Beyond TON - Must-read Articles on Gaza - July 22, 2014.

Israel’s message to the Palestinians: Submit, leave or die

Jeff Halper on July 11, 2014
The Kerry initiative may have ended with a whimper instead of a bang, but its impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was significant and fundamental nonetheless. The end of the political process, futile as it may have been, triggered the collapse of the status quo as we have known it for the past 47 years. It set in motion a series of events that will confront us with two stark alternatives regarding Israel and Palestine: either the permanent warehousing of an entire population or the emergence of a single democratic state.

Both the blatantly disproportionate response to the kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli boys and, as I write, the all-out air strikes on Gaza, have been cast by Israel as military operations: Operations Brothers’ Keeper and Operation Protective Edge. Neither had anything to do with the operations’ purported triggers, the search for the boys or rocket fire from Gaza. Palestinian cities supposedly enjoying extra-territorial status were invaded in Operation Brothers’ Keeper, more than 2000 homes were ransacked, some 700 people arrested. Who knows as yet the devastation wrought on Gaza – 100 dead in more than 1,100 air attacks so far, mostly civilians according to reports; deafening around-the-clock bombing of communities by American-supplied F-15 and artillery from the ground and sea that amounts to collective torture; Israel’s Foreign Minister calling for cutting off all electricity and water amidst threats to completely obliterate Gaza’s infrastructure; and the prospect of almost two million people being permanently imprisoned, reduced to bare existence just this side of starvation. 

What is clear is that the military operations had a purpose of their own, that they would have been launched regardless, that they were merely waiting on a pretext. They had to come because the vacuum left by Kerry had to be filled. “Closure” was necessary – and it was clear that the Palestinian Authority, which had several months to take an initiative that would have bolstered the Palestinians’ position, would not do so, even though Martin Indyk, the American’s chief negotiator and former AIPAC leader, placed the blame squarely on Israel for talks’ failure. 

In fact, the end of the Kerry initiative marked the culmination of a decades-old campaign, systematic and deliberate, of eliminating the two-state solution. From the start, in 1967, successive Israeli governments officially denied that there even was an occupation, claiming that since the Palestinians had never had a state of their own they had no national claim to the land. The Labor Party denied the very applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention that protects civilian populations finding themselves under hostile rule with no means of self-defense – and which had been formulated specifically with the intent of providing the protection denied to Jews during the Holocaust. It therefore embarked on a project of establishing settlements, now numbering some 200, in clear violation of international law that prohibits an Occupying Power from moving its civilian population into an occupied territory. 

Indeed, Labor (the “Zionist left”) bears more responsibility for eliminating the two-state solution than does the Likud of Begin, Sharon and Netanyahu. It was Labor who ruled during almost all seven years of the Oslo peace process, and it was Labor that chose to double Israel’s settler population during that period. Labor fragmented the Palestinian territories into tiny and impoverished enclaves, Labor imposed the economic closure and impediments to Palestinian movement these last 21 years, and Labor – not Likud, which actually opposed the project – initiated the construction of the Separation Barrier, the Apartheid Wall.

The Likud, of course, was a willing partner, as were all the secular and religious parties from the center to the extreme right, but it has fallen to Netanyahu to kill the two-state solution for once and for all. The first step was to decisively end Kerry’s initiative and any that might follow it. This Netanyahu did by raising his demands to intolerable levels. He declared that the Palestinians must relinquish their own national narrative and civil rights by recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, and he held to the position that Israel would retain permanently East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and Israel’s main settlement blocs (about a third of the West Bank), as well as the water and natural gas resources, the country’s electro-magnetic sphere (communications) and all of its airspace. 

He left the Palestinians with less than a Bantustan, non-viable and non-sovereign, a prison comprised of the 70 islands of Areas A and B of the West Bank, ghettos in “east” Jerusalem, tightly contained enclaves within Israel, and the cage which is Gaza – half the population of the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River confined to dozens of islands on 15% of historic Palestine.

Operations Brothers’ Keeper and Protective Edge represent the imposition of a regime of warehousing, of outright imprisonment of an entire people. The seemingly blind and atavistic destruction and hatred unleashed on the Palestinians over the past few weeks is not merely yet another “round of violence” in an interminable struggle. It is the declaration of a new political reality. The message is clear, unilateral and final: This country has been Judaized: it is now the Land of Israel in the process of being incorporated into the state of Israel. You Arabs (or “Palestinians” as you call yourselves) are not a people and have no national rights, certainly to our exclusively Jewish country. You are not a “side” to a “conflict.” Once and for all we must disabuse you of the notion that we are actually negotiating with you. We never have and never will. You are nothing but inmates in prison cells, and we hereby declare through our military and political actions that you have three options before you: You can submit as inmates are required to you, in which case we will allow you to remain in your enclave-cells. You can leave, as hundreds of thousands have done before you. Or, if you choose to resist, you will die.  

Warehousing is worse than apartheid. It does not even pretend to find a political framework for “separate development,” it simply jails the oppressed and robs them of all their collective and individual rights. It is the ultimate form of oppression before actual genocide, and in that it robs a people of its identity, its land, its culture and the ability to reproduce itself, it is a form of cultural genocide that can lead to worse. This is what Israel has left the Palestinians, this is the meaning of the bombing of Gaza, the terrorizing of the West Bank – and the ongoing destruction of Bedouin and Palestinian homes within Israel.

Assuming that apartheid and warehousing are absolutely unacceptable “solutions” and, indeed, are ultimately unsustainable, generating even more violence and conflict in the volatile Middle East, Israel has in fact left us with only one workable, just and lasting way out: a single democratic state in Palestine/Israel that guarantees the individual and collective rights of all its citizens. This is what we must struggle for. Israel’s military operations mark the beginning of the collapse of the Occupation. It is incumbent on Palestinian civil society, joining with their partners on the critical Israeli left, to urgently formulate how that state would look and, ensuring everyone in that land a part in its future, to begin the struggle to achieve it. Despite the suffering of the moment, public opinion the world over supports us. Only our effective mobilization will defeat warehousing.

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An Open Letter to Wall Street Journal from a Palestinian Woman

7.09.14 · Amani· @amanialkhat
Bret Stephens penned a column last week in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Where are the Palestinian Mothers?” in which he makes the racist assertion, based on conversations he’s had with three individual women, that all Palestinian mothers raise their children to become “martyrs.”
The thing that Stephens must understand about Palestinians’ concept of “martyrdom” is that it’s a coping mechanism for the senseless loss of life they must endure. Their “martyrdom” is not an aspiration. It’s forced upon them.

My mother is a Palestinian. At the moment, she’s probably enjoying the peace of her suburban home. Unlike her counterparts in the West Bank and Gaza, she’s free from having to worry about her children being killed by occupational forces in the middle of the night, or even broad daylight. For a Palestinian mother, this is a freedom that can never be appreciated enough.

My grandmother was a Palestinian. She passed away last summer after decades of being a flag bearer of the strength of Palestinian mothers. She was a survivor of the Deir Yassin massacre in 1948, which was one of the first Palestinian villages to be ethnically cleansed by Zionist militias to create the state of Israel. She was seven years old at the time and witnessed the murder of her neighbors and relatives, including her own Palestinian grandmother and infant brother. Yet, she survived and, in her refugee exile, created a fruitful and happy life for her family that allows me to write this letter today.

Over that time, those militias came together to become the Israeli Defense Force. One of their leaders, Yitzhak Rabin, rose to become the prime minister of Israel.

In his column, Stephens claims that he has “yet to meet the Israeli mother who wants to raise her boys to become kidnappers and murderers.” Actually, every Israeli mother is legally obligated by the Israeli government to enter her sons and daughters into an institution that systematically kidnaps and murders. It’s the Israeli Defense Force.

palestinian women confrontation
Since 1948, the IDF has been creating mourning mothers for the longest occupation in modern human history, riddled with war crimes and human rights atrocities. Its illegal and immoral actions have been denounced in more United Nations resolutions than any other country in the world. The most recent were a series of four resolutions in the UNHCR denouncing Israel’s international law violations. All four of them passed 46 to 1 — with the lone dissenter being the United States.

