31 de enero de 2009

Obama 5

US President Barack Obama prefers diplomacy with Iran but preserves "all his options," the White House said Thursday, refusing to rule out military strikes despite promises of a new rapprochement.
Asked if the military option was still on the table with regard to the Islamic republic, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said: "The president hasn't changed his viewpoint that he should preserve all his options."
In tackling Tehran's nuclear ambitions, alleged support for terrorism and threats against Israel, Obama believes "we must use all elements of our national power to protect our interests as it relates to Iran," he said.

29 de enero de 2009

Obama 4

The Obama administration is considering almost doubling the U.S. force in Afghanistan from 36,000 to more than 60,000 within 18 months. Vice President Joe Biden warned Americans over the weekend to brace for a rise in U.S. troop casualties.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has cancelled interviews with the BBC over its decision not to broadcast a charity appeal for Gaza.
Mohamed ElBaradei believed that the BBC's decision broke "the rules of basic human decency", his spokeswoman said.
BBC director general Mark Thompson had said airing the appeal would compromise the BBC's impartiality.
In a statement, the BBC said that it regretted Mr ElBaradei's move.
The IAEA chief had been due to take part in interviews with the BBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
But Mr ElBaradei cancelled them over the corporation's decision not to broadcast a three-minute appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) - an umbrella group for major UK charities - for humanitarian aid funding for Gaza.
"He believes this decision violates the rules of basic human decency which are there to help vulnerable people irrespective of who is right or wrong," his spokeswoman said.
The BBC said it hoped Mr ElBaradei would accept an interview invitation at another time.
Britain's three other terrestrial broadcasters, ITV, Channel 4 and Five, showed the appeal on Monday.
But Sky News also chose not to air it, saying it would be "incompatible" with its objective role.

28 de enero de 2009

Obama 3

Gates Warns of Iran Role in Latin America
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is warning of what he calls Iran’s “subversive activity” in Latin America. Gates spoke Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates: ”I’m concerned about the level of, frankly, subversive activity that the Iranians are carrying on in a number of places, in Latin America, particularly South America and Central America. They’re opening a lot of offices and a lot of fronts, behind which they interfere in what is going on in some of these countries. To be honest, I’m more concerned about Iranian meddling in the region than I am the Russians.”

Report: Obama Admin to Pressure Karzai
Gates also addressed Afghanistan, where Obama is planning on escalating the US occupation.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates: ”There is little doubt that our greatest military challenge right now is Afghanistan. As you know, the United States has focused more on Central Asia in recent months. President Obama has made it clear that the Afghanistan theater should be our top overseas military priority."
Gates’s comments come as the Obama administration says it plans on taking a “tougher line” toward Afghan president Hamid Karzai. The New York Times reports White House officials now see Karzai as “a potential impediment to American goals” because of corruption in his government. But Karzai has also recently angered US officials by criticizing deadly US air strikes and demanding a timetable for a withdrawal of foreign troops.

Gates advierte sobre papel de Irán en América Latina
El secretario de Defensa Robert Gates ha realizado advertencias sobre lo que denomina la “actividad subversiva” de Irán en América Latina. El martes, Gates realizó declaraciones ante el Comité de Servicios Armados del Senado.
El secretario de Defensa Robert Gates dijo: “Estoy preocupado por el nivel de actividad francamente subversiva que los iraníes están llevando adelante en una serie de lugares de América Latina, particularmente en América del Sur y Central. Están abriendo muchas oficinas y frentes, detrás de los cuales interfieren en lo que está sucediendo en algunos de esos países. Sinceramente, estoy más preocupado con la intromisión iraní en la región que con los rusos.”

Informe: administración Obama presionará a Karzai
Gates también se refirió a Afganistán, donde Obama planea aumentar la ocupación estadounidense.

El secretario de Defensa Robert Gates dijo: “No quedan dudas de que nuestro mayor desafío militar en este momento es Afganistán. Como saben, Estados Unidos se ha centrado más en Asia Central en los últimos meses. El presidente Obama ha dejado en claro que Afganistán debería ser nuestra principal prioridad militar".
Los comentarios de Gates se produjeron en momentos en que la administración Obama afirma que planea adoptar una “línea más dura” con el presidente afgano Hamid Karzai. El New York Times informa que los funcionarios de la Casa Blanca ven actualmente a Karzai como “un potencial impedimento para los objetivos estadounidenses” debido a la corrupción de su gobierno. Pero Karzai hizo enfadar últimamente a funcionarios estadounidenses al criticar los ataques aéreos letales de Estados Unidos y exigir un cronograma para la retirada de las tropas extranjeras.
Hundreds Flee Latest Israeli Bombings
In the Gaza Strip, hundreds of Palestinians have fled their homes amidst a new round of Israeli bombings in the town of Rafah. Israel says it’s targeting smuggling tunnels in response to an attack that killed one of its soldiers near the Gaza border on Tuesday. The bombings come as Middle East envoy George Mitchell is in Egypt on the first stop of his Mideast tour. Earlier today, Mitchell warned against the collapse of the informal ceasefire.
Middle East envoy George Mitchell: ”It is of critical importance that the ceasefire be extended and consolidated, and we support Egypt’s continuing efforts in that regard. The United States is committed to vigorously pursuing lasting peace and stability in the region. The decision by President Obama to dispatch me to come to this region less than one week after his inauguration is a clear and tangible
evidence of this commitment."

Gaza Sewage Plant Suffers Extensive Damage

Officials with the Palestinian Water Authority say they’re now two months behind on repairing a critical sewage plant because of damage from the Israeli assault. The officials say several air strikes badly damaged water pipes, and Israeli army bulldozers “deliberately destroyed” the chambers of five water basins. The plant was under emergency repair to prevent it from overflowing and endangering some 10,000 people. The repair was supposed to have been completed this week, but the damage from the Israeli attack means it won’t be done until at least March. The Independent of London reports the plant’s repair had been virtually the only development aid project allowed by Israel in the last eighteen months.

27 de enero de 2009

Obama 2

Obama Asks Britain to Send 4,000 More Troops to Afghanistan
The Times of London reports President Obama has asked Britain to supply up to 4,000 extra frontline troops to take part in a US-led surge of forces in Afghanistan. Obama has already endorsed a Pentagon plan to nearly double the US presence in Afghanistan.

Obama pide a Gran Bretaña que envíe 4.000 soldados más a Afganistán
El Times de Londres informa que el presidente Obama solicitó a Gran Bretaña que proporcionara 4.000 soldados más de primera línea para que participen en el aumento de fuerzas en Afganistán liderado por Estados Unidos. Obama ya aprobó un plan del Pentágono para casi duplicar la presencia estadounidense en Afganistán.

Obama 1

US Drones Kill 20 in Strikes on Pakistan
The US military has carried out its first strikes in Pakistan since President Barack Obama took office. At least twenty were killed on Friday after US Predator drones carried out two separate missile strikes. The Guardian newspaper says Barack Obama gave the go-ahead for the attacks inside Pakistan.

Aviones no tripulados estadounidenses matan a 20 personas en ataques contra Pakistán
Las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses realizaron sus primeros ataques en Pakistán desde que el Presidente Barack Obama asumió el mando. Al menos 20 personas murieron el viernes cuando aviones no tripulados Predator de Estados Unidos llevaron a cabo dos ataques con misiles. El periódico The Guardian informa que Barack Obama aprobó los ataques contra Pakistán.

25 de enero de 2009

4.000 afganos muertos en 2008, 1/3 de ellos víctima de la ocupación dirigida por Estados Unidos

En Afganistán, un nuevo conteo independiente afirma que cerca de 4.000 civiles afganos murieron en forma violenta el año pasado. Otros 6.800 resultaron heridos y aproximadamente 120.000 fueron desplazados de sus hogares. Según el Observador de Derechos de Afganistán, dos tercios murieron en ataques rebeldes, mientras que más de 1.100 murieron a manos de la ocupación liderada por Estados Unidos.

24 de enero de 2009

Ban Ki-moon “Appalled” at Israeli Attack on UN Compound

On Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon toured the UN’s badly damaged headquarters in Gaza City. The compound was set aflame when Israel attacked it last week, burning hundreds of tons of desperately needed aid stored in warehouses. Ban Ki-moon said he was “appalled” at the destruction.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “Ladies and gentlemen, I have seen only a fraction of the damage. This is shocking and alarming. This is heartbreaking scenes which I have seen, and I am deeply grieved by what I have seen today. I’m just appalled. I’m not able to describe how I’m feeling, having seen this site of the bombing of the United Nations compound. Everyone is now smelling this burning still. It is still burning. This, an outrageous and totally unacceptable attack against the United Nations.”

The UN has called for the attack to be investigated as a war crime. Hamas, meanwhile, has begun to re-assert control over the Gaza Strip. On Tuesday, thousands of Palestinians marched through Gaza in a Hamas-led rally.

Father Says Israeli Troops Fatally Shot Daughters

Meanwhile, grieving Palestinians continue to provide accounts of Israeli killings of innocent civilians. A Palestinian father told The Independent of London two of his daughters were shot dead and another critically wounded when Israeli troops opened fire. The father, Khaled Abed Rabbo, says his family was obeying an Israeli order to abandon their home, when a soldier fired from an Israeli tank. Two-year-old Amal and seven-year-old Suad were killed. The third daughter, four-year-old Samer, has been flown to a Belgian hospital with critical spinal wounds. Adeb Rabbo’s home was also nearly completely destroyed during Israel’s attack.

Israel Accused of Killing 14 in Gaza Village

Israel also faces new allegations of war crimes with a report of another mass killing on the Gaza village of Khuza’a. According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, Israeli troops killed fourteen Palestinians in a day-long assault. Israeli forces reportedly shot Palestinians waving white flags and bulldozed others still in their homes. Witnesses also say Israeli forces opened fire on an ambulance trying to reach the victims and used white phosphorus during the attack.

Israeli Officials Demand Control of Gaza Reconstruction

Israeli officials are demanding nearly unfettered control over any reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. Israel continues to control all of Gaza’s crossings and can block aid or commercial delivery at will. Israel has reportedly told diplomats it wants “project by project” approval on any reconstruction effort. It also wants a full list of any goods intended for Gaza and pledges from the UN to monitor every dollar spent.
Ban Ki-Moon está “horrorizado” por el ataque israelí contra sede de la ONU

El martes, el Secretario General de la ONU, Ban Ki-Moon, recorrió la sede severamente dañada de la ONU en la Ciudad de Gaza. El recinto se incendió cuando Israel lo atacó la semana pasada, lo que provocó que se quemaran cientos de toneladas de ayuda extremadamente necesaria que estaba almacenada allí. Moon dijo que estaba “horrorizado” por la destrucción.

