News Releases

Israel Bombs Power Plant; Water Going from “Undrinkable” to “Catastrophic”

NBC News reports: “The fuel tanks at Gaza’s only power plant came under attack early Tuesday, threatening to deepen an already dire humanitarian situation. The attack came hours after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a televised speech of a ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza against Hamas. Israel carried out 76 strikes overnight — one of the biggest bombardments in the nearly month-long campaign. …

“Jamal Dersawi, the plant’s general manager, told NBC News that the major fuel storage tanks supplying the facility took a hit before dawn. There was no immediate comment from Israel’s military about the attack. …

“Dersawi said that since the facility provides power to key infrastructure, including water sanitation facilities, Tuesday’s attack will have a devastating impact on the citizens of Gaza.”

The Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH), a coalition of 27 organisations working in the water and sanitation sector in the occupied Palestinian territories, recently released a statement: “Since the start of the Israeli assault on Gaza on July 8, 2014, the water and wastewater infrastructure in Gaza has been heavily affected by Israeli airstrikes. Main water supply and wastewater infrastructure has been hit and as a result the water supply or sewage services to 1.2 million (2/3 of the total population in Gaza) have been cut or severely disrupted. The targeting of civilian objects under situation of hostilities is prohibited according to International Humanitarian Law and is considered a war crime. …

“Prior to the current escalation, Gaza already suffered from a water crisis, with limited availability of water resources, fuel and the Israeli imposed blockade since 2007. The only water resource for Gaza is the coastal aquifer, which according to the UN may become unusable by 2016 due to over-abstraction.” See: Guardian report from 2013: “Gaza becoming uninhabitable as blockade tightens, says UN,” which states: “Destruction of smuggling tunnels and renewed ban on import of construction materials have exacerbated humanitarian crisis.”

MONTHER SHOBLAK, monthercmwu at hotmail.com
Available for a very limited number of interviews, Shoblak is director general of Coastal Municipalities Water Utility in Gaza. He stresses the importance of the water situation in Gaza and links it to water-borne diseases. One of their workers, Zeyad Al Shawi, was recently “killed by the Israeli forces while he was opening water to the people of Rafah.”

MARK ZEITOUN, M.Zeitoun at uea.ac.uk
Zeitoun is author of Power and Water in the Middle East: The Hidden Politics of the Palestinian-Israeli Water Conflict. He has been profiled in The New York Times.

He said today: “The quality of water in Gaza is undrinkable at the best of times, and so people generally rely on neighborhood water desalination plants provided by local entrepreneurs, and a mix of poor quality water blended with better quality provided by the water authorities (PWA [Palestinian Water Authority] and CMWU). All the sources depend on electricity or diesel to run the pumps.

“The targeting of power facilities and power lines and restrictions on fuel imports (before and after this latest assault) now combine with the inability for water authorities or entrepreneurs to operate, maintain or repair their water systems. Repair crews are generally prohibited from their work because of the threat of attacks, though risk their lives nonetheless. Last time I checked several days ago, four water technicians had been killed while trying to deliver safe water to the residents.

“Hospitals in particular need lots of good quality water, to operate effectively. The shortages in good water quality are guaranteed to reduce the capacity of the medical staff to respond to emergencies, as sterilization becomes out of reach. Increases in post-operation infection rates and the risk of water-borne diseases, threaten the wounded, elderly, and infants the most. (See letter from doctors and scientists to the medical journal The Lancet.)

DANNY MULLER, fugedaboutit at gmail.com, @MECAForPeace
Muller focuses on coordinating emergency aid in the Middle East and Haiti. He was most recently in Gaza after Operation Cast Lead in 2009 and immediately before and after Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012. He will be returning in the coming weeks to advance psychosocial support for traumatized Palestinian children and report on the status of over 50 water treatment units the Middle East Children’s Alliance has installed at UNRWA schools in Gaza.

