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27 Dec

Gaza Invaded

Initial Reports Indicate Dozens Of Hamas Militants Killed In Gun Battles… Israeli Defense Minister: Campaign “Won’t Be Short”… Tens Of Thousands Of Reservists Called Up… Hamas Promises To Kidnap, Kill Israeli Soldiers: Gaza Will “Become A Graveyard”… Militants Have Long Prepared For Israeli Invasion… NY Times: Is Israel’s Real Goal To Topple Hamas From Power Entirely?… Protests Against Israel Break Out Across Europe… UN Schedules Emergency Meeting…

Not Cluster Bombs but white phosphorus shells

Israel rains fire on Gaza with phosphorus shells

More recently, it has been reported in the UK Times Online that the Israel Defense Forces is using white phosphorus in its attacks, a controversial substance that can cause excruciating burns, but nevertheless is not illegal if it is only used as a smokescreen. Banned by the Geneva conventions, white phosphorus has been used by the U.S. military in Iraq:

“…[T]he tell-tale shells could be seen spreading tentacles of thick white smoke to cover the troops’ advance. “These explosions are fantastic looking, and produce a great deal of smoke that blinds the enemy so that our forces can move in,” said one Israeli security expert. Burning blobs of phosphorus would cause severe injuries to anyone caught beneath them and force would-be snipers or operators of remote-controlled booby traps to take cover. Israel admitted using white phosphorus during its 2006 war with Lebanon.”

UK Times, January 5, 2008

Artillery shells explode above Gaza City

Israeli artillery shells explode with a chemical agent designed to create smokescreen for ground forces
Sheera Frenkel in Jerusalem and Michael Evans, Defence Editor

Israel is believed to be using controversial white phosphorus shells to screen its assault on the heavily populated Gaza Strip yesterday. The weapon, used by British and US forces in Iraq, can cause horrific burns but is not illegal if used as a smokescreen.

As the Israeli army stormed to the edges of Gaza City and the Palestinian death toll topped 500, the tell-tale shells could be seen spreading tentacles of thick white smoke to cover the troops’ advance. “These explosions are fantastic looking, and produce a great deal of smoke that blinds the enemy so that our forces can move in,” said one Israeli security expert. Burning blobs of phosphorus would cause severe injuries to anyone caught beneath them and force would-be snipers or operators of remote-controlled booby traps to take cover. Israel admitted using white phosphorus during its 2006 war with Lebanon.

The use of the weapon in the Gaza Strip, one of the world’s mostly densely population areas, is likely to ignite yet more controversy over Israel’s offensive, in which more than 2,300 Palestinians have been wounded.

The Geneva Treaty of 1980 stipulates that white phosphorus should not be used as a weapon of war in civilian areas, but there is no blanket ban under international law on its use as a smokescreen or for illumination. However, Charles Heyman, a military expert and former major in the British Army, said: “If white phosphorus was deliberately fired at a crowd of people someone would end up in The Hague. White phosphorus is also a terror weapon. The descending blobs of phosphorus will burn when in contact with skin.”

The Israeli military last night denied using phosphorus, but refused to say what had been deployed. “Israel uses munitions that are allowed for under international law,” said Captain Ishai David, spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces. “We are pressing ahead with the second stage of operations, entering troops in the Gaza Strip to seize areas from which rockets are being launched into Israel.”

And President Elect Obama Remains Silent.

Israelis and Arabs “feel that only force can assure justice,” I. F. Stone noted soon after the Six-Day War in 1967. And he wrote, “A certain moral imbecility marks all ethnocentric movements. The Others are always either less than human, and thus their interests may be ignored, or more than human and therefore so dangerous that it is right to destroy them.”

The closing days of 2008 have heightened the Israeli government’s stature as a mighty practitioner of the moral imbecility that Stone described.

This is where it started.

For more information got to Jewish Voice for Peace.

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Living in fear in Gaza City 02 Jan 09

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A Past Slaughter of Innocents

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Israel Is Foolishly Breeding the Next Generation of Islamic
Militants in Gaza

By Chris Hedges, Truthdig
Posted on December 31,
2008

Full Article

Note: Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter, is a Senior Fellow

at the Nation Institute. His latest book is Collateral Damage: America’s
War Against Iraqi Civilians.