Ban Ki-Moon dijo: “Damas y caballeros, solamente he visto una parte del daño. Esto es espantoso y alarmante. Lo que he visto es un escenario desgarrador y me causa una profunda tristeza. Simplemente estoy horrorizado, no puedo describir lo que estoy sintiendo tras ver este recinto de las Naciones Unidas. Ahora todos pueden sentir el olor a quemado, aún sigue ardiendo, este es un ataque atroz y totalmente inaceptable contra las Naciones Unidas”.

La ONU pidió que se investigara el ataque como un crimen de guerra. Mientras tanto, Hamas comenzó a recuperar el control de la Franja de Gaza. El martes, miles de palestinos marcharon por las calles de Gaza en una manifestación liderada por Hamas.

Padre palestino dice que soldados israelíes asesinaron a balazos a sus hijas

Mientras tanto, palestinos en duelo siguen relatando los asesinatos israelíes de civiles inocentes. Un padre palestino le dijo al periódico The Independent de Londres que dos de sus hijas fueron asesinadas a balazos y otra resultó gravemente herida cuando los soldados israelíes abrieron fuego contra ellos. El padre de estas víctimas, Khaled Abed Rabbo, dice que su familia estaba obedeciendo una orden israelí de abandonar su hogar cuando un soldado les disparó desde un tanque israelí. Amal de dos años de edad y Suad de siete años murieron en el incidente. La otra hija, Samer, de cuatro años, fue trasladada a un hospital belga con heridas graves en la espina dorsal. El hogar de Abed Rabbo quedó prácticamente destruido por completo durante el ataque de Israel.

Israel es acusado de matar a 14 palestinos en aldea de Gaza

Israel también afronta nuevas acusaciones de crímenes de guerra en un informe de otra masacre en la aldea de Khuza’a, en Gaza. Según el grupo de derechos humanos israelí B’Tselem, los soldados israelíes mataron a 14 palestinos en un ataque de un día de duración. Las fuerzas israelíes presuntamente les dispararon a palestinos que sostenían banderas blancas y les pasaron por arriba con topadoras a otros que aún se encontraban dentro de sus hogares. Los testigos también dicen que las fuerzas israelíes abrieron fuego contra una ambulancia que intentaba llegar hasta donde se encontraban las víctimas y utilizaron fósforo blanco durante el ataque.

Autoridades israelíes exigen control de la reconstrucción de Gaza

Las autoridades israelíes están exigiendo el control prácticamente sin restricciones de cualquier reconstrucción de la Franja de Gaza. Israel continúa controlando todos los cruces de Gaza y puede bloquear la ayuda y los envíos comerciales a su voluntad. Israel presuntamente le dijo a los diplomáticos que quiere aprobar “proyecto por proyecto” cualquier esfuerzo de reconstrucción. También quiere tener una lista completa de todos los productos que se pretendan ingresar a Gaza y que la ONU se comprometa a controlar cada dólar que se gaste.

23 de enero de 2009

Dos palestinos resultaron heridos en ataque israelí contra la costa de Gaza

En los Territorios Ocupados, el número de muertos a raíz del ataque israelí de tres semanas contra la Franja de Gaza sigue aumentando a medida que se encuentran más cuerpos debajo de los escombros de las casas y edificios destruidos. Ya se han recuperado más de cien cuerpos desde que Israel declaró un cese del fuego el sábado. A pesar del cese del fuego oficial, los cañoneros israelíes siguen disparando contra algunas áreas de Gaza. Hoy temprano, un hombre y una joven palestina resultaron heridos cuando un cañonero israelí disparó contra la costa de la Ciudad de Gaza. Las Fuerzas Armadas israelíes dijeron que este abrió fuego para detener a un barco pesquero palestino que, según dicen, se alejó demasiado de la costa.

21 de enero de 2009

The Israeli government is stepping up efforts to suppress dissent and crush resistance in the streets. Police have been videotaping the demonstrations and subsequently arresting protesters in large numbers.
According to Israeli police reports, at least 763 Israeli citizens, the majority of them Palestinian and 244 under 18 years old, have been arrested, imprisoned or detained
for participating in such demonstrations.

Street protests against Israel's assault on Gaza continue to be held almost daily. The anger has not ended with the ceasefire called. In Cairo, and in many Arab capitals, much of the anger is directed at the Egyptian regime, seen by critics as complicit in the Israeli campaign.

19 de enero de 2009

Israel war crimes

Israel stands accused of perpetrating a series of war crimes during a sustained 12-hour assault on a village in southern Gaza last week in which 14 people died.

In testimony collected from residents of the village of Khuza'a by the Observer, it is claimed that Israeli soldiers entering the village:

• attempted to bulldoze houses with civilians inside;

• killed civilians trying to escape under the protection of white flags;

• opened fire on an ambulance attempting to reach the wounded;

• used indiscriminate force in a civilian area and fired white phosphorus shells.

If the allegations are upheld, all the incidents would constitute breaches of the Geneva conventions.

The denunciations over what happened in Khuza'a follow repeated claims of possible human rights violations from the Red Cross, the UN and human rights organisations.

The Israeli army announced yesterday that it was investigating "at the highest level" five other attacks against civilians in Gaza, involving two UN facilities and a hospital. It added that in all cases initial investigations suggested soldiers were responding to fire. "These claims of war crimes are not supported by the slightest piece of evidence," said Yigal Palmor, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman.

Concern over what occurred in the village of Khuza'a in the early hours of Tuesday was first raised by the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem. Although an Israeli military spokesman said he had "no information that this alleged incident took place", witness statements collected by the Observer are consistent and match testimony gathered by B'Tselem.

There is also strong visible evidence that Khuza'a came under a sustained attack from tanks and bulldozers that smashed some buildings to pieces.

Pictures taken by photographer Bruno Stevens in the aftermath show heavy damage - and still burning phosphorus. "What I can tell you is that many, many houses were shelled and that they used white phosphorus," said Stevens yesterday, one of the first western journalists to get into Gaza. "It appears to have been indiscriminate." Stevens added that homes near the village that had not been hit by shell fire had been set on fire.

18 de enero de 2009

Bodies unearthed from rubble as Israel violates ceasefire

The bodies of a Palestinian man and newborn child who were killed in an Israeli strike, at a hospital morgue in Gaza City, 17 January 2009. (Mohamed Al-Zonon/MaanImages)

Israel has announced to unilaterally cease fire in the Gaza Strip while leaving its troops in positions they had seized during the so-called Operation Cast Lead. Al Mezan Center's staff visited some of the areas the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) left last night and this morning. It found out that a disaster had struck these areas, which had not been accessible for weeks. The findings provide evidence about the likelihood that the IOF had perpetrated war crimes in these areas. In particular, dozens of civilians' corpses have been found in a bad condition under the rubble of destroyed houses. Moreover, the scene of destruction of neighborhoods suggests that wide-scaled home demolitions were systematically conducted by the IOF.

Al Mezan Center's field workers reported that entire urban blocks have disappeared in the areas of Ezbet Abed-Rabu, al-Salatin, al-Atatra, al-Israa in North Gaza District, and al-Kashif and al-Rayis Hills and the eastern suburbs of Gaza City. As of 2pm, medical teams had found 62 corpses of people under the rubble of houses, or rubble moved by Israeli bulldozers. Among them were eight children and 10 women. It is not known yet whether those were buried under the rubble alive or dead.

According to Al Mezan Center's monitoring, the IOF has breached the unilaterally declared ceasefire. Shooting and shelling from artillery batteries, tanks and naval vessels have occurred in various areas throughout the day. Israeli aircraft also launched raids on open areas. At 10:30am, Israeli troops opened fire at civilians who were trying to reach their homes in Khuzaa village, east of Khan Younis. A man, 22-year-old Mahir Abu Irjila, was killed as a result. The victim and his family had evacuated their house and stayed in a UN shelter.

With these casualties, the number of Palestinians killed by the IOF in the Gaza Strip since the start of Operation Cast Lead on 27 December 2009 has risen to 1,253, including at least 280 children and 95 women. Another 4,009 people were injured, including 860 children and 488 women.

Al Mezan Center has started a campaign to document with detail the implications of the IOF's operations on life and property in the Gaza Strip. It has also started to investigate dozens of cases where the likelihood of the perpetration of war crimes is evident.

Al Mezan Center highlights the necessity of ensuring that the IOF would not return to its disproportionate, indiscriminate military actions in the Gaza Strip. The Center has witnessed the manner in which the IOF carried out its operations, with flagrant disregard to applicable international law and to civilian life. As the Center continues its monitoring and documentation efforts with regard to what has already happened in Gaza, it demands that the international community takes a solid stance concerning the behavior of the IOF: civilians must not be targeted and international law must be observed at all times, especially during armed conflict. Al Mezan remains alarmed by the current fragile conditions which have resulted from unilateral arrangements that might not end the hostilities.

Al Mezan expresses its outrage by the facts it has found in those areas which the IOF had invaded more than two weeks ago. The findings proved that the fears that civilians and civilians property in these areas had been treated in cruel ways. Dozens of corpses have been brought to hospitals with increasing allegations that civilians were killed or left to die as the IOF refrained from making any efforts to aid the wounded or survivors. Al Mezan condemns this practice, which represents a serious violation of international law and norms of armed conflict.

Al Mezan Center also calls on the international community to promptly relief aid for the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, particularly those who have lost their breadwinners, parents, homes and assets due to the Israeli attacks. The Center calls on UNRWA [the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees] to continue its efforts to aid the displaced people; thousands of whom have lost their homes as a result of IOF's raids and demolitions. As schooling is expected to be resumed on 23 January, alternative shelters are needed for those who cannot return to their homes.

Al Mezan also asserts the need for urgent international intervention to prevent any IOF attacks against civilians and civilian objects in Gaza in the future, and to investigate the IOF's actions, many of which represent war crimes, in accordance with international law.

Al Mezan Center also renews its calls on the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War, of 1949, to live up to their legal and moral responsibilities upholding their own obligations under Common Article 1, by respecting, and ensuring respect of, the Convection.

16 de enero de 2009

Israel Shells Crowded Hospital, UN Compound

Israel continues its relentless attack on Gaza with more bombings of civilian targets, including a crowded hospital. The past hours have seen some of the most intensive Israeli bombing of the twenty-day assault. The Al-Quds hospital was hit by Israeli shells, setting it ablaze. Around 500 patients were being treated inside. The attack followed an earlier Israeli strike that hit the main United Nations aid compound in Gaza City. More than 700 Palestinians had taken shelter there.
UN: White Phosphorus Used in Attack; Fire Will Destroy Stockpile of Gaza Aid

United Nations Relief and Works Agency spokesperson Christopher Gunness said the compound is burning with flames from white phosphorus shells.

UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness: “There have been three hits on the UNRWA headquarters, the UNRWA compound in Gaza, including, I’m told by [UNRWA head] John Ging, white phosphorus. Three of our staff members have been injured. The workshop in our compound is in flames, and nearby are loaded fuel tankers. So the situation is extremely dangerous and extremely serious. We have been on the phone to the Israeli authorities, asking them to call off their fire from around the compound of a neutral international organization. We have not had the answer we want.”

The UN says the fire will burn down an entire warehouse storing thousands of tons of food, medical supplies and other aid.
Israeli Shelling Hits Media Building

A nearby Israeli shelling hit an office building housing several media organizations. A journalist for the Abu Dhabi television channel was injured. Reuters bureau chief Alastair Macdonald said the attack came despite contact with the Israeli military.

Alastair Macdonald: “We were, in fact, at that time in contact with the Israeli army, checking with them that they knew where our staff were and where they were working. We were assured that they were. Shortly after that, an explosion hit the floor just above us. Shrapnel entered the office. It also struck the offices of another media company two floors above ours. One person, at least, there was wounded, we understand. We have evacuated our office."

Thousands Flee Homes as Toll Passes 1,000

Thousands of Palestinians have fled their homes today, as Israel escalates its assault on densely populated residential areas. Gaza resident Nasser Mohammed said his family was forced to relocate twice after coming under Israeli attack.

Nasser Mohammed: “We were inside a house with the children, and then the Israeli army started to shoot at us with bullets, so we moved to another house with the children. Then the second house came down on top of us.”

The Palestinian death toll now stands at at least 1,045—at least half of them civilian. Another 4,860 have been injured. Thirteen Israelis have been killed, including four by friendly fire.
Israeli Rights Groups Call for War Crimes Investigation

The latest attacks came after a coalition of nine Israeli human rights groups called for an investigation into whether Israel is committing war crimes. In a statement, the groups, including the Israeli sections of Amnesty International and Physicians for Human Rights, condemned what they call the “wanton use of lethal force” against Palestinian civilians. They continue, “This kind of fighting constitutes a blatant violation of the laws of warfare and raises the suspicion…of the commission of war crimes.” There are worldwide calls for prosecuting Israeli leaders. On Wednesday, hundreds gathered outside the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Sobhi Khansa of the International Coalition Against Impunity said Israeli leaders should be tried for crimes against humanity.

Sobhi Khansa: “The crimes of Israel against Gaza increase day after day. And now it’s terrorist crimes, you know? They are using terrorist weapons, murder, crimes against humanity, war crimes. So, for this, we came to the Hague to ICC Court. We want the court to go and start investigation about these crimes.”

The Guardian of London reported this week diplomats are considering asking the United Nations General Assembly to refer Israel’s actions in Gaza to the World Court. The UN’s special rapporteur to the Occupied Territories, Richard Falk, has said Israel’s attack on Gaza could be in violation of the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions, international law and international humanitarian law.
Bolivia, Venezuela Cut Israel Ties in Protest

Bolivia and Venezuela, meanwhile, have cut diplomatic ties with Israel in protest of the Gaza assault. Bolivian President Evo Morales also backed calls for investigating Israeli leaders.

Bolivian President Evo Morales: “The most serious international crimes should not go unpunished. Any government can back the investigation and punishment of these crimes. Bolivia, a sovereign state that shows it is against violence and respects life, will work with other governments and humanitarian organizations to ask for an investigation in international court for the crimes committed in the Gaza Strip by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other members of the Israeli cabinet.”

Second Free Gaza Ship Abandons Aid Mission Following Israeli Threat

A ship trying to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza says it has aborted its mission after the Israeli navy threatened the civilian passengers on board. The Free Gaza movement boat left Cyprus on Wednesday seeking to deliver doctors and medical supplies. It was the group’s first attempt to reach Gaza since an Israeli navy vessel deliberately rammed another humanitarian boat last month, almost forcing it to sink. According to a Free Gaza statement, five Israeli gunboats surrounded the Spirit of Humanity ship in international waters 100 miles off the Gaza coast. In a radio transmission, the Israeli navy threatened to open fire on the ship unless it immediately turned around. Meanwhile, the Israeli government has intercepted an Iranian ship headed to Gaza for the second time. The ship is carrying food and medicine and had planned to arrive in Gaza this past weekend. It tried to reach Gaza again on Wednesday, but was intercepted by the Israeli navy.
Greece Refuses to Host US Weapons Shipment to Israel

Meanwhile, the US has been forced to cancel a weapons shipment to Israel after the Greek government refused to allow it to pass through its ports. The US says it will seek an alternative site.
Israel bombardea concurrido hospital y recinto de la ONU
Israel continúa con sus implacables ataques contra Gaza con más bombardeos contra blancos civiles, entre ellos un concurrido hospital. Durante las últimas horas se vivieron algunos de los bombardeos israelíes más intensos del ataque que comenzó hace 20 días. Se dispararon proyectiles israelíes contra el hospital Al-Quds, los que provocaron que se incendiara. Aproximadamente 500 pacientes estaban siendo atendidos en este lugar. Este episodio tuvo lugar tras otro ataque israelí cuyo blanco fue el principal recinto de ayuda de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas en la Ciudad de Gaza. Más de 700 palestinos se habían refugiado allí.

ONU: Se utilizó fósforo blanco en el ataque y el fuego destruirá las reservas de ayuda para Gaza
El portavoz de la Agencia de Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados Palestinos (UNRWA, por su sigla en inglés) Christopher Gunness dijo que el recinto está ardiendo en llamas provocadas por los proyectiles de fósforo blanco.

Christopher Gunness dijo: “Se produjeron tres ataques contra la sede de la UNRWA en el recinto de Gaza, que incluyen, según me dijo John Ging (Director de la UNRWA), fósforo blanco. Tres de nuestros miembros del personal resultaron heridos. El taller de nuestro recinto está en llamas y cerca hay camiones cisterna cargados de combustible. Por lo tanto la situación es extremadamente peligrosa y extremadamente grave. Llamamos a las autoridades israelíes para pedirles que suspendan el fuego alrededor del recinto de una organización internacional neutral. No obtuvimos la respuesta deseada”.

La ONU dice que el fuego destruirá por completo un almacén que contiene miles de toneladas de alimentos, suministros médicos y otros elementos de ayuda humanitaria.

Edificio de los medios fue blanco de un bombardeo israelí
El blanco de otro bombardeo israelí cercano fue un edificio de oficinas que alberga a varias organizaciones de los medios. Un periodista del canal de televisión Abu Dhabi resultó herido. El jefe de la oficina de Reuters, Alastair Macdonald dijo que el ataque tuvo lugar a pesar del contacto con las Fuerzas Armadas israelíes.

Alastair Macdonald dijo: “En ese momento estábamos en contacto con el Ejercito israelí, asegurándonos de que supiera dónde estaba nuestro personal y donde estaba trabajando. Nos aseguraron que así era. Poco después de eso, se produjo una explosión en el piso superior, ingresaron metrallas a la oficina. También afectó a las oficinas de otra empresa de los medios, dos pisos sobre el nuestro. Al menos una persona resultó herida, según nos dijeron. Tuvimos que evacuar nuestra oficina”.

Miles de personas huyen de sus hogares mientras el número de muertos supera los mil
Miles de palestinos huyeron de sus hogares hoy mientras Israel intensifica sus ataques en zonas residenciales densamente pobladas. Nasser Mohammed, residente de Gaza, dijo que su familia se vio obligada a mudarse dos veces tras ser atacada por Israel.

Nasser Mohammed dijo: “Estábamos dentro de una casa con los niños y el Ejército israelí comenzó a dispararnos balazos, así que nos fuimos a otra casa con los niños. Luego esta casa cayó sobre nosotros”.

El número de palestinos muertos ahora llegó a por lo menos 1045, de los cuales al menos la mitad eran civiles. Otros 4.860 resultaron heridos. Mientras que el número de israelíes muertos se mantuvo en trece, de los cuales cuatro murieron por fuego amigo.

Grupos de derechos israelíes piden investigación sobre crímenes de guerra
Los ataques más recientes tuvieron lugar luego de que una coalición de nueve grupos de derechos humanos israelíes pidieran una investigación para determinar si Israel está cometiendo crímenes de guerra. En una declaración, estos grupos, que incluyen las secciones israelíes de Amnistía Internacional y Médicos por los Derechos Humanos, condenaron lo que calificaron como “el uso desenfrenado de la fuerza letal” contra los civiles palestinos. También dijeron: “Este tipo de combate constituye una violación flagrante de las leyes de guerra y suscita la sospecha… de que se están cometiendo crímenes de guerra”. Hay pedidos en todo el mundo de que se procese a los líderes israelíes. El miércoles, cientos de personas se congregaron frente a la Corte Penal Internacional de la Haya. Sohbi Khansa de la Coalición Internacional Contra la Impunidad dijo que los líderes israelíes deberían ser enjuiciados por crímenes de lesa humanidad.

Sohbi Khansa dijo: “Los crímenes de Israel aumentan día tras día. Y ahora son crímenes terroristas. Están utilizando armas terroristas. Están cometiendo asesinatos, crímenes de lesa humanidad y crímenes de guerra, y por eso acudimos a la Corte Penal Internacional de la Haya. Queremos que la Corte comience a investigar estos crímenes”.

El periódico londinense The Guardian informó esta semana que los diplomáticos están considerando pedirle a la Asamblea General de la ONU que remita las acciones de Israel en Gaza a la Corte Internacional. El relator especial de la ONU para los Territorios Ocupados, Richard Falk, dijo que el ataque de Israel contra Gaza podría violar la Carta de la ONU, la Convención de Ginebra, el Derecho internacional y las leyes humanitarias internacionales.

Bolivia y Venezuela cortan relaciones con Israel en señal de protesta
Mientras tanto, Bolivia y Venezuela cortaron las relaciones diplomáticas con Israel en protesta por el ataque a Gaza. El Presidente boliviano, Evo Morales, también apoyó los pedidos de que se investigue a los líderes israelíes.

El Presidente boliviano, Evo Morales, dijo: “Los crímenes más graves, de trascendencia internacional, no deben quedar sin castigo. Cualquier Estado puede promover la investigación y la sanción de estos crímenes. Bolivia como Estado soberano e independiente, que manifiesta su adhesión al principio de no agresión y al respeto a la vida, coordinará con otros Estados y organizaciones humanitarias la presentación de una solicitud de investigación ante la Corte Penal Internacional por los graves crímenes que comete el Primer Ministro y otros miembros del gabinete”.

