I Must Write As Long As Israeli Settlers Burn Palestinian Schools

by James M. Wall

A regular reader wrote recently and asked why I write so often about Palestine and Israel.

It was a good question and after some time for reflection I have an answer for him, inspired by a 1971 Johnny Cash song, “The Man in Black”.

Cash had been asked why he always wore black. He explains that he did so because he identifies with the poor and the hungry, the prisoners, the lonely and the old, and those who are dying in a war in a distant land, at that time, the Vietnam War.

A few years later, after “The Man In Black” became a best-selling album, Cash said:

“With the Vietnam War as painful in my mind as it was in most other Americans’, I wore it ‘in mournin’ for the lives that could have been.’ … Apart from the Vietnam War being over, I don’t see much reason to change my position … The old are still neglected, the poor are still poor, the young are still dying before their time, and we’re not making many moves to make things right. There’s still plenty of darkness to carry off.”

The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and our American wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, are today providing “plenty of darkness”. Together, these wars are today’s Vietnam.

I am aware that I cannot sing, or write simple, powerful poetry as Cash has done. But I must write about the darkness that covers our nation as it continues its pursuit of empirical conquest at a tremendous cost at home, under the guise of “fighting terror”. Indeed, “terrorism” is today’s version of the Communism that Nixon and Kissinger used as their excuse for “defending” South Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s.

Johnny Cash originally recorded “The Man in Black”  before a college audience in May, 1971, one year after the Kent State Massacre when, during a student protest against the invasion of Cambodia, Ohio national guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.

In May, 1971, Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, were still conducting a secret war, the details of which were only fully revealed on June 30, 1971, when the US Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not prevent the publication of the Pentagon Papers in the New York Times.

The story of how those Papers were finally published in the Times is vividly presented in the 2010 documentary, The Most Dangerous Man in America. The title refers to Daniel Ellsberg, the Harvard professor who courageously risked his freedom to deliver the Pentagon Papers to the Times.

Henry Kissinger, who once taught with Ellsburg at Harvard, bitterly described his former academic colleague as “the most dangerous man in America.”

Ellsberg writes of his experiences in his 2002 book, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.

Along with the vast majority of the American public, Johnny Cash was unaware of the Vietnam war narrative which Nixon and Kissinger tried to keep secret, when he wrote the lyrics for  “The Man in Black”. What he did know was that young Americans and many Vietnamese were dying needlessly.

The lyrics are at the end of this post.

Today, with wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the West Bank Bank and Gaza our military forces, and our surrogate Israeli military forces, are involved in an overall war against what a previous American president misnamed as “the global war on terror”.

This 2010 midterm election have essentially ignored the thousands and hundreds of thousands who are dying in distant lands because of our wars. Instead,  public attention is riveted on the craziness of the Tea Party candidates, some of whom may very well end up in the Congress.

The American public does not know about the Israeli settlers who set fire to a Palestinian girls’ school building near Nablus this past week. Juan Cole, whose Informed Comment blog is a flashing light of warning to the American public, tells the story of the attack on the school:

The phrase “ethnic cleansing” conjures up a swift, comprehensive act of expulsion. But in reality, moving a large population off its land is the death of a thousand cuts, a slow, inexorable process of stealing property, harassment, forcing people into a condition of malnutrition.

The Native Americans in the Americas, the Aborigines in Australia, and the Palestinians in Israel/Palestine were only sometimes forced off their land suddenly and en masse. The gradual processes told, in the long run.

The amazing thing about what is being done to the Palestinians in the Palestinian West Bank by Israeli illegal aliens is that it is happening in full view of the world, reported on by wire services, and yet remains invisible to Western publics.

The world reacts in horror when the Taliban in Afghanistan torch girls’ schools. But Israeli squatters just set fire to the store room of a Palestinian girls’ school, and the whole school would have gone up in flames if that warehouse had not been near a water main. The Israeli illegals left behind graffiti saying ‘regards from the hills.’

Cole also reports that earlier in October,

Israeli squatters set fire to a Palestinian mosque in Bethlehem.

[Also this autumn] there is the seasonal vandalism against olive trees in Palestinian orchards, which reached a fever pitch this year. The Israeli authorities prosecute few of these offenses and almost never hand down a punishment to an Israeli squatter.

The 10 million olive trees in the West Bank and Gaza, occupying some 45 percent of the farmland, are the matrix of Palestinian existence. An attack on olive trees is a form of economic warfare of the first water.

The American public knows far more about the fumbling responses of the Republican candidate for Joe Biden’s old Delaware senate seat, than it does about the needless death of a 2-year-old Gaza child who was prevented by the Israeli army from traveling the short distance outside Gaza for specialized treatment. The Palestinian organization, Physicians for Human Rights, has that story on its website:

Nasma Abu Lasheen died on Saturday, October 16, 2010 in Gaza. Israel failed to issue her an urgent entry permit for life-saving medical treatment at Ha-Emek Medical Center in Afula, Israel. She was two years old.

Abu Lasheen, a young resident of Gaza diagnosed with Leukemia, was referred for emergency treatment in Israel on October 6, 2010. When requests to the Israeli Army for an entry permit went unanswered for several days, by way of B’tselem, the family contacted Physicians for Human Rights- Israel (PHR-Israel) for additional help.

That very same day, on October 13, 2010, PHR-Israel contacted the Gaza District Coordination Office (DCO) demanding a permit be issued immediately to the baby and her father to enable their entry into Israel. A military approval was finally granted the next afternoon, October 14, 2010.

Abu Lasheen’s medical condition had been deteriorating rapidly and by the time the permit was received, the treating doctor in Gaza, Dr. Mohammad Abu Sha’aban, said she was too sick to travel. Nasma died in the early morning hours of October 16, 2010.

Ziad Abbas works for the Middle East Children’s Alliance on a project to bring clean water to the children of Palestine. He grew up in Palestine. He writes in Counter Punch, that his work is especially personal to him because of  his own childhood experiences of growing up deprived of water.

Israel controls and uses 89% of the water resources in the West Bank, leaving 11% for the 2.5 million Palestinians. The Israeli Occupation continues to limit Palestinian access to clean water as form of collective punishment by controlling the water resources and distribution and by destroying the water that we are able to get.

During Israeli military incursions, and especially during curfews, when we could not leave our homes, Israeli soldiers would shoot the water storage tanks on our roofs. Our water would pour down the sides of our buildings unused.

During the recent attack on Gaza, Israel targeted the entire water infrastructure including the largest water purification system in Gaza. They also targeted electrical generators that supported water purification and sewage treatment.

I write about these things because American churches are still hung up on not offending their Jewish neighbors, thus choosing interfaith harmony over justice.

I write about these things because major denominational meetings, like this past summer’s General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA, dickered and delayed and finally decided to study further how they might best deal with the “problems” in the Middle East.

Since that Presbyterian GA meeting, two-year-old Abu Lasheen died waiting for permission to travel to an Israeli hospital. Since that meeting, Israeli settlers set fire to a Palestinian girls school, leaving behind graffiti on the wall that said, “regards from the hills”. Something about the insensitive arrogance of that graffiti implies there was not enough room on the wall to add, in Clint Eastwoodian fashion, “we’ll be back.”

I write about the American media’s blindness to the narrative of the suffering in Palestine because Tom Friedman continues to fool his liberal readers by pretending to criticize Israel when his criticism always includes the AIPAC approved list of what he insists are “facts”, but which are either outright lies or distortions of reality.

The most recent example was Friedman’s October 20 column which calls on Israel to help President Obama line up world opposition to Iran by reaching a friendly agreement with Palestinian negotiators.

Friedman opens his column with a set of “stubborn facts” which are really just a repeat of the acceptable Israeli narrative which, of course, he assures his readers are “stubborn facts”.  Only, they are not.

Here is the start of Thomas Friedman’s latest  column, followed by corrections:

Say what you want about Israel’s obstinacy at times, it remains the only country in the United Nations that another U.N. member, Iran, has openly expressed the hope that it be wiped off the map. And that same country, Iran, is trying to build a nuclear weapon.

Israel is the only country I know of in the Middle East that has unilaterally withdrawn from territory conquered in war — in Lebanon and Gaza — only to be greeted with unprovoked rocket attacks in return.

Indeed, if you want to talk about spoiled children, there is no group more spoiled by Iran and Syria than Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia.

Hezbollah started a war against Israel in 2006 that brought death, injury and destruction to thousands of Lebanese — and Hezbollah’s punishment was to be rewarded with thousands more missiles and millions more dollars to do it again. These are stubborn facts.

Friedman’s “stubborn facts” are stubborn, alright. They are falsehoods or distortions he clings to “stubbornly”.

Iran’s President Ahmedinejad never used the phrase, “wipe Israel off the map”. That was an initial mistranslation into English which the media loved and never let go. The media has refused, as Friedman does here, to go back and obtain the original statement by Ahmedinejad in a speech he gave to a Persian audience.

The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran’s first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, when he said that “this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time” just as the Shah’s regime in Iran had vanished.

He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The “page of time” phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon. There was no implication that either Khomeini, when he first made the statement, or Ahmadinejad, in repeating it, felt it was imminent, or that Iran would be involved in bringing it about.

Another error: It is true that Israel took its military forces out of Lebanon and Gaza, but it did so because the cost in Israeli lives had become too expensive to maintain the garrisons in those two areas.

The invasions had proved to be a major loss for the vastly superior Israeli forces, a fact Friedman ignores as he praises Israel for its “unilateral withdrawal” from the two countries it had invaded and failed to control.

Friedman writes that “Hezbollah started a war against Israel in 2006 that brought death, injury and destruction to thousands of Lebanese.”

Israel did launch a massive invasion of Lebanon in 2006, but who fired the first shot has been debated. Israeli sources have confirmed that Israel’s invasion plans were already on the drawing board when a border skirmish erupted, giving Israel the excuse it wanted to launch a war that, indeed, “brought death, injury and destruction to thousands of Lebanese.”

Who brought those deaths, injuries and destruction to the Lebanese? Israel, of course.

Careful research would quickly demonstrate to Friedman and every other pro-Israel pundit and politician that Friedman’s “stubborn facts” are either false or distorted.

I will continue to write on Israel and Palestine as long as pundits like Thomas Friedman have access to the pages of the New York Times, and the American public remains ignorant of the actual facts on the ground in Israel and Palestine.

The Man in Black, lyrics by Johnny Cash

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black, Why you never see bright colors on my back,  And why does my appearance always have a somber tone. Well, there’s a reason for the things that I have on.

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down, Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town, And I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime, But still is there because he’s a victim of the times.

I wear the black for those who never read, Or listened to the words that Jesus said, About the road to happiness through love and charity, Why, you’d think He’s talking straight to you and me.

Well, we’re doin’ mighty fine, I do suppose, In our streak of lightnin’ cars and fancy clothes, But just so we’re reminded of the ones who are held back, Up front there ought ‘a be a Man In Black.

I wear it for the sick and lonely old, For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold, I wear the black in mornin’ for the lives that could have been, Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.

And, I wear it for the thousands who have died, Believen’ that the Lord was on their side, And I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died, Believen’ that we all were on their side.

Well, there’s things that never will be right I know, And things need changin’ everywhere you go, But ’til we start to make a move to make a few things right, You’ll never see me wear a suit of white.

Ah, I’d love to wear a rainbow every day, To tell the world that everything’s OK, But mabe I can carry off a little darkness on my back,

‘Till things are brighter, I’m the Man In Black.

The photo at the top of the page is of two Bedouin girls, in school uniform, returning to their houses after a school day in Abu Farda near the West Bank city of Qalqilia on October 6, 2010. MaanImages/Khaleel Reash.

The Youtube above, and the lyrics by Johnny Cash may be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLkmC2VuXA8.

Posted in Media, Middle East Politics | 16 Comments

U.S. Fear/War Mongers Win This Round

by James M. Wall(Saul Loeb-Pool:Getty Images)

The American public doesn’t want to go to war unless there is something out there that frightens them.

This explains why all of our wars have been preceded by dire warnings of what will happen if we don’t militarily engage the enemy.

In President Obama’s Wednesday night speech, he repudiated his own caution and prudence by falling in line with those who think there is no fear out there that war cannot overcome.

