Outrage as Israel bombs UN and Hospital

700 Palestinian Refugees Forced To Flee

un-headquarters-jan-16United Nations workers and Palestinian firefighters try to put out fires and save bags of food aid at the UN headquarters after it was hit by Israeli bombardment in Gaza yesterday Photo: AP

Outrage as Israel bombs UN and Hospital

Aid workers allege use of banned white phosphorus as Hamas security leader dies in bombing raid on house

By Kim Sengupta in Jerusalem

January 16, 2009

Israeli tanks thrust deep inside Gaza City last night as ferocious fighting raged in dense residential areas with terrified families fleeing along streets echoing with gunfire, although many others were trapped in their homes.

Israeli shelling set fire to the UN headquarters, a hospital, a school and a building used by the media, leading to widespread international protests and renewed calls for a ceasefire in the conflict which has so far cost 1,073 Palestinian and 13 Israeli lives. A senior Hamas leader, the Interior Minister Said Seyyam who was responsible for thousands of security agents, was killed in an Israeli raid which flattened his brother’s home.

Three members of UN staff were injured when three Israeli shells hit the headquarters, setting it on fire. Thousands of tonnes of desperately needed food and humanitarian supplies were destroyed and about 700 refugees given shelter in the building had to be evacuated. UN officials said the shells were white phosphorus, believed to have been responsible for burns suffered by some Palestinian civilians.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, on a peace mission to the region, said: “I conveyed my strong protest and outrage to the Defence Minister and Foreign Minister and demanded a full explanation.”

The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, apologised for the shelling but claimed Hamas fighters had opened fire from the centre. “It is absolutely true that we were attacked from that place, but the consequences are very sad and we apologise for it,” he said. “I don’t think it should have happened and I’m very sorry.”

John Ging, the director of operations for the UN relief agency, UNRWA, in Gaza described the Israeli claim about a Hamas presence as “nonsense”. He added: “It’s a total disaster for us.” Mr Ging said the UN had warned the Israelis the compound was in danger from shelling that had begun overnight, and provided them with GPS co-ordinates to prevent an attack.

The Al-Quds hospital was also hit by shellfire when Israeli tanks moved further into the city. A tower housing the Reuters agency and other media outlets was also hit. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the damage caused to the Al Quds hospital is “completely and utterly unacceptable based on every known standard of international humanitarian law”.

The hospital is in the Tal Hawa district, a packed residential area. Streams of people fled from the fighting, carrying what belongings they could on foot, by car, and, in some cases wheelbarrows after homes were demolished and set ablaze. Mahmud Tejan Hussein drove away with seven members of his family. “Bullets started hitting our house and I decided that we must get away from here. There are Israeli tanks in the area now and we might get blocked off if we wait. But I do not know where we are going to go. We wanted to go to the UN office, but that has been attacked. Wherever we go, the fighting will follow us.”

Musah Mohammed, 36, who stayed at his home in an apartment block, said: “We cannot go out. There is shooting in the street. My mother is ill and she is old; we cannot leave her here. People are shouting to each other from balconies crying that they need help. We have no electricity and very little food and water. We are very afraid; we do not know what will happen next.” It was unclear whether the escalation was a final push before a ceasefire, as peace talks continued yesterday in Cairo where Israel’s chief negotiator Amos Gilad arrived to hear the Hamas response to an Egyptian initiative.

Mark Regev, the spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister, said a “momentum” was building up on the talks. “Ultimately, we want to see a long-term sustainable quiet in the south, a quiet that’s going to be based on the total absence of all hostile fire from Gaza into Israel, and an internationally supported mechanism that will prevent Hamas from rearming,” he said.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Mr Olmert by phone that Washington would sign an agreement on measures to stop Hamas from rearming after a ceasefire. The Egyptian proposals call for an immediate ceasefire, resumption of humanitarian aid, an Israeli pullout and the reopening of the border between Israel and Gaza under international supervision.

