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Genocide of Gaza Already Down 'Great' American Memory Hole?

Here are some excerpts dealing with the plight of the Palestinians vs. the willful denial of their horror by the US politicians and too many propaganda-saturated US and global citizens.

“Obama Blasts Brutality and Bullying, But Not by Israel” by Thalif Deen:

In his [UN] speech, replete with political double standards, Obama avoided mentioning the killings and devastation caused by Israel with its relentless bombings and air strikes in Gaza – deploying weapons provided mostly by the United States.

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“Russian aggression in Europe”, he said, “recalls the days when large nations trampled small ones in pursuit of territorial ambition” (read: ISRAEL AND ITS ILLEGAL SETTLEMENTS IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES.).

“The brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq forces us to look into the heart of darkness” (read: THE BRUTALITY OF ISRAEL IN GAZA IN 2014 AND THE KILLINGS OF OVER 2,100 PALESTINIANS, MOSTLY CIVILIANS).

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Obama also told delegates there is a vision of the world in which might makes right – a world in which one nation’s borders can be redrawn by another (read: ISRAEL AFTER THE 1967 SIX-DAY WAR AND ITS DETERMINATION TO HOLD ONTO THE SPOILS OF WAR DESPITE SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS TO THE CONTRARY.)

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“America stands for something different. We believe that right makes might — that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones, and that people should be able to choose their own future” (read: A US-ARMED ISRAEL, WHICH USED ITS PRODIGIOUS MILITARY STRENGTH TO PROVE MIGHT IS RIGHT).

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Obama also said America is pursuing a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue, as part of its commitment to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and pursue the peace and security of a world without them (read: ISRAEL, THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE MIDDLE EAST WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND THE U.S.‘S REFUSAL OR RELUCTANCE TO PUSH FOR NUCLEAR-WEAPONS-FREE ZONE IN THE MIDDLE EAST.).

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"Abbas at UN: World Must Hold Israel to Account for "War of Genocide" by Jon Queally

A day after the Palestinian Authority and Hamas announced a "comprehensive" agreement to implement a unity government to rule the Gaza Strip, PA President Mahmoud Abbas delivered an impassioned speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations on Friday as he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" against the Palestinian people during more than 50 days of bombing and military attacks in July and August that left thousands dead, thousands more wounded, and life-supporting infrastructure obliterated in Gaza.

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Citing the more than 2,000 people—which the UN estimates a large majority were children, women, and non-combatant adult males—who were killed during Israel's assault, Abbas said he and the Palestinian people "will not forget and we will not forgive, and we will not allow war criminals to escape punishment."

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[Abbas:]

The difference today is that the scale of this genocidal crime is larger, and that the list of martyrs, especially children, is longer, as well as lists of the wounded and disabled, and that dozens of families have been completely decimated.

The difference today is that approximately half a million people were displaced from their homes, and that the number of homes, schools, hospitals, public buildings, residential buildings, mosques, factories and even cemeteries destroyed is unprecedented. And, the difference today is that the devastation caused by this recent aggression is unmatched in modern times, as confirmed by a witness, the honorable Commissioner-General of UNRWA.

This last war against Gaza was a series of absolute war crimes carried out before the eyes and ears of the entire world, moment by moment, in a manner that makes it inconceivable that anyone today can claim that they did not realize the magnitude and horror of the crime. And, it is inconceivable that some are unable to characterize this situation in real terms and that they suffice with simply declaring their support for Israel’s right to self-defense without regard for the fate of the thousands of victims of our people, ignoring a simple fact that we remind them of today: that the life of a Palestinian is as precious as the life of any other human being.

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Israel refuses to end its occupation of the State of Palestine since 1967, but rather seeks its continuation and entrenchment, and rejects the Palestinian state and refuses to find a just solution to the plight of the Palestine refugees.

The future proposed by the Israeli government for the Palestinian people is at best isolated ghettos for Palestinians on fragmented lands, without borders and without sovereignty over its airspace, water and natural resources, which will be under the subjugation of the racist settlers and army of occupation, and at worst will be a most abhorrent form of Apartheid. Israel has confirmed during the negotiations that it rejects making peace with its victims, the Palestinian people.

Calling for a new approach, Abbas confirmed in his speech that the Palestinian leadership, alongside Arab partners and other backers, are working on a resolution that will be introduced to the United Nations. The resolution would put the prospects of a negotiated settlement back in the hands of the  international community and mark the end of the U.S.-brokered negotiations that have failed repeatedly.

