Middle East Today – Christopher Walker

Christopher Walker analyses mainstream media coverage as a result of Israel’s ban of foreign journalists during its attack on the people of Gaza, and refers to the insidious hasbara used by Israeli spokespersons. Israel calculates that it wins the war of words against Palestinians but can’t win the war of images – thus the decision to keep foreign journalists out of Gaza during the butchery is calculated to prevent imagery adverse to Israel escaping

The Zeitoun Air Strikes – Israeli War Crimes

Hilary Clinton is making the same sort of dead end noises as Condi already:

“Speaking on Tuesday at her senate confirmation hearing, Clinton said that the US must address Israel’s security and work on the “legitimate” political and economic aspirations of the Palestinians.

However she ruled out negotiations with the Palestinian group Hamas until it recognised Israel and renounced violence, saying her position on the issue was “absolute”.

Will Hamas surrender to Hilary? Unlikely, since there’s nothing new brought to the table.

Meanwhile the collective punishment of the people of Gaza continues with 1001 murdered.

How the pro-Israel lobby in Britain benefits from a generous London tycoon – junkets for journalists to Israel.

The British Israel Communication and Research Centre, known as Bicom, has been one of the most active organisations behind the scenes in the UK during the present Gaza offensive, organising briefings and interview opportunities with senior Israeli spokesmen.

Excerpts from the diary of Safah Joudeh.

Israel is doomed. Their lies cannot withstand the truth which is sweeping the world in defiance of their oily propaganda. Here’s what the Hamas government Health Minister has to say about the Shoah against the civilian population of Gaza.

We believe in resistance, not revenge

Hamas is demonised to justify Palestinian suffering in Gaza. But we have no quarrel with Jewish people, only the actions of Israel

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

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

We have made clear our conditions for a ceasefire: a halt to the aggression, full withdrawal and the lifting of the siege. We have rejected any international force inside the Gaza Strip, but international monitoring at the crossings can be discussed. However, last week’s UN security council resolution has given a green light for the Israelis to continue their killing under an international umbrella.

Now that their massacres of women and children and their destruction of schools and mosques have been exposed before the world, the Zionists’ propaganda machine is trying to discredit our liberation struggle more desperately than ever. Through flagrant misquotation and mistranslation, they have falsely claimed that Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar has called for the killing of Jewish children around the world and attacks on synagogues.

He did no such thing – nor would any Hamas spokesman. Such a call would be against Islam and the teachings of the Prophet, who prohibited the killing of children and attacks on places of worship. And from the beginning of our struggle, Hamas has always insisted that its operations are restricted to the field of battle, Palestine itself.

What Dr Zahar did do is warn that by carrying out these barbaric massacres of children and women, and by destroying our mosques, the Zionists are creating the conditions for people to believe it is justified or legitimate to take revenge. That is not the call of Hamas. Dr Zahar did not even mention “Jews” in his comments. And throughout this latest offensive, hundreds of Palestinian children have been killed, while not a single Israeli child has died.

Our struggle is not against the Jewish people, but against oppression and occupation. This is not a religious war. We have no quarrel with the Jewish people. We welcome and appreciate the stand taken by leading Jewish figures in Britain and around the world against Israel’s aggression against Gaza and for the rights of our people. It is also not the case, as has been claimed, that Hamas is seeking to enforce sharia law in Gaza: we respect the democratic process and individual rights.

The continuing attempt to discredit and demonise Hamas by Israel, and its US backer, cannot hide the real atrocities and massacres they are now inflicting on our people. Hamas and its administration in Gaza remains intact, despite the devastation. This aggression will not succeed.

Basim Naim is the minister of health in the Hamas government in Gaza

Social Democrat in Sweden Ingalill Bjartén, is calling for boycott of Israel in the Davis Cup.

“Israel is an apartheid state. I think Gaza is comparable to the Warsaw ghetto,” said Ingalill Bjartén, the vice chair for the Social Democratic women’s organization (S-kvinnor) in Skane in southern Sweden, to the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

“I’m surprised that Israel – where large numbers of the population suffered under the Nazis – can do the exact same things the Nazis did.”

More techniques for for understanding and dealing with Israeli hasbara by James Zogby.

Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann ,Secretary of the UN General Assembly has condemned Israel in no uncertain terms.

The Security Council adopted a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, but Israel has escalated its offensive and Palestinian rocket fire has also continued.

“There have been some who were under the illusion that the Security Council would do something that could help the situation,” d’Escoto said. “I never thought so.

“Now we’re faced with not only with a lack of compliance but with a prime minister of Israel who has practically responded to the Security Council by saying ‘mind your own business’.

“It’s unbelievable that a country that owes its existence to a general assembly resolution could be so disdainful of the resolutions that emanate from the UN.”

D’Escoto, a former Roman Catholic priest and Nicaragua foreign minister, is known for his outspoken criticism of Israel and last year likened Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the racist apartheid system previously used in South Africa.

Gabriela Shalev, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, called d’Escoto an “Israel hater” for having hugged Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president and a vocal critic of Israel.

D’Escoto also said the UN had to bear some responsibility for the long-standing conflict in the Middle East as it had allowed the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, leaving the Palestinians stateless.

“You have to attack problems at their root cause and the Palestinian people have been subjected to subhuman treatment for decades and this [the Israeli offensive] is going to make matters worse.”

