Israeli analyst: Hamas won this round in current war

Ben Caspit

Israeli military analyst Ben Caspit has said that “it must be recognised that Hamas had won the ongoing round [of the conflict] despite the strong operations of the Israeli army in tunnel destruction,” Palestinian news agency SAMA reported on yesterday.

SAMA said Caspit spoke to the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv. To reinforce his opinion, Caspit asked how could an Al-Qassam cell could infiltrate the Israeli military watch point of Nahal Oz and kill the Israeli soldiers there even though the tunnel had been previously discovered and destroyed?

He criticised the Israeli leadership saying: “The situation would be different if there had been a real, strong and strict leadership for Israel.” That kind of government, he presumed, should have the support of the international community. “But the current leadership does not have all of these things,” he said.

The analyst said that the press conference held by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon, in which they announced the expansion of the war, made the Qassam leader Mohamed Al-Deif laugh and gave him the pretext to continue targeting Israel.

“I hope that the press conference was not meant to communicate a message of deterrence to the Hamas leadership,” he explained, “because Israel has been receiving one slap after another over the last few days.”

He continued: “If I were Netanyahu, I would have called the full ministerial council to meet, not only the reduced security members. This is no longer a normal operation. It is becoming a national scandal.” He accused Netanyahu of making the US an enemy instead of being a “strategic friend”.

(Source / 31.07.2014)

Syrian Interim Government: Assad is the Sole Buyer of ISIS’s Oil

Elias Warda, interim Energy Minister, said that the Assad regime is the sole buyer of the oil produced by the extremist groups that control of the oil fields in eastern Syria. “The Assad regime is violating the UN Security Council resolution that bans the purchase of oil from the extremist groups, thus Assad is actively providing support for these groups. Assad’s buying of oil from ISIS is not prompted only by geopolitical or geographical reasons that make him the sole bidder for ISIS’s oil, but it was more the outcome of secret treaties signed by the two sides as part of the mutual benefit policy that dominates the relationship between the Assad regime and ISIS. By buying oil from ISIS, the Assad regime is actually returning the favor to ISIS which was allowed to seize control of the oil fields to deny them to the Syrian rebels after regime forces withdrew from eastern Syria.” Warda also points out that the capture of these oil fields by Syrian rebels would pose real threat to the Assad regime, as this would grant them economic independence, which in turn means political independence, a scenario that would directly endanger the interests of the Assad regime and his allies.”  Moreover, Warda raises doubts the Russian move in the UN Security Council to pass a resolution that bans the oil trade with extremist groups in Syria. “I doubt that this UN resolution mainly targets ISIS, as they sell oil only to the Assad regime. We are afraid that this is a pre-emptive move aimed at preventing the activation of the European decision made in 2013 that gave the Syrian Coalition the right to export oil from oil fields in the rebel-held areas. Unfortunately, The international community is does not help us develop such oil projects that we badly need to overcome the financial obstacles that are facing the revolutionary movement.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 31.07.2014)

Syrian Coalition: Kidnapping of Father Paulo Serves the Interests of Assad and ISIS Only

Khalid al-Saleh, president of the Media Office, said that ISIS’s kidnapping of Father Paolo Dall’Oglio “is not targeted at one person, but the centuries-long tolerance upon which the culture of the Syrians was built. This heinous crime clearly serves only the interests of Assad and his allies who are seeking to present themselves as the guarantors of the minorities’ rights. Assad has been fervently trying to tamper with the cultural and social fabric of the Syrian society to achieve political goals. However, the supportive position of Father Paolo of the revolution, as well as the sacrifices made by all components of the Syrian people have sent a strong message to the world that no one will succeed in undermining the social and cultural diversity that have long characterized the Syrian civilization. Saleh also stresses that it is no longer a secret that Assad has been targeting all symbols of the minorities to create sectarian strife as this is the only way he can cling to power at the expense of the blood of the Syrian people. Assad and his allies should realize that Syrians will not allow the expulsion of the people out of their homes on the basis of their cultural identity, sect, race or believes. Syrian civilians can only be protected when the international community takes immediate and practical steps to support the Free Syrian Army, which proved to be the only force able to stand against the Assad regime and the extremist groups.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 31.07.2014)

Israel’s Mass Killing of Palestinian Families in Gaza

Israel’s Mass Killing of Palestinian Families in Gaza

PHOTO: The Kelani family, killed by an Israeli airstrike on an apartment building in Gaza City on July 22 

According to the United Nations, at least 68 Palestinian families in Gaza have had three or more members killed by the Israeli military in the same incident since Israel began its current assault on Gaza on July 7, for a total of 360 people. In its daily Gaza emergency report on July 30, the UN expressed deep concern at the “alarming number” of such incidents. To date, Israel has killed approximately 1400 people in Gaza during its current assault, approximately 75% of them civilians according to the UN, including more than 250 children.