Stephens refers to West Germany’s “moral rehabilitation” and ironically suggests it for the Palestinian people. Yet, in an iconic visit last month, Pope Francis stood before Israel’s apartheid wall and placed his hand on Palestinian graffiti that, in desperate broken English, said in spray paint: “Bethlehem looks like Warsaw ghetto.”

Extremist Israeli settlers have been engaging in some of the worst hate crimes in the conflict, notoriously known for pillaging mosques and churches, attacking and even running over Palestinians, and vandalizing Palestinian property with calls for the death of all Arabs. One of the three kidnapped Israelis was old enough to have already served in the IDF, and all three of them were on an illegal settlement on Palestinian territory. While no mother should endure the abduction or death of a child — neither Israeli nor Palestinian — the situation must be placed in the context of the conflict as a whole.

Since the disappearance of the three Israelis on June 12, 2014, at least 50 Palestinian civilians have been killed in retribution — including a 7-year-old child and a 15-year-old child — and hundreds more injured or imprisoned with no charges. But, you don’t know any of their names, despite having the three Israelis’ names memorized by heart.

Last Tuesday night, Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burned alive by an Israeli mob. His mother — like the mothers of the eight other murdered Palestinians or the hundreds of newly detained prisoners — will never be given the media attention to express her grief. Nor does she or any of the other Palestinian mothers have the power to demand that Israel brings back their boys.

Among many Israelis, Mohammad’s death was celebrated. All facets of Israeli society, even up to the government, called for this sort of retribution, with Netanyahu demanding “revenge” and Ben-Ari calling for “death to the enemy.” While the call for justice is expected of any democratic country, what Israel is calling for is indiscriminate revenge.

Netanyahu called the killers of the three Israelis “human animals.” But, in Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinian people, his accusations and references of a faceless Palestinian enemy, and his sheer condoning and even encouragement of anti-Arab racism, he is implicating the Palestinian people as a whole.

Indeed, Israel treats Palestinians as nothing more than animals. In this case, Israel has placed its “animal” in a cage and keeps prodding it with a stick — or, more accurately, with rubber bullets, tear gas, and even white phosphorous. Then, when the animal bites back, Israel feigns selective memory and moral outrage and punishes it in ways that are unprecedented in our modern history.

Stephens makes the racist suggestion that Palestinian culture is filled with hate, but what, then, can we say of a society that views another people as collectively subhuman?

If you want to know where the Palestinian mothers are, they are living under a military occupation, among an unarmed civilian population, quietly reciting their boys’ names in their hearts as American columnists try to write them away.
Photography by Robert Croma.

A condensed variation of this column was originally published as a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal.

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Mads with a patient in Gaza

Below is a letter from Dr. Mads Gilbert, a physician working in Gaza.  June 20, 2014

Dearest friends -

Last night was extreme. The "ground invasion" of Gaza resulted in scores and carloads with maimed, torn apart, bleeding, shivering, dying - all sorts of injured Palestinians, all ages, all civilians, all innocent.

The heroes in the ambulances and in all of Gaza's hospitals are working 12-24hrs shifts, grey from fatigue and inhuman workloads (without payment all in Shifa for the last 4 months), they care, triage, try to understand the incomprehensible chaos of bodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing, not breathing, bleeding, not bleeding humans. HUMANS!  Now, once more treated like animals by "the most moral army in the world" (sic!).

My respect for the wounded is endless, in their contained determination in the midst of pain, agony and shock; my admiration for the staff and volunteers is endless, my closeness to the Palestinian "sumud" gives me strength, although in glimpses I just want to scream, hold someone tight, cry, smell the skin and hair of the warm child, covered in blood, protect ourselves in an endless embrace - but we cannot afford that, nor can they.

Ashy grey faces - Oh NO! not one more load of tens of maimed and bleeding, we still have lakes of blood on the floor in the ER, piles of dripping, blood-soaked bandages to clear out - oh - the cleaners, everywhere, swiftly shovelling the blood and discarded tissues, hair, clothes,cannulas - the leftovers from death - all taken be prepared again, to be repeated all over. More then 100 cases came to Shifa last 24 hrs. enough for a large well trained hospital with everything, but here - almost nothing: electricity, water, disposables, drugs, OR-tables, instruments, monitors - all rusted and as if taken from museums of yesterdays hospitals.But they do not complain, these heroes. They get on with it, like warriors, head on, enormous resolute.

And as I write these words to you, alone, on a bed, my tears flows, the warm but useless tears of pain and grief, of anger and fear. This is not happening!

An then, just now, the orchestra of the Israeli war-machine starts its gruesome symphony again, just now: salvos of artillery from the navy boats just down on the shores, the roaring F16, the sickening drones (Arabic 'Zennanis', the hummers), and the cluttering Apaches. So much made and paid in and by US.

Mr. Obama - do you have a heart?
I invite you - spend one night - just one night - with us in Shifa. Disguised as a cleaner, maybe.

I am convinced, 100%, it would change history.

Nobody with a heart AND power could ever walk away from a night in Shifa without being determined to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people.
But the heartless and merciless have done their calculations and planned another "dahyia" onslaught on Gaza.

The rivers of blood will keep running the coming night. I can hear they have tuned their instruments of death.

Please. Do what you can. This, THIS cannot continue.


Gaza, Occupied Palestine
Mads Gilbert MD PhD
Professor and Clinical Head
Clinic of Emergency Medicine
University Hospital of North Norway

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How many Nakbas?

By Ben White

More than ever, there is a need today to understand the Israel-Palestine conflict

Gaza burns while the international community sits quietly, doing nothing about it. Israel has bombarded the territory for two weeks, killing more than 700 Palestinians and wounding well over 3,000. As I write this, I am aware that the death toll will only increase.

A massacre appalls, disgusts, leaves one short of breath. It is a time for mourning, protest, but also education. Without an understanding of what is taking place in Palestine, we cannot put an end to this horror.

This is not a cycle of violence, or a tribal tussle. It is not a mutual embrace of revenge, or a childish tit-for-tat playground fight. It is none of those or other clichés used so readily and unthinkingly by politicians and journalists. This is settler colonialism and its consequences.

There is a line that connects the destruction of homes and displaced in Gaza today, back to the ruined villages and columns of refugees in 1948. The Palestinians call it Nakba — the catastrophe brought upon them by the Zionist movement that sought to establish a Jewish majority state in a land where there was none.

Look at Gaza, its bleeding, defiant population. Where are these Palestinians from? For many, they are from villages and land a matter of a few miles away; refugees still, because they are not Jewish. Old men and women in the camps of Gaza were forced from their homes at the point of a bayonet by the same armed forces that now use drones to achieve the same result.

An apartheid system

Today, the Gaza strip is one part of an apartheid system stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, a de facto one state controlled by Israel, within which Jews and Palestinians are granted or denied different sets of rights and privileges.

Why apartheid? Not because it is an exact replica of the political regime that existed in South Africa, no. But because the definition of apartheid, as found in United Nations conventions and the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute among others, is not exclusive: it is about a system of separation, systematic discrimination, and human rights abuses that occur in the context of, and in order to maintain, that system.

Inside the so-called ‘Green Line’, the territory held by Israel before 1967, Palestinians with Israeli citizenship face institutionalized racial discrimination. These are the Palestinians who were not ethnically cleansed in 1948, but since that time, they’ve experienced martial law (which officially ended only in 1966), and decades of exclusion and political repression.

By the mid-1970s, the average Palestinian community in Israel had lost around 65-75 per cent of its land. Since 1948, more than 700 communities have been built for Jews and only a handful for Palestinian citizens (all of them shanty towns in the Negev for forcibly displaced Bedouin Palestinians).

In the Negev today, Bedouin Palestinians face the prospect of mass evictions, as the Israeli government seeks to ensure a Jewish majority — the openly stated intention of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — in the region, the same calculus used in other areas of the country like the Galilee.