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Abbas resolution would most probably find support from the nine council members necessary to pass. Only the UK, Australia and Lithuania would be expected to abstain, forcing Washington to use its veto.

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“Stunning Op-Ed in NYT: How Israel Silences Dissent” by Dartagnan:

The picture we are painted of Israel both by our politicians and in the U.S. media is one of a bravely struggling democracy, beset upon by threatening, radical autocratic regimes dominated by anti-democratic, militant Islamic ideologues.  Israel is the faithful guardian of human rights in this telling, a bastion of hope standing strong against tyrannical hordes at their border eager to snuff out this noble Western experiment.

U.S. Congressmen--Jewish and Gentile alike--are regularly feted with all-expense paid trips to the Holy Land, some to pay homage to their culture at the Wailing Wall, others to see the pathways where Jesus trod, still others to bathe naked in the sea of Galilee. When they return, egged on by an enormously powerful  political and religious lobby, they continually vote vast sums of US taxpayer money to flow to Israel, funding its defense and bolstering its economy.  

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The situation inside of Israel for those who dare to speak out against the state's tactics against the Palestinians is nothing short of dire:

On July 12, four days after the latest war in Gaza began, hundreds of Israelis gathered in central Tel Aviv to protest the killing of civilians on both sides and call for an end to the siege of Gaza and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. They chanted, “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”

Hamas had warned that it would fire a barrage of rockets at central Israel after 9 p.m., and it did.

But the injuries suffered in Tel Aviv that night stemmed not from rocket fire but from a premeditated assault by a group of extremist Israeli Jews. Chanting “Death to Arabs” and “Death to leftists,” they attacked protesters with clubs. Although several demonstrators were beaten and required medical attention, the police made no arrests.

The same thing happened at another antiwar protest in Haifa a week later; this time, the victims included the city’s deputy mayor, Suhail Assad, and his son. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no statement condemning the violence, even though he had previously stated his primary concern was the safety of Israeli citizens.

The article is written by Mairav Zonszein, an activist and former Executive Director of the Union of Progressive Zionists.  Her op-ed piece, appearing in today's Times, recounts the intimidation, terrorizing and blacklisting of public figures, actors, and musicians in Israel who have spoken out in favor of Palestinian rights, or even expressed the mildest of sympathies towards Palestinian suffering. Zonszein calls this the "latest manifestation of an us-versus-them mentality that has been simmering for decades."

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This recent article by David Shulman in the New York Review of Books details Israeli right-wing violence against Palestinians living in the state of Israel at the time the most recent hostilities between Hamas and Israel began:

In the weeks since then we have seen organized lynch mobs of Israeli youths prowling the streets of Jerusalem at night in search of Palestinians who have the misfortune to be passing by. Many restaurants and bars in downtown Jerusalem employ Palestinian waiters and kitchen staff; they tend to get off work around midnight or 1 AM, when they have to go home to their neighborhoods. Those are the dangerous hours. Dozens have been attacked. On July 25, two Palestinian men, Amir Jalal Shweiki and Samir Mahfuz, both twenty, were beaten unconscious near the northeast Jerusalem neighborhood of Neve Yaakov. They are still in the hospital. There have also been unconfirmed reports of incidents where the police either stood by or joined in with right-wing thugs, for example on July 24 when two Palestinians, Amir Mazin Abu Eisha and Laith Ubeidat, who were delivering bread to stores on Jaffa Road in downtown Jerusalem, were savagely attacked.

A particularly terrible case occurred in early July when a train of the Light Rail, the electric tram, was surrounded in the border between east and west Jerusalem by an Israeli mob screaming “Death to Arabs!” A Palestinian Ph.D. student in Islamic studies at the Hebrew University, a woman well known to my colleagues, was caught in the tram and witnessed passengers trying to shove another Palestinian woman, a young mother with her baby, out of the carriage, into the hands of the mob. Most of the passengers, as so often in such cases, watched passively.

They watched passively.  Shulman's article also notes a remarkable, enforced intolerance even among Israel's higher educational institutions towards even the mildest expressions of sympathy for the Palestinians. Israeli citizens on social media sites call for the "execution of all dissidents and leftists." So it's not particularly hard to understand the attitude of Israel's "silent majority" towards those who would protest the state's tactics against the Palestinians:

After so many years of repressing those who stand in the way, the transition to targeting “one of your own” isn’t so difficult. Now it is the few Jewish Israelis who speak the language of human rights who are branded as enemies.