On July 30:

On July 29:

On July 26:

  • Shortly before a 12-hour ceasefire came into effect, at least 20 members of the Al-Najar family were killed, including 11 children, and many others wounded when their home was attacked by the Israeli military in southern Gaza. According to reports, they had been trapped inside the home since Thursday.
  • The bodies of 11 members of the Hilo family were pulled from the rubble of their home in Shejaiya, which was bombarded by the Israeli military a week before. According to a relative, they had received phone calls and leaflets from the Israeli military on July 29 telling them to leave, but that shelling had already begun and they didn’t think it was safe to leave.

On July 24:

  • The Israeli military killed at least ten members of the al-Astal family, including three children, in two separate attacks on civilian homes in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. According to the UN, in one of the incidents, Israeli forces fired on civilians attempting to aid the survivors of the initial strike. At least six other members of the al-Astal family have been killed by the Israeli military in the past week.
  • Israeli forces killed five members of the Abu Aita family, including an eleven-year-old boy in Jabalia in northern Gaza. The dead were 67-year-old Ibrahim Abdullah Abu Aita, 65-year-old Jamila Salim Abu Aita, 30-year-old Ahmad Ibrahim Abdullah Abu Aita, and 11-year-old Adham Ahmad Abu Aita.

On July 22:

On July 21:

On July 20seven members of the al Hallaq family were killed, including three children and a pregnant woman, by an Israeli missile strike on a home where they were taking shelter in Gaza City. The family had moved to a relative’s house in the center of the city from their home on the outskirts, which they feared wouldn’t be safe from Israeli attacks.

​On July 19four members of the Zuwaid family and one other person were killed by Israeli shelling in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza. The dead family were Mahmoud Zuwaid, his wife Daliah, and their children, three-year-old Nagham, and two-year-old Ruya.

On July 18:

On July 16four young boys were killed and three others injured, by Israeli shelling on the beach in Gaza City. The dead, all cousins, were Ahed Atef Bakr and Zakariya Ahed Bakr, who were ten years old, eleven-year-old Mohammad Ramiz Bakr, and nine-year-old Ismail Mahmoud Bakr.

On July 1318 members of the al-Batsh family, including six children and three women, one of them pregnant, were killed, and 16 others injured by Israel in an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Gaza’s chief of police by attacking his cousin’s home.

On July 10, Israeli forces killed 8 members of the Al Haj family, including five children, during an attack on their home in Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

(Source / 31.07.2014)

This is what an Israeli airstrike on a building in Gaza looks like

A bomb is seen before it hits a house in a Gaza City neighborhood. 

GAZA CITY – It was around 2.30 pm, and the word had spread on al-Jalla Street.

An Israeli airstrike was about to unfold. The target: a grey, concrete building of moderate height in the heart of Gaza City.

Children gathered on balconies. Young men congregated at an intersection. Others placed bricks and tires blocking off a section of the street that ran past the building. A man in a tank top and shorts served as a traffic policeman, directing vehicles to take a detour. Cars stopped. More people stepped out, their eyes glued to the ill-fated building.

And they all waited to watch a macabre ritual of destruction on the 24th day of the war.

A few minutes earlier, the Israeli military had telephoned the son of Bashir al-Ramlawi, 58, the owner of the building. How they got his number was a mystery. The voice on the other end of the line told the son that his family had to evacuate their home immediately. They were going to be attacked.

The son frantically called his father. The father frantically told the rest of the family, which by then consisted of 35 members because many had fled their homes in other parts of Gaza to seek refuge with Ramlawi, he later said. Now, they were on the run again.