Palestinian husbands and wives are separated by Israeli law, if one holds Israeli citizenship and one holds Gaza or West Bank ID. In around 70 per cent of Israeli communities, so-called ‘admission’ or ‘selection’ committees exclude potential residents on the grounds of ‘social suitability’. Many of them have been built on the lands of ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages.

This is a snapshot of life inside Israel’s ‘democracy’, where, to take another example, Israeli security forces have arrested hundreds of Palestinian citizens in recent weeks, as protests have taken place up and down the country against Israeli military attacks in the West Bank and Gaza strip.

In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since 1967, colonies illegal under international law have been established on expropriated land, and have continued to grow as part of a regime of segregation and control. Around these settlements live Palestinians whose homes are demolished for not having the ‘right permit’, even as they live under a legal system designed to fail them.

The demolished home is a constant: from 1948 through to today; rubble and strewn possessions the calling card of an army whose name is that of ‘defense’, but whose modus operandi is the routine targeting of occupied, stateless civilians.

In March 2012, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) described Israel’s violations in unprecedented terms.

It highlighted “segregation between Jewish and non-Jewish communities,” as well as a regime of “de facto segregation” in the West Bank — severe enough, in fact, to prompt a reminder to Israel of the prohibition of ‘apartheid’.”

Thus ‘apartheid’ and ‘colonialism’ are not just slogans or rhetoric (as Israel’s spokespersons like to pretend) but real systems and structures that many get a glimpse of through an all-pervasive power asymmetry. The characteristically disproportionate death tolls are one example, but by no means the most instructive one.

An alternative

A better illustration is that of prisoners, and the comparison between Gilad Shalit and the thousands of Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails. Every day and night, Palestinians are taken by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank, processed through military courts, and kept behind bars for however long the Israeli authorities deem necessary. Torture is commonplace. Charges can be secret, and children are also imprisoned. Families are separated from their loved ones for months or years at a time, often simply on the grounds of ‘throwing stones’.

Zoom out, from the colonization of the West Bank and home demolitions in East Jerusalem, the slaughter in Gaza and the detention of Palestinian activists in Haifa, and see the bigger picture: of a ‘Jewish state’ that was established through the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and maintained through their continued exclusion from their homeland:  a Jewish majority established through violence, and a regime of privilege protected with the same deadly tools.

There is an alternative, one where Palestinian rights are respected rather than denied, where Palestinians and Jews live in a decolonized, genuine democracy, rather than an ethnocratic fortress-state. To get there will require considerable pressure, and the tools at the average citizen’s disposal are boycott and divestment campaigns, as called for by Palestinians.

We must urge our governments to apply sanctions and an arms embargo, while urging companies and institutions to end their ties with colonialism and human rights violations. There is no ‘cycle’ to be ended, but an apartheid system to be defeated.

(Ben White is a British journalist and a human rights activist. His most recent book is Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy.)

Keywords: Israel-Palestine conflictGaza conflictWest BankGaza Strip

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Israel Continues Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing of Gaza
Posted by Charles E Carlson      July 22, 2014

Israel Invades: Takes lives, Destroys Sustaining Infrastructure

Recently Israel shelled a beach near two of Gaza City’s hotels. Twelve years ago, I dined with Gaza friends in one of those hotels overlooking that same beach. Israel’s shelling killed four Philistine boys instantly, four boys from the same family. Several others were wounded, and the incident was witnessed by two reporters who were staying in one of the hotels. The people killed and injured were guilty of nothing more than having an hour of fun on a hot day on that beach. Israel then publicly pronounced its act as “a tragedy.” This is Israel’s standard way to dismiss its most inhumane abuses of life, then it repeats the acts. The very next day, Israel invaded with tanks through Erez Gate into Gaza. This time there is every reason to believe that Israel’s agenda is to cause death by deprivation of the estimated 1.5 million Gaza gulag inmates, except those who can and will leave. This story is too painful to write, and I pray it will be proved to be wrong. But I am finding others who fear Israel has already started genocide and ethnic cleansing of Gaza.

The day after Israel lamented its deliberate killing of the four brothers, it shelled a Gaza City hospital harboring patients that could not be moved. Israel first warned the hospital staff to get out of the four-story building. The doctors and nurses refused, saying the patients could not be moved. After all, international law protects hospitals, does it not?  Not from Israel…there are no laws of human decency when Israel invades. Tanks started systematically destroying the hospital building with the patients in it, little by little, carefully placing tank shells so as to destroy unoccupied rooms, empty floors, and corners of the old building, with terrified patients and few nurse and doctors inside. The plan is clear, the patients will eventually have to be pushed out in the street by the doctors and nurses before the building falls on them. This is just one example of planned genocide by destroying infrastructure.  Who will care for the sick when the doctors and nurses finally give up and leave because there is no hospital? Could this one hospital be part of a large program to render Gaza unlivable?  I think so.

Israel’s Plan and Intent Exposed
One published plan for genocide from a prominent and upcoming politician with close ties to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is authored by Knesset member Moshe Feiglin: “My Outline for a Solution for Gaza“: by Moshe Feiglin.

Richard Forer, author of Breakthrough, Transferring Fear To Compassion, discovered the Feiglin plan on the Facebook pages of prominent Israeli.  Forer has this to say about Feiglin and his plan: “Feiglin, who I believe has aspirations to become Israel’s prime minister, is a member of the Likud party and is representative of a significant portion of the Israeli populace. Yesterday, July 16, 2014, he was rewarded for his patriotism by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who appointed him to the prestigious Foreign Affairs and Security committee… Feiglin’s proposal for Gaza is to give Gazans ‘one warning’ that Israel is about to attack. If Gazans want to avoid death they must leave ‘immediately.’ ‘They can go to the Sinai Desert in Egypt: This will be the limit of Israel’s humanitarian efforts’…Beyond that limit, Feiglin’s plan washes its hands of any responsibility for feeding and sheltering the ethnically cleansed. If they happen to die, Feiglin and his government, as it so often has done, will likely blame the Arab world for disregarding the well-being of their own brethren, thereby providing Israel with another in a long list of propaganda coups.”

The full text of  Feiglin’s “My Outline for a Solution for Gaza“: By Moshe Feiglin is linked here. During the Nakba genocide in 1948, Israel did not provide a safe exit for the half million Philistines who were driven out of their homes. Some mothers carried their belongings on their heads with babies in arm. They received no help in finding their way out; it was leave or die. Many ended up in makeshift refugee camps in Gaza and neighboring Arab countries. They were never compensated, so Feiglin’s suggestion of safe passage and compensation is the usual Israeli conscience bathe to get broader support from the Israeli public.

Even if we did not have Feiglin’s “Solution” to read, we should be able to recognize Israel’s intent, evidenced by its acts from the air and on the ground in this invasion and others before it. If not the Feiglin “Solution,” some other undisclosed plan very much like it is being followed.

Genocide and ethnic cleansing are now proper subjects to discuss among the majority of Israelis. The idea of genocide as a “solution” has always been on the table in Israel. Before becoming a politician, General Ariel Sharon was one of the Zionists who openly stated that if Israeli politicians would support him, he would eliminate the “Arab problem.” At that time, some 25 years ago, he did not have support for this idea. Today he would have it. Several other Knesset members are speaking out for ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Until his death, Former Prime Minster, Ariel Sharon was quieted about genocide while under investigation by the World Court for his leadership role in a 1980s massacre of some 600 Philistines, called the Sabra and Shatila massacre, in southern Lebanon.

Ariel Sharon’s son, Gilad Sharon, has continued to reflect his father’s beliefs about a final solution. He is quoted in the Jerusalem Post two years ago: “There is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip.” and   “We need to flatten all of Gaza. There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing.

Israel’s Foreign Minster, Avigdor Lieberman, who has recently made a very quiet visit to Washington as an Israeli diplomat, has repeatedly made such suggestions while in the Knesset, and, even after moving to national office.  Lieberman is obsessed with the idea of ending the Palestinian problem by forced migration and has openly said so many times.  Politicians are willing and able to talk about genocide, sure proof that the Israeli electorate no longer backs away from the subject. For detail on Lieberman see Footnote (1b)

What if major factions in the US Congress wanted to round up and kill every Hispanic who would not make a run for the border?  What would our church leaders do?