He said today: “Today, 90 percent of people in Gaza do not have access to water that is safe to drink. We are talking about hundreds and hundreds of thousands of children. Gaza is at the precipice of a public health crisis where the rapid spread of water borne disease and illness will wreak further havoc on a population trying to survive under indiscriminate bombardment by the Israeli Defense Forces. Israeli airstrikes have intentionally targeted water wells, water pipelines and sewage stations. This has only exacerbated the severe water crisis that already existed in Gaza due to the Israeli blockade. Put simply: bombing civilian infrastructure that delivers and purifies water is murder.”

See, by Mohammed Omer: “Israeli jets destroying Gaza water and sewerage systems: officials.”

From NBC News: “Water ‘Catastrophe’ Looms in Gaza as Israel Steps Up Airstrikes.”

From the International Solidarity Movement: “Israel airstrike bombs major water line, sewage station and water wells in Gaza.”

See from ElectronicIntifada.net in 2013: “90 percent of Gaza’s water unfit for drinking, says Falk“: “Richard Falk, a UN special rapporteur on Palestine, has used a new report on corporate complicity with the Israeli occupation to sound the alarm over how Israel is blocking Palestinians from access to their rightful share of water resources. Falk says Israel must halt the demolition of water collection facilities on the pretext that they operate without valid permits. …

“Falk strongly condemns the targeting of water and sanitation facilities during Israeli military operations. Israel has destroyed at least 306 wells in Gaza since 2005. The repeated destruction of water and sanitation infrastructure has contributed to water scarcity in Gaza.

“Israel also blocks Gaza’s inhabitants from using water from Wadi Gaza, a natural stream that originates in the Hebron mountains and flows to the Mediterranean Sea.

“Israel denies Palestinians in the West Bank their rightful share of water from an underground mountain aquifer, according to Falk. It also prevents Palestinians from accessing water from the Jordan River. Under customary international law both water resources must be shared equitably. However, an estimated 500,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) enjoy approximately six times the amount of water used by the 2.6 million Palestinians living in the West Bank.”

Israel Using U.S. Weapons to Kill in Gaza

NBC News is reporting now: “Israeli strikes hit within yards of Gaza’s main hospital as well as at a refugee camp on Monday, leaving at least 30 dead and wounded.” NBC states that over 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been reported killed in the last three weeks while about 43 Israeli soldiers have been killed in fighting; three civilians within Israel have been killed by Hamas rockets.

JOSH RUEBNER, congress at endtheoccupation.org, @joshruebner
Ruebner is author of Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace and policy director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. He said today: “In its current attack on the occupied and besieged Palestinian Gaza Strip, Israel is misusing U.S.-supplied weaponry, in violation of U.S. laws such as the Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Act, to carry out massacres against Palestinian civilians and deliberate destruction of Palestinian civilian infrastructure. However, instead of holding Israel accountable for its violations of these laws, the United States is deeply complicit in Israel’s apparent war crimes by continuing to allow U.S. weapons to be employed in this manner.” See “Is U.S. Military Aid to Israel Legal?” — part of the the group’s policy paper on military aid to Israel.

The group will have a briefing on Capitol Hill on Friday, Aug, 1 that will include Tariq Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian-American teenager who was brutally beaten by Israeli police earlier this month. The group notes: “Congress has introduced H. Con. Res. 107 condemning the use of human shields by Hamas. The resolution of course fails to mention Israel’s well-documented use of Palestinians as human shields. The Israeli military has used Palestinian children to open bags it believed to be bomb-laden, held children in front of soldiers to prevent youth from throwing rocks, and forced children to enter homes believed to be rigged with explosives.”

KEN KLIPPENSTEIN, ken.klippenstein at riseup.net, @KenKlippenstein
Klippenstein recently co-wrote the piece “U.S. Provides Israel the Weapons Used on Gaza,” which states: “Even as the U.S. government claims to want to broker a ceasefire, it continues facilitating weapons exports to Israel. On July 14, the same day President Obama vowed that ‘We’re going to continue to do everything we can to facilitate a return to the 2012 ceasefire,’ the State Department approved a possible $544 million sale of AIM-9x sidewinder missiles and associated support services to Israel. These missiles can be used by F-16s to hit ground targets.

“Official U.S. military aid to Israel stands at about $3 billion per year due to a 10-year, $30 billion military aid package originally signed by former President George W. Bush and upheld under President Obama. This figure doesn’t, however, include the $504 million in funding dedicated to missile defense.

