Saturday, 17 January 2009

o exército israelita matou suas três filhas e sobrinha.17/01

Fonte: Haaretz
Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish, at Tel Ha-Shomer Hospital on Saturday.

Last update - 20:46 17/01/2009
Israeli-trained Gaza doctor loses three daughters and niece to IDF tank shell
By The Associated Press

Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish, a Palestinian doctor who trained in Israel, has been a regular fixture on Israeli television during the 21-day-old war against Hamas militants, bringing witness accounts of the medical crisis facing Gazans to Israeli living rooms.

His report Friday was drenched in grief as he sobbed through a cell phone that three of his daughters and a niece were killed by an Israel Defense Forces shell.
Abu al-Aish said he hoped his three daughters would be the last victims of the fighting in Gaza, and that their deaths would help bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

"I want to know why my daughters were harmed. This should haunt (Israeli Ehud Prime Minister) Olmert his entire life," Abu al-Aish said on Israel's Channel 10, speaking through a cell phone in Hebrew as he has throughout the war.

He added that his daughters were "armed only with love."

Gazan officials identified Al-Aish's deceased daughters as 22-year-old Bisan, 15-year-old Mayer and 14-year old Aya. His niece was identified as 14-year-old Nour Abu al-Aish.

At least two other daughters were injured, and are currently being treated at Tel Ha-Shomer Hospital in Tel Aviv.

The press conference at Tel Ha-Shomer became tense at one moment when an Israeli woman and mother of three IDF paratroopers began yelling at Abu al-Aish, demanding that he explain why there was weaponry in the house.

Throughout the war, Abu al-Aish had put a face on the Palestinian suffering, making regular reports by cell phone to Israel's Channel 10. He is a rarity among Palestinians, a Hebrew-speaker who trained in two Israeli hospitals - the Soroka hospital in Beersheba just 18 miles from Gaza, and Tel Aviv's Tel Hashomer hospital.

His tragedy prompted numerous calls of concern to the station, many from
people who know him.

"We all know and love him well at Soroka, and we really hope the situation gets better," Dr. Shaul Sofer, head of the ER at Soroka who taught Abu al-Aish.

Abu al-Aish, a 55-year-old gynecologist, also is a known peace activist who was involved in promoting joint Israeli-Palestinian projects, and an academic who studied the affects of war on Gazan and Israeli children. He works at Gaza's main Shifa Hospital.

During the call-ins, Abu al-Aish often spoke of his fears for his eight children as Israeli shells punished not only the Hamas militants they were targeting but civilians who live in the crowded enclave, unable to leave. His wife reportedly died recently of cancer.

When Channel 10 called him on Friday, he answered the phone crying that his house in the northern Gaza strip town of Jebalia had been hit by Israeli shells and his daughters killed. Eighteen members of his extended family were in the house at the time.

Israeli TV said initial reports indicated that a sniper had fired from either the family's building - which friends quoted by TV said they doubted - or nearby, and the Israeli infantry responded with a tank shell.

Abu al-Aish was able to arrange the transfer of two injured daughters to Israeli hospitals - something that has been extremely rare during this conflict. The Israeli army also for the first time allowed a Palestinian ambulance to go straight to the Erez border crossing, where the injured were transferred to Israeli ambulances.

From there, they were taken by helicopter to Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv.

"Everyone knew we were home. Suddenly we were bombed. How can we talk to Olmert and (Foreign Minister) Tzipi Livni after this?" Abu al-Aish told television reporters at the border crossing.

"Suddenly, today when there was hope for a cease-fire, on the last day...I was speaking with my children, suddenly they bombed us. The doctor who treats Israeli patients."

Israel bombardeia pela terteira vez uma escola da UNRWA em Beit Lahiya.17/01


Israel shells UN school in Gaza

The UN has called for a war crimes investigation over the shelling of its school [AFP]

Two Palestinian boys have been killed after Israeli tank shells hit a UN-run school in Gaza - hours before Israel's security cabinet is expected to vote on a proposal for a unilateral ceasefire.

The boys, aged five and seven, died and 25 other Gazans were wounded as they sought to shelter in the school run by the UN relief and works agency (Unrwa) in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza.

The school is the third UN shelter to be hit by Israeli fire in its 22-day war on the territory.

The attack came as heavy artillery and aerial bombardment of what Israel described as "Hamas targets" continued on Saturday.

Christopher Gunness, an Unrwa spokesman, said several rounds hit the UN school at about 6:45am. The third floor of the school took a direct hit after a short pause, killing the pair and injuring another 14 people.

Witnesses said four more people were killed when other shells struck nearby as people tried to escape.

Investigation demanded

About 1,600 civilians had sought refuge from the fighting inside the building, Gunness said.

"The Israeli army knew exactly our GPS co-ordinates and they would have known that hundreds of people had taken shelter there," he said.

"When you have a direct hit into the third floor of a UN school, there has to be an investigation to see if a war crime has been committed."

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said: "I condemn in the strongest terms this outrageous attack, which is the third time it's happened.

"Top israeli leaders have apologised and assured me two days ago that UN premises would be fully respected.

"I strongly demand a thorough investigation and punishment for those responsible," he told reporters in Beirut.

John Ging, the director of Unrwa, told Al Jazeera: "People today are alleging war crimes here in Gaza. Let's have it properly accounted for. Let's have the legal process which will establish exactly what has happened here.

'A failure for humanity'

"It is another failure for our humanity and it is exposing the impotence of our [the international community's] inability to protect civilians in conflict."

In Jabaliya refugee camp, Dr Ezzedine Abu al-Aish, a Palestinian doctor from al-Shifa hospital, lost his three daughters and one niece during an Israeli air attack as he was being interviewed on an Israeli television channel.

At least 10 people were also killed late on Friday after a tank shell slammed into their home during a funeral wake in Gaza City.

More than 1,200 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's offensive, including more than 400 children, according to UN and Palestinian medical sources.

At least 13 Israelis have also died in the same period, three of them civilians.

About five rockets were reported to have been fired from Gaza into southern Israel on Saturday.

o enredo contra Gaza.17/01

Fonte:Electronic Intifada

The plot against Gaza
Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 17 January 2009

Displaced Palestinian families from the northern Gaza Strip who survived an Israeli attack on a UN school where they were seeking refuge, take refuge yet again at a hospital in the Jabilya refugee camp, 17 January 2009. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

Israel has justified its assault on Gaza as entirely defensive, intended only to stop Hamas firing rockets on Israel's southern communities. Although that line has been repeated unwaveringly by officials since Israel launched its attack on 27 December, it bears no basis to reality. Rather, this is a war against the Palestinians of Gaza, and less directly those in the West Bank, designed primarily to crush their political rights and their hopes of statehood.

The most glaring evidence contradicting the Israeli casus belli is the six-month ceasefire between Hamas and Israel that preceded the invasion. True, Hamas began firing its rockets as soon as the truce came to an end on 19 December, but Israel had offered plenty of provocation. Not least it broke the ceasefire by staging a raid into Gaza on 4 November that killed six Hamas members. Even more significantly, it maintained and tightened a blockade during the ceasefire period that was starving Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants of food, medicine and fuel. Hamas had expected the blockade lifted in return for an end to the rockets.

A few days before Israel's attack on Gaza, Yuval Diskin, the head of Israel's domestic security service, the Shin Bet, noted Hamas' commitment to the ceasefire and its motives in restarting the rocket fire. "Make no mistake, Hamas is interested in maintaining the truce," he told the cabinet. "It seeks to improve its conditions -- a removal of the blockade, receiving a commitment from Israel that it won't attack and extending the lull to the Judea and Samaria area [the West Bank]." In other words, had Israel wanted calm, it could have avoided invading Gaza simply by renegotiating the truce on more reasonable terms.

Israel, however, had little interest in avoiding a confrontation with Hamas, as events since the Islamic group's takeover of Gaza in early 2006 show.