Perhaps the neighbors saw the family fleeing within five minutes of the call. Perhaps the son called his friends. Perhaps the Israelis themselves phoned residents in the area. Whatever the cause, the word spread like a brushfire, and soon everyone along al-Jalla Street seemed to know of the coming airstrike.

Residents of central Gaza watch as an Israeli bomb drops on a house.

And they waited.

Suddenly, a loud boom, and then, a puff of smoke shaped like a mushroom. The building had been hit. But no one left. They knew this was just the beginning.

A few minutes later, another bomb screeched overhead and struck the building. The cloud of smoke spread, fogging the street. Then, a third one hit. The building was still standing.

Still, no one left. They knew the drill. The first three strikes, some onlookers said seemingly speaking with experience, were small ones from Israeli drones. They served, the people said, as a warning to anyone still too close to the building and as a way to soften up the building, like a boxer jabbing his opponent, seeking that knockout punch.

An Israeli missile strikes a house in Gaza, minutes after Israeli forces called the owner and asked him to evacuate.

It came at 2.50 pm. The unmistakable sound of an F 16 fighter jet roaring through the sky. A finned missile loudly whooshed over the heads of the people on al-Jalla Street, obliterating the building. A huge ball of smoke, triple the size of the first three strikes, rose toward the sky.

It was a pinpoint strike. No one was killed or injured, and the surrounding buildings were untouched.

Smoke rises from a house in a Gaza neighborhood after it is hit by a missile.

And it was over. Within minutes, the street was open again. Cars drove by the crumpled building. Everything seemed to be normal, save for the face of Ramlawi.

“I don’t know why they hit my house,” he said, nearly in tears, adding that he had no ties to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza.

He said many of his relatives who lived with him had recently fled fierce clashes between Israeli forces and Hamas fighters in the eastern enclave of Shijaiyah. Now, he said, they were all homeless.

Residents look at the damaged building after it was brought down by an airstrike.
(Source / 31.07.2014)

Israel determined to destroy Gaza border tunnels: PM

An Israeli artillery gun fires a 155mm shell towards targets in the Gaza Strip from their position near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip on July 30, 2014

Israel was determined to complete the destruction of tunnels build by Palestinian militants under the Gaza-Israel border regardless of ceasefire efforts, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.

“We are determined to complete this mission with or without a ceasefire,” Netanyahu said in public remarks carried by Reuters at the start of a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv.

“I won’t agree to any proposal that will not enable the Israeli military to complete this important task for the sake of Israel’s security.”

Major General Sami Turgeman, chief of Israeli forces in Gaza, said on Wednesday they were “but a few days away from destroying all the attack tunnels”.

An army spokeswoman said earlier on Thursday that 16,000 additional reservists have been mobilized to Gaza, bringing the total number of soldiers in the military operations in the Gaza strip to 86,000.

“The army has issued 16,000 additional mobilization orders to allow troops on the ground to rest, which takes the total number of reservists to 86,000,” said an army spokeswoman according to Agence-France Presse.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he remained hopeful for a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict but declined to predict when.

Kerry, on a visit to India, said he had remained in close contact on the telephone with players in the Middle East to try to end the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“The United States remains hopeful that it is achievable, and the sooner the better,” Kerry said of a ceasefire.

“There is no promise in that, but I think everybody would feel better if there was a bona fide effort,” Kerry told a joint news conference with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi.

Netanyahu’s annoucement came a day after the United States confirmed it had restocked Israel’s supplies of ammunition, hours after issuing a strong condemnation of an attack on a United Nations school in Gaza.

The Israeli military requested additional ammunition to restock its dwindling supplies on July 20, the Pentagon said. The U.S. Defense Department approved the sale just three days later.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

“This defense sale is consistent with those objectives.”

Two of the requested munitions came from a little-known stockpile of ammunition stored by the U.S. military on the ground in Israel for emergency use by the Jewish state. The War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel is estimated to be worth $1 billion.

Kirby stressed that those munitions had been in WRSA-I stock for “a few years, well before the current crisis.”

“All stocks in WRSA-I, as required by law, are ‘in excess to U.S. requirements,” he added.

Gaza officials say at least 1,361 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in the battered enclave and nearly 7,000 wounded. Fifty-six Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza clashes and more than 400 wounded. Three civilians have been killed in Palestinian shelling in Israel.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was incensed on Wednesday at the deaths of at least 15 Palestinians among thousands sheltering at a school whose U.N. administrator said appeared to have been hit by Israeli artillery.