@BreakingNewsOn Spanish Foreign Minister Moratinos confirms that Hamas has accepted a ceasefire that would end the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

Is Israel’s gratuitous display of sadism to end for the time being?

Till the next time – the beast needs habitual blood tribute.

Is it coincidence that Bin Laden ‘releases’ a new tape? not many believe he is still alive. We’re still looking for a full transcript.

What scraps are around aren’t definitive, though he does make commentary on Gaza along with pronouncements of economic doom for the US and Israel.

Bin Laden last appeared in an audio tape in May and also focused on Gaza, calling on Muslims to try to help to end the blockade of the area. The al-Qaeda leader has placed growing emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in recent years and today’s audio tape was accompanied by a still of bin Laden and a picture of the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest shrine.

From Al Jazeera:

The speaker on Wednesday’s tape hailed the global financial crisis as a decline in US influence around the world and said it would, in turn, weaken Israel – one of Washington’s closest allies.

From the New York Times:

The Bin Laden tape’s authenticity could not immediately be verified, but it bore many hallmarks of Qaeda messages. The tape was produced by As-Sahab, the Qaeda media arm, and the voice on the tape closely resembled other recordings by Mr. bin Laden, who was pictured on the Web sites next to an image of Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest sites.

The Bush administration reacted to the tape, according to Reuters, with White House spokesman Gordon D. Johndroe saying it appeared to demonstrate Mr. bin Laden’s “isolation and continued attempts to remain relevant at a time when Al Qaeda’s ideology, mission, and agenda are being questioned and challenged throughout the world.”

Finally, here’s the full transcript, complete with economic pronouncements:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

The Jihad Media Battalion


English Translation of the speech of ?sheikh Oussama Ben Laden -may Allah preserve him-


Call For Jihad To Stop Aggression Against Gaza

All praise be to Allah. We thank Him, we seek His guidance and forgiveness. We seek His refuge from the evils of our souls, and the evil results of our deeds.

Whosoever Allah guides, there is none to lead him astray, and whosoever is led astray by Allah, there is none to guide him.

I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah, alone, without partner, and that Muhammad is His slave and messenger.

To proceed:

My dear Muslim Ummah (nation)

I am not the one who stands in front of you in these difficult days under the guise of condemnation and denunciation to react toward what is happening to our people in Gaza, but I stand before you to say a word of truth which helps us to get back what was extorted of the truth.

Word of truth which doesn’t wheedle neither king nor Prince, neither savant nor minister.

Word which doesn’t recognize the false international legitimacy and fear not the United Nations Security Council which spread fright among the oppressed people in the small and weak countries like Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Kashmir and Chechnya.

Word of truth which the whole world stood against in order to erase it from our method and life then erase us.

It is the sacred Jihad (fighting for the sake of Allah) to get back Bayt al-Maqdis and al-Quds (Jerusalem)


O captive Quds suffering its violation
And Muslims still sleeping far from Jihad

O my Muslim Ummah

The great point of imbalance in the previous efforts to free Palestine is that, those who assumed its cause were governors who betrayed their trust. In the war of 1948, the Muslims were surprised how we were defeated, but the surprise was to be victorious in that war, how can we be victorious while our kings entrusted the matter of war to the real governor of Jordan at that time, the British General Glub Basha. How can a nation be victorious while the leader of its armies is its enemy? At that time every one of our kings had a Basha like this one to guide him, for example: in Peninsula he was the non-enthroned king, the British General Philip, and it was enough for deceiving people to be named by the governor as Haj Abd-Allah Philip.

Him who looked into the British ********s related to this matter knows the degree of heedlessness reigning at that time among people, and now these deceptions still continuing with a change of faces and names. In each capital today there is “Bremer” (ex U.S. Civil Administrator of Iraq) overtly or secretly, and there is with him “Allawi” (former Iraqi Prime Minister ) at his disposal to execute his orders, and in each country there is “Sistani” (Iranian Shi’a cleric in Iraq) and “Tantawi” (Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar University in Egypt) supported by groups of official and unofficial Savants, and groups of writers, intellectuals, journalists and reporters who give false legitimacy to the agents of the crusaders in our countries. All these groups are enemies of our Ummah (nation) and we must beware of them, they are known in majority because the most important of their characteristics is that the governor enables them of the mass media to address people and deceive them regularly, while he prevents the truthful from a Friday sermon in outlying village.

Other points of imbalance we face nowadays are many ways that are raising slogans to free Palestine, most of them are in favor of mislaying the cause. One of the vastest way is what the governments are doing concerning the Ministerial Sessions and transference of the cause to the United Nations and Security Council, this is a way of disclaiming the responsibility and mislaying of the Palestinian cause.

Some of these ways also, is what some savants are doing about asking the governors to come to aid of Palestine, this is another way of disclaiming the responsibility and mislaying the Aqsa mosque and the martyrs’ bloods. How can we ask help from the agents of our enemies, aren’t those people tired of supplicating during these long decades?


