Israel

To start with, why do the news channels ask Tony Blair for his advice on conflict in the Middle East? It’s like asking Gary Glitter for advice on what to do about Jimmy Savile. But somehow it fits with the rest of the coverage. A report yesterday morning began with the sentence: “Rockets have continued to be fired from both sides...” Then, to illustrate this, we saw a demolished building in Gaza in which 11 people had perished, and a woman in Israel standing next to her car with a smashed windscreen.
Let's start with a fact. On November 16, the Israeli Air Force bombed the 10,000-seat Palestine Stadium “into ruins”. The stadium also headquartered the centre for youth sports programs throughout the Gaza Strip. This is the second time Israel has flattened the facility. The first was in 2006 and the people of Gaza have spent the past six years rebuilding the fields, stands and offices to keep the national soccer team as well as club sports alive in the region. * * *
Soldaten, On Fighting, Killing & Dying: The Secret WWII Transcripts of German POWs By Sonke Neitzel & Harald Welzer Scribe Publications, 2012 448pp, $22.99 Our Harsh Logic, Israeli Soldiers Testimonies from the Occupies Territories, 2000-2010 Compiled by Breaking the Silence Scribe Publications, 2012 400pp, $22.99 There is unmitigated evil in both these books ― cruelty, violence, criminal’s countries. The fact that the awful truth comes out of the mouths of the perpetrators makes it all the more shocking.
As in every vicious military offensive Israel carries out in Gaza, the dominant narrative is that it is a response to rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel. This is how it’s being reported in the US, and this is how virtually every American understands it. And it is a lie.
At a press conference outside Shifa Hospital on November 14, Gaza's Minister of Health, Dr Mofad Al Makhalalaty, called on the international community to immediately intervene to prevent another catastrophe such as Operation Cast Lead.
Israel has launched a fresh full-scale war on the besieged people of Gaza. The Palestine In My Eyes website is detailed the names and ages of those killed in Israel's latest bombardment. As of the morning of November 20, 108 Palestinians were listed as killed.
An Australian activist, Vivienne Porzsolt was gassed with tear gas on November 7 while protesting a house demolition in the village of Hares in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. She was there with other members of the International Women’s Peace Service supporting Palestinians trying to protect their homes. Of 13 homes facing demolition orders in Hares, two were destroyed that day despite the fact the legal appeal processes had not been exhausted. One house was home for 18 people, five of whom were hospitalised due to the violence of Israeli soldiers.

The ongoing siege of Gaza by the Israeli government looked set for a worrying escalation following a visit to Gaza by the emir of Qatar. Just three days earlier, Israel's navy had boarded a Gaza aid ship and used tasers on activists. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani entered Gaza via Egypt's Rafah border crossing on October 23. Israeli leaders condemned al-Thani's visit, the first by a foreign head of state since 1999. Al-Thani promised $400 million in aid projects to Gaza, undermining Israel's economic blockade.

Former Israeli paratrooper Avner Gvaryahu, now an activist with Breaking The Silence explains to Green Left Weekly's Peter Boyle how 850 former Israeli soldiers have given testimony about the gross injustices against the Palestinian people they have witnessed and made to participate in as part of Israel's military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. He was visiting Australia to promote the book "Our Harsh Logic" (Scribe Publications).
Independent journalist, political activist and author Antony Loewenstein discusses his new book After Zionism, at Sydney's Gleebooks on October 2. In discussion with Peter Manning and the audience, Loewenstein covers questions of zionism, one or two state solutions, the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, Israel as an apartheid state, debates in Palestine, Israel and beyond, the Gaza flotillas, and much more.

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