A Knesset Leader Calls for Exterminating Gaza Mother
An even more staggering indictment of the Knesset leadership, and the Israeli public who support them, is found in the words of 38 year old Ayelet Shaked. She is said to be popular and a rising star in the Knesset. She is one of the most physically beautiful women in politics, but the words from her mouth are foul beyond belief. Occupied Palestine quotes Ayelet Shaked, “a member of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party: ‘Mothers of all Palestinians should also be killed during the ongoing Israeli assault on the besieged Gaza Strip.’ She calls for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers who give birth to ‘little snakes’ and goes on, ‘They have to die and their houses should be demolished so that they cannot bear any more terrorists… They are all our enemies and their blood should be on our hands. This also applies to the mothers of the dead terrorists.’”

Sadly, there is nothing unusual about Ayelet Shaked’s terrible words in Israel. Palestinians are commonly referred to as “animals,” as I learned by talking to cab drivers and bus riders during a visit to Israel. Mrs. Shaked may well have been educated to hate Philistines in the Israeli Defense Forces, where all men, and most women of her age were compelled to serve. Her mind is fouled with hatred for Philistines and she spews it without apology. This vitriol appears to be acceptable in Israel.

The Feiglin’s “Solution” (or any more “final solution” Mr. Netanyahu is following) must target “enemies” for death.  Feiglin calls all Gazans “enemies,” but logic tells us the Hamas party and its pubic servants are the target for extermination.   Any Hamas identified person, man, woman, mother or child, will eventually have to make a choice, to stay alive and protect their families, or to die fighting tanks. Each must stave off hunger and thirst while praying the next Israeli tank shell is not directed into their home. This was the prayer a 26-year-old English major, Shireen, from Gaza, told me about in the spring of 2002. I do not know if she is still alive or where she is now.  She will be in pain, as I am, for she told me, “we are not afraid of their big guns, but we are afraid they will destroy our dreams.”     

Shireen, a young Palestinian from Gaza was interviewed by Chuck Carlson in 2002 during a trip to the Gaza Strip.
Shireen, a young Palestinian from Gaza was interviewed by Chuck Carlson in 2002 during his trip to Israel and the Gaza strip. She said of the Israelis: “We are not afraid of their big guns, but we are afraid they will destroy our dreams.”

Business and Media Covers for Israel’s War Crimes
Israel’s bloody experiment with Gaza has the tacit backing of the world banker-businessmen who benefit from war. Israel already receives all the weapons needed to fulfill its mission of Gaza Genocide, compliments of the US military-industrial complex, and paid for by US Taxes. Israel’s military is the 4th or 5th most powerful in the world.

More important than tanks and missiles, Israel has the support of US mainline media. When covering events, the media always leaves the impression that Gazans strike Israel first with deadly force. It is implied that because of a flaw in their nature, Gazans persist in attacking first. Israel is always shown as the responder, even though there are at least 100 Gazans killed for every Israeli killed. The mass media always implies that Gazans are getting their just recompense for their own acts, no matter how many little children get their limbs and heads blown off. It’s always Hamas’ fault. The US news media reports it thus day after day, effectively keeping most of the US public half blind and dumbed down to the absolute fact that Gaza is, and has been for about a dozen years, an ongoing holocaust, in the sense of that word that Israel invented for itself 65 years ago.

Destroying Philistines’ Dreams, Random Killing and Deprivation
Israel is not bent on teaching Gazans a lesson in good manners, as our media would tell us, but in exterminating the people of Gaza, the Philistines, as they are called in the Bible. As we write this, Israel is rounding up and executing, Stalin style, Gaza’s political activists and leaders. It then plans to leave Gaza desolate and dry. Starvation, disease, and worst of all, thirst, will eventually eliminate all of the Gaza Philistines, This is a slow but sure method of genocide. This is not a new project; Israel is already starving and dehydrating a major part of the population.

We know about this “plan” not because of Feiglin or anyone in the Knesset but because it was viable in at least April 2002 when I was there. The program, bomb, then invading and destroying individual projects like a water well, or a sewer plant…destroy so it can not be easily fixed. Benjamin Netanyahu says he wants to “to quiet things down.”  Yes, his objective is to make Gaza very quiet.  He would leave starving people totally without water, food, electricity, fuel, or health services, including sewage disposal.

 “Chosen People” Commit Genocide
The invasion was nearly a week old when it began to be blacked out from our eyes and ears. NBC has suddenly pulled out of Gaza; it was reporting what was truly happening. Israel does not want reporters and it controls all the gates. We are getting a lot less detailed news.  As the Gaza Philistines’ cell phone cameras run out of power, and there is no electricity left to recharge, they face stark and unheard of brutality in the dark, and we are left to our normal lives, looking the other way, perhaps to a staged tragedy in the Ukraine or elsewhere.

Moral supremacy of Israeli life over all other life is drummed into every soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF, which includes every male and many female Israeli citizen when they reach the age of 18, who have to serve. After 66 years of continual war and occupation, almost everyone is indoctrinated to believe they go into battle as “God’s Chosen People,” and what they do is God’s will, whether the individual or their leaders believe in God or not.

Observation on Gaza Government and Culture
The most vital part of Gaza infrastructure is functional government, as is the case in every society. Think of your own city without governmental services such as utilities, water and sewage treatment, garbage elimination, roads, police, civic communication, and cultural activities. Gaza has the area of the City and County of Denver, Colorado, with three times the population and Gazans also must raise their own food in this area. Government is the glue that holds Gaza together, and no matter what you may have heard about Hamas, it is the only government present that its people can and will follow. No one else is there or wants to be there!    
In 2002 Chuck Carlson visited the Gaza Baptist Church on Omar Mochtar Blvd.--located next to a mosque.

I was amazed at the clean and functional Gaza City I saw in the spring of 2002, the last time I visited Gaza; Hamas was elected four years later. The government buildings were whitewashed and tidy, the streets were clean enough; there was food and business of all kinds. Trees along Omar Moctar Blvd were neatly trimmed. It was not what I expected inside a giant jail. Later I also saw a Christian school, reduced to rubble by Israeli bombing from an US F-16, I saw burned out ambulances that doctors said Israel had bombed and destroyed, and I saw Gaza’s prison with two gaping bomb holes in its concrete roof, destroyed by Israel so the Gaza government had no place to detain malefactors.

Israel had already started systematic destruction of infrastructure necessary for life. But there was electricity, food available, water to drink, and the sewers and electricity still worked. Not so today.

In 2022 Chuck Carlson visited this school in Gaza that had been bombed by Israel.
Chuck Carlson visited this Gaza school, bombed by Israel, during his trip to Israel and Gaza in 2002.
I was most surprised to find there was a gentle culture in Gaza. It had five zoos.  The Gaza City Zoo had some 200 animals, including 2 lions.  But during the Christmas 2008 invasion, Israel’s Defense Forces are said to have shot most of the animals, though they deny it. Other animals starved and ate each other because zoo attendants were not allowed by the IDF to go to work. After the invaders left, I was pleased and surprised to learn the new Hamas government had rebuilt much of the Zoo, nursed the lions back to health. It was a place where Gazans could take their children and show them a glimmer of a normal peaceful life. The Zoo represents infrastructure. Israel represents a culture of death. What has happened to the lions now that Israel has again invaded Gaza city?

Starvation and Dehydration: Time Proven Method of Genocide
One pattern for Israel’s genocide seems to be Stalin’s starvation of the Ukraine in the 1930s. The Bolsheviks wanted the land for collective farms; the farmers wanted to keep their lands. Joseph Stalin simply destroyed the food and animals in Ukraine. The winter did the rest.

Israel’s method seems all too clear: total elimination of clean water and sewage treatments and restriction of electricity, food, medical services, and communication with the outside world. Gazans will be left to disease outbreaks (some of which might be induced), starvation, and despair. How do I know this is Israel’s plan? Because political leaders want it, they are doing it, and have been following it in perfect context since at least 2002, when I was there.

