Archives for July 2014

Why are American journalists afraid of asking #Israeli officials tough questions?

Chris McGreal writes: Here are a few questions you won’t hear asked of the parade of Israeli officials crossing US television screens during the current crisis in Gaza:

What would you do if a foreign country was occupying your land?
What does it mean that Israeli cabinet ministers deny Palestine’s right to exist?
What should we make of a prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who as opposition leader in the 1990s was found addressing rallies under a banner reading “Death to Arabs”?

These are contentious questions, to be sure, and with complicated answers. But they are relevant to understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today. They also parallel the issues routinely raised by American journalists with Palestinian officials, pressing to consider how the US would react if it were under rocket fire from Mexico, to explain why Hamas won’t recognise Israel and to repudiate Palestinian anti-Semitism.

But it’s a feature of much mainstream journalism in the US, not just an issue of coverage during the last three weeks of the Gaza crisis, that while one set of questions gets asked all the time, the other is heard hardly at all.

In years of reporting from and about Israel, I’ve followed the frequently robust debate in its press about whether Netanyahu really wants a peace deal, about the growing power of right-wing members inside the Israeli cabinet opposed to a Palestinian state, about the creeping air of permanence to the occupation.

So it has been all the more striking to discover a far narrower discourse in Washington and the notoriously pro-Israel mainstream media in the US at a time when difficult questions are more important than ever. John Kerry, the US secretary of state, and a crop of foreign leaders have ratcheted up warnings that the door for the two-state solution is closing, in no small part because of Israel’s actions. But still the difficult questions go unasked. [Continue reading…]

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Can Palestinian men be victims? Gendering #Israel’s war on #Gaza

Maya Mikdashi writes: Every morning we wake up to an updated butcher’s bill: one hundred, two hundred, four hundred, six hundred Palestinians killed by Israel’s war apparatus. These numbers gloss over many details: the majority of Gazans, one of the most populated and impoverished areas in the world, are refugees from other parts of historic Palestine. It is under a brutal siege, and there is nowhere to hide from Israel’s onslaught. Before this “war” Gaza was a form of quarantine, a population held captive and colonized by Israel’s ability to break international law with impunity. They are population in a relationship of dependency — for food, for water, medicine, even for movement — with their colonizers. In the event of a ceasefire, Gaza will remain colonized, quarantined, and blockaded. It will remain an open-air prison, a mass refugee camp.

One detail about the dead, however, is repeated often in Western-based mass media: the vast majority of murdered Palestinians in Gaza are civilians — and sources say that a “disproportionate” number are women and children. The killing of women and children is horrific — but in the reiteration of these disturbing facts there is something missing: the public mourning of Palestinian men killed by Israel’s war machine. In 1990 Cynthia Enloe coined the term “womenandchildren” in order to think about the operationalization of gendered discourses to justify the first Gulf War. Today, we should be aware of how the trope of “womenandchildren” is circulating in relation to Gaza and to Palestine more broadly. This trope accomplishes many discursive feats, two of which are most prominent: The massifying of women and children into an undistinguishable group brought together by the “sameness” of gender and sex, and the reproduction of the male Palestinian body (and the male Arab body more generally) as always already dangerous. Thus the status of male Palestinians (a designation that includes boys aged fifteen and up, and sometimes boys as young as thirteen) as “civilians” is always circumspect.

This gendering of Israel’s war on Gaza is conversant with discourses of the War on Terror and, as Laleh Khalili has argued persuasively, counter-insurgency strategy and war-making more broadly. In this framework, the killing of women and girls and pre-teen and underage boys is to be marked, but boys and men are presumed guilty of what they might do if allowed to live their lives. [Continue reading…]

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Is #IronDome better at destroying missiles or spreading fear?

A Dutch-Israeli family from Amsterdam, Hilla Dayan and PW Zuidhof with their three small children, are taking a “war vacation” in Tel Aviv. They write that as “Israeli and Dutch citizens who want to see an end to the occupation our politics combined with the fact that we don’t live in Israel makes us outsiders, if not outright ‘traitors.'”

Letter from Tel Aviv: It took us few rather disorienting days here to slowly come to the conclusion that the palpable collective fear is disproportionate to the actual threat.