The New York Times editorial board sonorously endorsed the President’s decision under a headline that informs the nation that the drums of war have had their effect: “The Attack on ISIS Expands to Syria.”

Gail Collins’ Times column the same day, “A Man With a Plan”, questions the wisdom of her editorial bosses, pointing to samples of the strategy congressional fear/war mongers employed to influence the President’s decision:

Collins cites a Texas senator:

“President Obama’s chronic passivity has helped the jihadists,” John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Senate Republican, said in a floor speech this week. Cornyn slammed the administration’s “don’t do stupid stuff” mantra, claiming Obama “doesn’t seem to fully grasp the magnitude of the threats and challenges that America is now dealing with.”

Collins reminds her readers of just why the President’s earliest caution and prudence made better sense than his decision to yield to the likes of John Cornyn. She further comments on Senator Cornyn’s call to action:

Cornyn mixed up Iranians and Iraqis a few times, but concerned citizens understand that these things get complicated. More to the point, not doing something stupid is actually a super foreign policy goal. Just look back on our recent history of meddling in the Middle East and what do you see? A heck of a lot of stupid stuff we wish we hadn’t done.”

Norman Solomon‘s Global Research column sums up Obama’s speech by pointing to what he calls “a liberal style of murmuring reservations while deferring to the essence of U.S. policies for perpetual war:” He concludes with this reminder that the Times is leading the national media pack with its support for Obama’s decision:

“Like the vast bulk of the rest of U.S. mass media, when push comes to militaristic shove, the New York Times refuses to make a break from the madness of perpetual war. In fact, with rare exceptions, the dominant media outlets end up fueling that madness.”

Charles Blow’s Times column,”The Cost of War”, reported on public opinion prior to the speech:

“According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll published Tuesday [September 9], a vast majority of Americans see ISIS as a threat to the United States, a slight majority believes the president hasn’t moved aggressively enough, and most support expanding United States airstrikes into Syria.”

Blow is not swayed by public support for airstrikes in Syria. In his column, he writes:

“I implore the president and the nation to proceed with caution.
We can kill anti-American fighters and even their leaders, but we can’t kill anti-American sentiment. To some degree, every time we commit our forces in the Middle East we run the risk of further inflaming that sentiment.”

In an earlier Times August 31 column, Blow anticipated the triumph of the fear/war mongers over Obama’s cautious approach, when he warned

“another part of the equation is the tremendous political pressure coming from the screeching of war hawks and an anxious and frightened public, weighted most heavily among Republicans and exacerbated by the right-wing media machine.”

In the days leading up to Obama’s speech, Blow reported:

​”​Republicans are beginning to pull out the big gun — 9/11 — to further scare the public into supporting more action. Senator Lindsey Graham has said on Fox News that we must act to “stop another 9/11,” possibly a larger one, and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has warned, “Sadly, we’re getting back to a pre-9/11 mentality, and that’s very dangerous.”

Fear is in the air. The president is trying to take a deliberative approach, but he may be drowned out by the drums of war and the chants for blood.

​After Obama’s speech, c​hants for blood, ​not unsurprisingly, came from Israel​ and its friends in the U.S.​

According to the Global Jewish News Service, Israelis love it when the U.S. comes into Israel’s neighborhood to wage war against any Arab force that Israel does not consider a  friend.

The News Service writes:

“President Obama did not mention Israel or the Palestinians during his national address Wednesday night. But his pledge to lead a U.S.-coordinated effort to destroy ISIS could end up doing more to get Israeli-Palestinian negotiations back on track than anything that Secretary of State Kerry and his team managed to produce with their shuttle diplomacy.

Reaching a final deal is hard enough when the region is calm. But it becomes significantly more difficult, if not impossible, when Islamic extremism is on the march and U.S. influence is in retreat.

Good luck convincing Israeli leaders that it is safe to abandon any part of the Golan Heights or the Jordan Valley as ISIS destabilizes the region and moves closer to its borders, especially with a president perceived as being more interested in golf and Asia than confronting the gathering storms in the Middle East.

History suggests that the most effective thing America can do to encourage Israeli risk-taking is to show that we’re serious about reducing regional threats to the Jewish state.”

President Obama was elected in 2008, in part because he rejected that interventionist policy. That was not the message the nation heard in President Obama’s Wednesday speech.

There is no question but that the armies of the so-called “Islamic State”, are guilty of horrendous war crimes. But ISIS is neither Islamic nor is it a state. It is a “terror” group that has no ideological goal other than to bring power to itself and grief to the world.

What we face today in Syria and Iraq requires counter terrorism, not war.

Norman Solomon points to the wisdom of an earlier New York Times Board editorial which was published more than a year ago:

Under the headline “The End of the Perpetual War,” published May 23, 2013, the Times was vehement, calling a Obama speech delivered that week, “the most important statement on counterterrorism policy since the 2001 attacks, a momentous turning point in post-9/11 America.”

That May 23, 2013 editorial added:

“For the first time, a president stated clearly and unequivocally that the state of perpetual warfare that began nearly 12 years ago is unsustainable for a democracy and must come to an end in the not-too-distant future.”

The Times editorial board was sweeping in its 2013 conclusion:

“Mr. Obama told the world that the United States must return to a state in which counterterrorism is handled, as it always was before 2001, primarily by law enforcement and the intelligence agencies. That shift is essential to preserving the democratic system and rule of law for which the United States is fighting, and for repairing its badly damaged global image.”

The fear/war mongers got to the New York Times editorial board between May 23, 2013 and September 10, 2014. The Times and President Obama both gave in to the wrong people.

What remains to be seen is how long and how many deaths, will it take for them to acknowledge their joint mistake.

The picture, above, of President Obama delivering his September 10, 2014 speech was a Saul Loeb pool photo from Getty images.

Posted in Middle East, Middle East Politics, Obama, Politics and Elections, US govermemt, War | 6 Comments

Did Israel Have the “Right” to Kill This Child?

by James M. Wall Kelly Lynn Global Research

“Israel has the right to defend itself” was the Orwellian doublespeak Israel used to justify its latest invasion of Gaza, carried out at the same time as its under-reported increased military action inside the West Bank.

President Obama, eagerly joined by would be presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul, and Elizabeth Warren, rushed to endorse Israel’s 51-day August assault against the Palestinians, by proclaiming, “Israel has the right to defend itself”.

Prompted by AIPAC, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to embrace the doublespeak Israeli claim that it was killing Palestinians “because it has the right to defend itself”.  The vote was taken on the final day before the senators went into their annual summer recess.

Were there any among that list of endorsees who understood the meaning of “doublespeak”, which Wikipedia defines as “language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words?”

Did that “right to defend”, give Israel the right to kill 11-year-old Khalil Muhammad al-Anati, just before he was to begin the sixth grade in the Al-Fawwar refugee camp school south of Hebron (see map below right)?

Khalil Anati died on Sunday morning, August 10. Israel’s invasion of Gaza was well under way.

When that invasion ended August 26, with a shaky month-long cease fire, according to United Nations figures,  the invasion had killed 2,104 Palestinians in Gaza, “including 253 women (12 per cent) and 495 children (24 per cent).

During the same period, 69 Israelis were killed including four civilians (6 per cent).

The UN also reported “that 10,224 Palestinians, including 3,106 children (30 per cent) and 1,970 women (19 per cent) were injured in Gaza. Preliminary estimates indicate that up to 1,000 of the children injured will have a permanent disability and up to 1,500 orphaned children will need sustained support from the child protection and welfare sectors.”

Media attention during the invasion was focused on Gaza. Next door in the West Bank, the IDF stepped up its daily military incursions inside Palestinian population centers.

UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency, describes the camp, where Khalil lived, died and is now buried.West-Bank-Refugee-Camps

The southernmost of the West Bank camps, Fawwar was established in 1949 on 0.27 square kilometres of land, 10km south of Hebron.

The camp’s original inhabitants came from 18 villages in the Gaza, Hebron and Beersheeva areas. Like other West Bank camps, it was established on land UNRWA leased from the government of Jordan.

The residents of the camp depend almost entirely on work inside Israel and have been especially badly affected by the inaccessibility of the Israeli labour market. Unemployment stands at 32 per cent.

Gideon Levy writes a regular column, “Twilight Zone”, for the Israeli daily Haaretz. His column has been described as “documenting unflinchingly, the myriad cruelties inflicted on the Palestinian people under occupation”.

After the killing of Khalil Anati, Levy (below left) traveled to the Al-Fawwar refugee town and camp. He wrote several stories on the death of Khalil Anati.

This is the start of one of the stories published August 21:

(Haim Taragan:Haaretz)Khalil Anati was 10 years and eight months old and came from the Al-Fawar refugee camp, south of Hebron in the West Bank, when he was killed.

An Israeli soldier had opened the door of his armored jeep, picked up his rifle, aimed it at the upper body of the boy, who was running with his back to the soldier, and cut him down with one bullet, fired from a distance of a few dozen meters.

It was early morning on Sunday, August 10. The street was almost empty – the idleness, the unemployment and the heat in this squalid refugee camp leave people in their beds late – and the soldiers were apparently in no danger. According to testimony, there were only another three or four young children in the street; they were throwing stones at the jeep. There were no “riots” and no mass “disturbances.”

Khalil tried to advance another few meters after the bullet lodged in his lower back, before falling to the ground in the middle of the narrow alley, its width about that of a person, that ascends to his home. . . .

By the time he arrived at the hospital in Hebron – he had been transported in a private vehicle since the camp does not have an ambulance – he was dead from loss of blood.

The soldier who shot him, quickly shut the door of the jeep and hightailed it out of the camp, together with his buddies. Mission accomplished.

Khalil Muhammad al-Anati’s death and burial were also covered by Kelly Lynn, a photo journalist working in the West Bank.

Her report appeared in both Global Reserch, published by the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), an independent research and media organization based in Montreal, Canada, and in The Electronic intifada, an American web site started by and still led by, Ali Abunimah.

Kelly Lynn’s report in the EI begins:

Thousands gathered shortly before afternoon prayers on Sunday in Fawwar refugee camp south of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron to mourn the death of eleven-year-old Khalil Muhammad al-Anati.

Israeli soldiers shot Khalil with live ammunition outside his home that same morning on 10 August after forces invaded the camp. He was buried not far from his home that afternoon by thousands of friends, family and neighbors.

“Every time someone went to get him, the soldiers would start shooting. We couldn’t reach him. When we were finally able to get to him, he had lost almost all of his blood,” Yusif said.

After the jeeps vacated the area, Khalil was taken in a private car to al-Ahli hospital in Hebron, where he was treated by Dr. Mohammed Baker Abu Snaina.

“Upon arrival to our emergency room, he had no heartbeat, no pulse and no muscular or neurological reflexes,” said Abu Snaina. “There was no active bleeding because he had already lost most of his blood.”

Lynch  tried to reach the Israeli army media desk to ask for an official description of the killing. She could not reach  the desk.

However, a few hours after the killing,  the Israeli military’s Twitter account stated in Hebrew its “regret” over the incident. It added the usual promise of  an internal investigation.

Lynch’s report continued:

According to Amnesty International’s February 2014 report titled “Trigger Happy: Israel’s Use of Excessive Force in the West Bank,” Israeli authorities have consistently failed to carry out investigations into alleged crimes that satisfy international standards.

From September 2000 until June of last year, there were only sixteen military police investigations into the killings of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces which led to indictments. None led to discharge from the military, according to Amnesty.

Meanwhile, back on the political campaign trail of one of the “Israel has the right to defend itself” American politicians, Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke to a group of Hyannis voters during one of her regularly scheduled “office hours” with her Massachusetts constituents.

Because so many progressive Democrats have turned to Warren as an alternative to front runner Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race for the presidency, Warren’s participation in the rush to endorse “Israel’s right to defend itself” was especially disappointing to her would-be progressive supporters. 

Glenn Greenwald reported on Warren’s visit to Hyannis for Intercept:

At the Hyannis event, which was covered for the Cape Cod Times by reporter C. Ryan Barber, one voter objected to Warren’s recent vote, in the middle of the attack on Gaza, to send yet another $225 million of American taxpayer money to Israel for its “Iron Dome” system.