“Truthout asked Andrew Feinstein, former Member of Parliament in South Africa and currently an Open Society Institute fellow, to elaborate on the accuracy of official aid estimates. He replied:

“‘In reality, published military aid figures tend to be significant understatements. … Israel is the only country allowed to use its U.S. military aid to build its domestic military industry, a privilege that includes developing indigenous weapons systems based on U.S. designs and using U.S. grants to purchase materials, as well as research and development, from Israeli firms. Additional U.S. funds are spent on joint military research and production. Israel also enjoys ‘fast-track’ status for weapons sales, meaning it can make deals directly with manufacturers in the U.S. without having to go through the Pentagon.

“‘The billions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Israel have bought a stunning array of US weapons and military hardware for the IDF, including 226 F-16 fighter jets, more than 700 M-60 tanks, 6,000 armored personnel carriers, scores of transport planes, attack helicopters and utility and training aircraft, not to mention innumerable bombs and tactical missiles of all kinds.’”

Klippenstein also wrote the piece “U.S. Continues to Surreptitiously Supply Arms to Unelected Regime in Egypt.”

The Trauma of Palestinian Children

DANNY MULLER, fugedaboutit at gmail.com, @MECAForPeace
Muller focuses on disaster management and response in the Middle East and Haiti. He is a coordinator of public health and humanitarian aid efforts for the Middle East Children’s Alliance. He said today, “What can’t be seen or understood in the pictures and reporting coming out of Gaza is the long term impact the most recent Israeli assault is having on the young minds of children in Gaza. Unfortunately, our staff has seen this before — most recently in 2012 and 2009 during Operation Pillar of Defense and Operation Cast Lead. Almost 800,000 children in Gaza are 14 and under, and more children have been killed than fighters in Gaza. For those who survive, hundreds of thousands of children will exhibit signs of trauma from night terrors to refusing to speak. Trauma does not end when ceasefires begin. Israel’s war is an intentional war on the health and well being of Palestinian children, and it must be stopped.”

War Crimes in Gaza? Genocide?

BBC is reporting today: “At least 15 people have been killed and more than 200 injured when a UN-run school used as a shelter in Gaza was shelled, the Gaza health ministry says. … In the past 16 days of fighting, more than 750 Palestinians and 32 Israelis have been killed, officials say.”

Time magazine reports: “The UN Human Rights Council voted Wednesday to launch an inquiry into potential violations of human rights by Israel in its conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip … The council’s inquiry would investigate ‘all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law’ in Palestinian areas. The resolution was drafted by Palestine, and supported by 29 of the 46-member council. The U.S. voted against the resolution, while European countries abstained.”

JOHN QUIGLEY, quigley.2 at osu.edu
Professor emeritus of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley’s books include The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict. He said today that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, South African Navi “Pillay’s concern that the fire power being brought to bear on Gaza indicates that war crimes are being committed is well founded. The level of civilian deaths being caused is out of all proportion to whatever military objectives are being targeted.” Quigley’s other books include Genocide in Cambodia and The Ruses for War.

RANIA KHALEK, [in D.C. area] raniakhalek at gmail.com, @RaniaKhalek
Khalek just wrote the piece “Medical workers killed, injured as Israel targets Gaza health infrastructure,” in which she interviews the Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert who is operating on patients in Gaza. He states: “The hospitals in Gaza have never ever been proven to conceal or hide or harbor any militant needs, be it fighters or weapons. This is just another of the many lies which the Israeli propaganda machine is spewing out. Israel is puking it out around the clock.

“So al-Aqsa hospital [was] attacked, absolutely horrible, and it caused me and the Ministry of Health to send out a press release yesterday calling for the international community to consider the attacks on health facilities as war crimes under international law and called upon the international community and the United Nations to take immediate actions to prevent further attacks on medical facilities, ambulances and patients.”

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of Palestine, Palestinians, and International Law and The Tamil Genocide by Sri Lanka. He said today: “I read the entire Navi Pillay Letter to the Human Rights Council. She said that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed and need to be investigated. So what? That’s exactly what [Richard] Goldstone did after Operation Cast Lead [in 2008-9] and nothing came of it.