Him who seeks the help from Amer in his distress
Is like him who seeks help of fire from scorching heat

There is another way taken by the Islamic groups and which is the permission of the governors to do Jihad, or asking them (governors) to be at the level of their peoples’ requests, and this is also another way of disclaiming the responsibility, which results in foisting heads into sands and deceiving the followers of these groups, and it is also mislaying of the cause. Those (leaders of the Islamic groups) must speak out frankly to their brothers and inform them that the responsibility is very heavy and they are not ready to assume it. Both international and regional Kufr (disbelief) are the same in attacking violently every one working and saying the word of truth in favor of this cause.

The duty is to instigate the youths to do Jihad and to arrange them in battalions to fight for the sake of Allah the Zionist-Crusader alliance and its agents in the region, not to make them feel satisfied by protesting in streets without arms.
These leaders of the Islamic groups must let the courageous and capable persons from their brothers to lead the group in these difficult conditions in order to do the legitimate duty.


Him among you who is not convinced that the fight is a duty
Must give the way for other and not stray the one who is convinced

With all these numerous deviated ways, there is one right way to get back al-Aqsa mosque and Palestine, it is the Jihad for the sake of Allah as we mentioned before. Allah Soubhanahu Wa Taala shows us how to stop the aggression of the infidels in the Holy Quran when He said: [Then fight (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)) in the Cause of Allâh, you are not tasked (held responsible) except for yourself, and incite the believers (to fight along with you), it may be that Allâh will restrain the evil might of the disbelievers. And Allâh is Stronger in Might and Stronger in punishing.] (4:84). So, by inciting people and fighting the enemy, so that the aggression of the infidels stops.

As I say to my Ummah:

Being ******* with laying the responsibility on the governors and savants, doesn’t exempt you (O my Ummah) from responsibility, but it is also another way of disclaiming the responsibility. For the order of Allah in the Holy Quran is very clear whereas the Jihad for the sake of Allah with soul and money is a duty until the achievement of the goal..

O my Muslim Ummah:

You are able to defeat the Zionist entity by your popular potentialities and huge energies without any support of the governors, even the majority stand with the Zionist-Crusader alliance in the same trench. Here , I would like to assure you my Ummah, I am sure that this matter is easy for you Allah willing if we took it seriously by trusting in Allah Soubhanahu Wa Taala, executing his orders and abandoning the deviated way.

Here I am giving you two evidences proving that you are able to defeat our enemies by small capacities:

* First evidence is the great defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan by the grace of Allah then by your popular efforts without any intervention of any army of your governments, even if the general winds were behind the Mujahideen’s ship at that war. Since that the flag of the Soviet Union was removed from the world and thrown in the forgetting basket, praise and gratitude are due to Allah.

* As for the second evidence: after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the American system seized the opportunity of being alone without adversary and went into impose its hegemony and policy upon the world, so the governors of our region became more surrendering which made America more tyrant and more supporting the Zionist entity to destroy the crops and the cattle in Palestine.

Then a group of your sons (O my Ummah) declared the Jihad against this only magnate, Hitler of the era, the rhinoceros to which we broke the horn, destroyed its fort and demolished its tower (9/11 events). That made its president angry and claimed that he would reach the Mujahideen’s leaders dead or alive to regain the prestige of America and to make them as a lesson for others, he was like Abu Jahel in Bader battle and went out strutting by his great number of accouterments. Thus we destroyed them, killed his soldiers and dispersed his companions, by the grace of Allah.

Hence, when the battle became fierce and the enemy attacked us, the response was the sharp swords to drive away the oppression .

Here is America being shaky under the hits of the Mujahideen which made it suffering from human political and financial losses and now it is drowning in the economic crisis till the point of asking for alms from both small and grand countries. Therefore, this made it without respect in front of its friends and it could no longer dread its enemies.

Here we need a stance of pondering, you know well that the first loser due to the recession of the American oppression is the Zionist entity, because it will lose one of the most important components of its subsistence and life’s arteries. This terrible and fast recession of the American power is one of the most important causes which pushed the Israelis to carry out this savage attack on Gaza, in a despairing attempt to profit from the last days of the two periods of Bush administration, in which the Zionist entity found what couldn’t be reached by others from power, money, determination and rancor to assault the Muslims and to beat all powers refusing the American ascendancy in the region.

Since the White House’s forces being broken down over the Mujahideen’s rock in Afghanistan and drowning in quagmires of Iraq, this is why the Israelis are in a hurry to defeat their enemies in Gaza to replace them by Mahmoud Abbas and his authority for protecting their backs. So they carried out this terrible genocide before the end of the Bush’s period of rule and before more appearance of the American weakness, so that the Veto will collapse because the world started revolting against it and voices started rising high to annul it, it (Veto) is an unconcealed and flagrant call for oppression and arrogance.

O my Muslim Ummah:

This talk about weakness and recession of the American ascendancy as well as the collapse of its economy, is not a talk of hopes, but testimonies given by leaders themselves which they couldn’t conceal any longer:

* Biden the US vice president says: “the crisis is more difficult than we expected, the whole American economy is exposed to collapse”.

* The former chairman of American Reserve Bank (Alan Greenspan) says: “the big recession will appear as a nice promenade in comparison with the economic crisis”.

* As for the French president Nicolas Sarkozy, he described the crisis saying: “the crisis is very deep and the Global Financial System was about to fall in a catastrophe”. And I say: it is really inside the catastrophe by the grace of Allah because of those oppressors.