Source

The trauma these people are suffering, will take years for them to overcome and many will never recover. Many will suffer the same fate as many soldier’s  do PTS etc. Many are permanently disabled. Many have lost limbs. Many are permanently disfigured.  The after math will be horrendous to say the least.

The cancers etc will take a large, futuristic toll.

Rebuilding their country will take years, if they ever get it rebuilt.

Israel Navy ships turn back “Spirit of Humanity” carrying Gaza humanitarian aid

President of the United Nations General Assembly: Israel violating International Law

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Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 7:52 am  Comments Off on Outrage as Israel bombs UN and Hospital  
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Jewish Voices Against the Israeli Attacks

Not in my name

In the midst of the carnage in Gaza, it defies belief that my synagogue has asked me to march in solid support of Israel.

By Brian Klug
January 9 2009

In any conflict between peoples, there is a time for balancing the books, for placing facts neatly in the debit and credit columns, for issuing measured statements about the rights and wrongs on both sides. But not in the midst of one-sided carnage. The only decent thing to feel at the present time is outrage. The only thing for decent people to do right now is to condemn, without reserve or qualification, the brutal campaign that the Israeli military is waging against the population of Gaza. Every if and but derogates from decency.

Earlier this week, my synagogue sent its members an email containing details of two rallies in support of Israel “which we would urge you to support”. No ifs and buts here, just solid support for the perpetrator in the midst of the horror, it is perpetrating. Is it possible to go further in the opposite direction to decency?

Attached was a flyer for a “Mass Rally in Support of Israel” organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, with “the support of the major organisations of UK Jewry”, to be held in London this weekend. The flyer proclaims: “End Hamas terror!” No ifs and buts here either. No hint at the unspeakable state terror being unleashed, day after day, by the Israeli military. It defies belief.

So, let me place on record the following fact: the board does not speak for all British Jews and certainly not for this one. Nor does the so-called Leadership Council, nor any of the organisations associated with this misbegotten event.

None of them represents me or the Judaism that I cherish and which leads me to say as follows: I condemn utterly the military offensive by the government of Israel against the people of Gaza. The loss of any human life, on whatever side of this conflict, is a terrible thing. At this juncture, though, my heart is with the Palestinians on the ground in the midst of their misery. And I extend my hand to those Israelis who are speaking out against their own government.

For alternative views among Britain’s Jews, see the website of Independent Jewish Voices

Source

So I took Brian’s advice and went to the Independent Jewish Voices.

This is what I found.

We are a network of Jews in Britain who share a commitment to certain principles, especially with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in mind: putting human rights first, rejecting all forms of racism, and giving equal priority to Palestinians and Israelis in their quest for a peaceful and secure future. We believe that these principles, rather than group loyalty, should determine the parameters of legitimate debate.

Read the Declaration

Sign the Declaration

List of Signatories
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On Gaza

Please find below viewpoints and links on the tragic situation in Gaza.
Jewish Voices Against the Israeli Attacks

‘They are doing good, but they can do more’, Avi Pilchick was photographed telling reporters (Jan 5). He was just one of the Jewish Israeli bystanders on nearby hill-tops, applauding the spectacle of bombs hurtling down upon Gaza.

The official voice of Jewish opinion around the world, if less celebratory, is rallying in support of Israel.

Yet, significant numbers of Jewish people, inside and outside Israel, are devastated. Unable to halt the routine violation of human rights in Israel’s occupied territories or the prolonged and brutal siege preventing even the most urgent supplies reaching Gaza, we now face the enduring horror of military invasion.

While condemning every rocket fired on civilians from Gaza, we reject as absurd the ubiquitous Israeli propaganda that bombing and terrorizing Gaza will end them.

Despite its ideological hatred of Israel, elected Hamas officials have proved willing to negotiate. Hamas largely kept its side of the ceasefire it had agreed with Israel before the ending of the truce period, while in Gazan eyes Israel’s continued siege of their territory constantly violated it, devastating civilian life.

