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NEWS DIGEST: Struggling to survive in Gaza's ruins

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Maisoon  ميسون
                   
                        
“To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight back), because they are wronged; and verily, God is most powerful for their aid; (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right, (for no cause) except that they say, our Lord is God”. (22:39-40)

http://www.palestine-info.co.uk             
 
 
 
 
http://www.middleeasteye.net/                                   
 
 
 
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Gazans return to ruined homes as truce holds:
 
Five-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas encourages many Palestinians to head back home to inspect damage.
 
 
  ==========================
As the dust settles in Gaza, devastated families mourn their dead:
 
It is raining dust and shrapnel, and the night is alive with the sound of screaming.
 
 

Gaza: Whole Villages Have Been Wiped Off the Map

 
By: Elias
 
by Dr. MONA EL-FARRA                      
 
The smell and the sights we saw were shocking. The moment we parked and I got out, a very strange smell hit us—the smell of dead bodies. That smell will never leave me; it is still stuck in my nose. We saw totally flattened houses and other houses partially destroyed. It reminded me of pictures from war-torn areas where years of fighting erased a village
 
‘………..We continued toward Khuza’a. It was a model Palestinian agricultural village with open fields and green everywhere. They had fruit trees and vegetable fields. But there was nothing left of the village I remembered We continued toward Khuza’a. It was a model Palestinian agricultural village with open fields and green everywhere. They had fruit trees and vegetable fields. But there was nothing left of the village I remembered
 
The smell and the sights we saw were shocking. The moment we parked and I got out, a very strange smell hit us—the smell of dead bodies. That smell will never leave me; it is still stuck in my nose. We saw totally flattened houses and other houses partially destroyed.  It reminded me of pictures from war-torn areas where years of fighting erased a village. I could tell that something huge and terrible had happened here, the rubble and the destruction were extreme. Some villagers told us they had found two bodies in the rubble a couple of hours before we arrived. Still people were searching the ruins for their relative’s remains. Many times I had to stop myself from vomiting because the smell was so strong.
 
This Israeli assault has hit the Palestinian people more deeply than the last two military attacks. This one is even more deadly and destructive. Whole neighborhoods and villages have been wiped off the map.
 
I ask myself now how can we start again?
 
The smell and the sights we saw were shocking. The moment we parked and I got out, a very strange smell hit us—the smell of dead bodies. That smell will never leave me; it is still stuck in my nose. We saw totally flattened houses and other houses partially destroyed.  It reminded me of pictures from war-torn areas where years of fighting erased a village. I could tell that something huge and terrible had happened here, the rubble and the destruction were extreme. Some villagers told us they had found two bodies in the rubble a couple of hours before we arrived. Still people were searching the ruins for their relative’s remains. Many times I had to stop myself from vomiting because the smell was so strong.
 
This Israeli assault has hit the Palestinian people more deeply than the last two military attacks. This one is even more deadly and destructive. Whole neighborhoods and villages have been wiped off the map.
 
I ask myself now how can we start again?
 

Struggling to survive in Gaza's ruins

 
After five weeks of war, the destruction in Gaza has reached almost apocalyptic proportions. The clinics can no longer treat people; electricity and power are scarce - people are fighting to survive.
 
 
 

How Israel targeted the children of Gaza

 
These stories are not fiction. They are the gruesome reality created by the Israeli war machine. The streets of Gaza tell the stories of hundreds of children. Family members who have escaped death have not been able to escape the trauma of it all. These are some of their stories.
 
Who in the world would believe that Israeli warplanes would pursue a child who had survived their initial bombing only to kill him 10 days later? This is the reality of the war on Gaza and the story of nine-year-old Ibrahim al-Dawawsa, who lived with his family in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood north of Gaza City. Last Friday around noon, a drone dropped a missile that blew his head off, killing him immediately.
 
Ibrahim went out to perform the Friday prayers for what turned out to be the last time ever after he heard the call to prayer at al-Nour al-Mohammedi Mosque near his home. He had showered and worn his new clothes, as if he sensed that his moment of death is near and wanted to die pure.
 