Segundo barco de Free Gaza abandona misión de ayuda luego de amenaza de ataque israelí
Un barco que trataba de entregar ayuda humanitaria en Gaza dice que abortó su misión luego de que la Marina israelí amenazara a los pasajeros civiles que viajaban en él. El barco del movimiento Free Gaza zarpó de Chipre el jueves con el cometido de llevar personal y suministros médicos a Gaza. Era el primer intento del grupo, desde que un buque de la Marina israelí deliberadamente embistiera a otro barco humanitario el mes pasado y casi lo hundiera. Según una declaración de Free Gaza, cinco cañoneros israelíes rodearon el barco Spirit of Humanity en aguas internacionales, a cien millas de la costa de Gaza. Por transmisión de radio, la Marina israelí amenazó con abrir fuego si el barco no retornaba inmediatamente. Mientras tanto, el gobierno israelí interceptó un barco iraní que se dirigía a Gaza por segunda vez. El barco transportaba alimentos y medicamentos y planeaba llegar a Gaza el pasado fin de semana. Trató de llegar nuevamente el jueves, pero fue interceptado por la Marina israelí.

Grecia se niega a albergar envío de armas estadounidenses a Israel
Mientras tanto, Estados Unidos se vio obligado a cancelar un envío de armas a Israel luego de que el gobierno griego se negara a darle paso a través de sus puertos. Estados Unidos dice que buscará un lugar alternativo.

15 de enero de 2009

Arms exports to Israel in 2007

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - European Union member states authorised the export of €200 million in arms exports to Israel in 2007, the latest figures from Brussels disclose, with France far and away the Jewish state's biggest European weapons supplier.

According to the EU's 2008 report on arms export licences, published in December for the 2007 calendar year and consolidating the accounts that member states must annually submit, 18 member states authorised a total of 1,018 such licences to Israel worth €199,409,348.

France, Germany and Romania were the top three exporters. France issued export licences worth €126 million, Germany authorised €28 million and Romania €17 million, the EUobserver can reveal.
Abbas: Israel está intentando “aniquilar” a los palestinos en Gaza

Los residentes de Gaza, sufrieron el bombardeo más intenso de la guerra de dieciocho días de duración anoche, cuando Israel llevó a cabo ataques aéreos y de artillería en la Franja de Gaza. Los tanques israelíes respaldados por helicópteros de combate ingresaron a varios barrios sureños de la densamente poblada Ciudad de Gaza. Los funcionarios de los hospitales informan que se recibieron docenas de llamados a las ambulancias, que no pudieron acudir debido a los enfrentamientos. El Presidente palestino Mahmoud Abbas acusó a Israel de intentar “aniquilar” al pueblo palestino en Gaza al negarse a poner fin a su ataque. El número de palestinos que murieron ahora ascendió a por lo menos 935.

Cruz Roja: “No hay ningún lugar seguro en Gaza para los civiles”

Más de 4.300 palestinos resultaron heridos, mientras que trece israelíes murieron durante los últimos dieciocho días. Se calcula que aproximadamente 90.000 palestinos huyeron de sus hogares, pero muchos residentes de Gaza no tienen a donde ir debido a que todos los cruces de la frontera de Gaza están cerrados.

Antoine Grand, Director del Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja en Gaza, dijo: “No hay ningún lugar seguro en Gaza para los civiles. Temen quedarse en sus casas, temen moverse. También temen salir a la calle para intentar obtener agua o comprar alimento. No hay electricidad. No hay agua. El acceso a los hospitales es difícil. Las ambulancias no pueden llegar a ciertos lugares para recoger a los heridos”.

Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU condena a Israel

El lunes, el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas adoptó una resolución que condena a Israel. Esta resolución no vinculante establece que el ataque de Israel ha “provocado grandes violaciones de los derechos humanos del pueblo palestino”.

Estados Unidos se abstiene de votación de la ONU tras llamada de Olmert a Bush

Mientras tanto, el Primer Ministro israelí, Ehud Olmert, dijo públicamente que él personalmente llamó al Presidente Bush la semana pasada para exhortarlo a que no apoye una resolución de cese del fuego del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU, que fue redactada en parte por la Secretaria de Estado Condoleezza Rice. Tras la llamada de Olmert, Estados Unidos cambió su postura y se abstuvo de votar la medida que fue aprobada por catorce votos contra cero.

Acusan a Israel de probar armas experimentales en Gaza

Dos médicos noruegos que recién regresaron de Gaza acusaron a Israel de probar una nueva arma experimental conocida como Explosivos de Metal Inerte Denso (DIME, por su sigla en inglés). Esta arma provoca que los tejidos se separen de la carne. El Dr. Mads Gilbert dijo: “Hemos visto muchas amputaciones terribles… sin heridas de metralla, que tenemos muchas sospechas que debieron ser causadas por las armas DIME”. El Dr. Erik Fosse dijo: “He visto y tratado muchos tipos de heridas durante los últimos 30 años en diferentes zonas de guerra, y esto luce completamente distinto”.

12 de enero de 2009

Unusually Large U.S. Weapons Shipment to Israel: Are the US and Israel Planning a Broader Middle East War?

By Michel Chossudovsky

URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11743

Global Research, January 11, 2009

A very large delivery of US weaponry to Israel consisting of 3,000 tons of "ammunition" is scheduled to sail to Israel. The size and nature of the shipments are described as "unusual":

"Shipping 3,000-odd tons of ammunition in one go is a lot," one broker said, on condition of anonymity.

"This (kind of request) is pretty rare and we haven't seen much of it quoted in the market over the years," he added.

"Shipping brokers in London who have specialized in moving arms for the British and U.S. military in the past said such ship charters to Israel were rare. (Reuters, Jan 10, 2009)

The Pentagon has entrusted a Greek merchant shipping company to deliver the weapons to Israel:

"The U.S. is seeking to hire a merchant ship to deliver hundreds of tons of arms to Israel from Greece later this month, tender documents seen by Reuters show.

The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC) said the ship was to carry 325 standard 20-foot containers of what is listed as "ammunition" on two separate journeys from the Greek port of Astakos to the Israeli port of Ashdod in mid-to-late January.

A "hazardous material" designation on the manifest mentions explosive substances and detonators, but no other details were given.(Ibid)

It is worth noting that a similar unusually large shipment of US ordinance to Israel was scheduled in early December:

"Tender documents indicate that the German ship hired by the US in early December also carried a massive cargo of weapons that weighed over 2.6 million kg [2600 tons] and filled up to 989 standard 20-foot containers to Ashdod from North Carolina." (Press TV, 10 Jan 2009)

Are These Large Shipments of Ordinance Connected to the Invasion of Gaza?

The request by the Pentagon to transport ordinance in a commercial vessel, according to Reuters, was made on December 31, 4 days after the commencement of the aerial bombings of Gaza by F16 Fighter jets.

Analysts have hastily concluded, without evidence, that the 2 shipments of "ammunition" were intended to supply Israel's armed forces in support of its military invasion of Gaza.

"A senior military analyst in London who declined to be named said that, because of the timing, the shipments could be "irregular" and linked to the Gaza offensive." (Reuters, January 10, 2009)

These reports are mistaken. Delivery of ordinance always precedes the onslaught of a military operation. The ordinance required under "Operation Cast Lead" was decided upon in June 2008. Further to Tel Aviv's request under the US military aid program to Israel, the U.S. Congress approved in September 2008 the transfer of 1,000 bunker-buster high precision GPS-guided Small Diameter Guided Bomb Units 39 (GBU-39).

The GBU 39 smart bombs produced by Boeing were delivered to Israel in November. They were used in the initial air raids on Gaza:

"...The Israel Air Force has used the new lightweight GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb acquired from the USA, in the recent attacks in Gaza. The [Jerusalem] Post mentioned the new weapons ordered last September having arrived last month [November], and already put to action with the IAF fighters. These weapons could have been deployed by the Boeing/IAF F-15Is, since sofar SDB is cleared for use only with this type of aircraft.

It is highly unlikely that the bulk of the weaponry included in these two large shipments, scheduled to arrive in Israel in late January, is intended to be used in Israel's military operation in Gaza. The GBU-39 is lightweight (130 kg). The entire shipment of GBU 39s (1000 units) would be of the order of a modest 130 tons. In other words, the specifications of the GBU 39 do not match the description of the "unusually large" and "heavy" shipment of ordinance.


Escalation Scenario

The shipment ordered on December 31 is of the order of 3000 tons, an unusually large and heavy cargo of "ammunition" pointing to the transfer of heavy weaponry to Israel.

According to US military statements, the ordinance is for stockpiling, to be used "at short notice" in the eventuality of a conflict:

"This previously scheduled shipment is routine and not in support of the current situation in Gaza. ...The U.S. military pre-positions stockpiles in some countries in case it needs supplies at short notice." (Reuters, 10 Jan 2009, emphasis added)

Whatever the nature of these large weapons shipments, they are intended for use in a future military operation in the Middle East.

Since the launching of the Theater Iran Near Term Operation Operation (TIRANNT) in May 2003, an escalation scenario involving military action directed against Iran and Syria has been envisaged. TIRANNT was followed by a series of military plans pertaining to Iran. Numerous official statements and US military documents have pointed to an expanded Middle East war.

What these shipments suggest is that the "escalation scenario" not only prevails, but has reached a more active stage in the process of US-Israeli military planning.

Whether these weapons will be used or not is not known. The central question, in this regard, is whether the Gaza invasion is part of a broader military adventure directed against Lebanon, Syria and Iran, in which heavier weaponry including US made bunker buster bombs will be used.

History of US Weapons Shipments to Israel

The stockpiling of US made bunker buster bombs by Israel has been ongoing since 2005:

"The United States will sell Israel nearly 5,000 smart bombs in one of the largest weapons deals between the allies in years.

Among the bombs the [Israeli] air force will get are 500 one-ton bunker busters that can penetrate two-meter-thick cement walls; 2,500 regular one-ton bombs; 1,000 half-ton bombs; and 500 quarter-ton bombs. The bombs Israel is acquiring include airborne versions, guidance units, training bombs and detonators. They are guided by an existing Israeli satellite used by the military.

The sale will augment existing Israeli supplies of smart bombs. The Pentagon told Congress that the bombs are meant to maintain Israel's qualitative advantage [against Iran], and advance U.S. strategic and tactical interests." (Jewish Virtual Library: September 21-22, 2004, Haaretz / Jerusalem Post.)

The actual shipments of US made bunker buster bombs started in 2005. The US approved in April 2005, the delivery of:

some 5,000 "smart air launched weapons" including some 500 BLU 109 'bunker-buster bombs. The (uranium coated) munitions are said to be more than 'adequate to address the full range of Iranian targets, with the possible exception of the buried facility at Natanz, which may require the [more powerful] BLU-113 bunker buster [a variant of the GBU 28]'" (See Michel Chossudovsky, Planned US-Israeli Nuclear Attack on Iran, Global Research, May 1, 2005)

The BLU-109 is smaller than the GBU 28. "It is a 2,000lbs warhead that can be used in combination with a GPS guidance kit [...], and can penetrate up to 15 feet of fortified concrete." (See F16.net)

In 2006 at the height of the Lebanon War in August 2006, a major shipment of the 2.2 ton GBU 28 bombs, according to the New York Times, was dispatched to Israel.

