for justice by speaking out against the wall of apartheid.
Speak out against the occupation of Palestine.

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Boycott Israeli goods until Israel becomes a State worthy of your support.

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Show that you truly love Israel and fight for PEACE and JUSTICE… nothing else will do!

MORE GAZA SPOOFS

Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Blowing up the ‘terrorists’

shejaiya-massacre-gaza-altagreer

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Shhh ….. Bibi and Obama at work

nao-perturbe-criminosos-de-guerra-trabalhando

ANOTHER SANE JEWISH VOICE IN AN INSANE WORLD

This kneejerk labeling of critics of Israel as “anti-Semitic” (or in my case, a “self-hating Jew”) made me even more firm in my conviction that it was the special obligation of U.S. Jews to stand against racism in Israel. As more of us demanded equal rights for all in Israel/Palestine, it became harder to smear supporters of Palestine as “anti-Semitic.”

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Gaza—Ellen_web

Ellen Davidson (center) participates in a vigil for Palestinian rights. Photo: Carl Strock

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This Jew can’t support Israel

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Growing up in my Jewish family, it was a given that Jews supported civil rights, opposed the Vietnam War and believed in education, science and progress. This didn’t make it easy to be a teenager in a small working-class town in central Pennsylvania, an area not known for either diversity or liberal views at the time. Israel was a distant place where survivors of the brutal European Holocaust struggled to live in peace, occasionally beset by terrorists and attacking armies from the surrounding countries.

When I went to college, naturally, I became active in the late-1970s campus movement for divestment from South Africa. Somewhere along the line, I realized that Israel was the only country in the world that violated the international arms embargo on the apartheid state, and that Israel was on the wrong side of all the struggles for freedom and national liberation I supported, that it backed dictatorships in Guatemala, Chile, Brazil and elsewhere.

The more I learned about Israel, the more I realized that what I had been taught growing up was a lie. But I also discovered that, even in the progressive movements in the 1980s, the issue was contentious. I spent my twenties working at the Guardian radical newsweekly, a paper that staunchly supported Palestinian rights; periodically we would lose a significant segment of our readership due to our alleged “anti-Semitism,” and we would receive occasional bomb threats from the Jewish Defense League, a nasty organization whose members would physically attack participants in pro-Palestine demonstrations.

This kneejerk labeling of critics of Israel as “anti-Semitic” (or in my case, a “self-hating Jew”) made me even more firm in my conviction that it was the special obligation of U.S. Jews to stand against racism in Israel. As more of us demanded equal rights for all in Israel/Palestine, it became harder to smear supporters of Palestine as “anti-Semitic.” The needle on this debate has moved considerably since the 1980s, when just to say the word “Palestinian” was considered inflammatory, even in some left circles.

These days, as Israelis rampage through the streets of Jerusalem calling for killing all Arabs and Gaza is once again bombarded in a storm of collective punishment, the racist underpinnings of the Jewish state become harder to ignore. This is drawing larger numbers of people into pro-Palestinian protests on the streets of this country.

Indeed, at a July 13 vigil I attended in Woodstock, New York, there were many faces I had never seen before. But not everything has changed. A hostile group of tourists walked by and began berating us for our stance. “You should try talking to some Jews,” said one man. “We are Jews,” two of us answered simultaneously. “Then you’re fucked up,” he snapped.

In the past decade, I have made a point of traveling to Israel/Palestine, so that I can both show my solidarity in person and bring back firsthand accounts of the conditions in the occupied territories and within the formal borders of Israel. I have never encountered anything but warm welcome from the Palestinians I encountered.

When I return, every time I speak as a Jew of personally seeing demolished Palestinian houses, military checkpoints, the concrete wall separating communities from their farmland, the overcrowded refugee camps built as temporary solutions 60 years ago, I like to think that it widens the crack that has been opening up in the U.S. Jewish community, leaving just a little more space for honest discussion of what is being done in our name.

PHOTOS OF THE CARNAGE IN GAZA

The latest massacre brings to more than 420 the number of Palestinians killed in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, now entering its second week. More than 3,000 people have been injured and tens of thousands have fled their homes, with many seeking shelter in UN-run schools.
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Massacre in Shujaiya: Dozens killed as Israel shells eastern Gaza City – photos

A Palestinian boy wounded by Israeli shelling, receives treatment at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, 20 July.(Ali Jadallah / APA images)
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Dozens of men, women and children were killed in the early hours of Sunday as Israel indiscriminately shelled the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiya.

Some sixty bodies have already been removed from the rubble of homes and apartment buildings, and the number of injured is more than two hundred, Palestinian health ministry spokesman Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra told local media.

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Smoke rises after an Israeli missile hit the Shujaiya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, 20 July.   (Ashraf Amra / APA images)
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But the true death toll could be even higher. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it coordinated a two-hour “humanitarian truce” to allow the rescue of the injured and the removal of bodies.

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Palestinian medics carries the body of girl killed during Israeli shelling, outside al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, 20 July.  (Ashraf Amra / APA images)

 

The latest massacre brings to more than 420 the number of Palestinians killed in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, now entering its second week. More than 3,000 people have been injured and tens of thousands have fled their homes, with many seeking shelter in UN-run schools.

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Palestinians flee the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City during heavy Israeli shelling on 20 July. (Ezz al-Zanoun / APA images)

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Gaza is a small territory, home to 1.8 million people, and no place in the territory has been safe from Israeli land, sea and air attacks. Egypt’s military dictatorship, closely allied with Israel, has kept the Rafah crossing tightly sealed.

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The bodies of Palestinians lie on the ground of al-Shifa hospital morgue in Gaza City on 20 July following a massacre in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiyeh. (Mohammed Asad / APA images)

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Eyewitnesses to aftermath

Some journalists entered Shujaiya during the pause in the Israeli attack and tweeted images of what they saw. Others tweeted images from in or near Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital.

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Medics at al-Shifa hospital mourn their colleague who was targeted and killed in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiya neighbourhood earlier in the day on 20 July. (Anne Paq / ActiveStills)

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NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin posted these images on his Instagram account today from the morgue at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital, where many of the massacre victims have been brought:

FROM GAZA WITH PAIN AND DIGNITY

Forcing people out of their homes is a crime against humanity let alone bombing those who remain. But CNN and other western media run by Zionists interview colonizer leaders like Netanyahu who is a habitual liar and do not interview representatives of the victims or the resistance.