The voter, who identified himself as John Banger, told Warren:

“We are disagreeing with Israel using their guns against innocents. It’s true in Ferguson, Missouri, and it’s true in Israel . . .  The vote was wrong, I believe.” To crowd applause, Bangert told Warren that the money “could have been spent on infrastructure or helping immigrants fleeing Central America.

Warren steadfastly defended her “pro-Israel” vote, invoking the politician’s platitude: “We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one.” According to reporter C. Ryan Barber .  .  .   Warren was also asked about her Israel position by other voters who were at the gathering, and she went on to explain:

“I think the vote was right, and I’ll tell you why I think the vote was right.

America has a very special relationship with Israel. Israel lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren’t many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law. And we very much need an ally in that part of the world.”

Warren continued in this vein, repeating the Israeli talking points about Hamas’ attacks on    Israel “indiscriminately,” which were largely blocked by the Iron Dome defense system, which Senator Warren was eager to defend as American dollars well spent.

Pressed by another member of the crowd about civilian casualties from Israel’s attacks, Warren said she believes those casualties are the “last thing Israel wants.”

“But when Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they’re using their civilian population to protect their military assets. And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself,” Warren said, drawing applause.

Other than the standard Israeli line that civilian casualties are the “last thing Israel wants,” Senator Warren had nothing to say in Hyannis about Palestinian casualties.

If word has reached her, or her staff, about the killing of eleven-year-old Khalil Muhammad al-Anati, that news did not make it into her stump speech or into any answers she gave to her constituents.

The picture at top of a relative holding the body of Khalil Muhammad al-Anatim before he is lowered into the ground, was taken by Kelly Lynn, a freelance photojournalist based in the West Bank.

Her work focuses on refugee communities in the southern West Bank. She has been published on New Internationalist, Vice, Mondoweiss and others. 

Posted in Middle East, Middle East Politics, Netanyahu, Obama, Religion and politics | 7 Comments

“We want to exchange personal experiences, Sir.”

Gaza City bomb AFP

by James M. Wall

The personal report that begins below, first appeared in the website, Mondoweiss. 

This report conveys the horror of war experienced by young Palestinian college students in Gaza during recent summer weeks of unrelenting and vicious attacks by Israel.

The author, Nazmi Al-Masri, a professor at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), writes, “This day is carved in my memory”. He continues:

As all academics in Gaza, I had given much thought to my students who were suffering all sorts of agonies and worries caused by Israel’s aggression. After 40 days of atrocities caused by heavy bombardment and random artillery shelling, which destroyed thousands of houses and devastated countless families, the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) did everything it could to make use of the three-day temporary ceasefire, which was extended for five days and then for another 24-hour period before it ended at midnight on August 19th, 2014.

They decided to resume the classes on Saturday, August 16 that had so crudely interrupted summer semester.

I was unsure what to say to my students in my lecture class. Many agonizing questions occupied my mind, among them: Were all my students and their families safe or were any of them injured or maimed? Would they be mentally able to come to class? Were they still living at home, or displaced in some shelter? How did they feel about resuming class in the midst of such agony and grief?

What tragedies had each of my students been through and how much were they comfortable talking about? Overwhelmed by these concerns and well aware of the deep wounds, loss, and hardship every single Palestinian in Gaza has suffered, I was not able to enter the classroom with a big smile on my face as I had always done in the past.

I noticed immediately that about 40% of the students were absent, they could well have lost their father, mother, brother, sister. However, as is custom in Palestine I greeted my class of 40 students with the idiomatic expression used in such circumstances: “Hello and Salam (Peace upon you all), all praise to Allah for your safety and welcome back to IUG.”

In low, sad voices the students replied: “Hello and Salam, all praise to Allah for your safety, Sir.”

I continued speaking, “Today we are not meeting to discuss a particular task or project. We’re here to exchange…”

Before I could finish, a student interrupted me: “We want to exchange our personal experiences of war, Sir.”

Without any hesitation I replied: “Yes, and that’s exactly what we’ll do. I am here to listen to you and for us to share our experiences. Who would like to start?”

One of the best students in class, Naji, began to speak: “I want to talk about three of my peers who are my partners in our graduation project, which we were supposed to submit last month.” Story-telling is part of the healing process that people go through in order to recover from bereavement and grief. I automatically responded “Please go ahead, Naji.”

In a broken voice, struggling to breathe normally, Naji began narrating his own tragedy.

“Before the Israeli attack on July 7th three of my friends and I were working hard to finish our joint graduation project due at the end of July, but we couldn’t. The problem was not getting the work done in time to graduate, but what happened to my partners, to my best friends. Approaching our final exams, we were all confident that we’d pass them all as we had done the past four years. We were keen to finish our graduation project and were looking forward to our new life afterwards. We worked hard, planned and talked about our life after graduation and how we wanted to help our families and build our future.”

Quietly, his eyes became heavy with tears and the words stuck in his throat. A few seconds later, he continued narrating his story of loss.

“It’s a unique tragedy that is different to any of the many tragedies we have learnt of so far. It isn’t a science fiction story, but something real that happened to my three friends at this university.”

Khalid – killed

“Khalid is one of my best friends, and the best of our project team. Khalid can never be forgotten; he has an amazing personality full of fun and life and energy. He is a fantastic and lovable friend and friendly to everyone.

“About two weeks after the attacks had started and during the most extreme atrocities in Shujai’iya on 20 July, I was listening to the news on the radio when I suddenly learned that Khalid had been killed when an Israeli rocket hit his house around midnight. His 55 year old father was buried under the rubble and severely injured his spine.

Two days later I learned that his father was fully paralysed. Some of his other family members are still in the hospital and others are staying in the hospital yard used by hundreds of Palestinians families as a makeshift shelter.”

To read the entire report from Professor Al-Masri, click here.

An older Jewish generation, survivors, and descendents of survivors from the Holocaust, have raised their voices over Israel’s “massacre of Palestinians in Gaza”.

Ha’aretz reported on their ad that ran in the New York Times:

Hundreds of Holocaust survivors and descendants of survivors have signed a letter, published as an advertisement in Saturday’s New York Times, condemning “the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza” and calling for a complete boycott of Israel.

According to the letter, the condemnation was prompted by an advertisement written by Elie Wiesel and published in major news outlets worldwide, accusing Hamas of “child sacrifice” and comparing the group to the Nazis.

The letter, signed by 327 Jewish Holocaust survivors and descendants of survivors and sponsored by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, accuses Wiesel of “abuse of history” in order to justify Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip:

“…we are disgusted and outraged by Elie Wiesel’s abuse of our history in these pages to justify the unjustifiable: Israel’s wholesale effort to destroy Gaza and the murder of more than 2,000 Palestinians, including many hundreds of children.

Nothing can justify bombing UN shelters, homes, hospitals and universities. Nothing can justify depriving people of electricity and water.”

Palestinian college students and Holocaust survivors, and descendants of Holocaust survivors, share a common sense of outrage and sadness over Israel’s massacre. 

For a full list of the letter’s signatories and for the full text of the letter, click here 

Does the American media hear these cries of anger and anguish?

Do American religious leaders, the secular political leaders, and the American public hear what is happening in Gaza?

Clearly they do not, because they all remain silent.

In the AFP picture above a bomb strikes a building in Gaza City August 24.

Posted in Human Rights, The Human Condition, Uncategorized, War | 4 Comments

“Exodus” Now Hurling Real 5,000 Pound Bombs

by James M. Wall

ExodusIsrael still retains absolute mind control over the western world, thanks to the selling of an Israel narrative which was boosted high into the literary lights and onto movie screens with the fictional Israeli narrative written by Leon Uris in 1954.

After its publication, the novel Exodus became the guide book for all who studied, traveled, or gave even the slightest attention to the start of the modern nation of Israel in 1947-48.

How powerful is a movie image?

The Guardian reported that when Ronald Reagan first arrived at the White House as president, he wanted to see the “war room” which he had seen in the movie, Dr Strangelove or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb.

He had to be told that the Strangelove war room was a movie set, (shown below) built at Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Surrey, England.  In reality, the real war room is much smaller.

Was the President serious? As one line from Strangelove puts it, “No one could say”.

Exodus, the novel by Leon Uris, was far removed from the reality of Palestine in 1948.

Undeterred by reality, the novel grew into a 208 minute, 1960 movie version, with Paul Newman as Ari Ben Canaan, a leader of the Hagannah (the Jewish underground), and Eva Marie Saint, as Kitty Fremont, his love interest.

In one scene, Kitty sits beside Ari on a hill overlooking what he tells her is the ancient Valley of Jezreel. He then informs her, pointing, that below are the ruins of Megido.  He also points to Mount Tabor.

She gazes up admiringly at the Jewish underground leader, hanging on his every word. Ari asks Kitty, “Do you know your Bible?”

Overwhelmed by his superior biblical certainty, she answers quietly, “In a Presbyterian sort of way”. Having established his biblical knowledge superiority, Ari tells Kitty how his people conquered this land centuries ago.

It was the generation that absorbed Exodus as novel and as a movie, that accepted and acted on, the Israel “narrative”, which Ari Ben Canaan is convinced is biblically sound.

Would Paul Newman deceive us? The lone Presbyterian voice in the film who might have countered Ari Ben Canaan’s certainty, was merely a biblical student “in a Presbyterian sort of way”.

How was she to know there was another “narrative” that told an entirely different story? In 1954, the Palestinian narrative was lodged in very few western world views.

Today, sixty years after the novel Exodus first appeared, the Palestinian narrative has great difficulty being heard in the cacophany of a culture shaped for more than six decades by propaganda (hasbara) campaign, each defended with bogus cries of “anti-semitism”.

Over time, however, reality continually forces hasbara spin masters to launch new campaigns. The latest: The sudden discovery and immediate peddling, of a series of “rights”, promulgated simplistically by advertising spin masters.

“Israel has a right to exist” was the first of a recent set of slogans pushed by Israel’s hasbara teams. That “right” was followed by “Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state”.  Standing alone, of course,  these lies have no connection to reality.

But who notices?  On the surface, everyone believes in “rights”. Beneath the surface, the issue of the clash of rights is ignored.

Then came the granddaddy “rights” claim of them all, the kind that sends a heavily armed militaristic nation into repeated wars, a simplistic granddaddy lie now robotically repeated by world leaders (Obama) and would be leaders (Clinton): “Israel has a right to defend itself”.

Israel “defends itself”exactly the way cigarette companies defended themselves by lying about the cancer-producing product they peddle to children who quickly become addicted to nicotine.

How does Israel defend itself? Among other options, Israel hurls 5,000-pound GBU 28 bunker-buster bombs on a civilian population of 1.8 million Palestinians who are jammed into a tiny strip of occupied land.

Richard Silverstein, a Seattle, Washington blogger, writes a daily blog, Tikun Olam. His postings demonstrate a deep commitment to Judaism as his religious tradition.. He speaks fluent Hebrew. He has excellent sources within Israel who provide him with news leads.War Room Strangelove

Silverstein knows a lie when he sees one. He watches for them on Israeli Hebrew language television.

On Thursday (August 21) he posted this item on Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu:

“I heard snippets of Bibi Netanyahu’s press conference today and he was in stellar and typically megalomaniacal form.  He pounded tables, waved his arms insistently, all for the purpose of persuading the gathered media that “Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas.”  

He’s an expert at this: hijacking whatever terrorist incident is grabbing world headlines (he did it memorably on 9/11) and piggybacking his own obsessions onto it.  So with the world’s attention shifting slightly from Gaza to Iraq; and with the beheading of a U.S. journalist by ISIS searing the world’s TV screens, he forcefully guides world attention back to his own agenda: Hamas.

There is no connection at all between ISIS and Hamas.  None.  Bibi made it all up out of whole cloth.  And he doesn’t care.  He figures if anyone catches him in a lie he’ll be long gone onto the next lie. 

Silverstein’s reference to 9/11 recalls the statement that Netanyahu made after the attacks on U.S. targets on September 11, 2001.

Eleven years after the events of 9/11, Ali Abunimah recalled a New York Times report from 2001, which included this revealing observation from Benjamin Netanyahu:

“Asked tonight what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, “It’s very good.” Then he edited himself: “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.”