It is widely agreed among the Israeli leadership that Hamas represents a severe threat to Israel's ambition to crush the Palestinians' long-standing demands for a state in the West Bank and Gaza. Unike Fatah, its chief Palestinian political rival, Hamas has refused to collude with the Israeli occupation and has instead continued its resistance operations. Although Hamas officially wants the return of all the lands the Palestinians were dispossessed of in 1948, at the establishment of Israel, it has shown signs of increasing pragmatism since its election victory, as Diskin's comments above highlight. Hamas leaders have repeatedly suggested that a long-term, possibly indefinite, truce with Israel is possible. Such a truce would amount to recognition of Israel and remove most of the obstacles to the partition of historic Palestine into two states: a Jewish state and a Palestinian one.

Rather than engaging with Hamas and cultivating its moderate wing, Israel has been preparing for an "all-out war," as Ehud Barak, the defense minister, has referred to the current offensive. In fact, Barak began preparing the attack on Gaza at least six months ago, as he has admitted, and probably much earlier.

Barak and the military stayed their hand in Gaza chiefly while other strategies were tested. The most significant was an approach espoused in the immediate wake of Hamas' victory in 2006. Dov Weisglass, former prime minister Ariel Sharon's fixer in Washington, gave it clearest expression. Israel's policy, he said, would be "like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won't die."

John Wolfensohn, envoy to the Quartet of the United States, the United Nations, Europe and Russia through most of 2005, has pointed out that the US and Israel reneged on understandings controlling the border crossings into Gaza from the moment of Israel's disengagement in summer 2005. In an interview with the Israeli media, he attributed the rapid destruction of the Gazan economy to this policy. However, although the blockade began when Fatah was still in charge of the tiny enclave, the goal of Weisglass' "diet" was to intensify the suffering of Gaza's civilians. The rationale was that, by starving them, they could be both reduced to abject poverty and encouraged to rise up and overthrow Hamas.

But it seems the Israeli army was far from convinced a "diet" would produce the desired result and started devising a more aggressive strategy. It was voiced last year by Israel's deputy defense minister, Matan Vilnai. He observed that, if Hamas continued firing rockets into Israel (in an attempt, though he failed to mention it, to break the blockade), the Palestinians "will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves." The Hebrew word "Shoah" has come to refer exclusively to the Holocaust.

Though his disturbing comment was quickly disowned, Vilnai is no maverick. He is a former major general in the army who maintains close ties to the senior command. He is also a friend of his boss, Ehud Barak, the Labor leader and Israel's most decorated soldier. The reference to the "shoah" offered a brief insight into the reasoning behind a series of policies he and Barak began unveiling from summer 2007.

It was then that hopes of engineering an uprising against Hamas faded. The diet regime had patently failed, as had a Fatah coup attempt underwritten by the United States. Hamas struck a pre-emptive blow against Fatah, forcing its leaders to flee to the West Bank. In retaliation the Israeli government declared Gaza a "hostile entity." Barak and Vilnai used Gaza's new status as the pretext for expanding the blockade of food and medicines to include electricity, a policy that was progressively tightened. At the same time they argued that Israel should consider cutting off "all responsibility" for Gaza. The intention of Barak's blockade, however, was different from the Weisglass version. It was designed to soften up Gazan society, including Hamas fighters, for Israel's coming invasion.

Far from being threatened by the intensifying blockade, Hamas turned it to its advantage. Although Israel controls two of the land borders and patrols the coast, there is fourth short land border shared with Egypt, close by the town of Rafah. There Gaza's entrepreneurs developed a network of smuggling tunnels that were soon commandeered by Hamas. The tunnels ensured both that basic supplies continued to get through, and that Hamas armed itself for the attack it expected from Israel.

From March 2008 Barak and Vilnai began pushing their military strategy harder. New political formulations agreed by the government suggested the whole population of Gaza were to be considered complicit in Hamas actions, and therefore liable for retaliatory military action. In the words of the daily Jerusalem Post newspaper, Israeli policy makers took the view that "it would be pointless for Israel to topple Hamas because the population [of Gaza] is Hamas."

At this point, Barak and Vilnai announced they were working on a way to justify in law the army directing artillery fire and air strikes at civilian neighborhoods of Gaza, as has been occurring throughout the current Gaza campaign. Vilnai, meanwhile, proposed declaring areas of the tiny enclave "combat zones" in which the army would have free rein and from which civilians would be expected to flee -- again a tactic that has been implemented over the past three weeks.

Although Israel is determined to crush Hamas politically and militarily, so far it has been loathe to topple it. Israel withdrew from Gaza precisely because the demographic, military and economic costs of directly policing its refugee camps were considered too high. It will not be easily dragged back in.

Other options are either unpalatable or unfeasible. A Fatah government riding in on the back of Israeli tanks would lack legitimacy, and no regime at all -- anarchy -- risks losing forces more implacably opposed to a Jewish state than Hamas, including al-Qaeda. Placing Gaza under a peacekeeping force faces other hurdles: not least, the question of which countries would be prepared to take on such a dangerous burden.

Instead Israel is planning to resort to its favorite diplomatic maneuver: unilateralism. It wants a solution that passes over the heads of Hamas and the Palestinians. Or as Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister, put it: "There is no intention here of creating a diplomatic agreement with Hamas. We need diplomatic agreements against Hamas." The formula currently being sought for a ceasefire will face opposition from Israel unless it helps achieve several goals.

Israel's first is to seal off Gaza properly this time. Egypt, although profoundly uncomfortable at having an Islamic group ruling next door, is under too much domestic pressure to crack down on the tunneling. Israel therefore wants to bring in American and European experts to do the job. They will ensure that the blockade cannot be broken and that Hamas cannot rearm with the the help of outside actors like Iran. At best, Hamas can hope to limp on as nominal ruler of Gaza, on Israeli sufferance.

The second goal has been well articulated by the Harvard scholar Sara Roy, who has been arguing for some time that Israel is, in her words, "de-developing" Gaza. The blockade has been integral to achieving that objective, and is the reason Israel wants it strengthened. In the longer term, she believes, Gazans will come to be "seen merely as a humanitarian problem, beggars who have no political identity and therefore can have no political claims."

In addition, Gazans living close to the enclave's northern and southern borders may be progressively "herded" into central Gaza -- as envisioned in Vilnai's plan last year. That process may already be under way, with Israeli leafletting campaigns warning inhabitants of these areas to flee. Israel wants to empty both the Rafah area, so that it can monitor more easily any attempts at tunneling, and the northern part because this is the location of the rocket launches that are hitting major Israeli cities such as Ashkelon and Ashdod and may one day reach Tel Aviv.

The third and related goal, as Barak and Vilnai proposed more than a year ago, is to cut off all Israeli responsibility for Gaza -- though not oversight of what is allowed in. Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian analyst, believes that in this scenario Israel will insist that humanitarian supplies into Gaza pass only through the Egyptian crossing, thereby also undercutting Hamas' role. Already Israel is preparing to hand over responsibility for supplying Gaza's electricity to Egypt -- a special plant is under construction close by in the Sinai.

Slowly, the hope is, Gaza's physical and political separation from the West Bank will be cemented, with the enclave effectively being seen as a province of Egypt. Its inhabitants will lose their connection to the wider Palestinian people and eventually Cairo may grow bold enough to crack down on Hamas as brutally as it does its own Islamists.

The regime of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, meanwhile, will be further isolated and weakened, improving Israel's chances of forcing it to sign a deal annexing East Jerusalem and large swaths of the West Bank on which the Jewish settlements sit.

The fourth goal relates to wider regional issues. The chief obstacle to the implementation of Israel's plan is the growing power of Iran and its possible pursuit of nuclear weapons. Israel's official concern -- that Tehran wants to attack Israel -- is simple mischief-making. Rather Israel is worried that, if Iran becomes a regional superpower, Israeli diktats in the Middle East and in Washington will not go unchallenged.

In particular, a strong Iran will be able to aid Hizballah and Hamas, and further fan the flames of popular Muslim sentiment in favor of a just settlement for the Palestinians. That could threaten Israel's plans for the annexation of much of the West Bank, and possibly win the Palestinians statehood. None of this can be allowed to pass by Israel.

It is therefore seeking to isolate Tehran, severing all ties between it and Hamas, just as it earlier tried -- and failed -- to do the same between Iran and Hizballah. It wants the Palestinians beholden instead to the "moderate" block in the Arab world, meaning the Sunni dictatorships like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia that in turn depend on Washington for their security.