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By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

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It is hard not to cry watching the unfolding horror in Gaza, children with heads blown off, pregnant woman with body torn by a shell, babies with missing limbs, targeting of playing children, targeting hospitals, targeting ambulances, and even a handicap center killing two handicap children.  Israeli forces then ratcheted up their attacks committing large scale massacres in places like Shujaia and Beit Hanoun. 80% of the victims are elderly, women and Children (over 110 children so far). Though mainstream western media self-sensors to comply with the Zionist lobby, the truth is coming out and the videos and pictures are horrific. Our friends in Gaza issue desperate calls to us. Israel cannot absolve itself by saying we asked people to evacuate (110,000 are homeless already). Forcing people out of their homes is a crime against humanity let alone bombing those who remain. But CNN and other western media run by Zionists interview colonizer leaders like Netanyahu who is a habitual liar and do not interview representatives of the victims or the resistance.

Gaza is very heavily populated thanks to the ethnic cleansing done to create the racist colonial state of Israel. Two thirds of the people are refugees denied their basic rights including right to return to their homes and lands. Israel tries to dehumanize its victims while blaming the few people who resist as “the problem.” Unfortunately as I stated repeatedly before, colonization and ethnic cleansing are the violence, and resistance is actually part of the remedy. I repeatedly explained that Zionism lost and Zionists will get very violent here before they finally give up privilege based on racist ideology. They refused to abide by basic human norms and insisted that through money and military might they could achieve their goal of a racist ethnocentric chauvinistic state. I always held the hope that the elites among them will be able to step back and avoid this suicidal path. If only they admit the folly of their ways, and ask their victims for forgiveness. I always thought it is possible and is the only way to peace here. I always feared though the Zionist strategy would lead to a lose lose scenario. In this case, they will lose more since there are some hundreds of millions of Arabs and only at best 2-3 million Zionists. Many Jews did see this folly and became anti-Zionist or post-Zionists. But Zionists were influential and powerful and intimidated and silenced millions including some Arabs and Muslims (look at our “leaders” like Abbas and Sisi). The Egyptian government even denied medical relief convoys from entering Gaza. Spoiled Zionists used to privilege on the expense of others are acting mad since they can’t get their way to silence their victims. They decided to go all out and having failed to stop the resistance decided to take on civilians.

For those of us who have been through this many times, we feel there is something different this time suggesting that it maybe indeed the last Zionist tantrum. It is hard to imagine what else Netenyahu and his racist gang can try. They have tried to destroy Gaza and Lebanon before but in every round, the resistance only grows stronger. They even went into this bizarre idea that they can succeed to mobilize the world against Political Islam by training and funding killers through Arab regime puppets and sent them to kill people (christians, Shia, democrats, etc) to simply say “look they are horrible”. Instead of intimidating everyone, the obvious and now exposed game creates a backlash and awaken a lot of people to join the ever spreading wave of real resistance aimed at justice which is the only route to peace. Zionists are unleashing the only tool they have (their military) and whipping up even more frenzied racism among their people (e.g. Israelis cheering the slaughter in Gaza). Another sign of the endgame is the scurrying of western puppets around the world capitals to try and show their people that we are “doing something.” I think that explains Abbas in Cairo and Istanbul and his calling for a three day mourning period for the victims of last massacre while still working overtime to undermine resistance. Another massacre was committed and his police force prevented demonstrators in the West Bank and his spokesman tried to act as if Israel and Gaza are two children querreling and he is the grown-up. Our choice is certainly not between Western created Israel (and Arab puppets) and Western created fanatics beheading fellow Muslims and forcing Christians to flee for their lives! The steadfastness of 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza is creating a ripple effect that could end this theater of the absurd for good. Maybe that is why both sides of Western creations are acting desperately (killing, butchering, and trying so hard to create fitna/division!). Maybe that is why we need not despair but instead focus on building some positive and credible movement for peace with justice. We need more actions for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). We need more demonstrations. We need more movement against quisling and weak “leaders”. We need to force mainstream media to stop their compliance. We need to ridicule and embarrass politicians who support racism and apartheid. We need to support the Palestinian people in their Sumud (resistance and resilience). But that is tomorrow.. today we need all to work to end the horrific slaughter of Gaza civilians by a fascist government. All of us need to turn off our computers and our TVs and go down to the streets (after we tell others to join us !)
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Mads with a patient in Gaza
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Below is a letter from Dr. Mads Gilbert, a physician working in Gaza.

Dearest friends -

Last night was extreme. The “ground invasion” of Gaza resulted in scores and carloads with maimed, torn apart, bleeding, shivering, dying – all sorts of injured Palestinians, all ages, all civilians, all innocent.
The heroes in the ambulances and in all of Gaza’s hospitals are working 12-24hrs shifts, grey from fatigue and inhuman workloads (without payment all in Shifa for the last 4 months), they care, triage, try to understand the incomprehensible chaos of bodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing, not breathing, bleeding, not bleeding humans. HUMANS!
Now, once more treated like animals by “the most moral army in the world” (sic!).
My respect for the wounded is endless, in their contained determination in the midst of pain, agony and shock; my admiration for the staff and volunteers is endless, my closeness to the Palestinian “sumud” gives me strength, although in glimpses I just want to scream, hold someone tight, cry, smell the skin and hair of the warm child, covered in blood, protect ourselves in an endless embrace – but we cannot afford that, nor can they.
Ashy grey faces – Oh NO! not one more load of tens of maimed and bleeding, we still have lakes of blood on the floor in the ER, piles of dripping, blood-soaked bandages to clear out – oh – the cleaners, everywhere, swiftly shovelling the blood and discarded tissues, hair, clothes,cannulas – the leftovers from death – all taken away…to be prepared again, to be repeated all over. More then 100 cases came to Shifa last 24 hrs. enough for a large well trained hospital with everything, but here – almost nothing: electricity, water, disposables, drugs, OR-tables, instruments, monitors – all rusted and as if taken from museums of yesterdays hospitals.But they do not complain, these heroes. They get on with it, like warriors, head on, enormous resolute.
And as I write these words to you, alone, on a bed, my tears flows, the warm but useless tears of pain and grief, of anger and fear. This is not happening!
An then, just now, the orchestra of the Israeli war-machine starts its gruesome symphony again, just now: salvos of artillery from the navy boats just down on the shores, the roaring F16, the sickening drones (Arabic ‘Zennanis’, the hummers), and the cluttering Apaches. So much made and paid in and by US.
Mr. Obama – do you have a heart?
I invite you – spend one night – just one night – with us in Shifa. Disguised as a cleaner, maybe.
I am convinced, 100%, it would change history.
Nobody with a heart AND power could ever walk away from a night in Shifa without being determined to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people.
But the heartless and merciless have done their calculations and planned another “dahyia” onslaught on Gaza.
The rivers of blood will keep running the coming night. I can hear they have tuned their instruments of death.
Please. Do what you can. This, THIS cannot continue.MadsGaza, Occupied Palestine
Mads Gilbert MD PhD
Professor and Clinical Head
Clinic of Emergency Medicine
University Hospital of North Norway