Government propaganda, lies and deceptions to galvanize support for the war is relentless and the Iron Dome system, the system that intercepts Hamas rockets, is just part of it. An expert opinion according to which the Israeli population is almost 100% safe even without it because of the inferiority of Hamas’ weapons and the abundance of shelter infrastructure seemed credible. Deep inside, we believe, everyone knows that the chance something will happen to you here is statistically negligible. It can happen, like the chance of dying in a shocking aviation disaster as what happened this summer to hundreds of Dutch citizens, but it is very unlikely.

One commentator rightly said that Iron Dome functions as the Deus-ex-Machina of this war. Everyone but us is convinced it saves lives. We see it more as a psychological warfare device. Curiously, much of the explosion sound that gets people so worked up here is largely produced by the Iron Dome system itself. What is striking if not outright suspicious is that there is hardly any information in the aftermath of interceptions; we know nothing about it and nobody cares. [Continue reading…]

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Amnesty demands U.S. stop arms transfers to #Israel amid growing evidence of #warcrimes in #Gaza

Amnesty: The US government must immediately end its ongoing deliveries of large quantities of arms to Israel, which are providing the tools to commit further serious violations of international law in Gaza, said Amnesty International, as it called for a total arms embargo on all parties to the conflict.

The call comes amid reports that the Pentagon has approved the immediate transfer of grenades and mortar rounds to the Israeli armed forces from a US arms stockpile pre-positioned in Israel, and follows a shipment of 4.3 tons of US-manufactured rocket motors, which arrived in the Israeli port of Haifa on 15 July.

These deliveries add to more than US$62 million worth of munitions, including guided missile parts and rocket launchers, artillery parts and small arms, already exported from the USA to Israel between January and May this year. [Continue reading…]

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Sen. Mark Udall calls for #CIA director John Brennan to resign

Huffington Post: Following reports that Central Intelligence Agency employees improperly accessed computers used by U.S. Senate staff to investigate the agency, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) on Thursday called for the resignation of John Brennan as CIA director.

“After being briefed on the CIA Inspector General report today, I have no choice but to call for the resignation of CIA Director John Brennan,” he said in a statement. “The CIA unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking into Senate Intelligence Committee computers. This grave misconduct not only is illegal, but it violates the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of separation of powers. These offenses, along with other errors in judgment by some at the CIA, demonstrate a tremendous failure of leadership, and there must be consequences.”

According to a CIA Inspector General’s Office report first obtained by McClatchy, agency employees in 2009 hacked Senate computers being used to compile a report on the agency’s infamous detention and interrogation program — a move that some critics have characterized as a significant breach of the separation of powers. Brennan has apologized to Senate intelligence committee leaders, including Chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who took the floor earlier this year to excoriate the agency for skirting the law and attempting to intimidate Congress. [Continue reading…]

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#Israelis chant: ‘There’s no more school in #Gaza because all the children are dead’

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UN chief: #Israel responsible for ‘reprehensible’ school attack

Colum Lynch reports: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon directly accused Israel of shelling a U.N.-protected shelter housing more than 3,000 Palestinians in Gaza as part of what he said was an “outrageous” and “unjustifiable” strike that left at least 16 civilians dead and lent urgency to the need for an “immediate, unconditional cease-fire.”

In a scorching rebuke from the normally mild-mannered diplomat, Ban charged that Israel’s action constituted a “reprehensible” assault on civilians and demanded that those responsible for the strike be held accountable. The shelling of the Jabalia Elementary Girls School marked the fifth time since the conflict began on July 8 that a U.N.-protected shelter has been hit with incoming fire, but the incident is the first time that Ban has directly blamed Israel. That leaves open the possibility that some of the other facilities were hit by Hamas rockets. Israeli officials have said the militant group stores weapons in U.N. facilities and uses them to fire rockets into the Jewish state.

“This morning, yet another United Nations school sheltering thousands of Palestinian families suffered a reprehensible attack. All available evidence points to Israeli artillery as the cause,” Ban said during a stop-off in Costa Rica. “Nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children.” [Continue reading…]

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American Jews are distancing themselves from #Israel

Until recently, American Jews willing to speak out against Israel knew that by doing so they were stepping outside the mainstream. They needed sufficient conviction to withstand the frowns of their relatives. But something different is happening now. Liberal Jews who still see themselves as pro-Israel are finding it increasingly difficult to witness what Israel is doing. Ezra Klein, for instance, writes: “I haven’t become less pro-Israel. But I’ve become much more pessimistic about its prospects, and more confused and occasionally horrified by its policies.”