The prospects of Israel achieving all or even some of these goals seems improbable. Too often Israeli meddling in its neighbors' affairs has ended in unintended consequences, or "blowback." It is a lesson Israel has been all too slow to learn.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is

Livni ..... uma terrorista?!17/01

No comment......

US journalists call Livni a 'terrorist'

Shortly after signing anti-smuggling agreement with Secretary of State Rice, foreign minister attends event at Washington Press Club. Several journalists take advantage of opportunity to shoot accusations at her over Gaza operation

A guerra contra Gaza no ciberespaço também

Fonte: McClatchy

Gaza war also being waged in cyberspace

By Shashank Bengali | McClatchy Newspapers

JERUSALEM — On the day that an Israeli artillery strike hit his neighborhood in Gaza City, sending a hail of shrapnel through his house and his uncle's, Sameh Akram Habeeb went online and filed a bleak report:

"Thanks to God, we all safe but I don't know what will happen next," Habeeb, 23, wrote Saturday on his blog, Readers responded with a flurry of antiwar comments from Greece, Iran, Tunisia and the United States.

Habeeb, a soft-spoken journalist with a degree in English literature, may not consider himself an activist, but he's on the front lines of the vibrant and at times hostile cyberwar over Gaza, a battle for public opinion that's raged in seemingly every corner of the Internet since the conflict began last month.

An enormous number of people around the world are using blogs, YouTube and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to register their support or opposition to the war. Thousands of images — from Palestinians under siege in Gaza to Israeli neighborhoods that have been hit by Hamas rocket attacks — have filled photo-sharing sites such as Flickr and Picasa.

It doesn't get any simpler than, where visitors can just pick sides. With nearly 500,000 votes cast, the race is a virtual tie, while the Web site's server is overloaded.

The clearest sign that the Internet has become a propaganda tool, however, is the brand-new YouTube page by the Israeli military, at Created at the start of the war, as of Tuesday the page had been viewed more than 685,000 times, making it one of the most visited on the site.

Since Israel has barred international journalists from the Gaza Strip, its YouTube page features some of the only battlefield footage available, and naturally it shows the military in the best possible light and Hamas in the worst. You can watch the Israeli air force blow up a truck that's supposedly carrying rockets, see how Hamas allegedly rigged a school with explosives and watch Israeli soldiers admit a Palestinian child for medical care.

Israeli officials say that it's part of an effort to win the wartime battle of "hasbara," or public relations, which many think that Israel lost during the 2006 conflict with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

"If I tell you Hamas is shooting rockets at Israel, that's one thing," government spokesman Mark Regev said, "but if I can produce a video that shows them shooting rockets, that makes a very powerful argument."

With its highly wired population and large Jewish communities in the United States and Europe, Israel unquestionably has the upper hand in technology, just as it does on the battlefield with its huge military arsenal. So it's not surprising that Israelis have used the Internet in innovative ways.

On Dec. 30, the Israeli consulate in New York conducted a news conference on the war entirely on Twitter, the social messaging site where users communicate in short, rapid-fire notes, or "tweets."

As a chance to field questions from a world audience, the experiment succeeded, but with questions and answers limited by Twitter to 140 characters, it didn't exactly make for nuanced discussion, even when consulate staffers rewrote the abbreviations. Take, for example, this exchange:

@carrotderek: "What steps are being taken about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza? Is it enough?"

The reply: "Israel does everything in its power to prevent deterioration of situation." The consulate then inserted a link to a story about Israel allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Dan Peguine and Arik Fraimovich, young Internet entrepreneurs in Tel Aviv, created QassamCount — named for the simple rockets that Hamas favors — which aims to give a sense of what it's like for Israelis who live under the threat of rocket fire. The application works with Facebook, which allows users to post brief status messages on any topic, and every time militants fire a rocket into Israel — 20 to 60 times a day — QassamCount updates a user's status with news on where the rocket landed and any casualties.

Some 70,000 Facebook users have subscribed to the application, said Peguine, who's 26.

"As you go through your day, you realize that Qassams are falling every hour, every two hours, just randomly." Peguine said. "You realize that people live under constant threat."

A Facebook group called "I Support the Israel Defense Forces in Preventing Terror Attacks From Gaza" had, as of Tuesday evening, more than 76,000 members. On the other side, a group called "Let's collect 500,000 signatures to support the Palestinians in Gaza" counts more than 531,000 members.

Hamzeh Abu-Abed, a 22-year-old Palestinian who's living in Jordan, created the pro-Palestinian group in August to protest the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The group had only about 500 members when Israel launched the military offensive, she wrote in an e-mail, then suddenly tens of thousands of people a day were signing up for the page and sending messages.

Abu-Abed and Joel Leyden, a 52-year-old marketing executive in Tel Aviv who launched the pro-Israel group, say they've received threats and had opponents hack into their pages. Both discussion boards feature some vitriolic, hateful comments, which seem to proliferate faster than moderators can erase them.

However, Leyden, a native New Yorker and former Israeli soldier and reservist, said that he'd generally been pleased by the level of thoughtful debate on the page.

"I've gone from being very pessimistic . . . to being optimistic by seeing an abundance of both Arabs and Jews communicating with one another," Leyden said.

Truques para desmoralizar o inimigo.17/01

E a guerra psychologica continua

Fonte: Der Spiegel (English)

Psychological Tricks to Demoralize the Enemy

By Ulrike Putz in Ashkelon

Hijacking the airwaves, spreading false news and sowing doubt: Israel and Hamas are pulling out all the stops when it comes to psychological warfare. Lies and deceit are the weapons of choice in the effort to destroy enemy morale.

Roughly once every hour, Israel hijacks the airwaves: The voice of radio host Kamal Abdu Nasser cuts out for a few minutes and is replaced by that of an Arabic-speaking Israeli. Listeners in the Gaza Strip are convinced that, in those moments, Israel's military is speaking.

Hamas is responsible for the war and Gaza's misery, says the apparent imposter.

A Palestinian man on Friday looks at damage done to a hospital in the Gaza Strip following an Israeli attack.

A Palestinian man on Friday looks at damage done to a hospital in the Gaza Strip following an Israeli attack.

The Hamas television station Al-Aqsa is also periodically interrupted, viewers say. One example, they report, is that of a cartoon depicting a sniper shooting at pictures of Hamas leaders. An Arabic voiceover warns: "This time you will pay."

It was three years ago that Israel's army launched its department of psychological warfare. But its debut was less than stunning. During the Lebanon war in 2006, Israelis dropped poorly-made leaflets down on Shiite civilians in southern Lebanon. The pamphlets included a simplistic drawing of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah cowering behind a cedar tree, Lebanon's national symbol. The clumsily-delivered message was apparently that Lebanon's Schiite militia was hiding behind the country's civilians.

These flyers did not have the desired effect. Instead, the Lebanese showed them to visitors for months on end to show the Israeli army's naiveté. Many wondered whether Israel had honestly thought their pamphlets would change Lebanese minds.

Pamphlets plant seeds of doubt

But in the last two and a half years, Israel's army has learned a thing or two about psychological warfare. For one, they've captured the airways -- but for another, they've also improved their flyers. Pamphlets dropped on the Gaza Strip refrain from relying on simplistic propaganda images. Instead, they provide telephone numbers and e-mail addresses -- Palestinians can use them should they want to report the whereabouts of Hamas leaders or weapons caches.

One can assume the contact information isn't used often -- but the flyers are effective: "Pamphlets like these sow seeds of doubt among Hamas leaders and the civilian population," says Ephraim Kam, deputy head of the Institute of National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. They create a general atmosphere of uncertainty because everyone suddenly holds the tools to betray the leaders of Hamas, he says.

Israeli reports about massive problems facing Hamas have a similar effect, according to Kam. Israeli military speakers have for days been reporting that their generals in the field have observed scores of demoralized Hamas fighters deserting. The claim can't be confirmed -- but it definitely affects morale. It strengthens the Israeli population's will to continue; and in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli media is the main source of information, this message raises questions about whether Hamas may, in fact, be on its last legs.

"Messages like these may or may not be true, but they definitely achieve one desired result," says Kam. "They undermine the confidence and certitude of Hamas."