SEEGER FEST FOR PEACE

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At Lincoln Center – zillions of people came to celebrate Pete & Toshi.  It was like a hootenanny that went on for almost 4 hours with lots of performers singing Pete’s songs with the audience joining in.  There was one totally beautiful speech by Harry Belafonte who praised Pete’s dedication to humanity and added that when he sang Tsena, Tsena he never dreamed that the country would turn into the horrible spectacle of children’s destroyed bodies lying on a beach in Gaza.  He saw an opportunity to speak truth and he took it.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Pete Seeger brought the world together

Pete Seeger, who died in January, was a modern-day troubadour for social justice who was on the frontline of every key progressive crusade in his lifetime. Peter Dreier pays tribute to a great artist and human being.

‘TO everything, there is a season,’ Pete Seeger’s song, ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’, taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes, tells us. ‘A time to be born, a time to die.’

Seeger died on 27 January at 94. In the spirit of that song, he spent his time on earth planting, healing, laughing, building, dancing, loving, embracing and advocating peace.

Seeger brought the world closer together with his music. Every day, every minute, someone in the world is singing a Pete Seeger song. For over six decades, he introduced Americans to songs from other cultures, like ‘Wimoweh’ (‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’) from South Africa, ‘Tzena, Tzena’ from Israel (which reached number two on the pop charts) and ‘Guantanamera’ from Cuba, inspiring what is now called ‘world music’. The songs he has written, including the antiwar tunes, ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone?’, ‘If I Had a Hammer’ and ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’, and those he has popularised, including ‘This Land Is Your Land’ and ‘We Shall Overcome’, have been recorded by hundreds of artists in many languages and have become global anthems for people fighting for freedom. His songs are sung by people in cities and villages around the world, promoting the basic idea that the hopes that unite us are greater than the fears that divide us.

Seeger was a much-acclaimed and innovative guitarist and banjoist, a globe-trotting song collector, and the author of many songbooks and musical how-to manuals. In addition to being a World War II veteran, he was on the frontlines of every key progressive crusade during his lifetime – labour unions and migrant workers in the 1930s and 1940s, the banning of nuclear weapons and opposition to the Cold War in the 1950s, civil rights and the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s, environmental responsibility and opposition to South African apartheid in the 1970s, and, always, human rights throughout the world.

For the past decade, Pete has kept coming out of semi-retirement to do one more concert, give one more interview, write one more book, record one more album. His remarkable spirit, energy and optimism kept him going through triumphs and tragedies, but he outlived all his enemies and remained one of the greatest American heroes of this or any other era.

Several biographies of Seeger have been published in the past decade, including David King Dunaway’s How Can I Keep from Singing? The Ballad of Pete Seeger, Alec Wilkinson’s The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger, and Alan Winkler’s To Everything There Is a Season: Pete Seeger and the Power of Song. Six years ago Jim Brown produced a wonderful documentary film, Pete Seeger: The Power of Song.

Pete, who was modest and self-effacing despite his remarkable accomplishments, never wrote an autobiography. But two years ago he published a collection of his writings, Pete Seeger: In His Own Words. The book presents Pete in his own voice. With Pete’s cooperation, Rob Rosenthal, sociology professor at Wesleyan University, and Sam Rosenthal, a musician and writer, dug through Pete’s extensive writings – letters stored for decades in his family barn, notes to himself, published articles, rough drafts, stories, books, poems and songs – to chronicle and illuminate Pete’s incredible life as America’s troubadour for social justice.

Making music for change

The son of musicologists Charles and Ruth Seeger, Pete spent two years at Harvard, where he got involved in radical politics and helped start a student newspaper, The Harvard Progressive. He quit in 1938 in order to try his own hand at changing society by making music. He worked at the Library of Congress’s Archive of American Folk Song, where he learned many of the songs he would sing throughout his career, travelled around with Woody Guthrie singing at migrant labour camps and union halls, and perfected his guitar- and banjo-playing skills.

In 1941, at age 22, Seeger formed the Almanac Singers with Lee Hays and Millard Lampell, later joined by Guthrie, Bess Lomax (daughter of musicologist John Lomax) and several others who rotated in and out of the group. The Almanacs drew on traditional songs and wrote their own songs to advance the cause of progressive groups, the Communist Party, the Congress of Industrial Organisations unions, the New Deal and, later, the United States and its allies (including the Soviet Union) in the fight against fascism. The Almanacs were part of a broader upsurge of popular progressive culture during the New Deal, fostered in part by programmes like the federal theatre and writers’ projects. Even so, the group was hounded by the FBI, got few bookings and was dropped by its agent, the William Morris Agency. After Seeger and Guthrie joined the military, the group disbanded in 1943.

The Almanacs cultivated an image of being unpolished amateurs. Guthrie once said that the Almanacs ‘rehearsed on stage’. Among them, however, Seeger was the most gifted and disciplined musician, with a remarkable repertoire of traditional songs. He carefully crafted a stage persona that inspired audiences to join him, a performing style that he perfected when he began working as a soloist. Every Seeger concert involved a lot of group singing.

Immediately after World War II, American radicals and liberals sought to reignite popular support for progressive unions, civil rights and internationalism. The left’s folk-music wing hoped to build on its modest successes before and during the war. In 1946 Seeger led the effort to create People’s Songs, an organisation of progressive songwriters and performers, dominated by but not confined to folk musicians, and People’s Artists, a booking agency to help the members of People’s Songs get concert gigs and recording contracts. They compiled The People’s Song Book, which included protest songs from around the world, sponsored a number of successful concerts, and organised chapters in several cities and on college campuses.