Gary Anderson, a veteran hydrologist who worked as a contractor on various United Nations water projects for Gaza and elsewhere in the middle east territories, explained the Gaza water situation. He said Israel is deliberately draining Gaza of water, using slant wells drilled along Gaza’s eastern border to slowly dehydrate the land. When water is extracted faster than it can be replenished naturally, sea water enters the aquifer from the Mediterranean. Gaza water is already desperately short for its large population, and much of what is available is unfit to drink, says Anderson, referring to UN sources.

Gaza Rocket Myth Remains Hidden by US Media
Israel’s excuse for the Gaza Genocide is the big rocket lie promulgated over the five years since Israel last entered Gaza at Christmas 2008, with Operation Cast Lead. Israel’s current excuse for mass extermination is the alleged 550 to 1000 rockets (depending on who is telling the story, that Israel claims were fired from Gaza in the last 60 days since Israel began conditioning the world with its desire to destroy Hamas. Israel needed an excuse. Hamas’ rockets are Israel’s excuse. The fact that the rockets rarely hit anything or anybody and do not normally explode is irrelevant to Israel so long as Israel can convince the West otherwise.

The hidden truth is that the Philistines have no rocket program that has or could ever seriously damage Israel.  The Gaza rocket stories (sometimes magnified into “missiles”) are an enormous lie started in Tel Aviv, spread in U.S. media every day, and used to justify the land invasion Israel has now started. Hamas’s alleged rocket power is but one example of press duplicity in covering Israel’s so-called conflict with Gaza.  The technique is professional confusion. The US media sometimes reports the facts, at least the most obvious ones, but does it in such a confused way that the readers never figure out that Israel, not Hamas, is the aggressor.  The media tells us both side are bombing the other, Hamas with rockets (which the media sometimes calls “missiles”) and that Israel is fighting back with bombs (that are in fact weapons of mass destruction, guided missiles).  We also hear the killing ratio but only if we keep track and add the daily numbers. It was recently about 215 dead Philistines and 1 dead Israeli, but we are never given a hint as to why the ratio is always about the same lopsided ratio, year after year, invasion after invasion.

A case in point is Bloomberg News, owned by Michael Bloomberg, the former Governor of New York. Bloomberg News owns Business Week Magazine, so it knows how to write, edit, and print facts that can be understood, but it published two stories about the same events on July 11th and 14th that arrived at totally different conclusions, without any explanation of what we are supposed to believe.  The July 11th story contains some simple facts that might cause the reader to sympathize with the Philistines, but the facts are presented in a very confusing way and are not understandable at first glance. I will paraphrase and simplify, and you are free to check me out:

Rockets were fired from Lebanon and landed in Israel but no one was hurt; Israel killed over 100 Palestinians including 21 children with bombs and missiles and wounded 660 more; this happened a week before the first Israeli casualty was reported from a Gaza rocket, where one man seriously injured in an Ashdod gas station on July 12th; no other damage or casualty has been reported from the remainder of the 550 rockets Israel claims were fired at it from Gaza.  

Now for the confusing part: on July 14, Bloomberg published another story that presented entirely different set of facts: Israel Extends Gaza Air Strikes, Downs Palestinian Drone, by Calev Ben-David and Amy Teibel Jul 14, 2014,  which states: “While Israeli homes and vehicles have been struck by  more than 1,000 rockets fired since July 8, a missile defense system has intercepted about 200 headed for built-up areas, the military said.  A tourist died of a heart attack during an air raid, rescue services said.”

Not only did the number of missiles from Gaza almost double in three days, which is unlikely, but the story clearly states that “Israeli Homes and vehicles have been struck by more than 1000 rockets.”  Remember that the July 11th story told us of the first casualty at the Ashdod gas station, one Israeli wounded, and no other damage was reported from the 550 rockets from Gaza. Why doesn’t Bloomberg tell us which of their stories is a lie, both can not be true!  Better yet, why not publish only the truth? In fact, there have been no published evidence nor even a reports we can find of any Israeli houses being struck. The Hamas rockets are almost worthless, non-guided, hand pointed projectiles. Everyone knows this except those who depend upon the US media. The American public has no chance of figuring out who the aggressor is. The media gives the impression we are listening to a fairly matched, bare knuckles boxing match between ugly Hamas and pretty Israel.  Militarily, it is more like a 200 pound 6-2 adult in the rig with a 90 pound, 5 foot, 11 year old, who has shackles on his legs so he can’t run. The people of Gaza have no modern weapons and no place to hide.  But we are not allowed to know any of this from Bloomberg or any network media. The mainstream media is culpable in the genocide we now witness.

Sderot, where most of the Gaza rockets are alleged to have fallen, is an Israeli town literally on the northeast border of Gaza, no more than a half mile away from its East fence. Sderot residents drink water pumped from under Gaza.  Sderot is the only city that can be constantly reached by most of the primitive home-made protest-rockets Gazans make in their alleys and basements. Most Gaza rockets have been pointed at Sderot, but few come close as witnessed by this Global Watch photo series showing  Israelis frequently bring chairs to Sderot and sit on a hill overlooking Gaza to “cheer each explosion”. They watch Israel destroy the big refugee camp called Jibalyia, and once beautiful old Gaza City from lounge chairs, a ghoulish fire works display featuring real dead victims. And Israelis picnic at the place where the rockets are supposed to be most “deadly”. So much for Israeli’s fear of rockets.

Ashdod is an ancient, biblical Philistine town a little north of Sderot on the road to Tel Aviv.  Occasionally rockets are said to reach Ashdod. The rockets are unguided, often launched by hand with no mechanism to aim them at all. So if Gaza’s first casualty was a man at a gas station in Ashdod about a week after Israel started killing Philistines, why has the international press coverage branded Gaza a serial killer guilty of war crimes?

Simply stated, Israel’s war policy runs on high-octane lies, some told by Benjamin Netanyahu and repeated by our press. But lies about the Philistines imaginary war machine would not be believed were it not for the complicity of the US media, which allows and spreads every lie, as Bloomberg did.
The US Government is still covering for Israel, pretending Gaza is a military threat, and that Hamas, the only vestige of Government left there, is a world terrorist organization that needs to be deposed. The media and the US government know full well that the chances of any Israeli being injured or killed by a Gaza rocket is about as being injured by a foul ball at a baseball game. This is a fact known for at least a dozen years. Palestinian peace organizations report that in over 12 years there have been only 11 Israeli deaths from rocket fire from Gaza, while several thousands of Philistines have been killed in raids on Gaza during the same years. Media reports would have us believe the opposite is true.

Israel May Fake Rocket Attacks
Some of Israel’s death from rockets reports are suspect.  I recall a story in Haaretz several years ago to the effect that 4 Arab construction workers, Bedouin Israeli citizens living in Israel, were killed by one exploding Gaza rocket that happened to hit their work site. But Gaza rockets rarely explode, they normally have to hit something that will spark and burn, like a gas pump.  I wonder, would Israel be above killing a few of its Arab Israeli residents and blaming it on Gazans?  They have no conscience about killing Gaza Arabs, why not kill 4 Israeli Arabs with one of Israel’s ultra modern, American made, always hit what aimed at and always explode, guided bombs?  Who would know? I cannot go there to find out, and Arab Bedouins would not be believed if they dared to complain. Yet this one incident represents 35% of all reported “Israeli” deaths from Hamas over 12 years! How convenient.

The Philistines in Gaza are basically unarmed prisoners inside a “big jail.”  Shireen from Gaza told me this in our 2002 interview, shown in Christian Zionism, The Tragedy and the Turning. Rockets are inmates’ protests, by half-starved prisoners who are doing the equivalent of throwing their food and furniture at their jailer. Kids in the streets of the West Bank towns throw rocks. But Gaza kids can not throw rocks out of the Gaza Jail, so when they grow up, some of them manufacture primitive rockets made from old sewer pipe and the like, and direct them toward Sderot and Ashdod at night, and the Israelis twist these nearly harmless rocket attacks into an excuse for committing war crimes of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

The Jailers respond periodically by killing a few hundred of the prisoners - not to stop rockets, but to keep the jail house revolt going. This has been going on for the last 12 years since I visited Gaza in the spring of 2002 and photographed part of an air raid that killed 4 Gazans and wounded about 40, film found in minute 25 of Christian Zionism, the Tragedy and the Turning.

