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In Gaza havens are far, heavens are closer

Dr. Belal Dabour on

Dr. Belal Dabour has been working as an intern at Gaza City’s At Shifa hospital during this summer’s Israeli onslaught. He writes, “I have seen all kinds of atrocities, but what pains me more than anything else is that most of the victims have been reduced to mere numbers. A boy whose picture showed him clinging to a paramedic was lucky enough to have a photographer at the scene and at the right time to document this heart-wrenching moment, a moment which went viral. Thousands, however, remain without luck. Even him, the lucky little boy, will soon be forgotten just as how the world has forgotten his ancestors who were expelled from their land more than six decades ago. For nearly seven decades, the Israeli crimes against the Palestinians went unaccounted for, always in the name of peace. Unless justice is sought and realized, peace will be false and wobbly.”

Despite ravages of war, Gaza supports armed resistance to lift the siege

Dan Cohen on

Hours before the latest ceasefire was set to expire last night, Israel resumed attacks on the Gaza Strip and Hamas again began to launch rockets. Both sides blamed each other for the failed ceasefire. Five missiles hit the al-Dalou family home in Gaza City, killing the wife and three-year-old daughter of Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif, and injuring 18. While Israel’s assault on Gaza has now claimed at least 2,030 lives and caused more than 10,302 injuries, along with entire neighborhoods destroyed, frustration with the status quo has boiled over into near-total support for armed resistance. Dan Cohen meets with the Qadan family, who barely escaped from Rafah during the Black Friday massacre when 120 civilians were killed by an Israeli attacks. Above, Dima and Kamal Qadan display bombs dropped onto their home by Israeli warplanes.

Tariq Abu Khdeir is not deterred: Despite Israeli police attack, he plans on returning to Palestine

Alex Kane on

One month ago, 15-year-old Tariq Abu Khdeir was beaten senselessly by two Israeli police officers. Now, he’s back in his Tampa home, safe and sound. But his life has stayed topsy-turvy. He has had to tell his story countless times, and has been whisked away to demonstrations and events across the country. But despite Tariq’s ordeal, which began when his cousin Mohammed was kidnapped and burned alive by Israeli Jewish extremists, he wants to return to Palestine. Mondoweiss’ Alex Kane sat down with Tariq and his mother to talk about what happened to Tariq, and what the future holds.

Weapons fired in Ferguson come from companies supplying Israel, Bahrain and Egypt

Alex Kane on

Companies that have become notorious for supplying Israeli, Egyptian and Bahraini security forces with tear-gas have also supplied the police in Ferguson, Missouri with those products. Those companies’ weapons are being fired on protesters livid over the police shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black teen hit six times by an officer named Darren Wilson. The use of tear-gas, armored vehicles and high-powered rifles on the streets of an American city to quell protests have fed anger over Brown’s killing across the nation and has also sparked an unprecedented debate over police militarization in the country.

HAMAS made me do it!

Katie Miranda on

Katie Miranda’s latest cartoon on how Israel blames the Gaza onslaught, and its possible war crimes, on Hamas.

Gruesome tales surface of Israeli massacres against families in Gaza’s Shujaiya neighborhood

Max Blumenthal on

Max Blumenthal reports from Gaza as residents of Shujaiya returned to the shattered remains of their homes during the five-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas took hold on August 15. They pitched tents and erected signs asserting their claim to their property, sorting determinedly through the ruins of their lives. The attack on Shujaiya began at 11pm on July 19, with a combined Israeli bombardment from F-16s, tanks and mortar launchers. It was a night of hell which more than 100 did not survive and that none have recovered from. Inside the ruins of what used to be homes, returning locals related stories of survival and selflessness, detailing a harrowing night of death and destruction.

The catastrophe inflicted on Gaza–and the costs to Israel’s standing

Saree Makdisi on

The statistics coming out of Gaza as Israel’s most recent bombardment of that hapless territory gradually winds down capture the nature of a catastrophe methodically inflicted by one people on another. Yet for all of the sheer violence that Israel unleashed in Gaza, the indiscriminate scale of the bombing has actually seemed to accelerate BDS efforts around the world. Israel may have “won” this round of conflict, but in terms of the larger political struggle, it has almost certainly lurched from one loss to another as the world reacts in disgust.