U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay on Thursday slammed what she said was Israel’s “deliberate defiance” of international law during the Gaza conflict.

Pillay lambasted the country’s attacks on homes, schools, hospitals and United Nations facilities in Gaza.

“None of this appears to me to be accidental,” she told reporters in statements carried by AFP. “There appears to be deliberate defiance of obligations that international law imposes on Israel.

(Source / 31.07.2014)

Israel mobilizes 16,000 more reservists for ground Gaza offensive

Israel has mobilized some 16,000 additional reservists for ground military operations against the besieged Gaza Strip.

“The army has issued 16,000 additional mobilization orders to allow troops on the ground to rest, which takes the total number of reservists to 86,000,” an unnamed Israeli army spokeswoman said on Thursday.

This comes a day after Israel’s security cabinet held a five-hour meeting, deciding to continue the attacks against Gaza.

On July 30 alone, over 100 people were killed in Gaza, including victims who lost their lives as a result of Israel’s attack on a crowded market and a United Nations-run school, which was being used as a shelter by displaced Palestinians.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the deadly attack on the UN-run building.

Meanwhile, the US has announced that it has agreed to restock Tel Aviv’s ammunition supplies.

At least 1,364 Palestinians have been killed and 7,860 others injured since the Israeli regime’s military attacks against the coastal sliver started on July 8.

The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, has been launching retaliatory attacks against Israel.

(Source / 31.07.2014)

Combating Israel’s Flimsy “Human Shield” Rhetoric

By Ramona Wadi

Israeli “human shield” rhetoric is — at its best — a marketing scheme misrepresenting reality and — at its worst — an excuse for exterminating the Palestinian population

Israel Palestiniane

Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Discourse regarding Hamas’ alleged use of Palestinian civilians as human shields remains widespread, as Israel strives to contain increasing international condemnation and outrage over the atrocities of Operation Protective Edge.

Of course, the context of “international” must be defined in order to accommodate different and diverging narratives. Israel’s allies do not fall into the condemning category — rather, they promulgate the “human shields” accusation against Hamas in a feeble attempt to retain hegemonic assertions. Combine “human shields” with “legitimacy,” though, and the equation for blatant misrepresentation is perfect.

With Palestinian victims of Israeli aggression numbering more than 1,000, pressure on Israel to explain the deliberate targeting of Palestinian civilians through the Israeli Defense Force’s lauded precision strikes is growing stronger. In an attempt to ward off criticism, Israel has launched a new marketing strategy: “Hamas sacrifices Gaza for its extremism.” The idea behind the campaign, as explained in the Jerusalem Post, is to deflect blame from Israel and onto Hamas. According to an unnamed Israeli official paraphrased in the Jerusalem Post, “Israel wanted to impress upon the world that it is not as if the battle started elsewhere and ‘rolled into civilian areas’ like Shejaia, but rather that Hamas set up its command centers, rocket launchers and attack tunnels in the civilian areas to begin with.” The implicit message is that Hamas’ “extremism” forced the commencement of the current massacre, thus relieving Israel of any liability.

Evidence collected by Defence for Children International Palestine regarding Israeli troops’ conduct on various occasions testifies to Israel’s use of Palestinian civilians as human shields. Furthermore, video evidence clearly portrays the manipulations of the Israeli military in their West Bank incursions. In one video, Israeli soldiers detain Palestinian children to stand in front of a military jeep and force a Palestinian teenager to stand at gunpoint while a house is searched.

In the current context — which, according to Israel, renders the entirety of Gaza a legitimate target — Hamas is blamed for anticipating and wanting an extreme Palestinian death toll to garner unbridled sympathy. On July 20, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Hamas needs an abundance of “telegenically dead Palestinians” to further its cause.

Netanyahu also erroneously declared that Israel uses weapons to protect its “civilians” — which should read settler-colonialists — while Hamas uses civilians to protect its weapons. In addition, the IDF’s Twitter account has kept up a steady stream of propaganda mainly consisting of “terror tunnel” discoveries and detonations, including statements such as “Gaza terrorists could have used this tunnel to abduct or murder Israelis. We found & detonated before they could.” Never mind the uncertainty regarding whether the tunnel was used or not — tunnels have become an integral part of Israel’s violent rhetoric, rather than Hamas’ allegedly “terrorist” actions.