Summing Up
The present raid on Gaza is much more than “collective punishment” against the rock throwers and rocket makers. It is a program to destroy the last vestige of infrastructure needed to sustain life in Philistine Gaza, so hunger, dehydration and disease will take their toll, and all who can leave will leave or face slow death.

Even official Israeli military sources must come clean once in a while and admit that Gazans are unarmed and have no 21st century means of defending themselves from attack, and they have even less offensive capability.  It is time our national media tells the truth at least as much as Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post. And, if American Christians do not oppose the extermination of the Philistines, why would we expect Israelis to rein in Netanyahu?

The Gaza Genocide will not be stopped by the US Congress nor the mainline media, both of which support the Israeli lobby.  The Military-Industrial-Banking Complex that profits from war will hardly use its lobby to stop genocide, and the President will slip out of office without preventing it.
However, America’s 350,000 religious congregations have both the reason to care about the Philistines and the ability to know the truth about Gaza through countless mission operations in the Middle East and the Holy Land.  Christ Followers have reason to know, or they can find out. The movement to save the Philistines is growing. Christ Followers say they are committed to opposing evil acts and are commanded to love their brothers and to be peacemakers.  There are no exceptions in Jesus’ words.  Followers have no moral excuse not to act; may they take their responsibility before God.

1a) Michael Ben-Ari, Knesset , Israeli prominent advocates of Ethnic Cleansing “These outbursts reveal Israel ’s strategic goal: Genocide at the service of Greater Israel – the bloody purge of 5 million Palestinians, the creation of a 100 percent ‘pure’ Jewish State.” “There are no innocents in Gaza … mow them (all) down”.

1b) Avigdor Lieberman: Perhaps the most telling indicator of how radically racist Israel has become is the rise of Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs since reappointed by Benjamin Netanyahu.  Lieberman has had had numerous offices, a member of the Knesset and as Deputy Prime Minister of Israel.

Lieberman: On May 4 he called also for the execution of elected Israeli Arab members of the Knesset for talking to elected members of the Hamas-led Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Four days later American The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed grave concern over his insightful statements.

When he served as minister of transport in a previous government, Lieberman called for all Palestinian prisoners, now more than ten thousand, held by the Israeli occupation authorities to be drowned in the Dead Sea and offered to provide the buses, Haaretz reported on July 11, 2002.
In 2002, Lieberman declared, “I would not hesitate to send the Israeli army into all of Area A [the area of the West Bank ostensibly under Palestinian Authority control] for 48 hours. Destroy the foundation of all the authority’s military infrastructure … not leave one stone on another. Destroy everything.” He also suggested to the Israeli cabinet that the air force systematically bomb all the commercial centers, gas stations and banks in the occupied territories. He is on record also to call for the ethnic cleansing of 1.2 million Israeli Arabs by stripping them of their citizenship and transferring them to a canonized Palestinian Authority (PA) without consulting their or consent.(The Independent, March 7, 2002)

1c) “Erdogan [Turkish Prime Minister] accuses Israel of attempting a ‘systematic genocide’[of Palestinians in Gaza],” Jerusalem Post, July 18, 2014:

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said “Israel is not only invading Palestine but also he [Lieberman] is saying that Palestinian people need to be evacuated or exiled. If this, or Israel’s air-strikes, which have killed children in Gaza, are not sabotage, then what is?”

1d)Chis Hedges, columnist Guardian, London who writes:

1e) “Israeli Terror: The ‘Final Solution’ to the Palestine Question,” Prof. James Petras, Global Research, Nov. 28, 2012:

Links :

“A Decisive conclusion is necessary,” Gilad Sharon, The Jerusalem Post, Nov. 18, 2012:

To contact the reporter on this story: Calev Ben-David in Jerusalem at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at Amy Teibel, Ben Holland

Tragedy and Turning
Why this author uses Arabic term “Philistine”:
Will Israel do it:  They just don’t care
“Israel’s incremental Genocide in the Gaza ghetto,” Ilan Pappe, The Electronic Intifada, July 13, 2014:

“Israel firing experimental weapons at Gaza’s civilians, say doctors,” Rania Khalek, Electronic Intifada, July 15, 2014:


“Knesset Members’ Solution for Gaza,” Richard Forer Blog, July 18, 2014:

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A legal and moral case for Hamas rocket fire

By Jonathan Cook 24 July 2014    Blog: The View From Nazareth

Two leading intellectuals make separate and eloquent cases that the people of Gaza have the right to resist by any means – including by firing rockets – Israel’s efforts to slowly extinguish their right to self-determination, and possibly to life itself. They argue that the Palestinians have this right most certainly at a moral level, but also almost certainly at the level of international law.
I recommend reading each article in its entirety but, knowing the constraints on readers’ time and attention, I have extracted the most salient points they make.

Norman Finkelstein:
It is not altogether clear what constitutes an indiscriminate weapon [a reference to Human Rights Watch's judgment that all Palestinian rockets from Gaza are war crimes by definition because they are not "precise"]. The apparent standard is a relative one set by the available technology: If an existing weapon has a high probability of hitting its target, then any weapons with a significantly lower probability are classified as indiscriminate. But, by this standard, only rich countries, or countries rich enough to purchase high-tech weapons, have a right to defend themselves against high-tech aerial assaults. It is a curious law that would negate the raison d’être of law: the substitution of might by right. …

The United States and Britain, among others, have staunchly defended the right of a state to use nuclear weapons by way of belligerent reprisal. By this standard, the people of Gaza surely have the right to use makeshift projectiles to end an illegal, merciless seven-year-long Israeli blockade or to end Israel’s criminal bombardment of Gaza’s civilian population. Indeed, in its landmark 1996 advisory opinion on the legality of nuclear weapons, the [International Court of Justice] ruled that international law is not settled on the right of a state to use nuclear weapons when its “survival” is at stake. But, if a state might have the right to use nuclear weapons when its survival is at stake, then surely a people struggling for self-determination has the right to use makeshift projectiles when it has been subjected to slow death by a protracted blockade and recurrent massacres. …

Fully 95 percent of the water in Gaza is unfit for human consumption. By all accounts, the Palestinian people now stand behind those engaging in belligerent reprisals against Israel. In the Gaza Strip, they prefer to die resisting than to continue living under an inhumane blockade. Their resistance is mostly notional, as makeshift projectiles cause little damage. So, the ultimate question is, Do Palestinians have the right to symbolically resist slow death punctuated by periodic massacres, or must they lie down and die?

Chris Hedges:
If Israel insists, as the Bosnian Serbs did in Sarajevo, on using the weapons of industrial warfare against a helpless civilian population then that population has an inherent right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The international community will have to either act to immediately halt Israeli attacks and lift the blockade of Gaza or acknowledge the right of the Palestinians to use weapons to defend themselves. …

Violence, even when employed in self-defense, is a curse. It empowers the ruthless and punishes the innocent. It leaves in its aftermath horrific emotional and physical scars. But, as I learned in Sarajevo during the 1990s Bosnian War, when forces bent on your annihilation attack you relentlessly, and when no one comes to your aid, you must aid yourself. When Sarajevo was being hit with 2,000 shells a day and under heavy sniper fire in the summer of 1995 no one among the suffering Bosnians spoke to me about wanting to mount nonviolent resistance. …

The number of dead in Gaza resulting from the Israeli assault has topped 650, and about 80 percent have been civilians. The number of wounded Palestinians is over 4,000 and a substantial fraction of these victims are children. At what point do the numbers of dead and wounded justify self-defense? 5,000? 10,000? 20,000? At what point do Palestinians have the elemental right to protect their families and their homes? …

The Palestinians will reject, as long as possible, any cease-fire that does not include a lifting of the Israeli blockade of Gaza. They have lost hope that foreign governments will save them. They know their fate rests in their own hands. The revolt in Gaza is an act of solidarity with the world outside its walls. It is an attempt to assert in the face of overwhelming odds and barbaric conditions the humanity and agency of the Palestinian people. There is little in life that Palestinians can choose, but they can choose how to die.
Tagged as: Israel war crimes
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About Jonathan Cook:

Photograph by: Katie Ramadan
Jonathan Cook is an award-winning British journalist based in Nazareth, Israel, since 2001.
He is the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

  • Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish State (2006)
  • Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (2008)
  • Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (2008)

He has also contributed chapters and essays to several edited volumes on Israel-Palestine.
In 2011 Jonathan was awarded the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. The judges’ citation reads: “Jonathan Cook’s work on Palestine and Israel, especially his de-coding of official propaganda and his outstanding analysis of events often obfuscated in the mainstream, has made him one of the reliable truth-tellers in the Middle East.”