Tom Gara, referring to Klein’s essay, makes this prediction:

Some may want to hold on to their pro-Israel sentiment by differentiating between Israel and Netanyahu, but when 50% of Israelis think that Netanyahu has been too soft on Gaza, it’s increasingly hard to see that this is a differentiation worth making. The ugly truth may be that Netanyahu is an all too faithful representation of the nation he leads.

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Anger over #Israeli attack on UN school in #Gaza

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After #Gaza, #Palestine’s uprising will spread to the West Bank

Khaled Elgindy writes: Given the intensity of the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel in Gaza, it is easy to forget that the current crisis began in a different part of Palestine. The kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank led to a severe Israeli crackdown on Hamas, which responded with a barrage of rocket fire at Israel from Gaza. Meanwhile, the murder of a Palestinian teenager by Jewish extremists sparked several days of violent protests by Palestinians in East Jerusalem and elsewhere. The shift in venue served Israel’s interests, diverting the conflict away from sensitive and strategically vulnerable areas. For Israeli policymakers, another concentrated war against Gaza was preferable to the possibility of another West Bank uprising against Israel, akin to the so-called intifadas that occurred in the late 1980s and the early 2000s. Contrary to what Israelis may have hoped, however, the present war has made a third intifada more, not less, likely.

For most of the past decade, Israel’s de facto policy has been to deepen Palestinian geographic and political division by maintaining the schism between the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Although the current Israeli government has made no secret of its opposition to any Palestinian government that includes or is even accepted by Hamas, which it views as a vicious terrorist organization that is beyond the political pale, Israel’s policy of isolating Gaza from the West Bank began before Hamas’ rise to power. In fact, it was the closure of Gaza’s borders in late 2005 shortly after Israel unilaterally removed its settlers and soldiers from Gaza that helped pave the way for Hamas’ election and created the conditions for the endless cycle of violence in Gaza that we see today. As Dov Weissglas, chief of staff to Israel’s former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, put it at the time, Israel’s disengagement from Gaza would serve as “formaldehyde … so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.” By cutting Gaza loose, along with its 1.5 million Palestinians, Israel could then focus on consolidating its control over and colonization of the West Bank.

Since then Israel, with U.S. and international backing, has treated Palestine as two separate conflicts, rather than one. By maintaining security cooperation and a diplomatic relationship with Fatah in the West Bank, Israel hoped to maintain calm in areas adjacent to its main population centers as well the settlement project itself. At the same time, by treating Hamas-controlled Gaza as a perpetual “enemy entity,” subject to air, land, and sea blockades, Israel reserved the right to periodically go to war against Gaza, a process that Israeli military officials refer to as “mowing the grass.” In this way, Israel would free itself from having to deal with the underlying causes of the conflict, most notably its 46-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This has produced the worst of all possible outcomes, simultaneously increasing the likelihood of violent confrontations with Hamas while decreasing the likelihood of resolving the conflict with Abbas’ PA. [Continue reading…]

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#Anonymous takes down #Mossad website

At 14.00 US Eastern the site was still down:

mossad

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#Syria: Barrage of barrel bombs

Human Rights Watch: The Syrian government is raining high explosive barrel bombs on civilians in defiance of a unanimous United Nations Security Council resolution, Human Rights Watch said today. Resolution 2139 of February 22, 2014, ordered all parties to the conflict in Syria to end the indiscriminate use of barrel bombs and other weapons in populated areas.

The Security Council will meet on July 30 for its fifth round of reporting on the resolution. Since it was passed, Human Rights Watch has documented over 650 major new damage sites consistent with barrel bomb impacts on neighborhoods of the city of Aleppo held by non-state armed groups. Non-state armed groups participate in indiscriminate attacks as well, including car bombings and mortar attacks in pro-government areas.

“Month after month, the Security Council has sat idly by as the government defied its demands with new barrel bomb attacks on Syrian civilians,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “Russia and China need to allow the Security Council to show the same resolve and unanimity it brought to the issue of humanitarian aid to call a halt to these deadly attacks on civilians.” [Continue reading…]

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#Syrian city of #Homs shows signs of life amid moonscape of devastation

Ian Black reports: Baba Amr, the rebel-held suburb where the journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik were killed by government rocket fire in February 2012, is devastated and looks eerily deserted. A militia roadblock bars access. Other parts of the city are in surprisingly good shape. In Inshaat, where rows of gleaming white UN vehicles clog the car park of a state-run five-star hotel, the streets are clean and orderly, restaurants bustling for the Ramadan Iftar meal.

