Israeli ‘white flag’ shootings of Gaza civilians

Israeli ‘white flag’ shootings of Gaza civilians

During Israel’s recent Gaza offensive, Israeli soldiers unlawfully shot and killed 11 Palestinian civilians, including five women and four children, who were in groups waving white flags to convey their civilian status, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Israeli military should conduct thorough, credible investigations into these deaths to tackle the prevailing culture of impunity, Human Rights Watch said.

The 63-page report, “White Flag Deaths: Killings of Palestinian Civilians during Operation Cast Lead,” is based on field investigations of seven incident sites in Gaza, including ballistic evidence found at the scene, medical records of victims, and lengthy interviews with multiple witnesses – at least three people separately for each incident.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) declined repeated Human Rights Watch requests for a meeting to discuss the cases and did not respond to questions submitted in writing. [continued…]

Account of life in the West Bank

My wife, Lamia, once asked me: “Why can’t we live like other people?” It was a very difficult question for me to answer. All the Palestinians of my generation were born under military occupation, so this is the only life we know.

As I write these words, it’s almost midnight and we are sitting on the roof of my house, on the look-out for the Israeli army. It’s been two months since the most recent wave of night raids began, with the army now employing a new strategy of arresting every villager who attends the demonstrations, in an attempt to crush our campaign of nonviolent resistance. Up until now eleven people have been arrested, but the list of those wanted is much, much longer. So in Bi’lin, no one goes to sleep before four or five in the morning. We stay awake all night, observing the movements of the Israeli military, fearing that we may be the next person to be kidnapped and thrown in jail. Our nights have become our days, and our days have become our nights. For some it is more difficult than others because of work commitments, but we have no choice.

But it’s not only the adults who stay awake. Our children can’t sleep either, afraid that the army will burst into his or her room in the middle of the night. They don’t knock on the door during the night raids. So imagine the horror for a child to wake up to find a stranger with a painted face pointing his gun in their face. We don’t stay up so much to avoid arrest, but to avoid facing this terrible moment. [continued…]

Hamas got wood!

Spending a few weeks in Gaza and seeing the full extent of the Hamas media control in Gaza, you can’t help but notice the success of Hamas and its propaganda efforts in the Palestinian territories and beyond. As someone who does not hold much affection toward Hamas and its ideology (their militia killed my first cousin and mutilated his body in front of cameras) I have to give credit where credit is due:

1) For starters, there’s the Al-Aqsa TV station, a Hamas run satellite TV that has upbeat programming and a wonderful lineup of shows that keep audiences interested and tuned in. The station broadcasts educational, religious, social and political programming, the last of which really shows the extent to which Hamas makes things clear that they’re serious about propaganda. Compare that with the official, Ramallah-run Palestine channel where audiences would have to be paid in Euros to be kept in their seats. Boring and old-fashioned messages with too much political rhetoric just turns off those who tune in. [continued…]

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