Israel Plays Dirty Again

Israel testing nasty weapons in Gaza,’ claims Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian medic who has just returned from Gaza. Around the time of the Iraq war, the BBC aired an excellent documentary, Israel’s Secret Weapons, which investigated not only Israel’s massive WMD arsenal, but also its use of illegal weapons in the occupied territories. Agence France-Presse reports the latest such incident: (h/t Sarmad)

ISRAEL is testing a new “extremely nasty” type of weapon in Gaza, two medics charged as they returned home to Norwayafter spending 10 days working at a hospital in the war-torn Palestinian territory.

“There’s a very strong suspicion I think that Gaza is now being used as a test laboratory for new weapons,” Mads Gilbert said at Oslo’s Gardermoen airport, commenting on the kinds of injuries he and his colleague Erik Fosse had seen while working at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza.

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Olmert Wags the Dog

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert Claims to be Able to Order Bush Around‘. Juan Cole unearths an important speech by the Israeli Prime Minister where he is boasting about his grip on US foreign policy.  Once again, this gives the lie to the position that prevails on the orthodox Left, in defiance of reality, that Israel is a mere hapless tool — a ‘strategic asset’ — in the US imperial project.

Can I ask readers once again to show their appreciation for Juan Cole’s priceless work by voting for his blog (Informed Comment) here. Also, don’t miss this selection of historic photographs of Gaza.

So outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was speaking in Ashkelon on Monday, and he said the most amazing thing. The USG Open Source Center translated the relevant passage from his speech, in which he claimed he had the ability to control US foreign policy and summarily over-rule the Secretary of State:

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Muslim Representatives?

Britain’s Justice Minister Shahid Malik seems at first to be criticising the British government for its response to the Gaza Massacre. In fact, he is blaming British Muslims for not appreciating the government’s position. Worse, Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood “dismissed suggestions of an arms embargo.” Isn’t an arms embargo the very least that he should be asking for? Please write to these people – who we vote for, whose salaries are paid by us – and set things straight for them.

Hamas: Not a Religious War

“Our struggle is not against the Jewish people, but against oppression and occupation. This is not a religious war,” says Basim Naim, Gaza’s Minister of Health, in the Guardian:

We believe in resistance, not revenge

Sixteen days into its attack, Israel continues to bombard all areas in the Gaza strip from F16s, Apache helicopters, ships and tanks. Weapons used against our people include white phosphorus rockets, made in America, which burn the skin black and destroy human soft tissue completely. Now we can hear shooting around the outskirts of Gaza City.

Ninety per cent of the targets attacked are civilian. Of nearly 900 confirmed dead, 32% are children. More than 40% of the 4,000 wounded are children, while medical centres and 13 ambulances have been destroyed.

Hamas is not the only group fighting against this aggression: its fighters are joined by members of Islamic Jihad, the PFLP and Fatah. But the popularity of Hamas has increased during the invasion. Every occupied people has the right to resist if negotiation fails. People know very well that those who took the other path – of negotiation without resistance – got nothing from it: only more settlements, checkpoints, killings, prisoners and occupation without end.

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IDF troops posing as Hamas men

Earlier on January 11 Haaretz published a report by Amira Hass headlined ‘Gaza residents: IDF troops posing as Hamas men‘. The report has curiously disappeared since, replaced by something completely unrelated. However, the readers comments at the bottom are still responding to the Hass’s original report. Following is a cached copy of the original:

The testimonies of Gaza Strip residents are revealing new details about the Israel Defense Forces’ mode of operation there. In the past two days, Beit Lahia residents forced from their homes said soldiers were posing as members of Hamas’ armed wing while advancing on the ground.

The daily pauses in bombing allow Gazans to meet with the displaced – most of whom are housed in an UNRWA school – and hear their stories.

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Blitzkrieg Comes to Gaza

Day 17. ‘Intense clashes erupt in Gaza City’, reports Al Jazeera.

Fierce clashes have erupted in densely-populated areas of east Tuffah and Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip and on the outskirts of Gaza City as the offensive entered its 17th day.

Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin reports on the public who are struggling to cope under the bombardment in Gaza.