“An appropriate legal remedy is to apply the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Palestinians have been victims of genocide by that treaty’s definition. In 1993 I won two World Court Orders on the basis of the 1948 Genocide Convention that were overwhelmingly in favor of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina against Yugoslavia to cease and desist from committing all acts of genocide against the Bosnians in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention.

“You did not need an equivalent to the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews in order to find that wholesale atrocities against a civilian population constitute ‘genocide’ in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention. Indeed the entire purpose of the 1948 Genocide Convention was to prevent another Nazi Holocaust against the Jews. You did not need six million dead human beings in order to constitute ‘genocide.’”

See: Israel’s Incremental Genocide in the Gaza Ghetto by the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe.

Jewish Criticism of Israel

ABBA SOLOMON, abbasolomon at gmail.com, @Abba_A_Solomon
Solomon is author of The Speech, and Its Context: Jacob Blaustein’s Speech ‘The Meaning of Palestine Partition to American Jews’. Solomon said: “During the latest crisis, the tone was set by July 8 when J Street’s home page carried the headline ‘J Street Expresses Solidarity with Israelis under Rocket Fire.’ It could have as easily read ‘J Street Expresses Solidarity with Israelis AND GAZANS under Fire,’ but that would have reflected an absent dedication to humanism. … As Israelis and Palestinians demonstrated in Jerusalem for a ceasefire, J Street’s statement said that the violence must stop, but in the context of Israel maintaining its self-defined security: ‘We fully endorse Israel’s right to defend its people from these reprehensible attacks. At the same time, we also feel for the Palestinian civilians in Gaza who are caught in the middle of this tragic conflict.’ For Israelis, solidarity and support for bombing in the name of self-defense. For Palestinians being bombed, just easy platitudes: ‘we feel for the Palestinian civilians in Gaza.’” Abba Solomon is, with IPA executive director Norman Solomon, author of “The Blind Alley of J Street and Liberal American Zionism.” and “Editorial Position of the New York Times: Thumbs Up for Gaza Slaughter.”

DONNA NEVEL, denevel at gmail.com, @jvplive
Nevel is with Jewish Voice for Peace, which just released a statement: “Nine demonstrators were arrested today shortly after noon at the office of the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF) on Broadway and 40th [in New York City]. More than two dozen protestors stood with them in solidarity in front of the building and several lay in the street with makeshift shrouds as a ‘die-in.’ The demonstrators, largely from Jewish Voice for Peace and Jews Say No!, protested the bombing of Gaza by the IDF, which has killed more than 600 Palestinians and injured over 3,000 since July 8. Among those arrested were the daughter and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, the executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, and a young paralegal who went on an Israeli-sponsored propaganda trip to Israel, which had the opposite effect.”

ILAN PAPPE, MIKO PELED, TIKVA HONIG-PARNASS, MICHAEL LETWIN, mletwin at gmail.com and via Karen Pomer, krpomer at gmail.com
Pappé, available for a limited number of interviews, is professor of history and director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter. He is author of numerous works, most recently The Bureaucracy of Evil: The History of the Israeli Occupation. He recently wrote the piece “Israel’s Incremental Genocide in the Gaza Ghetto.” Peled is an Israeli peace activist and writer. His father was an Israeli general, military governor of the Gaza strip, and a member of the Knesset. He is the author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. He is on twitter @mikopeled and was recently interviewed on “Democracy Now!” Tikva Honig-Parnass, a scholar, fought in the 1948 war and served in the Knesset (1951-1954). Since breaking with Zionism in 1960, she has been an active supporter of Palestinian national rights. She is author of False Prophets of Peace: Liberal Zionism and the Struggle for Palestine. Letwin is a New York City public defender, former President of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325 and co-founder of Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, which organized a petition of Jewish people from around the world: “End the War on Gaza — No Aid to Apartheid Israel.”

The petition states: “In the face of incessant pro-Israel propaganda, we heed Malcolm X’s warning: ‘If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.’