* The German Finance Minister said: “the world will never return to the previous situation prevailing before this crisis, and the United States will lose its position as a great force in the Global Financial System”.

Then, I present to you reports of the American intelligence which confirm the recession of the American influence in the coming years.

O my Muslim Ummah:

Indeed the Jihad of your sons against the Zionist-Crusader alliance is one of the main causes (after the grace of Allah) in all these results which destroyed our enemies, and which appeared after the “seven years” war, and I assure you O my Ummah -regarding the graces that Allah bestowed us-, we feel that Allah granted us patience which suffices us to continue on the way of Jihad for seven years again, and seven and seven again..Allah willing. The patience is the best weapon and Taqwa (piety) is the best provision. If we got martyrdom so we achieved what we were looking for, but the flag of Jihad will never fall down until the Day of the Judgment as we were informed by the prophet of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

But the question is: Can America continue in fighting us for coming decades?

The reports and indicators suggest otherwise, and that 75% of the American people are pleased by the departure of the president who entangled them in wars that exceeded their power, and plunged his country into economic turmoil. His successor has inherited a heavy legacy and was left between two bitter choices, like the one who swallowed a double-edged dagger which hurts him with any small movement. It is a most difficult heritage, to inherit a long guerrilla war with a patient stubborn enemy, that is funded with usury loans. For if he (enemy) withdrew from the war, it will be a military defeat, and if he continued the war he will sink in the economic crisis, how then about inheriting two wars, in which he is not able to continue, and we are on our way to open other fronts Allah Willing.

O my Ummah, with greater reason you should put your hands on the hands of your sons “the Mujahedeen” to continue Jihad against Allah’s enemies and to go through exhausting them on those two fronts and the other open fronts of the war with the Zionist-Crusader alliance and its agents in the region, in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Waziristan, Islamic Maghreb and Somalia…

It is your duty to support them with souls and money full supply, for I experienced Jihad by Allah’s grace and I know its financial costs, the Zakat (charity money) of one of the rich Muslim dealers can cover the expenses of Jihad in all the current open fronts with our enemies, and Jihad has a share in the Zakat as you know. Hence, the happy one is the one who could participate in the victory of his religion and could defend his prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his nation.

How similar the hardship of the Mujahedeen today, to the hardship the Muslims passed by in al-Usrah (the hardship) army at the time of the prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), till Uthman Ben Affan came and equipped most of the army, the prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said then: “Nothing of Uthman’s deeds will harm him after that”.

Who is willing to be Uthman of this current hardship??

I know many of the Muslim dealers who can pay for the sake of Allah without meanness, but they are afraid of America and its agents in the region, and I say to them ‘this is not an excuse, you are in a test in this dunya (worldly life), and remember what Allah says : [do you fear them? But Allah is most deserving that you should fear Him, if you are believers].(9:13).

There must be migration and endurance for the costs of the victory and implementation of the religion, the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who is the best of the mankind was obligated to hide in a laurel and to leave his people, his family and homeland, to migrate from Mecca, the best place on earth.

Hurry up, seize the precious opportunity, and take the prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as your good example when he hid in the laurel. Can’t anyone of you hide in a house in some place!? Isn’t it too vast the earth of Allah, to hide in to do the financial Jihad worship?!

Allah Soubhanahu Wa Taala says: [O My servants who believe! surely My earth is vast, therefore Me alone should you serve] (29:56), and says: [Surely (as for) those whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their souls, they shall say: In what state were you? They shall say: We were weak in the earth. They shall say: Was not Allah’s earth spacious, so that you should have migrated therein? So these it is whose abode is hell, and it is an evil resort. Surely (as for) those whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their souls, they shall say: In what state were you? They shall say: We were weak in the earth. They shall say: Was not Allah’s earth spacious, so that you should have migrated therein? So these it is whose abode is hell, and it is an evil resort] (4:97-98).

O my Muslim Ummah:

These wars, calamities and ordeals involve in them grants, and wise people are not to leave these grants to pass without benefiting from them, you have great opportunity to push away injustice and tyranny which is practiced upon you from in and outside since many decades, and snatch forcibly your rights. Him who tells you (O my Ummah) that the way to take back rights is the ballot boxes (giving you as example the Western peoples), those are deceiving you and lying to you! They say this out of either fear or greed of the rulers, because the Western people -whom they are giving as an example- got back their rights with rebellions and armed force.

After seven years of war between Britain and France for the acquisition of America, both of them suffered a huge economic crisis, which prompted the leaders to impose taxes on people, and this –with what preceded it of injustice and tyranny of the kings- was the incentive of the French Revolution.
For the King Louis XIV used to say: ” I am the State and the State is but me”, and this is what our leaders and kings are saying today, then the French people took the grants from among these ordeals and rebelled against the unjust kings who sucked their bloods and riches, and they dethroned Louis XIV, guillotined him and took their rights with the army force.

There is no place for the ballot boxes in our countries under the ruling of tyrants. And it is regrettable and should be noted that many of the great scholars and preachers market for this big trick!

And from that economic crisis, the Americans too rebelled against Britain to get back their rights, they didn’t follow the trick of democracy which they are deceiving us with today in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. However they took back their rights with army and force. Learn a lesson from it O you who have insight.