The IDF’s Twitter account is also obsessed with interpreting “Hamas’ world” according to Israeli conjecture that is permanently disassociated from the ramifications of settler-colonialism, forced displacement, and the Gaza siege. The world is informed that “hospitals are command centers, ambulances are transport vehicles and medics are human shields.” In more accurate wording, the statement reflects Israel’s predisposition to display its military capabilities on any given target and its abundant contempt for international law.

Much emphasis has been placed on allegations of Hamas utilizing U.N. Relief and Works Agency schools to store weapons — a topic that has been exhausted by the Jerusalem Post — resulting in the incessant bombing of facilities even after UNRWA admitted the alleged weapons were handed over to officials with the unity government.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness tweeted on July 24, “Over the course of the day UNRWA tried to coordinate with the Israeli Army a window for civilians to leave and it was never granted.”

Human shields rhetoric, therefore, is little more than an excuse for Israel to murder the greatest number of Palestinian civilians possible, leaving UNRWA staff and other Palestinians to gather mutilated bodies and severed limbs into plastic bags for a semblance of a decent burial.

An enclave of incarceration

Rather than insisting upon the human shield rhetoric, it is imperative to focus on Gaza as an incarcerated enclave. Israel has recently started advocating for the demilitarization of Gaza as a step to further the subjugation of the resistant population that is thriving despite increasing hardships and isolation, in particular following the rise to the presidency of Egypt’s Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who closed the Rafah border crossing and aided Israel in its initial pursuit of destroying the Gaza tunnels — Palestinians’ only link to the world beyond the enclave.

Operation Protective Edge has reinforced the focus on Gaza’s reality through inscribing indiscriminate and unjustified murder upon the entire enclave. Perpetuating false reassurances, Israel then claims that Palestinians are being used as human shields, despite absolute evidence to the contrary, and it blames Hamas for firing rockets from civilian and densely populated areas — hence, the one-sided justification of Israeli-inflicted carnage.

If rockets are stored and fired from civilian areas, the blame lies solely with the creation of Israel in 1948 and its subsequent maintenance, which, among other human rights violations, has created unsustainable conditions in Gaza that can only be repelled through resistance, not diplomacy. So far, diplomacy has failed to address issues such as restrictions placed upon education, the deprivation of basic services such as water, as well as the lack of freedom of movement exacerbated by the reality of incessant forced displacement faced by Gazans living there.

Blaming Hamas for the ramifications of colonial violence perverts history and manipulates the present reality. Just as the endless charters allegedly meant to safeguard human rights were created as a response to human rights violations, Palestinian resistance is a response to the illegal existence of Israel’s settler-colonial state. The imposition of Israel upon Palestinian territory fuelled Palestinian resistance as a rightful and legitimate measure for liberation. Since Israel’s ongoing colonial massacre, the liberation of historic Palestine has gained ground. Discourse regarding the two-state solution is now less prominent, as Palestinians have united behind the renewed resistance exhibiting traits of the historical resilience enshrined within the charters of various factions.

Despite Zionist propaganda, the termination of Operation Protective Edge will not annihilate Palestinian resistance, and the rhetoric of human shields will be shelved for the next designated massacre that aims to bring about a slow extermination of the Palestinian population. Israel has exploited the macabre and entirely fictional imagery of unwilling civilians forced to their deaths by “militants” allegedly more concerned about piles of martyred bodies than the safeguarding of the indigenous population.

Considering the restrictions imposed by Israel upon Palestinians in Gaza — including the prohibitions imposed upon Palestinian civilians wishing to return to their neighborhoods — it is little wonder that the human shields rhetoric would escalate within the given context. Departing from the premise that Israel is the entity utilizing human shields, it follows that the enclave has been conveniently designated as a human shield by the settler-colonial state — a typical Zionist characteristic involving the constant extermination of Palestinians with the ultimate aim of furthering colonial expansion.

(Source / 31.07.2014)

Who’s Profiting from Israel’s Offensive in Gaza?


Who's Profiting from Israel's Offensive in Gaza?

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.Now joining us to give us a special report on the Israeli military-industrial complex is our guest, Shir Hever. Shir is an economic researcher for the Alternative Information Center, a Palestinian-Israeli organization.Thanks for joining us, Shir.