The GBU 28 is produced by Raytheon. It was used against Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War, has the the capability of penetrating some 20 feet of reinforced concrete. (Haaretz, 9 Nov 2008) In contrast to the GBU 39 smart bombs (130 kg) used against Gaza, each GBU-28 weighs a hefty 2.2 tons.

"The Guided Bomb Unit-28 (GBU-28) is a special weapon developed for penetrating hardened Iraqi command centers located deep underground. The GBU-28 is a 5,000-pound laser-guided conventional munition that uses a 4,400-pound penetrating warhead." Federation of American Scientists,

(For a visual depiction see "Bob Sherman, How the GBU-28 works", USA Today on-line.).


Video of GBU 28 on UTube

The recent unusually large shipments of weaponry to Israel are part of the 2004 agreement between Washington and Tel Aviv, financed by US military aid to Israel.

As mentioned above, there is a history of delivery of bunker buster bombs (including the GBU 28), going back to 2005. While the nature and composition of these recent weapons shipments to Israel are not known, one suspects that they include the heavier version of the bunker buster bombs including the GBU-28.

In this regard, it is worth noting that last Summer, Israel requested the Pentagon to deliver GBU-28 bunker buster bombs. The stated purpose was to use them in the eventuality of a military operation directed against Iran.

In September 2008, according to US and Israeli press reports quoting Pentagon officials, Tel Aviv's request was turned down. According to the reports, Washington categorically refused to deliver the shipment of GBU 28 bunker buster bombs, to be used to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. "Instead" Washington accepted to deliver the lightweight GBU-39 for use against Gaza.

The U.S. had "rejected an Israeli request for military equipment and support that would improve Israel's ability to attack Iran's nuclear facilities."

The Americans viewed [Israel's] request, which was transmitted (and rejected) at the highest level, as a sign that Israel is in the advanced stages of preparations to attack Iran. They therefore warned Israel against attacking, saying such a strike would undermine American interests. They also demanded that Israel give them prior notice if it nevertheless decided to strike Iran. In early September, Haaretz reported that the request had included GBU-28 "bunker-buster" bombs.

In mid-September, the U.S. agreed instead to sell Israel 1000 GBU-39 "bunker buster" bombs which Israeli military experts said "could provide a powerful new weapon" in Gaza, AP reported.

So: when Israel requested weapons that the U.S. expected would be used for bombing Iran, the U.S. said no, and added explicitly that it did not want to see an Israeli attack on Iran. And there was no Israeli attack on Iran. (Defense Update.com, December 2008)

Media Disinformation

The official statements and press reports are bogus. Israel and the US have always acted in close coordination. Washington does not "demand that Israel give them prior notice" of a military operation:

The report in Haaretz suggests that the Bush Administration was adamant and did not want the Israelis to attack Iran. In fact, the reports suggested that the US would shoot down Israeli planes, if they tried to attack Iran:

"Air-space authorization: An attack on Iran would apparently require passage through Iraqi air space. For this to occur, an air corridor would be needed that Israeli fighter jets could cross without being targeted by American planes or anti-aircraft missiles. The Americans also turned down this request. According to one account, to avoid the issue, the Americans told the Israelis to ask Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for permission, along the lines of "If you want, coordinate with him." (Haaretz Nov 9, 2008)

This Israeli report is misleading. Israel is America's ally. Military operations are closely coordinated. Israel does not act without Washington's approval and the US does not shoot down the planes of its closest ally.

The Nature and Composition of the Recent US Weapons Shipments to Israel

These unusually large shipments of ordinance would normally require Congressional approval. To our knowledge, there is no public record of approval of the unusually large shipments of heavy "ammunition" to Israel.

The nature and composition of the shipments are not known. Was Israel's request for the delivery of the 2.2 ton GBU 28 accepted by Washington, bypassing the US Congress? Are GBU 28 bombs, each of which weighs 2.2 tons part of the 3000 ton shipments to Israel. Are tactical bunker buster mini-nuclear bombs included in Israel's arsenal? These are questions to be raised in the US Congress.

The two shipments of "ammunition" are slated to arrive in Israel, respectively no later than the 25th and 31st of January.

Secretary Robert Gates who remains at the helm of the Department of Defense ensures continuity in the military agenda.

Preparing for a Confrontation with Iran: Beefing Up Israel's Missile Defense System

In early January, the Pentagon dispatched some 100 military personnel to Israel from US European Command (EUCOM) to assist Israel in setting up a new sophisticated X-band early warning radar system. This project is part of the military aid package to Israel approved by the Pentagon in September 2008:

"The Israeli government requested the system to help defend against a potential missile attack from Iran. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates signed off on the deployment order in mid-September. ....

Once fully operational, the system will be capable of tracking and identifying small objects at long distance and at very high altitude, including space, according to U.S. Missile Defense Agency officials. It also will integrate Israel’s missile defenses with the U.S. global missile detection network.

“This will enable the Israelis to track medium- and long-range ballistic missiles multiple times better than their current radar allows them to,” Morrell said. “It will more than double the range of Israel's missile defense radars and increase its available engagement time.”

This, he said, will greatly enhance Israel’s defensive capabilities. “There is a growing ballistic missile threat in the region, particularly from Iran,” Morrell said. “And no one in the region should feel more nervous about that threat than the Israelis. And they clearly do, and they have asked for our assistance.” (Defense Talk.com, January 6, 2009, emphasis added.)

The new X-band radar system 'permits an intercept soon after launch over enemy instead of friendly territory" (Sen. Joseph Azzolina, Protecting Israel from Iran's missiles, Bayshore News, December 26, 2008).

The X-band radar would "integrate Israel’s missile defenses with the U.S. global missile detection network, which includes satellites, Aegis ships on the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf and Red Sea, and land-based Patriot radars and interceptors." (Ibid)

What this means is that Washington calls the shots. The US rather than Israel would control the Air Defense system: ''This is and will remain a U.S. radar system,' Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. 'So this is not something we are giving or selling to the Israelis and it is something that will likely require U.S. personnel on-site to operate.'" (Quoted in Israel National News, January 9, 2009, emphasis added).

In other words, the US military controls Israel's Air Defense system, which is integrated into the US global missile defense system. Under these circumstances, Israel cannot launch a war against Iran without the consent of the US High Command.

The large shipments of US ordinance, slated to arrive in Israel after the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States and Commander in Chief are part of the broader program of US-Israeli military cooperation in relation to Iran.

The reinforcement of Israel's missile defenses combined with the large shipments of US weapons are part of an escalation scenario, which could lead the World under an Obama Administration into a broader Middle East war.

New Cold War?

There has been a military build on both sides. Iran has responded to the Israeli-US initiative, by beefing up it own missile defense system with the support of Russia. According to reports (December 21), Moscow and Tehran have been holding talks on the supply by Russia of "medium-range air defense systems - specifically, S-300 surface-to-air missile systems" (Asian Times, January 9, 2009)


by Michel Chossudovsky


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GAZA 10-11th January 2009

By Ewa Jasiewicz, reporting from Beit Hanoun and Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip
10-11th January 2009

Last night was a quiet one in Jabaliya. ‘Only’ six homes bombed into the
ground, the Market, again, maybe four lightly injured people – shrapnel to
the face injuries – and no martyrs. Beit Hanoun saw a young woman, Nariman
Ahmad Abu Owder, just 17, shot dead as she made tea in her family’s
kitchen. It was 9pm in the Hay Amel area when witnesses reported
‘thousands’ of bullets shot by tanks onto homes in Azrah Street.

We got a call to go to Tel Al Zater looking for the dead and injured,
around 2am. ‘This area is dangerous, very very dangerous’, warned one
volunteer rescuer Mohammad al Sharif as our ambulance bumped along sandy,
lumpy ground, lighting up piles of burning rubbish, stray cats, political
graffiti, and the ubiquitous strung out coloured sack cloth and stripy
material in large thin squares, tenting the pavements. What is it?
Protection, I am told, so that the surveillance planes won’t see the
fighters. Palestinian body armour.

Mohammad, and Ahmad Abu Foul, a Civil Defence medical services coordinator
told me they had been shot at by Israeli snipers yesterday. Mohammd had
recounted the story, still counting his blessings, earlier on at the
ambulance station. They’d gone hurtling over graves and tombstones to
fetch casualties when Israeli snipers opened fire. They’d laid down flat
on the ground until the firing stopped. Ahmad, 24, another rescuer here,
told me he had been shot in the chest – in his bullet proof vest – close
to the Atarturah area whilst trying to evacuate corpses three days ago.
His brother, he had told me, had been injured 14 times working as a
paramedic. ‘14 times. Then he got hit by an Apache. Then it was serious.
That took him out of work for a few months’, he explained.

Back to Tel Al Zater, we searched with micro torches, sweeping over slabs
of broken homes and free running water from freshly smashed pipes. A black
goat was trapped in a rubble nest. We stepped over broken blown in metal
doors off their hinges. Nothing, none, ‘snipers’, on our minds. We ended
up leaving with one casualty, lightly injured, more in shock that anything
else. Explosions continued through the night. Abrupt slumps into concrete
echoing around the hospital, like rapid beats to a taut drum skin.
This morning was a different story. I’ve been finding that the most
missile-heavy times seem to be between 7-9am. I counted 20 strikes in
those two hours this morning. I’d come to Mohammad’s house. He went
straight to bed, exhausted. I'd caught some sleep spread across the front
seats of the rickety ambulance, waking up periodically to respond to

At Mohammad’s I did some badly overdue washing and went towards the roof
with it. ‘Ewa, do you want to martyr yourself?’ said Sousou, Mohammd’s 19
year old sister, a bright sciences student unable to finish her studies
due to her university – the Islamic University – having been bombed last
week. Hanging out washing on the roof here is a potential act of suicide –
there are stories of people having been shot dead on rooftops. Walking
down the street to buy bread, also a potential act of suicide. Visiting
family, going to the market, drinking tea in your own home – a potential
act of suicide? In the end I do go up, with 9 year old plucky Afnan, who
hands me pegs nervously as we scan the skies periodically, while the
murderous sneer of Israeli surveillance drones leers above us.

The call comes as soon as I get to Al Awda. It’s 11.40am. A strike in
Mahkema street, Zoumou, Eastern Jabaliya . The streets of Moaskar Jabaliya
are fuller than I’ve seen them for weeks. Fruit and vegetable sellers with
wooden carts full of clay clodded potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers,
aubergines, mountains of strawberries, bags of flour, plastic bottles of
vegetable oil and rice, line the streets. The reason everyone’s here,
exposed like this is because with the market being bombed, the streets
have become the market.