This is the Israeli war machine that has no regard for children or humanity. Very simply, it dropped its bombs over the heads of people flocking to the mosque. When a missile hit Ibrahim, worshippers rushed to where he was only to find him drowning in his own blood.
 
As soon as Ibrahim’s mother heard the sound of bombing, she screamed putting her hand on her heart, and called after him: “Ibrahim, where are you my son?” As though a mother is destined to feel the loss of her child before anyone delivers the news to her.
 
She ran, as she told Al-Akhbar, to the window to look for a sign of her son who had gone out seconds ago, only to see him carried by the neighbors. She screamed: “Ibrahim is gone!”
 
Ibrahim’s father, Abu Jamal, went to the hospital to see his son’s corpse. He found him on a bed with his skull broken, half of it gone. He started to scream in front of the cameras: “Shame on you, what did the children do to you to kill them like this. Oh God!”
 
The grieving father told Al-Akhbar that Ibrahim is the oldest of three sons. He also said that Ibrahim was hit in his left arm about 10 days before his death, when Israeli warplanes fired at children in al-Shati refugee camp on the morning of Eid al-Fitr.
 
“That day, Ibrahim survived miraculously and we thanked God so much for his safety,” his father added.
 
The 50-something-year-old father said that after Ibrahim was wounded the first time, he became very worried about his children’s safety, especially Ibrahim. He made them stay at home and prevented them from going out unless it was absolutely necessary. “But he was destined to die a martyr 10 days after his initial injury.”
 
Eyewitnesses said the missile hit Ibrahim directly and next to him was his friend Ahmed who suffered serious injuries. They were hit after the initial attempt to reach a truce that was supposed to last three days failed.
 
From the beginning of the war, it was obvious that the children were paying a heavy price because they were being targeted directly. Casualty statistics indicate that the number of children killed by Israel in Gaza is over 430, in addition to thousands more injured.
 
In another story, Israel hit another nine-year-old child in the face, making him blind in a split second, without regards to his young age. He is Mohammed Badran from al-Nusairat refugee camp in central Gaza. He now lies in an intensive care unit in al-Shifa Hospital in the hope that doctors might be able to restore his beautiful face that had been mangled by an Israeli bomb.
 
Mohammed’s nine-member family went to sleep on the night of July 30 after having dinner to the sound of continuous shelling. A missile interrupted the stillness of their home, hitting the room holding seven children, and destroying it over their heads.
 
All seven of them were wounded but Mohammed’s injury was the worst, in terms of the kind of injury he endured and how serious it was. According to the head of the Reception and Emergency Department at al-Shifa Hospital, Dr. Ayman al-Sahbani, Mohammed is having difficulty breathing. He is still on a respirator, “in addition to the fact that he lost his eyesight and the ability to speak.”
 
Sahbani said the child is waiting for a permit for treatment abroad given the critical condition he is in. The doctor said Badran’s case is one of the worst that they’ve had to deal with during the war.
 
Mohammed lost his right eye because the shrapnel hit his eyes. But his mother is hoping he will regain sight in his left eye even though the doctors informed her of the seriousness of his condition and the impossibility of treating him inside Gaza due to their modest capabilities.
 
When medical staff brought his 17-year-old sister Imane to stay by her brother’s side in one room, she held his hand and started crying. He could not see her but he held her fingers tightly.
 
After searching for Nidal Badran, Mohammed’s father, they found out that he was hit too and had to undergo several surgeries. The doctors said his condition was very critical but hours later, they announced his death. And so Mohammed lost his father too, the man who loved him and cared for him the most in this life.
 
As for his mother, she is busy caring for her seven wounded children whose injuries range from lacerations to the nerves to breaks and burns. She told Al-Akhbar: “The children were dreaming of Eid al-Fitr, instead they woke up to death. Why all this barbarity?”
 
An eyewitness recounted the story of another child who was killed in al-Shati refugee camp. He was struck while in front of a swing-set on the day of Eid al-Fitr and then brought to hospital. The doctors noticed that his fingers were tightly shut. When they opened his hand, a small coin appeared. According to his friends, he had intended to use it to pay the swing-set owner when his turn came.
 
