The names of Palestinians killed by the IDF in Operation Protective Edge, revised and updated . The number of dead Palestinians stood at 1,395 at noon on July 31. A growing number of the dead have not been identified. 43 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the ground incursion into Gaza.
In a brief session of oral questions and answers in the House of Lords on July 30th FCO minister Baroness Warsi laid down that ‘the UK does not talk to Hamas, which is a proscribed terrorist organisation’ and ‘that the losses resulting from a military action should not be excessive in relation to the expected military advantage’. It is clear that there are no limits to the losses the IDF will inflict to achieve the military advantage it expects.
The live debate in the media on ‘proportionality’ – that what the IDF fires into Gaza is vastly more powerful than what military groups in Gaza fire back – accepts the Israeli narrative of self-defence. Rather, Israel wants to destroy the habitat and autonomy of these combative Palestinians thus ending opposition to its colonial rule.
The US Jewish establishment has responded to Israel’s war on Gaza with a series of lies – which in the long term weaken Israel by increasing its political blindness. The key points in the establishment narrative – Israel left Gaza, Hamas seized power and ransacked the greenhouses which could have made Gaza prosperous – are untrue.
We have all heard the Israeli defence: ‘Israel has a right to defend itself’. Of course. It’s a cliché and such sayings are simply evidence that the speaker is not thinking, hence the recourse to such unarguable but irrelevant remarks. Using Orwell’s analysis of political speech Daniel May argues that the Israelis who use them are denying their capacity for choice and settling for the rhetoric of mere survival.
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No attack by the IDF has caused more outrage than the IDF airstrike on the UN’s Abu Hussein school in Jabaliya refugee camp. Hundreds of refugees, fleeing there for safety from their Gaza homes, were sheltering there. 17 were killed in a precise attack. As one survivor said – there is nowhere safe for us anywhere.
Ignore the blather about tunnels and human shields. Netanyahu is pursuing the life-long aim of total subjugation of Palestinians and total control of their land. Palestinians will fight back. And the rest is history. If the US et al want to interrupt this course says Rashid Khalidi, they must recognise Hamas and start talking with (not liking) them.
A letter signed by 56 Israeli reservists stating why they refuse to serve their country in its current military operation is published this week in the Washington Post. Their fundamental objection, the two initiators tell Democracy Now, is the power the hierarchical IDF exercises over Palestinians and Israelis. We learn on the way that most Americans have never heard of the siege of Gaza but think Israel is under siege by Hamas.
The handbook for Israel’s famed hasbara machine (terrified Israelis having to live in bomb shelters as they are bombarded with rockets) was a ‘secret’ report by an American Republican pollster – his advice, to tailor all output to the hopes and fears of Americans. But, says Patrick Cockburn, images of strikes by Israel’s war machine reducing Gaza to rubble, facts about its inhabitants killed, injured, displaced in huge numbers, have gone all round the world before Bibi can say ‘telegenically’.
Although Israel presents itself as alone amidst hostile and belligerent neighbours, the truth is very different. Arab countries are divided politically and economically, with poor governance; none wants to alienate the powerful US and the wealthy oil kingdoms will not risk disturbing the complacency of their subjects. Only Qatar and non-Arab Turkey could be found to speak for Hamas at John Kerry’s Paris meeting.
This is a gut-wrenching account of life amidst the death, the destruction, the rubble , the dismembered bodies, the stench and the roars and booms of life in Gaza. The writer is Palestinian author Atef Abu Saif who is sheltering, with 13 members of his family, in two rooms in Jabalia.
Let’s stop arguing about who started it and look at the context writes John Judis. That is one of colonial power and expanding Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories. Both the PLO and Hamas have been willing to negotiate a truce on condition of Israel ending its siege and occupation. But Israel is becoming more and more intransigent about its right to rule all Palestinians.
The creation of the Palestinian Unity Government meant Hamas was willing to cede power in Gaza. Nathan Thrall of the International Crisis Group sets out the steps the US and Israel could have taken to further this movement. Instead, they blocked it. What else could Hamas then do when Israel attacked?
Hamas does not have an army (or navy or airforce). The militants in Gaza who have the skill to make or fire rockets live amongst the people of Gaza. Israeli propagandists call this ‘using Palestinians as human shields’. So that explains why the IDF has to destroy all those ‘shields’ as well as the militants ‘hidden’ behind them. Jeremy Bowen on the military action that deepens conflict.
Between 5, and 6,000 Israelis turned out in Tel Aviv on Saturday for the biggest protest yet against the Gaza war. While the invitation to the demo spoke of the need for a political solution and for Jews and Arabs to work together this stand was met with obscene insults and violence from a small counter-demonstration by the right.
The experienced and respected Channel 4 journalist Jon Snow sees for himself Palestinians reduced to foraging for food in shattered buildings, walks out through the eerie crossing where disembodied voices command his every move, arrives in Israel where few seem concerned about what is being done in the name of their safety, then weeps all the way home. For everyone else, life just carries on.
So Israelis and Palestinians can’t talk to each other? So bring on the mediators – and what a hopeless crew says Uri Avnery, despairingly. What can Ban Ki-moon or Tony Blair or Fattah al-Sisi do but say emollient words to the watching media? They have no power, or will, to bring a permanent end to the fighting.
David Morrison, a very scientific polemicist against the delusions and deceptions that lead to war, on why Israel’s military offensives have been pointless and unnecessary and Noam Sheizaf, more succinctly, on the alternatives Israel did have to this war. Both arguments depend on Israel recognizing Hamas, compromising with it, and honouring its side of the bargain – which so far it has never done.
Israel’s rhetorical justification for the bombardment of Gaza is that it has the same right to self-defence as anyone else. That means, says Jerry Haber, the same right as Palestinians. So Palestinians too have the right to use the weaponry that the IDF uses against them – the tanks, the F16 bombers, the army, the power to expel…