DESVARIEUX: So, Shir, the violence continues in Gaza, and it begs the question, who is actually profiting from this war?

HEVER: I have to say it feels very cynical to talk about economy and profiteers when we’re talking about such a massive human tragedy and so many people killed–murdered, actually. But I think it is very important to understand the economic aspect of it, because it also tells us a little bit why, why this is happening, and maybe also gives us an idea of what is required in order to stop it.We’ve seen in the last couple of years a pattern. Every two years or so, the Israeli military attacks Gaza, attacks the Gaza Strip, and causes a lot of destruction. But right after each one of those attacks, there is a trade show in which Israeli weapon companies show their wares, show their technologies, and boast that these are the very technologies that have been used just now against Palestinians in Gaza. We saw that after the attack of 2008-2009, known as Cast Lead, where the main theme was those robots that go into houses to look around corners. Then we saw that again in the attack of 2012, which was called Pillar of Cloud, in which the main theme was the Iron Dome system that can intercept the Palestinian rockets. And now, in the current attack, we have again the Iron Dome system that is supposed to intercept rockets.And all of these Israeli companies, which are becoming an increasingly important and very significant part of the Israeli export system and the Israeli economy, depend on those wars. They depend on periodic fighting where they can showcase their equipment, their technology. And the first thing that they say when they try to market whatever it is that they develop: we’ve already used that on actual human beings. And by making that claim, they’re able to compete with weapon manufacturers from other countries.

DESVARIEUX: But, Shir, which companies are we talking about here? And are any of them connected to the United States?

HEVER: One of the major companies that we’re talking about is Israeli Aerospace Industries. This company, there was a little article about it in the newspaper just two days ago that right now, in the middle of this attack, they’ve issued a call–they’ve issued bonds and tried to raise finance in order to expand the company and increase their production. And they were able to raise $132 million in just one week, which comes up as $132,000 per Palestinian killed in this attack. By now, there are more Palestinians who have been killed, but by now the company’s also sold additional bonds. And this company sees a direct relation between the violence against Gaza and the ability of this company to find new markets for its products.Another very prominent company is called Elbit Systems. This is a very famous Israeli company which specializes in drones. And, of course, they’re also very active in this war.All of these companies are also extremely connected to the United States. And the United States is the biggest supplier of aid, military aid to Israel. And this military aid comes in the form of weapons, actually. So these military companies have learned to work in symbiosis with the U.S. arms industry so that they develop their technologies together in order to provide components which are produced in Israel and work with U.S.-manufactured weapons. So, in fact, this war is not, this attack on Gaza is not just a trade show for the Israeli arms industry; it’s also a trade show for the United States arms industry. And the demand for weapons always increases every time Israel goes into another cycle of violence in the Middle East.I think there’s one point that is very important to make, though, because through understanding the importance of the arms trade to this conflict, we can also understand why the Hamas Party has made its ceasefire proposition, joined with the Islamic Jihad about two weeks ago, in which they offered a ten-year ceasefire. Now, Hamas is [an] acronym for Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah, which means the Islamic resistance movement. Their whole idea is to resist the occupation. And they basically said in their ceasefire offer, we’re willing to stop resisting the occupation for ten years. And I think they only could make that offer because they knew that Israel would not accept it. They knew that the Israeli arms industry is so dependent on these cycles of attacks every two years that Israel will never accept a ten-year ceasefire, because it would be a deadly blow to the Israeli arms industry.

DESVARIEUX: Alright. Shir Hever, very, very interesting analysis. Thank you so much for joining us.

HEVER: Thank you for having me.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

(Source / 31.07.2014)

In Gaza, even the dead get no peace

The targeting of cemeteries by Israeli jets has stirred much anger in Gaza City, particularly as families are now tasked with the ordeal of reburying their loved ones

Inshirah Al Najjar at her son’s grave in the Sheikh Radwan cemetary – Gaza

GAZA CITY- Her teardrops fall on the grave of her son – under a hot sun she starts shovelling the sand away from the grave area – yet she does not know if she will be able to find his exact grave.

The deeper 58-year-old Inshirah Al Najjar digs, the more she comes across the bones of dead bodies – she only hopes that these bones do not belong to the child she gave birth to.