He predicted that the attack would “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.”

Abunimah commented further on the Netanyahu quote as reported by the Times:

Even after generously allowing Netanyahu to “edit” himself, the Times did not conceal that Netanyahu was not thinking in terms of sympathy for the victims of 9/11 and the United States, nor what a “friend” could do to help America.

Rather, he was already thinking on the day it happened about how 9/11 could be manipulated to get America to do more for Israel.

Silverstein (returning to 2014) commented further on his blog posting Thursday:

“Yesterday, I posted that the IDF attempted to assassinate Mohammed Deif in Gaza.  Hamas announced that Israel had murdered his 27 year-old pregnant wife and his 7 month-old son along with several other unnamed individuals.  The Israeli media buzzed for hours about whether Deif survived this, Israel’s fifth attempt to kill him (previous failed attempts had cost him both legs and possibly an eye).”

Silverstein’s source inside Israel, unnamed, of course, “has excellent contacts among Israeli military and intelligence circles”. His source tells him “there is a 90% likelihood Deif was killed yesterday.  I say all this advisedly, since I know that if the story turns out to be true it will cause perverse rejoicing in the halls of power in Israel. And this is the sort of rejoicing that will destroy Israel in the long run”.

Silverstein is cautious.

“I’ve learned by experience that my source is often right, no matter whether I want him to be or not.  So I feel it’s important to release this claim and test how it plays out over the coming days.

I read yesterday other claims from Hamas that five U.S.-made 5,000 lb. GBU 28 bunker-buster bombs were used to penetrate the al-Dalou home in which Deif and his family were sheltering.  My source confirms that the story is true.  The depth of the crater left at the scene indicates only a bunker buster could have produced it.”

Ponder this for a moment: 5,000-pound GBU 28 bunker-buster bombs were dropped on a single house in Gaza. Israel obviously can pinpoint a target when it wishes to do so.  It makes many claims that it “did not intend” to strike a United Nations school or a hospital.

That is not true. Schools and hospitals are not struck by mistake. These are large buildings and Israel’s ability to pinpoint targets is demonstrable.

Schools, hospitals and private homes belonging to Hamas officials and ordinary citizens,  are deliberately targeted.  It remains now for a respected, credible, fact-finding investigation to verify this.

The verification will not be made if the U.S, and other western nations prevail in their current effort to block any investigation remotely related to the UN.

A new video was posted on August 21 by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees), along with this background on the video, “Gaza: Only Rubble Remains”:

“A temporary ceasefire allowed displaced individuals to return to their neighborhoods in Gaza. Tens of thousands found only rubble where their homes once stood. On his recent visit to Gaza, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl visited UNRWA installations, meeting UNRWA staff and thanking them for their extraordinary work in helping Palestine refugees in this crisis.”


A United Nations report in The New York Times, describes the physical damage suffered by the Palestinians in Gaza:

“The United Nations drastically underestimated the devastation that could result from possible assaults by Israel on Gaza this year, with 350,000 people so far displaced from a six-week-old conflict — seven times the 50,000 foreseen in its contingency plan, the top Unicef official for the crowded Palestinian enclave said Wednesday.

The official, Pernille Ironside, also said that if the severe Israeli trade constraints on Gaza were not relaxed, a preliminary analysis showed it could take 18 years to rebuild destroyed housing, furthering the prospect that young Gazans would reach adulthood in deprivation, anger and despair.”

The pack of lies that Netanyahu rode into this latest massive invasion has been repeatedly exposed outside the mainstream media.  The Nation magazine, definitely not mainstream published an editorial that summarized all of the lies.

This exposure now goes into the record.  In time, accounts, like the one from Nation, will reach the mainstream:

Reflexive US support for Israel by politicians from both parties is of long vintage and no surprise to anyone. Even so, it was shocking and shameful to hear White House and US diplomats repeatedly voice support for Israel’s “right to defend itself” as it rained bombs and missiles down on the people of Gaza.

Much of the US media repeated tired clichés about the “cycle of violence,” as if the conflict began when three Israeli teens were kidnapped and murdered. But lost in the media frenzy was the deeper context to this latest round of bloodshed. The collapse of the ill-starred peace process in the spring had created a dangerous vacuum.  .  .  .  

The [Israeli] government saw its opportunity in the kidnapping of the three teens [in the Hebron region]: although Israeli police were almost certain within days that the teens had been murdered—and almost certainly by freelance thugs rather than Hamas operatives—the Shin Bet placed a gag order on the media so that it could round up hundreds of Hamas members.

At the same time, the government ginned up a #BringBackOurBoys campaign—a cruel deception of the anguished parents, but also part of a strategy to foment public hysteria against Palestinians in general and Hamas in particular.

Israel’s grip on the western mindset with lies like those summed up above, cannot live on Paul Newman’s Exodus inspiration forever. 



Posted in -Movies and politics, Middle East Politics, Movies, Netanyahu, Obama, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Has Clinton Made Her Second Pro-War Mistake?

by James M. WallAtlantic Jonathan Ernest: Reuters

Cease fire talks between Israel and Hamas have been extended for an additional five days.

The extension in the talks was made possible because the Gaza Palestinians are standing firm in their humanitarian demand that Israel lift the siege on Gaza, while Israel is feeling the negative worldwide vibes over its massive military assault.

The vibes are negative everywhere, that is, except in the U.S., where in an Atlantic interview, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared to kick off her 2016 presidential campaign with a ringing endorsement of Israel’s massive assault on the Palestinians of Gaza.

For his part, as the man who holds the reins of responsibility, President Obama has called a halt to U.S. Hellfire missile shipments to Israel until arrangements are made to clear with the White House all future transfers of Hellfire missiles.

The President is clearly disturbed over his discovery of the free-flowing weapons pipeline from the U.S. to Israel via the Pentagon.

The story of his decision to halt sales, originated in the Wall Street Journal and was beamed into Israel and internationally on the internet by Haaretz.

The White House has instructed the Pentagon and the U.S. military to put on hold a transfer of Hellfire missiles that Israel had requested during its recent operation in the Gaza Strip, the Wall Street Journal reports.

According to the report, during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, White House officials were dismayed to discover how little influence they wield over the topic of Israeli arms shipments, against the backdrop of the U.S. government’s unhappiness with the widespread damage inflicted upon Palestinian civilians.

During the Gaza war, the report said, White House officials came to realize that large amounts of weaponry are being passed to Israel via direct channels to the Pentagon, with little oversight by the political arena. .  .  .

Against the backdrop of American displeasure over IDF tactics used in the Gaza fighting and the high number of civilian casualties caused by Israel’s massive use of artillery fire rather than more precise weapons, officials in the White House and the State Department are now demanding to review every Israeli request for American arms individually, rather than let them move relatively unchecked through a direct military-to-military channel, a fact that slows down the process.

The extended cease fire negotiations, and the President’s decision to halt missile shipments, are the good news during cease fire negotiations.

Is there more bad news on the political front?  It depends on reactions to the big political story in the U.S., which is either good or bad, depending on one’s political preferences.

Former Israeli active-duty soldier Jeffrey Goldberg’s well-timed conversation with Hillary Clinton, has been published in the Atlantic magazine.

Goldberg now hangs his media hat at the Atlantic, his latest media stop following the completion of his IDF tour of duty during the first Palestinian uprising in 1990. Earlier Goldberg assignments included a stint at The New Yorker.

After his tour with the IDF, Goldberg wrote a book about his role as an Israeli guard, Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. The book received supportive reviews in the U.S.

Clinton could have given her interview to any media outlet in the country. It is no accident that she chose a well-known Jewish journalist who has never hidden his pro-Israel proclivities.

Which is why, depending entirely upon one’s views of Clinton, and her impending race to become Obama’s successor, the interview in the Atlantic will either delight or dismay readers.

The New Yorker‘s John Cassidy, in an essay entitled, Can Hillary Play This Game?, examined media responses to Clinton’s interview. His conclusion: If her intent was to bolster her conservative credentials, she succeeded.

As for “progressives and centrists, she might need to think again”. Here are Cassidy’s conclusions:

One goes to the substance of her chat with Goldberg, in which she struck a tone that was hawkish, interventionist, and fiercely pro-Israel. The reactions to what she said have been interesting, and it’s not clear whether they are what the Clintonites hoped for.

The editors of the Weekly Standard loved the interview, and [conservative New York Times columnist] David Brooks also approved. James Fallows and Kevin Drum {writing for Mother Jones] expressed serious reservations; so did I {in an earlier New Yorker piece.}.

If Clinton’s intention was to extend her political reach and attract the support of conservatives, she succeeded. If she was seeking to present a foreign-policy vision attractive to progressives and centrists, she might need to think again.

What could she, and her handlers, have been thinking? Clinton already has the pro-Israel votes, media and money, strongly embedded in the Clinton orbit. As for winning progressive and centrist support, she herself has acknowledged that her Senate 2003 pro-war Iraq vote was wrong.

Is her Atlantic interview her second pro-war stumble that could derail her 2016 road to the White House the way her 2003 Iraq pro-war vote helped Obama defeat her in the 2008 primaries?

Clinton has been in and around the White House long enough to have known that when the president is deeply involved in foreign policy decisions, from Ukraine to Syria to Gaza, it is not a good time for his former Secretary of State to launch her 2016 presidential campaign by attacking his foreign policy.

She did not just critique his policy, she told a pro-Israeli interviewer that Obama lacks a coherent foreign policy strategy. After waiting for the media feedback and the word to spread, Clinton told Politico’s  Maggie Haberman she did not mean to “attack” the President:

Hillary Clinton called President Barack Obama on Tuesday to “make sure he knows that nothing she said was an attempt to attack him” when she recently discussed her views on foreign policy in an interview with The Atlantic, according to a statement from a Clinton spokesman. 

That sounds like a not so artful dodge especially when describing an interview in which she:

 dismissed the Obama administration’s self-described foreign policy principle of “Don’t do stupid stuff.” And while she also praised Obama several times, Clinton nonetheless called his decision not to assist Syrian rebels early on a “failure.”

Earlier Tuesday, longtime top Obama aide David Axelrod took a swipe at Clinton on Twitter, writing: “Just to clarify: ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ means stuff like occupying Iraq in the first place, which was a tragically bad decision.”

But wait, there is more from Politico.

In defending Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s deadly response to Hamas’s rocket attacks, she sounded almost like a spokesperson for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

In talking about the threat of militant Islam more generally, her words echoed those of Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, who has called for a generation-long campaign against Islamic extremism—a proposal that one of his former cabinet ministers dubbed “back to the Crusades”.Palestinian women walk by mosque and water tower Israeli air strikes and shelling Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza Strip. August 3, 2014.  AFP

Glenn Greenwald, writing in his new media outlet, Intercept, lifted quotes from Hillary Clinton in her Atlantic interview with Jeffrey Goldberg that mirror almost precisely the line Prime Minister Netanyahu has followed since this current conflict began. These are all Clinton quotes:

1) “Israel has a right to defend itself. The steps Hamas has taken to embed rockets and command-and-control facilities and tunnel entrances in civilian areas, this makes a response by Israel difficult.”

2) “Israel did what it had to do to respond to the rockets.”

3) On civilian casualties in Gaza: “That doesn’t mean, just as the United States [tries to] be as careful as possible in going after targets to avoid civilians, that there aren’t mistakes that are made. We’ve made them. I don’t know a nation, no matter what its values are — and I think that democratic nations have demonstrably better values in a conflict position — that hasn’t made errors, but ultimately the responsibility rests with Hamas.”

4) Asked about the bombing of UN schools and killing of Palestinian children: “It’s impossible to know what happens in the fog of war. Some reports say, maybe it wasn’t the exact UN school that was bombed, but it was the annex to the school next door where they were firing the rockets. And I do think oftentimes that the anguish you are privy to because of the coverage, and the women and the children and all the rest of that, makes it very difficult to sort through to get to the truth.”

5) On civilian casualties in Gaza: “There’s no doubt in my mind that Hamas initiated this conflict. … So the ultimate responsibility has to rest on Hamas and the decisions it made.”