When Henry Wallace ran for president on the Progressive Party ticket in 1948, his campaign relied heavily on folk music. Seeger travelled with Wallace during the campaign, distributing song sheets at every meeting or rally so that sing-alongs, led by Seeger, could alternate with Wallace’s speeches.

By 1949 folk music’s popularity had grown, with performers like Burl Ives, Josh White and others gaining a foothold in popular culture, but the folk music of this period had lost much of its political edge.

For a brief period, as a member of the Weavers folk quartet, Seeger achieved commercial success, performing several chart-topping songs that reflected his eclectic repertoire. The group was formed in 1948 by Seeger and Hays (both former Almanacs), along with Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman. They exposed audiences to their repertoire of songs from around the world as well as to American folk traditions, but without the overt advocacy of left-wing political causes. Decca Records signed the Weavers to a recording contract and added orchestral arrangements and instruments to their music, a commercial expediency that rankled Seeger but delighted Hays. The Weavers performed in the nation’s most prestigious nightclubs and appeared on network television shows.

In 1950 their recording of an Israeli song, ‘Tzena, Tzena’, reached number two on the pop charts, and their version of Lead Belly’s ‘Goodnight, Irene’ reached number one and stayed on the charts for half a year. Several of their recordings – ‘On Top of Old Smokey’, ‘Kisses Sweeter Than Wine’, ‘Wimoweh’, and ‘Midnight Special’ – also made the charts. Their 1951 recording of Guthrie’s song ‘So Long It’s Been Good to Know You’ reached number four.

The blacklist years

But the Weavers’ commercial success was shortlived. As soon as they began to be widely noticed in 1950, they were targeted by both private and government witch-hunters. The FBI and Congress escalated their investigations. A group of former FBI agents founded the newsletter Counterattack in 1947 to expose Communism in American society; in 1950, the newsletter issued a special report, ‘Red Channels: the Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television’. It listed 151 actors, writers, musicians, broadcast journalists and others whom it claimed were part of the Communist influence in the entertainment industry – including Seeger and the Weavers. Hollywood studios, TV shows and other venues blacklisted people on the list. A few performers, notably Josh White and Burl Ives, agreed to cooperate with the investigators and were able to resume their careers; others refused to do so, and some were blacklisted. The Weavers survived for another year with bookings and even TV shows, but finally the escalating Red Scare caught up with them. Their contract for a summer television show was cancelled. They could no longer get bookings in the top nightclubs. Radio stations stopped playing their songs, and their records stopped selling. They never had another major hit record.

Seeger left the Weavers to pursue a solo career, but he was blacklisted from the early 1950s through the mid-1960s. In 1955 he was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to discuss his political affiliations at a hearing called by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, although he never spent time in jail. (The conviction was overturned on appeal in May 1962.) Many colleges and concert halls refused to book Seeger. He was kept off network television. In 1963 ABC refused to allow Seeger to appear on Hootenanny, which owed its existence to the folk music revival Seeger had helped inspire.

During the blacklist years, Seeger scratched out a living by giving guitar and banjo lessons and singing at the small number of summer camps, churches, high schools and colleges, and union halls that were courageous enough to invite the controversial balladeer. In 1966, on New York City’s nonprofit educational television station, he hosted a low-budget folk music programme, Rainbow Quest, that gave exposure to many little-known country, bluegrass and folk singers. The station had a limited viewership at the time, but fortunately the programmes were taped and are now available on YouTube.

Eventually, Seeger’s audience grew. In the 1960s he sang with civil rights workers at rallies and churches in the South and at the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. He popularised the song ‘We Shall Overcome’ in the United States and during his concerts around the world. In a letter to Seeger, Martin Luther King Jr thanked him for his ‘moral support and Christian generosity’. In 1967 Tom and Dick Smothers defiantly invited Seeger onto their popular CBS television variety show, the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. True to his principles, Seeger insisted on singing a controversial antiwar song, ‘Waist Deep in the Big Muddy’. CBS censors refused to air the song, but public outrage forced the network to relent and allow him to perform the song on the show a few months later.

Role model

Seeger helped catalyse the folk music revival of the 1960s, encouraging young performers, helping start the Newport Folk Festival, and promoting the folk song magazine Sing Out! that he had helped launch. His book How to Play the 5-String Banjo taught thousands of baby boomers how to play this largely forgotten instrument. He continued to bring audiences songs from around the world, often sung in their original languages.

Tons of prominent musicians – including Bob Dylan, Bono, Joan Baez, the Byrds, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Morello and Bruce Springsteen – consider Seeger a role model and trace their musical roots to his influence. Many of his 80 albums, which include children’s songs, labour and protest songs, traditional American folk songs, international songs and Christmas songs, have reached wide audiences. Among performers around the globe, Seeger became a symbol of a principled artist deeply engaged in the world.

In 1969 Seeger launched the nonprofit group Clearwater, near his home in Beacon, New York, and an annual celebration dedicated to cleaning up the polluted Hudson River. The effort, at first written off as simplistic and naive, helped inspire the environmental movement. The Hudson, once filled with oil pollution, sewage and toxic chemicals, is now swimmable.

Through persistence and unrelenting optimism, Seeger endured and overcame the controversies triggered by his activism. In 1994, at age 75, he received the National Medal of Arts (the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the US government) as well as a Kennedy Center Honor, when President Bill Clinton called him ‘an inconvenient artist, who dared to sing things as he saw them’. In 1996 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame because of his influence on so many rock performers. In 1997 he won the Grammy Award for his 18-track compilation album, Pete.

In the 21st century, some of the nation’s most prominent singers recorded albums honouring Seeger, including Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions. In May 2009 more than 15,000 admirers filled New York City’s Madison Square Garden for a concert honouring Seeger on his 90th birthday. The performers included Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Billy Bragg, Rufus Wainwright, Bela Fleck, Taj Mahal, Roger McGuinn, Steve Earle, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Dar Williams, Tom Morello, Ani DiFranco and John Mellencamp.

In 2012 Pete released two new albums. A More Perfect Union featured 16 original songs written with singer-songwriter Lorre Wyatt and includes duets with Springsteen, Morello, Earle, Harris and Williams. The two-CD Pete Remembers Woody honoured his friend as part of the centennial celebration of Guthrie’s birth. It includes reminiscences, songs and anecdotes.