Hamas fights back with its own bag of tricks

The Islamists in the Gaza Strip have likewise employed the power of suggestion during this war, now almost three weeks old. Hamas has repeatedly released messages claiming that they have captured or killed Israeli soldiers. Translated into Hebrew, these announcements, are then inserted into the radio traffic in the Israeli-controlled parts of the Gaza Strip. Even if the messages are later disproved, they initially undermine the morale of soldiers in the field, according to Kam.

Hamas has instrumentalized the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in a similar manner. Shalit has been in capitivity in the Gaza Strip for more than two and a half years -- his fate is of interest to the entire nation. Indeed, one of the goals of the current offensive is that of bringing Shalit home -- an it is one which the majority of the population supports wholeheartedly.

At the start of the Israeli offensive, Hamas claimed that Shalit had been wounded by Israeli fire. The message was clear: If Israel wanted to see Shalit return alive, it should stop the war. Then, last Sunday, the Gaza Islamists claimed that Schalit's health was no longer important. "He may be wounded or he may be fine. This question is no longer of any interest to us," said Hamas politburo member Mussa Abu Marsuk, thereby raising frenzied concern throughout Israel about the young man's wellbeing.

Israel takes the cake

Even Hamas threats fired off at Israel over the past months seem to have been well-considered. "Shortly before the end of the cease-fire, Hamas started boasting that it had countless surprises awaiting Israeli troops, should they advance," says Kam. Threats that no soldier would ever leave the Gaza Strip alive were supposed to keep Israel at bay.

The threats, of course, were not ultimately successful in preventing an Israeli ground incursion. Still, says Kam, they raised fears of booby-traps, fighters hidden inside tunnel systems and further Hamas attempts to capture Israeli soldiers. "The IDF would certainly have been careful anyway, but Hamas's pre-war propaganda caused them to be doubly careful," says Kam.

Still, the most effective propaganda campaign in this war has certainly been waged by Israel.

On Dec. 26, when war between Israel and Hamas already seemed unavoidable, Jerusalem called for a 48-hour cease-fire. The government claimed it wanted to consider all possible political solutions. In order to give Hamas a sense of security, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak even appeared in a satirical broadcast on Dec. 26 -- by which point the decision to attack on the morning of Dec. 27 was 24-hours old. An unsuspecting Hamas considered itself safe. On the morning of Dec. 27, men met in offices and barracks and dozens of policemen gathered at a defense ceremony. At that point, nearly 60 Israeli fighter jets were already in the air, headed for battle.

Friday, 16 January 2009


O "The Guardian" publica hoje uma carta aberta assinada por mais de 300 académicos britânicos ou a trabalhar no Reino Unido que condena a guerra que Israel move contra o povo palestiniano desde há 60 anos.

Fotos da concentração contra a guerra em Gaza: Porto 14/01


Artigo de Gideon Levy 16/01

Someone must stop Israel's rampant madness in Gaza
By Gideon Levy, Haaretz Correspondent

Someone has to stop this rampant madness. Right now. It may seem as though the cabinet hasn't decided on the "third stage" of the war yet, Amos Gilad is discussing a cease fire in Cairo, the end of the fighting seems close - but all this is misleading.
The streets of Gaza Thursday looked like killing fields in the midst of the "third stage" and worse. Israel is arrogantly ignoring the Security Council's resolution calling for a cease-fire and is shelling the UN compound in Gaza, as if to show its real feeling toward that institution. Emergency supplies intended for Gaza residents are going up in flames in the burning warehouses. Thick black smoke is rising from the burning flour sacks and the fuel reserves near them, covering the streets.
n the streets, people are running back and forth in panic, holding children and suitcases in their hands, helpless as the shells fall around them. Nobody in the diplomatic corridors is in any hurry to help those unfortunates who have nowhere to run.

The handful of journalists trying to cover the events, despite the outrageous media closure Israel has imposed, are also in danger. The Israel Defense Forces Thursday shelled the media building they were in and now they are all crowded in one office, as fearful and horrified as the rest of the scorched city's residents.
The BBC's Arabic correspondent, furious and alarmed, swears hoarsely that nobody fired from the building or around it. Meanwhile, in our television studios, there is rejoicing.

Is this war a "corrective experience," asks Rafi Reshef, who seems diabolically delighted by the fighting. Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer tells him that the IDF and Israel Air Force have made great achievements. Nobody of course asks what is so great about these achievements except the killing, destruction and thousands of casualties in Gaza and the rockets that continue falling on Be'er Sheva - undermining every "achievement."

In the lobby of a luxury hotel, against the background of the horror show from Gaza, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni explains, with intolerable arrogance, that the fire will stop "whenever Israel decides" on the basis of "daily situation evaluations."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, standing beside her, breaks protocol and denounces Israel with uncharacteristic vigor for its attack on the UN compound.

This is how Israel now looks to the outside world - its tanks in the burning streets of Gaza; more and more people being killed for nothing; tens of thousands of new refugees; an appallingly haughty foreign minister, and a growing clamor of condemnation and disgust from all over the globe.

Whether or not we have accomplished anything in the war, now only the thirst for blood and lust for revenge speak out, together with the desperate longing for the "victory shot" on the backs of hundreds and thousands of miserable civilians - a picture that will never be achieved, even with another 100 assassinations of Hamas leaders, like Thursday.

All those who supported this war and all those who objected to it should unite in the cry, Enough.


Thursday, 15 January 2009

Campanha contra jornalista israelita

Uma petição assinada por 34. 000 israelitas acusam a jornalista Younit Levy de colaborar com o inimigo. Tudo por que a jornalista do Canal Nacional demonstra compaixão pela situação dos palestinianos em Gaza. Outras jornalistas questionam-se se a razão por detrás de tal atitude tem que ver com uma questão de género:

( Besides uncovering tunnels and bunkers in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead is also exposing a rift between a large part of the Israeli people and some of the leading mainstream media personalities.

On the third day of the war, a citizen started a petition on a free petition-hosting website, in which she accused Channel 2's main anchorwoman, Yonit Levy, of being “anti-Zionist” and expressing empathy with the enemy. The petition's goal was to reach 10,000 signatures but less than two weeks after it was launched, it had reached 34,000 and was still growing rapidly (the petition's owner decided to disable further signatures because, she said, it had gotten out of control).

The Ma'ariv/NRG website reported that Levy also faced severe criticism from within the ranks of Channel 2's News Corporation. Her critics accused her of weakening national morale by conducting empathetic interviews with Gazan Arabs and asking them about the civilian casualties there. This criticism, combined with the web petition, reportedly caused Levy to react emotionally and led to a teary-eyed incident after the evening newscast on January 6.

Angry viewers also filed complaints with Channel 2's ombudsman. “I watched the 8 o'clock news presented by Miss Yonit Levy,” one of them wrote, “and at the end of the newscast she said the following sentence: 'It's hard to convince the world that the war is justified when we have one person dead and the Palestinian nation has 350 dead.'”

The letter went on: “As a father to a combat soldier in the Armored Corps, how am I supposed to send him into battle when I hear such sentences from the aforementioned lady and I conclude from their content that this war is unjustified? How can I send my son to battle when the Nation of Israel's television announces with pomp that students are holding a demonstration against the war?”

Channel 2 enjoys the highest ratings among Israel's TV channels and its 8:00 p.m. newscast maintains a clear lead over competitors Channel 10 and Channel 1.

Maa'riv/NRG reported that the public protests against Levy's perceived injection of her dovish views “has been discussed in internal conversations and Levy has been asked to be aware of what she says – but no one will admit this publicly.”

“We are not from the United Nations,” the evening newscast's chief editor, Guy Sudri, said. “We are Israelis and we are all patriots.”

The Ma'ariv/NRG reporter notes that “Yonit Levy is not the only anchorwoman whose words can be interpreted, at least by some of the viewers, as empathy for the other side. In interviews conducted in the last days, one could also view Channel 10's anchorwomen Miki Haimovich and Oshrat Kotler sensitively asking interviewees from Gaza about their personal security and that of their children.”

The report said further that “Dana Weiss, of Channel 2 news, was also not sparing in her show of concern for the other side in the interviews she held in the nightly edition she hosts, and the facial expression, which so worried the talkback writers with regard to Levy, exuded clear sorrow and pain.”