And there you have the essential Hillary Clinton commenting on Israel’s assault against Gaza.

One leading political voice responding to the Atlantic interview came from Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, of Vermont. Sanders has hinted he might run for president himself.

He spoke in an interview with ABC’s Jeff Zeleny a day after The Atlantic published the Clinton interview.  Sanders indicated his respect for the former Secretary of State, while at the same time he cautioned against “assuming that she will be the Democratic nominee before she’s even announced her candidacy”.

“She has accomplished a lot of positive things in her career, but I’m not quite sure that the political process is one in which we anoint people,” he said.

Michael Cohen, of the progressive Century Foundation, spoke for many progressives and perhaps centrists as well, when he noted:  “She basically seems to be taking positions that are very similar to the vision of America’s role in the world that [in 2008] Democrats rejected.”

Democrats rejected candidate Clinton in 2008 in favor of Barack Obama. Now the 2016 Democratic nomination is hers to lose.

Will her endorsement of Israel’s war strategy embellish her political credentials for 2016, or will that endorsement become her second major pro-war political stumble?

 The picture of Hillary Clinton above, ran with the Atlantic interview. It was taken by Jonathan Ernest for Reuters.

The picture of a Palestinian women walking by a mosque and water tower was taken following Israeli air strikes and shelling of Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza Strip, August 3, 2014. An AFP photo. 

Posted in Hillary Clinton, Media, Middle East, Middle East Politics, Netanyahu, Obama | 5 Comments

Hamas Cease Fire Terms Could Lead to “Normalcy”

UPDATED  on August 8, 2014

by James M. Wall

photo by Reuters Ha'aretz

During their temporary cease fire, Israel and Hamas are negotiating in Cairo, Egypt, for an agreement to end Israel’s third military assault since 2007, on Gaza.

Thursday night, Ha’aretz reported that the talks were “stalled”.

Friday morning, when the 72 hour agreement ended, the New York Times reported both sides resumed cross-border firing.

These shots could be “warning shots” to signal a resumption of the conflict, or they may be part of the negotiations strategy on both sides.

The conflict is asymmetrical, suggesting that more exchanges of fire would be especially harmful to the Palestinians in Gaza.

The one-sided nature of the now 30-day conflict, is seen in the human toll of Israel’s third “mowing the grass” project in Gaza. Thus far, Israel has killed 1900 Palestinians, the great majority of whom were civilians, including 400 children.

To agree to an extended cease fire with no more firing from either side, Hamas, the ruling government of Gaza, has laid out its simple requests. There is nothing radical nor threatening about them.

Israeli analyst Gershon Baskin says of the Hamas demands for an extended cease fire, “When Palestinians look at the Hamas demands, they say, ‘this is what we want, what all Palestinians want.’” (When firing resumed Friday, Baskin was interviewed by CNN.)

Ben Piven describes the Hamas proposal for a more permanent cease fire in America Al Jazeera:

“Hamas has focused its cease-fire terms on breaking the economic stranglehold imposed on Gaza by Israel with the help of Egypt, calling for an opening of border crossings and the expansion of areas where Palestinians may fish and where farmers may till their lands.”

On its side of the negotiations table, Hamas has asked for a return to the “normalcy” of 2007, opening the borders and allowing Palestinians to fish further out into the sea, and tilling their farm lands.

The Times of Israel is live blogging developments, as seen from Israel’s perspective.

If an extended cease fire agreement is reached, and Israel agrees to Hamas’ simple requests, the firing from both sides would end, at least for a time. Is there any hope that Israel will agree to the Hamas requests?

Based on Israel’s past record of negotiations, the possibility that Israel would relinquish its tight control over Gaza is slim, at best.

If Israel does reject Hamas’ simple request for normalcy, a request that would involve the removal of Hamas’ tunnels and rocket firing equipment, that rejection would testify to the world that Israel has no desire for the Palestinians of Gaza to ever again return to what was the normalcy of 2007.

But as America Al Jazeera’s Ben Piven notes:

Even if the siege is eased or lifted — and there’s no sign yet that the troubled search for a truce would produce such an outcome — rebuilding Gaza’s economy will remain a formidable challenge”.

Normalcy would still be a long way off, thanks to the ferocity of Israel’s invasion.

“You cannot say there is an economy right now,” Omar Shaban, director of the PalThink Institute for Strategic Studies, [told America Al Jazeera] last week.

“There was ongoing shelling 24 hours a day, and I hadn’t been out of my home for the past 24 days. This applies to everybody. Farmers can’t go out, and factories are not working.”

There is also formidable opposition to any proposals from Hamas among Israel’s American loyalists who share Israel’s lack of interest in granting normalcy to a Gaza under Hamas leadership.

Former AIPAC staffer MJ Rosenberg, now a harsh critic of Israel, points to one of those formidable opponents: The blind obedience the U.S. Congress displays whenever it is told to jump through an AIPAC hoop.

Rosenberg reports that because AIPAC wanted the Congress to endorse Israel’s attack on Gaza, a vote was taken to send additional funds to strengthen Israel’s Iron Dome defense.

Late last Friday night, the House of Representatives considered the Senate bill that allocated the additional $225 million to Israel. The bill passed the House 395-8. There was no debate.

The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, but the vote was irrelevant, because the funds were already approved and were being sent to Israel.  All but 8 members went home where they would be able to campaign with the boast, “I voted for Israel in its time of need.”

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, crown prince of the media’s liberal Zionist kingdom, took to his pulpit with a sermon that “explained the Israeli invasion”.

His August 4 column, Dear Guests, Revelations in the Gaza War, was one of his sermons from Father Tom, neatly encompassed in a traditional three points homiletical rendition, to wit,

“Since the early 2000s, Iran and its proxies Hezbollah and, until recently, Hamas, have pursued a three-pillar strategy toward Israel.”

Friedman has completely absorbed the Israeli version of reality. His sermon drips with the jargon of Benjamin Netanyahu.

He opens his sermon with a cute Friedman introduction, displaying no awareness to the fact that nearby in Gaza, 1.8 million Palestinians were being battered and brutalized from what became a 29-day assault:

KIBBUTZ EIN HASHLOSHA, Israel — At 6:02 a.m. on Saturday, the air raid siren sounded over Tel Aviv. I was rousted by the hotel staff from my room and ushered into the windowless service elevator area with two French families, everyone in their pajamas.

After 10 minutes, when the Hamas missile threat had passed, we were allowed to go back to our rooms. As I slipped back into bed, the hotel loudspeaker bellowed, “Dear guests, you may return to your routine.”

On the same Saturday morning Thomas Friedman slipped beneath his blanket in the hotel room he occupied near the Gaza border, an Israeli  bomb destroyed the home of a large Gaza family.

Amira Hass, columnist for Ha’aretz, returned to Gaza during the temporary cease fire and wrote this report of that destruction:

Despite the cease-fire, A.(name redacted) remained in her home yesterday and did not travel with her husband to the Shabura refugee camp in Rafah. She couldn’t bear the thought of the emptiness she would find there instead of the three families of relatives who had lived there in their simple asbestos dwellings until a single bomb fell on them Saturday morning.

“Did you know that Fathi’s [Abu Ita] three children who were killed were geniuses? Like their father, like their uncle Yakoub, the mathematician,” she said yesterday, as she delivered a lengthy report about her relatives who were killed, her work colleague who was killed, those who were wounded, those whose houses were destroyed this time, those whose houses were destroyed for the second time, those who were buried with their bodies whole, and the children killed whose body parts had to be collected.

The contrast between Friedman and Hass demonstrates why liberal Zionism has lost all credibility.  Friedman is oblivious to the suffering near by,  while Hass reports the evidence of what she sees and hears in a devastated Gaza.

In contrast to Friedman, BBC television host Jon Snow was in Gaza during the height of the Israeli invasion.

He was horrified by what he saw. Before his heartfelt report, delivered to his viewers from London, Jon Snow interviewed Israeli Prime Minister spokesman Mark Regev after the killing of four Palestinian boys playing soccer on a Gaza beach.

It is broadcast journalism at its best.

The two short videos are below, first, Snow’s testimony to the devastation of Israel’s invasion Gaza, followed by his interview of the Prime Minister’s spokesman:

Will Hamas get its desire to return normalcy to the Palestinians of Gaza?  Will the cease fire be extended?

Only Israel, and its Washington allies, know the answer to those questions, because Israel is the military power dictating the future.

The picture above of a Palestinian woman sitting in front of what was once her home in Beit Hanoun, appears in Ha’aretz.  It is a Reuters picture.










Posted in Media, Middle East, Middle East Politics, Netanyahu, War | 5 Comments

Israeli Officer Missing; 70 More Palestinians Die

by James M. WallGaza child

The situation in the city of Rafah in southern Gaza at mid-afternoon Friday (U.S. CST; 11 p.m Gaza time), is both chaotic and horrifying.  This posting will be updated as further reports become available.

Amy Goodman’s current report on Democracy Now is broadcast  from Washington and Gaza. This edition of Democracy Now, posted early Friday afternoon, runs for roughly ten minutes. The link to the program is below.

It includes an on the scene set of interviews with two Palestinians, Raji Sourani, award-winning human rights lawyer, and Gaza City-based Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer, award-winning Palestinian journalist who is originally from Rafah.

The New York Times identified the missing Israeli as Second Lt. Hadar Goldin, a 23-year-old officer in an infantry brigade. He was first reported by the IDF as captured. But on Saturday, Hamas said it had no knowledge of what has happened to Lt. Goldin.

Amy Goodman’s interviews provides the scene from the Palestinian side.  To view this up to the minute video report with a transcript, click here

Lt. Goldin’s disappearance provides Israel with its latest justification for continuing its all-out military assault on a largely civilian Gaza population, as it looks for Lt. Goldin, dead or alive.

The Times‘ story began the Israeli narrative for this latest rationale for the third assault on Gaza since 2006 with this emotional reaction from Lt. Goldin’s father, Simcha Goldin:

“Speaking to journalists outside his home in Kfar Saba, Israel, [Goldin] said he was confident that Israel’s military forces would ‘not stop under any circumstances until they have turned over every stone in Gaza and have brought Hadar home healthy and whole.'”

Israel always launches its military assaults with whatever rationale is currently available. This third assault in six years has thus far killed 1600 Palestinians, mostly civilians, women and children.

The young Palestinian girl in the picture above is Hajar Muharram, five, shown sitting in a classroom where her family of seven now lives. Their new home is a UN school, in Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip.

The picture was taken during this current assault by Lefteris Pitarakis, of the Associated Press. It ran in the Guardian along with an editorial “on the killing of children in Gaza.”

The 1600 Palestinian death total since the current assault began, (63 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the same period) exceeds the death toll of the first Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008-09, when 1450 Palestinians were killed. That was the infamous assault Israel halted in time to avoid the Obama inauguration.

This current 2014 assault was launched, Israel claimed, to “halt rockets from Gaza into Israel”, rockets that were largely ineffective. When the ground war began, Israel’s official rationale shifted to a “search and destroy” mission to destroy Gaza’s underground tunnels.

We may assume that the latest rationale for continuing this assault against the Gaza civilian population and rejecting any further efforts at a cease fire, will involve the goal of finding Lt Goldin.

Lt. Goldin was captured prior to the cease fire, scheduled to begin Friday morning (Gaza time) when Hamas militants encountered a tunnel destruction unit in southern Gaza. Israel disagrees, claiming that the capture came after the cease fire began.

Lt. Goldin disappeared in the tunnel Israel was attempting to destroy. Hamas has denied any involvement in his disappearance.

Dead or alive, and until more details emerge about Lt. Goldin, Israel is sticking to its own “captured narrative”.

A missing IDF officer offers Israel its most compelling rationale with which to heat up its population, stir up its political, media and financial “base” in the U.S, and continue its recurring assaults on Gaza.

Getty IndependentShould world public opinion, expressed in public demonstrations (like the one in London shown here with 45,000 filling the streets) finally force a “cease fire”, and perhaps more importantly, if IDF fatalities exceed a “reasonable” limit, Israel will withdraw from this round in Gaza.

Until next time, of course.  And there will be a next time because the real reason for Israel’s constant attacks on Gaza, and its increasingly tight control over the West Bank, is to reach its long range goal.

