It is Gaza’s young men who take the risk of escaping from the Strip. Lack of water, lack of fuel, lack of jobs, lack of arable land have rendered besieged Gaza as a place with no future except for Hamas military men.
Gisha, the NGO concerned with freedom of movement, produced this report 2 months ago. It records a recent unexplained clamp-down on Palestinians wanting to leave Gaza through the Erez crossing. While economic policy must be for freedom of movement of students, business people and goods, so-called security policy is for the complete immobilisation of Palestinians.
Ben White has recently published The 2014 Gaza War: 21 Questions & Answers, an ebook available for Kindle download here. Accessibly written and comprehensively referenced, it is exemplary in tackling head-on the difficult questions that are raised around Israel and Gaza: didn’t Israel disengage?; is Gaza under occupation?; isn’t the siege legitimate? who started the war of 2014?; did Hamas use “human shields”? – and more. We reproduce here White’s chapter on the argument most used to justify the bombing: “Israel’s right to self-defence”.
An up-to-date legal statement from Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights elaborates and corroborates the case put forward by Gisha (Legal Center for Freedom of Movement) in 2008 that “The closure of Gaza is neither a siege, nor a blockade, nor an economic sanction – it is an illegal act of collective punishment and stands in violation of both international and Israeli law”.
The Israeli investigation into liability for breaking the laws of war during Operation Protective Edge, the war on Gaza in August 2014, is over. The Israeli military has exonerated itself. There are no indictments (though three Israeli soldiers have been found guilty of looting…).
Cue the likelihood of an International Criminal Court (ICC) delegation to Israel and the occupied territories. Israel has (had to) agree in principle…
This injunction seems to have been the IDF’s aim in the 2014 OPE. As the shelters are homes and schools, as the IDF cannot identify and target ‘terrorists’ it follows they will cause mass death and destruction. Ma’an on Israel’s self-exoneration.
The US commitment to Israeli security is not in question said Matthew Duss to the Democrats’ Platform committee. But unless it acts on American values of justice and freedom for all there will be no 2-state solution.
‘Dedevelopment’ is when people have very little and even what they have is taken away. Gaza was poor and lacking amenities before the Israel’s 2014 onslaught. Now they lack everything – funding, housing, fresh water, medical facilities, medicines, fresh food, fuel. Bill Corcoran of ANERA tells it how it is.
Collective punishment is illegal. It is being visited on Gaza with the failure of the promises to rebuild the shattered economy and infrastructure, with thousands still homeless. A few charities struggle to help. Mohammed Omer appeals to Pres. Obama to intervene. Help means confronting Israel to lift the siege and to Hamas to stop the needed building materials being diverted to building military tunnels.
In the smokescreen of IDF propaganda, the IDF insists on its careful and professional targeting of enemy terrorists. Such as six-year old children. The credulous believe the Israeli message. Here the lawyers take them to task and press the UK FCO to stand for the law and accountability as it does in other countries.
As Dr. Derek Summerfield says in this letter to Sir Mark Pepys and his fellow signatories of a letter of protest to Lancet publishers: he pays no attention to the evidence of what was happening in Gaza, he dismisses other medics with irrelevant smears and, perhaps most seriously, he puts his own beliefs (about Israel) above his duty of responsibility to his professional ethics.
Last July, a group of doctors and scientists wrote to the Lancet expressing dismay at the carnage in Gaza and Israel’s propaganda. Since its publication, Sir Mark Pepys, a leading light in the Jewish Medical Association has been protesting about the decision of Lancet editor Richard Horton to publish the letter and last month Pepys organised a letter of protest, under the name Concerned Academics for Editorial Ethics (sole functions, attack Horton, defend Israel), to publisher Reed Elsevier about Horton. This prompted a counter-letter and campaign, Hands off the Lancet. Read on.
A photograph by the renowned Mahmoud Hams says it all: a young man sits on the step staring at nothing. The road outside is a mud track. He is cold and has nothing to do. He has nothing. His situation has been produced mostly by Israel’s bombardment and life-squeezing siege, but also by Hamas’ diversion of aid money to military purposes, the linked drying up of donor funds and the careless failure of the ‘international community’ to stand up for human rights and needs in Gaza. Charles Fromm reports.
Palestinians execrate the word ‘Oslo’ because it stands for the deceptive peace plan that was imposed on them. In the actual city, Amira Hass meets Palestinian men who tell her everyone would leave the Gaza Strip if they could.
Michael Sfard shows how the IDF has redefined the laws of war, challenging any differentiation between military targets (which are legitimate) and civilian targets (which aren’t) and undermining the principle of proportionality, which forbids attacking even a legitimate target if the anticipated harm to civilians is excessive in comparison to the military benefit from the target’s destruction has gone. The IDF interprets the laws of war in a way that is “shockingly different” from the general consensus worldwide.
Serious proposals from Jimmy Carter, former US President, and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN Commissioner for Human Rights. As they say, ending this war in Gaza begins with recognizing Hamas as a legitimate political actor; the international community’s initial goal should be the full restoration of the free movement of people and goods to and from Gaza through Israel, Egypt, and the sea – and more…
Progressive Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun Magazine and chair of the interfaith and secular-humanist Network of Spiritual Progressives, has championed the cause of Israel all his life.
He now writes: ” My heart is broken as I witness the suffering of the Palestinian people and the seeming indifference of Israelis.”
There has been some hysteria in recent weeks about “a tide of antisemitism” engulfing Europe in the wake of the war on Gaza.
Here Tony Lerman republishes a piece by Stephen Belier which reflects on what is happening: “Let us call these protests ‘anti-Israeli’, ‘anti-Zionist’, or even, at a stretch, ‘anti-Jewish’, but I do not think they have the same causation as historic antisemitism, and it is misleading to continue dragging this term in here.”
A song from the heart for Gaza and for all of us
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