Jan. 14, 2009
Below are three reports from the Free Gaza movement which successfully challenged Israel’s siege on Gaza in 2008, landing several boats in Gaza port with supplies, journalists and activists. Now en route to Gaza is another boat, the Spirit of Humanity.
Please read “WHAT YOU CAN DO”, a request for your personal intervention with Israeli authorities.
For a full list of the passengers on board the Spirit of Humanity and the “Official Notification of Intent to Enter” sent by Free Gaza to Israeli officials, see: http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=31275
FREE GAZA MOVEMENT
For Immediate Release
January 14, 2009
SPIRIT OF HUMANITY RESUMING MISSION
[Larnaca, Cyprus] The Free Gaza Movement vessel, SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, will resume its emergency mission to the besieged Gaza Strip at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 14, 2009. The ship will carry desperately needed doctors, journalists, human rights workers, and members of parliaments as well as medical supplies donated by the people of Greece and the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza.
After departure on January 12 at 3 pm from Larnaca Port the boat encountered problems with one of its two generators that was compounded by rough weather. For the safety of the passengers, the captain decided to return to port and the boat docked in Larnaca at about 9 pm on January 12. Thanks to the generosity and support of the people of Cyprus, the problem has been quickly repaired and the boat ready to depart.
New Free Gaza ship en route – ambiguous assurances from PM`s office
By Anis Hamadeh/Paul Larudee
Free Gaza Movement
January 12, 2009
Original title: `I can assure you that Israel will respect international law`
At 8:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, official Israeli Prime Minister Spokesperson Mark Regev discussed the current voyage of Free Gaza boat `Spirit of Humanity` with Free Gaza co-founder Paul Larudee.
Larudee was seeking assurance that Israel would not harm the boat or prevent it from entering Gaza with medical supplies and personnel, as well journalists and human rights workers. The boat is currently at sea, heading for Gaza. Israel is threatening to use `all available means` to stop the boat. On Dec. 30, an Israel gunboat rammed and almost sank a previous boat. Here is a rough, reconstructed transcript of the conversation:
Larudee: Hello, Mark? This is Paul Larudee, calling from California about the boat going from Cyprus to Gaza with medical supplies and personnel on board. [audible moan from Mark] The Israeli government has threatened to use `all available means` to stop the boat. I would like your assurances that the boat will not be attacked or prevented from completing its mission.
MERCY SHIP DEPARTS FOR GAZA: “WE ARE COMING IN ON TUESDAY”
Monday, Jan. 12
(Cyprus, 11 January 2009) – The Free Gaza Movement ship, `SPIRIT OF HUMANITY,` left Larnaca Port at 3:00 pm, Monday, 12 January, on an emergency mission to besieged Gaza. It is expected to arrive in Gaza at approximately 11am (UST) Tuesday morning.
Aboard the ship are 36 passengers and crew, representing 17 different nations. They are doctors, journalists, human rights workers, and five European parliamentarians representing Belgium, Greece, Italy, and Spain (see below for a complete passenger list). The mercy ship also carries desperately needed medical supplies meant for hospitals in the Gaza Strip.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Take Action! CALL the Israeli Government and let them know that the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY is coming to Gaza. DEMAND that Israel immediately STOP slaughtering civilians in Gaza and STOP using violence to prevent human rights and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.
Mark Regev in the Prime Minister`s office:
+972 2670 5354 or +972 5 0620 3264
Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence:
+972 3697 5339 or +972 50629 8148
Major Liebovitz from the Israeli Navy:
+ 972 5 781 86248
Jan. 15, 2009
(#1 and #2) These first two pieces discuss Israel’s use of white phosphorous as well as Dense Inert Metal Explosive, another highly destructive experimental weapon. The first piece below is an interview from Democracy Now with a doctor who is in Gaza as well as a military analyst for Human Rights Watch, and they describe both the visual evidence from the ground as well as the pattern of injuries seen in the hospitals as consistent with the use of these munitions. The descriptions of the injuries are graphic and very disturbing, comparing the hospitals in Gaza to a “scene from Dante’s Inferno” with civilians constituting 90% of the incoming casualties. The second article in this group is a Human Rights Watch report.
There is no clear word on whether Israel is in fact using these weapons, and whether it is using them in a proscribed way. Evidence points to these conclusions, but with the international community given such limited access to Gaza (the media is still kept out), these conclusions are still speculative. One important point made in this first piece however is that we do not need international monitors or forensics experts to tell us that Israel has laid siege to Gaza for the past 18 months, causing massive harm to the civilian population and creating a context in which civilians with ordinarily non-fatal injuries are condemned to death — and that this constitutes the greater crime, and an undeniable one.