Few people seem able to change the lens through which they view this tragedy. Yet, like the Canadian women who occupied the Israeli embassy in Toronto, the hundreds of well-known Israeli writers, artists, musicians, academics and others, calling upon the international community to stop Israel , more Jewish voices are fighting harder than ever to force the world to pressurize Israel to accept that there is no military solution to this conflict, and to begin honest negotiations with all parties necessary for a peaceful settlement: a strategy it has rarely attempted, and never consistently pursued.

Lynne Segal (Founding Signatory IJV)

“If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink” (Proverbs 25:21)

Our tradition contains some wise words. Perhaps the Israeli government would do well to return to the sources and reflect on the ethics of its actions.

Source

Jewish Voice for Peace statement on Gaza attacks

Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) – formerly known as the Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians – is a network of 18 Jewish groups as well as individual Jews from across Canada who are opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

December 28, 2008

Jewish Voice for Peace joins millions around the world, including the 1,000 Israelis who protested in the streets of Tel Aviv this weekend, in condemning ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza. We call for an immediate end to attacks on all civilians, whether Palestinian or Israeli.

Israel’s slow strangulation of Gaza through blockade has caused widespread suffering to the 1.5 million people of Gaza due to lack of food, electricity, water treatment supplies and medical equipment. It is a violation of humanitarian law and has been widely condemned around the world.

In resisting this strangulation, Hamas resumed launching rockets and mortars from Gaza into southern Israel, directly targeting civilians, which is also a war crime. Over the years, these poorly made rockets have been responsible for the deaths of 15 Israelis since 2004.

Every country, Israel included, has the right and obligation to protect its citizens. The recent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza shows that diplomatic agreements are the best protection for civilian life.

Moreover, massive Israeli air strikes have proven an indiscriminate and brutal weapon. In just two days, the known death toll is close to 300, and the attacks are continuing. By targeting the infrastructure of a poor and densely populated area, Israel has ensured widespread civilian casualties among this already suffering and vulnerable population.

This massive destruction of Palestinian life will not protect the citizens of Israel. It is illegal and immoral and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. And it threatens to ignite the West Bank and add flames to the other fires burning in the Middle East and beyond for years to come.

The timing of this attack, during the waning days of a US administration that has undertaken a catastrophic policy toward the Middle East and during the run-up to an Israeli election, suggests an opportunistic agenda for short-term political gain at an immense cost in Palestinian lives. In the long run this policy will benefit no-one except those who always profit from war and exploitation. Only a just and lasting peace, achieved through a negotiated agreement, can provide both Palestinians and Israelis the security they want and deserve.

Source

Independent Jewish Voices Condemns Israel’s Gaza Massacre
By Independent Jewish Voices in  Canada

December 28 2009
Occupied Palestine

December 28, 2008
The Israeli military has unleashed its most vicious air assault against the people of Gaza in decades, killing over 280 Gazans and wounding over 700. Despite claims by the Israeli leadership that they are trying to avoid civilians the attacks have been concentrated on Gaza City and the towns of Khan Younis and Rafah. Israeli television reports that Israeli troops are massing on the border “in preparation for a supplementary ground offensive.”

Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) condemns this murderous escalation of violence by the Israeli government. Diana Ralph, IJV Coordinator calls this assault “completely disproportionate to the unsupportable firing of Qassam rockets by Hamas fighters which killed one Israeli. It’s important to put this into the context of the deadly siege of Gaza by the Israeli forces, which continued in violation of the terms of the recent six month truce between Israel and Gaza. In the ethics of violent conflicts, it is the responsibility of the force wielding power – the Israeli government in this case – to create the conditions for a just peace.”

Dr. Judy Deutsch, IJV representative, added: “This massacre will only intensify the cycle of violence in the region and heighten the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The aim of these attacks is not to bring about peace but to strengthen the position of the Israeli government as it heads into elections next February.”

Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) calls for an immediate halt to all violence in the conflict, the cessation of the Israeli government’s blockade against Gaza, a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Occupied West Bank and the dismantling of settlements.

We also call on the Canadian government to recall its ambassador to Israel and strongly condemn Israel’s assault.

Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) – formerly known as the Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians – is a network of 18 Jewish groups as well as individual Jews from across Canada who are opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

Source

January 10 2008

In San Francisco, Jewish protesters joined pro-Palestinian forces this week as hundreds gathered outside the Israeli consulate to make their voices heard, some carrying signs saying “Gaza = Warsaw Ghetto.” Among them was Jack Fertig – known to many in town as performance artist Sister Boom Boom – who said, “I’m descended from Holocaust victims, and we need to identify with the oppressed, not imitate the oppressors.

Source

An Open Letter From Jewish Youth in Canada – Support of Gaza -all Jewish youth can sign

In Toronto Jan 7: Canadian Jewish women protesting against Gaza War, Arrested after occupying the Israeli Consulate

Gaza (1): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza Petitions

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on January 10, 2009 at 12:35 pm  Comments Off on Jewish Voices Against the Israeli Attacks  
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Global Starvation Ignored by American Policy Elites

November 12 2008

By Peter Phillips

A new report (9/2/08) from The World Bank admits that in 2005 three billion one hundred and forty million people live on less that $2.50 a day and about 44% of these people survive on less than $1.25. Complete and total wretchedness can be the only description for the circumstances faced by so many, especially those in urban areas. Simple items like phone calls, nutritious food, vacations, television, dental care, and inoculations are beyond the possible for billions of people.

Starvation.net logs the increasing impacts of world hunger and starvation. Over 30,000 people a day (85% children under 5) die of malnutrition, curable diseases, and starvation. The numbers of unnecessary deaths has exceeded three hundred million people over the past forty years.

These are the people who David Rothkopf in his book Superclass calls the unlucky. “If you happen to be born in the wrong place, like sub-Saharan Africa, …that is bad luck,” Rothkopf writes. Rothkopf goes on to describe how the top 10% of the adults worldwide own 84% of the wealth and the bottom half owns barely 1%. Included in the top 10% of wealth holders are the one thousand global billionaires. But is such a contrast of wealth inequality really the result of luck, or are there policies, supported by political elites, that protect the few at the expense of the many?

Farmers around the world grow more than enough food to feed the entire world adequately. Global grain production yielded a record 2.3 billion tons in 2007, up 4% from the year before, yet, billions of people go hungry every day. Grain.org describes the core reasons for continuing hunger in a recent article “Making a Killing from Hunger.” It turns out that while farmers grow enough food to feed the world, commodity speculators and huge grain traders like Cargill control the global food prices and distribution. Starvation is profitable for corporations when demands for food push the prices up. Cargill announced that profits for commodity trading for the first quarter of 2008 were 86% above 2007. World food prices grew 22% from June 2007 to June 2008 and a significant portion of the increase was propelled by the $175 billion invested in commodity futures that speculate on price instead of seeking to feed the hungry. The result is wild food price spirals, both up and down, with food insecurity remaining widespread.

For a family on the bottom rung of poverty a small price increase is the difference between life and death, yet neither US presidential candidate has declared a war on starvation. Instead both candidates talk about national security and the continuation of the war on terror as if this were the primary election issue. Given that ten times as many innocent people died on 9/11/01 than those in the World Trade centers, where is the Manhattan project for global hunger? Where is the commitment to national security though unilateral starvation relief? Where is the outrage in the corporate media with pictures of dying children and an analysis of who benefits from hunger?

American people cringe at the thought of starving children, often thinking that there is little they can do about it, save sending in a donation to their favorite charity for a little guilt relief. Yet giving is not enough, we must demand hunger relief as a national policy inside the next presidency. It is a moral imperative for us as the richest nation in the world nation to prioritize a political movement of human betterment and starvation relief for the billions in need. Global hunger and massive wealth inequality is based on political policies that can be changed. There will be no national security in the US without the basic food needs of the world being realized.

Peter Phillips is a professor of sociology at Sonoma State University and director of Project Censored a media research group.

Source

Starvation is profitable for corporations. How about we take their profits away.