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition
 
By: sabbah  http://sabbah.in/1kHcbPJ
Nearly 400,000 children in Gaza display signs of trauma from Israel’s recurrent wars on the Strip, with Palestinians believing their targeting is on purpose. Read more -
 
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By Franklin Lamb
 
‘……………….The toll of the war on Gaza’s children has been “catastrophic,” according to UN agencies. At least 450 have been killed, and those not having their physical bodies buried have found their innocence entombed. It is another casualty in the war—a war against all things daring to live and resist in Gaza. According to Chamseddine:
 
“Israel has forced the children of Gaza to lay flowers atop headstones, and watch helplessly as coffins that are filled with not only their most beloved family members, teachers, neighbors, and friends but also their most treasured memories, lullabies, lessons learned and those that will never come, descend into the belly of the earth. Their lips will memorize and form prayers for the dead and the stars that defied the siege that flickered freely high above them will be snatched from their skies.”
Increasingly it is being heard from Gazans that “Israel has stolen everything beautiful in our lives,” and Israel’s barbarity confirms this sentiment.
 
 Middle East analysts point out that it is difficult to recall a time in modern history when there has been so much sustained slaughter of this region’s civilian population, with more than two-thirds of the victims being women and children. For the past year, UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations have lamented a simple reality—that there is not a sufficient level of international aid to save lives and treat those in need of emergency and longer term medical care……………………………….’
 
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as much as this is a kind compassionate gesture from Venezuela, it is important that these children are not taken away from their nation, their culture and their faith. If they can be put into Arab families within Venezuela, that would be a blessing for these poor orphans. I myself indeed wish I had the means and wherewithal to do such a thing for these children so severely traumatised by their experiences and loss of parents/family. This humanitarian gesture should have come from Arab Nations but hey, they are too busy killing each other and betraying their nations for Israel’s interests. Plus we have to be careful of the Masonic Zionist paedophiles amongst them who could harm the children even more.  Arab money and wealth instead is spent on buying European football clubs, gambling, hiring prostitutes and generally ‘living it up and squandering the wealth that they probably exploited from the oil rich coffers of their countries. God forbid if these rich bastards, immoral to boot, would spend money on orphanges  for children traumatised by wars such as in Gaza, Syria and Iraq. Their priority is sponsoring Western football boots and shirts and must not forget, horse races and grand prixs
 
Venezuela will take Gaza orphans, president declares:
 
Following a meeting with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, President Nicolas Maduro announced plans to give orphaned Palestinian children a home in Venezuela.
 
 
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One of the most important strikes in the propaganda war for Israel in the last month was dealt by the New York Times and CNN when they ran long pieces giving credence to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that Hamas was building tunnels out of Gaza aimed at kindergartens in nearby kibbutzes.
 
Back on July 22, Netanyahu asserted– on the basis of this cartoon drawing he tweeted– that the tunnels were aimed at Israeli kindergartens.
 
In fact (and as we reported), the only Israelis attacked from the tunnels were Israeli soldiers. But a week after Netanyahu’s statement, both the Times and CNN took the prime minister’s claim at face value. The Times’s piece, “ Tunnels Lead Right to Heart of Israeli Fear” gave priority to rumors over actual information, and reported that “ one tunnel was found over the weekend” in Kibbutz Be’eri. The piece quoted a resident of the kibbutz saying,……
 

America Giving Israel a Pass on Civilian Deaths

 
 
‘……..On the same day, three missiles hit a park next to the Al Shifa hospital, killing 10 and wounding 46. The IDF blamed the explosions on Hamas rockets that had fallen short. The idea that three Hamas rockets had fallen short within such short distances from one another, however, was hardly a credible explanation.
 
The IDF also appeared to target facilities run by the UNRWA. On Jul. 23 and 24, Israeli tank shells hit Palestinian refugees at two different school compounds designated as U.N. shelters, despite intensive communications by U.N. officials to IDF asking to spare them.
 
An attack on a U.N. refugee shelter at Beit Hanoun elementary school Jul. 24 killed 15 civilians and wounded more than 200. The IDF again claimed a Hamas rocket had fallen short. But it also claimed Hamas fighters had fired on Israeli troops from the compound, then later retreated from the claim.
 