Another top female news personality, Ilana Dayan, defended Levy in an interview with Keren Noibach on Voice of Israel radio. “I know Yonit and I know that she is having a difficult time facing this assault,” she said.

Columnist Ariana Melamed hinted in Ynet that Levy was being attacked because of her sex: “In numerous items of research and surveys, it turns out that viewers want their news presented by men, preferably with silvery hair and an authoritative voice. It creates trust. Young women are generally believed less,” Melamed claimed.

Channel 10's Kotler employed militant feminist rhetoric when she came out against the possibility of war in Gaza in January of 2008. Kotler used her television platform as presenter of Channel 10's evening newscast to call for negotiations with Hamas “before we sacrifice hundreds of victims on the altar of Israeli masculinity.”


A guerra noutros campos.15/01

Fotos:Al Akhbar
Fonte: Ynet
O sitio israelita Ynet noticia que o governo israelita vai enviar ministros a paises que nao revelam ter uma posicao menos ortodoxa no que diz respeito a legitimidade israelita na guerra de Gaza. Esta manobra diplomatica, que certamente e uma medida para pressionar governos que nao recitam a cartilha israelita de cor e salteado, apenas mostra uma coisa: Israel esta a perder a opiniao publica mundial.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Tratem do Hamas como trataram do Japão na Segunda Guerra.13/01

Fonte :Yahoo Fotos: Al Akhbar

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel should follow the example set by the United States when it brought Japan to its knees at the end of World War II, the head of an ultra-nationalist opposition party was quoted as saying Tuesday.

"We must continue to fight Hamas just like the United States did with the Japanese in World War II," Avigdor Lieberman said, according to the website of the Jerusalem Post newspaper.

Japan surrendered in 1945 after atomic bombs were dropped on the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Lieberman, who quit Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's coalition government last year, said Israel needed to "break the will" of Hamas in Gaza where more than 900 Palestinians have been killed in a war that began on December 27.

"Israel won't be secure so long as Hamas is in power, and therefore we need to come to a decision that we will break the will of Hamas to keep fighting," he was quoted as saying during a speech at Bar-Ilan University, near Tel Aviv.

Lieberman's comments, which were widely broadcast on radio stations in Gaza and circulated on text messages, drew a withering response from senior Palestinians.

Mustafa Barghuthi, an independent lawmaker and former Palestinian information minister, said Lieberman's comments reflected the contempt felt by Israelis towards the Palestinians.

"This shows one more time that Israel never learn lessons from the past and rather invokes one of the bloodiest massacres in history to be the fate of the Gazans. They don't have respect for human life", he said.

Lieberman's right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party, which draws its core support from Israel's large Russian immigrant community, is tipped to emerge as the fourth largest party in elections due on February 10.

Lettre à l'ambassadeur d'Israël en France de l'historien André Nouschi.13/01

Fonte: Le Post , Fotos: Al Akhbar

Lettre à l'ambassadeur d'Israël en France de l'historien André Nouschi

Ci-dessous une lettre à l'ambassadeur d'Israël en France de l'historien André Nouschi (86 ans), originaire de Constantine (Algérie), qui souhaite que son texte diffusé autant que possible. André Nouschi, qui fut combattant de la France libre, est notamment l'auteur d'un livre, maintenant bien oublié, sur le niveau de vie des populations rurales constantinoises durant la période coloniale jusaqu'en 1919 (PUF, 1961). Ce livre, décisif, avait en son temps été salué par le ministre du GPRA et historien nationaliste algérien Ahmed Tafiq al-Madanî comme "la gouttre d'eau qui s'offre au voyageur après la traversée du désert". André Nouschi a été enseignant à l'université de Tunis, et il est professeur honoraire de l'université de Nice.

Le 3 janvier 2009

Monsieur l’Ambassadeur,

Pour vous c’est shabat, qui devait être un jour de paix mais qui est celui de la guerre. Pour moi, depuis plusieurs années, la colonisation et le vol israélien des terres palestiniennes m’exaspère. Je vous écris donc à plusieurs titres :comme Français, comme Juif de naissance et comme artisan des accords entre l’Université de Nice et celle de Haiffa ..

Il n’est plus possible de se taire devant la politique d’assassinats et d’expansion impérialiste d’Israël. Vous vous conduisez exactement comme Hitler s’est conduit en Europe avec l’Autriche, la Tchécoslovaquie .Vous méprisez les résolutions de l’ONU comme lui celles de la SDN et vous assassinez impunément des femmes, des enfants ; n’invoquez pas les attentats, l’Intifada. Tout cela résulte de la colonisation ILLEGITIME et ILLEGALE. QUI EST UN VOL.
Vous vous conduisez comme des voleurs de terres et vous tournez le dos aux règles de la morale juive.
Honte à vous :Honte à Israël ! Vous creusez votre tombe sans vous en rendre compte. Car vous êtes condamné à vivre avec les Palestiniens et les états arabes. Si vous manquez de cette intelligence politique, alors vous êtes indigne de faire de la politique et vos dirigeants devraient prendre leur retraite. Un pays qui assassine Rabin, qui glorifie son assassin est un pays sans morale et sans honneur.
Que le ciel et que votre Dieu mette à mort Sharon l’assassin. Vous avez subi une défaite au Liban en 2006.Vous en subirez d’autres, j’espère, et vous allez envoyer à la mort de jeunes Israéliens parce que vous n’avez pas le courage de faire la paix
Comment les Juifs qui ont tant souffert peuvent ils imiter leurs bourreaux hitlériens ? Pour moi, depuis 1975, la colonisation me rappelle de vieux souvenirs, ceux de l’hitlérisme .Je ne vois pas de différence entre vos dirigeants et ceux de l’Allemagne nazie ?
Personnellement, je vous combattrai de toutes mes forces comme je l’ai fait entre 1938 et 1945 jusqu’à ce que la justice des hommes détruise l’hitlérisme qui est au cœur de votre pays. Honte à Israël. J’espère que votre Dieu lancera contre ses dirigeants la vengeance qu’ils méritent. J’ai honte comme Juif, ancien combattant de la 2ème guerre mondiale, pour vous. Que votre Dieu vous maudisse jusqu’à la fin des siècles ! J’espère que vous serez punis..

André Nouschi
Professeur honoraire de l’Université

Israeli dispara sobre habitantes de Gaza em fuga!14/01

Fonte: BBC

Claims have been received by the BBC and an Israeli human rights group that Israeli troops have fired on Gaza residents trying to escape the conflict area. Israel has strongly denied the allegations.

BBC journalists in Gaza and Israel have compiled detailed accounts of the claims.

Some Palestinian civilians in Gaza say Israeli forces shot at them as they tried to leave their homes - in some cases bearing white flags.

One testimony heard by the BBC and human rights group B'tselem describes Israeli forces shooting a woman in the head after she stepped out of her house carrying a piece of white cloth, in response to an Israeli loudhailer announcement.

The Israeli military has dismissed the report as "without foundation".

The BBC has spoken to members of another family who say they are trapped in their home by fighting and have been shot at when they tried to leave to replenish dwindling water and food supplies, even during the three-hour humanitarian lull.

Israel is denying access to Gaza for international journalists and human rights monitors, so it is not possible to verify the accounts.

B'tselem said it had been unable to corroborate the testimony it had received, but felt it should be made public.

open letter.14/01

Fonte: The Guardian

We the undersigned are all of Jewish origin. When we see the dead and bloodied bodies of young children, the cutting off of water, electricity and food, we are reminded of the siege of the Warsaw Ghetto. When Dov Weisglass, an adviser to the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, talked of putting Gazans "on a diet" and the deputy defence minister, Matan Vilnai, talked about the Palestinians experiencing "a bigger shoah" (holocaust), this reminds us of Governor General Hans Frank in Nazi-occupied Poland, who spoke of "death by hunger".

The real reason for the attack on Gaza is that Israel is only willing to deal with Palestinian quislings. The main crime of Hamas is not terrorism but its refusal to accept becoming a pawn in the hands of the Israeli occupation regime in Palestine.

