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One year after Gaza — no accountability

Josh Ruebner on
Funeral of eight members of the Abu Jarad family in Beit Hanoun, July 19, 2014

Five children in the Abu Jarad family were killed, and a family “erased” by an Israeli Apache helicopter attack a year ago. The U.S. funds Israel’s military machine, and insures that there is never accountability for war crimes. A Capitol Hill briefing on July 29 led by the US Campaign to End the Occupation aims to end that immunity.

Gag order lifted on two Israelis and two bodies held in Gaza

Allison Deger on
Avraham Mengitsu. (Photo: Facebook/Times of Israel)

For months rumors have circulated that Hamas has held two Israeli citizens and the remains of two soldiers captive in the Gaza Strip for almost a year. Following a motion filed by the Israeli daily Haaretz, a gag order concealing the cases was lifted yesterday prompting Israeli officials to addressed the matter publicly for the first time. Israel confirmed Ethiopian-Israeli Avraham Mengitsu, 28, and one other are detained in Gaza, along with the bodies of two soldier killed during the summer war.

New online digital mapping tool shows inside story of Israeli assault on Gaza

Annie Robbins on

Amnesty International (AI) has teamed up with Forensic Architecture of Goldsmiths, University of London, to launching The Gaza Platform, a digital mapping tool that can be used to collate, map, explore and analyze patterns in attacks on Gaza during last summer’s brutal Israeli military offensive against the tiny blockaded enclave.

Israeli minister proposes building island off Gaza coast so Israel can ‘disengage’ while maintaining siege

Dan Cohen on
Israeli Minister of Intelligence and Transportation Yisrael Katz

As attendees sipped lattes and browsed the latest intelligence technology for sale last week at a Tel Aviv defense conference, Israeli Minister of Intelligence and Transportation Yisrael Katz shared plans to build an Israeli-controlled island off the coast of Gaza as a way for Israel to “disengage” from the embattled strip while maintaining the eight-year-siege.

Unsilencing Gaza: One year since ‘Operation Protective Edge’

Refaat Alareer and Laila El-Haddad on
Gaza Unsilenced cover.

In the course of fifty-one dark days last summer, nearly 2,200 Palestinians were killed in Gaza; about a quarter of them were children, many of whom were deliberately targeted during Israeli ‘Operation Protective Edge’. Read the introduction to the new book ‘Gaza Unsilenced’ edited by Refaat Alareer and Laila El-Haddad which seeks to share an accurate and humanistic narration of the Palestinian story that is Gaza.

In Gaza, the ultimate humiliation

Dan Cohen on
Tshirt saying Whichever way we want it, whenever we want, in Hebrew, in Gaza, photo by Dan Cohen

Every Monday, Palestinians in Nuseirat refugee camp rummage through piles of secondhand Israeli junk in the cheapest market in the Gaza Strip. Dan Cohen finds several t-shirts that include military insignia for the army that slaughtered so many in Gaza.

Exclusive: Palestine seeks to charge Israel with ‘apartheid’ and war crimes at The Hague

Allison Deger on
View of  International Criminal Court, July 23, 2014 in The Hague, The Netherlands.  (Photo: Enfoque Derecho)

Palestinian leaders seek to charge Israel with the crime of “Apartheid,” and 22 other charges including seven war crimes, according to Shawan Jabarin, the director of the Palestinian human rights group Al Haq. The thick set documents were ceremoniously handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) today at headquarters in The Hague, yet yesterday morning Jabarin was given exclusive access to the report in Ramallah.

One story behind the suicides taking place in Gaza

Anas Jnena on
Young men look for their belongings in the remnants of a Gaza apartment building, August 2014. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

The Palestine News Network announced this week that the suicide rate in the Occupied Territories jumped 68.4 percent last year. In Gaza, Al-Shifa Hospital said that at least one person attempted suicide every day. Gaza writer Anas Jnena shares one story of an attempted suicide in the besieged Gaza Strip that helps sheds light on the statistics.

UN report on Gaza war includes stories of civilian executions, attacks on ambulances and targeting of humanitarian facilities

Allison Deger on
Palestinians walk an hour and a half from Gaza City to their homes in Shuja’iyeh during the ceasefire in order to collect personal items, July 25, 2014.. (Photo: Allison Deger)

The 51-day summer war between Hamas and Israel was not only “heartbreaking,” but rampant with “possible war crimes” according to a much anticipated United Nations report published Monday. Investigators conducted nearly 300 interviews over the past year. All took place outside of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, as Israel denied entry to the researchers. Witnesses and victims—both Israeli and Palestinian—gave testimonies about the targeting of civilians, medical facilities and United Nations shelters, along with the existence of human shields (and the lack thereof), collective punishment, and the proportionality of the attacks.