No one knows exactly how many Homsis have fled abroad, or how many are displaced inside Syria. But last month the UNHCR still counted more than 352,000 people from the city registered as refugees, the majority in neighbouring Lebanon – a quarter to a fifth of the prewar population. Rumours abound of abandoned property in pro-opposition areas being taken over by Alawite loyalists and looting by the widely disliked, Iranian-trained National Defence Army. Statistics are not available.

Opposition activists now living elsewhere reject the government’s upbeat narrative. “Homs is a city of horror,” said Razan, whose Sunni family was involved in the mass protests of April 2011 and suffered in the subsequent army offensive and repression. “If there had been a real solution people would be able to go back, but hundreds are still in prison. The government is removing some checkpoints and trying to show that everything is fine. But it’s crazy how they’ve managed to cover it all up and brainwash people just by saying, ‘Let’s move on.’”

Samer, a wealthy businessman, puts it bluntly: “The whole thing is designed to snuff out the rebellion.”

At al-Waer, a couple of miles to the west, a war of sorts continues. Like other rebel-held areas across Syria, this part of Homs is still under siege. The top flats of several tower blocks are burned out – hit by government artillery taking out snipers. But it is a mostly static and curiously intimate sort of conflict. Residents, including state employees, commute in and out of the suburb every day to work or study, going past army and rebel roadblocks that are just a couple of hundred yards apart. Skinny boys scamper to and fro earning a few pounds carrying shopping across the space between them. Negotiations on the terms of access, and perhaps an eventual old city-type evacuation deal, are continuing sporadically.

“It’s hard, especially for the children, and the main worry is their psychological welfare,” says Afra, a law student, glancing warily at the uniformed security officer loitering nearby as she describes the situation inside. “As an adult you can cope, but the little ones don’t understand what’s happening. They are afraid of sudden noises and if a door slams they jump.”

Omar, a middle-aged shop owner, says the fighters in al-Waer are Syrians, many of them locals – not the foreigners who are vilified in state media – and mostly keep themselves to themselves. “Two days ago they started shooting at each other. When that happens it’s scary and we want the army to go in. We are tired. I bought a new house and it’s lost its value. We want to get this over with.” That sense of weariness is widely shared – in Homs and beyond.

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How the U.S. stumbled into the #drone era

The Wall Street Journal reports: On Sept. 7, 2000, in the waning days of the Clinton administration, a U.S. Predator drone flew over Afghanistan for the first time. The unmanned, unarmed plane buzzed over Tarnak Farms, a major al Qaeda camp. When U.S. analysts later pored over video footage from this maiden voyage, they were struck by the image of a commandingly tall man clad in white robes. CIA analysts later concluded that he was Osama bin Laden.

From that first mission, the drone program has grown into perhaps the most prominent instrument of U.S. counterterrorism policy — and, for many in the Muslim world, a synonym for American callousness and arrogance. The U.S. has used drones to support ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and, particularly under President Barack Obama, to hammer the high command of al Qaeda. A recent study by the Stimson Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C., estimates that U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have killed 2,000 to 4,000 people. Other countries are trying to get into the act, including Iran, which U.S. officials say has flown drones over Iraq during the current crisis there.

Drones seem to be everywhere these days, buzzing into civilian life and even pop culture. French players complained before the World Cup that a mysterious drone-borne camera had spied on their training sessions. Amazon owner Jeff Bezos hopes to use drones for faster home delivery. Tom Cruise starred last summer as a futuristic drone repairman in the sci-fi thriller “Oblivion,” and Captain America himself faced down lethal super-drones in this spring’s “The Winter Soldier.” Hollywood is even using drones in real life, helping to film such tricky scenes as the chase early in the 2012 James Bond caper “Skyfall,” when Daniel Craig as 007 races across the rooftops of Istanbul.