“For Israel’s relentless war on Gaza is no more an act of ‘self-defense’ than such infamous massacres as Wounded Knee (1890), Guernica (1937), the Warsaw Ghetto (1942), Deir Yassin (1948), My Lai (1968), Soweto (1976), Sabra and Shatila (1982), or Lebanon (2006).

“Rather, it is but the latest chapter in more than a century of Zionist colonialism, dispossession, ethnic cleaning, racism, and genocide — including Israel’s very establishment through the uprooting and displacement of over 750,000 Palestinians during the 1947-1948 Nakba. Indeed, eighty percent of the 1.8 million people sealed into Gaza are refugees.”

In addition to the above, other signers of the petition include: Max Blumenthal, author, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel and senior writer for alternet.org; Hedy Epstein, Nazi Holocaust survivor and human rights activist; Richard Falk, professor of international law, emeritus, Princeton University and former UN Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine, 2008-2014; Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Freeman fellow, Fellowship of Reconciliation; Michael Ratner, president emeritus, Center for Constitutional Rights.

How Israel Backed Hamas

ROBERT DREYFUSS, rcd48 at cox.net
Available for a very limited number of interviews, Dreyfuss is author of Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. His recent pieces at The Nation include “Iran-Saudi Deal Is Crucial to Resolve Iraq-Syria Civil War,” “Obama Fiddles While Gaza Burns” and “US Should Back Syria’s Assad Against ISIS.”

He said today: “In Gaza, between 1967 and 1987, when Hamas was founded, the number of mosques tripled in Gaza from 200 to 600. And a lot of that came with money flowing from outside Gaza, from wealthy conservative Islamists in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. But, of course, none of this could have happened without the Israelis casting an approving eye upon it.

“And during these years, during that 20-year span, the Hamas organization was a bitter opponent of Palestinian nationalism, clashed repeatedly with the P.L.O. and with Fatah, of course, refused to participate in the P.L.O. umbrella. And just as during the ’50s and ’60s, the Muslim Brotherhood fought against the Nasserists, the Baath Party, the communists and the rest of the Arab left, in the 1970s and ’80s, the Muslim Brotherhood fought against the Palestinian national movement.

“There’s plenty of evidence that the Israeli intelligence services, especially Shin Bet and the military occupation authorities, encouraged the growth of the Muslim Brotherhood and the founding of Hamas. There are many examples and incidents of that. But there were armed clashes, of course, on Palestinian university campuses in the ’70s and ’80s, where Hamas would attack PLO, PFLP, PDFLP and other groups, with clubs and chains. This was before guns became prominent in the Occupied Territories.

“Diplomats and intelligence people who I interviewed say that there was plenty of reason to think that the Israelis were fostering the growth of Hamas. And, of course, Yasser Arafat himself, in a quote to a newspaper reporter a number of years ago, explicitly described Hamas as, quote, ‘a creature of Israel.’ And he said that he discussed this with Yitzhak Rabin during their Oslo process. And Rabin told Arafat that it was ‘a fatal error’ for the Israelis to have encouraged the growth of Hamas. The theory of it, of course, was that Hamas would be a force against Palestinian nationalism.”

See: “Analysis: Hamas history tied to Israel” by Richard Sale, June 18, 2002, UPI; “An Alternative to the P.L.O. — Fundamentalists” by Israeli historian Clinton Bailey, Sept. 9, 1989, New York Times.

500 Palestinians Dead: Veterans Call for End to Violence

BBC reports: “Gaza has suffered the highest death toll since Israel’s offensive began, with at least 87 people reported killed on Sunday — 67 of them in one area.

ANN WRIGHT, microann at yahoo.com
TARAK KAUFF, takauff at gmail.com
Wright is a retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel, a 29-year veteran of the Army and Army Reserves, and a former State Department official. In 2003, she resigned from her position as a U.S. diplomat in opposition to the U.S. war in Iraq. Kauff, a 71-year-old veteran of the Army’s 111th Airborne and former professional boxer, leads the Veterans For Peace direct action program.