We roar through manically, siren blaring, Abu Bassem, one of the oldest
and most hyper ambulance drivers, yells hoarsely at anyone nonchalant
enough to not notice the screaming column of ambulances zooming towards
them, past broken buildings, debris covered streets, twisted tin can
warehouses and rubble homes.

Out of the city, we’re met by a crowd running towards us with a blanket
hump on the back of a donkey cart. Jumping out I see bloodied legs and
arms sticking it out of it, ‘Shoohadda!!’ Martyrs - yells the crowd
running along with it, whilst others gesture wildly to go on, go on ahead.
Jumping back in we get to the house where it all happened. A woman in her
50s, in black, has her arms around a large, lifeless woman. Pools of blood
surround them. They’re cramped into a corner, the woman crying and
clinging to her. We need to peel her away and lift the woman, cold,
lifeless and shoeless, onto a stretcher. This is Randa Abid Rubbu, 38. Her
relative or friend comes in too, unable to stand, unable to speak or move,
we drag her on and she has to slump on the ambulance floor. Next we bring
in Ahmad Mohammad Nuffar Salem, 21, with 16 shrapnel injuries, tearing at
his own clothes in pain, they needed to be cut off.

Six members of the Abid Rubbu family were killed in the strike on their
house. It happened at 11.40am. Ahmad, 21, explains ‘We were all eating
together, and then we were struck’. The consensus amongst paramedics was
that it was a tank shell, although the family thought it was a shell from
an Israeli navel vessel.

Mohammad Abid Rubbu, 50, explains to me, that in the night his other
family homes were struck three times by F16 fighter jets. ‘Thirty of us
spent the whole of last night hiding under ground, in the basement. Our
whole street was full of fire. They (the Israelis) spent one and a half
hours attacking us. They destroyed three of our family’s homes. All the
martyrs today, they were underground with us last night’.

Kamal Odwan's 'Mosque'
Kamal Odwan Hospital is the main port of call for the bulk of emergency
services, once a local clinic, it has now grown, concomitantly with the
population of the north, now 350,000, into a hospital. Since the bombing
of an average of one in ten mosques in the Jabaliya area according to
local Imams, Kamal Odwan is now also a prayer site, an open-air mosque.
Rows of men kneel together daily in the car-park round the corner from the
overflowing morgue; praying also takes place at the side of the lines of
parked ambulances and in the little garden area in front of the reception
and ER. The emergency staff, the families and friends of new martyrs, all
pray together in perhaps the last place of sanctuary in Jabaliya, knowing
that as soon as they set foot outside, they’re fair game for snipers,
surveillance drones, Apaches, Cobras, F16 and F15 fired missiles,
shrapnel, flying chunks of house, glass, and nails that are shredding
people here. White phosphorous too is reportedly being used, along with a
white mist of nerve gas hanging in Jabaliya a few days ago and over Beit
Hanoun, in the Zoumou street area.

Today at least three casualties, all of them elderly women, were brought
into Beit Hanoun hospital suffering from inhalation of this gas, which
chokes people, tightening chests and nasal passages and rendering people
dizzy and disorientated; we were all affected by it, despite being maybe
half a kilometre away from the site of its’ release. As I finish writing
this now, in the offices of Ramatan News, the same gas, nerve fraying,
chest tightening, tear-inducing and confusing is seeping into the offices.

The director of public relations at Kamal Odwan, Moayad Al Masri, whose
family now lives in the Fakhoura School refugee camp gives me the stats
for the past week. Every day approximately 20 people are being killed, by
tank shelling, apache, F16, and surveillance plane missile strikes.
December 27th 14 people killed, 52 injured, 28th, 6 killed, 22 injured,
29th 15 killed, 102 injured, 30th, 2 killed, 11 injured, 31st, 3 killed,
3 injured, New Years Day, 17 killed, 67 injured, January 2nd 6 killed, 10
injured, Jan 3rd, 13 killed, 43 injured, Jan 4th, 28 killed, 35 injured,
Jan 5th, 15 killed, 98 injured, Jan 6th 50 killed, 101 injured, Jan 7th,
17 killed, 33 injured, Jan 8th, 11 killed, 53 injured, Jan 9th, 15 killed
and 63 injured, January 10th 22 killed and 53 injured, and today, this
morning six people had been killed so far. Four of them children. Two
sisters Saher Ghabban 16 and Haowla Ghabban 14, and Fatima Mahrouf 16 and
Haitham Mahrouf. Witnesses report that they were leaving their home at the
UNRWA Beit Lahiya school, to go home to wash and make food. They were
walking near strawberry fields in Sheyma when they were struck by a
surveillance plane missile.

I go to meet a friend from Beit Hanoun at the hospital. It takes stopping
five different taxi drivers before I finally get one who agrees to take
me. Missiles have been falling throughout the afternoon ‘ceasefire’.
Everyone has heard about cars and their passengers zapped in two by
missiles from surveillance drones. We all engage in a kind of Russian
roulette every time we move, knowing we might be the unlucky ones next.

In Beit Hanoun we hear about six families from the Abu Amsha House - 50
people- having to flee their four story home after the IOF called to give
them five minutes to leave or before being bombed. As the families
frantically gathered their belongings – mattresses, blankets, clothes,
documents, photographs – and made their way down the stairs, an Israeli
F16 war plane bombed them. 27 were injured, four of them seriously,
including one with shrapnel in the spinal area.

A house upon them
We meet Mohammd Zoadi Abu Amsha, a United National employee running a
local job creation programme and the son of Hajj Zohaadi Amsha, the owner
of the destroyed house. Mohammad’s house, opposite the Abu Amsha house,
had its windows blown out in the attack. I asked him why he thinks the
house was targeted ‘This is the policy of Israel , the logic is to make us
leave this land, make us leave our homes, to clear this land for their
occupation and ownership of it. That’s what this is about. There were no
fighters here by the way’ he says, ‘This is a civilian house, my father is
80 years old, he worked as a teacher for the UN’. As we’re talking,
children that have gathered around us point to the sky, ‘look, look,
Apache’ they say. And we look at it, flying silently across the sky,
puffing out a perfect line of burning dazzle flares. A boy of about 10
spots a piece of missile, the size of a large marrow, electronic parts
still intact, and lugs it up to us, ‘Take care’ we shout to him; he
scrambles over debris and then lobs it onto the ground in front of us. All
our hearts skip a beat.

Back at Kamal Odwan, we hear the news. Wafa Al Masri, 40 years old, and
nine months pregnant was walking to Kamal Odwan Hospital , to give birth.
With her was her sister, 26 year old Raghada Masri. They were passing
through the Dewar Maboob crossroads in the Beit Lahiya Project area. It
was 4.30pm. Witnesses said they were hit directly by a missile from a
surveillance drone. Daniel, a half Ukrainian paramedic here described the
scene. ‘Her legs were shredded, there was just meat, and she had a serious
chest injury, hypoxemia’. Wafa was transferred to Shifa for a double leg
amputation, from the Fema (upper thigh area down). Paramedics were
apprehensive about her or her unborn child making it. Medics managed to
save the right foot of Raghada Masri, 26. I visited her at Kamal Odwan
today. Visibly distressed and writhing in pain, she recounted the story:
‘We were walking down the street when we heard the sound of the plane, I
can still hear ringing in my ears. We were hit by a missile. We were in
the area right in the main street, in broad daylight. We would never have
expected this. I saw smoke, and I saw Wafa’s legs all mangled. She was
thrown metres away from me, I was thrown too. Her mandeel was torn off her
head, her hair was all burnt, she didn’t look like my sister, her hair was
gone, everyone was saying to me, ‘she’s a martyr, she’s a martyr.’ Today I
learned medics managed to save one leg and that she gave birth to a
healthy boy.

Bombing civilians
At 5pm, whilst we’re gathering info on the bombing of Wafa and her sister,
ambulances and taxis bring over casualties. There’s been a tank bombing of
an apartment building, the Burge al Sultan, in Jabaliya. Three dead, two
of them children, and five injured. Again Daniel brought them in. He’s
sitting in the ambulance stunned and staring into space. ‘In all my days,
I’ve never seen anything like this’, he says. ‘First they fired one
missile at the roof of the building, this got people running out of the
building. Then they fired another one, at the people outside, and then
when we turned up, they fired another one. I don’t understand. And they
were all civilians’. The weapon of choice was a Kadifa – a tank shell that
releases tiny flachettes; spiked arrows that tear into flesh at lightning
speed. Daniel went on to say that ambulance staff and helpers were shot at
by snipers when evacuating casualties. Ashar al Battish, 33, lost his two
brothers in the attack. ‘Kids were playing in the street, and then three
missiles were shot at us. He – he says, gesturing to his brother on an ER
bed – was shot by a sniper in the chest, and another sniper’s bullet
grazed his face’.

When I began writing this I was on the fifth floor of the Al Awda
Hospital, a few things have happened in between. I was buying coffee,
snickers bars to chop up for the guys, and some shampoo when from the
local shop when we got a call at around 9.30pm, to pick up casualties from
the Bier Najje area, Western Jabaliya. We wove our way up, a column of
rickety vans. Our ambulance had a plastic bin bag held up with brown
parcel tape for a back window after it was blasted out last week – too
close to an F16 repeat attack.

When we reached the casualty zone, near a mini roundabout flanked with
painted portraits of pale PFLP fighters, and orange groves on our right,
we drove slowly up towards the leading ambulance which had stopped up
ahead. As we were approaching, the crew suddenly came running towards us,
waving their arms for us to move, move, get back, get back. We reversed
sharply and a minute later advanced again as they receded back to the
ambulance. I jump out with the stretcher and start to assemble it but I’m
told, ‘Get back inside, get back inside, this is a dangerous area!’ They
have their casualty, we pick up another with a leg injury on our way back,
and when we get back to base it transpires that a surveillance plane
missile was shot directly onto the crew ahead but failed to explode.
Unknown to us, it had been lying beside the ambulance when we came up to
see about the injured.

As well as this, there were two F16 missile strikes on targets just a few
hundred metres away from Al Awda. Both enormous bangs shook the building,
shattered a window and sent everyone running for cover.
An empty dead-zone

I asked the paramedics, what happened when they went to collect bodies and
the injured from the areas where street fighting is taking place, places
like Tel Al Zater, Salahadeen Street, Atahtura, Azbet Abu Rubbu - closed
to everyone and anyone but the Israeli Occupation Forces. During 1-4pm
there is supposed to be a ceasefire and co-ordination between paramedics
and the Israeli army, through the Red Cross. Of the three paramedics I
asked, all of their replies were the same. ‘We saw none’. ‘It was like a
ghost town’. Despite being finding bodies over the past week, including
one baby which had been half eaten by dogs – photos, film and witnesses at
Kamal Odwan confirm it – and bodies which had been run over by tanks, when
they went yesterday, they found nobody, and came back to base empty
handed. ‘I think the Israelis must have taken the bodies away, I think
they must have taken them away by bulldozer and buried them’. The
terrifying this is that there are still people trapped in their homes if
their homes are still standing, without food, water, or electricity.
Refugees at the Al Fakhoura school report not being able to recognise
their areas, their streets after the heavy fighting and destruction of so
many houses. When these areas are finally accessible to people, the full
extent of the killing and destruction will at last be known.