In the past year, Seeger released the music video and single of ‘God’s Counting on Me, God’s Counting on You’, performed with Arlo Guthrie at Carnegie Hall; shared the stage at New York’s Beacon Theater with Harry Belafonte, Jackson Browne and others to celebrate the life of Native American activist Leonard Peltier, and issued an audiobook titled Peter Seeger: The Storm King, Stories, Narratives and Poems (which was nominated for a Grammy).

Toshi, his wife of 70 years who helped manage Pete’s career, died in July. Despite the enormous loss, Pete kept on singing. He sang ‘I Come and Stand at Every Door’ on Democracy Now! on 9 August to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings. He sang ‘This Land Is Your Land’ (adding an anti-fracking verse) at the Farm Aid concert in Saratoga Springs in September (joined by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews). In December, he performed at a concert in Nyack to benefit the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a peace group. He was scheduled to receive the first Woody Guthrie Award from the Guthrie Foundation and Grammy Foundation in February.

Probably no song reflects Pete’s indomitable spirit more than ‘Quite Early Morning’, the song he sang on the Colbert Report in 2012.

Don’t you know it’s darkest before the dawn

And it’s this thought keeps me moving on

If we could heed these early warnings

The time is now quite early morning

If we could heed these early warnings

The time is now quite early morning

Some say that humankind won’t long endure

But what makes them so doggone sure?

I know that you who hear my singing

Could make those freedom bells go ringing

I know that you who hear my singing

Could make those freedom bells go ringing

And so keep on while we live

Until we have no, no more to give

And when these fingers can strum no longer

Hand the old banjo to young ones stronger

And when these fingers can strum no longer

Hand the old banjo to young ones stronger

So though it’s darkest before the dawn

These thoughts keep us moving on

Through all this world of joy and sorrow

We still can have singing tomorrows

Through all this world of joy and sorrow

We still can have singing tomorrows

Pete’s fingers can strum no longer, but, thanks to him, people around the world can have many ‘singing tomorrows’.

 

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#GazaUnderFire ~~ SPOOFS

Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Bibi and Obama LIKE the Gaza Status

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Business is business!

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Erdogan’s real intentions

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THE STREETS OF GAZA HAVE BECOME A MORGUE … REMINISCENT OF WARSAW

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The Israeli military urged Palestinians to flee a growing area of Gaza ahead of further military action in the Mediterranean enclave. Residents say about half of the territory’s 1.8 million population have been told to move.

With the Israeli and Egyptian borders sealed off, Gazans say they have few places to escape to.

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Fierce Israel Attack on Gaza Neighborhood KIlls Dozens — Bodies Strewn in Street

40 Dead — Shejaia Onslaught ‘Worst Since 1967 War’

By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller

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(Reuters) — At least 40 Palestinians were killed on Sunday by Israeli shelling in a Gaza neighborhood, where bodies were strewn in the street and thousands fled toward a hospital packed with wounded, witnesses and health officials said.

The mass casualties in the Shejaia district in northeast Gaza were the heaviest since Israel launched its offensive on the Palestinian territory on July 8 after cross-border rocket strikes by militants intensified.

Anguished cries of “Did you see Ahmed?” “Did you see my wife?” echoed through the courtyard of Gaza’s Shifa hospital, where panicked residents of Shejaia gathered in family groups, while inside bodies and wounded lay on blood-stained floors.

Video given to Reuters by a local showed at least a dozen mangled corpses, including three children, lying in the rubble-filled streets.

At the hospital, about 3 km (2 miles away), elderly men said the Israeli attack was the fiercest they had seen since the 1967 Middle East war, when Israel captured Gaza.

“Forty martyrs have been counted so far … medics are searching for possibly more casualties,” Naser Tattar, Shifa hospital’s director, told Reuters. He said some 400 people were wounded in the Israeli attack.

Thousands fled Shejaia, some by foot and others piling into the backs of trucks and sitting on the hoods of cars filled with families trying to get away.

Asked about the attack, an Israeli military spokeswoman said: “Two days ago, residents of Shejaia received recorded messages to evacuate the area in order to protect their lives.”

There were no signs of a diplomatic breakthrough toward a ceasefire, and militants kept up their rocket fire on Israel. Sirens sounded in southern Israeli towns and in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. There were no reports of casualties.

Hamas, the dominant armed group in the Gaza Strip, had urged people across the territory not to heed the Israeli warnings and abandon their homes.

As the tank shells began to land, Shejaia residents called radio stations pleading for evacuation. An air strike on the Shejaia home of Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, killed his son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren, hospital officials said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned “the new massacre committed by the Israeli government in Shejaia”, a spokesman for the Western-backed leader said.

Israel, which has accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields by launching rockets from residential areas, sent ground forces into the Gaza Strip on Thursday after 10 days of air, naval and artillery barrages failed to stop the salvoes.

The military said it beefed up its presence on Sunday, with a focus on destroying missile stockpiles and a vast tunnel system Hamas built along the frontier that crosses into Israel.

Gaza’s Health Ministry officials said at least 370 Palestinians, many of them civilians, have been killed in the 13-day conflict and about 2,600 have been wounded. On Israel’s side, two civilians were killed by cross-border fire and five soldiers died as fighting occurred at close quarters.

The United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNRWA) said more than 63,000 people have now sought sanctuary in 55 of its shelters, mostly schools, in Gaza.

The army said that since the start of the ground offensive three days ago, it had killed more than 70 militants and that troops had discovered five tunnels running under the border. It said that since July 8, it had attacked 2,570 targets, describing them as “terror sites”.

TRUCE EFFORTS

Diplomatic efforts to secure a ceasefire involving, among others, Egypt, Qatar, France and the United Nations, have failed to make headway.

Qatar was due to host a meeting between Abbas and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday, a senior Qatari source told Reuters. Ban was due during the week to travel to Kuwait, Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan, a U.N. statement said.

The Qatari source said Abbas was also due to meet Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.

Western-backed Abbas in April struck a deal with Islamist Hamas that led to the formation of a Palestinian unity government, seven years after the group seized control of Gaza from Abbas’s Fatah party in a brief civil war.