We as Muslims believe that it is the nation’s right to elect its president and we believe in Shoura, however we believe that the Western democracy –beside being a big trick- it is an illegitimate heresy from the Islamic point of view, and Muslims do not agree to be ruled but with Allah’s rulings not man-made laws.
In our religion, fighting for the sake of Allah against the invaders and the apostate rulers is for Allah’s word to be the highest, till things are back to normalcy and till rights are back to their owners.

At the end I say to our people in Palestine:

May Allah make great your reward for what you endured..
May Allah accept your dead among martyrs..
May Allah cure your wounded sooner..
And I ask Him the Great and Almighty to comfort the families of the victims and to reward them the best.

O my brothers in Palestine, you suffered so much as your fathers did nine decades ago, and the Muslims are sympathizing with you for what they see and hear, and we “the Mujahideen” are also sympathizing with you more because they (Mujahideen) are living the same situation as yours, and their feeling toward you is bigger because of what you are suffering from. They live under bombardment like you by the same aircrafts, and they are losing their sons like you, praise be to Allah, and truly to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.

In this year Allah wills that the lineaments of the daybreak and the omens of relief appear, by the recession of the Zionist-Crusader expansion, for the relief is imminent and we are with you and we will never let you down, your fate is related to ours in fighting the Zionist-Crusader alliance, so either we fight until victory is achieved or we get martyrdom for the sake of Allah.

Endure and be more patient, and guard your territory by stationing army units permanently at the places from where the enemy can attack you, and fear Allah, so that you may be successful.

At last we say All praise be to Allah. Peace and Blessing be upon our prophet, and upon his family and companions.

Dancing the Hasbara Tango

The Israeli misinformation campaign is moving into full swing, along with its gratuitous bombings and continued collective punishment of the Palestinian people.

Here’s my comment at the Israeli Consulate blog waiting to be now passed through their checkpoint, in response to How Did the Cease Fire End:

“More hasbara – this is getting old.

Here’s what your own ex Shin Bet said of Israel’s cease fire breach – you didn’t mention there were several killed, did you. In fact it was at least 5 people and several others wounded, including a woman. Then there were the other breaches committed by Israel before that day you didn’t mention.

“Last week, Israeli forces entered Gaza, destroyed an underground border tunnel, and battled Hamas fighters, leaving several militants dead. In response, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired around eighty rockets into southern Israel, including the Israeli city of Ashkelon”.

“On June 19, 2008, Israel and Hamas began observing an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire, which was intended to last six months with an option to extend. In general, Hamas has observed the ceasefire; the number of attacks and rocket launches has decreased significantly, and Hamas has prevented other Gaza militant organizations from striking Israel”.

You also haven’t mentioned Israel continued its crippling, humiliating 18 month blockade during the ‘state of calm’ – a very significant omission by you, as the continuance of the siege breached the nature if not terms of the truce. From August to October, the rockets practically stopped – of the few that were fired, were any fired by Hamas, one has to wonder? Yet Israel kept up its excruciating siege, turning the screws on the entire Gazan population ever tighter. Also pertinent is the fact that there’s plenty of evidence that Israel had been cooking up its current slaughter many months before whilst dishonourably pretending to seek a truce, to time conveniently with Bush’s departure.

You also fail to admit that Hamas was willing to renew the truce on the 23rd December – if the stultifying blockade – collective punishment, a breach of the Geneva Conventions – was lifted. Yet for Israel, the lives of Palestinian people were not worthy of relief in this cruel great game.

As Jews for Justice for Palestinians said:

“The Israeli government steadily sought to break down the ceasefire, not just in Gaza since early November, but also in the West Bank. Israeli forces have carried out an average of 33 incursions, 42 arrests or detentions, 12 woundings and 0.84 killings a week in the West Bank during the ceasefire. The tactic has been to continue attacking Hamas and other militants in the West Bank, provoking responses in Gaza, and to use the responses as the pretext for the massive attacks of the last 24 hours.”

“On 23rd December Hamas offered to renew the ceasefire if Israel would undertake to open border crossings for supplies of aid and fuel, and halt incursions. For those of us appalled at the collective punishment involved in the ongoing siege, and concerned that Israelis should not fear death or injury from Qassam rockets, that seems a truly reasonable response.”

Do you think Israel can bomb and torment civilians en masse with impunity forever, whilst its allies act as a human shield for its misdeeds?

Brutality never works, it rebounds to damage its practitioner. As Gandhi said, “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall — think of it, always.”

The worse Israel behaves, the shorter will be its existence in its current form. And that, my friends, may be a very good thing, as there’s no such thing as a “democracy” which offers and provides democracy’s complete and true essences to only one sector living within it.

One day soon your leaders will know just what imprisonment feels like. At Le Hague.”

Related Links

On Sderot and Ashkelon

On that day Israel violated the ceasefire with an air attack coupled with a land invasion. Here is the detailed report from the PCHR office in Gaza:

….at approximately 20:30 on Tuesday, 4 November, an IOF infantry unit moved almost 400 meters into Wadi al-Salqa village, east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. IOF troops raided a house belonging to Mofeed Suleiman al-Rumaili. They held the family hostage in one room, and used the house as a military base. Additional IOF troops besieged a house belonging to Hassan Suleiman al-Humiadi, using a megaphone to order the twenty three residents to leave the building.