The decision last month by the EU council to upgrade relations with Israel, without any specific conditions on human rights, has encouraged further Israeli aggression. The time for appeasing Israel is long past. As a first step, Britain must withdraw the British ambassador to Israel and, as with apartheid South Africa, embark on a programme of boycott, divestment and sanctions.
Ben Birnberg, Prof Haim Bresheeth, Deborah Fink, Bella Freud, Tony Greenstein, Abe Hayeem, Prof Adah Kay, Yehudit Keshet, Dr Les Levidow, Prof Yosefa Loshitzky, Prof Moshe Machover, Miriam Margolyes, Prof Jonathan Rosenhead, Seymour Alexander, Ben Birnberg, Martin Birnstingl, Prof. Haim Bresheeth, Ruth Clark, Judith Cravitz, Mike Cushman, Angela Dale, Merav Devere, Greg Dropkin, Angela Eden, Sarah Ferner, Alf Filer, Mark Findlay, Sylvia Finzi, Bella Freud, Tessa van Gelderen, Claire Glasman, Ruth Hall, Adrian Hart, Alain Hertzmann, Abe Hayeem, Rosamene Hayeem, Anna Hellmann, Selma James, Riva Joffe, Yael Kahn, Michael Kalmanovitz, Ros Kane, Prof. Adah Kay, Yehudit Keshet, Mark Krantz, Bernice Laschinger, Pam Laurance, Dr Les Levidow, Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky, Prof. Moshe Machover, Beryl Maizels, Miriam Margolyes, Helen Marks, Martine Miel, Diana Neslen, O Neumann, Susan Pashkoff, Hon. Juliet Peston, Renate Prince, Roland Rance, Sheila Robin, Ossi Ron, Manfred Ropschitz, John Rose, Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead, Leon Rosselson, Michael Sackin, Ian Saville, Amanda Sebestyen, Sam Semoff, Prof. Ludi Simpson, Viv Stein, Inbar Tamari, Ruth Tenne, Norman Traub, Eve Turner, Tirza Waisel, Karl Walinets, Renee Walinets, Stanley Walinets, Philip Ward, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Ruth Williams, Jay Woolrich, Ben Young, Myk Zeitlin, Androulla Zucker, John Zucker

Carta de uma mulher de Sdrot

O blog "The Villages Group" e mantido por um grupo israelita que se opoe a guerra de Gaza (e a guerra em geral como forma de solucao de conflitos). Neste blog encontramos um excerto do diario de uma habitante de Sderot que se opoe claramente a guerra movida pelo seu pais contra os habitantes da Faixa de Gaza. Pelas suas palavras podemos perceber tambem a situacao dos israelitas que se opoem ao modo de actuacao do seu proprio pais:

Sderot War Diary

Nomika Zion, Sderot, 8.1.09

“I talk with Sderot people and everyone’s cheeks are rosy again”, boasted Fuad on the war’s second day [Fuad is Benjamin Ben Eliezer, a long-time centrist Labor minister - Assaf]. “The heavier the blow we deliver - the more our hearts widen”.

Hey Fuad, not everyone. Even if I was the only one around Sderot feeling differently - and I am not - my voice should be heard.

Not in my name and not for me you went to war. The current bloodbath in Gaza is not in my name and not for my security. Destroyed homes, bombed schools, thousands of new refugees - are not in my name and not for my security. In Gaza there is no time for burial ceremonies now, the dead are put in refrigerators in twos, because there is no room. Here their bodies lay, policemen, children, and our nimble reporters play acrobatically with Hasbara strategies in view of “the images that speak for themselves”. Pray tell me, what is there to “explain”? [Hasbara literally means "explanation" - Assaf] What is there to explain?

I got myself neither security nor quiet from this war. After such an essential calm, that helped all of us heal emotionally and mentally and experience some sanity again [Nomika is referring here to the first 5 months of cease-fire, which were observed by both sides - Assaf] - our leaders have brought us back to the same wounded, anxiety-ridden place. To the same humiliating, terrified sprinting to shelter.

Don’t mistake me. Hamas is an evil, terrible terror organization. Not just for us. First and foremost to its own citizens. But beyond that wretched leadership there are human beings. With hard labor, ordinary people on both sides build small bridges of human gestures. This is what the Kol Aher, a group of people from Sderot and elsewhere on the Gaza border of which I am a member, has been doing. We have tried to lay down a human route to the hearts of our neighbors. While we have won a five-month calm, they continued to suffer under the siege. A young man told us he does not wish to marry and have kids, because in Gaza there is no future for children. A single airplane bomb drowns these human gestures in depths of blood and despair.

Qassams scare me. Since the war started, I almost didn’t dare cross the street. But even more frightening is the monolithic tone in our public sphere and our media, the unbreachable wall of jingoism. It scares me when my Kol Aher colleague is assaulted by other Sderotis, as he is interviewed and criticizes the war - and later receives anonymous phone threats and is afraid to return to his car. It scares me how little room there is for another voice, and how difficult it is to express it here. I am willing to pay the price of social isolation, but not the price of fear.

It scares me to see my city light up, celebrate and put up flags, and cheerleader squads hand out flowers on the streets, and people honk in glee at every one-ton bomb dropped on our neighbors. It scares me to hear the resident who happily admits that he has never been to a concert, but IDF’s bombing of Gaza is the best music he has ever heard. I am scared by the smug reporter interviewing him, who doesn’t challenge him even one bit.

It scares me that under the screen of Orwellian words, and the children’s corpses blurred on TV as a public service to us, we are losing the human ability to see the other side, to feel, to be shocked, to feel empathy. Under the codename ‘Hamas’, the media has created for us a huge dark demon with no face, no body and no voice. A million and a half people with no name.

A deep, dark stream of violence flows into the veins of Israeli society like a deadly disease, and it gets stronger from war to war. It has no smell and no shape, but we feel it very clearly here. It is a type of euphoria and trigger-happiness and joy of revenge and power-drunkenness and love of Mars, and the burial of the noble Jewish commandment: “when your enemy falls - do not celebrate”. Our morality is so polluted, so soiled now that it seems no washing will be able to remove the stains. Our democracy is so fragile, that you have to weigh every word in order to safeguard yourself.

The first time I felt the state is really protecting me, was when they got the ceasefire. I am not responsible for Hamas, and therefore I ask our own leaders: have you turned every stone in order to continue the calm? To extend the ceasefire? To use it to get a long-term agreement? To resolve the border-crossing and siege issues before they blow the whole thing up? Have you gone to the ends of the world looking for the right mediators? And why did you wave away, unblinkingly, the French ceasefire initiative after the war started? And why do you keep rejecting, to this very moment, every possible offer of negotiations? Do you think we have not reached our maximum Qassam quota here, that we can stand some more? That we have not yet reached the quota of killed Palestinian children that the world can stomach?

And who guarantees that Hamas can be toppled? Haven’t we tried this trick elsewhere? And who will come in its place? Global fundamentalist organizations? Al Qaeda? And how, from the heaps of rubble and hunger and cold and dead bodies, will moderate voices of peace grow? Where are you leading us? What future are you promising us here in Sderot?

And how much longer will you hang on our backs the tired old “backpack of lies” [cultural reference to a well-known book of 1948 war anecdotes - Assaf]: “there’s no one to talk with”, “it is a no-choice war”, “let the IDF finish the ‘job’”, “one good blow and we finish them”, “let’s topple the Hamas” and “who doesn’t want peace?”. The lies of brute force and the idiocy of even more brute force - your only guide for resolving the region’s problems.

And how come every hasty interview with a Kol Aher member, always begins and ends with the disdainful punch line by the reporter: “Don’t you think you are being naive?” How come the option of dialogue and negotiation and agreements and understandings, even with the worst of our enemies, has become a synonym for naivete, while the option of brute-force and war is always a wise, rational, ultimate one? Eight year of senseless cycle of bloodshed haven’t taught us anything about the futility of brute force? The IDF has slammed and shot and assassinated and razed and hit and missed and bombed - and what have we gotten in return? A rhetorical question, ain’t it.