The same year, Project Censored voted a report by Jonathan, “Israel brings Gaza entry restrictions to West Bank”, one of the most important stories censored in 2009-10.

Jonathan’s reports and commentaries have appeared in the Guardian, the Observer, the Times and the New Statesman (London); The International Herald Tribune and Le Monde diplomatique (Paris); Al-Ahram Weekly (Cairo); The National (Abu Dhabi); The Daily Star (Beirut); The Middle East Report and Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (Washington); and The Irish Times (Dublin). He has contributed to many online sites, such as CounterPunch, Israeli Occupation Archive, and Electronic Intifada.

He has been a senior consultant and lead writer on two major reports by the International Crisis Group, a leading think-tank based in Washington and Brussels dealing with conflict resolution.

There is a Wikipedia page about Jonathan.

Why Nazareth?

Jonathan is the only foreign correspondent to be based in Nazareth, the capital of the Palestinian minority in Israel. He explains the significance of his choice of location:

“Most reporters covering the conflict live in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, with a handful of specialists based in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The range of stories readily available to reporters in these locations reinforces the assumption among editors back home that the conflict can only be understood in terms of the events that followed the West Bank and Gaza’s occupation in 1967. This has encouraged the media to give far too much weight to Israeli concerns about ‘security’ – a catch-all that offers Israel special dispensation to ignore its duties to the Palestinians under international law.

“Many topics central to the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians, including the plight of the refugees and the continuing dispossession of Palestinians living as Israeli citizens, do not register on most reporters’ radars.

“From Nazareth, the capital of the Palestinian minority in Israel, things look very different. There are striking, and disturbing, similarities between the experiences of Palestinians inside Israel and those inside the West Bank and Gaza. All have faced Zionism’s appetite for territory and domination, as well as repeated attempts at ethnic cleansing. These unifying themes suggest that the conflict is less about the specific circumstances thrown up by the 1967 war and more about the central tenets of Zionism as expressed in the war of 1948 that founded Israel and the war of 1967 that breathed new life into its settler colonial agenda.”

Experience and qualifications

Jonathan graduated from Southampton University in 1987 with a degree in philosophy and politics, and then earnt a postgraduate diploma in journalism from Cardiff University in 1989. He gained a masters degree in Middle Eastern studies, with distinction, from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University, in 2000.

He worked on regional newspapers before becoming a staff journalist at the Guardian in 1994. He later joined the Observer newspaper. He moved to Nazareth to become a freelance reporter in September 2001.

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Israel’s war of deception 2014

How can a preventable war be justified? And how can one wrap oneself in its rightness in the presence of the horror-show images from Gaza?

By Gideon Levy | Jul. 27, 2014 | 5:20 AM | 6

Palestinian child Gaza
A Palestinian medic carries a wounded child into Nasser hospital, following an Israeli airstrike at their family house in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 23 Photo by AP

It began as a war of choice: A different Israeli policy in the last few nths might have prevented it. It evolved into a pointless war. It’s already pretty obvious that it will not result in any long-term achievements. It could still deteriorate into a disaster, and in the end will turn out to have been a war of deception – Israel lied itself to ruination.

The first deceit was that there was no alternative. True, when the rocket barrages landed on Israel, that was the case. But what about the steps that led up to them? They were steps to which there were other options. It isn’t difficult to imagine what would have happened had Israel not halted the peace talks; had not launched an all-out war on Hamas in the West Bank, in the wake of the murder of the three Israeli teenagers; had not held up the transfer of funds earmarked for the payment of government salaries in the Gaza Strip; had not opposed the Palestinian unity government; and had eased up on its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The Qassam rockets were a response to Israel’s choices. Afterward the goals snowballed, as they always do in wars – from stopping the rockets, to finding and destroying the tunnels, and on to the demilitarization of Gaza. They might well continue to snowball, to who knows where. “Quiet will be met with quiet.” Remember that? On Friday, Israel rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s cease-fire proposal.

?The second deceit is that the occupation of the Gaza Strip has ended. Imagine a besieged enclave, whose inhabitants are imprisoned, much of whose affairs are controlled by another state – from maintaining a population registry to running the economy, including prohibiting exports and restricting fishing, and which flies in its skies and occasionally invades its territory. Is that not occupation?
The third deceit is the claim that the Israel Defense Forces “does everything in its power” to avoid killing civilians. We’ve already passed the first thousand deaths, a frightening number of them children and the majority of them civilians; with neighborhoods that have been flattened and 150,000 displaced persons with nowhere safe to run. All that makes the claim nothing more than a bitter joke.
The claim that the world supports the war and recognizes its justness is also an Israeli deception. While it’s true that Western politicians reiterate that Israel has the right to defend itself, the bodies that are piling up and the desperate refugees are upsetting the world and generating hatred toward Israel. In the end, even the statesmen who support Israel will turn against it.

The next deception is that this war has shown “the People of Israel” to be “a wonderful nation.” It’s been a long time since there has been such a mendacious, intoxicating, saccharine and self-congratulatory campaign. The nation has pitched in to support the troops, and that is moving. But in addition to the vans filled with sweet treats and the trucks laden with packages of underwear, and the funerals for soldiers whose families live abroad that thousands of Israelis have turned out for and the displays of concern for the wounded, this war has also exposed other behaviors, in all their ugliness. The “soldiers’ welfare committee” that is the People of Israel has been exposed in its indifference to the suffering of the other side. Not a pinch of compassion, not a smidgen of humanity, not shock, not empathy for its pain. The horrific images from Gaza – they are no less than horrific – are met here with something between a yawn and joy. A people that behaves in this manner does not deserve the praise it heaps on itself. When people are dying in Gaza and people in Tel Aviv are disinterested, there’s no cause for excitement.

Nor is there cause for excitement in the incitement campaign against the handful of people who oppose the war. From cabinet ministers and Knesset members to street and Internet thugs — an ill wind is blowing. Obedient citizens only. “Israeli unity”? “The nation is one big family”? It’s a joke. Like the joke that is the Israeli news media in wartime, a propaganda network whose members have issued emergency call-up notices to themselves, in order to praise and extol, to incite and to instigate – and to close its eyes.

And the biggest joke of all, the mother of all deceptions: the belief in the rightness of its ways. The “just war” slogan is repeated so frequently, ad nauseam, that one begins to suspect that even the ones who scream it the loudest have their doubts, otherwise they wouldn’t scream so loudly and wouldn’t fight so easily with the few who try to express a different opinion. After all, how can a preventable war be justified? And how can one wrap oneself in its rightness in the presence of the horror-show images from Gaza?

Perhaps the ground is burning under the feet of the members of this war-justifiers’ chorus as well. Perhaps they also realize that when the battles end, the real picture will become clear. That’s how it always is in wars of deception, and that’s how the war of 2014 will turn out, too.

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A day in Gaza

PC(USA) mission co-worker visits partner hospital during ceasefire

August 13, 2014

Special to Presbyterian News Service

Kate Taber

PC(USA) mission co-worker


Though he broke his leg, and a vein on the back of his ankle was cut, this boy was very proud to tell Rev. Taber that he escaped death amidst an Israeli attack. Tragically, not everyone has been so fortunate. At least459 children, all Palestinian, have been killed during this war.