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Israel’s liberal, progressive forces remain weak in the face of a robust economy that profits from occupation while international inaction reinforces the status quo. In their attempt to juggle being both Jewish and democratic, most Israelis are choosing the former at the expense of the latter.

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“88 Senators Urge Kerry to Shield Israel from Any Accountability at the UN” by LEFT

Earlier this week, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) led 86 other senators in a letter to John Kerry urging him to take steps to prevent Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas from seeking investigation of or redress for Israeli war crimes through the UN Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court or a UNSCC resolution setting a clear date for the end of Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.

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The commitment of such senators to "peace," defined in any meaningful way, should be viewed as suspect given their support for continued military aid for Israel even as the IDF attacks on hospitals, schools, and other aspects of civilian infrastructure in Gaza.

With 88 signers, that just leaves 12 who did not attach their name to the letter.

One of those was Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who does not traditionally sign letters.

Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Pat Leahy (D-VT), as senior committee chairs, often do not sign either. Harkin and Rockefeller are also retiring.

That leaves three members of the Democratic caucus—Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)—and five members of the Republican caucus—Tom Coburn (R-OK), Bob Corker (R-TN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

I'm not sure about Coburn, Corker, Murkowski, and Sessions. The others--Baldwin, Paul, Sanders, and Warren--all seem like people who could be responsive to pressure from those seeking a more humane foreign policy. I know Warren and Sanders have both faced some backlash from their progressive constituents for their support from Israel's attack on Gaza.

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“'I’m Just a Kid': Tariq’s Ordeal in Occupied Palestine” by Marjorie Cohn:

Last summer, Tariq Khdeir, a 15-year-old American citizen from Baltimore, accompanied his parents to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat for a six-week visit with relatives. The first friend Tariq made when he arrived was his cousin, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, whom Tariq had not seen since he was four years old. “We had so much fun,” Tariq told a gathering at the national conference of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation in San Diego on September 19, 2014.

One night while he was in Jerusalem, Tariq saw some police with Muhammad. Tariq thought they had kidnapped Muhammad. Tariq wondered, “Is he gonna come back? Is he gonna come back alive”? But Muhammad did not come back alive.  In retaliation for the deaths of three Israeli teenagers, Muhammad was beaten and burnt alive by three Jewish extremists.

After Muhammad’s murder, people took to the streets in protest. Israeli Defense Force soldiers began firing rubber bullets at them. Incredulous, Tariq thought, “Is this really happening in front of me”? Then Israeli soldiers began to run after Tariq. Panicked, Tariq ran.

“There was a 10-foot drop in front of me. Everyone jumped, but they tackled me, zip-tied me, and punched me in the face,” Tariq said. “I was like a punching bag until I became unconscious.” The image of Tariq’s badly swollen, deformed face appeared on media reports throughout the world last July.

When Tariq awoke, his face felt “like a bubble, it hurt so much.” He wondered, “Are they gonna kill me”? After six hours in jail, Tariq was finally taken to the hospital. His father and his uncle told him he might come home or go to jail.

Tariq thought, “How could I go to jail? They beat me up.” Tariq told the group, “I’m just a kid.”

Tariq was taken back to jail after he left the hospital. He had to remove the hospital gown and put on his bloody clothes. There were nine people in a tiny cell; it was impossible to sit down. Two days later, Tariq was released. He thought, “I’m finally going home.” But he was placed on house arrest. No charges were ever filed against him. “That’s what they do to all the Palestinians,” Tariq said.

“They took my cousins, and they’re still in jail, because they’re not American and they didn’t have a video that showed the brutality of the Israelis,” Tariq reported. “It’s inhumane.”

Tariq’s mother, Suha, said, “I cannot begin to describe the pain of seeing my dear son in prison after his vicious beating.” When she first saw Tariq, unconscious, with his swollen face in the hospital, “I didn’t recognize him; I didn’t know if he was alive. I didn’t know if he would survive.” Tariq was handcuffed to the hospital bed. Suha worried whether they would give him his antibiotics, whether they would take care of her son while he was in their custody. “The same people that beat him were now caring for him,” she said. “They told us 300 Palestinian teenagers would be killed for the three Israeli teens.”