Rashid  Khalidi, Middle East scholar at Columbia University, and in earlier days, a teaching colleague and friend of then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, has laid out Israel’s long range purpose in his current essay in the New Yorker:

“Three days after the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched the current war in Gaza, he held a press conference in Tel Aviv during which he said, in Hebrew, according to the Times of Israel,

“I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.”

It’s worth listening carefully when Netanyahu speaks to the Israeli people. What is going on in Palestine today is not really about Hamas. It is not about rockets. It is not about “human shields” or terrorism or tunnels. It is about Israel’s permanent control over Palestinian land and Palestinian lives.

That is what Netanyahu is really saying, and that is what he now admits he has “always” talked about. It is about an unswerving, decades-long Israeli policy of denying Palestine self-determination, freedom, and sovereignty.

What Israel is doing in Gaza now is collective punishment. It is punishment for Gaza’s refusal to be a docile ghetto.”

So be prepared to hear whatever future rationale Benjamin Netanyahu uses to continue his military assaults on Gaza. Look behind the rational curtain and remember what Netanyahu told his Israeli public three days after this current assault.

Israel demands control over all the land from the Jordan River to the Sea. And never forget, he will do anything he wants to maintain that control.

What if other nations join those five Latin American countries and withdraw their ambassadors to Israel?  Why should he care?

Israel has relinquished its status as a moral nation. It knows it has the U.S. government in his back pocket. It knows the moral leadership of the U.S. still debates taking even mild actions of protest against Israel.

As long as that combination of American milk toast religion and political cowardice, continues, young Palestinian girls, like the one pictured above, must fear for their lives.

The picture of London supporters of the Palestinians is a Getty photo which ran in the Independent.


Posted in Middle East Politics, War | 6 Comments

Israel “Defends” Itself By “Mowing the Grass”

By James M. Wall

larger pix

Once every two years or so, depending on the U.S. and Israeli strategic and political calendars, Israel, the fourth largest military power in the world, descends on Gaza to “mow the grass”.

That obscene phrase, used to describe Israel’s military engagements with Gaza, was described by the Jerusalem Post as a legitimate Israeli tactic:

“Israel is acting in accordance with a “mowing the grass” strategy. After a period of military restraint, Israel is acting to severely punish Hamas for its aggressive behavior, and degrading its military capabilities – aiming at achieving a period of quiet.”

The “mowing the grass” image is an all-out Israeli air and ground attack on a largely helpless civilian population of 1.8 million Palestinians, all of whom are trapped inside prison-like Gaza walls.

Amira Hass, veteran Israeli writer for Ha’aretz, describes how difficult it is for Israel to understand that the Palestinians “refuse occupation”.

“There is method in madness, and the Israeli insanity, which refuses to grasp the extent of its revenge in Gaza, has very good reasons for being the way it is.

The entire nation is the army, the army is the nation, and both are represented by a Jewish-democratic government and a loyal press, and the four of them work together to stave off the great betrayal: the Palestinians’ refusal to recognize the normalcy of the situation.

The Palestinians are disobedient. They refuse to adapt. This is after we thought it was working for us, with VIP treatment for a few of them and an opportunity for swollen bank accounts for some, and with enormous donations from the United States and Europe that nurture the pockets of imaginary Palestinian rule.”

The current conflict is the third time Israel has “mowed the grass” in Gaza since 2007. There are no signs that Palestinians will stop being “disobedient”.

The  odious “grass mowing” tactic has worked before for Israel, calming things down to suit Israel’s agenda. But it is most certainly not a long term solution. It is also a tactic that always damages Israel’s image everywhere, it now seems, except in U.S. political, religious and media circles.

It is difficult to believe Israel lacks the ability to avoid excessive civilian casualties. Amira Hass reports one example that confirms Israel’s ability to identify, with precision, what and who, is being targeted. She writes:

The armed Hamas operatives who emerged from the tunnel shaft on Kibbutz Nir Am on Monday were dressed as Israeli soldiers. Haaretz’s Amos Harel writes that in the first moments, the field commanders were not sure whether they were soldiers or terrorists.

“Finally, thanks to an aerial photograph taken by a drone, they were found to be Hamas operatives,” writes Harel. “They were carrying Kalashnikov rifles, which the Israeli army does not use.”

So the photographs taken by the drone can be very precise when its operators wish. It can discern whether there are children on the seashore or on the roof — children who, even for the legal acrobats in the Justice Ministry and the army, are not a justifiable target for our bombs.

The drone can also discern that a rescue team has arrived to pull out wounded people, that families are fleeing their homes. All this can be shown in a close-up photograph taken by a drone, at high enough resolution that the operators of the bombs and the shells have no reason to press the “kill” button on their keyboards.

But for some reason, the eye of the drone that can tell the difference between various makes of rifles cannot tell that this figure over here is a child, and that is a mother or a grandmother. Instead, all are given a death sentence.”

Does Israel really believe “mowing the grass” is the best way to deal with its neighboring population? Is that a tactic to build a strong Israel for the future?

Years from now, Israeli veterans of this and other wars, will be asked, “what did you do in your war, Daddy”? The answer Daddy gives about “mowing the grass” will tell us what sort of nation Israel has built for the future.

The children shown above were in an United Nations World Relief Agency (UNWRA) school during an attack.

Amira Hass writes further for Ha’aretz:

The Israeli military shelled a United Nations Relief Works and Agency (UNWRA) school today, killing and injuring some of the Palestinians who had gathered there after fleeing their homes following Israeli messages to do so.

CNN‘s Ben Wedeman, who is reporting from Gaza, said that medical sources told him 30 people were killed. Other reports put the death toll lower; the Associated Press reports that at least seven were killed, while Agence France Press reports nine dead.

UNWRA spokesman Chris Gunness has confirmed that there are “multiple dead and injured at designated UNWRA shelter in Beit Hanoun.” He said on Twitter that the Israeli military had been given “precise co-ordinates of the UNWRA shelter in Beit Hanoun.”

The children in the picture above are lying or sitting on the floor. This is not a hospital. It is clearly-marked UNWRA facility which hurriedly took in as many as 1500 Palestinians, seeking shelter from bombs.

Look closely in the upper right corner of the picture above and you will see the image of a green-clad nurse, offering what little help he can to one of the children.

This is how the world’s fourth largest military power “defends itself”?

Another way Israel defends itself is to raise questions about which side is responsible for attacks. In a factual report on the attack on the Gaza Beit Hanoun school converted to a temporary shelter, the New York Times gives the results of the attack.

“These days, even a school — clearly identified as a shelter run by the United Nations — cannot protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza from deadly attacks. Located in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, it was struck multiple times on Thursday as people who had taken refuge there were gathering in the courtyard and preparing to flee.

At least 16 of them were killed, bringing the total death toll in 17 days of war to more than 750, a vast majority being Palestinian civilians.”

The losses were so heavy and the ultimate responsibility for the explosion that caused the many losses, so damaging that it is quite possible that the Israeli hasbara team told its favorite New York city newspaper to proceed with caution.

Which the New York Times promptly did in the next paragraph:

“There are competing charges over who carried out the attack — Israel; Hamas, which controls Gaza; or one of Hamas’s allies — and that could take time to sort out. What really matters now is that some way be found to stop this carnage.”

Time to sort out, indeed. To even imply that Hamas could be responsible for this destruction in the Beit Hanoun school strains credulity.  Perhaps Israel is anticipating a need for cover in future war crimes trials.

NBC nightly television news did not waste any time debating responsibility for the  attack. It reported the grisly attack at an Israeli operation.

Even such an intelligent and sensitive leader like U.S. President Barack Obama, has learned to repeat the phrase almost as often as Netanyahu, “Israel has the right to defend itself”.

Palestinians, as any rational individual must know, also have the “right to defend themselves”.

Chris Hedges writes on the obvious limits of “rights”:

Israel does not have the right to drop 1,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs on Gaza. It does not have the right to pound Gaza with heavy artillery and with shells lobbed from gunboats.

It does not have the right to send in mechanized ground units or to target hospitals, schools and mosques, along with Gaza’s water and electrical systems. It does not have the right to displace over 100,000 people from their homes. The entire occupation, under which Israel has nearly complete control of the sea, the air and the borders of Gaza, is illegal.

The  current “lawn mowing” process started in 2008, nicely timed to fall between Barack Obama’s November, 2008, election, and Obama’s inauguration in January, 2009. Obama demanded from Israel that it end its invasion before Inauguration Day.

Israel, comrades in arms, always eager to play nice with a new president, met the deadline.

Like Israel’s subsequent invasions that followed in 2012 and 2014, the pattern has been the same.

Israel builds up its military stock pile for up to two weeks of all-out attacks, starting with devastating air strikes, followed by Israeli ground troops crossing into Gaza.

They rarely go beyond two weeks, fearing world disapproval and fading home front tolerance  for troops losses. That tolerance point may not be far away. The Washington Post reported this week:

“Seven more Israeli soldiers were killed in fierce fighting Monday [July 21], bringing the Israeli military toll to 27 dead, more than twice as many as in Israel’s last Gaza ground incursion in 2009 and the highest toll since Israel’s war with Lebanon in 2006. Two Israeli civilians have died in the conflict.”

As the weaker of the two parties involved, the Gaza civilian death toll (many women and children) has varied, but so far it has ranged from more than a thousand in 2009, to more  than 560 people in Gaza, in this 2014 incursion, many of them women and children, according to the Post.

This invasion, if it follows the usual plan, will lead to a “cease fire” orchestrated by pro-Israel, U.S, anti-Hamas Egypt, Israel, and presumably Hamas. The first run at a 2014  “cease fire” was proposed with no input from Hamas.  Hamas refused to be told to sign something on which it was not consulted.

A second effort is currently ongoing.

The Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA) has just finished its every-two year General Assembly national gathering, which included a narrow vote to take the mild step of withholding investment funds from three U.S. corporations involved in Israel’s operations in the occupied territories.

The PCUSA will not meet in General Assembly for another two years. Perhaps they will meet during the next “lawn mowing” exercise when Israel finds an excuse to begin cutting anew.

The World Council of Churches, not as obsessed with “good relations” with local rabbis as the Presbyterians, took the justice route and demanded an end to Israel’s current invasion and its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The U.S. National Council of Churches issued a press release on July 18 expressing its disapproval of the invasion.

These  Israeli “lawn mowing” exercises began after the 2006 elections in the West Bank and Gaza, to choose a new Palestinian parliament and later, a prime minister.

Israel and the U.S. did not like the results of that 2006 election. They did not like the fact that Hamas won the election fair and square, and gained control of all of the West Bank and Gaza.

In that election Hamas won in such Christian strongholds as Bethlehem, in the West Bank. The majority of Bethlehem’s legislative seats went to Hamas.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter headed an international group of monitors to help guarantee the 2006 election’s validity.

I attended a meeting of the Palestinian Election Commission the day before the election, at the invitation of President Carter and the Commission chair, Hanna Nasir, then the president of Bir Zeit University.

Hamas won the election in 2006. What followed was a brief moment of hope for a positive Palestinian future.

But what does the U.S. government (the congress and then President George W. Bush) and its Middle East mini-me empirical wanna-be, Israel, do about an election that does not follow the colonial template?

Simple, the U.S. and Israel told the losing political party in that 2006 election, Fatah, that it was time to go to war against Hamas. To help out, Israel locked up, on charges that are still not clear, the majority of Hamas’ victorious legislators.

With U.S. Army Lt. General Keith Dayton in charge of training—bringing with him U.S. money for military equipment—the Fatah army was organized and sent into battle to accomplish what the voters in the West Bank and Hamas had rejected.

In short, the colonial playbook was followed: Take power at the polls if possible, and by military force, if necessary. What followed was not meant to happen. The U.S and Israeli-backed Fatah lost that war as it had lost the earlier election.

Hamas quickly solidified its governmental responsibility on the Gaza area of the Palestinian territories. Israel promptly surrounded Gaza with its own version of the iron wall. Israel demanded that Fatah set up its own West Bank Palestinian government with Ramallah as its capital.