Hamas has rejected Egyptian efforts to end fighting, saying any deal must include an end to a blockade of the coastal area and a recommitment to a ceasefire reached after an eight-day war in Gaza in 2012.

Egypt said on Saturday it had no plans to revise its ceasefire proposal. A Hamas source in Doha said the group has no plans to change its conditions for a ceasefire.

Hostilities between the two sides escalated following the killing last month of three Jewish students that Israel blames on Hamas. Hamas neither confirmed nor denied involvement.

The apparent revenge murder of a Palestinian youth in Jerusalem, for which Israel has charged three Israelis, further fueled tension.

Israel says more than 1,700 rockets have been fired out of Gaza during this month’s fighting, and between 3,000 and 4,000 destroyed in military strikes – together almost half of the militants’ original estimated arsenal.

Hamas says it is continuously replenishing its stock of weapons and is ready for a prolonged conflict.

The Israeli death toll has been kept low due to the rockets’ relative inaccuracy, a network of air-raid sirens and shelters and the Iron Dome rocket interceptor’s 90 percent success rate.

The Israeli military urged Palestinians to flee a growing area of Gaza ahead of further military action in the Mediterranean enclave. Residents say about half of the territory’s 1.8 million population have been told to move.

With the Israeli and Egyptian borders sealed off, Gazans say they have few places to escape to.

The largest U.N. agency in Gaza, UNRWA, said about 61,500 people had sought refuge in its buildings, mainly schools – more than in any previous conflict there between Israel and Islamist militants.

 

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Also see THIS report from Ma’an

GAZA ~~ A MESSAGE FROM THE ENEMY

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It’s 1948 all over again … this opinion is from the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Knesset Member, and head of the Manhigut Yehudit (“Jewish Leadership”) faction of Israel’s governing Likud party. Here he outlines the ‘final solution’ for Gaza.

And you thought Hamas was the enemy?

Think again!

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Op-Ed: My Outline for a Solution in Gaza

Clear and concise, the steps towards achieving quiet in Gaza.
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Attack – Attack the entire ‘target bank’ throughout Gaza with the IDF’s maximum force (and not a tiny fraction of it) with all the conventional means at its disposal. All the military and infrastructural targets will be attacked with no consideration for ‘human shields’ or ‘environmental damage’. It is enough that we are hitting exact targets and that we gave them advance warning.

Siege – Parallel to the above, a total siege on Gaza. Nothing will enter the area. Israel, however, will allow exit from Gaza. (Civilians may go to Sinai,fighters may surrender to IDF forces).

Defense – Any place from which Israel or Israel’s forces were attacked will be immediately attacked with full force and no consideration for ‘human shields’ or ‘environmental damage’.

Conquer – After the IDF completes the “softening” of the targets with its fire-power, the IDF will conquer the entire Gaza, using all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations.

Elimination- The GSS and IDF will thoroughly eliminate all armed enemies from Gaza. The enemy population that is innocent of wrong-doing and separated itself from the armed terrorists will be treated in accordance with international law and will be allowed to leave. Israel will generously aid those who wish to leave.

Sovereignty – Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever. Liberation of parts of our land forever is the only thing that justifies endangering our soldiers in battle to capture land. Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel. The coastal train line will be extended, as soon as possible, to reach the entire length of Gaza.

According to polls, most of the Arabs in Gaza wish to leave. Those who were not involved in anti-Israel activity will be offered a generous international emigration package. Those who choose to remain will receive permanent resident status. After a number of years of living in Israel and becoming accustomed to it, contingent on appropriate legislation in the Knesset and the authorization of the Minister of Interior, those who personally accept upon themselves Israel’s rule, substance and way of life of the Jewish State in its Land, will be offered Israeli citizenship.

ZIO BEX ALERT ~~~ MORE LIES TO JUSTIFY SLAUGHTER

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zios claim this was from Gaza …. ‘Hamas using children as human shields’ …

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ISRAEL WELCOMES FRANCE TO THE LEAGUE OF TYRANTS

France became the first country in the world to ban pro Palestinian demonstrations …. does this make them ‘The Only Democracy In Europe?’ (sic)

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Israel-Gaza conflict: French minister Bernard Cazeneuve backs ban on pro-Palestinian protests in Paris

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Thousands of protesters were expected to march in Paris over the weekend and call for an end to the violence in Gaza, as it emerged on Friday that the Israeli military had killed 296 Palestinians in the renewed conflict – including a baby, four children and a 70-year-old woman since Thursday.  One Israeli civilian and one IDF soldier have died in the 11-day conflict.

Citing a “threat to public order”, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve backed the police ban on the widely-advertised mass demonstrations, after members of the Jewish Defence League (LDJ) and pro-Palestinian groups clashed last Sunday.

He also advised other police prefects to consider banning planned rallies on a “case by case” basis.

Videos from rallies last week reportedly showed armed LDJ vigilantes attempting to tempt pro-Palestinian demonstrators into fights.

“I consider that the conditions are not right to guarantee security,” Mr Cazeneuve said regarding the main Paris march, according to theMail Online.

On Friday evening, lawyers for a number of groups responded by lodging an appeal against the ban in a Paris court.

Attending an illegal demonstration is punishable by a year in prison, and a €15,000 fine – a penalty which rises to a three year sentence and a €45,000 fine if a demonstrator covers their face to avoid being identified.

Meanwhile, publicising an illegal demonstration on social media can lead to a year-long prison sentence, and a €15,000 fine. This increases to seven years and a 100,000 fine if the post sparks violence.

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French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve at the National Assembly in Paris (Getty)

French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve at the National Assembly in Paris (Getty)

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Youssef Boussoumah, of the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic (PIR), told the website: “France is criminalising any show of solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

“This is an absolute outrage, it is a continuation of attempts to muzzle the Palestinian people and to get them and their supporters in France to surrender absolutely to Israel’s oppression,” he added.

False reports following last week’s protests claimed that pro-Palestinian demonstrators had damaged synagogues during the rally, but it later emerged none of the religious buildings had been targeted.

A judicial inquiry is to be launched into the false allegations.