Obfuscating the truth: The UN report on war crimes in ‘Operation Protective Edge’

Jerome Slater on
Judge Mary McGowan Davis, head of Gaza inquiry

The UN Human Rights Commission report on last summer’s Gaza war is inappropriately “balanced.” It is more or less equally critical of Israeli and Hamas actions, without regard to the differences between the vast and horrific extent of civilian destruction caused by Israel and the far lesser civilian deaths and destruction that resulted from the largely ineffective Hamas attacks. –Scholar Jerome Slater

‘My wish is to be able to wish’: The Gaza narrative that’s missing from the mainstream media

Hayley Pearce on
(Photo: Jehad Saftawi)

For 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza, of whom over 1.2 million are refugees, the Israeli siege and cyclical violence are insufferable. And yet, in addition to spreading the stories about suffering, the local and independent media landscape in Gaza has taken to reflecting the area’s more multifaceted nature instead of the narrative we commonly see in the West. By alternating between beauty and sadness, journalists in Gaza are providing a jarring but honest representation of what living there really means.

Gaza’s al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades prepares for next Israeli war

Dan Cohen on
Al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades fighters prepare to begin training exercises. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Since the ceasefire that ended last the 51-day war last summer, Gaza’s armed resistance factions have largely observed the ceasefire amid near-daily Israeli violations. However, the prospect of another major Israeli attack is a question of when, not if, and Gaza’s resistance groups have been active in preparation for it. Dan Cohen interviews members of the al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades as they conduct close-combat and rocket exercises and they explain why they fight and what their expectations are for the next battle with Israel.

Besieged in Gaza from birth to death

Dan Cohen on
The walkway from Gaza to Israel at the Erez crossing. (Photo: Oxfam)

Leila Najjar is 25 years old and six months pregnant. She and her husband Mohammed Sulaiman want to be together for their child’s birth, but she may not see him for years. That’s because Najjar lives in Gaza and Israeli authorities won’t let her pass through the Erez crossing to join Sulaiman who is studying in Australia. Najjar and her husband are not alone. Countless other Palestinian families are separated by Israeli restrictions as well.

Siege on Gaza prevents children from receiving needed medical formula

Dan Cohen on
Ahmad Najjar smiles in the container his family now live in across the street from the rubble of his home. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Two and half year old Ahmad Najjar is one of 700 children in the Gaza Strip who suffer from Phenylketonuria (PKU), a hereditary disease that causes phenylalanine to build up in the body that can inhibit mental and physical development. The disease is easily treatable in wealthy countries — PKU requires a medical formula that is often in the form of milk as well as a carefully planned diet — but in the Gaza Strip, where 80% of the regular diet is detrimental to PKU patients, this formula is impossible to find due to the Israeli/Egyptian siege.

Putting Israel’s cynical humanitarian work in Nepal in the proper context

Jonathan Cook on
Pro-Israel propaganda produced by the US-based organization The Israel Project.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was quick to congratulate Israeli soldiers on their relief efforts in Nepal, where an earthquake late last month claimed many thousands of lives. However, Israel’s humanitarian concern for the victims of disasters looks more cynical when set alongside its record once the TV cameras depart.

Families in Khuza’a forced to live in shipping containers as politics prevent Gaza reconstruction

Dan Cohen on
Ahmad Najjar and his parents sit in the donated shipping container they have lived in since last fall. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

The Najjar family’s stately home in Khuza’a was one of 100,000 homes damaged or destroyed during Israel’s war on Gaza in 2014. Eight months after the final ceasefire reconstruction in Gaza has not begun, and the Najjar family is is forced to live in a donated shipping container just across the street from the four-meter-high mound of rubble that used to be their home. Youssef Najjar, 46, breaks into tears as he talks about the situation, “In this caravan, our life is all about suffering.”

‘The Israelis never stopped shooting’: Gaza endures under Israel’s one-way ceasefire

Dan Cohen on
Moaeen Al-Kheysi sits in his home holding a poster commemorating the life of his grandson Wadie. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

For Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the period since last summer’s war has been a one-way ceasefire. While Palestinian armed factions have observed the ceasefire, with a handful of exceptions, Israel has violated the ceasefire on a near-daily basis. Soldiers fire at farmers in the buffer zone, gunboats shoot at fishermen, and warplanes and drones are a regular sight over Gaza’s skies. Dan Cohen talks to several people in Gaza about life under this mostly unreported barrage. Moaeen al-Kheysi in Shujaiya says, “We wake up every night to the sound of shooting. The Israelis never stopped shooting at us but Palestinians aren’t shooting them. We want the ceasefire to be from both sides, not just one side.”

Finkelstein goes to Syracuse and the opposition stays home

Pat Carmeli on
Norman Finkelstein

Who could stay home when this self-hating, Jewish-people-hating, delusional ex-professor would address malleable ears? Sadly, with a couple of exceptions, those standing by Israel’s policies chose to stay away when Norman Finkelstein spoke at Syracuse last week.

Banksy goes to Gaza

Annie Robbins on
(Photo: Banksy)

On Wednesday, Banksy published a video and photos from a recent trip to Gaza and set the internet ablaze.

Israel: Schabas resignation cannot ‘whitewash’ bias in UN war crimes inquiry

Allison Deger on
Professor William Schabas. (Photo: Journal de Montreal)

Since last August when professor of international law William Schabas was appointed as the head of a United Nations war crimes inquiry into violations committed in Gaza over the summer, Israel has repeatedly sought to remove him. Last week, Israel won. Schabas recused himself amid allegations of bias in a favor of the Palestinian government, but the resignation is not enough for Israel. It wants the entire investigation scrapped.