It is extremely hard to live in Sderot nowadays. At night, the IDF pounds infrastructure and human beings, and our home walls shudder. By morning, we get Qassams - more sophisticated ones each time. A person going to work in the morning, does not know whether their home will be found standing by evening. At midday, we bury the best of our sons, who have paid with their lives for yet another “just” war. In the evening, after many difficulties, we manage to make contact with our desperate friends in Gaza. They have no electricity, no water, no gas, no food, nowhere to hide. And only the words of N., the 14-year-old whose school was bombed and whose classmate was killed, don’t leave my head. She writes us in perfect English, an email that her mom somehow managed to send:

“Help us, we are human beings after all”

No, Fuad, my cheeks are not rosy, they are not. A ton of Cast Lead is weighing on my heart, and my heart cannot contain it.

(translated from Hebrew by Assaf Oron)

Artigo de Uri Avnery 12/01

How Many Divisions?

The Blood-Stained Monster Enters Gaza


Nearly seventy ago, in the course of World War II, a heinous crime was committed in the city of Leningrad. For more than a thousand days, a gang of extremists called “the Red Army” held the millions of the town’s inhabitants hostage and provoked retaliation from the German Wehrmacht from inside the population centers. The Germans had no alternative but to bomb and shell the population and to impose a total blockade, which caused the death of hundreds of thousands.

Some time before that, a similar crime was committed in England. The Churchill gang hid among the population of London, misusing the millions of citizens as a human shield. The Germans were compelled to send their Luftwaffe and reluctantly reduce the city to ruins. They called it the Blitz.

This is the description that would now appear in the history books – if the Germans had won the war.

Absurd? No more than the daily descriptions in our media, which are being repeated ad nauseam: the Hamas terrorists use the inhabitants of Gaza as “hostages” and exploit the women and children as “human shields”, they leave us no alternative but to carry out massive bombardments, in which, to our deep sorrow, thousands of women, children and unarmed men are killed and injured.

* * *

IN THIS WAR, as in any modern war, propaganda plays a major role. The disparity between the forces, between the Israeli army - with its airplanes, gunships, drones, warships, artillery and tanks - and the few thousand lightly armed Hamas fighters, is one to a thousand, perhaps one to a million. In the political arena the gap between them is even wider. But in the propaganda war, the gap is almost infinite.

Almost all the Western media initially repeated the official Israeli propaganda line. They almost entirely ignored the Palestinian side of the story, not to mention the daily demonstrations of the Israeli peace camp. The rationale of the Israeli government (“The state must defend its citizens against the Qassam rockets”) has been accepted as the whole truth. The view from the other side, that the Qassams are a retaliation for the siege that starves the one and a half million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, was not mentioned at all.

Only when the horrible scenes from Gaza started to appear on Western TV screens, did world public opinion gradually begin to change.

True, Western and Israeli TV channels showed only a tiny fraction of the dreadful events that appear 24 hours every day on Aljazeera’s Arabic channel, but one picture of a dead baby in the arms of its terrified father is more powerful than a thousand elegantly constructed sentences from the Israeli army spokesman. And that is what is decisive, in the end.

War – every war – is the realm of lies. Whether called propaganda or psychological warfare, everybody accepts that it is right to lie for one’s country. Anyone who speaks the truth runs the risk of being branded a traitor.

The trouble is that propaganda is most convincing for the propagandist himself. And after you convince yourself that a lie is the truth and falsification reality, you can no longer make rational decisions.

An example of this process surrounds the most shocking atrocity of this war so far: the shelling of the UN Fakhura school in Jabaliya refugee camp.

Immediately after the incident became known throughout the world, the army “revealed” that Hamas fighters had been firing mortars from near the school entrance. As proof they released an aerial photo which indeed showed the school and the mortar. But within a short time the official army liar had to admit that the photo was more than a year old. In brief: a falsification.

Later the official liar claimed that “our soldiers were shot at from inside the school”. Barely a day passed before the army had to admit to UN personnel that that was a lie, too. Nobody had shot from inside the school, no Hamas fighters were inside the school, which was full of terrified refugees.

But the admission made hardly any difference anymore. By that time, the Israeli public was completely convinced that “they shot from inside the school”, and TV announcers stated this as a simple fact.

So it went with the other atrocities. Every baby metamorphosed, in the act of dying, into a Hamas terrorist. Every bombed mosque instantly became a Hamas base, every apartment building an arms cache, every school a terror command post, every civilian government building a “symbol of Hamas rule”. Thus the Israeli army retained its purity as the “most moral army in the world”.

* * *

THE TRUTH is that the atrocities are a direct result of the war plan. This reflects the personality of Ehud Barak – a man whose way of thinking and actions are clear evidence of what is called “moral insanity”, a sociopathic disorder.

The real aim (apart from gaining seats in the coming elections) is to terminate the rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In the imagination of the planners, Hamas is an invader which has gained control of a foreign country. The reality is, of course, entirely different.

The Hamas movement won the majority of the votes in the eminently democratic elections that took place in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. It won because the Palestinians had come to the conclusion that Fatah’s peaceful approach had gained precisely nothing from Israel - neither a freeze of the settlements, nor release of the prisoners, nor any significant steps toward ending the occupation and creating the Palestinian state. Hamas is deeply rooted in the population – not only as a resistance movement fighting the foreign occupier, like the Irgun and the Stern Group in the past – but also as a political and religious body that provides social, educational and medical services.

From the point of view of the population, the Hamas fighters are not a foreign body, but the sons of every family in the Strip and the other Palestinian regions. They do not “hide behind the population”, the population views them as their only defenders.

Therefore, the whole operation is based on erroneous assumptions. Turning life into living hell does not cause the population to rise up against Hamas, but on the contrary, it unites behind Hamas and reinforces its determination not to surrender. The population of Leningrad did not rise up against Stalin, any more than the Londoners rose up against Churchill.

He who gives the order for such a war with such methods in a densely populated area knows that it will cause dreadful slaughter of civilians. Apparently that did not touch him. Or he believed that “they will change their ways” and “it will sear their consciousness”, so that in future they will not dare to resist Israel.

A top priority for the planners was the need to minimize casualties among the soldiers, knowing that the mood of a large part of the pro-war public would change if reports of such casualties came in. That is what happened in Lebanon Wars I and II.

This consideration played an especially important role because the entire war is a part of the election campaign. Ehud Barak, who gained in the polls in the first days of the war, knew that his ratings would collapse if pictures of dead soldiers filled the TV screens.

Therefore, a new doctrine was applied: to avoid losses among our soldiers by the total destruction of everything in their path. The planners were not only ready to kill 80 Palestinians to save one Israeli soldier, as has happened, but also 800. The avoidance of casualties on our side is the overriding commandment, which is causing record numbers of civilian casualties on the other side.

That means the conscious choice of an especially cruel kind of warfare – and that has been its Achilles heel.

A person without imagination, like Barak (his election slogan: “Not a Nice Guy, but a Leader”) cannot imagine how decent people around the world react to actions like the killing of whole extended families, the destruction of houses over the heads of their inhabitants, the rows of boys and girls in white shrouds ready for burial, the reports about people bleeding to death over days because ambulances are not allowed to reach them, the killing of doctors and medics on their way to save lives, the killing of UN drivers bringing in food. The pictures of the hospitals, with the dead, the dying and the injured lying together on the floor for lack of space, have shocked the world. No argument has any force next to an image of a wounded little girl lying on the floor, twisting with pain and crying out: “Mama! Mama!”

The planners thought that they could stop the world from seeing these images by forcibly preventing press coverage. The Israeli journalists, to their shame, agreed to be satisfied with the reports and photos provided by the Army Spokesman, as if they were authentic news, while they themselves remained miles away from the events. Foreign journalists were not allowed in either, until they protested and were taken for quick tours in selected and supervised groups. But in a modern war, such a sterile manufactured view cannot completely exclude all others – the cameras are inside the strip, in the middle of the hell, and cannot be controlled. Aljazeera broadcasts the pictures around the clock and reaches every home.

* * *

THE BATTLE for the TV screen is one of the decisive battles of the war.

Hundreds of millions of Arabs from Mauritania to Iraq, more than a billion Muslims from Nigeria to Indonesia see the pictures and are horrified. This has a strong impact on the war. Many of the viewers see the rulers of Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority as collaborators with Israel in carrying out these atrocities against their Palestinian brothers.