Liberal Zionism has lost its refuge– a plausible two-state solution

Philip Weiss on

The idea of a two state solution that was around the corner allowed liberal Zionists to claim that they were liberals and supported a “Jewish democracy.” Now Gaza has ended the illusion, and it has put many liberal Zionists in crisis. Writings from Joseph Dana, Adam Shatz and Jonathan Freedland all speak to this moment.

Serving Israel’s aim of lowering civilian deaths, ‘New York Times’ Gaza tally says 15- to 17-year-old’s aren’t children

Patrick Connors on

The New York Times is helping to downsize the civilian slaughter in Gaza. At a time when the Israeli government has launched an effort to claim that a high percentage of combatants are among the nearly-2000 killed by its army in Gaza, the Times has published an article giving credence to Israel’s crude profiling of men, and even of male children, as potential combatants. If you’re 15-17, you count as an adult, the Times says, flying in the face of the international consensus that adulthood begins at 18. And if you are a Gazan male between the ages of 20-29, you are part of “the population most likely to be militants.” As the Times reporter adds, helpfully, a lower-than-reported Palestinian civilian death rate might change “the characterization of the conflict.”

The West Bank insurrection

Allison Deger on

Israel killed a 19-year-old protester Friday outside a settlement in the West Bank, and after his funeral, a boy gave a bullet to a member of Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade. As Allison Deger reports, great political changes are afoot on the West Bank. Palestinian protesters were not able to get near settlements till recently, prevented from doing so by the Palestinian Authority. But in the wake of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza, and Hamas’s surprising military stamina, the P.A. has forged a modus-vivendi between moderate and more radical political currents, and has permitted pro-Hamas rallies in the West Bank.

The Greenhouse propaganda—How Gazan history is being rewritten to dehumanize Palestinians

Justin Schwegel on

In recent weeks, as Israeli bombs and artillery have slammed into the tiny strip of land that is home to nearly 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, the propaganda war has been raging with equal vigor. Pro-Israel politicians and pundits have rewritten the history of the demise of an agricultural project in the Gaza Strip to blame the victims of an economic tragedy for their own hopeless situation. During the past few weeks, several pro-Israel political pundits including Ezra Levant, Charles Krauthammer, Richard Chesnoff, Jeffrey Goldberg and Alan Dershowitz have taken this line of victim-blaming. Notably, Hillary Clinton also advanced the Israeli effort to rewrite history.

‘Cooking is my politics’: Rawia Bishara’s Middle Eastern food is all about spreading culture

Alex Kane on

The best Middle Eastern food in New York is, without a doubt, found in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn at Tanoreen. But if you can’t make it to New York, you can still taste the fabulous cooking of Rawia Bishara, the owner of Tanoreen. Bishara’s new book, published this year, is filled with delectable recipes people can make in their own kitchen. Mondoweiss’ Alex Kane sat down with Bishara to discuss her book, Olives, Lemons and Za’atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking. Mondoweiss readers who donated over $80 as part of the website’s summer fundraising drive can receive the book, and readers who give over $200 will get a book and be invited to a delicious meal at Tanoreen with the Mondoweiss team.

Palestinian refugees displaced again as they flee Islamic State in Iraq

Sheren Khalel and Matthew Vickery on

Qasi Mustafa Abu Khalil and his family packed all of their belongings into one car and fled their home in the middle of the night. They were too nervous to look back as they left Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq—all eyes were glued on the road for Islamic State checkpoints, and the sky for Iraqi Government military jets. The Abu Khalil’s have lived as refugees in Iraq since their family fled Palestine in 1948 during Israel’s war of independence, which forcibly displaced over 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and into the life of a refugee. Today, like many Palestinians in Iraq, Abu Khalil and his family find themselves fleeing for their lives yet again. Over 300 Palestinians have recently fled the city of Mosul, which was taken over early June by The Islamic State formerly known as the Islamic State of of Iraq and the Syria (ISIS), an offshoot of the Islamic militant group Al Qaeda. “In my mind I don’t think I will ever come back to Mosul,” Abu Khalil told Mondoweiss. Above, Palestinian Ambassador Nazmi Hazouri to Kurdistan speaks to Palestinian residents of Iraq and Kurdistan about the current situations in Gaza and Iraq.