[PNS] Editor’s note: The Rev. Kate Taber is a mission co-worker for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She is serving in Israel/Palestine as facilitator for peacemaking and mission partnerships. On Aug. 11, she had the opportunity to travel to Gaza and tour the Al Ahli Arab Hospital, a PC(USA) partner. [The Israel/Palestine Mission Network just donated $5,000 to Al Ahli Arab Hospital.] To read a PNS interview with Taber about her experiences with the recent conflict in Gaza,click here.

Al Ahli Arab Hospital is the oldest hospital in Gaza, established in 1882 by British Christian missionaries. It is also the only Christian healthcare institution in Gaza, where there are only about 1,500 Christians total. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been a longtime partner of the hospital, which is a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.

Hospital director Suhaila Tarazi says of the hospital’s mission, “We are here as an instrument in the hands of God to show the love of Jesus Christ for all people. We are proud that in all conflicts, this hospital was there to eliminate the suffering of the injured, the poor, and to help those in need of a compassionate heart. This hospital will continue to be a place of reconciliation, of love. The history of this hospital tells the story that we are all children of one God — whether we are Christian, Muslim or Jewish.”

Young Mohammad brags that he got better before his two brothers. His mother, grandmother, aunt and aunt's family were killed in the strike that injured him and his brothers and destroyed his home. —Kate Taber

I had the incredible privilege of spending a handful of hours in Gaza during a rare ceasefire. It is difficult to get into Gaza in normal times. The only people allowed in are diplomats, UN staff, aid workers and a handful of others connected with organizations that have branches or staff in Gaza. None of the Palestinians I know can go. Most church workers cannot. It is even more difficult in times of war, as the checkpoint can close with little notice and fragile truces can explode into more rounds of fire. I was lucky enough to have the help of the Mennonite Central Committee and the hospital itself, and fortunate that the current ceasefire held so that I could get safely in and out.

I used these precious few hours to visit Al Ahli Arab Hospital, where staff are struggling to ease the suffering brought on by Israel’s Operation Protective Edge.

At the hospital, I met Tarazi, as well as Maher Ayyad, medical director. Tarazi affirmed this war has been the worst yet.

This little boy was covered in burns. Several members of his family are also being treated for burns, including other children. Along with the rest of their family, they are all staying together in one room in Al Ahli Arab Hospital.

“This war targeted not only people, belongings, lives, but the entire economy they depend on — farms, factories, infrastructure, electricity, water supply,” she said.

Ayyad told me that the number and extent of the injuries for each person made this war different as well. During previous wars, he said, people might come in with a fracture or a burn. Now, they are coming in with a broken bone, multiple extensive burns and internal bleeding. He also said that more than before, his patients have been the only remaining member of their family. The trauma is unimaginable.

The hospital is small, with a normal capacity for 50 beds, though it has added several more during this war. The hospital also increased its staff by 10, but leaders say they need 10 more. Staff work 24-hour shifts, with 24 hours off. The rest of the staff continue to work around the clock, though Tarazi said it is often difficult and dangerous for them to get to work.
I was told that at that point in the day, around noon, their clinic, staffed by three doctors and three nurses, had already seen 113 patients. The burn unit had seen 30. The hospital is short of medicine, medical supplies and fuel. It is using a donation of 10,000 liters of fuel, costing $20,000, which will last 10 days.

Many windows have been blown out from the force of nearby shelling. Shrapnel has damaged the building, creating holes and cracks in the walls. Pieces of shrapnel entered some patients’ rooms, causing some to refuse to stay, deciding not even the hospital was safe. Shrapnel also damaged the steam pipe supporting the hospital’s laundry room. No replacement pipe can be found in Gaza, where it is forbidden to make or import it. So, the hospital waited days for a permit from Israel to get the replacement pipe.

I was given a tour of the burn unit, outpatient clinic and wards used to house patients with all kinds of wounds. I met a young woman from Shuja’iyya with a broken femur whose home was destroyed and along with it a dozen members of her family. I met a young man with a colon injury, moaning on a bed, whose family was celebrating because he got permission to be transferred for treatment in Turkey. I peeked into a room housing two extended families of burn patients who were on the mend. The extended families of most patients are staying in their room with them. I met a boy around 13 years old who told me proudly he had escaped death. He was visiting his grandmother when shelling struck a nearby house. He was very frightened, he said, but ran away, breaking his leg and slicing open a vein on the back of his ankle.

I met a little boy named Mohammad along with his two brothers. Mohammad bragged he got better first. Tarazi told me his mother, grandmother, aunt and aunt’s family all died in the strike that injured them. As we left the room, we overheard Mohammad asking his father, “Are we going home tomorrow?” “They have no home to go back to,” Tarazi told me.

I was asked to take a picture of a small boy in a wheelchair, covered in burns. His mother did not want to be in the picture, so a doctor came to stand with the child. He started crying. “He is afraid of people in white coats now,” Tarazi said.

As shocking as the number and intensity of the injuries are now, Tarazi says the needs will only grow: “There will be public health problems. We have a lot of cases of meningitis, related directly to the living situation of the people. Also scabies, diarrhea. You see 1,000 or 1,500 living in one school. There is no proper water supply. There is no proper sewage. Other needs are the psychosocial needs. It will be a big problem in Gaza. Also, those who have lost their extremities will need a long time for treatment. Also, chronic cases have been neglected. Also, we already had a problem of malnutrition; what about now? All aspects of life are affected. It will take a long time to restore normal life.”

The lasting impact of the war will go beyond health problems.
A toy truck hangs precariously off the roof of a building destroyed during shelling in Shuja'iyyia, in the neighborhood surrounding the hospital and one of the areas most heavily hit.
A toy truck hangs precariously off the roof of a building destroyed during shelling in Shuja'iyyia, in the neighborhood surrounding the hospital and one of the areas most heavily hit. —Kate Taber
Ayyad said, “The problem with this war is it will not finish when they start the ceasefire. The problem will start after. Because people who are living in shelters, they will start to go back to their houses and they will not find any house to live in. People will start to look for some of their missing people and not find them. People who lost their extremities will realize it. The lady who lost her husband will be a widow and she will suffer. The child left without parents will suffer. Those who had severe injuries need long-term support. The suffering will start after the ceasefire. That’s where Palestinians are in need of international help. Unemployment before this war was 40 percent; after this war and the destruction of almost all factories in Gaza, unemployment will increase. Schools will be delayed, and universities. Hospitals close.”

I asked Tarazi how she hoped this conflict might end. As she answered, she spoke firmly, unequivocally, her jaw set. “It is about time that the Palestinians have the right to be free. Free the captives. Why are the 2 million kept as hostages in the tiny Gaza Strip? Why? Why should people suffer from collective punishment by the Israelis? If they are talking about human rights and a two-state solution, that should have been started a long time ago. Why wait until now? Children of Abraham, whether they are Jews or Arabs, they deserve a good life. Not to keep part of them as captives, and the others with the right to freedom. It’s about time this conflict should be ended. Enough suffering. Enough bloodshed. This is an opportunity for all the leaders to sit together and solve this situation.”

Tarazi and Ayyad were intensely grateful for all the ways people have supported the hospital, saying, “Support of any means keeps this hospital going in our mission of healing. Any support — prayers, thoughts, advocacy, money — helps us eliminate the suffering of the innocents.”  

I left then, hurrying to get back to the checkpoint before it closed. On my way out of the hospital, I saw the staff passing out cases of bottled water to members of the community. I stepped over broken window glass. I saw again the steady stream of people walking through the gates headed to the clinic for treatment. I said a prayer of gratitude for the grace and strength of Tarazi, the determined perseverance of the entire staff, and the smiles on the faces of those who had endured what for most of us is only nightmares. May Tarazi’s hopes become real — an end to the suffering and bloodshed and a solution to this conflict that provides a good life for all.

All photos by Rev. Kate Taber.

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