News Releases

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.”

Israeli “Ceasefire” “PR Exercise” as Bombing Continues

The Jerusalem Post reports: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Hamas for powering through a ceasefire with Israel, brokered by the Egyptian government and accepted by Israel’s cabinet Tuesday morning.”

Amira Hass, a noted Israeli journalist, said this morning on “Democracy Now!” that: “Hamas feels it was a proposal brought up with Israel, without consultation with Hamas and brought up through the media and not brought up through negotiations with them. Everyone knows the leadership of Egypt right now is an enemy of Hamas. … They feel it is not meant to bring progress and change to the people in Gaza, but to marginalize them [Hamas] as a political movement.” (shortly after 15:00 mark)

Yair Rosenberg of the Israeli Archives tweeted Monday: “As written, ceasefire proposal is huge win for Netanyahu & Sisi: Hamas doesn’t get prisoners released or any changes to border arrangements.”

ELIZABETH MURRAY, emurray404 at aol.com
Available for a limited number of interviews, Murray 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. Her writing appears at Consortium News.

Murray wrote the piece “Killing People as ‘Mowing the Lawn’: How Israeli Hardliners and Official Washington Dehumanize the People of Palestine” in 2012, during another major Israeli bombing of Gaza.

RANIA KHALEK, [in D.C. area] raniakhalek at gmail.com, @RaniaKhalek
Last week Khalek’s piece “ABC News tells viewers that scenes of destruction in Gaza are in Israel” helped compel ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer to issue a rare on-air apology. Calling it a “sham ceasefire,” Khalek tweeted this morning: “To media outlets reporting that Hamas rejected a ceasefire it was never consulted on, you’re complicit in a set-up.” Khalek’s recently wrote the piece “Israel Firing Experimental Weapons at Gaza’s Civilians, Say Doctors.”

VIJAY PRASHAD, Vijay.Prashad at trincoll.edu, @vijayprashad
Prashad is chair of South Asian history and professor of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford. He is also a columnist for Frontline (Chennai, India) and co-editor of Dispatches from the Arab Spring. He said today: “The ‘ceasefire’ offered by Egypt came through in a most idiosyncratic fashion. It was announced to the media, which is where Hamas leadership said that they saw it. Egypt had not conducted the kind of back channel negotiations with Israel and the Palestinian factions to ensure a ceasefire. In other words, this was not a ceasefire — it was an Egyptian offer.

“Israel said it would honor the ‘truce’ — largely as a PR exercise. Within hours it began its barrage on Gaza. A genuine ceasefire would have created a mechanism to contain violence and to investigate evidence of attacks (in other words, what if Hamas had accepted a ceasefire, but a rogue group fired a rocket — would that be a violation? There would have to be mechanism to ascertain if the ceasefire had been broken). A real ceasefire is necessary.”

Note: The Israeli government late last week dismissed a Hamas offer of a ceasefire. See Times of Israel: ‘Hamas official: Prisoners in exchange for ceasefire‘ and Ma’an news agency: ‘Hamas demands release of re-arrested prisoners before ceasefire.’ This was about Israel re-arresting Hamas members after they were released as part of the exchange for the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The response by Netanyahu: “Israel presses Gaza assault as Hamas rockets fly; Netanyahu rules out cease-fire” (Washington Post, July 10) and “Gaza ceasefire not on agenda: Netanyahu” (Press TV, July 14).

As’ad AbuKhalil on his blog has repeatedly noted that the New York Times on July 9 offered a truncated report: “In a televised speech from Qatar, the Hamas political chief, Khaled Meshal, blamed Israel for the conflict and rejected mediation efforts. ‘We receive calls from mediators from Arab and Western sides to broker a cease-fire,’ he said. ‘We say to those who ask us for a lull: Go back!’” But AbuKhalil writes that the “original rest of the sentence is: ‘go back to the root-cause and pressure Netanyahu.’”

See @accuracy list of resources on Israel/Palestine:
https://twitter.com/accuracy/lists/israel-palestine

Anti-Drone Grandmother Sentenced to One Year

ABC News is reporting today: “Israel Says It Downed Drone as Gaza Death Toll Climbs.” There was no confirmation as to whether the drone was armed. The Washington Post reported last week: “Israeli F-16 fighter jets, Apache attack helicopters and armed drones have hit more than 500 targets in the Gaza Strip over the past two days.” The Guardian reported late last month: “The U.S. has confirmed it is flying armed drones over Baghdad…”

“Democracy Now!” reports: “In New York, a peace activist and grandmother has been sentenced to a year in prison for her role in peaceful protests at a base where U.S. drones are piloted remotely. Mary Anne Grady Flores had been issued an order of protection aimed at keeping her away from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base after she participated in an act of civil disobedience there in 2012.

“Last year, Grady Flores says she attended another peace action, but did not participate, instead photographing it from the roadway, beyond what she believed was the base’s boundary. She was later told the base’s property extended into the road. On Thursday, Judge David Gideon of the DeWitt Town Court sentenced her to the maximum sentence of a year in prison for violating the protection order and fined her $1,000. In a courtroom packed with about 150 supporters, Grady Flores spoke about what she called the four perversions of justice in her case:

“Mary Anne Grady Flores: ‘The fourth perversion is the reversal of who is the real victim here: the commander of a military base involved in killing innocent people halfway around the world or those innocent people themselves, who are the real ones in need of orders of protection? So I, as a nonviolent grandmother and a caregiver to my own mother, as I prepare for jail, itself a perversion, I stand before you remorseful. I’m remorseful about my own country and its continued perpetuating of violence and injustice.’”

ELLEN GRADY, demottgrady6 at gmail.com
JUDITH BELLO, jb.papillonweb at gmail.com
Ellen Grady is with the Ithaca Catholic Worker and is the sister of Mary Anne Grady Flores. See “Hancock Air Base drone protester sentenced to 1 year in jail” in the Syracuse Post-Standard. See also the opinion piece “Stiff sentence for Hancock drone protester does not fit the crime” by Patrick O’Neill of the Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker House in Garner, N.C. in the paper today.

Bello is with Upstate Drone Action. Video of the sentencing and other resources are available on their blog.

Grady and Bello note that other protesters will be tried for alleged violations. Jack Gilroy will be tried this week for alleged obstruction of governmental administration and Russel Brown later this month.

For further background, also see the Syracuse Peace Council website: peacecouncil.net.

Next Page »