Maybe that came from a West Point class, “Divide and Conquer” on how best to build an empire. Great Britain perfected the tactic in the Middle East, India and Africa.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has struggled since 2007 to govern the West Bank on its own, always under the watchful eye of the Israelis, who dole out tax money taken from Palestinians and return it to the PA to run its government.

Following the failure of the most recent round of peace negotiations, Fatah invited Hamas to join in a unity government.

That sounded promising. But it did not fit the colonial template. Thus followed the latest “grass mowing” Israeli exercise, and many children like those above, continue to suffer.

A “cease fire” to this current conflict could happen at any moment. But then what? Does Israel think the tunnels will not be restored? Of course, they will be restored. Or maybe another and more effective method will be developed to resist the occupation.

Israel is indeed surrounded by Arab states which do not think Israel is a good neighbor in the region. At some point in the future these states may find ways to assist Hamas.

Military might, will not suffice to hold down a captive Palestinian population forever.  World opinion has turned against Israel.  The next U.S. president will face the same hopeless situation that has been such a burden for President Obama.

It is sad to see a brilliant president with so much promise, like Barack Obama, have to grovel and utter Israel’s mantra of this year, “Israel has a right to defend itself”.

What sort of a neighbor will Israel be in the future?

“Mowing the grass” to routinely kill men, women and children, destroy their homes, hospitals and schools, and  deprive them of the freedom to enjoy a normal existence, sounds more like a 20th century Nazi tactic than a tactic appropriate for a 21st century democracy.

It is also a tactic that will fail, because Palestinians will find other ways to resist oppression.

And just maybe a future U.S. president, told to repeat another Israeli talking point on the order of the noxious, “Israel has a right to defend itself”, will gag, and refuse to do so.

Like Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant revolution, that future U.S. president just might refuse to degrade himself or herself, tear up the script, and say those words long attributed to Martin Luther, “Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me.”

The picture above is from the U.S. home page of UNWRA. It was taken by Letteris Pitarakis, for the Associated Press.


Posted in Middle East, Middle East Politics, Netanyahu, Obama, Presbyterian Church USA, Religious Faith | 5 Comments

Palestinian Children Have No Iron Dome

by James M. WallIslam Abdel Karim for The Washington Post

One day after a U.S. congressional committee voted to send more U.S. tax dollars to bolster Israel’s Iron Dome shield, four Palestinian boys were killed on an open beach by Israeli shelling from a naval ship offshore.

Defense for Children International  reported on the Israeli shelling:

“Eight children in Gaza were killed on Wednesday [July 16], including four boys who died as they were playing on the beach in Gaza City when they were directly targeted by the Israeli navy.  Israel’s military offensive on the Gaza Strip has killed at least 45 children according to DCI-Palestine documentation.”

DCI-Palestine identified the four boys killed, as Zakariya Ahed Subhi Baker, 10, Ahed Atef Ahed Baker, 9, Ismail Mohammad Subhi Baker, 9, and Mohammad Ramez Ezzat Baker, 11. The boys were all cousins from local families. They had been playing with a soccer ball on the beach in Gaza City’s harbor before they were killed in a missile strike just after 4 pm.

Hamada Baker, 13, was struck by shrapnel from one of the missiles fired from the Israeli ship. He and other boys ran or were carried, to the al Deira Hotel next to the beach where the four boys were killed.

Many western journalists. housed at the hotel, helped the wounded with first aid kits they brought down to the hotel terrace. One of them was William Booth of the Washington Post. Booth filed his account of the attack:

“I had just returned to the hotel to type up some notes and file inserts on the day’s news when there was a large explosion on the quay at the port, a little after 4 o’ clock in the afternoon.  .  . We saw a small fisherman’s shack on the quay, churning with gray smoke.

Then we saw a gang of kids running from the shack, down the breakwater and onto the sand, hurtling toward al-Deira.

A couple of waiters, the cook and a few journalists started waving at them. Run here!

Then a second strike landed right behind them. The staff were yelling, “They’re hurt!”

A half-dozen kids made it to the hotel. A young man also reached safety and fainted. He was bleeding from the abdomen. He was scooped up and carried to a taxi by a big, friendly bear of a bellman, room cleaner and night watchman named Mahmoud Abu Zbaidah.

Two young terrified kids (one of whom is pictured above) were bleeding and injured, and they were quickly bandaged on the floor of the terrace, where guests usually eat skewers of grilled chicken, suck on water pipes and watch the sun go down.

The kids suffered from shrapnel wounds, one to the head, one to the chest. They were treated by translators, hotel staff and journalists, who ran up to their rooms to grab medical kits.

On the quay, ambulances took away four more. They either died on the pier or at the hospital, I am not sure. The Gaza Health Ministry tweeted their names a few minutes later.  .  . .All cousins, we are told, scrawny fishermen’s kids whom we saw every day, running around on the beach, playing in the waves.”

Booth’s eye-witness account ran in the July 17 Washington Post, a daily newspaper which is a must-read for Washington elected officials and government personnel. In his story, Booth included the usual pro-forma response from the IDF:

“Later, the Israel Defense Forces issued a statement calling the civilian casualties “a tragic outcome, saying the target of the strike was ‘Hamas terrorist operatives.’ They promised that the incident would be investigated but blamed Hamas for its ‘cynical exploitation of a population held hostage.'”

Israel claims that its Iron Dome has successfully blocked more than 90 per cent of the Hamas rockets aimed at Israel.  Now the U.S. Congress is prepared to improve on that figure with an even stronger Iron Dome.

That narrative is shaped by Israel as are most details absorbed and passed on he western media.

The Christian Science Monitor has looked into these claims about the Iron Dome. It reports:

A popular narrative about the current face-off between Hamas and other Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and Israel is that the Israelis, confronted with withering volleys of rocket fire, have had no choice but to respond with overwhelming force and that the failure of the rockets to do much damage has largely been thanks to the country’s US-funded Iron Dome missile defense system.

But it turns out that compared to the last major escalation between the two sides, the Palestinians in 2014 are firing fewer rockets than in the past, and those rockets they are firing are proving less accurate.

Israel sells  its “in danger” narrative by manipulating facts.

The problem for Washington elected officials is that they live under their own self-imposed ethical shield that keeps them focused on the mantra, “is it good for Israel?”

Neither the American public nor its elected leaders  are likely to be exposed to an interview like the one which ran on London’s Channel 4 after the deaths of the four boys on the beach.

The interviewer is Channel 4 host Jon Snow. He spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s  spokesman Mark Regev. To view the interview, click here. It runs for nine minutes.

Snow begins with a hard question: How does Israel defend the killing of four Palestinian boys on a Gaza beach as a way to “defend Israeli citizens.” Regev has no answer.

What he did have is the “cease fire rejection by Hamas” segment of Israel’s narrative which he utilized in his interview with Snow. Revisit the interview above and note how Regev plays the “cease fire” failure card.

Israel and the U.S. attempted to create a narrative of a “cease fire” which Hamas was told to sign on without having been a party to any “cease fire” conservations.

Hamas refused, of course. Jonathan Cook writes on why the refusal was Hamas’ only option. Here is the opening of Cook’s report:

“We now have confirmation from the Israeli daily Haaretz of what we should have suspected: that the idea for the so-called Egyptian “ceasefire proposal” was actually hatched in Washington, the messenger boy was arch-war criminal Tony Blair, and the terms were drafted by Israel.

The intention was either to corner Hamas into surrendering – and thereby keep the savage blockade of Gaza in place – or force Hamas to reject the proposal and confirm the Israeli narrative that it is a terrorist organisation with which Israel cannot make peace.

According to Haaretz, Blair secretly initiated his “ceasefire” activity after “coordinating” with US Secretary of State John Kerry. On Saturday he headed off to Cairo to meet with the US-backed Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to persuade him to put his name to the proposal.”

And just as the U.S. and Israel wanted, Hamas’ rejection of a “cease fire” Israeli-drafted proposal, becomes the official narrative for all future discussions of this summer’s brutal attack on Gaza.  It was an obvious fraud from the start but it served its purpose. 

Meanwhile, back in Israel’s motherland, the U.S, the decision by a U.S. congressional committee to add even more money to Israel’s Iron Dome funding, was reported by Kate Brannen on the Foreign Policy web page July 15. She writes, in part:

“Congress seems poised to give Israel, and one of the United States’ largest defense contractors, a jolt of good news: $175 million in new American aid that will help fund an expansion of the program.

The additional money for Iron Dome cleared one of its final hurdles Tuesday {July 15], when a key Senate appropriations subcommittee unanimously voted to double the Pentagon’s $175 million request for fiscal year 2015.

The full committee will consider the defense appropriations bill on Thursday. Meanwhile, three other panels have already signed off on the funding expansion, making it all but certain the additional money will be provided.

Iron Dome has received $720 million in American funding since 2011, when the United States became directly involved in the program. Iron Dome, which is built by the Israeli defense company Rafael, has kept Israeli casualties so low that it’s credited with bolstering the public’s support for a longer bombing campaign rather than an immediate ground invasion into Gaza.”

Even with more funding for the Iron Dome, Israel was determined to go ahead with its  ground invasion into Gaza on the night of July 17. Ha’aretz reported on the invasion:

“A large contingent of Israeli ground forces entered the Gaza Strip Thursday night for the first time since Operation Protective Edge began 10 days ago. 

The government made the decision after efforts to reach a cease-fire with Hamas collapsed.

Palestinian sources reported heavy IDF artillery fire throughout the entire Gaza Strip. A Gaza resident told Haaretz, “They’re firing from every direction, everything here is shaking.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the ground operation’s main goal will be to deal with the threat posed by the tunnels Hamas has dug along the Gaza-Israel border.”

The robotic American political response to Israel’s ground invasion on top of its bombing attacks on Gaza? “Israel has a right to defend itself”.

That mantra is a con man’s twin to the other central Israeli narrative mantra, “Israel has a right to exist”. The fundamental flaw in both mantras is that Israel considers itself to be the only party with rights.

Congress does not operate on the “General Conception of Justice” outlined in the late Harvard Professor John Rawls’ ethical philosophy:

“All social primary goods—liberty and opportunity, income and wealth, and the bases of self-respect—are to be distributed equally unless an unequal distribution of any or all of these goods is to the advantage of the least favored.”

Israel chooses not to remember how Proverbs 24:24-25 speaks to those who claim they are always right:

“Whoever says to the wicked, ‘You are in the right,’ will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations, but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.”

Israel is bombing and invading a small country whose only defense is an unwise use of ineffective rockets directed at Israel with little hope of doing any serious damage.

The rockets give U.S. and Israeli television news programs videos of Israeli civilians running toward shelters, incarnating another Israeli mantra, “the Jewish people are  permanent victims”.

Gaza Palestinians have no shelters to run to. They have no Iron Dome to protect their children. All they have are “roof knocking” Israeli shells landing on a roof to warn a targeted family, get out quickly because a deadlier bomb is on its way.

The message behind “roof knocking” is cynical in the extreme. After the early bombings, Jon Stewart addressed this very serious topic in his usual acerbic manner:

What are the results of these asymmetrical attacks?  Since July 8, when Israel began daily bomb attacks, this summer’s round of asymmetrical bombing assaults on Gaza have killed more than 240 Palestinians, an estimated half of whom are women and children.

The ground invasion launched Thursday may be expected to add to that figure. Israel claims its air attacks target only Hamas militants. It is yet to say how it expects to avoid killing civilians in its ground assault.

Thus far the Israeli public appears to be in favor of the attacks on Gaza. The killing of four boys playing soccer on the beach however, could prove to be a tipping point against Israel in international public opinion.

The Washington Post’s account of the death of the four boys playing on the beach is one example.

On Thursday, the nation’s leading trend-setting media outlet, The New York Times, featured pictures and two stories about the deaths of the four Palestinian boys.

One of the Times stories is by Tyler Hicks, the Times photographer who took the picture (here) of a Palestinian man carrying the body of one of the four young boys killed.

Ahead of him in the picture is a second victim of Israeli naval fire.Tyler Hicks NYT

A second story that ran in the Times after the beach killings is by Anne Barnard, writing from Gaza City:

“The four Baker boys were young cousins, the children of Gaza fishermen who had ordered them to stay indoors — and especially away from the beach.