NEW YORKERS HONOUR THE MARTYRS OF GAZA ~~ IN PHOTOS

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Mock Funeral held for the victims …

We met in Bryant Park behind the 42nd St. library, read the names of the dead, and then began a silent walk, only the sound of a drum, across 42nd St to the Israeli Consulate on 2nd Ave. We carried signs, Palestinian flags, figures of people wrapped in white, and some wore blood stained shrouds.  People on the crowded streets stood aside and watched our long line pass.  Some took photos.  When we got to the consulate we chanted and after about an hour we went to the Egyptian Consulate and did the same there.

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THE SLAUGHTER OF CHILDREN IS BAD PUBLICITY FOR ZION

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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Yesterday, Israel shelled a Gaza beach, killing four children who were playing soccer there. A second shell hit as survivors were running for help.

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Why Killing Kids on Gaza Beach Is Bad Hasbara

By Ben Sales FOR

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Palestinians rush wounded boy to safety after Israeli mortar killed four boys playing soccer on a Gaza beach. Getty Images

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(JTA) — Israel’s fight in the PR war just got that much harder.

Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge last week, journalists and commentators — Jon Stewart included (See below)— have criticized Israel for the lopsided death count in the conflict.

And an errant airstrike today next to a journalists’ hotel has led to a fresh wave of criticism against Israel. This afternoon, Israel shelled a Gaza beach, killing four children who were playing soccer there. A second shell hit as survivors were running for help.

The Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said the shells were aimed at a Hamas operative.

But because the shells hit outside a hotel housing journalists covering the conflict, pictures, video and first-person accounts have flooded the Internet, showing smoke, the dead children and a scene of chaos.

“The attack — and its heartrending aftermath –- was witnessed by NBC News,” wrote NBC reporters Ayman Mohyeldin and Paul Ziad Nassar. “Moments earlier, the boys were playing soccer with journalists on the beach.”

Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense shield — along with early-warning sirens and ubiquitous bomb shelters — has kept its fatalities down to one. Palestinians in Gaza, however, have suffered more than 200 deaths, most of them civilians. Israel has blamed Hamas for these deaths, as it fires rockets from densely populated areas and stores weapons caches under civilian buildings.

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The world and Uncle Sam continue to watch the terror movie … probably coming soon to the Big Screen

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CONDEMNATION OF ISRAEL IS NOT ENOUGH

A country that fails to abide by international law, that refuses to withdraw from Arab lands it has occupied since 1967, that practices racism against its Palestinian citizens, that refuses to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands, is a country that should be expelled from the community of nations. International solidarity with Gaza and the Palestinians demands no less than the complete isolation of apartheid Israel.

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Gaza needs more than condemnation

Haidar Eid FOR
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Protesters demonstrate against Israel’s attacks on Gaza at the Hague on 12 July.  (Robert Soeterik)

The Palestinians of Gaza, naively, went to the polling station in January 2006, mistakenly believing the Bush doctrine of bringing democracy to the Middle East — in spite of him being responsible for the brutal massacre of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

People voted, but not for the preferred choice of the Israelis, or their American backers and the Arab dictators. The Palestinian choice was against the peace process industry, against the fiction that is the ever-slippery two-state solution, against the corruption of the Oslo-eranouveau riche.

The outcome was a surprise not only for the Oslo camp, but also for the winners themselves: Hamas. And Palestinians, especially those in Gaza, were made to pay a heavy price for this transgression: the imposition of a severe siege described by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe in 2006 as “genocide.”

But the deadly siege was not enough to satisfy Israel’s hunger for Palestinian blood. The Palestinians of Gaza refused to passively accept Israel’s siege, like good natives are supposed to. Hence, Israel ferociously attacked Gaza in three horrific assaults in 2006, 2009 and 2012 and now again in 2014.

In all of these attacks, the people of Gaza were left alone to face one of the strongest armies in the world — an army that has hundreds of nuclear warheads, thousands of trigger-happy soldiers armed with Merkava tanks, F-16s, Apache helicopters, naval gunships and phosphorous bombs made in the United States. Gaza has no army, no navy and no air force. And yet Israelis claim to be under threat and fear for their lives!

Complicity

Commenting on this situation in Gaza, Karen Koning AbuZayd, former commissioner-general for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, said in 2008: “Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution with the knowledge, acquiescence and — some would say — encouragement of the international community.”

We in Gaza know very well that Israel could not have carried out its current genocidal war, preceded by this horrific siege and a series of massacres before it, without a green light from the so-called international community.

Tellingly, an Israeli soldier was quoted by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper in 2009: “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him.”

But this aggression is not new; none of these wars have been a response to Qassamrockets fired from Gaza.

The 1948 Genocide Convention clearly states that one instance of genocide is “the deliberate infliction of conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of a people in whole or in part.”

Sara Roy, an expert on Gaza, describes the Strip as follows:

[Gaza is] a land ripped apart and scarred, the lives of its people blighted. Gaza is decaying under the weight of continued devastation, unable to function normally …The decline and disablement of Gaza’s economy and society have been deliberate, the result of state policy — consciously planned, implemented and enforced. Although Israel bears the greatest responsibility, the United States and the European Union, among others, are also culpable … All are complicit in the ruination of this gentle place. And just as Gaza’s demise has been consciously orchestrated, so have the obstacles preventing its recovery.

The Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Program stated in a 2009 report: “The evidence shows that the population is being sustained at the most basic or minimum humanitarian standard.”

As Ilan Pappe argues in Out of the Frame, mainstream discourse in Israel is about the need to destroy Gaza once and for all: “today from the left to the right, from academia to the media, one can hear the righteous anger of a state that more than any other in the world is destroying and dispossessing an indigenous population.”

And now, judging by the increasing air raids, the incitement of Israel’s war-mongering generals and politicians, Israel is putting that ideology into practice. As Thursday evening, Gaza time, the latest statistics are horrific: 237 dead, more than 50 of them children, and 1,770 injured, according to the Gaza health ministry, and more than 1,600 homesdemolished in broad daylight.

And yet those in places of power, unsurprisingly, still back Israel’s “right to defend itself,” conveniently forgetting or in the case of the Obama administration, denying that those who are oppressed and dispossessed also have the right to resist their oppression. Israel is intent on destroying Gaza and international official bodies and administrations like Obama’s repeatedly declare their commitment to Israel’s “security” like a broken record, without a care for Palestinian lives.

Urgent

The urgent question facing us in Gaza is not just how to survive for today, but how to hold Israel accountable to international law and basic principles of human rights; how to stop the current escalation and the ongoing massacre and how to stop this from ever happening again.

