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Going back to work

January 26th, 2009

Najwa Sheikh Ahmed, Nusierat Camp, Gaza Strip

The road was dreary, it was the second day after the cease fire was announced, and people started to leave their houses to see what has happened to the other places, I was on the taxi going to my work in Gaza, and all the way I was trying to prepare myself of what I am going to see, the destruction in the houses, the lands, the roads and every thing, but it seems that I was so humble on my expectations, every thing was different starting from Natzarim junction a long to Gaza city, to the destroyed houses, offices, streets, buildings, play grounds, even worship places, the mosques where we found peace and security.

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January 26th, 2009

Norman G. Finkelstein

Early speculation on the motive behind Israel's slaughter in Gaza that began on 27 December 2008 and continued till 18 January 2009 centered on the upcoming elections in Israel. The jockeying for votes was no doubt a factor in this Sparta-like society consumed by "revenge and the thirst for blood,"[1] where killing Arabs is a sure crowd-pleaser. (Polls during the war showed that 80-90 percent of Israeli Jews supported it.)[2] But as Israeli journalist Gideon Levy pointed out on Democracy Now!, "Israel went through a very similar war...two-and-a-half years ago [in Lebanon], when there were no elections."[3] When crucial state interests are at stake, Israeli ruling elites seldom launch major operations for narrowly electoral gains. It is true that Prime Minister Menachem Begin's decision to bomb the Iraqi OSIRAK reactor in 1981 was an electoral ploy, but the strategic stakes in the strike on Iraq were puny; contrary to widespread belief, Saddam Hussein had not embarked on a nuclear weapons program prior to the bombing.[4] The fundamental motives behind the latest Israeli attack on Gaza lie elsewhere: (1) in the need to restore Israel's "deterrence capacity," and (2) in the threat posed by a new Palestinian "peace offensive."

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With friends like these

January 26th, 2009

Sherine Bahaa

KHALED AMAYREH, the Al-Ahram Weekly correspondent in the West Bank was arrested Sunday evening by the Preventive Security Forces (PSF) in Hebron. He was released after two days. Amayreh, 52, lives in Dura, 12 miles southwest of Hebron and has worked as the Weekly correspondent since 1997, as well as for a number of other media outlets.

He has a BA in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an MA in journalism from the University of Southern Illinois. For a long time, he suffered, as do all Palestinians in the occupied territories, being confined by the occupation to his home village.

Not long ago, he was prohibited by Israeli forces from leaving Hebron at an Israeli checkpoint, detained and released only after being threatened for his courageous articles documenting Israeli crimes in the Weekly.

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Israel Killed Everything but the Will to Resist

January 26th, 2009

Stephen Lendman

" 'Freedom or death', is the popular Palestinian mantra," wrote Palestine Chronicle Editor-in-Chief Ramzy Baroud in his January 22 article titled "Breaking Gaza's Will: Israel's Enduring Fantasy."

Three weeks of Israeli terror caused about 1400 deaths, over 5500 injured (many seriously), vast destruction throughout Gaza, and Physicians for Human Rights warning that large numbers of wounded may die because hospitals are overloaded and lack basic supplies. Yet Palestinians endure. Their spirit is unbowed and unbroken. Hamas is more popular than ever, and world outrage sustains them.

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Obama, Guantánamo, and US hypocrisy

January 26th, 2009

Mickey Z.

Snapshots from the United States of Incarceration…

So, the Pope of Hope announced his (purported) objective of closing the military detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (“Gitmo”) within one year and we’re expected to herald this announcement as a drastic break from the past. But—as some of the regulars on my blog instantly declared—if President Obama were serious about hope and change, he’d close the prison tomorrow, apologize to the detainees, and offer them financial reparations. That could be promptly followed up with the immediate indictment of all government officials (including those in Obama’s administration) responsible for supporting torture, secret prisons, extraordinary rendition, extrajudicial punishment, etc. And why not toss in the immediate closing of the US military base at Guantánamo Bay and the return of that land to Cuba? That, I submit, would be a minuscule first step upon which we could build.

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January 25th, 2009

B. Michael

Despite widespread praise, B. Michael unimpressed with military’s performance in Gaza.

Did the army draw lessons from its past performance? Unclear. The praise being lavished on the IDF still requires verification. This army participated in two wars: In Lebanon it was fired at and it emerged out of it by the skin of its teeth. In Gaza it was almost not fired at, and it immediately “won.” Therefore, the only learned conclusion we can draw from the Gaza events for the time being is that it is much easier to win without an enemy.

Did the Palestinians learn their lesson? No. Death and destruction do not educate nations. This is just the way it is. More than 1,000 Israelis were killed in the second Intifada, yet this didn’t quite turn us into peace-lovers. It also didn’t make us moderate or logical.

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January 25th, 2009

Steve Amsel

After an unexpected winter ‘vacation’, hundreds of thousands of children in Gaza returned to school yesterday. In some cases, the buildings were gone, completely destroyed by Israeli bombs. In most cases, classmates were missing, murdered by Israeli forces.

Can any of you imagine the trauma of these children, many of whom lost close relatives, including parents, brothers or sisters? For decades, this has been a way of life for the people living in the Occupied Territories of Palestine, Gaza in particular. In other words, the way of life is the way of death. The scars inflicted on these children by those horrors will never heal…. no form of therapy or counseling will alleviate the pain felt by these children…. they will be forced to live with it their entire life.

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Breaking Gaza’s Will: Israel’s Enduring Fantasy

January 25th, 2009

Ramzy Baroud

My three-year-old son Sammy walked into my room uninvited as I sorted through another batch of fresh photos from Gaza.

I was looking for a specific image, one that would humanise Palestinians as living, breathing human beings, neither masked nor mutilated. But to no avail.

All the photos I received spoke of the reality that is Gaza today - homes, schools and civilian infrastructure bombed beyond description. All the faces were either of dead or dying people.

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Israel’s propaganda mainstay, Sderot, is a lie (like everything else)

January 25th, 2009

Stuart Littlewood

Stuart Littlewood views Israel’s amoral friends, from ignoramus Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg to war criminal Tony Blair, whose hypocrisy and lies are helping to sustain the biggest lie of all, Israel.

Sderot, the Israeli township on which Hamas rockets have been “raining down”, is the main plank of the Israelis' attempt to justify the bloodshed they have inflicted on the people of Gaza.

They use it ad nauseam to brainwash the media and their own people. They have studiously counted and broadcast the number of erratic, home-made Qassam rockets coming into Israel, without ever admitting to the huge number of missiles, bombs and shells that Israel's high-tech military fires into Gaza with much more deadly effect.

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International Law and Israel's War on Gaza

January 24th, 2009

Francis A. Boyle

When the Oslo Document was originally presented by the Israeli government to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations in the Fall of 1992, it was rejected by the Delegation because it obviously constituted a bantustan. This document carried out Menachem Begin's disingenuous misinterpretation of the Camp David Accords--expressly rejected by U.S. President Jimmy Carter--that all they called for was autonomy for the people and not for the land too.

Soon thereafter, unbeknownst to the Delegation and to almost everyone else, the Israeli government opened up a secret channel of negotiations in Norway. There the Israeli government re-presented the document that had already been rejected by the Palestinian Delegation in Washington, D.C. It was this document, with very minor modifications, that was later signed at the White House on 13 September 1993.

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