Clashes subsequently erupted between the IOF troops and members of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas). Three members of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades were injured, one of them seriously. IOF subsequently sent reinforcements into the area, supported by aircrafts. At approximately 22:30, an IOF aircraft fired a missile at members of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades, killing Mazen Nazmi Abu Sa’da (32). In the early hours of Wednesday, 5 November, IOF destroyed al-Humaidi’s house, razed 2.5 donumms of agricultural land, and also arrested six members of the family, including four women.

In Khan Yunis, at approximately midnight on Wednesday, 5 November, an IOF aircraft fired two missiles at four members of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades in the east of al-Qarara village, near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The four members of the Brigades were killed…Approximately an hour later, IOF aircrafts fired two missiles at another group of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades in Street No. 2 in the east of al-Qarara village. A member of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades was killed. (PCHR Gaza)

Israel claimed that this invasion “did not constitute a violation of the cease fire”. I kid you not. As you probably remember, November 4th was elections day in the U.S., so the operation was carefully planned to achieve minimum headlines. This was achieved, as practically all news of the incursion start with the Hamas reaction, see a compilation at From Occupied Palestine, with Love.

Blueprint for Gaza attack was long planned

Those options have long been in preparation, as the defense minister, Ehud Barak, admitted early on in the offensive. He said he and the army had been planning the attack for at least six months. In fact, indications are that the invasion’s blueprint was drawn up much earlier, probably 18 months ago.

It was then that Hamas foiled a coup plot by its chief rival, Fatah, backed by the United States. The flight of many Gazan members of Fatah to the West Bank convinced Barak that Israel’s lengthy blockade of the tiny enclave alone would not bring Hamas to heel.

Barak began expanding the blockade to include shortages of electricity and fuel. It was widely assumed that this was designed to pressure the civilian population of Gaza to rebel against Hamas. However, it may also have been a central plank of Barak’s military strategy: any general knows that it is easier to fight an army — or in this case a militia — that is tired, cold and hungry. More so if the fighters’ family and friends are starving too.

A few months later, Barak’s loyal deputy, Matan Vilnai, made his now infamous comment that, should the rocket fire continue, Gazans would face a “shoah” — the Hebrew word for holocaust.

The shoah remark was quickly disowned, but at the same time Barak and his team began proposing to the cabinet tactics that could be used in a military assault.

These aggressive measures were designed to “send Gaza decades into the past,” as the head of the army command in Gaza, Yoav Galant, described Israel’s attack on its opening day.

The plan, as the local media noted in March, required directing artillery fire and air strikes at civilian neighborhoods from which rockets were fired, despite being a violation of international law. Legal advisers, Barak noted, were seeking ways to avoid such prohibitions, presumably in the hope the international community would turn a blind eye.

One early success on this front were the air strikes against police stations that opened the offensive and killed dozens. In international law, policemen are regarded as non-combatants — a fact that was almost universally overlooked.

But Israel has also struck a range of patently civilian targets, including government buildings, universities, mosques and medical clinics, as well as schools. It has tried to argue, with less success, that the connection between these public institutions and Hamas, the enclave’s ruler, make them legitimate targets.

A second aspect of the military strategy was to declare areas of Gaza “combat zones” in which the army would have free rein and from which residents would be expected to flee. If they did not, they would lose their civilian status and become legitimate targets.

Gaza truce broken as Israeli raid kills six Hamas gunmen
Wikileaks: Israel Plans Total War on Lebanon, Gaza

The new, major war will be a total war on civilians, Ashkenazi boasted: “In the next war Israel cannot accept any restrictions on warfare in urban areas.” (I den neste krigen kan Israel ikke godta noen restriksjoner på krigføring i byområder in Norwegian, or let us just translate it into the original German: “Im nächsten Krieg kann Israel keine Beschränkungen der Kriegsführung in städtischen Gebieten akzeptieren.”.) Mind you, the civilian deaths deriving from this massive and unrestricted bombing campaign on targets in the midst of civilian urban populations will be “unintentional.” Planning to bomb civilian areas with foreknowledge that you will thereby kill large numbers of civilians is a war crime.

The memos reveal that none of the goals of Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon and its 2008-9 war on little Gaza were achieved, and that both Hamas and Hizbullah have effectively re-armed. What makes Ashkenazi think things would be different this time?

While Dahiya is hundreds of kilometers away from the Gaza Strip,

for Judge Richard Goldstone, they are one and the same. In his report to the United Nations, to which the government is expected to respond very soon, Goldstone brings a quote from OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot to back up his finding that Israel consistently destroys buildings and houses during operations in the Palestinian Territories.

“What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on,” Eizenkot said in an interview in October 2008. “We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases.”

This remark, in addition to others made by Israeli officials, led Goldstone to the following conclusion: “Disproportionate destruction and violence against civilians were part of a deliberate policy.”
Eizenkot even received a letter from Goldstone notifying him that his statements would be used in the report.

Israel’s Deliberate Intent: “The Dahiya Doctrine”

A key lesson taken away from Israel’s 2006 military escalation in Lebanon — where over 1,100 Lebanese civilians were killed, 915,762 displaced (25% of Lebanon’s entire population), and significant civil infrastructure was destroyed — became known to Israeli Officials as “The Dahiya Doctrine”. Israeli Defense Forces’ Northern Command chief, Maj.-Gen. Eisenkot, described the doctrine to the press while actively serving in a senior command position (also transcribed into the contents of the Goldstone Report):

“What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on,” said Gadi Eisenkot, head of the army’s northern division. Dahiya was a Hizbullah stronghold that Israel flattened in sustained air raids during a 34-day war with the Shiite group two years ago.