At the Jul. 24 briefing, Harf read a statement deploring the Beit Hanoun strike and the “rising death toll in Gaza” and said that a UNRWA facility “is not a legitimate target”.
 
Harf said Israel “could do a bit more” to show restraint. But when a reporter asked if the United States was “willing to take any kind of action” if Israel did not respond to U.S. advice, Harf said the U.S. focus was “getting a ceasefire”, implying that it was not prepared to impose any consequences on Israel for refusing to change its military tactics in Gaza.
 
On Jul. 25, a reporter at the daily briefing observed that the hospital and schools had been targeted despite reports confirming that there had been no militants or rockets in them.
 
But Harf refused to accept that characterisation of the situation and repeated the Israeli line that Hamas had used U.N. facilities to “hide rockets”. She said she could not confirm whether there were rockets in “the specific school that was hit”.
 
The IDF hit another UNRWA school sheltering refugees at Jabaliya refugee camp Jul. 30, killing 10 and wounding more than 100. The IDF acknowledged it had fired several tank shells at the school, claiming again that mortar shells had been fired from there.
 
That was too much for the Obama administration. White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the attack “totally unacceptable and totally indefensible” and even made it clear that there was little doubt that Israel was responsible.
 
Even then, however, the administration merely repeated its call for Israel to “do more to live up to the high standards that they have set for themselves”, as Earnest put it.
 
On Aug. 3, the IDF struck yet another refugee facility at the Rafah Boys Prep School A, killing 12 refugees and wounding 27. The IDF said it had been targeting three “terrorists” riding a motorcycle who had passed near the school.
 

GAZA CRISIS ATLAS – August 2014

By: sabbah
 
The Atlas has 108 pages of printable A3-size maps featuring satellite images of all areas of the Gaza Strip. The individual subset maps illustrate physical damages provided by UNOSAT based on analysis of satellite images from 1 August 2014. Read more--> http://sabbah
 

Israel’s War On Palestine: It’s Bad, But Is It ‘Genocide’?

By: sabbah
 
There's a lot of war and evil in this world, but kicking people out of their homes and bombing them because of who they are—because they aren't the same ethnicity—has a specific name: "genocide." Read more --> http://sabbah.in/1oOSq3U
 
It’s heartbreaking to see,” said US President Barack Obama of the death and destruction his government has helped the state of Israel deliver to the people of Gaza. It’s “really heartbreaking,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry of the nearly 2,000 innocent people killed by the Israeli military with weapons provided by the US government. “The loss of children has been particularly heartbreaking,” said Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations, of dead little boys and girls—more than 400 of them—being stacked on top of one another in a freezer meant for ice cream because Gaza’s morgues are overflowing with corpses.
 
There are a lot of words that one could use to describe the collective punishment of a stateless people living in what a top United Nations official describes as an “open-air prison,” but “heartbreaking” is perhaps the most inadequate, suggesting that there’s a certain tragic inevitability to Israel’s bombardments of Gaza, to which the only proper response is a shrug and a shake of the head. It’s acceptable to lament Israel’s killing of innocents, but the repeated bombing of UN schools packed with thousands of frightened civilians is, according to the harshest respectable critics, a strategic error—a case of “good intentions” paving the way to hell on Earth for Palestinians—not a reason to withdraw support for the settler-colonial project in Palestine or to “delegitimize” the idea of a state explicitly founded on ethnic supremacy.
 
Israel’s brutality is, of course, tragic, and the killing of babies is never a good look, but it’s more than just heartbreaking folly. “It is a moral outrage and a criminal act,” according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Widely viewed as an ally of the US and Israel, Ban nonetheless has labeled Israel’s deliberate targeting of UN schools in Gaza a “gross violation of international humanitarian law.”
 