The National Board of Directors of Veterans for Peace will deliver a letter to Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer this afternoon. The letter states, “As veterans who have witnessed the horror of war, we are deeply outraged by the state of Israel’s slaughter of many innocent civilians in Gaza. The military assault against children, women and men, by air, by sea and now by land, is a clear violation of international laws of war and of human rights. More than 300 Palestinians have been murdered, almost all of them civilians, nearly a quarter of them children. Thousands are wounded, including nearly 1,000 children.

“Veterans For Peace joins millions of people all around the globe who are shocked by this vicious, one-sided slaughter. We understand the huge injustice of the Israeli occupation. Palestinians have been ethnically cleansed from their homes and forced to live in the Occupied West Bank, or in the open-air prison that is Gaza. …

“Mr. Ambassador, please remind the government of Israel of the billions of dollars in aid that is provided to Israel by the United States. Veterans For Peace will push for an end to all military aid to Israel until such time as the Israeli occupation gives way to real peace negotiations based on the human rights of all the people concerned.”

EMAD MEKAY, emad_mekay at yahoo.com, @MekayEmad
Mekay is a California-based reporter specializing in the Middle East and has reported extensively from Egypt. He worked for the New York Times and Bloomberg News. He is a former John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University and a former investigative reporting fellow at U.C. Berkeley. Reuters is reporting that John Kerry is travelling to Cairo to meet with Egyptian officials regarding a Gaza ceasefire. United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power tweeted, “Just got out of UNSC session on Gaza. To end the violence we need a ceasefire w/o preconditions. Urge countries to support Egypt’s proposal.”. In response, early this morning Mekay tweeted, “UN wants Gaza to sign on [Sisi] proposal. No Q[uestion]s asked. Hamas wants access to the sea, don’t trust [Sisi] regime which helped Israeli blockade.” See: “Israeli ‘Ceasefire’ ‘PR Exercise’ as Bombing Continues.”

JOE CATRON, [in Gaza] joecatron at gmail.com, @jncatron
Catron was recently profiled in “Inside a Gaza Hospital Under Israeli Rocket Fire.” He was at the El-Wafa geriatric Hospital in Gaza City when it was bombed by the Israeli military. He is a freelance writer, English teacher and activist living in Gaza. Catron and others in Gaza — including human rights workers, teachers, doctors and bloggers can be reached via GazaDigital at gmail.com. See also: voicesofgaza.com He just tweeted, “There’s too much shelling in #Gaza’s Shujaya for Civil Defense crews to reach any area that needs to be reached. #GazaUnderAttack”

LAILA EL-HADDAD, laila.elhaddad at gmail.com
El-Haddad is author of the book Gaza Mom. She was profiled last year in Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” program.

MAX BLUMENTHAL, [in DC], maxjblumenthal at gmail.com, @MaxBlumenthal
Available for a limited number of interviews, Blumenthal is author of the book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. He was interviewed by Democracy Now! this morning. He just tweeted, “Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled the state does not have to provide bomb shelters for Bedouin citizens http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/07/20/233867/israels-bedouin-defenseless-against.html?sp=/99/117/ … #apartheid”

YOUSEF AL-HELOU, al-helou.y at hotmail.com, @YousefAlhelou
Yousef Al-Helou is the Gaza-based correspondent for The Real News and a freelance reporter. He just completed his masters in journalism at Oxford University. He just tweeted, “‪#‎GenocideInGaza‬ ‪#‎Gaza‬ ‪#‎GazaUnderAttack‬ ‪#‎Gazamassacre‬ At least 4 people including a patient killed and over 70 injured when Shuhada Al-Aqsa hospital in Dair Al-Balah targeted by deliberate heavy Israeli tank shelling… a state of panic prevails inside the hospital, patients are evacuated.”

ELIZABETH MURRAY, emurray404 at aol.com, @elizabethmurra
Murray is available for a limited number of interviews. She served as deputy national intelligence officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government, where she specialized in Middle Eastern political and media analysis. She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

LIA TARACHANSKY, [in Israel] lia at therealnews.com, @liatarachansky
Tarachansky is a Jaffa-based filmmaker and the Israel-Palestine correspondent for The Real News. Her films include “On the Side of the Road” about the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 1948. On Saturday she tweeted, “Again 1000 anti war protesters faced violent neofascists in T[el]-Aviv & Haifa, where some were beaten badly.”