Meanwhile, as the killing continues, the Ministry of Health ambulances in
the north are becoming slowly paralysed. Four M.O.H ambulances based at
Kamal Odwan have no fuel and have been grounded, two have just half a tank
each. One in Beit Hanoun has also been immobilised. A senior source
coordinating the rescue services who did not wish to be named, said, ‘We
haven’t go the capacity now to respond. The Civil Defence and the Red
Crescent will go out, we cannot, only in case of a major emergency. In
case of another strike like the one at Fakhoura, the injured will have to
be transported by donkey cart. People will die’. Petrol is available, just
a short drive away in Salahadeen Street, although Israeli Occupation
Forces control the area and won’t let any vehicle pass. To add to the
M.O.H’s woes, the radios they’ve had since the beginning of the invasion
have had no service – there’s been no radio contact between the base and
ambulances and the Jawwal mobile network is also frequently down.

So everybody who can, still keeps going. Israeli war planes keep targeting
civilians. The evidence piling up points to a deliberate campaign and
policy of targeting civilians. And the bombs keep falling, thudding all
around all of us, everywhere we go, everywhere we sleep, everywhere we
walk, drive, sit and pray. Everyone is exhausted and just wants these
attacks to end and for a real ceasefire to materialise.

Ewa Jasiewicz is an experienced journalist, community and union organizer,
and solidarity worker. She is currently Gaza Project Co-coordinator for
the Free Gaza Movement.

9 de enero de 2009

Israel continúa ataque en Gaza mientras Consejo de Seguridad exige cese del fuego.
Israel continúa su devastador ataque contra la Franja de Gaza, a pesar de la resolución del Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas que exige un cese del fuego. Durante la noche, Israel lanzó más de 50 ataques y mató al menos doce palestinos. Siete personas murieron en un bombardeo en el norte de Gaza, incluido un bebé. Al menos veinticuatro palestinos fueron asesinados el jueves, incluidas tres personas de la tercera edad que huían de su casa. Militantes palestinos respondieron hoy lanzando alrededor de seis cohetes hacia el sur de Israel e hiriendo a una persona. Por lo menos el 60% de la población de Gaza, que asciende a 1.400.000 personas, no tiene electricidad, y gran parte está sin agua potable. El frágil sistema de alcantarillado de Gaza también está en riesgo de colapsar, lo que hace temer un empeoramiento de la crisis sanitaria.

La cifra de palestinos muertos llega a 778; al menos 200 niños fueron asesinados
En total, la cifra de palestinos fallecidos llega, por lo menos a 778 personas, incluidos más de 200 niños. Más de 3.250 palestinos resultaron heridos. Durante el mismo período, murieron trece israelíes, cuatro de ellos víctimas del fuego amigo. El Consejo de Seguridad votó el cese del fuego por catorce votos contra cero, y Estados Unidos se abstuvo. La medida demanda “un cese del fuego inmediato, duradero y plenamente respetado, que conduzca al retiro total de las fuerzas israelíes de Gaza”.

El ministro de Relaciones Exteriores palestino Riad Al-Malki dijo: “Israel, la fuerza de ocupación, debe implementar esta resolución de inmediato. La agresión debe cesar para que todos tengamos la oportunidad de trabajar para curar las heridas de nuestro pueblo y reconstruir lo que la brutal máquina de guerra israelí ha destruido en Gaza”.

Naciones Unidas y Cruz Roja suspenden ayuda humanitaria luego de ataques letales israelíes a convoyes de auxilio
La medida se aprobó horas después de que Naciones Unidas clausurara las principales operaciones de ayuda humanitaria en Gaza luego de que uno de sus convoyes fuera atacado por Israel. Francotiradores israelíes dieron muerte a dos trabajadores humanitarios palestinos que, según se informa, trataban de rescatar el cuerpo de un colega asesinado en un ataque israelí previo. Los asesinatos se habrían producido durante la interrupción de tres horas del bombardeo, pausa aceptada por Israel para permitir la ayuda humanitaria.

Christopher Gunness, vocero del organismo de socorro de Naciones Unidas, dijo: “Puedo confirmar que la UNRWA (siglas en inglés de la Agencia de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados Palestinos en Oriente Próximo) ha suspendido sus operaciones en Gaza por razones de seguridad de su personal. Le dispararon al conductor de un convoy que estaba claramente identificado como vehículo de Naciones Unidas. Ha habido una serie de ataques directos a instalaciones de Naciones Unidas y también otro tipo de ataques. No tuvimos otra alternativa que suspender nuestras operaciones hasta que tengamos garantías para la seguridad de nuestro personal. Han asesinado gente de nuestro personal, no tuvimos otra alternativa".

Naciones Unidas dice haber perdido toda confianza en las promesas de Israel. Israel atacó varias instalaciones médicas y de Naciones Unidas esta semana, incluida una escuela de Naciones Unidas donde murieron 46 civiles.

OMS: 21 trabajadores médicos palestinos asesinados en ataque contra Gaza
Según la Organización Mundial de la Salud, 21 trabajadores médicos palestinos fueron asesinados y otros treinta heridos en el ataque israelí a Gaza. Mientras tanto, el Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja dijo que reduciría sus operaciones de ayuda por lo menos durante un día, luego de que uno de sus convoyes quedara bajo fuego israelí.

Naciones Unidas: treinta muertos en bombardeo israelí de vivienda repleta de personas
La Cruz Roja hizo el anuncio, al tiempo que acusó a Israel de impedir el acceso a un lugar bombardeado donde fueron hallados varios niños en estado de inanición junto a los cadáveres de sus madres. En total, se encontraron docenas de civiles muertos en un radio de una cuadra en el vecindario de Zeitoun. Katrina Ritz, jefa de misión de la Cruz Roja, describió el panorama después del bombardeo:

Katrina Ritz dijo: “Creo que una de las cosas que más nos impactó fue la debilidad de esas personas, que eran niños. Niños que estaban junto a los cuerpos sin vida de sus madres, esta gente no había recibido ayuda alguna, había aproximadamente dieciocho heridos sin asistencia médica y muy, muy débiles. Los niños apenas podían mantenerse de pie, no tenían agua ni comida y estaban rodeados de cadáveres".

En un informe del jueves, Naciones Unidas dijo que treinta de las víctimas fallecidas en el ataque de Zeitoun se habían refugiado en una casa acatando las órdenes del Ejército israelí. Más de cien palestinos habían sido evacuados a ese lugar con la orden de no salir. El paramédico palestino Attia Barami estuvo entre los primeros en llegar a las víctimas.

Attia Barami dijo: “Encontramos cuerpos que habían sido arrollados por los tanques. Los médicos revisaron los cadáveres y encontraron daños a nivel celular. Esta bebé, de cinco meses, murió hace más de dos días. Los perros devoraron parte de su cuerpo. Esta bebé fue quemada, su rostro y cuerpo están oscuros y carbonizados”.

La mayoría de los fallecidos eran miembros de una misma gran familia, los Samounis. La cifra de muertos era en principio menor, pero aumentó a medida que se fueron extrayendo cadáveres de los escombros.

Funcionario del Vaticano compara Gaza con un “campo de concentración”
El ataque israelí es blanco de una creciente crítica internacional. El jueves, un alto funcionario del Vaticano, el cardenal Renato Martino, comparó a Gaza con un “campo de concentración”. En declaraciones a un periódico italiano, Martino dijo: “Miren las condiciones en Gaza: se parece cada vez más a un gran campo de concentración".

Carter: Israel rompió tregua en Gaza
Mientras tanto, el ex presidente Jimmy Carter denunció el ataque israelí en la Franja de Gaza. En un artículo publicado en el Washington Post, Carter criticó a Israel por romper el cese del fuego de seis meses al lanzar el 4 de noviembre un ataque que mató a siete militantes de Hamas. También responsabilizó a Israel por no respetar su compromiso de aliviar el bloqueo humanitario de Gaza.

Protestas en el mundo entero condenan ataque contra Gaza
Mientras tanto, las protestas continúan en el mundo entero. El jueves, más de 40.000 personas se manifestaron en Oslo, Noruega, y denunciaron el ataque en Gaza. Según Al Jazeera, se realizaron otras manifestaciones en Venezuela, Teherán, Jartum y Sarajevo. En Canadá, cerca de treinta activistas ocuparon el consulado de Israel en Montreal. La acción se realizó un día después de que un grupo de mujeres judío-canadienses ocuparan el consulado israelí en Toronto. En Nueva York, cientos de personas se reunieron el jueves para protestar contra el abierto respaldo del alcalde de la ciudad, Michael Bloomberg, al ataque israelí. Bloomberg visitó Israel la semana pasada, y dio entrevistas en las que respaldó el ataque contra Gaza. Charles Barron, miembro del Consejo de Nueva York, afirmó que Bloomberg no hablaba en nombre de todos los neoyorquinos.

Charles Barron, miembro del Consejo de Nueva York, dijo: “Mi mensaje para Bloomberg es: “me avergüenzo de usted”. ¿Cómo se atreve a hablar en nombre de todos los neoyorquinos e ignorar que murieron 560 personas, muchas de las cuales eran mujeres y niños? ¿Cómo se atreve a ir a Israel y no hablar con los palestinos? ¿Cómo se atreve a hablar como si representara a todos los neoyorquinos? Bueno, no los representa”.

Las protestan también continúan en Israel. Uri Avnery y David Wilner, activistas israelíes por la paz, estuvieron entre quienes se manifestaron en Tel Aviv.

Uri Avnery dijo: “Estamos aquí para protestar contra la guerra, que consideramos inhumana, inmoral, totalmente injustificada e innecesaria. Pensamos que si hubiéramos accedido a tener conversaciones con Hamas, este problema hubiera quedado a un lado hace mucho tiempo".

David Wilner dijo: “La masacre y la violencia no son formas de lograr la paz para las naciones israelí y palestina".

Senado respalda ataque contra Gaza
Mientras Naciones Unidas y la Cruz Roja condenaron el ataque israelí contra Gaza, el Senado de Estados Unidos aprobó una medida que respalda abrumadoramente el ataque. La medida, no vinculante, fue aprobada por unanimidad. El líder de la mayoría demócrata Harry Reid y el líder de la minoría republicana Mitch McConnell hablaron a favor de la invasión israelí. Reid dijo: “Cuando aprobemos esta resolución, el Senado de Estados Unidos fortalecerá, por un lado, nuestros lazos históricos con el estado de Israel, al reafirmar el derecho inalienable de este país a defenderse de los ataques provenientes de Gaza; por otro lado, nuestro respaldo al proceso de paz palestino-israelí". Se prevé que la Cámara de Representantes apruebe hoy una medida similar.