But as ubiquitous as Predators, Reapers, Global Hawks and their ilk may now seem, the U.S. actually stumbled into the drone era. Washington got into the business of using drones for counterterrorism well before 9/11—not out of any steely strategic design or master plan but out of bureaucratic frustration, bickering and a series of only half-intentional decisions. [Continue reading…]

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Nick Turse: An East-West showdown in the heart of Africa?

For the last two years, TomDispatch Managing Editor Nick Turse has been following the Pentagon and the latest U.S. global command, AFRICOM, as they oversaw the expanding operations of the American military across that continent: drones, a special ops surge, interventions, training missions, bases (even if not called bases), proxy wars.  Short of a major conflict, you name it and it’s probably happening.  Washington’s move into Africa seems connected as well to the destabilization of parts of that continent and the rise of various terror groups across it, another subject Nick has been following.  With rare exceptions, only recently have aspects of the Obama administration’s largely below-the-radar-screen “pivot” to Africa made it into the mainstream media.  Even more recently, global chaos from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria to Ukraine has driven it out again.  As a result, most Americans have no sense of how their future and Africa’s are being entwined in possibly explosive ways. 

With this in mind, and with the support of the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund (as well as the generosity of Adelaide Gomer), Nick has gone to Tanzania and South Sudan to explore the situation further himself.  Today, as the first fruits of that trip, TomDispatch has a major story on a development that has, until now, remained distinctly below the radar screen: the Africa-wide contest between the globe’s “sole superpower,” the U.S., and its preeminent rising economic power, China, over which will benefit most from the exploitation of that continent. 

Over the next several months, there will be more pieces from Nick on America’s growing stake in and effect on Africa.  The next will address a looming crisis in the world’s youngest nation.  He offers a preview: “My aid agency contacts say that, in September, the United Nations will officially declare a famine in large swaths of South Sudan.  As one humanitarian worker here put it to me, add famine to war and you have a powder keg.  ‘It’s going to get worse,’ says another, ‘before it gets better.’”  Tom Engelhardt

China, America, and a new Cold War in Africa?
Is the conflict in South Sudan the opening salvo in the battle for a continent?
By Nick Turse

[This story was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute. Additional funding was provided through the generosity of Adelaide Gomer.]

Juba, South Sudan — Is this country the first hot battlefield in a new cold war?  Is the conflict tearing this new nation apart actually a proxy fight between the world’s two top economic and military powers?  That’s the way South Sudan’s Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth tells it.  After “midwifing” South Sudan into existence with billions of dollars in assistance, aid, infrastructure projects, and military support, the U.S. has watched China emerge as the major beneficiary of South Sudan’s oil reserves.  As a result, Makuei claims, the U.S. and other Western powers have backed former vice president Riek Machar and his rebel forces in an effort to overthrow the country’s president, Salva Kiir.  China, for its part, has played a conspicuous double game.  Beijing has lined up behind Kiir, even as it publicly pushes both sides to find a diplomatic solution to a simmering civil war.  It is sending peacekeepers as part of the U.N. mission even as it also arms Kiir’s forces with tens of millions of dollars worth of new weapons.

While experts dismiss Makuei’s scenario — “farfetched” is how one analyst puts it — there are average South Sudanese who also believe that Washington supports the rebels.  The U.S. certainly did press Kiir’s government to make concessions, as his supporters are quick to remind anyone willing to listen, pushing it to release senior political figures detained as coup plotters shortly after fighting broke out in late 2013.  America, they say, cared more about a handful of elites sitting in jail than all the South Sudanese suffering in a civil war that has now claimed more than 10,000 lives, resulted in mass rapes, displaced more than 1.5 million people (around half of them children), and pushed the country to the very brink of famine. Opponents of Kiir are, however, quick to mention the significant quantities of Chinese weaponry flooding into the country. They ask why the United States hasn’t put pressure on a president they no longer see as legitimate.

While few outside South Sudan would ascribe to Makuei’s notion of a direct East-West proxy war here, his conspiracy theory should, at least, serve as a reminder that U.S. and Chinese interests are at play in this war-torn nation and across Africa as a whole — and that Africans are taking note.  Almost anywhere you look on the continent, you can now find evidence of both the American and the Chinese presence, although they take quite different forms.  The Chinese are pursuing a ruthlessly pragmatic economic power-projection strategy with an emphasis on targeted multilateral interventions in African conflicts.  U.S. policy, in contrast, appears both more muddled and more military-centric, with a heavy focus on counterterrorism efforts meant to bolster amorphous strategic interests. 