Knowing that the credible Goldstone report on suspected war crimes in Gaza in 2008-09, and reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are all ignored or undermined, there is a bitter awareness that we in Gaza can have no expectation of Israeli accountability for the current onslaught. But this is in the short term only — in the long term, we know that Israel will have to answer to its oppression of Palestinians because this oppression will end one day. History will have it no other way.

What Palestine needs from the world today is not just a condemnation of the Gaza massacres and siege, but also a delegitimization of the ideology that produced this policy and justifies it morally and politically, just as the racist ideology of apartheid was delegitimized.

It seems, however, and again, as Ilan Pappe notices, that even horrendous crimes, such as the genocide in Gaza, are treated as “discrete events, unrelated to events in the past and dissociated from any ideology or system.” Supporters of Palestine must always relate today’s massacres to the original sin of colonization of the land which Israel has claimed for its own and the dispossession of its indigenous people.

The window of hope comes from the lessons we have learned from South Africa, where the ugly apartheid regime came under mounting pressure from outside. It is time for international civil society, as opposed to the ineffectual United Nations, to redouble their support for our struggle against apartheid in Palestine today. As Palestinians under Israeli siege, occupation and apartheid, we increasingly rely on international law and solidarity for our very survival. That solidarity is needed more than ever today.

The best way to honor those killed, injured and made homeless in Gaza is to raise your voices even louder and demand that governments impose sanctions against Israel. Now is the time to increase the number of universities and businesses that boycott Israel. Now is the time to demand divestment from more pension funds. Now is the time for more countries to cut all ties with Israel.

A country that fails to abide by international law, that refuses to withdraw from Arab lands it has occupied since 1967, that practices racism against its Palestinian citizens, that refuses to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands, is a country that should be expelled from the community of nations. International solidarity with Gaza and the Palestinians demands no less than the complete isolation of apartheid Israel.

Haidar Eid is an independent political commentator from the Gaza Strip, Palestine.

AFTERMATH OF THE ‘HUMANITARIAN CEASEFIRE’

Three children from a single family were killed when an Israeli air strike hit their home in the Sabra section of Gaza City on Thursday evening.

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Israel ends “humanitarian ceasefire” with new massacre of Gaza children

The bodies of Fulla Tariq Shuhaibar, Jihad Issam Shuhaibar and Wasim Issam Shuhaibar lay in a morgue at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on 17 July.  (Mohammed Asad / APA images)

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Four children were killed when Israel resumed its heavy bombardment of the occupied Gaza Strip after the expiry on Thursday afternoon of a five-hour “humanitarian ceasefire” requested by the United Nations.

Another child died of injuries sustained in earlier Israeli attacks.

By Thursday evening in Gaza, at least fourteen Palestinians had been killed in Israeli attacks before and after the brief ceasefire, bringing the total to 237 fatalities since Israel’s round-the-clock assault began on 7 July, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

The number of children killed has risen to 53, including four young boys from the Baker family slaughtered by Israeli shelling in front of international media as they played on a beach on Wednesday.

Defence for Children International Palestine, which documents the deaths of children, said the toll from Israel’s current campaign “is now at its highest since Israel’s December 2008 military incursion, Operation Cast Lead, which resulted in the deaths of 352 children.”

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A medic with the Palestine Red Crescent Society carries an injured child to a hospital in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah following an Israeli air strike before a five-hour ceasefire went into effect on 17 July.  (Eyad Al Baba / APA images)

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More than 1,770 people have been injured, straining Gaza’s health services which facesevere shortages of medications and supplies.

Almost eighty percent of the dead are civilians, and almost half of the injured are women and children, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Three children from single family killed

Three children from a single family were killed when an Israeli air strike hit their home in the Sabra section of Gaza City on Thursday evening.

The children were named as Fulla Tariq Shuhaibar, Jihad Issam Shuhaibar and Wasim Issam Shuhaibar, all young children whose ages were not specified.

A video uploaded to YouTube shows the dead children lying in a medical facility while a distraught medical official denounces their killings as a “crime.”

“Every day there is a massacre,” the official says.

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In a separate incident, Rahaf Khalil Jbour, aged four, was killed in an Israeli air attack on her neighborhood of al-Manara in Khan Younis.

Also on Thursday, Yasin al-Humeidi, aged four, died of injuries he suffered in an earlier air attack on Gaza City.

Among those killed on Thursday were 71-year-old Zaynab al-Abadla of Khan Younis and 67-year-old Muhammad Abdulrahman Hassouna of Rafah.

Destruction of homes continues

Israel has also continued its systematic destruction of civilian homes.

By the end of 16 July, Israel had destroyed or severely damaged 1,660 residential buildings, making 9,900 people homeless, OCHA reported.

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After a five-hour ceasefire went into effect, Palestinians collect belongings in a Gaza City building damaged in an Israeli air strike, 17 July.  (Ezz Zanoon / APA images)

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Another 22,600 are seeking shelter in UN-run schools, having fled from Israeli shelling or threats of attack, principally in the northern and eastern sectors of the Gaza Strip.

Nine hundred thousand people – half the population of Gaza – are “without water supply due to inability to repair or operate infrastructure,” OCHA said.

Human Rights Watch said this week that Israeli air attacks it investigated “have been targeting apparent civilian structures and killing civilians in violation of the laws of war.”

The group called on Israel to “end unlawful attacks that do not target military objectives and may be intended as collective punishment or broadly to destroy civilian property.”

Ceasefire?

Intense ceasefire negotiations are ongoing in Cairo, and earlier today there were premature reports that a ceasefire had been reached.

However the clearest sign that there was no agreement could be seen in the tweets of journalists and residents of Gaza who testified that the Israeli campaign of terror continues.

In a worrying development late Thursday in Gaza, The Electronic Intifada contributor Joe Catron reported that a heavy attack had begun on or near al-Wafa hospital, which had previously been threatened by Israel.

Catron had previously been at the hospital himself, along with other international activists, from where he spoke to The Electronic Intifada on Tuesday.

IMAGES OF THE DAY BY LATUFF

Read THIS first ….

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The three wise Abbas’ …

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Now look at THIS … Abbas won’t

Horror on Gaza Beach: New York Times Photographer Witnesses Israeli Killing of 4 Palestinian Boys

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