Thousands of displaced Palestinians take shelter on the fringes of Gaza City

Allison Deger on

Allison Deger reports from Gaza City where thousands of Palestinians have taken shelter outside of United Nations facilities out of fear of air-strikes targeting the civilian sanctuaries. They inhabit the fringes of Gaza City, which is effectively serving as an refugee camp for those fleeing the more war-torn regions to the north and east. The el-Algan family, above, fled from their home in Zeitoun near Shuja’iyeh nearly two weeks ago and joined over 550,000 displaced Palestinians across the besieged Gaza Strip. “When the tanks started shooting, that was it. We realized we couldn’t live there anymore,” said Hussein Mohammed Ali el-Algan, 50. “When we left, we left all of us together,” with each adult carrying one of the smaller children. Even his 15-year old daughter carted a youngster as they walked aimlessly toward the sea, looking for a hideout from the shelling. “It was very hard there and we have to live and we have to survive.”

Tariq Abu Khdeir goes to Washington — and finds surprising support

Sam Knight on

A lawyer representing Tariq Abu Khdeir said Friday that “there is a lot of support” from officials in Washington for the 15-year-old and his family. “Clearly, there is not as much support as there would be had Tariq been an Israeli-American child who was attacked by Hamas,” Hassan Shibly, an attorney and executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, tells Sam Knight. “Nonetheless, we’re beginning to see change.” Members of the Abu Khdeir family and Shibly traveled to the nation’s capital to appeal to American officials to seek justice for Tariq, a U.S. citizen, and their Palestinian relatives in the West Bank. Above, Tariq Abu Khdeir speaking on Capitol Hill.

Who broke the ceasefire? Obama blames Hamas against the evidence

Allison Deger and Max Blumenthal on

The Obama administration says Hamas broke the ceasefire yesterday with an attack on Israeli soldiers in Rafah, in Gaza. But according to Nabil Shaath of the PLO the attack took place before 7 AM, an hour before the ceasefire went into effect, and a tweet from the militant Qassam Brigades taking responsibility for the attack earlier that day was published at 7:34 AM, well in advance of the ceasefire. The Israeli claim that the attack took place at 9:30 is not borne out by evidence.

Inhuman shield: How ‘The New York Times’ protects US elites from Gaza’s brutal reality

Patrick Connors on

The New York Times’ reporting on Israel’s latest assault on Gaza has been a rollercoaster. Unfortunately the high points have been few, short and quickly followed by dizzying and prolonged plunges back into a morass of lazy, credulous recitations of Israeli government talking points, and efforts to portray balance and symmetry in a dramatically unbalanced situation, all permeated by an absence of skepticism and critical analysis, and a failure to explain context. Though Israel has slaughtered over 1000 Palestinian civilians in Gaza and only three civilians have been killed in Israel, in The Times’ upside down world, every Palestinian weapon is a major threat, while Israeli weapons are either defensive or non-existent.

Crisis in Rafah: Palestinian civilians trapped trying to escape Israeli onslaught (Updated)

Dan Cohen on

At 6:30 am, 90 minutes before a 72-hour ceasefire was slated to go into affect, Israeli authorities alleged that Palestinian militants captured an Israeli soldier. In response Israel began heavy bombardment of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, killing 50 and wounding more than 220 people. A group of at least 70 Palestinian civilians, dozens of whom have foreign passports, attempted to flee to Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, only to find it closed and deserted. Unable to cross into and Egypt or return to Gaza, the group is currently trapped in between. Dan Cohen talked with Nalan al-Sarraj who is with the group: “The situation over here is very scary. We’re more than 70 people, mostly women and children, and mostly they have foreign passports, half of which are Egyptian. I can see smoke and fire, and we can see the explosions very close to where we are. Israel has declared Rafah a closed area so we can’t even get out of this place.”