Kucinich pide investigación de armas suministradas por Estados Unidos a Israel
El congresista Dennis Kucinich es uno de los pocos legisladores que se ha manifestado en contra del ataque a Gaza respaldado por Estados Unidos. Kucinich solicitó al Departamento de Estado que investigue si el uso israelí de armas suministradas por Estados Unidos infringe la Ley de Control de Exportación de Armas de 1976.

6 de enero de 2009

Unconventional Weapons against The People of Gaza

"The Israelis are using a new type of very high explosive weapons which are called Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) and are made out of a tungsten alloy. These weapons have an enormous power to explode."
"these weapons will have a cancer effect on those who survive. They will develop cancer we suspect."
"All that is happening in Gaza here now is against international law, it is against humanity"
"Almost all of the patients we have received have these sever amputations. They seem to have been affected by this kind of weapon. Of course, we have many fragment injuries and burns but those who have got their limbs cut off, constitutes quite a large proportion.
You know we have a lot to do. Palestinian doctors, nurses and paramedics do an incredibly heroic job to save their people. Doctor Eric and I are just a small drip in the ocean, but we learn from them."
And then decide where do you stand.
We stand with the people of Palestine whose lives are being destroyed.
We stand in solidarity with their struggle.
We stand for humanity against the US-Israeli war criminals.
Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, January 5, 2009

Israeli strikes hit two UN schools in Gaza, five killed: medics

06/01/2009 08:56 GAZA CITY, Jan 6 (AFP)
Israeli strikes hit two separate schools run by the United Nations in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, killing at least five Palestinians, medics and UN officials said.
Two people were killed in a strike on a school in the southern of Khan Yunis and three people were killed in an air strike on a school in Gaza City, they said.
Both schools are run by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. The identities of the victims were not yet known.

5 de enero de 2009

And there lie the bodies

As Israel has been preoccupied with Gaza throughout the entire week, nobody has asked whose blood is being spilled and why. Everything is permitted, legitimate and just. The moral voice of restraint, if it ever existed, has been left behind. Even if Israel wiped Gaza off the face of the earth, killing tens of thousands in the process, one can assume that there would be no protest.

They liquidated Nizar Ghayan? Nobody counts the 20 women and children who lost their lives in the same attack. There was a massacre of dozens of officers during their graduation ceremony from the police academy? Acceptable. Five little sisters? Allowed. Palestinians are dying in hospitals that lack medical equipment? Peanuts. Whatever happened to the not-so-good old days of Salah Shahadeh? When we liquidated him in July 2002, we also killed 15 women and children. At least back then, moral qualms were raised for a moment.

Here lie their bodies, row upon row, some of them tiny. Our hearts have turned hard and our eyes have become dull. All of Israel has worn military fatigues, uniforms that are opaque and stained with blood and which enable us to carry out any crime.

4 de enero de 2009


Press release, Al Mezan, 4 January 2009

Fifty-two people have been killed by the Israeli Occupying
Forces throughout the Gaza Strip since yesterday evening
(seven children and three women). Another 182 have been
injured (26 children and 10 women). IOF has continued to
show disregard to the rules of international law relevant
to armed conflict, inflicting severe harm to civilian life
and property.

Palestine's Guernica ("Evil only exists because the good remain silent.")

Mustafa Barghouti* cuts down the myths Israel spins in the media to justify its most recent campaign of slaughter

The Israeli campaign of "death from above" began around 11am on Saturday morning and continues as I write these words.

The bloodiest single day in Palestine since the war of 1967 is far from over following Israel's promise that this is "only the beginning" of their campaign of state terror. Approximately 400 people have been murdered thus far, but the body count continues to rise at a dramatic pace as more mutilated bodies are pulled from the rubble, prior victims succumb to their wounds, and new casualties are created by the minute.

What is occurring is nothing short of a war crime, yet the Israeli public relations machine is in full swing, churning out lies by the minute.

Once and for all it is time to expose the myths that they have created:

- Israel claimed to have ended the occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2005. While Israel has indeed abandoned its settlements in the tiny coastal Strip, it has in no way ended the occupation. It remained in control of Gaza's borders, airspace and waterways, and has carried out frequent raids and targeted assassinations since its "disengagement".

Furthermore, since 2006 Israel has imposed a comprehensive siege on the Strip. For over two years, Gazans have lived on the edge of starvation and without the most basic necessities of human life, such as cooking or heating oil and basic medications. This siege has already caused a humanitarian catastrophe that has only been exacerbated by the dramatic increase in Israeli military aggression.

- Israel claims that Hamas violated the ceasefire and abandoned it unilaterally. Hamas indeed respected their side of the ceasefire, except on those occasions early on when Israel carried out major offensives in the West Bank. In the last two months, the ceasefire broke down with Israelis killing several Palestinians and resulting in the response of Hamas. In other words, Hamas has not carried out an unprovoked attack throughout the period of the ceasefire.

Israel, however, did not live up to any of its obligations of ending the siege and allowing vital humanitarian aid to resume in Gaza. Rather than the average of 450 trucks per day being allowed across the border, on the best days, only 80 have been allowed in, with the border remaining hermetically sealed 70 per cent of the time. Throughout the supposed "ceasefire" Gazans have been forced to live like animals, with 262 dying due to the inaccessibility of proper medical care.

Now after hundreds dead and counting, it is Israel that refuses to re-enter talks over a ceasefire. They are not intent on securing peace as they claim; it is more and more clear that they are seeking regime change, whatever the cost.

- Israel claims to be pursuing peace with "peaceful Palestinians". Before the ongoing massacre in the Gaza Strip, and throughout the entirety of the Annapolis peace process, Israel has continued and even intensified its occupation of the West Bank. In 2008, settlement expansion increased by a factor of 38, a further 4,950 Palestinians were arrested (mostly from the West Bank), and checkpoints rose in number from 521 to 699.

Furthermore, since the onset of peace talks, Israel has killed 546 Palestinians, among them 76 children. These gruesome statistics are set to rise dramatically now, but previous Israeli transgressions should not be forgotten amidst this most recent horror.

This week Israel shot and killed a young peaceful protester in the West Bank village of Nihlin and has injured dozens more. It is certain that they will continue to employ deadly force at non-violent demonstrations and we expect a sizeable body count in the West Bank as a result. If Israel is in fact pursuing peace with "good Palestinians", whom are they talking about?

- Israel is acting in self-defence. It is difficult to claim self-defence in a confrontation that they themselves have sparked, but they are doing it anyway. Self- defence is reactionary, while the actions of Israel over the past few days have been clearly premeditated. Not only did the Israeli press widely report the ongoing public relations campaign being undertaken by Israel to prepare Israeli and international public opinion for the attack, but Israel has also reportedly tried to convince the Palestinians that an attack was not coming by briefly opening crossings and reporting future meetings on the topic. They did so to insure that casualties would be maximised and that the citizens of Gaza would be unprepared for their impending slaughter.

It is also misleading to claim self-defence in a conflict with such an overwhelming asymmetry of power. Israel is the largest military force in the region, and the fifth largest in the world. Furthermore, they are the fourth largest exporter of arms and have a military industrial complex rivaling that of the United States. In other words, Israel has always had a comprehensive monopoly over the use of force, and much like its superpower ally, Israel uses war as an advertising showcase of its many instruments of death.

- Israel claims to have struck military targets only. Even while image after image of dead and mutilated women and children flash across our televisions, Israel brazenly claims that their munitions expertly struck only military installations. We know this to be false, as many other civilian sites have been hit by air strikes, including a hospital and a mosque.

In the most densely populated area on the planet, tons upon tons of explosives have been dropped. The first estimates of injured are in the thousands. Israel will claim that these are merely "collateral damage" or accidental deaths. The sheer ridiculousness and inhumanity of such a claim should sicken the world community.

- Israel claims that it is attacking Hamas and not the Palestinian people. First and foremost, missiles do not differentiate people by their political affiliation; they simply kill everyone in their path. Israel knows this, and so do the Palestinians. What Israel also knows, but is not saying publicly, is how much their recent actions will actually strengthen Hamas, whose message of resistance and revenge is being echoed by the angry and the grieving.

The targets of the strike, police and not Hamas militants, give us some clue as to Israel's mistaken intention. They are hoping to create anarchy in the Strip by removing the pillar of law and order.

- Israel claims that Palestinians are the source of violence. Let us be clear and unequivocal. The occupation of Palestine since the war of 1967 has been and remains the root of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Violence can be ended with the end of the occupation and the granting of Palestine's national and human rights. Hamas does not control the West Bank and yet we remain occupied, our rights violated and our children killed.

With these myths understood, let us ponder the real reasons behind these air strikes; what we find may be even more disgusting than the act itself.

The leaders of Israel are holding press conferences, dressed in black, with sleeves rolled up. "It's time to fight," they say, "but it won't be easy."

To prove just how hard it is, Livni, Olmert and Barak did not even wear makeup to the press conference, and Barak has ended his presidential campaign to focus on the Gaza campaign. What heroes... what leaders.

We all know the truth: the suspension of electioneering is exactly that -- electioneering. Like John McCain's suspension of his presidential campaign to return to Washington to "deal with" the financial crisis, this act is little more than a publicity stunt.

The candidates have to appear "tough enough to lead", and there is seemingly no better way of doing that than bathing in Palestinian blood.

"Look at me," Livni said in her black suit and unkempt hair, "I am a warrior. I am strong enough to pull the trigger. Don't you feel more confident about voting for me, now that you know I am as ruthless as Bibi Netanyahu?"

I do not know which is more disturbing, her and Barak, or the constituency they are trying to please.

In the end, this will in no way improve the security of the average Israeli; in fact it can be expected to get much worse in the coming days as the massacre could presumably provoke a new generation of suicide bombers.

It will not undermine Hamas either, and it will not result in the three fools, Barak, Livni and Olmert, looking "tough". Their misguided political venture will likely blow up in their faces as did the brutally similar 2006 invasion of Lebanon.

In closing, there is another reason -- beyond the internal politics of Israel -- why this attack has been allowed to occur: the complicity and silence of the international community.

Israel cannot and would not act against the will of its economic allies in Europe or its military allies in the US. Israel may be pulling the trigger and ending hundreds, perhaps even thousands of lives this week, but it is the apathy of the world and the inhumane tolerance of Palestinian suffering that allows this to occur.

"Evil only exists because the good remain silent."

* The writer is secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative.

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