But cooped up for nine days during Israeli bombardments, the children defied their parents and went out Wednesday afternoon, the eldest shooing away his little brother, telling him it was too dangerous.

As they played on and around a jetty in the late-afternoon sun, a blast hit a nearby shack. One boy was killed instantly. The others ran. There was a second blast, and three more bodies littered the sand. One was charred, missing a leg, and another lay motionless, his curly head intact, his legs splayed at unnatural angles.”

At the moment, with the Israeli ground invasion under way, the  future looks bleak. Have we reached a tipping point?  Will the Gaza beach murders be the moment when the world wakes up?  

Or as Jon Stewart asks us in the clip above, “has the world gone mad?”


The picture above of the injured Hamada Baker, was taken on the terrace of the Gaza al Deira Hotel, where he was treated.  The picture was taken for the Washington Post by Islam Abdel Karim.  The picture further down of the man and the two dead  children was taken by Tyler Hicks of the New York Times. An editorial note: The Post spells the family name of the four dead boys as Baker.  The Tines uses Bakr, without the “e”. My Arabic authority says the name in Arabic is pronounced Baa keer, emphasis on the Baa.  The English transliteration is more properly rendered as Baker.

Posted in Human Rights, Media, Middle East Politics, Soccer, Television, USA, War | 8 Comments

Israel Destroys Gaza Home for Handicapped

by James M. WallWissam Nassar nyt

On the sixth day of its asymmetrical war against Gaza, Israel destroyed a home for the handicapped in Beit Lahiya, killing two handicapped residents, and wounding three others, including the caretaker.

The destruction of the home came on an early Saturday morning while only five of the 19 severely handicapped residents were in the building.

Jamila Elaiwa, who founded the center 20 years ago, told the New York Times the remaining 14 residents of the Mabaret Palestine Society home were visiting their families.

Ms. Elaiwa spoke to the Times at Gaza’s Shifa’s hospital’s burn unit. She was there visiting the wounded survivors of the building’s destruction, two of whom were Mai Hamada, 30, and Salwa Abu al-Qomssan, 53, the caretaker, both of them with severe burns.

Jamila Elaiwa, the founder of the Mabaret Palestine Society, suggested the attack must have been pre-planned, and was not one of Israel’s unfortunate “accidents”, as Israel claimed was the case with the bomb that killed nine Palestinians sitting on the beach watching a TV presentation of a World Cup football match.

She recalled a small explosion on the building roof a few minutes before the bomb hit that destroyed the home for the handicapped.

That smaller explosion would have been an Israeli “roof knocking” message, which Israel claims is meant to warn occupants to leave the building. These were occupants, however, who were not physically capable of making a fast exit.

Two other wounded survivors of the blast are in intensive care. Killed in the bombing attack were Ula Wisha, 31, and Suha Abusada, 39, whose family reports “had been born severely handicapped and unable to speak.”

In its story reporting the bombing of the home, the Times reports that Israel bombed a mosque which Israel claimed “aerial photos indicated was harboring a weapons cache”.

The mosque was destroyed. No casualties were reported.  What the Times did not report was that the “weapons cache” claim is a frequent Israeli excuse for bombing sacred buildings.

This is clearly an asymmetrical (as in excessively one-sided) war.  It is also an ongoing war that is renewed almost every two years or so.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he is not interested in a cease fire.  Of course he is not.

Mideast Israel Palestinians  APHe will stop this recurring devastation when he feels he has weakened Hamas for this round.  The bell will ring when he gives the signal for it to ring.

That is his pattern. After Hamas’ 2006 victory over Israel’s preferred US military-trained  Fatah army, Israel has found some convenient pretext to repeatedly launch vicious and highly destructive air, and sometimes ground, assaults against Hamas.

The assaults are like clockwork, starting in 2007. That assai;t was followed by the 2008-09 assault, then, after pausing during Obama’s first year in office, it was back to the attack in 2012. Now, right on schedule, in 2014,  we are in the midst of “Operation Protective Edge”.

Israel gives its Gaza recurring attacks, nice media-friendly, noble-sounding names.  In 2012, the attack bore the memorable monikers, “Pillar of Defense” or literally: “Pillar of Cloud”. In 2008-09, the name was “Operation Cast Lead”.

Like the Bob Gibson folk song, “The Thinking Man”, Israel is reported to have a department with the sole responsibility of “thinking up names” for its lethal incursions into Gaza and Lebanon.

Each round of violence on Palestinians is marketed with the same non accountable predictability, an Israeli-designed narrative that American mainstream media and American politicians, accept and then sell to the American public, performing their duties as Israel’s peddlers.

During the 2012 attack, in a Wall Writings posting, I described Israel’s handling of Gaza to be “the managing of a crisis”. The management involved the rationing of foodstuffs, medicine, and other vital human needs.  Israel has maintained its detailed management of “the crisis” since that 2012 war.

There are occasional signs that Netanyahu may be losing control of some in the main stream media.  Brian Williams, of NBC news, did a piece this week on his nightly report which he headed, “Gaza trapped in lop sided conflict”.

One major U.S. media star, ABC news anchor Dianne Sawyer, was doing her best “two sides” are suffering story in this asymmetrical conflict, when she put up two pictures of destruction which she said were from Israel.

Sawyer later apologized, but apologies for obvious errors never quite catch up to the first impression of “destruction on both sides” that ABC gave its viewers.

An alert journalist should have been aware that the two pictures ABC’s Sawyer displayed were not taken in Israel, but in Gaza

Some staffer in the production chain should have raised a red flag, shouting error, error.

Did these people not watch Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant cable television series Network? That fictional crew made its mistakes, but they would know which side has the more destructive arms.

Outside the U.S., crucial international support for Israel’s blank check to attack at will, may also be lessening. The United Nations Security Council, and just about every other international organization witnessing this one-way carnage, has called for a cease fire, an indication that Israel may have to end this round sooner than Netanyahu had planned.

Away from the main stream media, the alternative media is hitting hard at Netanyahu. The message there is seen by opinion makers, but they are slow to present it to the public.

A Real News Network interview of Jewish American journalist Max Blumenthal and Palestinian American journalist Ali Abunimah refutes Israel’s narrative with a discussion of “Israeli Propaganda and the Politics of Revenge against Gaza”.

Netanyahu knows that as long as he wants to drag out this 2014 assault, the U.S. Congress has his back.

The most recent example: Two U.S. Senate leaders, Republican Lindsay Graham, of South Carolina, and New York Democrat Chuck Schumer, the bipartisan pro-Israel twins of the upper chamber, demonstrated their undying loyalty to a sovereign foreign nation.

Together with fellow bipartisan pro-Israel senators Robert Menendez, Democrat, New Jersey, and Kelly Ayotte, Republican, New Hampshire, they introduced a “resolution expressing support for the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization”.

The resolution endorses Israel’s current assault, calls for Fatah to withdraw from its unity talks with Hamas, and most importantly insists “Israel has the right to  defend itself”.

For future reference, take note:

Each succeeding Israeli government prepares for its recurring Gaza attack by following the same script that always ends with the victim-oriented mantra that “Israel has the right to defend itself”.

During its two-year long pause between attacks, Israel plays the “peace process” game. However, after the dismal failure of this year’s proceedings, Israel and the U.S. will have to come up with a new reason to hit the pause button between Israel’s wars.

After the pause, Israel always begins its recurring (2007, 2009, 2012, and 2014) Gaza attacks by building up Israel’s ever-present “existential anxiety”— fear and anger–that seethes within its easily manipulated population.

Next, Israel grabs whatever provocative event that emerges. The event is then manufactured to serve Israel’s plan to play the victim card. In their need to defend the homeland, Israel starts another war.

For the 2014 attack on Gaza, an especially lurid provocation arrived with the deaths of three Israeli teen agers in IDF controlled territory in Hebron.  Israel knew from the outset that from the recording of gunshots behind a desperate cell phone call for help, the search for the three Israelis would be a search for three dead Israelis.

Nevertheless, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exploited the story of the missing teenagers to charge up the emotions of his population. He even sent the mother of one of the teen agers to Geneva to appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Council for help.

When the three bodies were finally found, buried by the side of the road under a few rocks, Netanyahu repeated his initial accusation that Hamas was behind the disappearance of the Israelis.

He also had the names of two Hamas operatives who lived in the area. They were deemed, by fiat, as guilty of kidnapping the teen agers. Netanyahu ordered the homes of both men destroyed. No evidence or charges have surfaced.

It was time to start the 2014 War on Hamas.

Cue the massing of troops on the border, artillery at the ready, and send the bombers aloft. Operation Knife’s Edge was ready to roll.

If this were a work of fiction, about this time in the story the reader would be demanding to know where the two so-called Hamas “killers” are hiding in an area swarming with Israeli police and soldiers.

The reader just may think, maybe, just maybe, Israel has found the two Hamas agents. If so, still with no evidence against them, they may be now be dead, their bodies hidden until a more propitious time when they will appear in the Israeli narrative, more likely dead than alive.

Who can say, but in the narrative according to Netanyahu, the two “missing” Hamas men have served their purpose. They were only the latest pair of provocateurs utilized by Israel to kick off its next act of war.

A number of Israeli journalists, many from Ha’aretz, know that Netayahu’s narrative is damaging Israel to within an inch of its future as a nation.

Unfortunately for the citizens of Gaza, this current round of the recurring War Against Gaza means many Gazans, as of this weekend more than 160, will die.

Richard Silverstein is reporting that “an invasion is imminent”, which means that an invasion could come at some time Sunday morning, Gaza time. The invasion threat is day to day, guaranteeing more Gaza deaths.

Hamas militants insist on firing rockets at Israel. It is a self-defeating action, one that hands Netanyahu his rational for going to war.  The rockets are largely ineffective. Yet the US mainstream media including the more “progressive” NPR and MSNBC, repeatedly report the rocket attacks as equally frightening as Israeli bombs and artillery shelling.

Pay close attention, you can usually hear at the end of a “progressive” broadcast report, come the good news, “some rockets got through the protective dome, but there were no injuries”.

The ineffective rockets from Hamas serve no one but Israel. Not a single Israeli death had been reported by this Saturday night.

What matters for Israel is that the rockets fired by militants in Gaza keep reaching targets deeper and deeper in Israel, sending Israelis fleeing for bomb shelters.  What better way to keep the Israeli public in perpetual fear and hatred.

CNN, which is trying to outdo Fox News in selling the Israeli narrative, has sent its ace journalist, former AIPAC staffer Wolf Blitzer, into Israel to report on those rocket attacks.

The problem for the stronger side in an asymmetrical war is that a case must be made that the stronger side is always in great danger.

Max Blumberg, an America Jewish journalist, has reported on Twitter that CNN’s favorite and oft-repeated visual from Israel’s home front is a scene of Blitzer in Israel when an Hamas rocket is reported to be on its way.

Blitzer races to the nearest bomb shelter, a CNN cameraman close behind showing the “danger” Israeli citizens face. No CNN visuals yet of the bombs falling in Gaza. Meanwhile, the asymmetrical bombing of Gaza, with the ultimate destruction of Hamas, and Israel’s complete control of all Palestinian land, as its goal, is about to enter its second week.

What about President Barack Obama in all this?

Obama has talked with Netanyahu. What does our President say after those “chats”. He says what  all American politicians say, “Israel has a right to defend itself”.

That is the height of absurdity.  In response to ineffective rockets, bombing a home for the handicapped, destroying mosques, eliminating an already battered Gaza water works, highways, cities, killing more than 160 Palestinians, a large number of whom are women and children, while keeping 1.7 million Palestinians locked up in a Gaza prison, is most certainly not “Israel defending itself”.

It is, rather, Israel destroying itself, and like Samson of old, Israel is pulling down the temple on the entire region, starting with Palestine.



The picture at top of the destruction left after Israel bombed Gaza’s Mabaret Palestine Society home is from the New York Times.  It was taken by Wissam Nassar.  The lower picture of the destroyed Mabaret home, with men in the basement where the bomb exploded is from AP. It was taken by Khalil Hamra.


Posted in Middle East Politics, Netanyahu, Obama, War | 6 Comments