Amnesty International has likewise accused Israel of committing “crimes against humanity” over its targeting of hospitals, ambulances, and first-responders, saying the state should be referred to the International Criminal Court for prosecution. And Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of “blatantly violating the laws of war,” with the group documenting numerous instances in which Israeli soldiers went out of their way to shoot fleeing civilians. But no Western official has called the terrorizing of 1.8 million people living in Gaza an “act of terrorism,” though it is openly intended to bring about political change and punish the people of Palestine for electing the wrong leaders. And while you’ll hear the word at protests, the leading human rights organizations have refrained from calling it “genocide.”
 
Defenders of Israel will say that’s because it’s the wrong word to use. Writing in the Jewish Daily Forward, New York attorney Inna Vernikov goes with Merriam-Webster in defining genocide as “the deliberate killing of people who belong to a particular racial, political, or cultural group.” That’s inappropriate with respect to Gaza, she argues, because Israel isn’t to blame for the killing—the Palestinians are. Absolutely, the “people of Gaza are under siege and are being denied basic rights to freedom, movement, education, and life,” but Vernikov argues that it’s their own fault: “Those rights are denied them by their own government, which they selected for themselves.”
 
While “you made me hurt you” is a favorite of abusive spouses and nation-states, even dusty old international law—drafted by the world’s most abusive powers—holds that innocent civilians may not be killed for the crime of voting the wrong way, though as with many other things criminalized by international law, that has of course happened, usually at the hand of the imperial powers (and de facto jurists).
 
Journalist Michael Wilner also believes it’s wrong to use the “G-word” with respect to Gaza. “Genocide is what happens when a people are discriminated against, corralled, and led to slaughter,” he writes in the Jerusalem Post, a paper published in the state of Israel—a state that bulldozes Palestinian houses while giving subsidized homes to American settlers of Jewish descent, ethnically cleansed 80 percent of the indigenous population upon its founding, imprisoned millions in militarily occupied ghettos, and just slaughtered one out of every 1,000 people living in Gaza. Wilner means to suggest what Israel has done isn’t as bad as some other terrible things in the world, but a bad thing need not be the worst thing in the world in order to still be a bad thing.
 
It’s important to remember that you don’t need millions of dead bodies and a Nazi industrial system of extermination to constitute genocide under the relevant convention,” writes Sam Husseini of the Institute for Public Accuracy, a Washington-based media watchdog. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines “genocide” as inflicting on a group “conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” As the very title of the treaty suggests, a genocide need not be anywhere near completed—the destruction need not be “in whole”—for genocidal behavior to merit the label. What matters is the motivation, not the body count.
 
“While conflict has many causes, genocidal conflict is identity-based,” says the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, an expert on such things. “These conflicts are fomented by discrimination,” as well as “hate speech inciting violence.”
 
Now, consider: Israel is a state that openly discriminates on the basis of identity, denying Palestinian refugees the ability to visit their old villages in what is now Israel while granting citizenship to anyone with a Jewish mother who wants it. Israel is a state where the deputy speaker of parliament openly calls for replacing the indigenous population of Gaza with Jewish settlers, and where a leading newspaper just published an article titled “When Genocide Is Permissible.” It’s the sort of place where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu feels comfortable calling the 20 percent of the population that isn’t Jewish—the indigenous people who weren’t pushed out—a “demographic threat” to apartheid, their continued reproduction posing a serious challenge to continued ethnic supremacy west of the Jordan River. So why are people afraid to use that word: “genocide”?
 
Amnesty International spokesperson Natalie Butz said that the language her group typically employs is “war crimes and crimes against humanity,” which she said both sides in the conflict have committed (though with a wildy varying degree of success). She said that “we want the situtation referred to the International Criminal Court, which is the international institution with jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide,” but did not respond when asked why Amnesty doesn’t refer to Israel’s actions as “genocidal.” Human Rights Watch was also reluctant to explain its linguistic decisions. Their press office would only say that the group “condemns Israel for committing war crimes in Gaza but does not refer to its actions as genocide,” which I, of course, already knew because I asked them why they do that.
 
[STUPID ALI ABUMINAH reinforcing World Jewry’s myth of the 6m Holohoax!!], worrying abut Jewish sensitivities but it is OK to Holocaust 200 Palestinians and people want to make that sound polite and politically correct for Israeli jews- disgusting!!]
 
 

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