EHAB LOTAYEF, [in Montreal] lotayef at gmail.com, @lotayef58
MAHFOUZ KABARITI, [in Gaza] kabariti80 at hotmail.com
ROBERT NAIMAN, naiman at justforeignpolicy.org, @naiman
Lotayef and Naiman are spokespersons for Gaza Ark, whose ship was attacked on July 11th. Gaza Ark is “part of the ongoing international Freedom Flotilla Coalition challenging the illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza” imposed by Israel. Naiman is also policy director of Just Foreign Policy. Lotayef tweeted yesterday, “#GazaUnderAttack Who’s the terrorist? Hamas kills 13 Israeli soldiers. Israel responds killing 60 civilians in Shujaiah.”

See @accuracy Israel-Palestine Resource List

Roots of Ukraine Instability

USA Today reports: “Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine agreed Friday to allow investigators access to the scattered crash site of a Malaysian airliner that was shot down, killing all 298 aboard. …

“Separatists and Ukraine’s government have both denied involvement.”

RAY MCGOVERN, rrmcgovern at gmail.com
McGovern is a former CIA analyst whose responsibilities included chairing National Intelligence Estimates. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He regularly writes for Consortium News and just wrote the piece “When the US Welched on Its NATO Promise” which states, “The Ukraine crisis owes its roots to a deal America made and broke with the recently deceased Soviet foreign minister.” Today he said, “Lack of clarity as to who fired the missile is likely to persist for weeks, at least. Meanwhile, the shootdown provides raw meat for those who will use it to blacken Russia, just as the downing of KAL007 in 1983 allowed the Reagan administration to hype charges that the Soviet Union ‘deliberately’ downed a passenger aircraft. The evidence indicated that the Soviets thought they were downing an American spy plane, but U.S. propaganda, including the altering of electronic evidence, left no room for a ‘mistaken identity’ explanation.

“More generally, Russian President Vladimir Putin is probably correct in saying the tragedy would not have happened if Ukrainian President Poroshenko had agreed to prolong the fragile cease-fire, as the leaders of Germany, France, and Russia pleaded with him to do during a two-hour conference call on June 30th.”

Israel Begins Ground Invasion

Reuters reports: “Israel stepped up its land offensive in Gaza with artillery, tanks and gunboats on Friday and declared it could ‘significantly widen’ an operation Palestinian officials said was killing ever greater numbers of civilians.”

JOE CATRON, [in Gaza], joecatron at gmail.com, @jncatron
Catron was recently profiled in “Inside a Gaza Hospital Under Israeli Rocket Fire.” He was at the El-Wafa geriatric Hospital in Gaza City when it was bombed by the Israeli military. He is a freelance writer, English teacher and activist living in Gaza. Catron and others in Gaza — including human rights workers, teachers, doctors and bloggers can be reached via GazaDigital at gmail.com. See also: voicesofgaza.com

LAILA EL-HADDAD, laila.elhaddad at gmail.com
El-Haddad is author of the book Gaza Mom. She was profiled last year in Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” program.

MAX BLUMENTHAL, [in NYC], maxjblumenthal at gmail.com, @MaxBlumenthal
Available for a limited number of interviews, Blumenthal is author of the book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. His recent pieces include “Netanyahu government knew teens were dead as it whipped up racist frenzy.”

YOUSEF AL-HELOU, al-helou.y at hotmail.com, @YousefAlhelou
Yousef Al-Helou is the Gaza-based correspondent for The Real News and a freelance reporter. He reported last week: “Israeli Press Continues to Coordinate with Military.” He just completed his masters in journalism at Oxford University.

ELIZABETH MURRAY, emurray404 at aol.com, @elizabethmurra
Murray is available for a limited number of interviews. She served as deputy national intelligence officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government, where she specialized in Middle Eastern political and media analysis. She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

LIA TARACHANSKY, [in Israel] lia at therealnews.com, @liatarachansky
Tarachansky is a Jaffa-based filmmaker and the Israel-Palestine correspondent for The Real News. Her films include “On the Side of the Road” about the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 1948. Her most recent reports include “Report from Israel’s Border with Gaza.”

