Abukar Arman, Al Jazeera 7/27/2014
"Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians" - Nelson Mandela.
In recent weeks, Israel has unleashed what amounts to the worst one-sided barbarism against one of the world's most densely populated areas - Gaza. In the process, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pulled back the curtain to proudly show the world how, under his leadership, Israel has defeated North Korea for the rogue state par excellence award.
How else could one describe a state that is officially sustained by a belligerent apartheid system; a state that occupies the land of another and systematically carries out ethnic-cleansing; and a state that relentlessly demonstrates a rejectionist attitude toward UN resolutions, international law and institutions?
In its latest campaign of brazen aggression, Israel has caused colossal destruction of lives, homes and critical infrastructure.
The official Israeli line, often parroted by key international media groups, is that Israel had to carry out this brutal massacre as "self-defence" since three teenage settlers were kidnapped and killed by Hamas - a charge that the latter categorically denied.
Since then, it has emerged that Israel knew that Hamas was not responsible for the death of the three Israelis. Clearly Netanyahu's government had concocted a plan to create an emotionally charged atmosphere at home and abroad to smooth the way for an attack on Gaza.
Since its founding, the state of Israel has enjoyed exclusive and, indeed, absolute impunity that shielded it from international law. Hence, Israel never experienced any repercussions for its routine manoeuvres outside international norms and legal constraints.... more.. e-mail What Do Gazans Endure? A Palestinian Student Who Lost 2 Brothers, 4 Cousins Tells His Story
Democracy Now! 7/28/2014
Five years ago Palestinian student Amer Shurrab lost his two brothers in Israel’s Operation Cast Lead. Last week, Shurrab learned four of his cousins in Gaza had been killed in Israel’s latest offensive. In January 2009, Amer’s father and brothers were fleeing their village when the vehicle they were driving in came under Israeli fire. Twenty-eight-year-old Kassab died in a hail of bullets trying to flee the vehicle. Amer’s other brother, 18-year-old Ibrahim, survived the initial attack, but Israeli troops refused to allow an ambulance to reach him until 20 hours later. By then, it was too late. Ibrahim had bled to death in front of his father. A graduate student at Monterey Institute of International Studies in California, Amer Shurrab has been recounting the story of his brothers and other Palestinians at college campuses and community gatherings across the United States. "Israel is deliberately targeting civilians from the day one of this attack," he says. "They have been bombing houses, wiping entire families to try to scare people into submission."
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined right now by Amer Shurrab, a Palestinian graduate student from Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip. He’s studying at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. He has just learned that four of his cousins have died in Khan Younis. We last spoke to him five years ago. It was shortly after he lost his two brothers during Israel’s assault on Gaza known as Operation Cast Lead. In 2009, January, his dad and two brothers were fleeing their village when their vehicle came under Israeli fire. His brother, 28-year-old Kassab, died in a hail of bullets trying to flee the vehicle. His other brother, Ibrahim, 18 years old, survived the initial attack, but Israeli troops refused to allow an ambulance to reach him and his father until 20 hours later. By then, it was too late. Ibrahim had bled to death in front of his father. Amer Shurrab has been recounting the story of his brothers and other Palestinians at college campuses and community gatherings across the United States. And it was just recently that he learned about his cousins in Khan Younis. -- See also: Video: Interview iwth Amer Shurrab more.. e-mail Israel-Gaza Conflict: Secret Report Helps Israelis to Hide Facts
Patrick Cockburn, 7/28/2014
The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
Israeli spokesmen have their work cut out explaining how they have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza, most of them civilians, compared with just three civilians killed in Israel by Hamas rocket and mortar fire. But on television and radio and in newspapers, Israeli government spokesmen such as Mark Regev appear slicker and less aggressive than their predecessors, who were often visibly indifferent to how many Palestinians were killed.
There is a reason for this enhancement of the PR skills of Israeli spokesmen. Going by what they say, the playbook they are using is a professional, well-researched and confidential study on how to influence the media and public opinion in America and Europe. Written by the expert Republican pollster and political strategist Dr Frank Luntz, the study was commissioned five years ago by a group called The Israel Project, with offices in the US and Israel, for use by those “who are on the front lines of fighting the media war for Israel”.
Every one of the 112 pages in the booklet is marked “not for distribution or publication” and it is easy to see why. The Luntz report, officially entitled “The Israel project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionary, was leaked almost immediately to Newsweek Online, but its true importance has seldom been appreciated. It should be required reading for everybody, especially journalists, interested in any aspect of Israeli policy because of its “dos and don’ts” for Israeli spokesmen.
These are highly illuminating about the gap between what Israeli officials and politicians really believe, and what they say, the latter shaped in minute detail by polling to determine what Americans want to hear. Certainly, no journalist interviewing an Israeli spokesman should do so without reading this preview of many of the themes and phrases employed by Mr Regev and his colleagues. more.. e-mail Claim that Hamas killed 3 teens is turning out to be the WMD of Gaza onslaught
Adam Horowitz and Phil Weiss, Mondoweiss 7/26/2014
Truth is famously the first casualty of war, and the Israeli war on Gaza is no exception. Yesterday Jon Donnison of the BBC pulled the rug out from under the Israeli government’s pretext for the Gaza onslaught with a series of tweets about a conversation he’d had with Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld about the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June.
The boys were not killed by Hamas, Rosenfeld told Donnison, as he reported on Twitter:
This version of events is so important, because what the Weapons of Mass Destruction were to the Iraq war — a dubious pretext — the three teens are to the Gaza onslaught. Let’s review.
The three teens were abducted on June 12. That same day Israeli authorities received a desperate phone call from one of the boys that contained gunfire at its conclusion. The supposition that the boys were dead was advanced when Israeli authorities found the car in which the abduction had taken place, with evidence they’d been shot.
The information about the gunshots on that desperate last phone call was widely known in the media, but as we reported, the Israeli government issued a gag order against these facts being published. And over the last two-and-a-half weeks of June, the Israelis launched extensive raids across the West Bank, locking down Hebron, supposedly to find the boys. But the major focus of the raids was rooting out Hamas affiliates and arresting them. In fact, the purpose of the raids seemed to be to break up the recent unity government between Hamas and Fatah, which Israel has vigorously opposed.
The boys’ bodies were found on June 30, in a shallow grave in the West Bank; and again the deaths were exploited to punish Hamas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said then, “Hamas is responsible… Hamas will pay.” more.. e-mail
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