“We will apply disproportionate force on it (village) and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases,” Eisenkot told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

“This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved,” Eisenkot added.

Israeli Leader, Col. (Ret.) Gabriel Siboni, also weeks before the Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, had this to say about Israel’s military plans:

With an outbreak of hostilities, the IDF will need to act immediately, decisively,and with force that is disproportionate to the enemy’s actions and the threat it poses. Such a response aims at inflicting damage and meting out punishment to an extent that will demand long and expensive reconstruction processes. The strike must be carried out as quickly as possible, and must prioritize damaging assets over seeking out each and every launcher. Punishment must be aimed at decision makers and the power elite… In Lebanon, attacks should both aim at Hizbollah’s military capabilities and should target economic interests and the centres of civilian power that support the organization. Moreover, the closer the relationship between Hezbollah and the Lebanese Government, the more the elements of the Lebanese State infrastructure should be targeted. Such a response will create a lasting memory among … Lebanese decision makers, thereby increasing Israeli deterrence and reducing the likelihood of hostilities against Israel for an extended period. At the same time, it will force Syria, Hizbollah, and Lebanon to commit to lengthy and resource-intensive reconstruction programmes…

This approach is applicable to the Gaza Strip as well. There, the IDF will be required to strike hard at Hamas and to refrain from the cat and mouse games of searching for Qassam rocket launchers. The IDF should not be expected to stop the rocket and missile fire against the Israeli home front through attacks on the launchers themselves, but by means of imposing a ceasefire on the enemy

The Goldstone Report adds this paragraph on Israeli intent:

The Mission does not have to consider whether Israeli military officials were directly influenced by these writings. It is able to conclude from a review of the facts on the ground that it witnessed for itself that what is prescribed as the best strategy appears to have been precisely what was put into practice.

The Report concludes that Palestinian civilians and their non-military infrastructure in Gaza were NOT collateral damage in Operation Cast Lead; they were intentionally and deliberately targeted for destruction.

Ehud Barak threatens Lebanon with ‘Dahiya doctrine’ in case of new war

The “Dahiya doctrine” was used during “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza, as the Goldstone report documented, resulting in war crimes, including “the massive destruction of businesses, agricultural land, chicken farms and residential houses.” A direct consequence of this doctrine is a high death toll for civilians, as occurred during the Lebanon conflict and the Gaza conflict.

Related Links

The diplomat who tweeted

Israeli TV admits: No rockets were ever fired from UNRWA schools in Gaza during “Cast Lead”

During the military offensive, 18 schools were destroyed, (including eight government schools, two private schools and eight kindergartens) and at least 280 were damaged. Six of the destroyed government schools were in North Gaza alone, affecting almost 9,000 students who had to relocate to other schools.

Debunking Hasbara

Israeli spin (= propaganda = bullshit) is known as hasbara. Coordinated by Israel’s National Information Directorate, hasbara is aimed at creating an unrealistically wholesome image of Israel so the average person accepts the Zionist state’s aggressions against its neighbours and land thefts without question. In this ongoing post, I’m going to collect thoughts and links which demonstrate Israel’s pernicious perversions of reality.

From the Guardian article “Special spin body gets media on message, says Israel“:

The directorate acts across ministries and decides key messages on a daily basis. Of its core messages for the media, there has been the advice that Hamas broke the ceasefire agreements with Israel; that Israel’s objective is the defence of its population; and that Hamas is a terror organisation targeting Israeli civilians. “In general, we think we are succeeding in getting the message across,” said Vatikai.

The three slogans above are distortions and outright lies which have been exposed previously on this blog.

Uri Avnery also explains these Israeli fabrications:

As a matter of fact, the cease-fire did not collapse, because there was no real cease-fire to start with. The main requirement for any cease-fire in the Gaza Strip must be the opening of the border crossings. There can be no life in Gaza without a steady flow of supplies. But the crossings were not opened, except for a few hours now and again. The blockade on land, on sea and in the air against a million and a half human beings is an act of war, as much as any dropping of bombs or launching of rockets. It paralyzes life in the Gaza Strip: eliminating most sources of employment, pushing hundreds of thousands to the brink of starvation, stopping most hospitals from functioning, disrupting the supply of electricity and water.

Those who decided to close the crossings – under whatever pretext – knew that there is no real cease-fire under these conditions.

That is the main thing. Then there came the small provocations which were designed to get Hamas to react. After several months, in which hardly any Qassam rockets were launched, an army unit was sent into the Strip “in order to destroy a tunnel that came close to the border fence”. From a purely military point of view, it would have made more sense to lay an ambush on our side of the fence. But the aim was to find a pretext for the termination of the cease-fire, in a way that made it plausible to put the blame on the Palestinians. And indeed, after several such small actions, in which Hamas fighters were killed, Hamas retaliated with a massive launch of rockets, and – lo and behold – the cease-fire was at an end. Everybody blamed Hamas.