Can anyone who is following the Israeli air attacks on Gaza-the
buildings blown to rubble, the children killed on their way to school,
the long rows of mutilated corpses, the wailing mothers and wives, the
crowds of terrified Palestinians not knowing where to flee, the
hospitals so overburdened and out of supplies they cannot treat the
wounded, and our studied, callous indifference to this widespread human
suffering-wonder why we are hated?

Our self-righteous celebration of ourselves and our supposed virtue is
as false as that of Israel. We have become monsters, militarized
bullies, heartless and savage. We are a party to human slaughter, a
flagrant war crime, and do nothing. We forget that the innocents who
suffer and die in Gaza are a reflection of ourselves, of how we might
have been should fate and time and geography have made the circumstances
of our birth different. We forget that we are all absurd and vulnerable
creatures. We all have the capacity to fear and hate and love. “Expose
thyself to what wretches feel,” King Lear said, entering the mud and
straw hovel of Poor Tom, “and show the heavens more just.”……………………

The U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian
taerritory, former Princeton University law professor Richard Falk, has
labeled what Israel is doing to the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza “a
crime against humanity.” Falk, who is Jewish, has condemned the
collective punishment of the Palestinians in Gaza as “a flagrant and
massive violation of international humanitarian law as laid down in
Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” He has asked for “the
International Criminal Court to investigate the situation, and determine
whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible
for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of
international criminal law.”

Falk’s unflinching honesty has enraged Israel. He was banned from
entering the country on Dec. 14 during his attempt to visit Gaza and the
West Bank.

“After being denied entry I was put in a holding room with about 20
others experiencing entry problems,” he said. “At this point I was
treated not as a U.N. representative, but as some sort of security
threat, subjected to an inch-by-inch body search, and the most
meticulous luggage inspection I have ever witnessed. I was separated
from my two U.N. companions, who were allowed to enter Israel. At this
point I was taken to the airport detention facility a mile or so away,
required to put all my bags and cell phone in a room, taken to a locked,
tiny room that had five other detainees, smelled of urine and filth, and
was an unwelcome invitation to claustrophobia. I spent the next 15 hours
so confined, which amounted to a cram course on the miseries of prison
life, including dirty sheets, inedible food, and either lights that were
too bright or darkness controlled from the guard office.”………………………

The Israelis in Gaza, like the American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan,
are foolishly breeding the next generation of militants and Islamic
radicals. Jihadists, enraged by the injustices done by Israel and the
United States, seek to carry out reciprocal acts of savagery, even at
the cost of their own lives. The violence unleashed on Palestinian
children will, one day, be the violence unleashed on Israeli children.
This is the tragedy of Gaza. This is the tragedy of Israel………………………….

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Gaza Update: The Hospitals Are Full and More

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These Are Our Children!


3 Comments
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mary

The government of Israel has lost all sense of accountability, fairness, and justice.

As is the fate of all occupying countries, Israel has been corrupted by their own policies.

This action should be condemned by all who yearn for security for Israel and for the Palestinians, including the American Jewish community. I doubt that we will hear such condemnation.

The Defense Minister is quoted as saying, “Now is the time to fight” How dangerous such thinking is.

Mark McGlynn

The silence of the President-elect, regarding these atrocities, indicates that there is indeed much for liberals the world over to be concerned about. It also underlines the point that the work of the movement that brought Obama to power is not and cannot be finished. We must continue to organize for and publicly claim the kind of world that only true democracy allows. It is not a world in which nation-states can ever be encouraged or authorized to pitch untold fury against innocent civilians. Democracy works from the ground up and not from the top down. A call should be made, by every voter who brought Obama to the Presidency, to remind him, that he rules only at their behest and that his mandate for rule stems not solely from the desire for change but from policies which effect its realization. He should be reminded that that the good people of the United States of America, that brought him to power, will not sit idly by and watch the continued slaughter of innocents meeted out by weaponry manufactured in and supplied by the U.S. Government to the State of Israel.

MaureenM

We sit safe,
comfortable,
in our living rooms,
Removed,
Daring to judge.
Fearing,
To speak out.

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