For the last decade, China has used “soft power” — aid, trade, and infrastructure projects — to make major inroads on the continent.  In the process, it has set itself up as the dominant foreign player here.  The U.S., on the other hand, increasingly confronts Africa as a “battlefield” or “battleground” or “war” in the words of the men running its operations. In recent years, there has been a substantial surge in U.S. military activities of every sort, including the setting up of military outposts and both direct and proxy interventions. These two approaches have produced starkly contrasting results for the powers involved and the rising nations of the continent.  Which one triumphs may have profound implications for all parties in the years ahead. The differences are, perhaps, nowhere as stark as in the world’s newest nation, South Sudan. 

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U.S. resupplies Israel with munitions as Gaza offensive rages

Reuters reports: The United States has allowed Israel, waging an offensive in the Gaza Strip, to tap a local U.S. arms stockpile in the past week to resupply it with grenades and mortar rounds, a U.S. defense official said on Thursday.

The munitions were located inside Israel as part of a program managed by the U.S. military and called War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel (WRSA-I), which stores munitions locally for U.S. use that Israel can also access in emergency situations.

Israel, however, did not cite an emergency when it made its latest request about 10 days ago, the defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The United States allowed Israel to access the strategic stockpile anyway to resupply itself with 40mm grenades and 120mm mortar rounds to deplete older stocks that would eventually need to be refreshed. [Continue reading…]

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Goliath is still pounding David into the dust

Andrew Sullivan writes: I have only one thing to add to the endless news of Israel’s brutal, unrelenting onslaught in Gaza: and it’s at the very end of a live TV interview Chris Gunness did today. Gunness is the head of the UN’s Relief and Works Agency in Gaza. Israel bombed another of their schools today, killing children sleeping in a place they thought was safe. This seems to me to be the only human response:

I’m trying to restrain my emotions for the sake of intellectual clarity. In that spirit, a reader rightly noted how the US, in Afghanistan, has also killed children in collateral damage. That’s undeniable, and because we do not have video or photographs of the aftermath of drone strikes, we may be, in Gaza, seeing something that we too have done in counter-terrorism, and not fully owned. An independent study – at variance with official statistics – came to the following, harrowing conclusion:

“TBIJ reports that from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562 – 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474 – 881 were civilians, including 176 children. TBIJ reports that these strikes also injured an additional 1,228 – 1,362 individuals,” according to the Stanford/NYU study.

I cannot verify this – but I do not dispute the core point it makes. Singling out Israel for blame in atrocities is unfair when the US has done exactly the same – and when the level of sheer annihilation and misery in, say, Syria rivals and easily surpasses the gruesome toll and utter devastation in Gaza. But there are differences as well. The grimmest survey finds that the US killed 176 children over eight years; Israel has now killed over 250 children in a few weeks. And Syria is a full-scale civil war with evenly matched forces. Gaza is utterly at the mercy of Israel, whose Iron Dome has kept civilian Israeli deaths to a bare minimum. So this is truly a Goliath vs David moment in Gaza. And Goliath is still pounding David into the dust.

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Poll: More than 50% of Jewish Israelis think Netanyahu is being too soft on Gaza

Kerry-Anne Mendoza writes: A poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute at Tel Aviv University has found that just 4% of Jewish Israelis believe excessive force has been used on Gaza, while more then 50% argue not enough.

Before we move on, it is worth a brief reminder of the devastating results of the attacks on Gaza. Here are the losses from the UN’s latest report:

Yet according to Strategist Roni Rimon, who sponsored the poll, Netanyahu would pay a political price at home if he pushed for peace:

All the compliments Netanyahu has received for running the operation, his restraint, thinking things through, and obtaining international support will be lost and will be replaced with criticism. But this is the test of a leader. If he believes that the greater good of Israel requires a cease-fire because of relations with the United States and the international community, he will put ratings aside and do what he thinks is right. We shall wait and see.

Another poll released Monday showed similar results. The poll showcased that less than 10% of Israeli Jews supported a ceasefire with Hamas, while 86.5% opposed ceasefire.

Something truly toxic is spreading across Israel. It’s called fascism, and it manifests itself in the words and deeds of lawmakers, troops and ordinary citizens. [Continue reading…]

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