In Israel, detachment from reality is now the norm

An excellent article by Patrick Cockburn about the growing isolation of Israeli society from the crimes of its own state and the creeping intolerance of internal dissent, developments that spell gloom for the Palestinians.

I was watching the superb animated documentary Waltz with Bashir about the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It culminates in the massacre of some 1,700 Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in south Beirut by Christian militiamen introduced there by the Israeli army which observed the butchery from close range.

In the last few minutes the film switches from animation to graphic news footage showing Palestinian women screaming with grief and horror as they discover the bullet-riddled bodies of their families. Then, just behind the women, I saw myself walking with a small group of journalists who had arrived in the camp soon after the killings had stopped.

Continue reading “In Israel, detachment from reality is now the norm”

Two Petitions

If you haven’t already done so, please consider signing these petitions, and please pass the word on. The first is for British citizens and residents  only, and it calls for the UK to impose an arms embargo on the apartheid state. The second is for all nationalities, and it calls on the UN General Assembly to create a tribunal to try Zionist war criminals.

Profound psychological damage in Gaza

Graffiti left by Israeli soldiers in a house they occupied in Ezbet Abed Rabu, eastern Jabaliya.

A heartwrenching account from Eva Bartlett, who has been working with the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza since November 2008, documenting the human rights abuses of the Israeli army. Whilst most of the mainstream media are focusing on the massive material damage caused by the Israeli onslaught, Bartlett offers personal testimony to the barbarity of the invasion and the human tragedies unfolding in Gaza:

The indescribable, terrible, stench still lingers, that of an army which occupied the house for two weeks and left shit and unknown foul smells throughout the house. It is a stench I’ve smelled in other houses in the area occupied by the Israeli army.

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Use of white phosphorus in Gaza is ‘clear and undeniable’

The list of war crimes accusations against Israel continues to mount, as Amnesty International‘s fact-finding team finds “indisputable evidence” of the IDF’s use of white phosphorus.

The Israeli army used white phosphorus, a weapon with a highly incendiary effect, in densely populated civilian residential areas of Gaza City, according to indisputable evidence found an Amnesty International fact-finding team which reached the area last Saturday.

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LRB contributors react to events in Gaza

Contributors to the London Review of Books — the best publication out there — react to events in Gaza.

Tariq Ali

A few weeks before the assault on Gaza, the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army published alevelheaded document on ‘Hamas and Israel’, which argued that ‘Israel’s stance towards the democratically-elected Palestinian government headed by Hamas in 2006, and towards Palestinian national coherence – legal, territorial, political and economic – has been a major obstacle to substantive peacemaking.’ Whatever their reservations about the organisation, the authors of the paper detected signs that Hamas was considering a shift of position even before the blockade:

It is frequently stated that Israel or the United States cannot ‘meet’ with Hamas (although meeting is not illegal; materially aiding terrorism is, if proven) because the latter will not ‘recognise Israel’. In contrast, the PLO has ‘recognised’ Israel’s right to exist and agreed in principle to bargain for significantly less land than the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip, and it is not clear that Israel has ever agreed to accept a Palestinian state. The recognition of Israel did not bring an end to violence, as wings of various factions of the PLO did fight Israelis, especially at the height of the Second (al- Aqsa) Intifada. Recognition of Israel by Hamas, in the way that it is described in the Western media, cannot serve as a formula for peace. Hamas moderates have, however, signaled that it implicitly recognises Israel, and that even a tahdiya (calming, minor truce) or a hudna, a longer-term truce, obviously implies recognition. Khalid Mish’al states: ‘We are realists,’ and there is ‘an entity called Israel,’ but ‘realism does not mean that you have to recognise the legitimacy of the occupation.’ Continue reading “LRB contributors react to events in Gaza”

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