* * *

WHAT WAS THE AIM? Tzipi Livni announced it openly: to liquidate Hamas rule in Gaza. The Qassams served only as a pretext.

Liquidate Hamas rule? That sounds like a chapter out of “The March of Folly”. After all, it is no secret that it was the Israeli government which set up Hamas to start with. When I once asked a former Shin-Bet chief, Yaakov Peri, about it, he answered enigmatically: “We did not create it, but we did not hinder its creation.”

For years, the occupation authorities favored the Islamic movement in the occupied territories. All other political activities were rigorously suppressed, but their activities in the mosques were permitted. The calculation was simple and naive: at the time, the PLO was considered the main enemy, Yasser Arafat was the current Satan. The Islamic movement was preaching against the PLO and Arafat, and was therefore viewed as an ally.

With the outbreak of the first intifada in 1987, the Islamic movement officially renamed itself Hamas (Arabic initials of “Islamic Resistance Movement”) and joined the fight. Even then, the Shin-Bet took no action against them for almost a year, while Fatah members were executed or imprisoned in large numbers. Only after a year, were Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his colleagues also arrested.

Since then the wheel has turned. Hamas has now become the current Satan, and the PLO is considered by many in Israel almost as a branch of the Zionist organization. The logical conclusion for an Israeli government seeking peace would have been to make wide-ranging concessions to the Fatah leadership: ending of the occupation, signing of a peace treaty, foundation of the State of Palestine, withdrawal to the 1967 borders, a reasonable solution of the refugee problem, release of all Palestinian prisoners. That would have arrested the rise of Hamas for sure.

But logic has little influence on politics. Nothing of this sort happened. On the contrary, after the murder of Arafat, Ariel Sharon declared that Mahmoud Abbas, who took his place, was a “plucked chicken”. Abbas was not allowed the slightest political achievement. The negotiations, under American auspices, became a joke. The most authentic Fatah leader, Marwan Barghouti, was sent to prison for life. Instead of a massive prisoner release, there were petty and insulting “gestures”.

Abbas was systematically humiliated, Fatah looked like an empty shell and Hamas won a resounding victory in the Palestinian election – the most democratic election ever held in the Arab world. Israel boycotted the elected government. In the ensuing internal struggle, Hamas assumed direct control over the Gaza Strip.

And now, after all this, the government of Israel decided to “liquidate Hamas rule in Gaza” – with blood, fire and columns of smoke.

To further the deception and ensure the majority of the world is fed with sanitised rubbish, Israel has banned foreign journalists from entering Gaza since the beginning of its bombing attacks and during the 2 months following Israel’s breaching of the cease fire in early November.

One of the challenges of Israel’s media offensive has been to counter the disturbing images of Gaza in the conflict. “In the war of the pictures we lose, so you need to correct, explain or balance it in other ways,” said Aviv Shir-On, foreign ministry deputy director-general for public affairs.

After a successful court case by the Foreign Press Association, Israel will now deign to let in 8 journalists

Israel says it will allow eight people from foreign media organisations into Gaza each time it opens the Erez crossing into the tiny territory, despite an Israeli supreme court ruling on Wednesday that up to 12 people should be allowed to enter.

It will be very interesting to see from which news agencies the vetted journalists come.

Ian Welsh at Firedoglake translates the Israel friendly tripe fed to the world by Associated Press.

The hasbara war on Wikipedia

More on the hasbara infiltration of Wikipedia

And some more

Hasbara 2.0 (beware of bugs) – hasbara at Times Square and on Youtube.

The Hasbara Buster – an erudite blog addressing many Zionist myths.

David Shasha in his book review Crushing the Wheels of Hasbara says:

The Israeli propaganda machine has become a ubiquitous presence in the American Jewish community and any attempt to generate and promote alternative sources of information carries the crushing burden of threatening that merciless beast, a beast which can do great damage to its critics.

Techniques of hasbara

* Smearing/defaming critics of Israel, aka, attacking the messenger. This is even the terminology found in the Hasbara Handbook
* Selective discussion of issues
* Framing of issues, and setting the terminology used in discussing Israel
* Harassing media about its coverage, aka, flak
* Challenging the portrayal of an alternative narrative, and attempting to keep the zionist narrative as the dominant one.

The hasbara manual describes seven propaganda techniques:

1. Name calling: through the careful use of words, then name calling technique links a person or an idea to a negative symbol.
2. Glittering generality: Simply put, glittering generality is name calling in reverse. Instead of trying to attach negative meanings to ideas or people, glittering generalities use positive phrases, which the audience are attached to, in order to lend positive image to things. Words such as “freedom”, “civilization”,…
3. Transfer: Transfer involves taking some of the prestige and authority of one concept and applying it to another. For example, a speaker might decide to speak in front of a United Nations flag, in an attempt to gain legitimacy for himself or his idea.
4. Testimonial: Testimonial means enlisting the support of somebody admired or famous to endorse and ideal or campaign.
5. Plain folks: The plain folks technique attempts to convince the listener that the speaker is a ‘regular guy’, who is trust-worthy because the are like ‘you or me’.
6. Fear: See fear.
7. Bandwagon: See bandwagon.

More debunking of the myth that Hamas breached the ceasefire with some solid linkage.

Often those who criticise the policies of Israel are labelled by trolls as anti-semites.