(#3) Salon.com commentator Glenn Greenwald looks at Thomas Friedman’s recent column in the NY Times. Friedman defends Israel’s war on Gaza, arguing that it might achieve the same (successful, according to Friedman) outcome as Israel’s 2006 attack on Lebanon. In both cases, Friedman speculates approvingly, Israel is trying to teach terrorist groups a lesson they will not forget. It is trying to “exact enough pain on the civilians” to make them turn against Hamas and Hezbollah and prevent these groups from acting against Israel in the future.
Greenwald focuses on one specific aspect of Friedman’s argument, the fact that Friedman is very clearly advocating mass, state-sponsored terrorism. It is the textbook definition of terrorism, a war crime, to inflict premeditated, politically motivated violence against civilians, and this is precisely what Friedman is advocating and Israel is doing. It is shocking how blunt and unashamed both Friedman and other proponents of the war have been in (again, approvingly) citing harm to the civilian population as a military tactic. The only thing left to do is to call this what it is: terrorism, and Greenwald does this in a straightforward and lucid way, with plenty of supporting documentation. If you would like to let the NY Times know your opinion of Friedman, the address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters should be under 150 words and couched in polite terms.
Note, the media watchdog, FAIR, has issued an alert about the Friedman piece too: see: http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3679
(#4) Call for urgent humanitarian action by 9 Israeli human rights organizations. Details the “clear and present danger to the lives and well-being of tens of thousands of civilians.” The top four threats: 1) people are trapped and cannot flee; 2) the health system has collapsed; 3) those areas that were heavily attacked are isolated, cannot receive aid or even be assessed to know what their needs are; 4) many Gazan residents are without access to electricity and running water, and sewage is running in the streets.
With hope that this message will convince the powers in charge to immediately halt their attacks on civilians.
Sarah Anne Minkin
White Phosphorous and Dense Inert Metal Explosives: Is Israel Using Banned and Experimental Munitions in Gaza?
Israel is coming under increasing criticism for its possible use of banned and experimental munitions. Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of illegally firing white phosphorous, which causes horrific burns if it comes in contact with the skin, over crowded refugee camps in Gaza. Medics and human rights groups are also reporting that they are seeing injuries distinctive of another controversial weapon, Dense Inert Metal Explosive, known as DIME, that was designed by the US Air Force in 2006. Those struck by the weapon who survive suffer severe mutilations and internal injuries. We go to the Gaza border to speak with Marc Garlasco of Human Rights Watch and to Norway to speak with Dr. Mads Gilbert, who just returned from the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. He says Gaza is “truly a scene from Dante’s Inferno.” [includes rush transcript]
[DS added the videos]
Experimental weapons being used in Gaza
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Israel: Stop Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza
Chemical ‘Obscurant’ Poses Serious Risk to Civilians
Human Rights Watch
(Jerusalem, January 10, 2009) – Israel should stop using white phosphorus in military operations in densely populated areas of Gaza, Human Rights Watch said today. On January 9 and 10, 2009, Human Rights Watch researchers in Israel observed multiple air-bursts of artillery-fired white phosphorus over what appeared to be the Gaza City / Jabaliya area.
Tom Friedman offers a perfect definition of “terrorism”
Jan. 14, 2009
(Click on this link for a complete set of hypertext links in the piece below.)
Tom Friedman, one of the nation’s leading propagandists for the Iraq War and a vigorous supporter of all of Israel’s wars, has a column today in The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/14/opinion/14friedman.html?_r=2&ref=opinion) explaining and praising the Israeli attack on Gaza. For the sake of robust and diverse debate (for which our Liberal Media is so well known), Friedman’s column today appears alongside an Op-Ed from The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/14/opinion/14goldberg-1.html) one of the nation’s leading (and most deceitful: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2006/06/sb-goldbergs-war-1151687978) propagandists for the Iraq War and a vigorous supporter of all of Israel’s wars, who explains that Hamas is incorrigibly hateful and radical and cannot be negotiated with. One can hardly imagine a more compelling exhibit demonstrating the complete lack of accountability in the “journalism” profession — at least for those who are loyal establishment spokespeople who reflexively cheer on wars — than a leading Op-Ed page presenting these two war advocates, of all people, as experts, of all things, on the joys and glories of the latest Middle East war.
At a press conference held Wednesday in Jerusalem, a coalition of nine mainstream Israeli human rights groups presented a dramatic call to the Government of Israel to act immediately to end further violations of the Law of War in Gaza and relieve the humanitarian crisis in the territory. Ongoing violations were detailed and clear operational demands specified.
The text of the call can be found attached and below.