EHAB LOTAYEF, [in Montreal] lotayef at gmail.com, @lotayef58
MAHFOUZ KABARITI, [in Gaza] kabariti80 at hotmail.com
ROBERT NAIMAN, naiman at justforeignpolicy.org, @naiman
Lotayef and Naiman are spokespersons for Gaza Ark, whose ship was attacked very early Friday morning. Gaza Ark is “part of the ongoing international Freedom Flotilla Coalition challenging the illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza” imposed by Israel. Naiman is also policy director of Just Foreign Policy.

BRICS Development Bank: Alternative to “Washington Consensus”

AP reports: “The leaders of five emerging market powers said at a summit Tuesday that they gave final agreement to creating their own development bank worth $100 billion that will have its headquarters in China.

“The first president of the New Development Bank will be from India and the position will rotate every five years among Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — the so-called BRICS nations, a joint statement from the leaders said.”

SAMEER DOSSANI, [in Brazil], sameer.dossani at gmail.com, @sameerdossani
Dossani is with ActionAid International, an international federation of more than 45 countries working to end global poverty. He recently contributed the piece “BRICS Bank: New Bottle, How’s the Wine?” to the BRICS Summit Reader published by the Heinrich Boell Foundation [PDF]. He writes, “The World Bank and its sister institution the International Monetary Fund, established 70 years ago, have lent billions to developing countries. Yet in their heyday — in the 1980s and 1990s — these institutions did not produce results in terms of poverty reduction or even in terms of increasing economic growth. In almost all regions, inequality skyrocketed during this period. Even now, with the exception of Latin America, the gap between rich and poor continues to grow.

“Part of the failure can be attributed to the triumph of ideology over evidence. ‘Washington consensus’ policies — fiscal and trade liberalisation, privatisation and budget austerity — were required of every developing country that sought international assistance. The results have not been pretty. As has been extensively documented, the period from 1980-2010 was in part defined by extremely slow growth globally. Where growth did occur in the North, it often turned out to be the result of speculative bubbles. In the South, the only countries to grow were those that ignored Washington consensus policies – China, Malaysia, Singapore and a few others — and used state-backed borrowing and investment to drive an industrial policy. …

“In addition to a more democratic governance structure — we are hearing rumours that each of the BRICS countries will contribute an equal share of money to the New Development Bank pot, meaning that they would all have the same number of votes on its board — the NDB should ensure that representatives from recipient countries are also part of the process. … If the NDB can establish governance structures more equitable, more transparent, and more tilted towards ensuring that the needs of poor countries are at the fore, it may add to the already building pressure for meaningful reform of the Bretton Woods institutions.

PEPE ESCOBAR, [in Brazil], pepeusa at mac.com
Escobar’s books include Obama Does Globalistan. His piece, “BRICS Against Washington Consensus,” was printed yesterday in Asia Times. He writes, “The BRICS Development Bank — with an initial US$50 billion in capital — will be not only BRICS-oriented, but invest in infrastructure projects and sustainable development on a global scale. The model is the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), which supports Brazilian companies investing across Latin America. In a few years, it will reach a financing capacity of up to $350 billion. With extra funding especially from Beijing and Moscow, the new institution could leave the World Bank in the dust. Compare access to real capital savings to U.S. government’s printed green paper with no collateral.

“And then there’s the agreement establishing a $100 billion pool of reserve currencies — the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), described by Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov as ‘a kind of mini-IMF.’ That’s a non-Washington consensus mechanism to counterpunch capital flight. …

“It’s always instructive to come back to Argentina. Argentina is imprisoned by a chronic foreign debt crisis essentially unleashed by the IMF over 40 years ago — and now perpetuated by vulture funds. The BRICS bank and the reserve pool as an alternative to the IMF and World Bank offer the possibility for dozens of other nations to escape the Argentine plight. Not to mention the possibility that other emerging nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran and Turkey may soon contribute to both institutions.”

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