Bombed homes, shelling and cars charred by missiles: Fidaa Zaanin on how Israel destroyed Beit Hanoun

Alex Kane on

Fidaa Zaanin, a resident of Beit Hanoun, has seen two punishing wars come and go. The only difference this time is that the ferocity of Israel’s assault, the third she has lived through, has surpassed the others. And that ferocity has hit her city particularly hard. The 25-year-old was forced to leave Beit Hanoun on July 26th after Israel launched a massive–and by many accounts indiscriminate–attack on areas near the border. On her way over to Gaza City, where she is now residing, Zaanin described a grim portrait of demolished homes, streets littered with ammunition and charred cars. Above, Palestinians walk amid destroyed buildings in Beit Hanoun during an humanitarian truce on July 26, 2014.

Will ‘Protective Edge’ galvanize the US mainstream, as ‘Cast Lead’ galvanized the left?

Philip Weiss on

There are more signs today that what the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008-2009 did for the left, the latest assault is doing for the mainstream: solidifying a perception that Israeli leadership has lost its moorings, opening the floodgates of criticism. The Israeli attack on the UN school yesterday followed later by the attack on civilians in Shuja’iyyah market during an announced ceasefire had an effect on public officials. The school attack at last gained a rebuke from the Obama administration, though it didn’t pin blame on Israel. At the State Department briefing, reporters expressed distress that the U.S. is not saying more. And some of our leading MSM voices are letting their outrage show: Ayman Mohyeldin of NBC and Erin Burnett of CNN have shown humanity and courage. Burnett has tee’d up the obvious question: Why are Americans funding Israeli carnage?

68 Palestinian families have had 3 or more members killed

Institute for Middle East Understanding on

The United Nations has expressed “deep concern” at the mass killings of families: at least 68 Palestinian families in Gaza have had three or more members killed by the Israeli military in the same incident since Israel began its current assault on Gaza on July 7, for a total of 360 people. That’s an average of more than 5 members per family.

Video: If you voted for Hamas, Israel has a right to kill you, says president of NY Board of Rabbis

Philip Weiss on

There was a pro-Israel rally of 10,000 people in New York yesterday, a half block from the United Nations, and Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner, who is an executive of the NY Board of Rabbis, suggested that Palestinians who voted for Hamas are combatants who deserve to be targeted by Israel. The crowd cheered. Kirshner went on to say that the Israeli army is “the most moral army in the history of civilization.” He ended his remarks with the word, Amen.

Video: Celebrities, artists and activists call for Palestinian freedom in #GazaNames project

Adam Horowitz on

Jewish Voice for Peace and the Institute for Middle East Understanding have released a powerful new video featuring celebrities, artists, activists and everyday people speaking out for Palestinian human rights. The video features people holding signs with the names and ages of Palestinian civilians recently killed by the Israeli military in Gaza. Some of the notable people pictured include Chuck D, Jonathan Demme, Gloria Steinem, Wallace Shawn, Tony Kushner, Mira Nair, Roger Waters, Brian Eno, and many others. In a press release to accompany the video playwright Eve Ensler says, “This is a scream on paper. This is a wail. “There are no more words. Only this moment where we rise against the illegal and deathly occupation of Palestine, against mass slaughter of the defenseless, against the complicit silence of the international community, against the military might and arrogance of the Israeli and the U.S. governments who choose annihilation over justice and love.”

Gaza– and ‘Guernica’

Allison Deger on

Allison Deger made a series of photographs in Gaza demonstrating not just the human cost of the Israeli onslaught, but the price paid by animals. The scenes of animal destruction are reminiscent of Guernica, Picasso’s iconic painting from the Spanish civil war memorializing the 1937 bombing by rightwing forces, killing hundreds of civilians.