Suha noted, “None of this would have happened if Israelis valued the lives of Palestinian Muslims and Christians as much as Israeli Jews.”

Keynote speaker Ali Abunimah followed Tariq and Suha at the conference. He mentioned that of the more than 2,100 Palestinians the Israelis killed in Gaza last summer, 521 were children. Most of the fatalities were civilians. More than one of every 1,000 Gazans were killed, and one percent of the entire population of Gaza were killed or injured.

Most of the weapons the Israelis employed in Gaza were artillery shells, which were used in unprecedented quantities. They are very inaccurate.

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Tariq did come back alive – but only because his beating was caught on tape and because he was a U.S. citizen.

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“The Gaza Medical Aid Scandal: Suffer, Little Children/What do our clueless politicians care?” by Stuart Littlewood:

The indifference shown by Messrs Obama and Cameron to the slaughter and unimaginable destruction that Israel – the self-styled “only democracy in the Middle East” with “the most moral army in ther world” – inflicted on Gaza a month ago is beyond sickening.

In the UK a petition was raised ...:

We have watched with horror the tragic loss of life & systematic destruction of infrastructure in Gaza. Despite the duty of care Israel continues to fundamentally restrict the flow of essential medical supplies, equipment and expertise into Gaza. A health crisis is looming in Gaza for trapped civilians, with dire conditions in the main Gaza City Shifa hospital. Doctors operate on the floor & in corridors. People die untreated. Only one x-ray machine is working with a lack of doctors, nurses, paramedics, and the most basic equipment. As David Cameron said in 2010 Gaza is a prison camp. It is unique among world conflicts: people are unable to get out & effective relief can’t get in.

The hospital ship RFA Argus is moored in Falmouth. She is uniquely designed for this type of necessity. Since Israel has abrogated its responsibility to the citizens of Gaza, we request that the British Government unilaterally and rapidly deploys RFA Argus to Gaza.

It’s the very least we could do, you might think. But ‘Argus’ hasn’t sailed.

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Over the years Dr Ang has devoted herself tirelessly to the Palestinian wounded. She worked to help civilian casualties in the Lebanese civil war and witnessed the Sabra and Shatila massacres. She was a signatory to the recent hard-hitting letter in The Lancet by 24 senior doctors and scientists. It said, among other things…

We challenge the perversity of a propaganda that justifies the creation of an emergency to masquerade a massacre, a so-called “defensive aggression”. In reality it is a ruthless assault of unlimited duration, extent, and intensity. We wish to report the facts as we see them and their implications on the lives of the people.

We are appalled by the military onslaught on civilians in Gaza under the guise of punishing terrorists. This is the third large scale military assault on Gaza since 2008. Each time the death toll is borne mainly by innocent people in Gaza, especially women and children under the unacceptable pretext of Israel eradicating political parties and resistance to the occupation and siege they impose.

This action also terrifies those who are not directly hit, and wounds the soul, mind, and resilience of the young generation. Our condemnation and disgust are further compounded by the denial and prohibition for Gaza to receive external help and supplies to alleviate the dire circumstances.

Dr Ang in her email goes on to say:

I think an important point to raise is also to ask for an account of how the DEC money raised which I think amount to several million is going to be spent. Forty five clinics, fifteen hospitals, 8 fire stations and the main ambulance centre were destroyed in Gaza so please ask the British Government if they have discussed with the Ministry of Health of Palestine, if at least part of this money is going to help rehabilitate these health infrastructures. With more than 12,000 wounded among whom were those crippled for life, the one and only Gaza rehabilitation hospital which was flattened needs to be rebuilt urgently.

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I can get further reports from the Ministry of Health of Gaza if necessary as the first British Team seems to imply that things were very much back to normal in Gaza which is not plausible given the degree of destruction…. The total wounded is now more than 12,000. The homeless figure lies between 200,000 to 400,000 depending on which report you read. The entire public health system has collapsed and needs rebuilding.

Are Cameron, Obama and the rest of the ‘Coaltion of the Clueless’ (as Sharmine Narwani aptly calls them) going to embarrass us further with their cruel inaction when they could so easily use their leverage?

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As someone else has already remarked, the dumb bastards can very rapidly mobilise bombs to pulverise Iraq and Syria, but not decent medical help for the children of Gaza.

[cross-posted on open salon]

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