“My heart was burning when my son came early this morning to tell me Israeli F16s had bombed the cemetery and Hani’s grave is missing,” she says, crying.

Al Najjar is the mother of a fisherman, Hani Al Najjar, who was 27 in 2006 when an Israeli gunboat killed him, while he was trying to catch fish to feed his family.

She continues to dig down, deeper into his grave, still crying – a mother coming here alone with Israeli warplanes dropping bombs overhead. Just some hours ago, the Sheikh Radwan cemetery was hit by missiles from Israeli jets.

Al Najjar digs deeper still, while another man from the Al Kateeb family comes to rebury the body of his relative, after approximately 20 grave sites were hit by Israeli missiles. The broken bones from the graves hit by Israeli missiles lie scattered around, and it is difficult for the relatives to determine which parts come from which grave.

The man standing nearby starts screaming, while holding a piece of skull by an eye socket – his loud cries of anguish can be heard across the cemetery, shouting back at Israel’s fighter jets for disturbing and abusing the graves, and bones, of the dead.

“These are our dead, why attack them again, why?” he says. “The bones were not firing rockets.”

Al Najjar has found someone to share her pain of looking for a family grave in the churned-up ground – a man whose anger goes beyond words – beyond stating that, “Israel has no civility and no respect for the dignity of the human body – alive or dead.

“This is the work of cowards who fear even the bones of human beings,” he declares out loud to the sky.

Al Najjar weeps as she eventually gets near the bottom of her son’s grave that has sustained so much damage. But she’s still not sure his bones are intact, among many others disturbed and scattered.

“I am a mother who loves her son and, although he may be dead, I will still protect his grave as any mother around the world would,” she says, breaking down in tears again.

Her son Ikrami came earlier to visit the grave of his brother to tell him how much he misses him – a habit he developed on each first day of Eid since Hani was killed. But this Eid, Ikrami did not find the grave – he ran away in horror on seeing the bones scattered on the ground, running to his mother, screaming about what he’d seen.

“The burning sadness I had in my heart is stronger than when I heard about his killing some years ago,” she says, trying to steady her voice.

Al Najjar says that Hani’s two children wanted to come to visit their father’s grave, as they had done so on every Eid since he was killed in 2006. But she did not want them to see the shattered grave of their father, or other graves around nearby.

“They would have been terrified and upset at what I have seen. I just couldn’t bring them,” she says

Sixteen-year-old Mohammed Khader, who lives nearby, witnessed the bombing. He works at the normally peaceful graveyard, where he tends the graves regularly.

He arrives today with some water to rinse the gravestones off and take care of flowers, so visiting families can enjoy fresh and clean graves on the first day of Eid.

“I don’t know how to tell people that the bones of their loved ones have been displaced by Israeli bombs,” he says.

Targeting the dead

Residents of the area say they have seen no fighters and know of no reason why Israel should target cemeteries and graves. Last week, the Roman Orthodox Church in the city centre reported that 15 Palestinian Christian graves were also damaged by Israeli artillery shells.

For the past four years, Khader has worked as a volunteer at the cemetery, tending the graves; sometimes getting paid by families to look after the gravesites.

“We need more stones to cover the bodies, but because of the war, people don’t know where to find them,” he says, holding on tightly to a yellow water container that he uses for washing the gravestones.

When the grave sites are bombed by Israeli jets, families in Gaza have no other option but to bury all the bones together, instead of going through the pain and trauma of sorting through them to identify individuals – male or female. In this case, the local resident who discovered the cemetery had been bombed decided to lay every scattered and shattered bone together in the same area.

Israel’s attacks on the gravesites have stirred much anger. Abu Suhaib, 46, is extremely upset: “To Israel, everything is a target; the gravestones, trees, living humans and now our dead.”

The first day of Eid is special to Palestinians who spend the day with their deceased loved ones – thousands made it here to Sheikh Radwan cemetery. And everyone is wondering why Israeli F16s should strike just before people flooded into the cemeteries to pay respects to the dead.

Abu Suhaib thinks the real aim is to intimidate and to instil fear in Palestinians, that whatever they do, wherever they go, they are a target for Israeli weapons.

“This is a pure form of terrorism – Christian and Muslim cemeteries are targets. Even the dead are Israel’s targets.”

(Source / 31.07.2014)