The security services of the Arab regimes are registering a dangerous ferment among the peoples. Hosny Mubarak, the most exposed Arab leader because of his closing of the Rafah crossing in the face of terrified refugees, started to pressure the decision-makers in Washington, who until that time had blocked all calls for a cease-fire. These began to understand the menace to vital American interests in the Arab world and suddenly changed their attitude – causing consternation among the complacent Israeli diplomats.

People with moral insanity cannot really understand the motives of normal people and must guess their reactions. “How many divisions has the Pope?” Stalin sneered. “How many divisions have people of conscience?” Ehud Barak may well be asking.

As it turns out, they do have some. Not numerous. Not very quick to react. Not very strong and organized. But at a certain moment, when the atrocities overflow and masses of protesters come together, that can decide a war.

THE FAILURE to grasp the nature of Hamas has caused a failure to grasp the predictable results. Not only is Israel unable to win the war, Hamas cannot lose it.

Even if the Israeli army were to succeed in killing every Hamas fighter to the last man, even then Hamas would win. The Hamas fighters would be seen as the paragons of the Arab nation, the heroes of the Palestinian people, models for emulation by every youngster in the Arab world. The West Bank would fall into the hands of Hamas like a ripe fruit, Fatah would drown in a sea of contempt, the Arab regimes would be threatened with collapse.

If the war ends with Hamas still standing, bloodied but unvanquished, in face of the mighty Israeli military machine, it will look like a fantastic victory, a victory of mind over matter.

What will be seared into the consciousness of the world will be the image of Israel as a blood-stained monster, ready at any moment to commit war crimes and not prepared to abide by any moral restraints. This will have severe consequences for our long-term future, our standing in the world, our chance of achieving peace and quiet.

In the end, this war is a crime against ourselves too, a crime against the State of Israel.

Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is a contributor to CounterPunch's book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

Fonte: counterpunch

Pro-Gaza, Anti-Starbucks. 13/01

Fonte :Naharnet; Foto:ferido in Gaza-Al Akhbar

Dozens of Lebanese activists angry at Israel's onslaught on Gaza forced the closure Tuesday of a Starbucks coffee shop in Beirut, calling for a boycott of the US-based chain.

    "We want to revive the boycott campaign in Lebanon and the Arab countries," demonstration organizer Yara Harakeh, 23, said. "We have started with Starbucks."

    Demonstrators wearing the iconic black and white Palestinian keffiyeh scarf stood outside the Starbucks in Beirut's Hamra shopping district, yelling out: "Boycott the Zionists for the Arab Palestine."

    Staff inside the coffee shop refused comment, and eventually switched off the lights, locked the doors and left.

    More than 900 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israel began its offensive on December 27.

    Previous boycott campaigns in the Arab world have targeted American fast food chains such as KFC and McDonalds, with some associated protests turning violent.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Condoleeza Rice envergonhada por Bush na questao da resolucao do CS da ONU sobre Gaza

fonte: AP
E.U. Secretária de Estado Condoleezza Rice perdeu a face após o presidente George W. Bush lhe ordenar que se abstivesse na votação da ONU sobre a guerra Gaza, de acordo com o Primeiro-Ministro israelita Ehud Olmert.

"Ela foi envergonhada". Uma resolução que ela tinha preparado e organizado, e no final ela não foi autorizada a votar a favor", disse Olmert em um discurso na cidade de Ashkelon su

O Conselho de Segurança da ONU aprovou uma resolução na quinta-feira passada a pedir um imediato cessar-fogo num período de três semanas e uma retirada israelita de Gaza onde centenas tem sido mortos.

Quatorze dos 15 membros do Conselho votaram a favor da resolução, que foi posteriormente rejeitada quer por Israel quer pelo Hamas.

Os Estados Unidos, principal aliado de Israel, ham previsto votar em sintonia com os outros 14, mas Rice acabou por se tornar a única abstenção.

"Na noite de quinta e sexta-feira, quando a Secretária de Estado quis concretizar a votação sobre um cessar-fogo no Conselho de Segurança, nós não quisemos que ela votasse a favor", disse Olmert

"Eu disse 'chama-me o presidente Bush ao telefone". Disseram que ele estava a preparar-se para dar um discurso em Filadélfia. Eu disse que não se importava. "Preciso falar com ele agora". E ele veio falar comigo".

"Eu disse-lhe que os Estados Unidos não podiam votar a favor. Não podiam votar a favor de tal resolução. O Presidente chamou imediatamente a Secretária de Estado e disse-lhe para não votar a favor."

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Uri Davis, Illan Pape e Tamar Yaon avisaram em 2005

Um aviso de Israel (Julho de 2005)


Pensamos que é urgente e necessário para dar o alarme sobre o que pode acontecer durante e depois da evacuação de colonos judeus da Faixa de Gaza, ocupada por Israel em 1967, no caso dessa evacuação se vier a realizar.

Não quisemos publicar esta declaração sem procurar comentários adicionais dos nossos amigos. A publicação no Ha'aretz (22 de Junho de 2005) citando declarações do General-na-Reserva Eival Giladi, o chefe da equipa de Coordenação e Estratégia Gabinete do Primeiro-Ministro, acelarou a sua publicação e circulação. Confirmando os nossos piores receios, o General-na-Reserva, Eival Giladi foi citado na imprensa e na televisão dizendo que "Israel vai agir de uma forma muito firme, a fim de prevenir atentados terroristas e [militantes], enquanto a retirada está a ser implementada "e que" Se uma resposta directa se revelar insuficiente, talvez tenhamos de usar armas que causa grandes danos colaterais, incluindo helicópteros e aviões, com perigo acrescido para o povo ".

Acreditamos que um motivo primeiro, não mencionado para a decisão do governo do Estado de Israel de retirar os colonos judaicos da Qatif (Katif) liquidação bloco fora da Faixa de Gaza pode ser para mantê-los fora de perigo quando o exército e o governo de Israel desencadearem um ataque massivo contra um milhão e meio de palestinianos na Faixa de Gaza, cerca de metade dos quais são refugiados palestinianos de 1948.

O cenário poderia ser semelhante ao que já aconteceu no passado - uma táctica que Ariel Sharon usou muitas vezes na sua carreira militar - ou seja, utilizando uma provocação qualquer para lançar ataques maciços.

Seguindo esse padrão, acreditamos que o Primeiro-Ministro Ariel Sharon eo Ministro da Defesa Shaul Mofaz estão a consider a possibilidade de utilizar uma provocação para lançar ataques viciosos, num futuro próximo, contra os cerca de um milhão e meio de habitantes palestinianos da Faixa de Gaza: numa combinação possível entre terror de estado e assassinios em massa. Não é provável que o exército israelita sujeite os seus soldados aos riscos inerentes a uma operação terrestre de grande escala na Faixa de Gaza. Com o General Dan Halutz, como Chefe do Estado-Maior tal não é preciso. Foi o General Dan Halutz, na sua qualidade de Comandante da Força Aérea israelita, que autorizou o bombardeamento de um bairro civil em Gaza City com uma bomba de uma tonelada e, em seguida, foi entrevistado a dizer como dormia bem e que a única coisa que sente quando larga uma bomba é um ligeiro solavanco do avião.

Os iniciadores deste alarme têm estado activos ao longo de muitas décadas na defesa dos direitos humanos no interior do Estado de Israel e mais além. Nós não temos prova cabal que apoiem o nossa intuição, mas tendo em conta o comportamento do governo israelita no passado, as suas tendências ideológicas e os média actuais, entendemos que as concepções do Estado de Israel são claras, e afirmamos que a nossa intuição, treinada em assuntos ligados à defesa dos direitos humanos tem sido muitas vezes mais correcta do que qualquer outra.

Exortamos todos os que partilham a preocupação acima para adicionarem os seus nomes aos nossos e dar esse alarme com a mais ampla circulação possível.


Manifestação no Porto dia 13/01

No dia 13 de Janeiro o Movimento pela Paz organiza uma acção de solidariedade com o povo da Palestina. A concentração terá lugar na praça do Bolhão (no cruzamento da rua Fernandes Tomás com a rua Sá da Bandeira) pelas 18 horas.
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